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House Hunters International: an Episode Close to Home

23 Jul

While picking up Thai take-out, my husband Chris and I ran into friends Robin and Ben who explained they were enjoying their last gourmet meal in town before embarking on their permanent move to England.

The encounter felt like a behind-the-scenes look at one of House Hunters International episodes. You know, that HGTV hit show where a buyer relocating across the globe looks at three houses and picks one—when in real life they’ve already decided.

The only thing our friends needed to complete this House Hunters International moment was host Suzanne Whang announcing: “New Jersey couple Robin and Ben are looking for a house in England. What will they find besides rain, boiled cabbage, and warm beer?”

We listened to Ben philosophize about what it meant to move abroad.

“Do you know what this is?” Ben asked, as he reached into his pocket and held up a single key. The waitress reached around him and set down an order of calamari.

“The key to spotting friends at Thai restaurants?” I guessed.

“Try again,” he said, diving into a plate piled high with fried squid.

“The key to stomach bacteria survival?” I asked.

He paused mid-bite, a fork full of tentacles dangling in the air. “Nope.”

“The key to rebuilding Afghanistan?” I wagered.

Tucking an uncooperative tentacle back into his lips, he shook his head.

“The key to unlocking more thought-provoking questions?” I persisted.

“No. Can I just tell you?” asked Ben.

I was going to say no and make him guess why, when Chris answered, “The extent of your responsibility now.”

“Exactly,” Ben said with relief, likely more from the freedom from my guessing than his life burdens.

“We’ve sold our house, our car, everything.  This last key is…”

“To your handcuffs?” I interjected, unable to resist making one last crack.

“Isn’t even mine,” he continued.  “It’s the key to my brother’s house where we’ve been staying until we leave next week.”

“We even sold most of our large appliances because of the different electrical system there,” said Robin.  “All the belongings we have left are on a boat headed to England right now.  It’s nerve-wracking, but we’re really excited.  And it will be a great career opportunity for me at the university.”

“Wow!  That does sound exciting,” said Chris, “but it must be a weird feeling, letting everything go like that.”

I jingled the keys in my hand, and for the first time contemplated my own weighty key-ring:  my house, my car, my daughter’s diary, the seven keys I couldn’t identify but was afraid to throw away, and the attached savings cards for Stop and Shop, PetSmart, and CVS, the places that summarized my life and the extent of my numerous responsibilities.

I considered our friend’s situation and felt envious of their sudden freedom from life’s burdens. But then I remembered, their freedom was temporary, and they’d be eating English food forever.

We picked up our Pad Thai, wished them luck and said goodbye.

“I’m happy for them but I think it’s going to be a big challenge adjusting to life in a new country,” Chris said.

“Yeah, and I think the first key they possess will be critical in helping them to adapt,” I said.

“Which key is that, the house key?” Chris guessed.

“No,” I answered, “the whiskey.”

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On a separate note, I want to extend a huge thanks to: Sylver Blaque for awarding me the Illuminating Blogger Award, Adventures of a Middle Age Mom for pinning me with the Fabulous Blog Ribbon, and to The Bumble Files for awarding me the One Lovely Blog Award.  Please click on these talented bloggers’ links to learn more about them!

Do you ever dream of appearing on House Hunters International? Have you ever lived abroad? Have you ever dated a broad? Nyak Nyak Nyak . . .

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44 Responses to “House Hunters International: an Episode Close to Home”

  1. jotsfromasmallapt July 23, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Actually…I’ve done exactly what your friends Ben and Robin are doing…sold everything lock, stock and barrel and moved to London…(university position), as well. The mindset was to become “one” with our new “home”…it worked…only too well. Ben and Robin’s adventurous spirit is thrilling…..CHEERS FOR THEM!!

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

      What a coincidence! They do have an adventurous spirit, and I hope it works out as well for them as it did for you!

  2. joehoover July 23, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Hey! What’s with the English food bashing 😉 I make a mean shepherds pie (I’m also great at Thai food since I can’t stomach the British stodge too often!)

    They better be quick, we have about 4 days of sweltering temperatures before the rain hits again

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      Feel free to poke fun back (believe me if you tasted my cooking you surely would). We have something in common–I recently discover that shepherd pie is one of the few things I can make that pleases my entire family. 🙂 Stay cool.

      • joehoover July 24, 2012 at 5:25 am #

        It’s cool, we brits shoudl be the first to laugh at ourselves, good luck to your friends over here!

      • Main Street Musings Blog July 24, 2012 at 7:00 am #

        Thanks, Joe. You’re a good sport.

  3. Paprika Furstenburg July 23, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    “Tucking an uncooperative tentacle back into his lips…” Thank you for the vivid disturbing image.

    I don’t want to be on House Hunters, but the idea of moving someplace with a slower pace of life and lower cots of living is appealing. Of course that place would have to have air-conditioning, 3 bedrooms, a large kitchen with granite counterops, updated baths, be near the beach and shopping areas, have a pool and a maid and…

  4. Carrie Rubin July 23, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Ha ha–great wrap up to a funny post. It would be liberating, would it not? But then again, once in a new place, new possessions take over, new routines set in, new keys are made. 🙂

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

      Thanks! I agree, I think its hard not to acquire stuff and to take on new responsibilities wherever you live.

  5. Perfecting Motherhood July 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Haha, the whiskey! I bet Ben won’t be missing your wisecracking jokes. I moved to the US from France with a single suitcase and then moved from CT to CA, and I won’t mind moving back to the East Coast at some point. But England and their bad food? Not sure about that!

  6. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer July 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Your friends missed the great opportunity Richard Branson is about to offer. As soon as his commercial voyages to outer space become regular happenings he plans to buy the moon and build condos there. Perhaps they could start the first intergalactic university.

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

      An intergalactic university?! As if the price of college nowadays wasn’t astronomical enough . . . 🙂

  7. Carol R Craley July 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Not quite Househunters International, but I did pack my worldly possessions and move from Philadelphia to Maine ten years ago. Sometimes it is inspiring to experience the world from a new perspective. I envy them their spirit of adventure. I won’t be following them, but I envy their sense of adventure!

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

      I bet Philly to Maine gave you some perspective. I know for me, moving from CA to NJ was a pretty big culture shock. But I know that’s nothing compared to the cultural experience and adventure of moving abroad. I admire their spirit too.

  8. The Bumble Files July 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Hi Lisa. I think visiting would be grand, actually moving and resettling and rekeying…..nah! Funny questioning….I agree with Paprika…a disturbing vivid image of the squid. I like that stuff, too. It’s always very yummy.

  9. cindyricksgers July 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    I think it’s the combination of moving so far away and doing away with so many material things – that we tend to hang our “sense of self” on – that is impressive to me. Possibilities seem endless! Very brave move on their part. Very funny interpretation of it on your part! Thanks!

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 24, 2012 at 6:49 am #

      Thanks, Cindy. You’re right, our material things do influence our identities, which is why I look forward to the day I can lose my minivan.

  10. The Laughing Mom July 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    That takes guts and a lot of whiskey. I am way too much of a hoarder to be live a sophisticated international lifestyle. Being a corn head suits me just fine. London does sound exciting!

  11. funnyortragic July 24, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    My family did the same thing when I was a kid, except we went way farther than Europe. After years of moving around with only the shipping allowance (maybe 3 boxes for each of us), now that I stay within the US, I still have a hard time moving without getting rid of everything.

  12. Audubon Ron July 24, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Nope, the only way something like that would happen for me is if I get Locked-Up Abroad.

  13. nursemommylaughs July 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Very ornery post for you! I love it. Handcuffs too? That’s so 50 shades of Snark! Great post.

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 25, 2012 at 6:22 am #

      I’m pretty ornery when you get to know me . . . 😉 “Fifty shades of snark” — you crack me up.

  14. earthriderjudyberman July 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    We lucked out. The company that hired my husband and me, when we moved from Central New York to Florida, had movers pack everything for us – from salt and pepper shakers to the furniture.
    Good luck to your friends. It’s nice to have new vistas, but I know I’d surely miss lots here if I did leave.
    Loved your responses.

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 25, 2012 at 6:25 am #

      Those cupboard to cupboard moves are the best.
      At least we can still enjoy new views through blogging — even without having to move!

  15. J (@RedHeadedWriter) July 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    I heard “House Hunters” was kind of scam…like the people on the show already know the house they’re going to pick before filming starts, and then they have to pretend for a whole 30 minutes.

    Which is probably why someone doesn’t buy a perfectly good place because, “the paint is weird in this room.”

  16. mj monaghan July 25, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Well-spun, as usual, Lisa. Love the way you write!

    “To your handcuffs?” I interjected. Same filter I have. 🙂

  17. starlaschat July 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    “Nyak Nyak Nyak . . .” Funny. :+) I think Adventure is good thing. Even if it isn’t ideal. It’s adventure and in some ways I think it beats staying at home plugged into the TV all day. I once had no keys and that was in Hawaii my house had no locks (imagine that) and my car was back on the mainland. It was a happy time, well in some ways, but mainly it was an Adventure!

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 27, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      Wow, no locks! Hard to imagine! I agree that it can be healthy to break from the status quo.

  18. I have a couple of keys on my keyring that I’m afraid to get rid of. I’m fairly sure that one belongs to my log house on a private lake, and the other fits the safe where I hid my millions…

    Wow. I can’t imagine moving so far away from everything familiar, although with computers, Skype, etc… it wouldn’t be as hard to do today as it would have been twenty years ago. And there is something appealing about starting over. Especially if it meant not having to deal with mountains of paperwork that I’m good at ‘not seeing.’ 🙂

    Fun article! And thanks for the reminder as to why I’ve Chosen to NEVER eat squid. 😉

  19. gingercalem July 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    I love House Hunters Int. I watch it all the time and wish we were the family relocating! My husband and I lived in Germany for 2 years and we’ve done lots of travel. I’d leave in 1/2 a heartbeat to give my kids that opportunity. I love home (Texas) and family and all these roots, but I’ve got a European soul and a heart for adventure and secret desire to simplify, leave it all behind and start over! 🙂 Great post!

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 31, 2012 at 6:13 am #

      I love that you have a “European soul.” How wonderful that you’ve had the opportunity to live abroad. I hope you have the chance to continue your love of travel and to expose your children to other cultures!

  20. Browsing the Atlas August 17, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Your conversation and key guesses made me laugh so hard. I could just picture his face with each new absurd answer. Thanks for the chuckle. I think they’re going to miss you. 🙂

    • Main Street Musings Blog August 17, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Or maybe I’m the reason they’re moving? 🙂 Thanks for the kind words, so glad you enjoyed the read!

  21. jlee5879 August 20, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    “Their freedom was temporary and they’d be eating English food forever.” LOL Love it!

  22. shovonc September 22, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    I would have sympathised with Ben, but he was eating tentacles.

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