The Good News or the Bad News?

I’ll start with the bad news as it’s simpler.

We rented an apartment in Malta that wasn’t quite finished (literally just needs kitchen and curtains and insect screens installed) everything else is stunning and brand new and finished). But at least we could store our stuff while went for our six week Molly adventure, and if it wasn’t finished on our return we could cook in Molly but sleep in the apartment.

The bad news is it’s not ready, which is fine, but the adorable landlords have rented us another gorgeous, furnished apartment, and set us up with food, towels, beds …everything just a few blocks away.

Which is very kind. But we need to unpack and start getting things sorted ASAP as we have visitors and things we need, and things to unpack, and and and …. so it’s annoying.

But the good news list grows longer by the day:

  • They won’t let us pay rent on either place.. for the furnished apartment or the one without a kitchen. So we’re saving a few bucks which is a bonus as we still haven’t sold the house back in Joburg.
  • That in turn gives them incentive to get finished, we feel really bad for them, but it’s good knowing that we’re taken care of and it’s in their interest to get things finished soon. So it will happen, and we don’t need to nag them.
  • We are in the ground floor apartment right on the edge of town, so unlike our apartment where Molly will sleep in the basement garage, here we can park her right at our front door. And with a washing machine and dishwasher etc, we have been able to bring everything in, in just a few steps (including my Molly mattress and put it on top of the bed here… not quite the same but pretty good), clean her out, unpack the Sphinx… it’s turned out be such a blessing … sorting out Molly without feeling like we should be unpacking the boxes.

  • I’m not very good at sitting still so if we were surrounded by boxes I’d constantly chip away at them and totally overwork myself very quickly. Instead, each morning we head over, work for three hours, he does all the lifting, I do the sorting and directing (which doesn’t always go well), then we head home for lunch and don’t think about the unpacking again till the next day. An impossible feat if we were right there.
  • Sometimes it’s easier to plan things when you’re one step removed. The serenity of a tidy, well appointed apartment with a fabulous view is a much better place to plan, regroup, restore and refresh, than an overwhelming apartment with boxes to the ceilings! A couple of Netflix binges are helping to do that somewhat, hence the radio silence of the last few days. It’s been great!
  • Part of the move included unpackers. After nearly a dozen international moves I know the drill and I hate it. A swarm of men descend at the crack of dawn and by nightfall, everything you own, including the dust bunnies under your bed in the old house, and the junk drawer (usually now upturned), and all the half bottles of shampoo from five people (now a quarter filled with the rest smeared over the rest of the bathroom contents), are now unpacked. If you don’t know what that looks like, imagine upturning every drawer, box, wardrobe, cupboard, in your entire home and garage and garden shed, onto your floor, beds, stairs, kitchen counter, and even the bath. Believe it or not, there are not enough flat surfaces to hold everything you own. You can’t eat for the laden kitchen and you can’t reach the cupboards to start loading them. You can’t get to your bed under all the linen you didn’t know you owned and the washing machine doesn’t work because the power plug is still from the wrong country so you can’t wash all the shampoo out the towels. You’re hungry, so exhausted you can’t breathe…. and everyone expects you to fix it… right now. But because we don’t have a kitchen, yet we need our stuff, the removal company agreed to spread the load over a few days. I asked for the weekend in between two of them, and the last third only once we have a kitchen. It’s still a zoo, it’s still a third of our belongings spread over half the house (not a bad ratio considering!!), but with the weekend to sort out much of what was unpacked on Friday, we’re getting to do this a little slower. I can’t begin to tell you how much better that is.

So the non-kitchen is proving to be a bonus. He still thinks that if we’d rented a different apartment, moved to a different country, owned different things, … or we’d simply put a match under it all before we’d left, it wouldn’t be nearly this stressful. In reality, it’s not a patch on all the other moves I’ve done while he’s in the office making all his new friends… Five people’s stuff instead of two, all on my own instead of with his help, no spotless apartment to retire to in the evening, unpacked in one day instead of three, and no one to nag us to find things for school or work the very next morning… this is bliss!

But it still sucks. Moving sucks. And tomorrow morning (Monday) will be round two of the proper unpackers. Hopefully they’ll find the linen … but that’s a story for tomorrow or the next day!

PS: Thanks so much to those who’ve signed on the easy, no-spam newsletters I send out no more often than monthly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those)!

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Inspiring Others?

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To be honest, I don’t feel inspirational. And I am not sure that I actually do ever inspire people, but as I find my voice and begin using it out loud I starting to hear this word used more and more often and in the context of me! That used to freak me out a lot and I am not sure that it will ever sit well with me, but I have learned to become a little more comfortable with it since I reminded myself that we are all just ordinary people really. That when ordinary people do things that other people would love to do, that makes them inspiring. I will never climb Mount Everest and nor do I have even the smallest inclination to either climb or rise above others in any kind of way. But I do want to have an impact on people who walk next to me day to day. It is these people who inspire me the most and I am pleased that I can sometimes do the same for them.

Finding my voice isn’t just about writing, it is about saying what is on my heart and being prepared to now and then be the only one who says what everyone else appears to be thinking. Not in a rude or arrogant way. But I have noticed that when people tell me that I inspire them it is never because I did anything huge, it is simply that I spoke my truth. And often, that truth that I speak appears to be the truth shared by others.

The Ultimate in “Keeping it Real”

Last night we watched the movie “What we did on our holiday“. It was the second time that I have seen it and I love it more and more. Through a brilliant and totally unpredictable story line, Billy Connolly and David Tennant at their best, and a cast of other actors who all do an amazing job (especially the children), this cleverly written British comedy, to me, is the ultimate in why we need to be “keeping it real”.

With layer upon layer upon layer of reasons, consequences, twists and turns, though hilariously funny, it is also deeply emotional with some very strong messages; Life is short, wearing masks and keeping up appearances is taxing and totally not worth it, and no one wins, least of all those who pretend the most.

Movies like this inspire me and remind me that transparency is the way to go at every level. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and watch it, ….but bring the tissue box and be ready to laugh like you haven’t laughed in a long time!

(…and with so much Scottish blood running through my veins, that didn’t hurt the experience either …stunning scenery and so many threads running through it, up there on my all time best list).