Thursday, 28 July 2016

Firsts, and Lasts

I feel like time is bending, the days fading in and out of each other with no clear distinction. I peel off my clothes at the end of every long day, drop into bed, and wake up to the alarm five minutes later - morning already. Our house is virtually empty - no longer a home because our souls have left, and all the bits and pieces that made it ours are packed away, ready to be shipped. Immy and I are staying with my in-laws, which means cups of tea, hot water bottles tucked into our beds, Immy bathed and fed and settled down before I get home from work. My mom has been here with us , helping me take the load off in a million different ways - running errands, fetching and carrying Immy, cleaning, packing, sorting. And my friends have changed their schedules to fit around mine so that we can squeeze in another visit, inundated us with offers to take us to the airport, brought wine and moral support and laughs and tears and hugs.

I am so thankful for my village, for all our people who keep showing up in a hundred small ways for this little family of ours.


In the meantime, when we do take time to breathe, we've been enjoying a few firsts, and lasts...

Our first visit to the Blackhorse Brewery, on a perfect winter's day. I'm so sorry that we've only discovered it now - I'd love to see how it looks in summer, with trees and lawn spilling down terraced gardens to acres of open land below. The kids were in their element, and we spent a hazy, golden afternoon eating, and drinking, and reminiscing over our friendship and the unique and lovely story that makes up this little trio of ours. 

One of my last mornings in this bedroom that I loved so much. So many memories of perfect morning light, the cat curled up on a corner of my bed, books and cups of tea and long naps, many pillow fights and games of tickle tickle. I remember so clearly the shift I felt when I wrote this post about our new home. This will always be the place where I took my first steps into a new and strange life, where I stretched and grew and found happiness again. I loved every inch of this place, every minute that we lived here.

A whistle-stop weekend in Knysna, with Immy and a long-time friend and colleague. We visited old haunts and enjoyed much of the same things we always do - except this time around, a soft nostalgia blurred the corners of every outing. Lunch at Totties, the Knysna Heads, Immy's feet pink from the cold water at Leisure Isle. That feeling that you just have to pay that much more attention, be that much more present, because it may be a while before we get to be here again.

As I type this, three burly men are packing every inch of my house around me into cardboard boxes, labeling and sealing them up in packaging plastic. My mom has gone to pick up Immy from school, and I will wait here until our life is neatly stacked and fitted into the back of the truck. People keep asking me how I feel about moving halfway across the world, but the truth is, I haven't even stopped to consider it. There are just so many things that need to happen, and everyday small victories that I still need to focus on and celebrate with my girl. Her first loose tooth. Her first appointment as class captain - mama, I get to walk in the front and tell everyone what to do! A field trip to the movies with her class, and a going away party at school next week complete with owl cupcakes for everyone.

Larger than life experiences for a six year old, and I'm lucky enough to go along for the ride.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

28 days

My goodness. 28 short days until Immy and I board the plane that will carry us across space and time to our new adventure. The last few weeks have been a blur of packing, contacting our service providers to give notice, writing to-do lists that I give myself 24 hours to complete and squeezing in visits with family and friends in between.

So many dusty memories and forgotten dreams have been stirred up during this process. Photos of the backpacking trip Rob and I took through Europe in 2007 - I was somewhat surprised to find that I had kept ticket stubs, train passes, brochures, menus, and hostel bookings for each city.  A trip to Victoria  Falls for our third anniversary, diving in Zanzibar for our fifth, celebrating our tenth in New York. It feels like my travel dreams have been whispered awake, and have quietly roused themselves from hibernation, stepping one by one back into memory.

Cherry blossoms in Japan. Paris with Immy when she turns 16, and a trip to Disney World sometime between now and then. The Amalfi Coast and the Walk of the Gods for my fortieth, a water villa in the Maldives, Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. Tiny sparks ignited under a pile of smouldering travel goals and dreams that I haven't really thought about in the last two years. But now my small flame burns brightly again, and since the Great Ocean Road is also on the list, I reckon that'll be an easy one to kickstart things with.

In the meantime, we're celebrating the here and now in countless small ways. 

Hard drive treasures, circa 2012. My Kewpie doll with her Kewpie doll. Be still, my heart.

Family lunches.

Winter days spent exploring, adventuring, climbing, playing and finding creepy crawly treasures.

Silver linings, and new books on sunny mornings.

A magical day with friends who are family. We panned for gold, and ate way too much sugar. I screamed with Immy on the kiddies roller coaster, and turned fifty shades of green on the Big Wheel. I soaked up every smile, every shared look between my friend and myself, the jokes, the stealing of chips off our kids' potato twisters that we were commissioned to hold while they enjoyed the rides. A friendship that spans over a decade of triumph, heartbreak, marriage, pregnancies, and kids. I try not to think too much of a life that doesn't include our cozy weekday evenings, drinking wine and staying up until the early hours of the morning talking.

This is a sugar cone filled with warm, liquid chocolate. Drinking it made me feel as though I had walked through the minty grass blades in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, and scooped up some of that chocolaty deliciousness, straight from the river.

And finally, my first camping trip. Good morning coffee, a hotel tent, and ablutions all to ourselves. It was hardly a punishment.

Well, it's late and my book beckons. Wuthering Heights, for the hundredth time. Because sometimes a person just needs the furious passion, relentless drama, and sheer folly of Cathy and Heathcliff.

“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Healthcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.” 

~ m