Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to move when you don't have a car

These past 5 or six weeks, if you take the Veolia line between Roermond and Nijmegen, you might have seen a short Asian woman carrying a purple Case Logic netbook case and one huge brown sack, filled to the brim. Or suitcase. Or (this week) an enormous HEMA bag, filled with shoes.

That's me, moving.

Carrying my life back to Nijmegen one piece at a time really hammers home how much of our lives get invested in stuff, even if we try not to. I've been really careful last year, too, with respect to buying things in Maastricht--always, at the back of my mind, is, "How are you going to get that to Nijmegen?" But somehow, I've still ended up with more things than I could ever hope to cart back, even if space weren't an issue.

One of the things I've learned is that kringloopwinkels, or secondhand shops, appear to be required to take away your furniture. They won't pay you (and I suspect that they'll charge you), but at least it gets removed. I've made arrangements with a nearby shop to do this, and the experience, while pleasant enough, just drove home the point that learning Dutch is a really good idea, even if you live in Limburg. My new word of the day is "ophalen", which means "to collect", but the shopkeeper was using it to denote the appointment at which the collection would be done. Up until that point, I was feeling pretty fly, too :-/

It takes a lot of thinking and planning to do a move like this--one package per week. You have to consider what you can live without for the next few weeks, what you will leave behind, what you will just get rid of. Surprisingly, while I have absolutely no attachment to my reading chair, I find myself extremely reluctant to contemplate leaving my tea mug behind. The sentiments of the human heart are strange, indeed.


  1. I always organize a move as a parade, with a bunch of friends carrying things and a small party on the other end. Never any fun, but easier with others.
    I do feel like expat life has broken much of my attachment to 'stuff' - I have 13 boxes that I pack and unpack that constitute my essential things, moving around with me the past five years. I have a house back in the US, but, with the kids gone, we're clearing that out as well. Rober Waller's short essay, Excavating Rachels Room, always comes to mind, reminding me how we discard stuff as we grow and move on.

  2. Are you volunteering your car? I can't promise a party, but my boyfriend is a helluva cook :-D

  3. I do make a bitchin' ratatouille and amazing-awesome bread... :-D