Moving On.

I remembered this morning that my girlfriend Krissy was in the midst of packing up, she’s leaving Melbourne to return to Adelaide. Every year when G and I fly through Melbourne, we pester Krissy and her husband on whether they’ll return to their roots. They both love Melbourne, but Adelaide holds some major cards in the draw. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, it’s the same three factors when it’s not only your decision – family, work, schooling. The constant weighing up of pros and cons. Grandma versus the MCG.

Krissy loves Melbourne, when others talk of its coldness, she speaks of friends and their warmth. There’s something about making friends from scratch; no old school connections, no rehashing of old stories. With the anxiousness of a cold sales call, we arrive at playgrounds, libraries, school gates and work, with an uncomfortable elevator pitch of who we are and why we’re there. The exhaustion that comes with constantly getting lost, feeling frazzled and discovering the unknown, can be erased with one decent ten minute conversation that ends with a “we should catch up, what’s your number”. Krissy plunged herself into Melbourne, new babies, new houses, a brand new life.

They picked an area, rented then bought and rebuilt. They coached children’s sport, joined groups, helped out, held parties. They saw tremendous grief and celebrated milestone birthdays. I’ve watched from afar as Krissy built her new life. I looked at pictures and realized I didn’t recognise anyone in the new landscape of my old friend. She’d done it, she’d built a whole new community. When they came to visit in Qatar earlier this year, they spoke of friends in the same way we speak of family, because that’s what happens when you move from home. Friends become family.

She rang this morning.

“The removal van just left, its just driven down the road.”
The tone of her voice was familiar, I recognized the sentiment. No going back, it’s really happening.

“It’s like our life just drove down the road in that truck. That’s it. That’s Melbourne – done. I don’t know how you do this all the time? I’m never bloody moving again”.

I laughed, but there were tears forming. I really felt for Krissy, and her shakiness had taken me somewhere else for a moment.

Cities were flashing through my mind. The last week in Jakarta, the last week in Kuala Lumpur, the last week in Calgary. I could organize a party for a hundred people, have a baby, or complete a forty page sales proposal – all three combined do not compare to the highs and lows of leaving town for the last time.
The stress of the pack, the constant worrying about the children, the emotion of letting go, the goodbyes. While you’re ringing to disconnect the phone and the gas, your trying to disconnect your heart from the garden you’ve planted, the school you’ve volunteered at, and the guy you buy your newspaper from each morning. You’re not going to see the perennials that you planted bloom, you won’t stop in for an ice-cream after school at the corner store again. You’re leaving. Face it. You’re leaving.

A new adventure is exciting, terrifying and exhilarating. Stepping forward and moving on, means that that something is being left behind. And sometimes it would just be so nice to take it all with you.

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  • Michelle

    Oh Kirsty. Gorgeous post. Relate to it in so many ways. Heart still hurts when I think of my little old house in Sydney, corner cafe and beautiful neighbours … let alone the leaving behind of family.

  • Uniforms

    Time never stops, this is why we shouldn’t stop moving on.

  • Lynda Halliger-Otvos

    Kirsty, your ability to leave your stepping stones behind as you venture out anew each time rivals the rigidity and depth of grip with which others claim their ancestral lands. Peripatetics are who the world needs to engage and disburse our variety of cultures. I feel so lucky to be here for blogs and the world wide web’s capacity to reach so many.

    Thank you for your blog and your skilled writing.

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      I love your comment Lynda, so beautifully put. xx

  • Nancy

    I cannot lurk around here anymore without commentating. After 4 incredible years I’m sitting in my Tokyo kitchen drinking wine and a little in denial that in 3 weeks I’ll be in Shanghai, a city I’ve never been to. We’ve had an amazing experience here and whilst we’re looking forward to exploring our new home, I know Tokyo will always have a special place in our hearts. By the way, one of the first people I ever spoke to here, who rescued me from the loneliness of a newbie was the indomitable Mrs Herd. Just goes to show, it’s really a small world after all….

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      Nancy, I am SO glad you came out of lurking. I’m looking forward to seeing Mrs Herd in Qatar, I think she’s an absolute gem. Good luck with the move and make sure you come back and say hello again! xx

  • Jules @ Two Punks, a Princess and Me

    This post couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time! My house is being packed up tomorrow and we’re moving from Jersey in the UK and back to our hometown Perth! I can’t wait, but there are so many other emotions involved in this move. It’s bittersweet.

  • JO

    Oh that dilemma of closing some doors while others open. It’s heart-wrenching.

  • Becky Stephen

    Your post was timely. We’re packing up – again – to move – again – leaving it all for good – again. You comforted me: We’re not alone. There are plenty of others who ‘get it’, who ‘been there, done that’. And we’ve not just survived it, we’ve learned to thrive. You encouraged me that we can do it – again. We can make a new place ‘home’ and new people ‘family’.

  • Dianna

    We are on our first move overseas & it was so difficult to leave friends & family at home in the US…2 1/2 years ago. There’s something about living anywhere for 3 years (whether it’s “home” or not), you grow roots whether you want to or not. Your children get plugged into the school & you get absorbed into the community. Next summer we will go back home & people are already throwing out the inevitable comments of how excited they are for us to move back & how glad we must be to finally be going home.
    The only problem is that they don’t understand that the move home will be bittersweet for us. Your words spell out perfectly what my greatest fears are in moving back home again…no one there will understand (or ask) about what school was like here (it’s much smaller & more like family), or how insane the driving & parking is, or know how much I miss the friends we will leave here that have become like family, or understand how sad I am that I won’t ever get to go to the crazy grocery , cafe, or whatever again. Thank you for your thoughts. I’m not great with words so I’m planning to share your blog with my friends & family at home so hopefully they will be a bit more sensitive & not belt out (as often) “aren’t you so glad to finally be home again?!”.

  • Kohana

    You’ve layed it out so beautifully. We are preparing for yet another international move to rebalance the family-work-schooling triangle. I am filling my heart with my amazing friends, and soaking up every bit of wonderfulness our current life has to offer. I keep telling myself that with each move we’ve built a full and joyous life, so I know we can do it again…but it does take SO much work to be the new girl again, to find everything again, to set up a house again, to start from scratch again. I love it and hate it every time.