The magic of Christmas was probably lost on me by the age of 12 or 13 when I came downstairs one night to find Father Christmas munching through our sacred box of Quality Street rather than the stale Mince Pie and Milk we had left for him.
I had never forgiven him for that until the rotund man in red delivered our container to our front doorstep on Friday. Christmas is alive and the bells were jingling.
To ‘survive’ without your creature comforts for 6 weeks is hard going. I mean seriously hard going.
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine your house without your bed, your children’s beds, your favourite coffee mug and coffee machine, your children’s toys, your sofa’s and heaven forbid the television.
We were craving this container like a chocoholic craves a bar of fruit of nut when they wake up. We wanted to find everything in those boxes that signalled the start of our new life and that would give us the ability to make this house our home.
As sure as a watched pot never boils Mikaela and I sat on the Stoep and looked out to the road helplessly as every exciting whirr of a big engine idled past with disappointment tinged in it. How long does it take from Cape Town to drop this off for goodness sake!!
But then, just as the clock struck 12, a giant block of metal with P&O plastered on the side edged its way around the corner and blocked the entire road. The locals in cars hooting away were probably not too appreciative me taking photos and dancing like an idiot in the middle of the road.
Tag number checked, the removal company cracked it open began emptying our world into the house.
The look on Issy and Emilie’s faces when we picked them up from school and let them loose on the unwrapping was just magical. Finding their dolls house, turning around and finding their big colourful button rug and then the play kitchen was simply way too much for them and they didn’t know where to look or what to play with first.
The ‘Captain’ and ‘Super Pull up Pants’ are loving have their toys again and they thoroughly deserve them for being such super troopers without them.
Fast forward three days and we are now being swept away in an uncontrollable sea of cardboard and paper as waves and waves of it pour out of the boxes. Slowly but surely we are uncovering our most treasured items, placing them where we think they look best, moving them to six other locations just to double check and then eventually back to the first location as we had already decided.
If we do ever go back to the U.K. then I will be applying for the chief builder role for a certain Swedish furniture maker as well. Unwrapping your electric screwdriver to find the packers in London hadn’t put the drill bits back in was heartbreaking and those of you that have undertaken the task of building a chest of drawers with just an Allen key will sympathise with the bruised palm for the following three days.
As always though, there is a ‘but’ and there are lessons to be learnt from this move. Amongst the treasured items there are a lot of items that you simply say; why did I pack that?
A long period of time out of your comfort zone changes you and your family. You become much more resourceful. You find a way of entertaining your children without Television and marble runs.
We have always been a family that enjoys family activities like walks and play parks. It is something that Mikaela has always driven hard and insisted on most weekends. I love that about Mikaela but you can sometimes force it and you end up doing something for the sake of it or because you feel like the little one’s should be out and about in London. You have to drive somewhere and end up spending a small fortune on refreshments and entertainment whilst having your feet run over by a scooter or you find yourself carrying a princess bike half way around a lake whilst your only saving grace of a coffee that you’ve spent £3 on goes depressingly cold in your other hand.
In South Africa, the entertainment seems to be around every corner. Of course we have driven places to see this and play with that but also we are finding it so much easier to entertain at home. The sun is generally always out and between us and the neighbours there is a plethora of different activities from feeding the animals to swimming and bouncing on trampolines.
What I am trying to get at is that with some and certainly not all of our belongings, we probably didn’t miss them as much as we thought. They are just materialistic after all.
I have a distinct feeling that a lot of our U.K. goods will end up at a Cash Converters in the coming weeks as we simply don’t have a place for it and if we can get by on two drinks bottles for the girls for such a long length of time then we probably don’t need the other six that we have just unwrapped.
Emotionally the container arriving was a huge boost though. An empty house needs to be filled for it to be a home and as I’m writing I can hear the snarl of tape being ripped off another box as Mikaela searches desperately for her coffee machine. For the good of this household she needs to find it soon!
We’re almost there though and with a few more boxes to empty and a couple of pieces of flat packed furniture to build we will start living in our new home properly and actually be able to have the neighbours around to our house to repay them for the copious amounts of food and wine they have supplied us in recent weeks.
Before starting to unpack some boxes myself though I need to pen a letter of forgiveness and send a box of toffee penny’s to Lapland.
Cheers Santa me old mate, can I put a Nespresso machine on my list this year though please?