We're off to America (in case you hadn't heard), and that means starting from scratch again: stuffing as many of our favourite books, clothes & Dimitar Berbatov memorabilia into suitcases as we can, and hopping the Pond.
Maria has already gone – 9 days ago – and I have been left with the job of vacating our flat (I'll be lodging with friends until my visa comes). One of the great things about moving out of anywhere is the chance to evaluate your possessions; to decide the degree to which your future life and exploits depend on them. This winnowing process is amplified by the added limitations of transporting those few things with you over an ocean: bookcases, mixing bowls, and musical instruments need not apply.
I finally handed over the keys to our flat yesterday. It's called The Thimble, and is well named: a small, one bed, one bath apartment, with a tiny boxroom and a kitchen-lounge. Even so, it was far from 'full' – we have not been particularly wealthy of late, and such spare income as we've had has tended to go on the odd 2 for £12 meal at ASKItalian, rather than the accumulation of stuff.
We were kind of hoping to sell as much of our furniture as possible and maybe raise a couple of hundred quid or so, then give away the rest. Then at church on Sunday, it was suggested to me to ring a fella called Owen (a bit of a local legend) who collects and distributes furniture in our bit of Cornwall. When I did, Owen said to me:
Yesterday I went to see a lady, to ask what she needed.
When I got there, I saw that she had a plastic garden chair and, well, that was it.
Suddenly, deciding whether to ask £20 or £25 for our sofa didn't seem like a real question at all. I've been 'poor' ever since I left uni and, with a whole flat's-worth of 'you can't take it with you', became instantaneously rich.
I've known for a while that, in the Bible, the word 'poor' is not used to describe those on low incomes or who don't have much. Instead, it is used of people who, in order to live, are dependent on support (ie. widows, orphans, the disabled etc.). I knew that. But I'd forgotten to make the obvious application: I am rich.