October would have been ten years of me living in South Africa. Almost a decade of my life spent in this amazing, complicated, beautiful, bizarre country. I have lived here longer than I lived in The Netherlands, which was a huge part of my formative years, and despite the fact that South African Home Affairs never resolved the issues with my residency, I truly feel like South Africa has been my home for a decade. It’s hard to believe that in just a week, Dean, Harley and I will be getting on a plane and moving away.
On the 15th of August, we fly to the US to start our new life. It’s something we’ve been working towards for months now, something that seemed to take forever and then all of a sudden is happening so fast. We only have one week left to sort everything out. One week left to finish packing, one week left to finalize all our arrangements, one week left to say all our farewells. It’s emotional and stressful and chaotic, I’m feeling so many mixed emotions that I thought I’d try to blog them all out, but apologies if a todo list sneaks its way in – that seems to be how I think these days. Also, huge apologies for the infrequent blogging at this point; there just aren’t enough hours in the day for all the things.
The main thing I’ve been struggling with for the past few days is sadness. While I can wax lyrical about all the reasons I’m excited to go, it’s still so very sad to leave this life of ours behind. This wasn’t a short lived thing, where we hung out in South Africa for a couple years and then moved on to the next place. We put down roots here. We have a home, animals (don’t worry, our kitties are coming with us), jobs, friends, family. Harley was born here. I have so many memories here. And now we are going to move away.
It’s been really hard saying goodbye to our friends. What’s amazing is how many people have promised to come and visit us, and I actually think that they will. I mean, I know loads of people talk about visits and never do, but it really does seem like people are curious about the States, or are keen to come see us there, or are just determined not to lose touch. It makes it feel much less like goodbye, and a lot more like farewell for now. But it’s still really hard, especially when I realize that even in the best case scenario, we will probably only see some of our friends/family again in a couple years. When I left Maastricht all those years ago after we finished University, it was hard to say goodbye to everyone, but we were all dispersing across the world. This time, our little family are the only ones moving, which feels so much more jarring.
It’s also just so weird to prioritize and box up my life. All our kitchen stuff we want to take, board games, clothing, ornaments and toys. I am excited about the things in boxes because I know it will bring me great joy to open them up on the other side, to get them in a few months time and make wherever we’re living feel more like home thanks to receiving Dean’s braai stuff or my Le Creuset collection. But it has also highlighted just how much other stuff we can’t or won’t take. While none of it is particularly meaningful or important, it’s just hard to look at all the things we’ve accumulated in this life here, and how little we will be taking with us to the new life we will be creating there.
Still, it is very exciting, and it feels like I will be taking our friends and family with me in a way. In the same way that we’ve had people come and visit us here who might never have checked out South Africa otherwise, I imagine that we will see a lot of loved ones from here again, but in the US. Plus, we will be in a much more convenient place, which means that we can visit our friends more in Europe or the States, that we can travel without it costing as much of a fortune, and we can show Harley more of the world.
Besides, social media makes it so much easier than it used to be. I can keep in touch with friends on WhatsApp, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on this blog (it is sorta what it’s there for, right?). This really isn’t goodbye, even though we will be half a world away from the place we’ve called home for the past (almost) ten years.
It’s hard to wrap my head around this one week left thing. I have one week to finish everything. To finish packing boxes, to finish getting the cats’ paperwork in order, to pack our suitcases, to sell or donate pretty much everything else in our home. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get it all done, and yet… I know I will. I know that I will march through packing boxes, and even get to enjoy making inventories and labeling each one. Yes, I know, I’m weird like that. I’ll get to make packing lists for our suitcases and check everything off. I’ll get all the documents to all the people who need them. And then, on the 15th of August, 2017, my little family will board a plane and start a new life.
So much adventure awaits. Just one week left until we turn the page on this chapter and start the next one.