Posted by: scribe9 | August 13, 2010

Winding down

We fly back to the US eight weeks from today. We need to get rid of all the stuff we bought for the house, and our car.

Things were looking bleak. Our landlord wasn’t interested, as he has had no trouble renting the house empty. Even though the hospital has quit inflicting Mildew Towers and some of its other elderly houses on expat physicians, it doesn’t want to rent more than two houses, and ours would be number three.

Then we were put in touch with a doctor from Johannesburg, who’s now living in a small apartment but will have the rest of his family joining him soon. He needs quite a bit of household stuff. He’s also interested in the car. We thought we’d have trouble unloading our 1998 Camry with 200,000 kms on it,* but he left behind a 1996 Toyota with almost half a million kms on it, so he’s a believer.

Like all the other South Africans we’ve met here, he left because he got tired of living in an armed camp. He had barbed wire and alarm systems, but someone robbed him at gunpoint in his driveway (I assume his family’s no longer living there). Also, he’s a native of Uganda, and South African blacks persecute those from other countries; his brother, who had to send South Africans to buy his groceries for fear of assassination, left for the relatively peaceful Sierra Leone.

We also know of a young woman who’s looking to move into her first apartment, so may be able to sell her some things, too.

Then it’s back to the US and getting rid of yet more stuff, which should be harder, since we didn’t acquire it quickly or for the short term. Oh, well, we need a challenge.

*Distance driven is referred to as mileage, not kilometrage.



  1. Amy – are you excited to get back to the States, or if you had your druthers would you stay in NZ? Have you and your husband traveled to other countries for similar experiences? I think it’s funny we’re both returning at the beginning of October! Good luck with your packing and wrapping up loose ends!


    • Laura–

      We’re looking forward to going home, although we’ve certainly enjoyed our year here. Back in the 90s we spent four months in Australia, but that was easier–we rented a furnished place. And while it was interesting, we didn’t enjoy Australia as much as New Zealand.

      Happy wrap-up to you, too!


  2. “…the relatively peaceful Sierra Leone.”

    It’s one of the poorest countries in the world, and the houses come with bars built into the windows and walls with glass shards implanted on top, but without Apartheid (the natives I met there were very anglophilic). The horror of the Civil War was due to Charles Taylor, and the after effects don’t seem to include South African levels of dysfunction, thankfully. The Chef at the Hood River Inn is the eldest son of a prominent SL family, and is moving back home, despite having type II diabetes and being very fat. In the small world department, he’s also a cousin of the Health Minister, who I met a couple of times on my second visit there.

  3. […] toward departure As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago at, we knew of an immigrant who likes old Toyotas and needed a lot of household stuff. Great, we […]

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