Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chasing 7200

The house already sounds lonely. It's those empty echoes of noise bouncing off of bare walls that make this move thing finally seem real. As the last box was packed, loaded and sealed into a shipping crate the metamorphosis from home to house became complete. 6835 pounds of computers, bikes, electronics, toys, stuffed animals, pots, pans, trash cans, pictures, coloring books... and all the stuff that we drag around with us from post to post around the world, packed away to be seen next sometime this Fall when we arrive in Costa Rica.

7200. We've been chasing the magic number for the last month or so. 7200 pounds. The limit within which we're required to compress our lives every three years as we travel around the world. It's nice in a way. Call it a periodic forced "Spring Cleaning." A chance to look at what you have, and decide what's really important to keep around.

The National Geographic Magazine collection that's been gathering dust, waiting for that perfect moment of down time to read all those fascinating articles? Donated to a worthy cause. Ten year old road bike that's only been ridden once on Prague's cobblestoned streets, and isn't likely to get much use on San Jose's congested calles? Sold at bargain basement price. Collection of hundreds of CD's? Digitized and downsized. Untouched toys, plastic bits and pieces and scores of precious "works of art" in crayon, marker and watercolor? Given away or surreptitiously carried out to the trash once the kids were asleep.

And so the bits and pieces of our lives here have been sold, donated, trashed or packed away until there's not much left but an echoing, empty house, some suitcases ready to wing their way across the Atlantic next weekend, and the little bitty computer I'm typing this on. But as the truck with our 6835 pounds of stuff pulled away down Nad Markytou road, I realized that the really important things we've accumulated here in Prague don't weigh a pound - and we don't even need to pack them away!

Goodnight snuggles; discussions over breakfast oatmeal on whether or not Aliens really exist; walks over the Charles Bridge in the dead of winter when no tourists are around; ruined castles and medieval festivals; fresh snow in the morning; friends old and new - some who've left Prague before we will, and some who'll be here long after we move; Presidential "Hi-Fives" and chats with "Joe" (Biden); goulash and dumplings and chicken schnitzel and words with absolutely no vowels. All these memories and more we get to take with us wherever we go, and talk about for years to come.

And home? It's not really where the stuff is. It's wherever in the world our little tribe of global nomads happens to be. No matter what stuff we have surrounding us!