Tag Archives: simplicity

Home Sweet Home

Well it has been far too long since we last wrote, sorry about that!  As most of you know, we spent the first part of the summer visiting family, making moving plans, and just enjoying the land of the free!  It has been really good to be home.  Ben and I are now settled into our new place and absolutely loving it.  It would be hard not to love it though after three years in university accommodation!  Nonetheless, I thought it would be fun to show you our new place and mention some of my favorite details.

It was pretty fun moving into a place and getting to unpack all of our belongings for the first time in three years.  It felt like we were getting married all over again!  I have to say though, one of the things that God really changed in me while we were in Cambridge was my attachment to “stuff.”  I love stuff.  I love to decorate and entertain, and keep every special memento which means that it is very easy to accumulate.  There were times when Cambridge was really hard because we had so little, and yet the simplicity of life there changed me.  I loved having space.  I loved having empty drawers and cabinets that weren’t packed to the brim.  So as we moved into our new place, there were moments when I felt overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we had.

I counted eight spatulas.  Eight.  I have certainly never cooked with an octopus so it just seemed a tad excessive.  There was a point when I was unpacking our kitchen that I became overwhelmed as I was running out drawers and cabinets (granted, we don’t have many at all), and I just kept thinking, “what am I going to do with all this?”  I had never even used some of it.  So after we had opened every box, I started really looking at things and making “keep” and “give away” piles.  I had so looked forward to moving home, but I did not look forward to feeling like we were already bursting at the seams.  So we took about four boxes of stuff to goodwill and now I feel like we can breathe.  We have space.  Not every shelf is taken and not every drawer is filled.  It feels good.

So here is just a quick glance into our new home…

Entry way...I love the birds  :)

Entry way…I love the birds 🙂

I have my own couch again!!!!

I have my own couch again!!!!

My new dining room table...love, love, love!

My new dining room table…love, love, love!

IMG_9507

Hallway to the bathroom and bedroom...love all the colors in the house!

Hallway to the bathroom and bedroom…love all the colors in the house!

Very small bedroom but it works!

Very small bedroom but it works!

IMG_9519

Hands down my favorite thing is having a dishwasher again!

Hands down my favorite thing is having a dishwasher again!

Ben's little garden

Ben’s little garden

IMG_9529

We needed extra storage and Ben said he liked these wire racks...I was not a fan at first...now it is one of my favorite areas! Smart man that one!

We needed extra storage and Ben said he liked these wire racks…I was not a fan at first…now it is one of my favorite areas! Smart man that one!


Lesson #2 from our first year – A Simple Life is Okay

When we came to Cambridge a year ago, the two of us each had two suitcases packed with as much as we could bring for our new home.  That’s it.  We didn’t ship any stuff over.  95% of what we owned in the US was either sold, given away, or packed into boxes and placed in our parents’ basements.  We knew that we would be moving into a furnished apartment, so we figured that we’d get to the UK and then figure out what we needed to buy once we saw what the apartment included.

Well, when we arrived, we discovered that ‘furnished’ is a term that can be used rather loosely.  The kitchen came with 3 pots, 1 pan, a few plates and cups and bowls, some basic silver wear, a few basic utensils, a few knives, a toaster and microwave, a dorm-room refrigerator, and, strangely enough, a sandwich press.  We weren’t expecting a kitchen-aide mixer, but it would have been nice to have had a mixing bowl.  We knew that our dishes wouldn’t be from Pottery Barn, but we thought we’d at least have enough dishes to invite people over for dinner.  In California, we had what to us was a dream kitchen – even if we rarely used most of the gadgets and utensils that we had.  This new kitchen was a big adjustment.  Things were a lot simpler.

Our kitchen wasn’t the only area where our lives were simplified.  In the states we had two cars.  Here we have one bike.  I used to drive 30 minutes to school.  Now I just walk across the street.

The simplicity of life here has been an adjustment.  Some of the changes have been positive.  Almost all of our friends live within walking distance, which makes it very easy to meet up with people spontaneously.  Also, life can be less stressful when your circumstances limit your options and dictate your choices for you.  Because of the relative prosperity that we had in the US, we were constantly faced with a seemingly limitless array of choices in every area of life – what we would buy at the grocery store and where we would eat out, how we would structure our schedules, what we would do with our free time.

We still get to make a lot of choices for ourselves here, but our options are significantly narrowed.  On a date night, instead of choosing between 30 different restaurants, 3 theatres, and 5 ice-cream shops, our choice for dinner typically looks something like this:  Dinner – McDonald’s, Subway, or Pizza Express?  Entertainment – Play cards or watch a DVD?  Dessert – Nutella toast or a bowl of cereal?  In some ways, we miss the allure of endless possibility, and sometimes none of the options seems too appealing.  It was nice to be able to choose between watching a movie, going to the batting cages, playing miniature golf, taking a walk, going to the arcade, going to Disney Land, going to the driving range, or any one of the other forms of entertainment that we had in California.  At the same time, having fewer options has made life less stressful.

After one year in this simplified life, we can’t deny that there’s a lot about our lifestyle in the US that we miss.  Unpacking all of our nice stuff when we move back home will feel like the best Christmas ever.  Nevertheless, this has been a really good, healthy experience for us.  We’ve been faced with our own materialism, and there have been positive lessons we’ve taken from this that will effect how we make decisions about raising children, spending money, setting up our own schedules, and finding balance in life.  A simplified life can be a very good thing.