the red pot

Moving to Ethiopia has been on our radar for over a decade, so as our family has grown and our possessions have grown, it’s always been in our minds that we would say goodbye to a lot of the things we own one day.  That mindset affects a lot of things…for instance, do we really need the more expensive swingset with the ten year warranty?  Nah, one year is fine.  Is IKEA furniture really practical since it might not last forever and you can’t pass it down to your kids?  Absolutely!

That mindset also causes me to look around my house a lot and think about what things really matter to me.  If I were starting our house over from scratch and could only include a limited number of things in it, which ones would really bring me joy and not just take up space?  Which things could be sold here and replaced in Ethiopia, and which ones would truly be meaningful to take with us?

Tim is very efficiency-oriented, and he often uses the term “high-yield” to describe things that might make the cut to take with us.  Legos, for example, are high-yield in our minds because the kids can play with them a zillion different ways throughout years of their childhoods…they won’t outgrow them or get bored of them immediately (*we hope).  

So there’s this pot that we both love.  It’s an enameled cast-iron dutch oven that Tim’s mom gave us for Christmas one year, and it has some kind of magical quality about it…I can make the most boring, pantry-clean-out soup or something, and it will actually seem nicer and taste better if we scoop it out of that red pot sitting in the middle of the table.  I cook beef bourguignon in it on Christmas Day every year, and many friends and family have been fed from it around our table.  Who knew that a pot could have such emotional value, but it does.


Almost every time I cook something in it, we talk about how it would be so cool to have that pot in Ethiopia.  But alas, we’ll be moving everything there in baggage that we take on the airplane with us (hello weight limits), and it just never seemed practical to spend 15+ pounds in one of our bags on it when we have so many other things that are much more important to bring.

I wasn’t losing sleep over the loss of the red pot, but I did just know that if something happened that made us able to take it, it would be meaningful, would bring joy, and would be high-yield (✅, ✅, and ✅).  When Tim was packing for his recent trip to Ethiopia, he had three checked bags that were all maxed out on weight with things we were taking to friends and a first load of things for our home there.  Tim started packing his clothes into his carry-on, then got a little glimmer in his eye and left the room.  When he returned, this happened:


He proceeded to pack his clothes in and around the beloved pot, while envisioning how things could go at the airport...“If anyone weighs my carry-on, this will never work.”...“If security thinks that this enormously heavy pot could be used as a weapon, they won’t let me bring it.”...“If anyone sees how red my face is getting lifting my suitcase above my head into the luggage compartment, we might be in trouble.”

Well guess what?  None of those things happened!  The security officer removed it from his bag and examined it, deemed it acceptable to bring along, and she and Tim struck up a conversation about it.  Tim explained our move to Ethiopia and our love for the pot, and she agreed that it was a wonderful pot too and seemed excited that we were going to have it there.  Well officer, I am too ❤️

Thanks to our friends for storing our things until we get there 😊  And later this year...boring soup in an awesome pot, here I come!

Laura Love2 Comments