We’re trying to create a home, but I have things to sort out. The detritus of my life is in storage units and suburban garages. The belongings I packed away as one life stage ended and a new one began; they’re spread around. It makes me feel uneasy. Summer is upon us, our Danish shipment has settled into our new apartment, and I feel ready at last to consolidate. Ready to re-contextualise myself, in my own life story. As you try to contextualize yourself, and our little family that looks different to the ones you see around you. And find your place in our wider family.
I have a storage container in Sydney. I moved to Denmark with two boxes and two suitcases. Shipping the rest didn’t make sense. As years passed, with the monthly direct debits adding up, I wished I wasn’t so sentimental. I wished I’d let go from the start! I try not to think about the money, I’ve come this far. I spend another thousand dollars having it brought to Canberra in a truck, the big pieces, the small pieces.
It’s a time capsule of my Sydney life. These are the things I spent years collecting, that made me feel like me. I’m back in Surry Hills, in my street, in my tiny terrace house that I loved so much. The memories flood back and it all feels so strange.
Once it’s assimilated, there’s more to take care of. My parents broke up when I was 15. It’s not a particularly unusual story. It was a shock. It took time to get over. The family home went up for sale. I packed up my bedroom, my childhood, and put it away. It all went off to my Dad’s new garage. We rediscover treasures, shed what we don’t need or want, we consolidate. I pack some new boxes: For Astrid age 5, For Astrid age 6, For Astrid age 7. For when you’re ready.
A childhood of memories, in boxes, for the next generation.
This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I’m supported by generous listeners. Story editing by Michelle Webster.
Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for being part of the story.
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Astrid has asked for something special as a belated 5th birthday present: a podcast episode that’s not boring, for adults. Her story, made for her, with her, for now. So in four weeks, we’ll be back with something a bit different. A special episode of Not By Accident, for kids.