Life can change with a single strike of lightning. Mine did last May.
During a violent thunderstorm in Bellevue, Nebraska, one bolt of cosmic electricity struck the gas line of a house only five miles from me, causing an explosion and fire and leaving a family of 4 without a home. This happened in the wee hours of Saturday, May 19. Monday afternoon, I received a call from a stranger asking if my home was available for rent. She had been given my name by a realtor friend of mine. I said yes, even though I was far from ready to vacate on short notice. The couple whose house had been struck came by that evening, still in shock from the trauma they had suffered. They loved my place. By Friday, after countless phone calls and emails with their insurance company, we had a contract for a 7-month lease for my fully furnished and decorated home.
More than five years ago, when I was working part time as a relocation consultant for foreign nationals moving to NE for 3-month to 2-year work assignments, I realized that there are very few furnished rentals available in the Omaha area. It was then that I set the intention to rent my home out so that I could travel to figure out where I might call home next. With my children both off at university, never planning to return to Nebraska to live, I have no reason to remain in the midwest. Much to my dismay, the relocation company said that I could never rent to any of their clients, as it would be considered a conflict of interest. What to do? Still, I held onto hope that I would somehow be able to rent it. Becoming an Airbnb host was my next step, but renters were too few and far between to count on that for consistent income.
In March of this year, the Italian family I lived with for a few months in 2016-’17 asked if I could return to them June-July of this year. I told them I would love to, but it would take a miracle. Their response: “Okay. We will pray for a miracle.” So, a 3 year old and a 6 year old in Rome added Marea Teresa’s return to them to their bedtime prayers. I had been praying for years already for the perfect family to want to rent my home, so I was happy to have the extra support. Strength in numbers, as they say. : )
Suddenly, literally “out of the blue,” our prayers were answered. WOW!
I had two weeks to pack and move all of my personal belongings to the basement. Not a small feat, and one I could not have accomplished without the help of amazing friends and my darling daughter. I will forever be grateful to my bff Michele who got me in gear on her visit from Aberdeen, WA, Madeline, who flew home for just 3 days to help as much as she could in the time she had, Jonella, who gave up her Memorial Day holiday to assist, Lisa and John Swanson, and Lesley Knox & family, whose selfless service and friendship have been unexpected gifts in my life. I hope I haven’t left anyone out!
Anyway, this is how it came to pass that I am writing today—five months later—from Johannesburg, South Africa. I have been on the go since June 12th. I will continue with individual posts about each location I have visited, and hopefully be able to include links to photo albums for those who are interested.
I have had to pace myself, being as gentle with my body as possible, so I’ve not been able to begin to do justice to the incredible places I have been, but I am determined to prove that life can still be lived fully, even for those with health challenges such as Fibromyalgia.