When we decided to go on this crazy adventure of housesitting our way around the world, we knew it would require parting with a lot of our possessions. We spent weeks and months carefully deciding what we would keep and what we would sell, donate, or toss. A cache of important to us items is currently living in a room in my parent's basement - books, art, movies, family heirlooms - things we could never part with in a million years. The rest of what we own is with us in two large suitcases that we check, two smaller suitcases we use as carry-on's, a shoulder bag and a laptop bag. That is all we now own - literally everything else was sold in our tag sale, given away, or thrown away.
So as you can imagine, we don't have a lot of stuff anymore.
We are allowed 40 pounds in each of those checked bags, 26 pounds in the carry-ons, and whatever fits in the personal bags. It's not much - although it sure feels like a lot when you haul it all around with you. However, everything in those bags is important to us. Each item was carefully considered, and many things that used to be important to me did not make the cut. Anything that made it on to this trip is of high value to us, even if it wouldn't be to anyone else.
Which makes what happened at the London airport hurt all the more. One of our checked bags has gone missing. The airline believes that our bag made the trip, but someone else walked off with it, because another bag, which looks similar to ours, was left behind. The hope was that whoever accidentally took our bag would come back for theirs, and bring with them ours. However, it has now been two days. Surely by now someone would have realized the problem if it was an honest mistake. Surely by now they would have done something to correct it.
And yet, nothing. No word on our bag, or if anyone has come to pick up the left behind bag, and we have contacted the airline multiple times and received radio silence. As we settle into our new housesit in Wales, I keep discovering items that are missing. We both had items in that case so it's not like we lost all my stuff or all Joel's stuff, we both are missing important items.
It's starting to hurt - not just monetarily because we will have to spend money to replace some necessary items, but because we also lost some items that are fairly irreplaceable.
These items aren't so precious that I needed to have them on me (those items I do carry on my person - all jewelry and electronics mostly). However, that case had 25 pairs of LuLaRoe leggings - my absolute favorite pairs - dinosaurs, bees, snowflakes, unicorn skeletons, Christmas ones, my special birthday ones, and more. My birthday is on Monday and I'm super bummed I won't get to wear the leggings I literally packed only for this occasion. I can't imagine they would be of any value to anyone else, yet for me it's not only a monetary loss but a fairly sentimental one as well.
The case also contained my toiletries bag - which means we are without razors (including Joel's good electric one), his extra pair of glasses, and at least a hundred dollars worth of makeup/facewash/moisturizer, etc products. They can be replaced, but it will hurt our budget. I also had two hair barrettes that were sentimental - one I purchased on a trip to Costa Rica with my best friend, and one Joel bought me on a cross country road trip to my cousin's wedding (and it has a matching pair of earrings). Again, items that mean nothing to anyone else, and don't have resale value, but have a lot of value to me.
I haven't made a fully tally of everything lost yet, I'll be able to do that when we unpack the rest of our bags tomorrow (we wait until the homeowners are gone to make ourselves fully at home). I know I'm missing all of my workout clothes, t-shirts and socks, Joel is missing all of his t-shirts, most of his nice shirts, and more. We've lost the hair dryer, toiletry bag and the special packing cases that we use to fit so much into one bag. When we do the math I imagine we will be in the multiple thousands when it comes to the replacement value of items lost. Of course, we won't be able to replace everything.
Can I just say aloud that this really freaking sucks?
I'm trying not to be too down about it but it is starting to get to me. In the end it's all just stuff, no one was injured or died, so in the grand scheme of things it's not too terrible. But in the moment, as it hits me each item that was lost, which I might never get back, it stings.
It's cast a bit of a pall on what would otherwise be a lovely start to our time in Wales. The house we are watching is totally my style, the cats are sweet and cuddly, the town is adorable, and the surrounding area is gorgeous. The homeowners have been friendly and generous and totally sympathetic to our plight (giving us spare toothbrushes, deodorant, etc).
In the end, if our lost luggage never returns to us we will be okay. We have each other, we have our health, we will survive. But right now, it sucks. If you are the praying type, can you send up a little prayer that our items might come back to us? That if someone took the bag they will be kind enough to return it? That what was lost might be found? I know God probably has bigger and better things to do, but perhaps St. Anthony can come through on this one.
Also, if this has ever happened to you, commiserate with me? Or tell me tales of luggage miraculously returned and all items recovered?