108 Pieces of China

September 22nd, 2010

Several pieces of china can be seen in one of our home videos, arranged perfectly on my grandmother’s table, surrounded by family celebrating my dad’s 30-something birthday. I’m the preschooler sporting pajamas and hair wet from an after-dinner bath; without a thought about the china, or someday, an empty house on the other side of the world becoming my home.

A few weeks ago, I realized I should post a report-card for August. Or something.

I didn’t forget, I just decided to be complacent.

Life was kind of like a glass half-full of yuck. I think I had the whooping cough. I had a bad dream about finding a greeting card in my mailbox with all of the pretty words crossed out and nasty ones written in their place. Life was blah.

And then my furniture arrived, last Wednesday.

All I could manage was,


(said very softly and two octaves lower than usual, punctuated with a cough)

On moving day, I chose to wear my bright-white running shoes with jeans, which always makes me feel like 1) I’ve completely given up, or 2) I’m gearing up for a long day at Disneyland. After all, I was expecting Disneyland, including fireworks. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Hoping for. Dreaming about.

I craved the feeling of upholstery,

the luxurious weight of a glass tumbler filled with juice in the morning,

the soft hush of a down comforter pulled up to my chin.

Life would begin on Container Day.

But instead, everything just felt over-full and chaotic. All I could do was watch, a bit glassy-eyed, as they lugged furniture and boxes in from the container.

Slowly, pieces of my past homes started taking shape and settling in. A few pieces of furniture were slightly scuffed, but box after box revealed perfectly intact contents.

Even my grandmother’s china emerged unbroken; all 108 pieces of it.

And in a way, life has begun again. I know I’m having a sentimental moment here, but can I just state the obvious?

The world is small. Life keeps moving. And even a foreign country can feel like home if you have the right people in your life.

And sometimes 108 pieces of china can help you feel at home, too.

  • Glad everything arrived mostly unscathed 🙂

  • At least your “bright-white running shoes” cover your socks 🙂 ‘Cause then there’s me…

  • I have wondered about bringing my own grandmother’s, and greatgrandmother’s, china over here. It’s a big step – there is indeed something quite emotional about that. My great-grandmother was an immigrant from Ireland to America. My grandmother was a migrant from the East Coast to Iowa (which was quite the journey and change in those days.) My mother moved all over the US with my father’s military career. I guess it’s family tradition but still, who would have guessed I might use those plates in New Zealand? Not me!

    I’ve been thinking about the comfort that little things provide us; the continuity. So perhaps I’ll have to write more about it on my own blog! 🙂 Congrats on getting all your stuff! Enjoy putting everything where it belongs…..

  • yay!! glad all your furniture etc has arrived safe & sound 🙂 what a relief for you guys!

  • Yay! Im so glad everything got there ok …….mostly your family:)

  • Hey Eby-google reader just alerted me that they are not going to “track changes” on your blog anymore. Want to get an rss feed so I can have you my list? Like feedburner, or the like….

  • Grandpa and I went up north today beautiful color but I think next week will be better.
    Glad you are getting settled.

  • holy smokes, whooping cough!? that’s horrible! hope you’re feeling 100% better and are enjoying setting up your home 🙂

  • Erin,
    We need a new update soon. Once a month is not enough for your adoring fans! Love your wit and outlook on life, cuz!

  • Instead of shipping my things over in a container, I got rid of almost everything before I left the U.S. I probably would not recommend this approach, unless you are a nomad like me. Congratulations on the Container!

  • I’d say drinking tea with an Indian antique dealer in the middle of his shop is worth it alone!

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