Yesterday I started unpacking boxes at our new house: plastic storage boxes layered in dust and sturdy cardboard boxes with Chinese writing printed on the outside. They'd been in the garage for six months, freezing in the recent cold snap and layered in dust.
Inside were old friends and treasures.
I found my favorite cooking utensils I'd used in China: a cookie sheet, an ice cream scooper, my Pampered Chef garlic press, my bamboo spoon.
I said hello to them as I took them out. "Hello, old friends," ... here on the other side of the Pacific.
I unpacked our framed pictures: all of Olivia's Junior Kindergarten artwork I'd framed, all our Chinese prints.
I found a box of fragile things: the blue tea set NaiNai bought me in Thailand, the carved wooden cross Aaron and I bought at a bazaar last Christmas.
I almost cried as I set the Russian nesting doll from my mother on our bathroom shelf. It had its place in our bathroom in China and I had a hard time imagining it sitting anywhere else.
As I took out item after item, each holding a special spot in our old home, I didn't know at first where to put them. I felt overwhelmed. How would I ever make this new house mine? We've been living in limbo for so long, it seemed we'd never have a permanent place to set anything; these things should stay in boxes forever.
But now it's time. Take them out. Dust them off. Settle.