This move has brought many changes to our lives (duh, picking up our lives and moving to the furthest point of the world possible) and granted, not all these changes are easy – leaving friends and family behind, established relationships, careers, selling the beautiful home we had only recently bought – but I shouldn’t complain. Yes, the move has had its challenges, but we are lucky in that we have essentially been given the opportunity to live in a different country, and it was essentially a lifeline. Without this opportunity, it is likely that we would have been down to one income with a large mortgage, and my husband would probably have had to retrain in a different field in order for us to stay in Melbourne. But here we are instead, with a great group of people that we like, who are going through a similar experience, and we are not as alone as some other families who move to a new country may be.
I say this because I recently came across an article that reminded me how lucky we are. Read it here.
Yes, we are lucky. We moved to Detroit, found a house that we liked within a week, and bought it. 5 days after moving in, Michigan had its heaviest ever rainfall in one day, causing flooding everywhere and chaos. Some photos from the Detroit Free Press can be seen here (whether they are in fact the ’10 most astounding photos’ of the floods, I’m not really convinced but it does give you a good idea of what happened). We arrived home to find a leak in our basement, water seeping out from one of the beams, and best of all, water coming into the main power box in our basement, via an insulation tube that was connected to something outside the house. Dangerous, much?! That discovery was really scary. As we carried our belongings (still in boxes) upstairs, I felt bummed, thinking, how could this happen? Has it happened before? If so, why didn’t the previous owners fix it? Why would they sell the house with such a dangerous situation for someone else to deal with?
The next day, driving around the neighbourhood, I realised that other people had it far worse than we did. Furniture, black garbage bags full of belongings, were being disposed of, damaged by the water in their basements. Here are some ways we were lucky that night:
My husband had to return our rental car that night. He left work at 5 pm as roads began to flood in certain areas. He managed to get return the rental car just on time, despite the traffic and making a couple of detours to get around badly flooded roads. Had he not had to do this errand, he may have stayed at work later and not been able to get home. We didn’t lose the rental car or our brand new car in the flood, as many people did 😦
Other basements actually flooded. In ours, I think the water wasn’t able to pool due to 2 drainage holes in the floor that had been left uncovered. Any water that came through made its way via the sloping floors towards these 2 drainage holes. The uneven floor had previously bothered my husband and he had planned to seal them up. I don’t think we will anymore…
Our belongings were still in the boxes they were shipped in, so all we needed to do was pick those boxes up and move them to higher ground, whereas if we had unpacked and had an ‘occupied’ basement, as most families do, we might not have been able to clear our belongings out quickly enough.
The water coming through the mains power board didn’t short circuit our house, a fact that I find REMARKABLE considering how much water was dripping out of that box!
SO. I am grateful. Back to our new house in general, the next time I think that our kitchen is too small, I will remind myself at least I HAVE a working kitchen and a roof over our heads. That that leaky mains didn’t spark and cause greater damage. That we found out about the leaks before embarking on a big project of refurbishing the basement. Imagine if we had done that and then having it flooded or rained out afterwards. And that this has given us the nudge that we needed to work on the basement sooner rather than later.
More broadly, it was a timely reminder to look at the positives and not dwell on the negatives, which is sometimes easier to do.
Positives so far today: 4 people said hi or smiled as I walked past them this morning. 2 were kids with their backs to me as they were playing. I walked past them without a word but they looked up when they heard footsteps and called out ‘hi!’ as I walked past. What a friendly bunch. I think I’m going to like our new neighbourhood.
2nd positive: Found Bundaberg Ginger Beer in a store less than 10 minutes from home. Score!
Have a great weekend everyone! Hope YOU find lots of things to smile about. I’m looking forward to the Woodward Cruise tomorrow!