In late November 1987 we arrived in Ohio with a car load of possessions. Shortly after arrival all our things we’d stored in Evansville (wedding gifts galore) began tricking into our home. We’d gone from light and clean to slightly cluttered.
Since it wouldn’t all fit, we bought plastic crates and filled a closet with them. It filled a closet, but with the door shut you never knew and out of sight out of mind!
In late March 1988 I was sick. Really sick: passing out, throwing up, sleeping a lot, and unable to keep up with life and work.
In mid-May I finally went to the doctor. That’s when I found out I wasn’t sick, I was pregnant. Pregnant with serious, long-term morning sickness.
This change in family status necessitated moving from our cheap, old, run down, drafty apartment to something a little nicer. After several months of looking, we found a cute little 2 bedroom apartment. It was adorable and probably my favorite of all our homes.
The thing about this apartment was it was bigger than our efficiency apartment in Texas (350 square feet) but much smaller than our existing apartment (900 square feet). 600 square feet with small closets and no storage space and we were adding a child. In those days before the move, I began to purge. I’d open a box in the closet and if I’d never used anything in there, I’d stack it up in a corner. A couple of days before the move, DAV came with a truck and hauled it all off.
What I learned from this move was if it’s in storage you’ll forget about it and buy it again.
I also learned that a tiny new life could suddenly upend everything I ever thought I knew. And that was a good thing.
I also learned that babies don’t need 90% of the stuff I was given at multiple baby showers.
Our sense of adventure is really being fueled this week with lots of excitement and anticipation of what 2-5 years might bring our way. There is much to research, much to hope for, much to let go of . . .
I’ve been thinking about our earliest days both in Germany, Turkey, and Georgia. All those moves required sending our stuff ahead of us. All of those moves saw us living out of suitcases and backpacks for extended periods of time. The move between Ohio and Germany was 8 weeks without the majority of our things (weight limit 4000 pounds) and 2 weeks without our “express shipment” (weight limit 1000 pounds) which mainly consisted of kitchen stuff, books, and more clothing. The move between Germany and Turkey was a total of 14 weeks without anything that didn’t fit in our suitcases. Our things left Germany, went by boat to New York, then by boat to Turkey. It was a crazy thing that had to do with customs and other weird rules.
I often think back to those days and how carefree things seemed. We weren’t weighed down by an abundance of stuff. We weren’t always cleaning because suitcase living really only requires a broom and a dust cloth. In each place, we bought beds and bedding within a few days of having a home. We used our stainless steel camping plates and mugs for weeks on end — one for each of us. One cast iron pan was enough to cook anything and everything.
One thing we did in each place was to find a toy store in the local towns. Each child picked out 2 new toys. They agonized over the decision because they knew all they had to play with was these 2 new toys, along with their favorite doll/stuff animal, paper and crayons, and the 2 toys that had fit inside their backpacks for the plane ride. Germany saw the addition of Playmobil people into our lives as both kids were enamored of the little people. See Week 3 post . Turkey brought geometric shapes (Tangrams) and more Playmobil for Michael and a collection of plastic horses and more Playmobil for Hannah.
I think the most profound lesson I learned in Texas is that adventure (and living in a culture radically different than your own) is not scary, is not dangerous, and is not necessarily expensive. It may seem strange to call Texas a radically different culture than southern Indiana, but when all you know is Midwest, English speaking, white people . . . Texas is worlds away.
I came away from our time there with a confidence that I could communicate with anyone. A few words in a language (not your own) shows respect, a commitment to relationship, and a true interest in those around you.
I also learned that it is important to find people and a place where you can worship regularly.
And food . . . I definitely learned to eat like a local. Find the places where the locals go and eat there, buy food in the local markets, and get a cookbook so you can try out food on your own.
Our home in Texas was in a nice complex that included laundry facilities and a pool. The pool seemed like such a luxury when I arrived, but by June I was of the opinion it was absolutely necessary. It made cooling off in the middle of the day a true highlight of our time there. Everything we had fit into a 300 square foot efficiency apartment.
What we should have learned in this apartment is that white space is everything when you can see everything standing in one spot. But as pictures of upcoming houses will reveal — I didn’t learn it until much later. But, as I look back on these pictures I see how little it really takes to feel at home.
Remembering this (white space) helped me when drawing up our shipping allowance list. We will be looking for a very small home. And I don’t want it to feel cramped and small, but rather open and spacious.
Our apartment complex was “way out” on the 1604 (near where Sea World is today). There wasn’t much around but scrub at the time. We took long walks in the scrub, and drove miles to run errands. At the time it didn’t bother me because I really didn’t have anything else to do while Kelly was at training.
Our next few homes were much closer to Kelly’s work and errand running sites. Our current home is “way out” and it takes 20 minutes to get to the nearest gas station and grocery store, 40 minutes to get to Target, bookstore, etc.
Each time I have to go to town, I prepare for a long day. It is better to clump all my errands into one long day. As the years have gone by, I find that I really don’t like being so far out. Don’t get me wrong, I love our little place, the quiet, the space, but there are days (many days lately) when I long to hop on my bike and take care of my errands.
This move we hope to be centrally located to public transportation and markets. Walking, biking, and public transportation (and Uber) will be our primary modes of transportation for a year or more. We even plan to use our bikes (with a trailer) or a pull-behind garden wagon for running our marketing errands.