And so, we learn to live with less. Frankly it was part of our desire to move from our home country to somewhere new and different. To start over, to shuffle our engrained habits and routines, to rethink what we want and what we need. I can see how quickly life takes over, especially with a family in tow. There suddenly isn't much time to sit and ponder whether this is the life we really want. One has to get dinner ready, go to work, see family, go to daycare or school or the pool, what ever it is that makes up ones day. Asking yourself the big questions like are we truly happy? Are we modelling the kind of behaviour we want for our child? Are we giving ourselves time to be mindful and caring towards one another? Important questions but questions that can nonetheless stir up a lot of emotions and frustrations which we just don't have the time or the resources to deal with. So we just get on with life. But, isn't that then life passing you by... ?
Here, with this blank slate and with our minimal stuff we find that we do have time, space to think and moments to be slow. I'm very grateful for this experience. It's like we've pressed reset.
We are testing out a new system so that anything that needs to be put away always goes to the same spot. We only have one of what we need. For example back home I had 4 pairs of sunglasses (which i was continuously losing!) Now I have one pair and when I am not wearing them they have a place on the shelf. Same with all our items. They have a place on the shelf or in the cupboard. We know where it goes and when its missing.
Internet is purchased monthly with a limited data allowance.. So we have to choose how we use it. Either we watch a couple youtube videos, or we download some albums on spotify or we video call family ... but we can't do it every day. I know unlimited internet is very new but I have completely assimilated it into my day to day. I had forgotten that I hadn't always lived with the world at my finger tips! So now, we think about what we want to use internet for, when we will use it and how. Luckily apps like Whatsapp and instagram are relatively data-poor (is that how you say it?) so we can stay in touch with family and friends sharing photos and voice messages. But Skype video calls are a no go.
Our clothes fit into one cupboard. Matt has one shelf, I have one shelf and we share an underwear shelf. A few items are hung up, shoes are by the door. Thats it. No storage. No clothes in boxes. No clothes that I won't wear at least once that month. I realise its different when you are living with seasons. But I know that I was guilty of having way more clothes than I was ever going to wear and I am not a fashion follower by any means. But stuff just accumulates. Here I have one outfit for "a nice dinner", one outfit for working out, one outfit for lounging around and the rest are every day clothes.
Sky spends most of the time either naked in just a t-shirt and pants so that easy!
Choice is a funny thing, though it is certainly a luxury I have found it to also be a burden. I may have fewer options here but it seems it be making things a lot easier. I don't have to um and ah over which butter is best or whether I should buy local or fair trade or organic or "slow food" or seasonal.... I just get whats there. Sure i'm looking at labels and where things come from. A fair amount is from the Middle East actually; UAE, Egypt... the fruit and veg are often from South Africa.. the cheeses or dairy are french or italian but seem to be manufactured for hotter climates, they do't seem to act the same way as back home (think gorgonzola that cuts like cheddar or fruit yoghurts with a custard like texture).
Living on an island is more importantly making us reflect on what we buy and use. Switzerland is a global leader in recycling. Going to the recycling center on weekends we would have a car load of separated rubbish (plastic, aluminium, glass, paper, cardboard, fabric, electronics, paints, oils, wood, ceramic...). We could also compost all our organic waste (worm bin, garden, communal). So at the end of the day our actual incineration waste was minimal. Over here I don't know what is recycled and where it would even go to be processed..
So every single little piece of plastic wrapper, drink bottle, takeaway container, shampoo bottle has to go somewhere... but where?