It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.
Some time ago, my husband and I decided to relocate our base from South Africa to Scotland. Admittedly, I’ve been thinking about it for an awful lot longer than my husband. I came to South Africa over 14 years ago, on a 2 year study visa. I studied some more, found myself work, found myself a husband, then found myself working more and more out of South Africa – mostly in Mali, but Oman too.
I always believed that to “get home” to South Africa seemed to take so much longer than it would be to get home to Scotland. Travelling around Africa isn’t always on a direct route, and we’d spend many an hour waiting at airports far away from both departure and arrival countries. So we put our thinking caps on, did the sums on finances and time and worked out that for us to live and be based in Scotland is far more cost-effective than living and travelling in and out of SA.
Go figure! It always used to be that SA was great value for money. Not so much if you own a house, don’t get paid rent on time, have huge levies, rates and taxes… etc. etc. Comparing the cost of a weekly shop in Tesco’s vs Pick’n'Pay made us realise that the UK isn’t as vastly expensive anymore when put into a South African perspective. As a tourist visiting South Africa, you still get good value for money… just not so much if you have all the living costs yet hardly spend time actually in the country!
So the last couple of weeks have been spent packing. Well not so much packing as whittling down the amazing amount of stuff I have somehow collected in the past 14 years! I arrived with nothing more than a rucksack – now I have almost a half-container full of things!
For example – I have a four-drawer filing cabinet, that was full to bursting point with files, paperwork and other things that seemed just as well stored in that format as anywhere else in the house.
File by file, I went through the lot – and found old, obsolete statements from accounts long since closed. Needless to say, I elected to receive electronic-statements for everything that is still active a long time ago, but I never got around to doing the paperwork clean out until last week. I now have only the essential files (e.g. tax returns and municipality statements!), which only inhabit a quarter of one drawer! That alone has made me realise that I am/was such a hoarder! Don’t ask me how many boxes of books I’ve packed up! Oh, if only I was a Kindle user I’m old school and like to read books. Not negotiable. Sorry. But they do take up so much room – and are flippin’ heavy too! Sigh..
Today was loading day and now everything that I do want to keep has been thoroughly wrapped and packed into shipping crates to be sent off on a long journey by sea. Because I’m not shipping large furniture items, my cargo will be in a shared half-container that can take anything between 3 and 6 months to arrive at its destination – hence “The Slow Boat to Scotland”.
The house feels all weird and is partially empty now, but I have a new task to undertake. Cleaning. Just as the removal truck was driving down the driveway, the estate agent that sold me my flat several years ago was showing potential buyers around one of the other flats in our complex. Timing is everything, they say, so I figured there would be no harm in asking him if he would take a quick look around. He did, and will be back in a couple of days to take photos and put the house on the market. Just like that!
It was the next step in my several-phase-transition-period of relocating – but I wasn’t planning on putting the house up for sale until maybe next month. Ah well, when an opportunity presents itself – you just got to go with it!
Then on Monday, my Giant’s Causeway post was Freshly Pressed! I’ve tried my best to respond to messages as soon as time has allowed in between stints of filling up boxes and perhaps I’ll get around to returning a few visits after the weekend.
In the meantime – welcome to all the newcomers to this blog – and never fear – I’ll be posting about locations (hopefully with some nice photos) again shortly