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As the process of making a new home proceeds, I’m still reflecting on whether it’s stressful or not. I went to a meeting/lunch this week with lots of women who had moved a lot during their lives, mainly as the trailing spouses of men who were furthering careers as diplomats or international companies. They had some stories to tell:

  • Kidnapping by rebels in Sierra Leone
  • Learning new languages and customs in Moldova; eating what’s grown and in-season
  • Dealing with racism in Russia (essentially, Russians regard most people from outside Russia as undesirable, and your colour may just add to the dislike, but isn’t essential)
  • Moving countries over 15 times
  • Hardships in Haiti
  • Living with a suitcase packed all the time, in case of need to evacuate.

These are just a few of the instances that came to mind for people. Most were not that pleasant, so we tend to keep pushing the stress button. But, we know that’s only a part of the story. In my way, I will put out some of the other side.

As I wade through boxes, I also wade through my life that may be partially forgotten or poorly remembered.

  • Letter from my late mother in Jamaica, sent to me in 1993 to America, where I’d been living for three years, including cuttings from local papers of sporting events. That’s a keeper, not least because the three stamps shown were each valued at J$1.10. As my daughter asked, that’s not J$110? 🙂
  • Reminders of my first visit to Moscow, in 1994: calendar cards, showing different images of Russian soldiers and fighters over the years. 
  • Greeting cards kept, for reasons that seem unclear, now. 
  • Russian 12 month entry visa, over 1993-4, which marked my stepping into the world of the just-fallen former Soviet Union. This gave my daughter a Snapchat moment as I read it.

Life moves on and we change, so moving is one of those events that allow you to reset markers in life.

Visual reminders are often of pleasant things, like notes from someone you’re courting. I, personally, don’t keep things that remind me of dark moments: they have their own specail place in my memory. Moving can, sometimes, help to erase those.

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