When we decided we’d be moving to the US it didn’t take us long to also decide to get rid of as much stuff as possible, including dishes, furniture, towels and the like. At first I was hesitant to let go of some bigger items – certain pieces of furniture that I loved, but I eventually realized that I didn’t need them in my life to be happy. I saved a coffee table that we got from a fleamarket in Düsseldorf once for real cheap but that looks absolutely awesome. Thankfully, my mom thought so too, so for now it has found a new home in her living room. All our other furniture we gave away to friends, put it up on the internet and eventually out on the street with a sign that said “free stuff”. Same goes for all other stuff – we ended up storing a total of ten small boxes in my mom’s attic, containing kitchen favorites and other random essentials, but mostly books that I couldn’t bear to give away. I got rid of almost half my books in the process though! Anyway, it felt good to let go. Another thing I couldn’t let go off was most of our artwork. Again, some my mom took over, some was given away, but all my favorites are coming over. I feel like nothing creates an atmosphere where you can feel at home like the paintings you have lived with and loved for the past years. One painting – actually, it is a customized print – is my absolute favorite, and there was never a question of leaving it behind, even though it is too big to be taken on as carry-on or fit into a suitcase. It is a print by American artist Billy Tackett that I purchased at an art fair in or around Cincinnati back in the day; specifically this one: http://www.billytackett.com/webfannieflesheater.jpg I just love the colors in it and to this day it brings me joy every time I look at it. It came with a “blood”-splattered passe-partout, and once back in Germany I had a custom wood frame with a gold inlay made for it that simply brings it out in all its glory. Once my hard drive is rescued later this week, I hope I can find a picture to show you. (Yip, my laptop died.) After we figured out that it wouldn’t fit in any suitcase, I was left debating whether to ship it or check it as luggage on the plane when I would go over. I eventually chose the plane since I figured it would get thrown around only twice as opposed to countless times when shipping it by mail. Here’s what I did to ensure it would arrive safely: My first step was to take it to a local frame-maker and ask him to wrap it up safely for transport. He put it between two sturdy plastic panels and then into a cardboard box that he stuffed with fillers. Even though I trust the man, the painting meant too much to me, so I wanted to be extra sure. I thus wrapped the cardboard package in an old blanket from our basement, wrapped that with a sheet of that stuff you put on the ground when painting and tied the whole shebang together with binder twine. In order not to tear the fabrics I unearthed two big blue IKEA bags (plus: now it was also somewhat waterproof) that I put over the package, then taped it up. I finished the job with another round of binder twine, added a luggage strap and two stickers saying “Careful – Glass”. I am optimistic it’s gonna do the trick.