Home Behind the Scenes Fixing the base

Fixing the base

by Silke Elzner

When I started dreaming about moving to Australia back in 2004, my new husband asked me one simple question: “What are you running away from?”

At first I was quite offended by this question. It came with the underlying suggestion that I was not willing to fix something back home. That there was something wrong and that moving away from it meant that I could quit or avoid the issue. This wasn’t the case. I loved living in Berlin.

I appreciate that nothing is always perfect, and while there were things that I didn’t quite like about living in Berlin – the harsh winters, for starters – there was nothing to suggest that I was in fleeing mode.

Moving to Australia was not my way of running away from something. It was my way of adding some excitement to my life, of learning new things and of meeting new people. And I am glad that I did. Otherwise I wouldn’t be living in Australia now, in the lucky country of eternal sunshine and stunning beauty.

My husband told me only this year that his question back in 2004 was not intended to offend at all. It was what it was: a question. He had only wanted to check if there was anything that I was trying to run away from. Which I wasn’t. So it was all good.

One thing that I have learned over time is that we can travel as much as we like but it won’t fix things that are broken at home. Just like a marriage certificate or babies cannot fix a failed relationship. To fix things at home you need to stay at home and work on things.

I travelled a lot last year. I went to the South Pacific and to Europe, to Indonesia and New Zealand. And while I enjoyed all my trips down to the very detail, it was my home that would keep me grounded. Travelling is great – yet returning home can be the sweetest thing.

I love my home. It is big, it is located in one of the leafier parts of Sydney, it has a pool in the backyard. Moving to this house a couple of years ago was a dream come true.

The real Australian dream of your own house with a backyard and a barbecue. The perfect place to raise a family.

But as I said before, nothing in life is perfect. There are flaws. And while there are some flaws that can be fixed there are others that you can’t fix.

The biggest problem I have with our house is the location. We live in a suburb, which means that in order to do just pretty much anything you need to use a car. I don’t like driving. Never did. I am anxious when I drive, and I minimise driving as much as possible. Which of course is silly and immature. And it restricts me from enjoying my life to the fullest.

Most people I share this anxiety with won’t understand. They think that all you need to do is drive more. But it isn’t that easy.

So while I was quite happy with our house I wasn’t all too happy about the location. This and a couple of other reasons encouraged us to move on. It is time to go. And no, we are not running away.

The reason why I am sharing this with you is that time is ticking, and things will be moving pretty quickly now. Which means that I won’t have as much time as I would like to write more posts for the blog. There may be a couple of days where it will be quieter than usual while I am busy making this house look prettier than ever.

And it’s not the prospect of painting and repairing stuff around the house that is keeping me away from my blog. A big project like this is of course also unsettling. There is a lot going through my head at the moment. Like a bi-polar person I am constantly swinging between excitement and nostalgia.

Since I have left home at age 19 I have never again lived in one place continuously for such a long time.

I was pregnant with my second child when we moved into this house, and I remember vividly trying to organise a house move without being able to lift, climb on ladders or clean anything below my waistline.

I remember our surprise when our first night in the house we were greeted with one of Sydney’s notoriously fierce rain storms, with the rain coming through in not just one but several spots (a costly roof renovation was to follow soon after).

I remember how we dug up the bones of dead dogs in the backyard, and found kinky things from previous owners like handcuffs in our wardrobe and an enema in the bathroom cabinet.

I remember how we renovated the laundry, the ensuite bathroom, the pool area, the front yard and many other things. How we turned a neglected house into our family nest.

We had good times here, and – more importantly – it’s the only home our kids have ever known.

On the other hand I am looking forward to whatever lies ahead. While we cannot sell all our stuff and travel around the world full-time, we can at least fix our base and make it feel even more like a home. I am excited to find a house that will fit our current and upcoming needs, in a location that is offering the opportunity to just step out for a quick shopping trip, a cup of coffee or a walk in nature.

So this post is just a bit of background information for you to understand what’s going on behind the scenes. And yes, I realise it doesn’t cure my anxiety, and I will need to drive more in order to fully enjoy my life. I am working on that. In the meantime, stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed for a good sale result.

In just 59 days I will be on a plane again, for a 4-week trip around Europe. I can’t wait.