It’s been a long hard, couple of months since I received that greeting from the ol’ home town. Unfortunately for us, that was only a harbinger of what would next be splashed in our direction. So where have we been, you ask?

Actually, most of you stopped asking about two months ago, but for those of you who still are (a surprising number) we have been suffering a low-level, first-world agony that a lot of people probably don’t relate to, but for us has been terrible. We’ve been homeless!

Not desperate, on-the-streets, sleeping-in-the-car homeless; first world, supportive environment, surfing couches homeless, and most of the past few months have been spent with my long-suffering parents in their tiny, five room miner’s cottage in the country. Neither of them complained, of course, but to suddenly have an adult child, her husband and both of the pair’s possessions stuffed into a space set up for two people must have been a strain. Especially since we couldn’t tell them when the situation was going to end. Luckily, in the country there’s enough room outdoors for even freeloaders to have some space.


But it wasn’t much fun, either. Home is very important to Kin and I. It’s where we socialise, rest and do a lot of our work. Normally, wherever we go, we manage to haul a bit of home along with us, whether we’re in a campsite, hotel room or a shared bed in a dormitory. While our friends immediately rush out to explore, we first spend an hour or two arranging and provisioning our base. When we left Japan, though, we packed home up and sent it away, cheerfully believing that we would unpack it at the other end in a week or two.

It’s been four months.

Strictly speaking, we moved back in a month ago, but that was the beginning of a three-week period that was just too depressing to blog about. If we weren’t at work, we were scouring dirt, mould and grease off every surface, in a suffocating miasma of hot water, sugar soap and cockroach droppings (a nightmare aromatherapy that is going to take a lot of time to recover from). Our best efforts, however, couldn’t exorcise the smell from the carpet or some of the wall stains, so we’ve been camping on a sheet of plastic on the grubby boards in our bedroom, waiting for the landlord’s magical army of carpeters, builders, painters and other wizards to perform their glorious work. Thus, our possessions have remained in their boxes, awaiting rediscovery.

Kasasan in the dining room

Now, much mending has been done, a new, terrifyingly pale carpet has been laid, and while, there is still a lot of carpentry and painting to be done, we have moved in some furniture and tentatively unpacked a couple of boxes.  Kin has (mostly) set up his computers, I have (mostly) sorted out my kitchen, we have both (mostly) shelved our books and we’re feeling much more at peace.

And, while unsettled, things haven’t actually been bad. It was lovely seeing so much of my parents (and, briefly, my sister!) and we’ve still been working on things that make us happy. Kin, using a desk he made from two upturned cabinets and a wardrobe door, has finished his Maned Wolf motion study.

Maned Wolf

And I, once the worst of the house was scrubbed away, flung myself into the garden and have been happily weeding, planting and consuming copious amounts of dirt and red wine from a teacup. Our first greens are already sandwich-sized!

Little red rainbow chard

Not terribly impressive until you see what I was working from.

See? I’ve been busy!

We’re busy and tired, and the house is still stuffed with builder’s rubble, ripped garbage bags and battered cardboard boxes. But we’ve managed to recapture just one or two little spaces that make the place our home, and the energy and peace that gives us both has to be felt to be believed.

To home and happy spaces!