Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Evolution of a move

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When I first left the States in 2005, it was for a three-month sabbatical. I didn’t think I’d be coming back, but I wasn’t sure enough that I wanted to part with all my possessions. To wit, here’s what all my stuff looked like in the shipping container that I rented.

The photo doesn’t do justice to the amount of stuff that’s in there, but considering I hadn’t moved in five years (i.e. five years’ accumulation of crap), there could have been more. The only furniture I kept was a little bench that I used in my dressing area and my Cubitec shelves because I just love them.

Once it became clear that I wasn’t coming back, I rented a storage space in central DC so that my friends, family and I could all access it with minimal trouble. I rented a Who’s The Boss-type van to move all my things and everything fit perfectly… except my little bench. I gave it to a guy who worked at the warehouse.

In 2008, I was still holding on to some things that were never going to make the cut, like my 5.1 stereo surround sound system. Even if I had a way to get the boxes over here, the electrical issue would have made the whole effort moot. But I did love all my components. And my humidifiers. They were really top-notch.

In 2010, I had finally saved up enough money to make the jump to France, so I repacked everything that I had in Barcelona. At this point, my life was made a lot easier by the discovery of Muji’s stackable PP drawers. The purchase of a roll of industrial plastic wrap at a hardware store made this pack one of the easiest of my life. (It was so good, I felt like I should have filmed it for an infomercial.)

Since I arrived in France in the summer of 2010, I’ve been subletting and/or traveling, so I haven’t had any space or reason to unpack all my stuff… which is why I put it all in a storage space just outside Lyon.

At the time, the warehouse was easy to get to by bus, but an overhaul of the metro system meant that what had previously been a door-to-door trip now involved a pretty decent walk along roads that didn’t cater to pedestrians.

Still, storing needs had to be met, and they were.

Last week, I went back to Lyon to see a friend’s baby and grab some winter clothes and prep the stuff in the space for another move. In French, a storage space is called un box, which I find both charming and a little annoying since it’s kind of a misnomer as there is never just one box inside. I was in le box for four hours and I organized like a crazy person. Or Martha Stewart. (Same thing.) It’s a damn shame to undo all my good work (it’s hard to make out, but I Tetrised the shit out of it), but it’s no longer feasible to live in one place and have all my stuff several hours away.

So, I’m going back to Lyon next week and will hopefully see a storage facility from the inside for the last time in my life.


Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

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