Stuff and more stuff fill up this home. We pack up and then unload. It actually looks like we have more stuff than we do in these moving photos. The movers wrapped everything including chairs, tables and plastic crates. It took them a total of 12 hours to pack up our home and load it onto a truck. This moving company will then take it out of a semi-truck and load all our stuff into a metal cargo transport unit. It then will be placed on a ship and headed far, far away from the La Paloma.
Moving is a huge part of our life. Saying good-bye, ciao or adeus to our “stuff” has never been a problem. If it falls off the boat it’s carried on or is lost in translation along the way, it’s okay. It’s stuff made by man. They’re material items, that when purchased, help the economies grow and put food on the table for the ones who create them.
Stuff that God actually created through man. Life is made up of stuff. Household stuff, cleaning stuff, packing stuff but the “stuff” that matters the most is the memory stuff. In the La Paloma, lots of the memory stuff was made.
Last week I was chatting with a friend. She asked me a question while standing in the kitchen at the La Paloma. At the time I was energized. My focus was on the positive. I was excited about what was on the horizon after we moved for the 10th,11th,12th…..soon to be 13th time in 9 years. I responded with something like, moving forward, not being sad and in my head thought; whatever is God’s will for my little family’s life that is where we go. We must keep moving forward and not dwell on what we can’t change or control.
This morning as I write this blog. I was moved to stop and go pick up my bible. I became sad while looking at all these photos. I opened it to Numbers 33. So random. But Wow. It was all about moving forward. God moving the Israelites on their journey when they came out of Egypt. What Moses recorded of their journey in stages as they made their way to the promise land. God’s word showed me something. Camping in home after home and place after place, has a purpose.
In the La Paloma located in Cascais, Portugal we had quite the journey. We hosted many events. A few Bunco parties,
friends who hung out chatting, all evening, turning the La Paloma into an awesome B & B,
hosted family and friends that came from Rhode Island,
answered questions phrased in ugly tones, to why we live in such a big house when it is just three of us. It’s a home that was built to be hospitable. It doesn’t matter how many people live there, it’s how it is used. I think we used the La Paloma like she was built to be used.
Within the La Paloma’s nest, a myriad of events and memories were created. It was a home where I completed a novel while nesting within her. The La Paloma will always be a part of me. It’s where life was lived and a story grew inside of me and was executed into words. Viewing her from behind the screen she can appear intoxicating. She is gorgeous. Her authentic Portuguese flair can be seen all over. From the front of the house,
in the kitchen,
and in the bathroom, her beauty in the tile work is everywhere.
She has character and along with that the quiet and peace around her is very appealing. The cul-de-sac where my son could ride his bike each day in safety lured us to her nest.
The pool with a diving board where summer fun could be unleashed sold us on her location for our time in Portugal.
But beauty can be deceiving. In the winter months she was freezing. Single window panes and no insulation. We warmed with a fire in a fireplace, but those who know what that takes to keep going all day, every day, know that it is work and you can’t leave once the glow from the ambers are burning. But we made it work and went through lots of wood. Running her radiators could get pricey so we had to choose the right time to do so.
The moisture in rooms without dehumidifiers running, created mold and mildew. Often our shoes in the closet would have a lovely moss color added to their design. Even with the little absorbent boxes placed in the closets. As I mopped the floors, cleaned the windows and the kitchen so we could turn the keys over, this week, emotions took over. Memories of our life here for the last 20 months surged through my mind. It wasn’t about our stuff that was being wrapped up,
loaded onto a truck,
then shipped from Portugal over to Guam to start the house hunting process all over again, that had me emotional.
It was all about my son. His very special little life. All the life that took place inside and outside of the La Paloma. Life as a military family has provided so many wonderful experiences. Meeting new people, seeing new places and experiencing new cultures are certainly a blessing to us. It’s the saying good-bye to friends and memories that we make with this lifestyle and made living in the La Paloma that had me torn up inside.
The fact that this front porch was where my son took his 1st,
and 2nd grade 1st day of school photos.
Where we literally had a nest. Full of birds. A total of twenty eggs were created by Mary and Larry Canary.
They had one egg that hatched. We named him Barry.
But he died because he had a splayed leg that was beyond repair and passed away in the La Paloma.
The La Paloma housed a replacement bird, named Leah that moved in with Larry, after Mary his partner and son died, to keep him company. Now Larry, who is still alive, we think had something to do with her death.
A rabbit named Hipster entertained us by clearing a 70cm baby gate in and out of the La Paloma.
She was seriously a crazy-fun rabbit.
She outgrew us while living in the La Paloma and needed to be free. She currently lives next door to the La Paloma with her husband and baby bunnies. I know this because I saw her in the field next door.
Children are resilient. Our son amazes me with his ability to make friends and bounce back with all this change that comes his way. The La Paloma was more than a house filled with material stuff.She was filled with laughter, loads of memories and work. What is next for my family? Well we shipped our stuff three months early to our next duty station on the island of Guam. We hear it takes 4-6 months to get our “stuff” from Portugal to Guam. Is it easier to get somewhere and have your “stuff” that you play house with there or to move somewhere and have to live in limbo waiting a few months to set up house again? We’ve done both. Neither one is easy, but moving in and out of countries, doing more over seas screenings, shipping the car early and eliminating as many of the stressing factors as possible is the best way to go, for us at least. So a few weeks ago I looked at only ONE, furnished, two bedroom apartment to make it easier when it’s time to pack the suitcases and board a plane out of Europe. We scored a heck of a deal with this two bedroom apartment near Boca do Inferno.
It has an indoor swimming pool, which our son and friends have started to enjoy this week and a few outdoor pools which can be seen from our living room, which will be getting some use once the weather is warmer.This is where we will be from now until nearly the end of June. These temporary accommodations make saying Adeus La Paloma a little easier. At least we have the memory stuff that doesn’t get shipped away. I want to thank all the people who came in and out of our nest. You helped us create memories that will last a life time. Adeus La Paloma on Rua das Rolas you were so much fun!