Four boxes of stuff: Working out what’s really important.

Four boxes of stuff: Working out what’s really important.

My ex-hubster just sold his house. I still had some things stored in his garage, so spent an afternoon clearing them out. It was an interesting experience.

Stored on a high shelf were four medium sized boxes filled with things that I hadn’t seen for years. They were from my “Japan life.”

When I left Japan, I moved to Austria. I went through the stuff that had built up in my Tokyo apartment (positively minimal by today’s standards) and shipped a box of things to Vienna.

These were the things I thought I couldn’t live without.

I’d settled into an apartment owned by my in-laws by the time the box arrived in Vienna. Six-months later, I moved to London. I packed up my things, added a few more treasures from the Vienna stay, and stored the boxes at the in-laws’ house. I figured I’d get them soon.

Years passed.

I visited Vienna but kept telling myself I’d get those boxes later. My life was so transient. I had nowhere to put them.

Fifteen years after I left Tokyo, I had the boxes shipped to my new house in Sydney.

I didn’t have time to open them. I stored them in the garage.

More time passed. My marriage ended. I moved a few times. The shape of my family changed. And then recently my ex put our old home on the market.

And I found myself in his garage going through the things I couldn’t live without… but clearly had.

Four boxes of STUFF. Four boxes of things and bits and pieces and books and memorabilia. And I realised, none of it meant anything to me any more.

I spent the afternoon searching through those four boxes looking for one thing. The final letter my grandmother ever sent me. I knew it was there. I’d placed it in one box after her death.

I searched and searched. I began to panic as each box was emptied and nothing important could be found. I barely glanced at most of the stuff. The one thing that was important was missing.

Finally I found it. The letter was tucked into the back of an old address book. The paper is so fragile now, the ink faded. I sobbed as I read it. She’d died while I was overseas. The one thing she’d left for me disappeared, taken by other family members. This letter is what I have now.

I could still hear her voice, her laugh as she wrote it, pretending to scold me over my previous letter to her. “I’m sure we brought the wrong baby home from the hospital when we got you. But don’t worry, we love you anyway.”

And signing off… “You are my first thought in the morning, my last thought at night. I love you.”

There are things… and then there are things. That letter is a treasure to me. It is the one thing I’m keeping from four boxes of stuff. It has made me re-evaluate what things are important. What things I hold dear.

There are very few things really.

 

5 great places to search for Fairies

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I’m up to my eyeballs in Fey folk at the moment, as I write my new book. I do love all things magical, and Fairies are right at the top of that list. I’ve travelled the world and seen some very strange things … Here are 5 great places to search for Fairies.

  1. Lake Bled, Slovenia: Bled’s tiny island, the only island in Slovenia, is steeped in magic. One legend says the lake was originally a meadow until the fairies called up the forces of nature and flooded the whole region, leaving only the hill where they danced jutting out of the water. Drifting across the lake towards it, it’s easy to believe that the island is still home to all sorts of mythical creatures.
  2. St Andra, Austria: This tiny town in eastern Carinthia is a favourite of mine. The woods that surround it are filled all sorts of magic, from Witch burning circles, to stone circles and fairy houses—mostly found if you step off the walking tracks. Locals told me that the “Mother Goddess” is still revered, and you’ll find evidence of this all over the fields and forests.
  3. Monhegan Island, USA: This small, rustic island 10-miles from the coast of Maine has always been a haven for artists… and fairies. Scatted throughout the forest and underdeveloped hiking trails are fairy houses. This is an absolute jewel of a place, and a must-visit for any fairy-loving family.
  4. Japan: Japan’s forests and mountains are filled with all sorts of nature spirits. I love their mythical creatures, especially the tanuki, which isn’t a fairy, but certainly magical. Elementals and fey folk are hidden in every rock, every tree in Japan… but you can also see some incredible fairy creatures on the streets of Tokyo. “Fairy Kei” fashion has been popular for years. The Japanese have an amazing street fashion culture, the Fairy Kei style being just one of the many “tribes” found in Harajuku.
  5. Cornwall, UK: No Fairy World Tour would be complete without a trip to Cornwall. There are countless places to search for little people here—the whole county is steeped in magic. My favorite is St Nectan’s Glen near Tintagel. You won’t see fairy houses, but you might just see orbs of light, so have your camera ready!

Want to read more about St Nectan’s Glen and Cornwall? Read my novel Trouble Brewing, which is set in many fabulous places, Cornwall included.