05 June 2014

Moving: The Stuff

Moving to an expatriate is like....


What IS it like?

* Swimming to a fish *
Hmmm. No. I think fish probably like to swim. I do not like to move.

* Pulling a splinter out of an infected thumb *
Nope. Though it is a pain and there is some little relief afterward. But sometimes the scars from having to say goodbye to friends and places and things...well, they just stick with you bigger than that.

* a shell to a hermit crab *
That's not right either, but crawling in a shell and avoiding the process of packing sounds pretty good right about now. Or maybe even dreaming that moving could be way easier if they could just pick the whole house up instead of bringing out the boxes.

*Changing a poopy diaper to a Mom*
Maybe its just because I've done it already this morning...but I think I'm getting closer.  Changing a poopy diaper is no fun, but when it's done and over, the people involved are happier because of the lack of stink and diaper rash avoidance.  With moving when the packing is done and the stink of the last box is actually packed up, there is indeed, relief.  But like a kid dropping a deuce in his dipe, its just a matter of weeks or months before you have to deal with boxes again on the other end.

I'm starting to see metaphors aren't my strong suit.

We are in the middle of packing, y'all.

And by, "We are in the middle of packing." I mean that in 11 days the movers are coming to pack up our house and I have yet to do anything.
Moving in. 2011. Nearly 3 years to the day.
This is partly due to a lifetime of being a skilled procrastinator. Do understand that in my head I have EVERYTHING organized. Its all under control. No fear.

The thing is, because its already organized in my head, I'm really not that anxious about it. I'm excited about this summer and seeing family and doing some traveling. I'm just dragging my heels about up-ending our house. Life is crazy enough at the end of a school year and the kids are anticipating leaving in their own ways, sometimes, understandably, with some anxiety.

So maybe I haven't yanked everything off the shelves and walls yet because of that reason?

Moving in. 2011. So many memories made in this space since then!
 If the producers of Hoarders wanted to help cure people of their hoardom, they could ship them off to foreign countries, then make them move every 1 or 2 or 3 years and limit them to a 20ft container. They'd have no choice.

 It could be like a reunion show every season, "The Smith Family is moving again! Did they return to their hoarding ways? Can they get their belongings into the crate in time?"

Getting to downsize and purge crap that has been accumulated over the last 3 years is cathartic and healthy.

The moving company is a really good one and our stuff will be in responsible hands.

This type of organizing  (even though it feels like its UNorganizing things at moments its really not) is right up my alley.  Like decorating, but in reverse, but still in the same sort of category as decorating. And I love that.

So my only guess as to the delay in getting started is that pulling the stuff down is hard simply because it is the very thing that brings front-and-center the reality that we have to say goodbye. (even though we plan to come back! just not to THIS particular house) In a month's time, life as we know it today will not be continuing like it is today. No way to stop it.

Befores and Afters. Making a house a home.

But I'd like to not think about that goodbye part. And so we return to the procrastinating thing again.

Even though we like our house, our neighborhood, the relative developed country we live in...its the people we'll have to say goodbye to once the stuff is packed up that makes it the hardest.

But we've learned as well in the packing-of-house we've done over the years that saying goodbye IS important. Loss is loss. And not ignoring it, but embracing it and owning it and doing it well, is important to saying goodbye the best way possible.  Even, strangely enough, if you have to say goodbye to some inanimate objects in the process.

Today is a bit of a school holiday. The perfect time to really start sorting.  And, importantly....To let the kids do part of it. 

As much as I think materialism is one of the great evils of the world, at the same time, the emotions of parting with "stuff" and packing it away, throwing out the non-essentials (essential in this sense is totally in the first world definition), deciding what's "important" enough to keep is a huge part of the process. There is character building in that decision making- for the grown-ups and the little people- and helping us to confront our reality head-on and with strength.

While we go through the toy buckets and the bookshelves, we'll talk about what's to come.
We'll talk about what we loved that we're leaving behind.
Remember and prepare all at the same time.
Be sad maybe at points, but then be happy in the hopes and plans to come.

You HAVE to remember what's to come. This is key.

And simply acknowledge that even matchbox cars and a paint color might need a heartfelt goodbye for whatever reason.  Then rest in how good God has been to us in this house and all we have seen him do. That with every decision to leave something behind, we will keep coming back to the fact that we never have to pack him up, say goodbye to him, or leave him behind.  That he goes before us and is with us. Near.

And though tomorrow isn't promised, packing up our stuff necessitates looking forward.  We are so blessed to be excited about what's before us. Time with family and friends we've been denied time with. Places we're ready to see and explore. Memories we'll make in new places.


Ok. The suitcases haven't even seen the light of day and here I am going way too philosophical.  There's no approaching the sock drawer in this condition. (like we wear socks here)

So here I'll stop about all our stuff.

We are moving. It is happening.

And the stuff is starting to get packed in 3, 2, 1...


  1. I have sweet and varied memories of spending time in this home, more so than the other two. I will miss No. 1 Jalan Setia Tropika, too!

    Having lived 40 years in the same house, I would have to multiply your feelings exponentially to move permanently somewhere else.

  2. Oh goodbyes. They are so so hard. I'm sorry you're in the hard part of it. :( Well I guess it's always hard, once you look back with nostalgic sadness. One day, we'll be done with goodbyes.

    In the meantime...I'll provide great procrastination activities for you, if you want, by telling me what your future plans are? (does the words "your" and "plans" in the same sentence make you laugh as much as it makes me laugh?)