losing a home

My beloved ‘home’ which I mentioned a few blog posts ago, my friends, I regret to inform you, has been lost to me. In a very sad turn of events, the friend whom I entrusted the safe-keeping and maintenance of my home to for the few months I will be out of the country, decided to pull a runner. Apart from the obvious result of losing a friend, I have had to move out of the house swiftly, before I rack up more expenses. I will leave out what happened between her mysterious betrayal of my trust, and to where I sit today, getting ready to go back to said country to move my things out of the house and try to settle with a very disgruntled landlord, out of respect for what was once a very decent and kind friendship between us.
Fast forward to tonight; I am getting ready to fly to this country, gain access to the house for a few hours, and fill my two suitcases with my most precious items. The rest, an accumulation of 12 years of my life in that country and 2 years in the first home I ever made for myself, I will have to leave behind, to be thrown out by the landlord after I go. I made a list, trying to put some sort of plan in place so that when I re-enter the house I have loved so much these last two years, I keep a level head, and manage to rescue the things I would most be upset by losing. In making this list, I somehow managed to turn this whole mess into a very interesting personal challenge.

If you were given only 1 minute to grab a few items from your house, before you were outed forever, or the house burned down (in a more dramatic scenario), what would you grab?

If you were given 10 minutes?

An hour?

When I heard that I would have limited access to the house – two hours total, no more – , the first thing I thought about was leaving the whole house full of belongings behind. The expense of flying there, trains, accommodation, etc, seemed too much. But an image of my Mom’s glass angel figurine, patiently perched on my bedroom windowsill, waiting for me to return, kept flashing in my mind. Then, her collection of crystals. The framed sketch by my Grandmother that I brought home with me from my parents’ house a few years ago. My one pair of dress shoes that I love, the burlesque-y looking ones that I wore  – daringly – at my citizenship ceremony last year. My ballet shoes.

I realised then that I have to go, quickly, and scoop up these things.

A scene from the film ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ popped into my head a few days ago. A woman discovers her husband has been having an affair. Heart-broken, she then learns that he and his new partner will buy her out of their shared home, so she must move out. On moving day, the movers come and ask her where to start. After looking around her, associating all of her belongings with the memory of HIM, she tells them to just pick up the few boxes of books in the front hall. That’s all.

Next, as she walks out of her home for the last time, a blue vase holding fresh flowers catches her eye. She picks it up, turns it around in her hands, examining it, dumps out the water and contents, puts it in her pocket, and leaves.

I can relate so much to this moment in Francis’ life! The things you own just become…hard work. The thought of moving them, transplanting them somewhere new, somewhere where you are starting from scratch, with all of these memories and …weight attached to them…makes you wonder why the heck you would do it to yourself! The urge to just walk out and start from scratch is tempting. I have been given this opportunity and, although I spent the last few weeks worried sick about what the future holds for me and my THINGS, I have decided to embrace the situation and live out this fantasy of walking out of a former life and starting over.
I know that one of my glitches as a human being is harbouring grudges. I can’t help but hope this experience will really help me LET GO of emotional baggage, as well as excess physical baggage. The two cannot really be so different?

So, Readers, I am sharing this experience with you. I am asking myself why I have put myself through so much stress and worry when it comes to keeping my possessions with me all these years. Especially as someone who moves house on a pretty regular basis! I am hoping that this experience proves to be cathartic, not just draining, and once I am through the thick of it, I feel more liberation than loss.

This is the reason I haven’t been writing at my normal rate these last few weeks. I had nothing very positive to share until the image of Francis and her blue vase came to me. (**If you haven’t seen the film yet, check it out! It’s one of my all-time favourite ‘starting over’ films!**)
I will keep you posted on my internal and external progress.

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