This is not just any ordinary suitcase. This suitcase has been traveling for eight days all by itself, and some of that time we had no idea where it was! Guess if we were happy when it actually made it to Brunei yesterday, four days after we did!
To make a long story short is impossible in this case, so here it goes: "The long story of the suitcase that went around the world":
Most of my shopping this time around happened in Scotland, since that's where we went first this summer. I had already before we left said to Nathan that this was probably going to be the last long trip I managing to pack in only two suitcases for the kids and I now that they've grown so big and their things fill more - and surely, already on day three did I actually have to buy a new suitcase!
The more we shopped, the more we started to think about how we were going to transport it all around for the rest of our trip, and Nathan's brother-in-law Kieran came up with a bright idea:
He was going to come to Singapore in August, we could leave some stuff behind for him to take out there, for Nathan to pick up when he went over for his SIM. Sweet!
Although, soon we realized there was going to be a fair bit, so Nikki said she wouldn't mind flying it down and meet up with us in our hotel in Heathrow on the way back.
So we shopped and we shopped, and since the suitcase was going to be delivered personally, we left quite a lot of things in it. Not valuable as such, but a lot of stuff: school uniform, school shoes, Nathan's gifts for his 40th, Linnea's gifts, clothes and shoes we didn't need, presents and souvenirs from Scotland etc. We ended up leaving behind a full 23kg suitcase. All was good until Nikki couldn't make it anymore, and had to courier it down for me... that's when the "fun" started...
I was only going to be in the hotel one night, and when she phoned the hotel to make sure they would accept it for me they said they would only hold it one night. So she had to wait to send it until the Friday for an overnight delivery, and then I would turn up Sunday - to go back here Monday. Only thing was, the courier company failed to let her know they didn't do deliveries on Saturdays... so come Monday morning, the suitcase was still in Aberdeen!! I was sitting in my hotel intensely following the tracking page, and 8am Monday morning I could see it was finally picked up from the Aberdeen depot. Even I could figure out that there was no way it was going to make it to the hotel before 2pm when we had to leave..!
Time for Plan B.
Worst case scenario would have been that the suitcase would have either got stuck at the hotel forever, nobody knowing who's it was; or that they would refuse it and it would get sent back to Aberdeen, and then how would it get here?! Or, that it would go lost somewhere, so many things could go wrong... And they did.
In a way I was lucky though (since we now know it all came together in the end!), lucky we know people most places, and lucky we even had friends traveling into LHR just this week.
I had to ask my friend to go to my hotel after I'd left, and when the suitcase supposedly should have turned up, pick it up, and arrange for it to get back here for us. That was after I had had to convince the hotel to hold the suitcase, even though I wasn't in the hotel anymore...
Only problem now was, after that Monday morning 8am timestamp - the suitcase hadn't been timestamped for another 40 hours! Nobody knew where it was!!
I had by then made it back here, and tried to get help from the courier company via their internet live chat, but only got fed with standard textbook answers, all cut-and-paste from their manual. It only made me increasingly frustrated and angry. Thanks to jet lag, I was up most of the following two nights, and could benefit from the time difference to terrorize the help center every couple of hours, asking for news.
Finally, on the Wednesday evening, they had located the bag, and a helpful supervisor changed the delivery address - and hallelujah, Thursday morning (on day six!!) it got delivered to our friend!
Once it was in his hands, I was more calm, although it wasn't until I actually could lay my hands on it here I became totally happy! I had made a list of the things it contained, and I had remembered most of it, but also forgotten a lot... so it was good to see the things again after over a month!
Man, such an intense week, but all well that ends well!