It’s September, folks! So that means a couple things. One, summer is beginning that slow grind into fall, the time of year that you invariably get stuck behind the slowest school bus EVER, when my father supposes he can shut down the pool right before a 90-degree heat wave comes through, and I wonder whether or not tanning is still a thing because of the tilt of the earth, or whatever (I’m guessing, yes).
It also means that Jorge and I have officially occupied our new home. Hallelujah! My gracious and loving father let us stay at his house while we got ourselves established in town, and having our own space to ourselves again is lovely (though we miss you and Storm, dad!). This means I can finally walk around naked for most of the day, and leave all the lights on that I please. I’m paying the electricity bill, so YES, I can afford the softly-lit-kitchen mood lighting! SCORE!
Jorge and I are no strangers to occupying (and then un-occupying) homes and apartments for lengths of time. We’ve flitted between homes in Valparaiso, Chile, Lima, Peru and Cusco, Peru. And between them all, we’ve run the gamut of living spaces—from mini-apartments with about 300 square feet, to multi-bedroom houses with wood floors. This will be our first American home, and the differences are enormous.
Here’s why: there’s this little nagging gnat called a wedding registry that’s been buzzing around my head since the second we announced we’d be getting married. Most people look either shocked or totally relieved when I say we don’t have one. Others give me a knowing smirk, to tell me Yeah, I expected that. It’s not that we’re opposed to receiving help around our wedding time. It’s just that, accumulating lots of shit doesn’t help us right now.
We do need shit, though—don’t get me wrong. We need things to put in our house, and our kitchen, and our bathrooms, etc. We need those basics like a bed and a dining room table and toilet paper and a slightly inaccurate map of the world that makes Russia look like the largest mass of land on the globe. But all of those things were provided for when we moved into the house. Seriously—we amassed an entire house of necessary shit before we even moved in, and it all came from friends and family, or those friends and family knowing someone else who was giving away said thing for free, etc.
So between the generosity of friends, family, and strangers giving away their own STUFF that they didn’t want anymore (nothing purchased new, minus silverware and plates), we were able to outfit the entire house.
Talk about feeling blessed.
At the same time, it’s been hard. Because a couple years ago, I gave away all my STUFF (or most of it, at least). Having lived out of my backpack for the past couple of years, it’s been slightly upsetting to watch my possession count swell. To see that my backpack can be filled and emptied several times before the entire load is moved from one house to the next.
So this is why we will be asking for no gifts from our general public when the reception invites are sent out (which should be this week!). Wedding and reception gift-giving is about helping the new couple get on their feet, and it’s a lovely tradition that I have seen put into practice in an astounding way.
Without the directed and invested support from my family and friends, this type of move-to-the-USA-and-rent-a-house undertaking would be impossible. But part of the glory has been that we receive the help where we need it most—in cash, or used furniture, or assistance with our reception planning and wedding make up, or frequent runs between Dad’s house and New House to bring all those hangers I forgot, or a special trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick out my first (and probably last) set of silverware, and on, and on.
I’m not interested in combing through fifteen million objects at the local stores only to receive a bunch of hand towels and cutesy spoon rests that I don’t actually need.
That’s just a waste of our time, and the thought of showing up at Target or Penny’s and saying the words “I’m here to start a wedding registry” makes my skin crawl.
But that’s just me—because in our particular instance, we received a LOT of objects and items either on loan or gifted. And I cannot repeat it enough: I feel so, incredibly, stupidly, otherworldly blessed. And frankly, it’s not that important to me that my hand towels match a purported kitchen décor. Though I do admire houses that have a discernable decoration theme and demonstrate a lot of attention to those details.
Living in a house with three bedrooms isn’t directly contrary to the backpacker philosophy, even though we can’t pack all this stuff into one literal backpack. After all, we use these things every place we go—whether it’s Peru or Argentina or India, etc. Even though it feels like a weight with each new thing that enters our house, I remind myself that as long as I own the stuff and the stuff doesn’t own me, everything will be fine.
Not getting too attached to objects was one of the reasons I moved abroad in the first place. I wanted to sever those emotional ties.
Now I’ve got a pretty great chance to find out whether that lesson has been learned.