Daniel and I returned from Odesa (Black Sea) last night around 1am after 12hrs of driving and 4hrs of waiting. The customs officials refused to release our truck to our shipping company so I had to make this last minute trip to claim my container.
From what I understand now, the container goes through a ‘pre-customs’ check at the port, then off to Kiev for the final customs clearance. It still amazes me how much time is wasted in lines. First of all, it’s next to impossible to know if you are even in the right line, even if you know the language. There are several stages of waiting, level I outside the door, level II waiting inside the door, level III waiting in an office, level IV waiting for the customs agent.. you have to just go with the flow because there is no other flow! We were supposed to have all the documents on hand however the person who was supposed to meet us had a death in the family (we think) and we were left to fend for ourselves.. it was a good thing Daniel was there or I’d still be at the port today.
In the end the truck was the main issue, our registration for it is up in October (it shipped in April!) and they said we would have to export it back to the US in two weeks… ha! We were given until October 31 in the end and have to leave the country with the truck and re-enter (probably Poland) to get a fresh stamp or we’ll be hunted down and sent to Siberia. We were so close to the container, I thought of breaking in and stealing my truck, I had an extra set of keys on me if I saw the chance:)
In the end, after a $300 required ‘gift’ to the customs agent for staying late, we received all the stamps and approval needed to release the container and my truck! It’s now on it’s way to Kiev and scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.. barring difficulties in Kiev (put up your hand if you think we’ll get it tomorrow?). Patience and kindness is what seems to be the most effective here. People in positions of authority aren’t respected very much, police for example are paid very low wages and when you treat them with respect and kindness, I’ve seen it diffuse the situation more than being equally abrasive. A “soft answer turns away wrath” is a good principle.. and hard to follow when you are frustrated.
Tomorrow ‘could’ be a very exciting day in the Crowe family, the thoughts of sleeping in an actual bed, our own bed from Texas is terribly exciting. The kids will be racing up and down the street on their bikes and we’ll overflowing with boxes and unpacking very soon… we won’t complain about that one bit!
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:3-4