…Every time we say goodbye.
Farewell, Auf wiedersehen, So long, Hasta luego. Did I mention that I’m bad at goodbyes? Turns out I’m worse than that, I’m catastrophic. No matter how you sugar coat them, and no matter how much you promise to stay in touch, I’m just not very good at telling you I’ll “see you in a year”.
I need to take a leaf out of the children’s books. No matter how apprehensive they are about leaving the friends and school they love, the home that Clover was born in, the cat that they’ve not known life without, they remain fabulously ‘in the moment’. So as we begin the last week of normality (school finishes on Thursday), they are still bouncing in wondering whether they’ve forgotten a reading record or a PE kit (the answer is inevitably yes), while their Eeyore-like mother trudges behind them muttering about everything she’ll miss. I’ve been whinging about the school run for approximately the last four years – how can I get nostalgic now? Tiredness can do strange things.
Some landmarks this week. The girls’ bunk beds have gone to a friend in Nunhead, so they’re now sleeping in separate rooms. That makes our last three weeks seem oddly temporary. The rest of the furniture is also fast dispersing. Meanwhile we also said what felt like the cruellest goodbye – to Paul’s 96-year-old Nanna. I won’t dwell, but that wasn’t an easy thing to do.
Time is speeding up. In less than three weeks we need to be on a plane to Finland. We don’t even have any luggage yet, and the to-do list is fast shifting from a work-based one to one featuring train bookings, plane tickets and tours. This is a project in itself. This week I’ve got to grips with the geography of the Mekong, the Vietnamese and Thai train booking systems, and a rather fabulous app that allows you to order food delivered to your seat whilst on the Indian train network. And yes, yet more jabs (rabies and Japanese encephalitis tonight – we really do know how to party).
My favourite quote of the week comes from the tour I’ve just booked for us to do in Varanasi. Mr ‘Groovy Tours’ promises us a trip through the “Narrow and Puzzled Alleys” of the city. Since everything feels a bit like a narrow and puzzled alley at the moment, I feel that Mr Groovy and I are going to get on just fine. Wonder if he can guide me through the next few weeks as well.