By this time last year, I was back in Houston, Texas, in preparation of selling our town-home in Midtown Houston. It has been a rental house since we left in July 2010. Our house needed some major repairs and only one of us could return to oversee both the repairs and the sale of the home.
Jack stayed in Chiang Mai since Emma’s International School was still in session and she needed one of us. Jack is the only one who can drive a motorbike to get her to and from school. So it was left to me to be back in Houston. I was ready for the challenge, so I thought.
I knew it would have been really difficult for me being away from both Jack and Emma for two months. But I didn’t realize how very difficult it was in reality.
At first I commuted from my parents’ house which was about forty minutes in traffic to our home in midtown. Hey at least I had a car (I was using my parent’s) so I was thankful for it. Then with the help of my friend I was able to stay with her at her condo five minutes from our town-home. For this accommodation which made my life so much easier during my time there, and for her kindness, I am very thankful to my friend. You know who you are.
It was a trying time for me emotionally. It was even more pronounced perhaps because I was there to sell the home we owned for 8 years. It was a time of reflection on so many levels.
Back then, when we lived in it, we were busy working, earning money to live in that beautiful home of ours with everything we ever wanted in it and not too far from all the wonderful attractions to raise a toddler. We lived a life of luxury! We had it all. All the modern amenities a family could ever have.
I’m not writing this post because I miss that life. I don’t. I am fine with the life we have chosen. As I write this post in Penang, Malaysia, a place I once could only dream of being in several years ago from behind a computer viewing the photos of other nomads all the while wondering when I will ever get to see and experience Penang with my very own eyes. I don’t have to wonder any more, this is our third time here. This time we are here for seven weeks to fully appreciate the island on our own terms.
I don’t regret for one minute that I no longer own a 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathrooms, 2 car garages, near 2300 sqft home with so many things in it that tied me down.
Back to the sale of the house. After arriving in September and after overseeing and dealing with the contractors inside and outside of the home, working out the details of the sale with the Realtor (our neighbor), preparing the house so that it is in a show-able condition, in October we found a buyer willing to pay cash. We had another bid at the same time but this buyer was low-balling us on the house so it was easy to say yes to the one willing to pay cash after having their financial capabilities in writing, that they will have the cash held in the bank until the day of the signing of the closing on the house. Well, that’s good enough for me. I didn’t know people did that kind of thing in the US! Good for us and good for them! 🙂
With all the mundane details out of the way like a power of attorney to sign our closing documents because we were not in Houston at the time of the closing, I made all the arrangements I could make in person and I came back to Chiang Mai in one piece. Thanks to my Father who stepped in to being the power of attorney to sign papers the day of the closing.
Oh yes, let’s not forget, there was also Bank of America aka Bank of Hell. Even though I called the credit card company a few times after arriving back to Texas, because we don’t use credit cards while abroad, my card was denied regularly when I tried to use it in Texas. I had to make several calls and yet, when I made a payment for the stucco repairs on my credit card my card was denied and Jack’s card went through. Hey, he’s in Chiang Mai, Thailand, that made sense. Right! I’m in Texas on US soil talking to their customer service, almost daily! WTH? In the end, after so many phone calls and dealings with both the credit card company customer service peeps and the construction company peeps, it all worked out. After I returned back to Chiang Mai, we sort of held our breath hoping nothing falls through the cracks and that everything will go as planned. And it did. The house was SOLD!
By the time we arrive back to Texas towards the end of 2014, we would celebrate our one year anniversary of the selling of our home and freeing us from the financial trapping. We don’t regret it for one second. The sweat and the headaches I put into the process during the two months back in Texas were worth every bit of this freedom.
The regret I did have and the one important lesson I learned from being back during those two months was this: We were always “busy”! Even though we did a lot living in Houston, enjoying the city, we didn’t do it often enough. We were always busy! I still see it and hear from family and friends today and each year that we return. There is a glorification of busy. I did it. I lived it. I’m not sure what we were so busy with, but while back in Houston, being at the house, I realized that the park that was literally five minutes from our home didn’t really get enough mileage out of us because we were too damn busy.
Now, no matter where we are in the world, we make a concerted effort to be out, walking, hiking, biking and do as much as we possibly can to enjoy the outside and enjoy whatever that city has to offer. We’ve seen more sunsets since we left Texas. Not as many sunrises, but we’ve had our share of beautiful ones in Thailand, Laos, and recently, here in Penang. We walked more kilometers (miles for Americans) in town, in the rice paddies, towards waterfalls and even climbed a few then we ever did living in Texas all those years combined.
Here’s the link to our beautifully comfortable home of 8 years. I look at these images and I smile. I smile because I know deep down, what it means for me to live that life. I am thankful for having lived it so I could now truly and fully appreciate, every single day, the life I have now, this very moment.
Everything and everyone I need is here with me in Penang, Malaysia and has always been here right beside me. Jack and Emma are here. Our passports and our willingness to make this work as long as possible.
Feeling free. Moving on. Forward Focused!
“The greatest pleasure in life, is doing the things people say we cannot do.” – Walter Bagehot
We Say YES to Attitude of Gratitude.
We Say NO to the Status Quo.
Live Small. Live Green.
Give Large. Take Little.
Take Notice. Take Action.