I’ve moved many times over the years. What started out as a straightforward process, with just a few boxes to pack, has evolved into a much bigger project.
I like to think that I live quite simply. If I do buy something a lot of thought goes into it, before it arrives and quietly takes its place where something was somehow missing before.
I was weary at the thought of packing up my Sydney life, but as I looked around I figured it wouldn’t be so bad, we didn’t have that much stuff. I got a surprise when moving day came and I saw all the boxes, our small apartment had clearly been clever with storage. I had no idea we had accumulated so much.
The journey from Sydney to Zurich for our belongings took three months, so there was always going to be a period of time where we would have nothing except what had come with us in our suitcases. We spent three weeks in an empty apartment. Literally empty, not even light fittings. We were all quite miserable by that point. The arrival of our container marked the end of that phase, and when our Zurich chapter could really begin.
The change in our mood on seeing our things was dramatic. There it was, our life in a blue container, becoming real again once the boxes started coming in.
It turns out it wasn’t just stuff, it was part of a story. Worthless to others, but precious to me. As I unpacked, there was a sense of contentment as everything found its place. As the pile of empty boxes grew, the apartment was becoming a home. A sanctuary. When outside, things were foreign and unfamiliar.
I bought some cups the other day. I’ve had my eye on them for about a month. Something was stopping me from buying them, probably a feeling of guilt because I’m not working at the moment, and we don’t really need more cups. Every day I would pass the shop window, only allowing myself a glance. Until one day I found myself in there, cash at the ready. I haven’t unpacked them yet, but already they have an importance because I know that, for years to come, I will use them and be taken back to this time in my life, the year when my children were five, seven and nine, and we lived in Zurich.