At last! Internet again.

We’ve settled into our new home, unpacked, met the neighbours—at least, the under-12 set. Leonard the Betta Fish is happy and producing frothy bubbles round the edge of his fishbowl/vase as proof. The twins already have scrapes and scratches to prove the efficaciousness, or not, of their garage-sale bike’s brakes; Ilsa knows the only other 2 girls on the cul-de-sac and has already had them over to play. I’m growing accustomed, in an appreciative manner, to living in a window-filled house that looks over a small forested area; a place of pine and cedar and oak and poplar, full of autumn colours and smells and the calls of birds.

Our house is a duplex on a small cul-de-sac, backing onto a “greenspace,” built on a hill which means the trees fill the windows top to bottom. Our dining room looks out onto a path for biking or hiking or rollerblading or skateboarding, which runs alongside a tiny creek and has a park at one end and an Albertsons at the other.

Unpacking this time was more of an adventure than normal. We don’t own furniture at the moment—we have a few things in storage in Mauritania, but nothing here except an old chest of drawers. Our church sent out an email to the entire congregation with a list of everything we’d need to set up a house—beds, sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, wooden spoons, pots and pans, cleaning supplies, microwave…everything! And we got almost all of it, in an amazing outpouring of generosity on behalf of these unknown givers. This made unpacking a combination of moving and Christmas, as I had no idea of what would be in each box. I got brightly-coloured spatulas and a white container-thing to keep them in, a red tea kettle, a Cuisinart blender in stainless steel and black, fun comforters for the kids, a duvet cover and oversized cushions for our bed, and so much more.

The duplicates provide almost an embarrassment of riches. We got given 5 couches plus a love seat and chair (we only kept one); I got 8 spatulas, some plastic and some metal. Many kitchen items were “gently used”, but others were brand-new, meaning that someone went out and bought me brand-new kitchen gadgets, muffin tins, and other things.

We unpacked our things from Mauritania, mostly clothes and few odds-and-ends, such as the bright blue tie-dyed tablecloth to add a touch of colour to a cold Oregon winter, or the goat-skin candle-holder painted with henna designs from Morocco. It feels wonderful to be out of suitcases at last.

So how does all this look? I’m sure you’re picturing a look best described as College Student Eclectic. There’s an element of that, of course, but the extreme generousness made it possible to pick and choose, so that we’re actually quite coordinated. Besides, once you’ve lived overseas you’re always going to be a bit eclectic.

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