Tag Archives: home

Family moments across the miles

7:40 this morning, just after I get out the shower, skype rings on my laptop. It’s my grandparents, playing with their brand new iPad.

When I answer, my grandparent’s living room pops up and I can see my mother and grandfather peering, puzzled, straight into the camera.

Me: “Hello?”

Pa: “Now how do you…”

Me: “Hello?”

Mum: “Don’t press that one!”

Me: “Hello? Can you hear me?”

Pa: “Well, where’s the other little thing?”

Me: “Hello? Did you call me?”

Mum: “It’s somewhere down the bottom there.”

Me: “You called me accidentally, didn’t you. And you can’t hear me.”

Pa: “I can’t find it.”

Me: “OK then, I’m just going to hang out around here until you figure things out.”

Mum: “No, not that one!”

Pa: “Bugger.”

Mum: “Oh, look. There’s Lisa. She’s, uh, got her bra on.”

Pa (laughing): “She’s getting dressed.”

Me: “Oops, I didn’t think the camera showed that far.”

Pa: “Why can’t we hear her?”

Mum: “I’m sure the volume switch is around here somewhere.”

Four minutes later, they finally find the volume switch and I find the rest of my clothes. Pa tells me all about the chook shed he is building for my cousin, and Nanna tells me about all the delicious baking she did for family Christmas. Then Mum takes control of the iPad.

Mum: “I’m going to show you something that will make you homesick.”

Me: “Great, thanks, that’s just what I need.”

Mum turns the iPad around so that I can see one of my favourite views in the world – the river out my grandparent’s window. It’s a gorgeous, sunny day. The tide is in and the water and sky are both a clear, shiny blue.

Mum: “Can you see the guy waterskiing?”

Me: “Yes, I can see him.”

Mum: “And the dog?”

Me: “There’s a dog waterskiing?”

Mum: “No, not waterskiing, on the footpath.”

Me: “Oh, OK. Yup, I can see that dog.”

Mum: “So do you feel homesick?”

Me: “Yes, yes I do actually. Thanks for that.”

It seems that you no longer need to be on the same continent as your family to experience classic family moments during the holidays.

And that?


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Things to love about coming home

We’ve been back 48 hours, and I’m way too tired to write anything deep on the current theme of love, so I thought I’d just offer a look at things I’ve loved about being back so far…

The power went out before 9am the first morning we were back, so instead of unpacking and organizing necessities like change tables and diapers we spent three hours mostly trying to stay cool. Well, Mike and I tried to stay cool. Crazy baby didn’t want to lie on the tiles for some reason so he lay on Mike and sweated his way into a bad mood. A really bad mood.

Oh, wait. I was supposed to be talking about things I’ve loved. My bad.

OK, lets talk about the stroller. I love this stroller. Seriously. I spent more time researching this stroller than I spent researching the first and only car I ever bought. Way more time. The car decision (a silver jetta) was based on two qualities – shape and colour. The fact that VW’s are pretty safe was an incidental bonus. The stroller decision, on the other hand, was made after hours of online research, the waylaying of total strangers to check out the model they were pushing and solicit their input, and much cruising of e-bay.

The stroller I finally chose and bought second hand (a City Urban Baby Jogger) is a BMW of baby prams. It has suspension and sturdy rubber wheels to deal with Laos streets, mesh panels to keep things cooler, and a swivel front wheel you can lock straight when needed. The thing slides as if greased with astroglide when you give it the merest nudge. Not for the first time, I find myself jealous of my own baby. I wish someone would put me in this stroller and push me around while I did this…

Luckily for us, Dominic seems to love the stroller almost as much as I do. We’ve taken him out and about a couple of times now as we’re reacquainting ourselves with our favourite restaurants, and he hasn’t cried once. Well, not while the stroller’s actually moving. We’ve managed one meal out of three with him asleep in the thing. The other two meals have been eaten in shifts – one of us gobbling while the other walks the grumpy munchkin.

I’m not sure Dominic likes the heat. When he hasn’t been fussing he’s spent an awful lot of time looking something like this since we arrived home:

"Gosh, life is exhausting. I could really do with a big ice cream right now"

But he hasn’t been grumpy the entire time we’ve been back. Sometimes he does this.

"Did you SEE that??? It's a red and green COW!!!"

Awwww, isn’t that cute? I love that too. I haven’t got to see that face too much in the last 48 hours, but lets not dwell on that, it’s awesome when it comes to visit. Or when he snuggles down in my arms at 4am and spits out his dummy for the sole purpose of smiling up at me. Yeah, that’s almost as good as sleep. Almost.

So what else have I loved about being back? Cinnamon buns and a mint lemon freeze at Joma. Walking the familiar streets here with Mike and not coming home absolutely dripping – the cool season’s not here quite yet, but it’s on its way. Seeing trees near the house that were knee-high when I left which are now taller than I am. Feeling our little dog lick my hand, searching for affection. Sorting and stacking baby clothes – a weird one, I know, but even though I’m absolutely exhausted there’s something fun about organizing our own space to make it baby friendly. I think they call this nesting. I think most people do it before they have a baby, but hey, I’m not always the fastest player in the game.

Have you been away lately? What’s one of your favorite things about coming home?

Lessons learned while traveling alone

I’ve been here three days but I’m only now feeling as if my brain is starting to catch up to my body. My first day here I broke one of the nice wine glasses. I also set out to make a ginger lemon slice and didn’t notice until I was packing things away that I’d used cinnamon instead of ground ginger.

Yeah, well, you win some and you lose some. Especially after 24 hour trips that are not entirely free of drama.

On Monday there were some teary moments before leaving the house for the airport at 6:30am. At one point Zulu trotted over to me looking very concerned. I thought he was coming to extend that famous “doggy sympathy when owners are upset” that you hear so much about. Instead, he grabbed the tissue out of my hand and scampered away to eat it. Lose.

At Luang Prabang airport they checked my second bag for free. Win. They could not, however, check my baggage all the way to Australia, so I had to clear customs and pick it up in Bangkok. Lose.

I arrived in Bangkok airport three hours before the Air Asia counter opened for my flight. This meant I spent the first three hours of that six-hour layover loitering in the crowded, noisy, main terminal. Lose.

At the check in counter the woman immediately asked me if I was pregnant. When I said I was she asked how many weeks. When I answered honestly (28) she asked me for my letter of medical clearance. As I didn’t have one, this was potentially a very big lose. But the lady checking me in just wrote down 27 weeks on the waiver I had to sign and cautioned me not to admit that I was over 27 weeks or they wouldn’t let me on the plane without a doctor’s letter. Win.

This form I had to sign six copies of not only released Air Asia from any liability regarding any health issues I suffered during the trip, but also stated that I promised to “reimburse Air Asia upon demand” for any in-transit expenses incurred as the result of my pregnancy. As I reached Australia without having to have the plane diverted to Singapore or anywhere else (and thereby incurring a debt that staggers the mind to contemplate) I guess you could say this one was a win.

It turns out, however, that we had been misinformed as to the price of excess baggage on Air Asia. Sadly misinformed. Instead of costing us the anticipated $50.00, I had to pay $300.00 for the extra 10kg I was carrying with me (and this was reduced from $390 after I begged and pleaded and pointed out that I had bought a premium ticket). Epic lose.

During my second layover of the trip, in Kuala Lumpur, I booted up my ancient laptop to take advantage of the free wireless and it lasted about 3 min 30 seconds before dying. None of the plugs I was carrying fit in Malaysia. Lose.

Not nearly as many people were eager to help me lift and carry as I’d expected. I did ask for help a couple of times, but somewhere in among six on-tarmac loadings and unloadings I pulled a muscle in my back and the pain only got worse as the trip progressed. Lose.

Things got better from there on out. On the long overnight flight from KL to the Gold Coast I travelled in Air Asia’s premium section, and the seat went sort of flat. So my feet were up off the floor most of the night and I had much more space than the poor souls packed in the back. Win.

Mum and Dad were there to pick me up in the Gold Coast. Win.

We had ricotta pancakes in Bangalow on the way home. Win.

And here. Well, the view here thrills my soul. Epic win. I can’t think of a nicer place to come back to as my second home away from home. Now, if only Mike and that tissue-stealing little mongrel were here too…

Over to you. Two critical lessons I learned during this trip were: (1) Check and double check (with the airline themselves) extra baggage charges; and (2) Don’t assume that just because you are visibly pregnant people will help you lift your hand luggage (so to pack only what you can comfortably lift yourself).

What lessons have you learned while travelling solo? 

Writing and rewriting our drafts

Michael Crichton is reported to have said, “Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”

I don’t know if I’m rewrite seven yet for this current book, but probably at least that if you count all the false starts I had before I even managed to piece the full first draft together.

I finished that first draft in November 2009, just before Mike got back from a month long consultancy in Aceh, Indonesia, and pretty much the minute he got home I thrust the manuscript into his hands. In retrospect, perhaps I should have waited until he was out of the jet lag zone before demanding feedback. Or perhaps I just don’t take feedback well from my nearest and dearest on my first drafts.

After finishing it, Mike told me that he didn’t have a great deal of empathy for the main character (me) because I hadn’t made myself vulnerable enough and taken him on an emotional journey.

“You come across as an interesting person,” he said. “But that is not enough to sustain my interest for a whole book and make me wonder, intrigued, what you’re going to do next. You need more depth. You need to take me on an emotional journey.”

I believe my graceful response to this feedback was, “You want a journey? Well you can just get back on a plane to Indonesia then.”

The book went on hold during the first half of last year as we traveled the world for work and prepared to move. But right after landing in Laos I settled in to my first big rewrite. I finished that in October last year and (after getting some invaluable feedback from friends, writing buddies, and an editor) I have just started my third rewrite. Apart from some prenatal yoga I haven’t done much else with myself this week, actually. It’s been book, book, and more book.

I find rewriting a little bit easier than writing, but it’s still a painful, absorbing, slog to pull apart something you’ve pieced together so carefully and try, again, to put it back together in a way that is tighter, cleaner, and better. It means cutting out passages you may have spent hours on, little details that are close to your heart, or things you think are funny but don’t do enough to move the story forward or develop character. It means sacrificing some passages you quite like.

Today I bring you one of those passages – a scene set during a seven hour drive from Arusha, Tanzania up to Nairobi, Kenya before flying home after a work trip.

The road from Arusha to Nairobi

“…There is little that is cute about villages in Tanzania. The houses are single rooms. The square ones are made of grimy beige bricks glued together with mud paste; their roofs, single sheets of rusting tin weighed down with rocks. The round huts are crowned by pointed cones of thatch – two or three of them clustered together, encircled by a tangle of acacia branches sporting wicked thorns.

No, these villages might be brave – to stake a claim to home in the face of the insistent bare dustiness that surrounds us – but they are not cute.

Occasionally the doorway or window frame of the tiny houses we passed were painted sky blue, but that bold dash of color only served to accentuate the surrounding shades of grey. It was mid October. The summer rains were due any day and they would be welcome, for in this waiting land everything was parched and crumbling. Some walls had holes in them. Many fences had gaps. Doors sagged, and cloth hung limp in windows that were empty of glass.

The feet of the children were whitened by dust.

The kids we saw were young – eight, maybe, or ten. They raised their hands and waved as we drove past, then went back to minding the goats or gentle-eyed cows that they were watching over.

We bumped along in the van, branding the emptiness behind us with a cloudy signature, and I gazed out the front window and tried to find something to think about that would prevent any dwelling on the fact that I was starting to feel carsick.

What would it be like, I wondered, to grow up here? What stories would you tell when asked of home by strange men living in Papua New Guinea? What sort of home did that stranger find himself in tonight?

As we motored north the sun sank slowly left and a full moon rose from the right. In seven hours we only stopped three times to allow herds of camels or cows to clear the road, once for the border, once for toilets, and once for a masculine pissing match on a one-lane bridge in the middle of nowhere.

It seemed to me that the bridge incident was sparked, as many pissing matches are, by sheer pigheadedness.

I was sitting in the front passenger seat of the van. It’s arguably not the safest seat on a local minivan in Africa, but I weighed seven hours of sweating and motion sickness in the back of the un-air conditioned bus against the high likelihood that I’d be killed or maimed in any accident and decided it was a risk worth taking.

So I had a perfect view of what happened when car met bus in the middle of the bridge at sunset.


Both vehicles powered down the bridge without pausing and then pulled to a fast stop, inches apart. Both drivers stared without moving for at least a full minute.

Three minutes later, however, doing “nothing” had escalated to flashing lights, gesturing at each other to back up, and yelling out the window.

I sat quietly. Very quietly. It’s usually best to avoid jumping into the middle of other people’s pissing matches if possible. Especially when you’re traveling alone in a foreign country and they are abusing each other in a language you do not understand.

The passengers in the back of the bus, however, didn’t share my compunction or my citizenship. When the driver of the other car opened his door and got out, shaking his fist, three men piled out from the back of our minivan. They were as exercised as the drivers and they strode to the front of the van, surrounded the other driver, and banged on the hood of his car.

I started praying that no one had a gun. In LA, this is the point in the story where someone would get shot, and that someone could well be the innocent bystander in the front passenger seat.

No one got shot. What happened instead was that the men from my van shouldered the other driver out of the way – almost toppling him off the bridge in the process – jumped into his car, and reversed it back down the bridge in a cloud of angry dust. Then they leapt back into our matatu we motored on, triumphant, to the chorus of many men in the back excitedly abusing the hapless driver of the smaller car and making lewd comments about the Masai woman in traditional dress who had been sitting submissively in the back seat and who was clearly, they said, not his wife.

This, the men concluded, making a stunning leap from the individual to the national after a 15-minute post-mortem of all the excitement, was what was wrong with Kenya today. Life in Kenya had become so fast-paced and cutthroat that it was producing people who would behave so rudely.

I chose not to point out that from where I was sitting it looked as if we’d both entered the bridge at about the same moment.

So that was the bus trip from Arusha. It was drama, and dry plains that stretched out to the low, flat, horizon. Driving into Nairobi in the dark there were just the hazy headlights of hundreds of trucks in front and behind, their bulks bare outlines in the thick clouds of dust we were weaving through. There were people there too – thousands of them – piling on and off minivans, headed for their fragile homes planted tentatively at the city’s edge. I was sweaty, and thirsty, and very small – just one face among many in a world that wasn’t mine.

And then, suddenly, a bewilderingly short time later, there was champagne. And I was staring out at the quiet tarmac from my seat on the plane to London.

We hadn’t even taken off, but I was already a thousand miles from the slums, trying to catch my breath. This world, with it’s neatly coiffed hostesses, seat-back televisions, and filtered air didn’t feel quite like mine either.

But surely, I thought, what was waiting for me on the other end of this month would fit more completely? My friends? My apartment? My bed?

After all, I was going home.

Wasn’t I?…”

A swimming hole near Arusha, Tanzania

If you’re a writer, which part of the process do you enjoy more – writing initial drafts, or rewriting them? What do you find most challenging about the rewriting process?

Back at Home are Mike and I: Jottings on art, parenthood, and home

Well, we’re back from Thailand and we hit the ground running this week. Although, after a full week of looking at this on Koh Tao…

And this on Koh Samui…

And strolling through resorts…

And buying satay off the beach…

And dining in lovely seaside restaurants as the full moon rises over the ocean…

Well… let’s just say I wouldn’t expect any sympathy from anyone if I tried to complain that we’ve had some re-entry shock with getting back to work. So I shall just say that we’re well and truly back at work.

Mike returned to scores of emails and the usual collection of unruly work-related campfires needing to be tended (and, in some cases, extinguished). I have returned to a new schedule of memoir work in the mornings and consulting work in the afternoons.

I’m jotting this down in between switching from memoir to drafting a distance learning chapter on personal resilience. I have ended this morning’s memoir work without much idea about how to fix a tricky chapter transition. Or, maybe more accurately, how to fix a tricky whole chapter.

That would be chapter, uh, two.

Sigh. I hope something shakes loose on that front this week as I am determined to finish this edit before the baby arrives. Because, of course, after the baby arrives my life as I know it now will end. I will never again find the time or energy to write anything worth reading, and Mike and I have probably just gone on our last truly relaxing holiday and enjoyed our last meal out at a lovely restaurant.

OK, so maybe I’m being just the tiniest bit melodramatic. But I have to admit that stalking my genuine happiness about this coming baby is no small army of fears – fears clothed in thoughts similar to those above. So, as I get into a serious creative writing rhythm again, I was particularly delighted to stumble across a great article recently called The Parent Trap: Art After Children.

Frank Cottrell Boyce writes:

There’s a belief that to do great work you need tranquility and control, that the pram is cluttering up the hallway; life needs to be neat and tidy. This isn’t the case. Tranquility and control provide the best conditions for completing the work you imagined. But surely the real trick is to produce the work that you never imagined. The great creative moments in our history are almost all stories of distraction and daydreaming – Archimedes in the bath, Einstein dreaming of riding a sunbeam – of alert minds open to the grace of chaos.

Writers have produced great work in the face of things far more stressful than the school run: being shot at, in the case of Wilfred Owen; being banged up in jail, in the case of Cervantes or John Bunyan. Yet that pram is lodged in our imaginations, like a secret parasite sucking on our juices.

While I would argue that it may, in fact, be easier to write while locked up in prison than while trying to get kids ready for school every day, I loved this article for standing in opposition to some of my fears. Well worth reading if you are an artist with a family, or thinking about having one.

In addition to all things babies I’ve also been mulling on all things home as I start to pick up the threads of my memoir once again. I stumbled across this poem by Emily Dickinson recently and it intrigues (and baffles) me. Anyone want to help me out by offering their thoughts on it? I am particularly confused by the last two lines – about feet retiring and faces remaining.

Away from Home are some and I

Away from Home are some and I —
An Emigrant to be
In a Metropolis of Homes
Is easy, possibly —

The Habit of a Foreign Sky
We — difficult — acquire
As Children, who remain in Face
The more their Feet retire.

Thanks for dropping by!

Special places

I can think of worse places to suffer a bout of food poisoning than Bangkok airport. Then again, I can think of better, too.

I won’t bore you with a blow by blow of the whole icky story. Suffice to say it started with me feeling a bit weird shortly after I got off the plane from Laos and ended six hours later with me breaking my six and a half year “no-vomiting” streak and throwing up in the departure lounge bathroom while everyone else was busy boarding the plane. It must have been something I ate on the Bangkok Airways flight. Funny, in all these years of traveling I think this is the first time I’ve actually gotten sick because of plane food.

I was traveling alone (Mike won’t join me here for another ten days) so that sucked, but on the other hand I wasn’t toting a toddler around either. A six hour layover and a nine hour overnight flight is an awfully long to feel utterly wretched, but by some stroke of grace I also scored three seats to myself and was able to spend most of the flight flat on my back – which doubtless saved me (and everyone around me) from several lovely interludes with the airsickness bags. The whole trip took almost 24 hours, but I was very glad to see my father waiting for me at Brisbane airport so that I didn’t have to take the train for part of that last stint. As usual the whole thing was a mixed bag of things to sigh about and things to be thankful for.

And now I’m back in Ballina at my parent’s place – one of my favorite places in the world. It’s cloudy and cool here. The jacaranda trees are tossing purple in the breeze, the birds are flitting around, and there’s a lot of peace and quiet around. I woke up last night at midnight and came downstairs to get a glass of water and the moon was shining off the water in the river and way out to sea. This place soothes with a deep sort of calm. The sort that makes you remember that you’re breathing. The sort that only seems to come from being surrounded by extraordinary natural beauty.

The photo below is the view from the back porch of my parent’s place. Mike took it at dawn a year or two ago now. I have it set as the background on my computer, so I see it whenever I flip open the screen. There is so much for me to love about the image, not least is the fact that we got married right in front of that gazebo.

Mike and I sometimes joke about booting my parents off to do a year or more somewhere else (like Malawi, or Turkey – preferably somewhere we would also want to visit) while we housesit for them. Since we got married here I have also tried to explain to Mum and Dad that this place is now my sacred ground, that I therefore hold land rights, and that they should really sign it over to me and put the issue to rest. So far they haven’t bought it. Also, Dad has a bad habit of pointing out – while laughing – that I would not want to do even a fraction of the work it takes to keep this place running. In reply, I ask him why he thinks I married Mike.

As it doesn’t look like Mum and Dad will be handing over the deed to their house anytime soon, I guess I’ll just have to count myself lucky at being able to come home for the holidays now and then. And I do, believe me.

What about you? Where’s that special place? Can you still visit?

Getting started on home and place

It is Monday afternoon already. Where did the morning go? We’ve been here in Laos five weeks now, and in the midst of all the different beds we’ve been sleeping in and all the suitcases we’ve been living out of, I’ve been trying very hard to keep some things constant:

(A) get up when Mike does at about 6:15; and

(B) keep mornings set aside as “working on the book” time.

Roosters and a restless husband have made the first resolution relatively easy to keep (except on the couple of mornings last week when Mike left our bed in the 3’s – last week was not a good sleep week in our household). But as for the second, I’m starting to wonder whether that one is only going to get more challenging the more we settle into a “real life” routine here.

Last Monday we were still camping out at someone else’s house. Their maid did our laundry and washed the dishes. I had a choice between writing or lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling fan. (Or, to be fair, walking down the street to the Lao Red Cross and getting a massage). But given that not even I can take an entire day of massage, staying focused every morning was easy.

But this Monday morning, at our new place with working internet, there were dishes to be washed, beds to be made, Terms of Reference for consulting projects to be drafted, parents to catch up with, friends in Australia to hear good news from, nutella to get out of the new ant-proof pantry and eat straight from the jar, and handymen to wait for.

(The handymen will, I hope, address the upstairs AC, the broken bed frame, the non-functioning hot water heater, and the toilets – we are down to only one fully functional toilet – before our first guests arrive tomorrow.)

So book time this morning has been a bit squeezed. As in “non-existent”.

And now it’s Monday afternoon and I’m trying to get myself back in book zone. The chapter I’m working on at the moment deals with the theme of home as place. In the first draft of the book this particular chapter opens and closes in Kenya after a brief detour to Tanzania. The middle scene is set primarily in Hawaii. I have not lived any of those places. And I find myself looking at the chapter now knowing it needs significant rewriting and not knowing quite sure where to start.

Mind you, that’s nothing new. When it comes to writing I often don’t know exactly where to start until long after I’ve actually started.

You’d think that knowing this about myself would make it easier to just get on with it and get started writing something. Anything.

It doesn’t.

It makes me yawn and want to write blog posts instead. It makes me want to lie down and read someone else’s book. It makes me look around our place and wonder whether the new plants need water. For, after a weekend packed full of sweaty shopping from roadside stalls we have plants now. And a bamboo bookshelf. And dishes. And a small glass teapot just the right size for me to make myself a pot of tea for when I’m working. And the cutest wood and mesh ant-proof pantry that we’ve carefully stood in plastic bowls full of baby-powder (which sort of ruins the cute look a little, but if kept ants out of the cereal I’ll take it).

But it’s Monday. And I know I’m not going to be able to figure out where to start writing until I after I’ve started writing. So I better get out that teapot, fill it, and (yawn) get started.

But, first, a quote that made me laugh last week.

“One’s home is like a delicious piece of pie you order in a restaurant on a country road one cozy evening – the best piece of pie you have ever eaten in your life – and can never find again.  After you leave home, you may find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a more efficient dishwasher than the home in which you grew up.” Lemony Snicket

Do you feel homesick for your childhood home like this?

Is home a place?

Home, it seems, is the theme of the week.

First, good news. The contract isn’t signed yet, so no guarantees, but it looks as if we have found a house!

Six hours after I published my last post on house hunting I was about to pack up my computer for the afternoon when something made me pause and think again about doing a google search on houses for rent in Luang Prabang.

I didn’t hold out much hope. No one I’ve met here has ever found a house for long-term rent online. But, after half an hour of plugging in various search terms and finding exactly nothing, something popped up that I really liked the look of.

Mike and I went to see it that night. There was no one there when we drove up, but the woman at the guesthouse next door made a call for us. Forty minutes later, two women showed up on a motorcycle. Then we sat there for another fifteen minutes while they tried every key they had brought with them, in every door.

No luck.

We were, however, in luck in other ways. We were on our way out to dinner and just happened to have a student intern with us who spoke Thai fluently. He was able to talk with the women and arrange for us to return the next day at noon.

“I have a good feeling about this,” I said to Mike, later that night. “I think this is the one!”

“How can you have a good feeling about this?” Mike asked. “We haven’t even been inside yet.”

“I just do,” I said, a little disappointed that Mike was apparently not going to join me in riding my wave of unusually blithe optimism. “I think we should move in.”

“Watching you during this whole house hunting process has been a real treat,” Mike said, not looking as if that statement were entirely true. “It’s been like seeing the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in action.”

When we showed up at noon yesterday, however, my good feeling was not disappointed. While the place is not without some minor drawbacks, I like the inside. I like the fact that it’s situated about halfway in between Mike’s office and town. I like the fact that it’s set off from a paved road behind another house. I like the fact that it has a fireplace with no chimney attached.

Actually, I don’t care about the fireplace, except insofar as it’s deliciously odd.

So we’ve signaled our interest. The owners have signaled that they would be open to us renting. Now it remains to be seen if the contract gets signed. Fingers crossed that all continues to go well, on all fronts, with all powers that be. And thank you to anyone who lodged any type of petition on our behalf.

On other fronts, my non-blog writing this past couple of weeks has also been entirely occupied by the issue of house and home. While Mike is at work I’ve been spending most of my time sitting either in Joma or the guesthouse, writing. I’m rethinking, revising, rewriting, reshaping, the draft of the book I wrote last year – a memoir dealing with home.

This week I’m grappling with a chapter that looks at the issue of home as a place. This is probably a complicated issue for many people, for many reasons. But when you grow up moving frequently I think the issue of home as a place can become particularly problematic. What do you think about this issue of home and place?

That’s all from me for today. I’ll be back next week. In the meantime, whether you’re at home or not, I hope you have a great weekend!