It feels like it was a month ago. Or maybe like it was yesterday. I don’t know. Now we’ve stopped and had some time to breath and look back on everything we jammed into the last few weeks, time seems to have completely turned on it’s head. It’s taken me the better part of the last week to get my brain around the fact that we’re here and not there and that we did indeed manage to make it out of Brisbane with all our belongings safely in storage, bond clean done, business sold, goodbyes said, Tupperware, books and borrowed clothing returned to their rightful owners and all five of us, for the most part, emotionally and physically intact. For a moment there it felt a bit touch and go that we’d pull it off. But we did.
At some point, in oh about twenty years, I’ll look back and possibly only remember having to put one foot in front of the other to get through this period. Probably around the same time, we’ll decide to take leave of our senses and do it all again. So I’ve come up with a comprehensive list of 20 things I learned over this past month, as a mental note to myself that it would not be wise to do this again. Ever. Even in 20 years.
1. You can’t sort, pack up a house, pack for a month long camping road trip and pack for a five month overseas trip, plus dispose of all your accumulated crap AND clean an entire rental house in only 3 days. You just can’t. Even if you think you’re organised. Don’t try that again.
2. The idea of Tetris-ing all your furniture into a 20ft box is exciting up until the point where you have wedged 65 boxes, two lounges, three dining tables, 5 mattresses, a Christmas tree, three tool chests, 2 door mats, a few bed frames and still find a monumental pile of boxes and furniture lined up in the drive way that hasn’t been allocated a space yet. That’s the point it loses it’s luster.
3. You will discover three packs of errant clothes pegs and 85 lost hair elastics covered in 3cm of dust under pretty much every item of furniture. You will not find the very expensive necklace you’ve only worn twice nor Mauvie the rabbit.
4. Concocting a week of meals and 70 cupcakes using only the ingredients left in the pantry would make the most errant Master Chef weep. Get take away. And never buy quinoa again on the off chance you move and are left with only it, an industrial size bag of bread flour and jar of icing sugar to cook with.
5. Becoming the wife of an unemployed, redundant person on the very same day as rendering yourself unemployed and redundant is not as liberating as you anticipated. It’s bloody scary.
6. Stopping yourself from running into the bathroom, locking the door and crying your heart out when all the children go postal at the same time and are sobbing in the corner will be extremely challenging. But I have full faith you will react with the same aplomb and drag the mattresses out and set up a makeshift camp out on the lounge room floor and sweeten the deal with burgers and marshmallows.
7. When the shipping container gets lowered onto your back verge, you may need to breathe deeply into a paper bag. A lot. When you hear they “dropped it off” in the storage yard and in the processes “dropped it” a whole meter and a half from the truck. You will need an even bigger bag.
8. It’s really, really, really depressing to turn around and find yet another box to be packed, pile of stuff to be sorted, cupboard to be cleaned or stash of ‘last minute things’ to squeeze in. Don’t think about it, just throw it away.
9. You will have to take rather a lot of ‘little red pills’ to stop you thinking about how much time, energy and money goes into buying, storing and tidying crap you neither like, need or want and now need to spend time, energy and money throwing away.
10. Discovering you’ve lost one of your childrens Birth Certificates. Stopping the packing process for almost an entire day to look for it and then going to the city to get a new one the following week is a pain in the arse. Keep the Birth Certificates safe.
11. Do not for one moment think attempting to scrabble together documents and paperwork to apply, at the very last minute, for an Italian residents visa is a good idea. It is not. In any way.
12. Coming down with a hangover dreadful case of food poisoning over packing weekend is not a valuable use of time.
13. Children are phenomenally resilient and may surprise you by rising the the challenge of the craziness and disruption around them. Other times, not so much. They will be the craziness and disruption.
14. Having 10 seven year olds playing the chocolate game and singing karaoke in their pyjamas in your lounge room to celebrate a Birthday, just before you pack up your house, is very very good for the soul. Who’d have thought? And no they didn’t all stay over – do you think I’m crazy?
15. Handing over the keys (and ownership) of your business is surprisingly restorative and relieving – before you realise nobody in your entire family has a job.
15. Reaffirming you and your husband work well together as a team and like a good project is a good thing. Especially when you’re about to set out on the biggest team project of your lives!
16. Having all your friends gathered in one place to say goodbye, enjoying good food and sunshine (and the odd near death experience) is a sure fire way of making you feel pretty darn loved.
17. Your heart will burst with gratitude for the friends who take the girls for long adventures whilst you pack, lift heavy things, ring to check in, bring food to eat, provide beds (and whole entire houses) and moral support in the midst of the moving chaos.
18. You will cry much less than you thought you would. Because people like adventure stories. Especially when they don’t have to do the packing and the leaving to experience them. This makes them less inclined to induce sadness at your departure. Either that or they’re actually quite glad to see the back of you.
19. Do not drink all the wine before packing weekend. Packing Ninjas work better with a bit of chilled grape soup for dinner.
20. Every new adventure should start with a little bit of epic. Embrace it. Or at very least endure it. Because the next bit is where it gets quite fun
Love Elizabeth x