Thursday, December 4, 2008

farming out, reining in

A month or two ago, another import teacher and I were talking about our stuff. All the stuff we left behind when we moved. And where it is now. Shannon and her husband, Fabian, are planning to move back to Canada at the end of this school year and she wondered if she'd be able to track down all her stuff.

"And after five years, can you really ask for it back?" Shannon said, "Isn't it more theirs than mine now?"

Maybe.

My sister and her husband visited us the May before we moved to Colombia. We were in a fit of get-rid-ot-it-ness and they, lucky ducks, arrived with a U-haul. Right now, she's negotiating the price of our mattress and box spring and wants to know if she can also buy that blue thing. What blue thing? Oh, the painted-antiquey-pine-hutch thing.

"We also have an end table and a coffee table."

Really? If she hadn't told me, I'd probably have forgotten. I think Justin has a list somewhere of our stuff and its guardians. But right now, as we've just launched our second international job search, I look at all the stuff we've managed to accumulate in just a year and a half in Colombia. Last year, we said good-bye to our friends Phil and Katy and their two kids the night before their flight out. Katy sat down on the floor with a drawer pulled from a cabinet: the last drawer of stuff to go through. Old passports, random papers, store cards. Already, I'm looking around our apartment and boxing a few things in my mind: send on to the next place, storage in my parents' basement closet, try to sell, give away, toss.

I'm hoping that we stay at our next place for three or four years but perhaps I'll have to pretend I'm moving after two, just to keep a rein on all the stuff.

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