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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Moving in the Mundane

Moving house has been described as one of the most stressful experiences in life. We can attest to that. Personally. Over the past few months we have put our apartment on the market, sold the place within the span of two weeks, completed the sales transaction, moved all our belongings to our uncle's warehouse, moved to our temporary home hosted by our aunts', and finally moved in to our new place. And this is only a partial move; we have not yet installed all the lights, and all our belongings have yet to arrive (we have had a total of four separate moving trips so far)!
Getting ready for renovations after weeks of waiting for the defects checks to be completed.
Our intention was to move in before Christmas, so that we could celebrate and enjoy a fresh start in a new home. But that was not to be, due to extensive defects checking and rectification; and this was not even considering the renovation schedule. And so we chose to move in just before the New Year - but that was before all the lights had arrived; and also before the gas had been switched on - which not only meant that we did not have the capacity to cook hot food, but also that we had to bathe in cold water for more than a week!
Lights! Camera! Action! Our busy workmen getting the place ready for us.
Colour me beautiful! We had fun choosing colours for the different rooms in the house.

First night in our new home.
Moving house itself has been a strain on us physically and emotionally - this has meant us spending many late nights packing things and now unpacking them. And because I still need to get my day-to-day affairs going - such as my ongoing teaching and workshop responsibilities, I have had to focus more on my work, leaving my wife to deal almost exclusively with moving matters.
This has been a difficult period for us; but it has not been without its precious moments. For instance it has been wonderful to experience the strong support of our family and friends, who have been there for us in the packing and in the unpacking. We were indeed blessed when they showed up at our house with a hot meal and a helping hand. We are also extremely grateful to our uncle, who has helped to store most of our items at his warehouse, as well as to our aunts, who housed us at their home for almost two months. Through it all we have witnessed the love of God, demonstrated in the mundane, everyday help that our family and friends have extended to us. 
The lovely group of friends who surprised my wife with a hot meal and helping hands.
When we first disclosed that we were moving house, a number of people assumed that it was a relocation overseas. And while that prospect has always interested us, we decided not to do so mostly as we wanted to remain close to our family and friends. Instead, we chose to move to an area further away from the hustle and bustle of the city and nearer to nature. For us, this decision made sense to us given that we are homeschooling our children, and that we did not have to consider any travel time to their “school”. Moreover, the fluid nature of my work meant that I would be free to move anywhere in the island without having to worry too much about travel distances.

For the kids, it has been a period of transition, and the initial weeks were not easy for them. They kept asking to stay at their grandparents’ homes, given their familiarity with these two locations. This was also a time when they were having nightmares rather frequently, and we know this was partly due to fears and concerns related to the transition. The kids eventually got so used to staying at our aunts’ that they still asked to return there for the first few days after our arrival in our new house (perhaps in part when they were asked to bathe in cold water). We know also that they had grown fond of spending time with our aunts, and that they enjoyed “bothering” them each morning and each evening in their rooms. Yet I am thankful that kids in general are resilient, and that if change is managed appropriately, that they will be able to adapt in a healthy manner. I believe our kids are now fairly settled in our new home, even as they wander around and get used to the new locations around us.
Goodbyes are difficult. One last walk around our old neighbourhood.
The boys have lived there all their lives.
Our little carpenter hard at work.
Hard at work. We hope that a new house would mean new routines for the kids!
We are enjoying our new home. I am taking time to explore the new neighbourhood, and it is interesting to discover new locales for food, groceries and other daily necessities. Our family especially enjoys the close proximity to the beach, spending our evenings enjoying the fresh sea breezes and the calming waves, which create a somewhat hypnotic experience as you stand at the sand and gaze peacefully into the horizon. The kids of course enjoy drawing in the sand, creating their artistic masterpieces and laughing wildly to the hearts’ content. 

“We are creating memories,” remarked Sue yesterday as we took a spontaneous evening walk. “Yes we are,” I replied, knowing that our kids will enjoy many more days examining the angsana fruit, and looking for hermit crabs, among many other simple pleasures.

For it is in the mundane that we experience great beauty and joy; for it is in the mundane that we experience the fullness of God’s grace.