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Blame it on the onions

cutting-onions-doesnt-make-me-cry

We’re moving again.  We all saw it coming, and for reasons beyond our control, it’s just what has to be done.  Granted, this is a much smaller scale deal than our last one.  Even so, it means saying some tough goodbyes.  And, if you know my feelings on packing, you know that this is never a happy time for me.  We’ve known about this move for the last several weeks, and I knew that we were on the brink of change.  But, up until last night, everything around me looked and felt the same.  I told my friend Jenny a few weeks back that I felt like I had a flood of tears dammed up by the fact that nothing had yet changed.

Yesterday, the change started.  We began packing, and we broke the news to some of our employees and friends.  I held it all together until I was cooking supper.  My sweet neighbor had just left, and I had a teary conversation with her about how much I was dreading this move, primarily because the distance would keep us from having our frequent tea dates and watching our kids play together.  I cut up the onions, and the tears began to trickle.  That’s not so weird, right?  But when I started cooking, the sobs poured out.  I couldn’t deny the inevitable anymore, and the boxes in the corner were tangible proof of yet another unwanted move.  The onions kicked a hole in my dam of denial.

Maybe I’ve just been too busy to deal with reality.  Yeah, that sounds better.  Either way, I’ve taken a few minutes to feel sorry for myself, and now I need to get on with life.  There’s a country full of people around me who need help, and I came here to do something about it.  And, if I made Levi do all of the packing again, he might pack me into a box, too.

So yes, we are moving again.  But hey, we’re prepared.  It helps when you haven’t actually finished unpacking from your last move.  I used to think that Levi had a freaky box hoarding problem.  Turns out, he was just planning ahead.  Love that guy…

 

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Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Unpacking

I hate packing.  Hate. It.  My husband is a total champ when it comes to this frequent routine of our lives, and it’s a good thing.  Here’s how it usually goes:  Levi persuades me to start packing with him.  We get going on it, and things are going just swimmingly.  After about 2 hours, I get upset at him or something ridiculous and nearly have a nervous breakdown.  At this point, Levi sees that I am useless and tells me to take a break.  He keeps packing, and by the time I’m recovered, he’s got the job almost done.  Great system, right?

You know what I hate more than packing?  Having someone ELSE pack for me.  Yeah, like someone… say, an afghan man, sweet and trustworthy as he may be, opening my bra & panty drawer and packing it all FOR me.  Someone taking my bed apart and seeing all the stupid crap that I couldn’t really find a place for in my house and realizing that I’m maybe in the habit of haphazardly tossing old magazines, language books, and unwanted gifts under the bed.  Part of the reason I have such breakdowns when packing is because I’m always convicted of what a materialist I am as I sort through my belongings.  I mean, how many shoes does one human being NEED?  Surely not more than 5 or 6 or 30 pair, right?  I would definitely rather do this dirty job of packing myself, but our current security restraints just won’t allow it.

I live in this land where people die of starvation and freeze to death in the winter, and I still manage to allow myself to accrue so much stuff.  It’s embarrassing enough for me to deal with it in front of God and my husband, but to have someone with so much less than I packing up that stuff for me… it’s beyond humiliating.  I know I have far fewer material possessions than the average westerner, but my life is different.  I don’t live by those standards anymore, and I feel that I’ve been called to a simpler way.  I guess the one good thing about moving all the time is that it does force me to look head on at my possessions and say “I don’t need you.”  Even if one of those trucks tips over and falls off a cliff (which is actually a very real possibility), I will be ok.  We’ve actually been living just fine with the stuff we packed for ourselves 4 months ago, which totals 2 large and and 2 small suitcases.

While I never want to be ungrateful for the things I have, I do always want to hold them with unclenched fists.  I want to have less so that I can give more.  I want simplicity so that my life isn’t complicated by a constant idea that I need more.  I came into this world with nothing, and I’m confident that I’ll leave it the same way.

Stuff, I’m coming for you.  And a lot of you won’t even make the cut past my front door.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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On house hunting in the Capitol

I’m not a home owner, so I really cannot relate to the headaches the folks go through when trying to  properly buy or sell a home.  However, we have lived in several different places in this country, and the ridiculousness of actually finding a house is so absurd that you have to just throw your head back and laugh… but it’s the kind of laughter that comes just to keep you from completely bursting into sad, pitiful, pathetic tears.  The sort of laughter that signifies you’re definitely teetering on the very last fiber of sanity left within you.

Your first step is to decide where you want to live in this crazy city.  Granted, some areas are safer than others, so you’ll need to do a bit of checking around to see what might suit you.  Once you’ve decided on a few places, you find a property dealer office in the area (or ask a local friend to take you to one) and tell him what you’re looking for.  Let’s say, 3 bedrooms, a yard, and anything around $1200 / month.  Sound expensive for the 3rd world?  You’re right.  Rent is outrageous in this overpopulated city.  The huge presence of contracting companies and U.S. gov’t funded NGOs has driven housing prices through the leaky mud roof.  So, the little fish with little NGOs like ourselves kind of get the stinky end of the stick and pay the same outrageous prices as the big fish who are making all the big bucks.  Anyway, after you’ve told the property dealer what you’re looking for, he’ll assure you he has a place that’s perfect for you.  You get in the car with him and he takes you to a giant 4 story mansion with 13 bedrooms for the low price of $8000 per month.  Before even entering the compound gate, it’s immediately obvious that this house will be far too big and expensive for your little family of four.  You explain again to the property dealer that you truly, honestly only want 3 bedrooms and rent lower than $1100 per month.  “Oh, well… I don’t actually have anything like that right now,” he tells you.  Great, thanks for wasting my time.  On to the next property dealer.  He tells you that he has 2 or 3 houses that might work.  The first one is lovely.  A small yard, nice layout, and peaceful neighborhood.  The other two won’t work for a family.  You investigate the neighborhood of the house you liked only to find out that there’s a very well organized terrorist group headquarters’ office just around the corner.  As much as you don’t mind those guys, your supervisor gives it a big “Nah Uh.”  Ok, back to the drawing board.  You go out again the next day to try with a new property dealer.  The first house is too big, the second is totally trashed and would probably take 3 months of repairs before it’s livable, and the third seems promising, but the property dealer, as always, has you waiting outside the house’s gate while he calls the landlord to ask him to bring a key over.  The landlord isn’t answering, which is also not uncommon.  You wait for 45 minutes while the property dealer calls the landlord’s sons, nephews, uncles, and brothers all in hopes to get someone to bring a key.  Finally, one of his nephews lets him know that the landlord actually went back to his home in Germany last week and he took the key with him.  So, no looking at that house today.  After weeks of this madness, you finally find it.  A great house with 4 out of the 10 things you’re needing in a house.  Sure, there’s no kitchen sink, the toilet is actually a squatty, and the yard needs some work, but those things are all fixable.  You negotiate a price with the landlord and work out the details of a contract.  The contract includes things like 1. Who will pay for damages if a bomb is thrown over the compound wall 2. Who will pay for the necessary repairs on the house (always the renter) 3. Penalties for early contract termination.  So, a little different from some terms of a contract in the West…

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So the bathroom needs some work… no biggie!

After 3 weeks of non-stop searching, we finally settled on a place.  The repairs will begin soon, and we are hoping to be moved into our new little abode in about two weeks.  Yes, Laila and her baby brother will be sharing a room… that’s just how it’s going to have to be.  But, that room will be cute, fun, and unisexually attractive (is that a correct term for a kids’ room?… maybe “aesthetically appealing to both genders?”) if it kills me.  Pinterest and I will be getting cozy in the coming weeks, I’m sure.  Yes, we are paying more than double the rent that we paid in River City for a smaller house, but downsizing never hurt anyone, right?  I mean, who really NEEDS a couch AND two arm chairs?  By the way, anybody in the neighborhood want to buy an arm chair?  And maybe some cabinets?

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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