Thursday, June 5, 2008

What you need

We have been here in this beautiful country for 6 months now and so much has changed in our lives that I want to take a minute to talk about.
When we left our home in the US, we sold all of the things that we had horded over the past 40 years of our lives. I had fallen into the misconception as many people do that these were things that we "needed" to survive. We sold our big screen plasma tv, oak antique bedroom suite, children's bedroom furniture, dishes, appliances, clothes, clothes and more clothes. We had a membership to the many price clubs so we could "save" money buying in bulk. We had 4 trash cans that we filled up twice over a week with 3 small children and 2 pets. We left our country with 9 suitcases. 9 suitcases and that was all.
In these suitcases were the things that we knew we could not replace here. Pictures of family and friends left behind. Small momentos from our past that little meaning to anyone but us. A suitcase full of christmas ornaments that we had collected and wanted to keep to hand down and adorn our tree here in the new country. 2 Lionel trains again that would be under our christmas tree as they had been when we were kids ourselves. 1 suitcase of toys that the girls picked out themselves. And the rest were clothes and a computer.
Since we have been here I am surprised at what little bit we have replaced. We have a small 10 inch t.v. that a friend gave us so that we can watch the 5 channels that you get free here in Australia. A sofa and 2 chairs that the same friend gave us so that we could have a place to plant our rumps to watch the beautiful t.v. A dining room table that has entertained many friends. This we picked up used from the Quokka, a local trading paper. A few toys that we bought at yardsales and were given to the kids as presents. A bed for all. Dishes. A Kenwood mixer so that I can make my cakes and decorate them the way that I love to do. 2 space heaters and a Webber kettle grill that we picked up off the curb and have made the best smoked ribs I have had in monthes. Our rubbish has gone from 4+ cans a week to 1 bin because we waste so little. Mainly because the cost of food is higher and we do not have the cost clubs that was supposed to be saving us money.
We have no video games. We have no dvd player. We have no cable. We have no home phone. And we are doing better for this. We were so wastefull. The first few months were rough and even our oldest daughter will say occasionally that she misses her toys but then I remind her that if we were back in the US, she would not have a park outside her door that she could play on. She would not have been able to play in the ocean. She would not have seen the colorful sunsets that we have here and she would not be able to pet kangaroos at the parks. Then she is happy and does not miss her old things as much.
There are days that I do cry still over the lost items but not as often as it was. I know that I will have a car again one day (yes, I still do not have a car but that is ok.) I do not buy as much because the shops close early so you can't go shopping out of boredom. And my nails and hair look better than they have in years because I am eating so much healthier foods.
What we need to survive is so little. What we want is usually a lot more than what we need. I don't think we will go back to the way we were.
6 months and loving it.