Well, that day that we’ve been prepping for and planning for is finally upon us. I don’t think there’s any way to really describe the enormity of moving across the world. The stress and chaos. The plans you make to visit all of your favorite beaches that hold your favorite memories (that never seems to happen). The way you try to savor each moment with the people you’re leaving behind (that somehow is over far too quickly). All the while trying to figure out which parts of your life to weed out – what to pack, what not to pack? What to donate? What to sell? And the closer you get to the impending deadline, the more those choices rely on your gut instinct. And if you forget something or change your mind, there’s no going back.
As you read this, Mr. Dressed and I are on our way to the airport. With 6 suitcases, two tubs of brains, and a partridge in a pear tree (except for the partridge part. The brain part is true). We will be crossing our fingers our bags aren’t overweight, fretting about Willie and Finn and wondering how they’re doing on their flight, and trying to hold back tears as we realize all that we are leaving behind.
Though I will always wish I had one more moment on Cottesloe Beach, one more whiskey at Helvetica, or visited our favorite bar in Mt. Lawley for a pint one last time, I think we have done ourselves proud in these final months, weeks, days. I’m exhausted to the core and will probably fall asleep before the plane even leaves the airport, fully emotionally spent. But, as someone said at our farewell party Friday night – if it was easy to leave, it would have meant our time here didn’t matter. And it has so very much mattered.
This has certainly been a year of change. Life in science has never come with much stability, but moreso than ever I felt as though we were forcibly living in limbo. As as one of life’s list-makers and order-embracers, the instability kind of rocked my world. And though I perhaps didn’t realize it until now, I think I created this blog partly to give myself a stable world of my own making – one safe from impending moves (that are now a reality). Safe from goodbyes and separate from work. Full of beautiful things and all of the thoughts I used to get too busy to express.
I’ve moved around a lot for my career (like, a lot). Moves that involved giant suitcases and shipping containers and passports and understanding husbands. And every time it’s happened, I’ve looked ahead to the new adventure, yet was still very aware of the people I was leaving behind. And maybe part of this blog was the realization that I was trying to build and foster a community that would come on the adventures with me. That would tuck into the overhead compartment and be waiting on the tarmack wherever we landed. Who I never had to say goodbye to. Who I would never have to reintroduce myself to. Or re-explain “why I was so dressed up” to. People who, like family, are with you wherever you go.
In the midst of emotional and physical turmoil, having just returned from our tearful farewell party, I received a text from my sister who was having a conversation with my 4-year old niece Brynn. My sister had marked her calendar with the date we were traveling and Brynn pointed to the airplane sticker and asked what it was for. When she found out that we were coming to the US (after confirming Willie and Finn were coming too), she bounced around the room in glee. And I realized something:
For every goodbye, every sad moment, for all of the things and people we will miss and all that we are leaving behind, I have to remember all that we are going towards.
So farewell Australia. You have been so good to us. We were lucky to call you home.