A few days ago, we moved to a new apartment, after living an entire year in a place I considered pretty much how the inside of a cast would look like. Dark, with no ventilation and people stepping on your head for the rest of eternity.
We tried to move last June, unfortunately, it didn’t happen, because things only happen with me, when they are supposed to. I don’t work against the universe. I just let it be. Even though that might cause me an extreme cause of claustrophobia and daily rage.
“Oh, you should be thankful for having a place to live,” I was, but also I don’t wish that type of apartment on anyone else. Again, it was temporary. More like an emergency, as we had just moved to Denver and had spent a lot with moving costs. That place seemed suitable.
The year went by fast.
It was also the year that I bought less stuff. Less furniture, fewer clothes, shoes, and kitchen gadgets. I didn’t have any space to put in those 600 sqft 1 bedroom apartments. It was already cluttered before we even moved in. The windows were small and it was like living in the underworld. A cave, where people that live off the grid go into hiding. Receiving visitors was treacherous. My friends came over to celebrate my birthday, all the way from Georgia. They had to sleep in my camper, parked in front of the house. It was fun for them and the kids, but I was mortified.
In the Cold November Rain
Settling in a new place has never been easier. It’s much more pleasurable when you go from a small place to a little bigger unit. Having my office back has also shifted my perspective into what I need to do in terms of peace, to plan my next step. Putting out the stuff from the box, I realized I could never be a minimalist.
Great for people that live with one fork, one knife, and a pan. I’m a collector, again collector, not hoarder, I throw stuff out. When it is necessary.
I need to have the security of having gadgets.
I landed in this country with two suitcases. I had absolutely nothing, as I left everything I had behind to start fresh in a new country. As I left all my memorabilia at home, I felt helpless. Helpless in terms of looking around and don’t see anything from my past, any of my references. Everything was new. I was new.
Little by little, with all the working hours I put in, I started acquiring the items for my new so-called life. My life in America, living as an American, buying useless stuff only to accumulate in the garage.
I quickly got attached, especially to the books.
I still have the first book I bought in a used bookstore in Chicago, back in 2012. Wicked is still on the shelf to remind me how far I’ve come. I don’t have any of the stuff I brought from Brasil. It was easy to get rid of those since there was not much, and the Chicago winter was much harder than Sao Paulo’s winter.
Every time I go to Brazil, I pick up some of the stuff that is still at my mom’s house. My cd collection, my Titanic VHS, my books. My mom waits for me with a bag of my old stuff, because she also doesn’t have much space, at least that’s what she tells me.
Those are my memories, not hers.
If you ever had to live abroad, you know that the minimum you can have in the new country can make a lot of difference. It’s not just stuff, it represents what you are now, your success, your accomplishments.
I can’t be a minimalist because, for example, I like my books too much. I can’t just read and get rid of it. I mark some passages while I’m reading. Some pages, even entire paragraphs.
Books are and have always been a great companion. I buy new ones, even though I have at least ten new ones to read. It also works for stationery items.
Folders, pens, planners, calendars, you name it, I have it.
If I think it’s cute and somehow useful, I will make sure to buy it. Even though I’m not at school anymore whenever the new school year starts at Walmart, I stock up on notebooks and pens.
To add all this up, I buy containers to store all that. Drawers, shelves, colored bins and that makes happy. Now you asked me how I manage to have all that in a 1 bedroom apartment? Sadly, I don’t have the answer to that.
Now I’m in a bigger place, it will be like a scavenger hunt with all the lost boxes. Like the Goofy Stickers I bought at Disney, God knows how long ago. Have I used it in the past 3 years? No. Do I intend to throw it out? Also no.
Josh can’t be a minimalist either.
Everything he has from Indiana, he is still keeping, like the blanket he has had since he was 3 years old or the shirt he wore when we hung out on the first Halloween.
He can’t be a minimalist, but he has the potential to be a hoarder. The tools work for him the same way Sephora eye palettes works for me. They all do different things, at least he says so.
New trends and influencers caused people to rethink their lifestyles.
Marie Kondo, the author of “The life-changing magic of tidying up” a few years ago in a Netflix series, told us to throw everything that doesn’t spark us joy in our lives anymore, in the garbage.
According to her explanation, the energy needs to circulate, and I agree. You don’t need to be a hoarder, but you can keep the stuff that brings comfort, like old books.
At the same time, Marie Kondo’s series was out, Netflix released a documentary about minimalism and how Americans consume a lot of unnecessary stuff.
How they have enormous houses and almost everyone has a garage full of stuff they don’t need, when they don’t have a garage, they have paid storage.
Which has been our case for the past 3 years. Living in a 1 bedroom apartment you barely have enough space for yourself, I can’t imagine storing all those tools in a closet.
Capitalism always makes you want more and more.
I don’t buy unnecessary stuff. Not anymore. Books yes, stationery items, yes. Clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets I already have more than enough. As soon as I realized that I was only buying stuff to cover up my sadness and my lack of identity in this country, I learned how to manage consumerism.
The reason is I can’t be a minimalist, getting rid of everything I bought, but I can manage what I buy, with consciousness. Also, I never met an immigrant that is a minimalist, for the exact reason I said before.
Hopefully, you do whatever makes you happy. Like when I brought my new country some of the old me, with my CDs, magazines, and books.