We did it. The hardest challenge thus far has been overcome. During four years of living in the United States, we managed to accumulate a gargantuan horde of stuff – every kind of spice you can imagine, a room full of yarn, a library of books – a large store filled with treasure, a garage filled with tools and paint and bikes and stuff, a yard filled with stuff – and a house filled with stuff. Some of the stuff was very nice, some of it was functional, lots of it was junk. The biggest impediment to us doing anything was getting rid of all that stuff because there was no way to move it – not without a fleet of trucks.
In late May, a family looking at a building across the street saw my modest For Sale flyer posted in the window of my shop – the person they were waiting for was late – and instead of buying the empty building across the street – they bought my shop. They made an offer and probably much to their surprise (because it wasn’t a high offer) I accepted. The offer was enough to realistically move my family to Hawai’i. So, I paid off credit card debts, applied for some hig rewards credit cards, and transferred my shop, the little paper I published, and everything I could teach them about the business to the new owners.
Ten days into June, I took a flight to Oahu for an interview and to find a house. Here are the links to that trip:
I’ve got to be honest, my expectations were low – my hopes were high. And I knew that as daunting as the challenge to find a home on Oahu, find a job, and sell the shop had been – the biggest challenge was going to be getting Hanane to actually get rid of all the stuff she’d accummulated – I’d been pushing her to downsize and to pack for six months – there was no secret we were going to move and frankly, she wasn’t nearly as excited about it as me. In Reedsport, she had found a certain stability and comfort she had never had before. Keep in mind, my wife is the daughter of shepherds. She was born in a smallish city in North Africa and is the only person in her family to ever go to and graduate from college. Moving to the USA had been traumatic for her – a new culture, not much support from anyone but me, and we had arrived in the midst of the recession and because of various family situations – we had been thrown into a situation where we had been squatting in a Sacramento foreclosure for three months before I packed us up and moved us to Reedsport. In Reedsport, she found a home, she got a car, she found a job, she made friends, she had stability. Had it been up to her – we would have stayed there forever because frankly, aside from being away from her mom and sisters – life for her had never been so good. I, on the other hand, knew it could be better. The depressed economy, the awful wet, moldy climate, and the lack of opportunity – so I knew we had to move and I knew that even though she outwardly agreed with my decision – there was a war about to happen.
So I got home from Oahu and after five days – nothing had really been done. We had nine days before I wanted us out of the house and the house was packed and my wife and daughter were not. I pushed as hard as I could and still it was almost too much – and almost not enough. I got the rest of her needed possessions in our 10x6x6 cargo trailer along with our daughters favorite toys and best clothes (my things were already in there). Thankfully, our neighbor jumped in to help and my mother drove up from Redding to work beside Hanane and me to get our house ready for an estate sale – we planned on liquidating everything and had two days to get the sale ready. Because it all had to be done in two days – we didn’t get even a tenth of what I’d been hoping for our antique furniture, art, leather sofa, kitchen ware, china, or anything else. Our estate sale was a huge failure – not only did we not make any money but we had a houseful of stuff left to get rid of. We managed to sell Hanane’s car and only one or two of the items that I had wanted $100 or more for. On the last day of the sale, we invited friends and neighbors for a potluck and I cooked a Turkey dinner. Only a couple of Hanane’s girlfirends dropped by – the truth is that I didn’t make a single good friend in Reedsport in four years of living there. That was that. I had planned on giving the leftovers to St. Vincent de Pauls after the sale, but our neighbor had been a huge help and asked if she could have them – so I gave her nearly everything. My butcher block, my antique secretary cabinet, the leather sofa, the dryer, the food in the cupboards and freezer and so much more. My plan had been to continue selling things on craigslist during the five days we had left – but letting go was the best decision – even though it was a bit painful – I was attached to some of those things.
I rented a truck and drove a 1000 miles to deliver our little trailer to a ship for transport to Hawai’i. I got back and we did some dump runs, finished moving the contents of the house to the neighbor’s house, did a final cleaning, took one las picture of Sophia next to the Tardis in the garden, and then dropped off the keys and drove away.
The impossible mission was accomplished, the tickets to Hawai’i are booked, and as soon as we drove away – my wife seemed to let go of the hostility that she’d been directing at me since the process began in earnest – once again, she was smiling like the girl I’d married and we were setting out on a new adventure with nothing to hold us back.