Friday, September 30, 2011


The last few days have been exhausting. Physically and emotionally. I am not sure how I made it through, oh yes I am. With good friends, family and an amazing husband. Truly. The love and support that was afforded to me over the past few weeks was absolutely life altering. I know many a tear was shed, just by being overwhelmed by the generosity and support I was being shown.

I am not sure what was worse, leaving behind a home I had felt such a deep connection to or facing all that was needed to be done in navigating the unbelievable amount of stuff we had. One of the biggest challenges was sorting our belongings, deciding what to keep and what would be shipped or stored. I thought I had been doing well, not accumulating masses of belonging, I had been clearing clutter and organizing for months, but in the end, I was almost dumfounded by the amount of things we had. And I really hate how regardless of the amount of effort in packing, there is always things at the end that you just wind up chucking into boxes, just to get out in time.

I have started to look at things differently over the past couple of days. I decided not to buy a magazine on the ferry as I knew it was one more thing to have to get rid of in the next few weeks. I now look at things and their value as being the value to me, and not whether or not I could sell it later. I will try and be more pragmatic in any purchases I make (except maybe with shoes) and really think about what items will add to my life, and also, will I need to unload it at some move down the road. I am looking forward to the ease that comes with living without all the trappings of everyday life that I have been surrounding myself with. I am glad a whole lot of my belongings will be going into storage, and not with me. And I know I still have some serious sorting to do before I head off to Italy.

Leaving our neighbourhood, our friends and our home were very hard. Our magical little house, with it's plaster walls, the large warm kitchen, the secret doors, all the nooks and crannies, the enchanting garden. (I also just realized I left behind the board on the bedroom door frame where all the children had their heights measured, whoops). My friends will always be a part of my life and the memories that we created in our sweet little home will also be with me but leaving this home behind was hard, I wore my 'fearless' necklace. Many times as I packed, I would touch the little bird, I needed to be fearless.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The going Away Party

Last week we had a going away party. Yes, amidst our packing mayhem, we invited in our friends to visit and say Arrivederci! It was a lovely day, a beautiful day in fact, for more than just the stunning weather. The weather I have been waiting for all year. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by the added warmth of a fantastic community of neighbours and friends.

I have always said that our move to Victoria was the most seamless move we have ever made. We met people at the open house to buying our house that became some of our closest friends. We had old friends from Vancouver who lived here and even an old friend from high school who was planning a move to Victoria at the same time as us. We instantly loved our house and our neighbourhood. And our four years have been truly fantastic. It has been an amazing chapter on our journey.

So why are we leaving?

I guess in some sense we are adventurers. We are wanderers, explorers, life learners.

I cried last week when I hugged my friends, the ones I was leaving for the first time. I couldn't believe I was leaving this chapter of my life behind. They gave me a necklace with a bird in flight. The tag on the necklace said fearless. I am not sure I am fearless, I try to be, but I guess I try more to be open. Open to what the world can offer me. Open to the adventures and the learning that lie ahead. Knowing that this sometimes means a sad goodbye.

Saying goodbye is the saddest part of this journey, even my children say their friends are what they will miss the most. But as I hugged my friend from high school and my old friend from Vancouver, there were no tears, we have made this hug countless times over the past 30 years. Not just when I moved, but when they moved also. And I know this is not goodbye, I know that they will reappear in other chapters of my life.

How long we will be away, who knows, I guess in someway the openendedness of this trip, makes the parting that much more emotional. So I will not say goodbye, but I will say arrivederci which is basically the Italian equivalent of 'see you later'.


Monday, September 12, 2011

The Dreaded Yard Sale

I swore a few months ago I would never do another yard sale. It seems to be a lot of work for not a lot of money and at the end of the day you are too tired to make dinner so you order in, burning through the measly profit you may have made. It is however a very interesting look at the value of the goods we surround ourselves with and how quickly these goods lose their value. It is sometimes however an exercise one needs to go through in order to liquidate a vast quantity of stuff in a short period of time.

I think about earlier generations, and I know my parents never had a yard sale and they moved alot. I am not sure whether it is that we buy more than we need. Pay more for items so we think we need to recoup some of the money, whether we think things have more value than perhaps they do. Is this a sign of a disposable society? I also wonder if living in larger family, I am the youngest of eight, did things just get worn out by the time they got to me. I do remember church rummage sales, but never garage sales.

So last week we held our yard sale. I had been asked by one of the neighbours to participate in a block yard sale and at time declined as I had just done my last one ever a few months ago. That was of course before our house sold and we were looking at a very short possession date and really needed to do some clearing out. Needless to say, said neighbour had a good laugh when she saw all the stuff I was selling, even though I told her I had nothing to sell. It was a good yard sale I felt, as far as yard sales go, we got rid of a lot of stuff. Made a little money and still had some left over when we ordered thai food for dinner.

But, at the end of the day we still had quite a bit of stuff, things I no longer wanted in our house, things that Sam was definitely not going to let me bring back in the house. If they made it out the door, they were not coming back. But then what, what does one do with all this unwanted unsalable, but seemingly useful stuff. Luckily a friend's mother works for a local charity that sends goods overseas to countries in need. We packed up all the bedding, clothes books and some toys and loaded them into the back of her car. It felt good, not only to clear out, but to know these things would go to someone who needed them, someone who will never have the luxury of a yard sale, because at the end of day, a yard sale is just that, the luxury of being able to sell off some of your unwanted stuff.

And even still, there was more, we tried the yard sale again yesterday and it was a colossal waste of time. I asked myself, why I am holding onto the need to sell these things, I clearly have no need for, regardless of their perceived value. So, I slapped a free sign up on the table and went for lunch. Someone will find a usefulness in these things and they are gone. And I vow that in future, I will try to be more rational when I make purchases, and try to buy only what I need. And if I fail, there will always be a free table. No more yard sales!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin...

For years, Sam and I have had a dream, and that dream is to go and live in Italy. Sam's father was born in Italy and with my background in Art History, we have always had a strong pull towards this dream. Back in 2001, some friends in Tuscany were helping to organize jobs and a place to live for us and all was going nicely until the tragedy of the the World Trade Centers struck. Within days, the job, that was tourist reliant, was no longer feasible.

Flash forward 10 years, 2 more children and many adventures, the dream is still alive. In the spring we put our house on the market. The plan, sell the house and take off to Italy, buy something there perhaps. Sam would take some time to work on his art. But, the house sat on the market, we lowered the price, got a very low offer, got a reasonable offer, decided against selling, took it off the market, decided to sell, contacted potential buyers, worked out a deal. All the subjects have been removed and now we pack. All going well, we should be on our way to Italy in the beginning of October.

We are so excited, the house is filled with a happy buzz. So much to do, so little time. All the plans are still a little loose. Things will hopefully become clearer as the time comes.

We decided to look for another house that we could rent out while we were away, keep ourselves in the market for if and when we return. We found a great house, not to far from where we live that will be perfect. We have an accepted offer, and now they wait for the subjects to be removed.

In the meantime, we have found a place to rent in Italy. It seems as if the universe is telling us this is the right decision, everything is falling into place.

We have begun sorting and packing. Not fun. But bit by bit we are making our way, what do we store, ship, sell, chuck? It is truly amazing the amount of stuff one can accumulate, despite all efforts other wise. I sadly come from the creative mind, of 'don't throw that out, I can make something with it', which is not good when it comes to packing, because one there is too much stuff to deal with and some of it I am not willing to part with. I think at times like this I drive Sam mad, I also believe everything has a much higher value than he or anyone else does. Thank goodness he can be the voice of reason, or we would need a massive storage space.

The children have been great learning Italian on Rosetta Stone. Sofie is getting very good, she helps us all out. She is a bit sad to be leaving her friends, but she is being a real trooper, helping to pack and to help with the others when Sam and I are busy. One of our favourite terms we have learned in Italian is che schifo, it means disgusting or gross. We all laugh when someone says something is che schifo, an especially well used expression by a 13 year old girl, who thinks lots of things are che schifo. So off I must run and continue my packing.
Ciao for now!