Earlier this week the three moving companies bidding to send our goods by land and by sea surveyed our household. Each company appointment was an hour apart.

Company 1. “Boris” took his shoes off without being asked. He surveyed for 45 minutes and proudly reminded me that they moved us to Vienna without a single broken item; and asked polite questions about special care items (high value breakables, art, carpeting, jewelry, etc.) He walked me through the steps involved with moving our small wine collection back to the US, as well.

Company 2. “Christoph” did not take his shoes off, even when I asked if he would not mind doing so. Upon walking into the dining room he pointed at the sideboard and remarked, “Got china in there?” and mentioned that I would have to point out all of the breakables to the moving team. And then seemed irked that we would be using the entirety of our air freight allotment. In less than 20 minutes he had “all the information” he needed.

Company 3’s rep was so unremarkable that I didn’t catch his name. But he did take his shoes off.

In a week or so we will be informed of the awardee. As a rule we have no voice in the process, which I find not quite right. Then again, over the past seven years there have been many features of U.N. life that I have found not quite right.

It’s all part of the adventure, they say. But “they” probably don’t have seven years of material memories to care about.