You probably know this old saying:
Patience is a virtue,
Possess it if you can,
Seldom found in women and
Never in a man!
Well, patience is definitely what we have needed since we returned to Belgium at the end of February – and what we still need now.
The return went well enough with beautiful views of Mt Fuji from the air on the flight from Nagoya to Tokyo and a smooth onward flight to Brussels. The cabin crew on ANA were delightful and Olwen enjoyed practising her Japanese with them. At the end of the flight they gave us an airline postcard, with a personal message written on the back which we didn’t see until we got home. It was a small thing but I think they wanted to show some appreciation for Olwen making the effort to speak with them in their own language.
Then the work began. It’s now been several months of almost nothing but sorting, clearing, advertising, and selling 40+ years of accumulated belongings. All our children visited to take what they could make use of, and then we had to decide what we would need in the UK – where we expect to have a small flat – or in Japan (also a small flat but furnished), and what we should otherwise dispose of by selling, giving or “chucking”!
We have tried to sell through Facebook groups, our own Facebook page created for the purpose, and yard sales (we’ve had three so far). We’ve sold a lot and given 17 banana boxes full of books to a charity book sale too. We’ve also taken a lot of things that no one will want to the tip. And we still have a lot of things left!
In addition to the clearing and selling, I’ve been saving some of our memories by scanning (and naming!) some 5500 35mm slides, and a dozen or more VHS cassettes. I couldn’t bear to just throw them away! Google Photos is proving to be a handy place to store the resulting pictures free of charge (and searchable without tagging!) while I’ve put the videos on YouTube.
All of this work is so we can sell our house, which is easier said than done!
It’s a large house with nearly 400 square metres of living space, including a 2-bedroom, self-contained flat which we’re renting to a friend. There are 5 more bedrooms in the rest of the house as well as a large living room and superb kitchen with dining space for 14 people, a sun lounge with terrace, classroom, playroom, etc.
It would be great for someone with three or four children and an ageing relative, and perhaps a business they want to run from home. Or it could be converted back into three flats – or maybe four with extra planning permission – but this would probably entail ruining the kitchen in order to build a bathroom on the ground floor. 😦
So you can see why we’ve not had a stream of would-be buyers competing to make offers!
Despite this, we believe we should return to Japan in September and have asked the office manager of the building where we lived before to reserve us an apartment, which she has done. We’ve also asked the Japanese pastor who is arranging our visas to start the process and he has confirmed that he will do this very soon. Once he gets the approval from the ministry in Tokyo for us to have visas (which we have then to apply for here in Brussels) we only have three months to get in the country.
Exactly how this will all work out we don’t know, but we do believe we’re on the right track – the path God has shown us – and, while doing our part, we must leave the timing to Him.
Which brings us back to the need for patience!