Tag Archives: moving

No Worries

2012 was the year I was going to finish my novel.

Ha ha ha ha!

That was the plan before my husband came home and said What would you think about moving to Melbourne?

Melbourne. Australia?

10496.09 miles away to be exact.

But I love London. In fact I had just become a British citizen. It was home. I am very comfortable with the word No.

Not forever, he said. We’ll come back.

How long is not forever, I asked.

Not sure, he said.

Well, to make a long story short, I went for it.

An adventure. A change. A middle life crisis. Call it what you will.

We had to arrange everything: schools, places to live, visa’s , forms, form, forms and more forms.

I finished the last form and was ready to get back to that novel.

I sat down at my computer, rubbed my hands and raised them above my keypad….

Sniff sniff, what’s that smell, I thought.

It was our house. Burning down.

Our roofers had set our roof on fire and gone out to lunch.

After about ten minutes of trying to find the source of the fire while our house was filling up with smoke, my husband and I finally called the fire department. Not a moment too soon. The firemen pushed through our front door in their space suits and gas masks and had to pull our whittering selves out.

Outside I looked up to see the top of the house on fire. A black tongue of smoke shot up high into the sky. A helicopter roared above. Three firetrucks idled blocking the street. A flock of worried neighbors stood in front, offering cups of tea and places to stay.

I watched dumbfounded as the fire descended towards my office on the second floor. The room began to fill up with smoke, the window sills began to blacken.

My work, I murmured.

A kindly neighbor asked, Is your computer backed up?

Yes. I said.

He smiled in relief.

To the little machine next to my computer, I added.

We stood and stared at the window. The smoke began to seep from the cracks.

The London firemen did stop the fire and the computer was saved. (These firemen were amazing; kind, heroic, thoughtful…effective. They deserve anything they want!)

But we never lived in the house again. That night and for several days after we stayed with a variety of gorgeous generous friends and rented a short-term place.

We then flew to Melbourne.

To begin our midlife adventure.

This is the view from my window:

2012-10-19 04.31.08

We’ve been here three months, blinking in the sun, riding our bikes around, and learning to say ‘No worries.’

I’ve also written 90,000 words of my novel.

Must be the view…..

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Home Sweet Home

Another neighbor moved away yesterday. I watched her and her husband clean the place, haul their personal things to their car and watched the moving van drive up to take care of the rest.

(You must think I spend all my time spying on my neighbors. Well I do, actually. In between typing a word or two…)

Anyway, I brought her over a cutting from our jade plant which had grown from a cutting an old neighbor gave to me when we last moved.

“I hope it brings you good luck in your new home,” I said.

She was so moved she couldn’t speak.

“You’re having a hard time with this?”

She nodded vigorously.

When she finally found her voice she said, “I don’t know why–it’s just a house.”

But of course we both knew it wasn’t just a house.

Even though it looked like every other house on the block, the ubiquitous London terraced house built along a ubiquitous North London road, her daughters, now grown, had run up and down its stairs, had hid in its rooms, had gathered around the dining room table in its kitchen, had practiced their violin in its living room, had fought and laughed in its every room.

They had become who they were surrounded by its four strong walls.

Later when they left, she and her husband gave the house–the red brick, the white trim, the very smart dark green they had chosen for the door–one last look before they drove off.

An hour later a new moving van pulled up, along with a younger couple and a small child.

Inside, their home awaited, the kitchen, the living room, the bedrooms, and its walls still ringing with the laughter of two little girls, now grown.

photo by Alissa Osumi

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