The Temporary Life

I just bought a full length mirror. And a hair dryer. 

I know that you're thinking, "Holy hell, mommy blogger Big deal. So what." But it is a big deal.  

In the first year and two months of Stella's life, we have crossed the ocean ten times, and we've logged at least four thousand miles in the car. We’ve and been in six countries on three continents. Fourteen months of perpetual motion. But what we haven't done is really and truly settled into life in Japan, and made this small little apartment a home.

We haven't really decorated. Bought throw pillows. Put up art on the wall. Or found a solid group of friends. Or explored this island much. Nor have we, until now, bought a hair dryer. Or a full length mirror. 

As a serial expat, you tend to live in a constant state of flux, where everything is temporary. This apartment is temporary. This city is temporary. So are these friends. When you love the place in which you find yourself, that sense of temporariness is a virtue, reminding you to embrace the fleeting pleasures of this foreign life, holding on to them tightly knowing that they will too soon fade to memories. Or, if you are less enthralled with your situation, as I find myself on this particular posting, temporariness causes you look forward, grasping hopefully at what is coming next. When is the next move? Where will we go? Who will we meet? What will the apartment be like? Looking forward forward forward and dreaming of what is to come. 

I tell myself that I can't justify buying a hairdryer here. I mean we are going to be moving soon anyway, so what is the point in investing in an appliance that will undoubtedly be junk in the next country. Why buy a new mirror? The next apartment might have one built in and then what would we do with this one?

However. Given all the miles we’ve logged in the past fourteen months, I’ve had occasion to reflect on home. And what makes one. I'm slowly coming around to the idea that temporary is the wrong way to live. We are here now, however long that now turns out to be. A couple months. More likely eight. Maybe 12? We need to make the most of this time. Settle down. Make our apartment home, put our stamp on this little space.

So, voltage incompatibility be damned. I just bought a hair dryer. I'm finally getting around to decorating Stella's room. And here, bloggy world, I'm making a commitment to getting out there and exploring this island and getting to know this place in which we are building a (temporary) home.

Expats, what do you do to make a home wherever you may find yourself? What strategies do you employ? How long does it take you to feel settled? Leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you.