Saturday, 23 March 2013

Decluttering, pics of home and current progress...

This has been one of the main aims since Jan and it's been an amazing thing. I'm only 28 but the quantity of 'stuff' that is accumulated over the years is crazy. As mentioned in my last post, we can only take what we can carry and can only store a few boxes at my Grandparents house so it's a matter of only saving the truly important things. I've got my childhood in one box, my son's first things (cards, memory book, those baby clothes you just can't get rid of etc) in another and 2 holdalls full of my music collection so far. Luckily most of the music is coming with us in digital form as I think it will be an important and comforting link to our old life. Every little step make such a difference and I feel 'lighter' and more 'free' all the time.

I am not the kind of person that can leave it all to the last minute which means that I'm getting rid of as many of the non essentials as possible now. We're all sleeping on mattresses on the floor now, our wardrobe has been dismantled and is ready to give to a friend and a bookcase has already been given away. We've made 3 trips to the local charity shop and 2 trips to the dump and there'll be a fair few more to come.

It's funny really but the main things that I want to take with me are decorative, you know, the hangings, pictures, windchimes etc. All the things that make home home to me. C probably thinks I'm mad but it's important that it feels like home, especially in the beginning.

As promised, here's a few pictures of our home to be:

Main entrance in the front arch on the left side. Kitchen and bathroom windows at the front and bedroom windows above. Small balcony on left and large balcony to right.

Kitchen with bathroon to the left. Main entrance to the right.

Living area from above on the mezzanine floor with back double doors.

Door to the main balcony area.

Rest of the mezzanine floor with door to small balcony.

Half of the main balcony with large planter troughs (can't wait to get growing some herbs/vegetables etc)

View from the front, we'll be living with 3 other families with children as well as other residents in the community (AV is split into many smaller community living spaces)

View from the back (throught the double doors), this will eventually become a back garden.
So, yes! Very exciting. We first saw this house last April when it was still being finished off. It now has furniture in it and a housesitter who will stay until Aug.
In terms of other progress, we have enough for the tickets now but don't want to get them until the Entry Visa is sorted. We can't get the Entry Visa until we get the letter of recommendation from the AV Entry Service. The letter of recommendation is only valid for 6 months so we will be getting that next month to give us a little leaway should we need a few extra weeks to be ready to go.
I've contacted the kindergarten over there and will be applying in July for K to start in Oct which gives him and us a month to settle over there. I'm really excited about this as K (3.5 years old) is loving nursery over here. Here is a little description of the kindergarten:
Started in 1984, the Kindergarten today provides for 46 children in four groups. About half these children are Tamilians, though ten other nationalities are also represented. The coordinating team consists of 7 main teachers and assistant teachers plus 5 specialized teachers for music, Sanskrit song, swimming and body awareness.
In the rhythm of the day, the Kindergarten alternates between rigorous activity and quiet activity, directed activity and free choice activity. The aim is to develop the whole child, their concentration and each of the senses, while at the same time keeping a balance between meeting the needs of the child and meeting the needs of the group. Children have opportunities for self-expression and the exploration of their own interests, but at the same time they are expected to be considerate toward others, to respect the environment, to participate and to share. The children learn in English, but all children are also taught Tamil and French plus songs in Sanskrit.
Sounds great and is exactly the kind of thing that I want for him growing up around children of many different nationalities and especially learning all those languages - we're already teaching him basic French.
So that's it really. Slowly our flat is emptying, with our unwanted belongings going to friends, charity or the tip to be recycled and boxes of memories being stored for another day. The date of departure is just 5.5 months away and the excitement is mounting.
Speak soon! L xx

Thursday, 21 March 2013

So we move to India this Sept...

...not a typical place for people to emigrate to but we are moving to the place my husband (C) grew up, a small town in the South East called Auroville (usually called AV), 2 hours drive below Chennai (Madras) It is a community that was set up in the 60s by a French woman named Mira Alfassa. The idea was to gather people from all nationalities and build a place where people could live in harmony, living off the land and striving for inner happiness. There is no specific religion there but a closeness to nature, the yoga of life and a truly lovely community spirit. I’ve spent a total of 6 months out there, first time back in 2007 and more recently last Feb for 2 months. My mother in law lives there with her partner and many of my husband's friends still live there too.

It’s a big step but my reasons for doing this are simply that I don’t feel there is much for me and my family here. I am very disillusioned with the state of this country and I don’t see it getting better for the foreseeable future. Although I have friends and family that I’ll miss, the wonders of modern technology will enable us to keep in contact regularly.

We have been living in a first floor flat for the past 3 years, since just before we had our son, K. It feels like we had two potential paths to follow now that we’re married, either find a nice cottage in a village somewhere and settle here or to have a big adventure and see if life in another country would work. I’ve wanted to live in a more environmentally and spiritually aware place for some time, exercise classes are free, there are regular concerts and cultural events, the street lights are solar powered, most food is locally and organically produced and the regular power cuts (currently they have power for just few hours a day due to an issue with the local power station) mean that you can’t afford to waste power. People fix broken things rather than just get a new one like here too and the children are so confident and brought up with a strong sense of self and of the world/people around them (and the schools are much less restrictive than those here, even having yoga classes).

To live there we have to become members of the community. It means we live there for a year provisionally before becoming full members (although C only has a 6 month probation as he's a 'returning Aurovillian'). We will be over there on an Entry visa meaning we can live there for a year at a time and can renew if from over there, we can’t live anywhere else in India (can travel though) and we don’t have to give up our nationalities. Once we’ve been living there a few years we can leave for up to 5 years without losing our membership. My MIL has had a house built which we will be moving into. Will add some pics of our future home soon.

The reason I’m writing this is just to have a place to record the coming months. It’s a really big thing to do and means we have to get rid of most of our ‘stuff’ as we can only take what we can carry. So far it has been a really cleansing activity. With every task/chore/big bag of stuff taken to the charity shop I feel lighter as though I’m shedding the past and only living in the present and looking to the future. I want to be able to look back at this blog and look at how far I’ve come and to look at how I found my last few months in the UK.

Feel free to join me on my journey, to comment, ask questions or just read, would also love to hear other people’s experiences of emigrating - how you found it, how it works with children etc.

Thanks for reading. xx