Moving to Canada – the container

Moving to Canada – the container

Finally packed and ready for its journey to Vancouver

The container and all our belongings have arrived! Actually, while it is exciting, it really means that this is our home for a very very long time. Things just got real. After shipping 16m3 of goods, taking up 1/3 of a shipping container, from Geneva to Winlaw, the months of packing Rob did while I was working, and the headaches with customs and the moving company, I don’t want to go through that for many years or ever. Plus the cost, it cost 6’500 CHF for the moving company in Switzerland to come to our house and load our goods into the container, then ship the container to Vancouver.

Luckily, I realized while spending 10 days in the States before entering Canada that I needed to declare all the contents I was bringing with me when I crossed the border into Canada to not pay import fees. Went with my list of boxes/grouped items (176 items in total) to the Nelway border crossing and declared everything. Then we booked a U-Haul and waited for the ship to arrive.

Following that ship was mega confusing. The container left our old place on February 25th, we followed it on the truck to Basel, on the train to Rotterdam, on the ship to Oakland, and at one point, the ship started from Oakland on its way to Japan! Many confusing calls later, we were told the container was unloaded in Oakland and put on another ship bound for Vancouver. We were then send a bill for 2’700 CHF for the dock fees in Oakland. We had already paid 80 CHF for dock fees in Rotterdam but 2’700 CHF was insane. After contesting it, the moving company accepted to pay.

Once the container arrived in Vancouver, we called the docks to know when we could pick up the contents with our U-Haul. It was only then that we came to understand that you are not allowed to enter the docks to pick up contents! We had to hire a company to collect the container. I phoned and wrote to at least 6 companies but only one answered. She quoted $610 to drop the container, plus 1 hour to unload, at my parent’s house, or $2’950 to deliver right to our door in Winlaw.

We calculated the difference, between the $1400 for the U-Haul, the $610 for delivery to my parents, the gas to drive our car to Vancouver and both back, the cost of hiring someone to help us unload in Vancouver (during the week and with my 8 months pregnant, we needed help), and the cost of the dogs in a kennel – plus having to ask my sister to take Klara overnight, it was just worth it to get the container delivered.

Now came customs in Vancouver. Thank goodness they let my parents go on my behalf, but my mom had to go twice to customs downtown because they were required a form that the moving company had apparently never been asked for and thought the shipping company would refuse to give us.

Finally got the customs cleared. Had both sisters over yesterday for the container truck that was 3hours late, but unloaded in just an hour! So lucky they could both help and carry the 176 items – including 50 heavy boxes of Rob’s german books that I’ve already had to help him move from his old apartment to a storage container, to Switzerland, and now to Canada. Those are some sentimental books. Now, let the unpacking begin!
The escaping piglets

The escaping piglets

Billy & Bobby: looking so innocent in their new little house

EVERY SINGLE DAY those little piglets escape! Keeping them in the house the first day and a half, electric fencing inside the metal fencing, scattering the food, nothing seems to work. I am pretty relaxed about it because they always come home in the evening but Rob sweats through his shirt at the thought of them escaping. It’s true, having them dig up someone’s garden would be awful, luckily nothing is planted yet in people’s gardens though. They seem to know the area more than us who have already planted and had all our cucumber and zucchini seedlings die in the hoop house.

The pigs are super cute and do sleep quite a bit but they are obsessed with running away and exploring. Yesterday they were gone for 5 hours! We searched but it was the day the container was arriving so we couldn’t look for long. Even looking with Eva, our dog, doesn’t help. She sniffs but never finds them. She does warn us half the time though as she is in the driveway and can see them running away.

Today’s project was reusing the old metal pieces from the roof that we had to have replaced as a base layer to the metal fence. I helped carry some but mostly Rob had to carry the super long pieces down the to pig field and drill them in place. Our neighbour told us cardboard could stop the pigs escaping but that will just melt in the rain. She says that it will help if the pigs can’t see where they are going, then they won’t try to escape. Hope it works!

All this for them to dig up a field, Once they’ve dug it up and we need to move them, we can only hope the electric fence works better. It is a poultry fence with a solar battery, cost us $1000. It better work!

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