Xan & Bob

When your ship comes in

After 81 days our belongings arrived on Friday afternoon. Feels like Christmas in May! It is Sunday evening here and we are pretty much unpacked except for the items that we have no idea where to put right now. Some office stuff that will have to stay in boxes until Bob builds himself a new stand up desk this week.  Books that we couldn’t part with but no bookcase to put them on. And of course, there are always the odds and ends that fit perfectly in the old house but need to find a place in the new house. With minimal furniture, there are less places to put stuff on which is a good thing but a bit challenging right now.

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The first boxes that we unpacked were the kitchen things. Bob’s face lit up as we unpacked certain items. He has ‘made do’ for several months now and for the most part without complaining but he is certainly happy to have all the tools back in place. The rewards of this are simple meals like poached eggs on toast (still warm fresh bread that he picked up in the town just down the hill from us) and while I type this he is starting to make Tuscan Ribs. This is our Sunday night meal and so much so that when I Skype with my sisters on Sundays they tease me asking if we are having Tuscan ribs for dinner.  It has probably been 7-8 weeks since we have had them. This is why he needed the chili sauce that we couldn’t find and our friend, Xavi, gave us. The bonus of making this in our new home is that he went and picked some wild rosemary from the property. Here is the recipe if you are interested.

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TUSCAN RIBS

Take one side of baby back pork ribs, season with salt and pepper and let sit for 30 minutes.

In a large saute pan with lid, add ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, 4 bay leaves, 1 Tbsp minced garlic and 6 sprigs of rosemary. Heat to warm the oil and diffuse the flavors.

Cut ribs into sections of two ribs, add to pan over medium heat and brown each side for 7 minutes.

Add ½ cup of white wine and reduce to half. Turn ribs over and add one can of diced tomatoes and two tbsp. of Chinese chili sauce. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes.

Add one can of black olives, drained, and carrots if you wish. Cover and simmer for a further 60 minutes.

Thankfully the kitchen here has lots of cabinet space so it was easy for Bob to get everything organized where he wants it. I will be asking for a while, “where does this go?” but will eventually get used to the new layout.

You may be asking what were the things that made me light up when I unpacked them. Of course we were both thrilled to unpack the sentimental items…things we had packed so long ago but when you unwrap them you just sigh with a loving contentment. Well, I was feeling completely overwhelmed with unpacking 3 boxes of clothes. Overwhelmed because I knew that 90% of them would need to come off the hangers and be folded and put on the wardrobe shelves as we do not have a lot of hanging space. This was a daunting task. But I decided to be a bit silly while I unpacked to make the task easier. Among the clothes, that although were still on hangers were laid in the boxes, I came across bags of my fashion jewelry. As I told you I worked for a jewelry company for the past 5.5 years. I received free samples for every new catalog and of course purchased quite a lot. Well, at the end of January, I had to pick a few pieces that I would wear until we received our items and it had to be a small enough amount to go in my carry-on bag on the plane.  Those of you who know me know this was a very difficult thing to do. I mean, I had to wear the same jewelry over and over! I actually went through every piece of jewelry and with Bob’s input tried to part with a large amount of it. To be honest we really didn’t put a dent in it but I think my friends enjoyed the pieces that I gave them. The rest of it I carefully packed in the sticky saran wrap and then put in Ziploc bags. If you haven’t used the sticky saran wrap for packing jewelry I highly recommend it. Fashion jewelry only though. I laid out several necklaces on the top half of a sheet and then folded the other half over it. Then I could fold that one or two times before putting it in a bag. The necklaces don’t move so they do not get tangled. Perfecto! Anyway, I was so focused on the daunting job of dealing with the clothes that I forgot what else I had packed in these boxes. When I came across the first bag of jewelry I said, “Hello jewelry, oh how I have missed you. I have NO idea where I am going to put you but I am thrilled to see you anyway.” Yes, I am a bit silly. But you know what…I was a lot happier pulling out the clothes from the boxes just by doing this silly little act than if I had just unpacked and continued to feel overwhelmed.

The other things I had buried (packed) in these clothes boxes were shoes. Mostly sandals as I would live in sandals if given the chance. I tried to save space by placing a couple of pairs in each shoe box. Well, WOW, what a treat when I opened the shoe boxes and saw my favorite shoes which had been packed since January. I told Bob, “I will deny ever having said this but I probably don’t need any new sandals this year.” Yeah right!

The last special treat in these boxes were treasured stuffed animals. Two frogs that were my Mom’s, my Humpty Dumpty doll from 1967-68, and several others that hold special places in my heart.

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It’s amazing when you get rid of most of your belongings the ones that you hold on to are all the more special. Besides the necessities of kitchen items, clothes, and office items what we shipped were things that we treasure. These are the things that make our house our home. And now this is really starting to feel like home.

Time for a bit of celebrating.

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