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Home Is Where the Heart (and your stuff) Is.

March 18, 2014

After 7 looooooooong weeks of sleeping on an air mattress, I am beyond thrilled that our  imagesfurniture and the rest of our belongings are being delivered tomorrow. Sleeping on an air mattress for such an extended period of time is uncomfortable for anyone. When you are in your third trimester of pregnancy it is torturous.

In case you’re worried that I’ve lost all perspective and think that me living without my bed and books and other things for 7 weeks is a real tragedy, I assure you that I am well aware that I am among the fortunate for even having things to be shipped across the world to my new home, let alone not to be living in any one of the many war-torn areas of the world or having to worry about where my next meal will come from.  I know what I have been experiencing very much falls into the category of “first world problems”.

When we moved to Asia over three years ago I was also in my third trimester of a different pregnancy and also experienced about 6 weeks of living without a bed or much of anything else. That was hard, but this time has felt much harder. One of the major differences between then and now is, of course, that the baby I was pregnant with then is now a toddler who has his own stuff that he is also living without. The distinction between how you experience your own discomfort and that of your child cannot be overstated. Mine is frustrating; his is heartbreaking.

As much as I try to practice non-attachment in all things, the fact is that our stuff, the things we collect as we move through life, even if we are not overly attached to them, provide us with a sense of belonging. These are the items that bear silent witness to our lives, day in and day out, and I firmly believe that there is a way to practice non-attachment while still deriving comfort from them. It’s not that I cannot live without my favorite teacup, as I obviously have been doing. It’s that every time I use it I am reminded of how many warm delicious cups of tea I’ve had in it and how many times it has warmed me on a cold day. Our sofa is not the most beautiful or comfortable in the world,  but it is where my son built his first fort and where we napped together so often in the first few months of his life. Every time I see it I am reminded of those peaceful magical moments.

So, these past few weeks we’ve had everything we’ve needed; a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and each other. We are more fortunate than many. Tomorrow we’ll have all the things we’ve managed to live without, the things we do not need, but the things that will hopefully make our new house feel more like home. All of our stuff, inconsequential as it is in the grand scheme of things, will provide something we’ve all been longing for: a feeling of being settled and grounded and here, rather than in transit. Can. Not. Wait.

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