It is Thursday morning, 8 o’clock. With a huge watermelon in my backpack and a full shopping bag hanging at the handlebar, I cycle through Gillingham on Freddy’s bicycle. I deliver the big bag at the charity shop halfway, but the melon is coming with me to work. It will be part of our farewell lunch with the PhD students.
In the recent weeks, the normal routine of working and living has slowly but surely been taken over by the spirit of moving house. Where pens, books and peanut bowls used to move freely through the house, they are now carefully categorized and put in the appropriate box. There are also fewer options if you want to put something down, because most of the furniture has been sold or given away, just like my bike. The furniture that was not so happy, is mercilessly transformed into firewood by Freddy … Our outdoor fireplace is working overtime!
We will not immediately travel to Chile because we have to wait until Freddy has done his PhD viva (final interview), which won’t be before the beginning of November. That is why we will stay with our parents (in law) in the Netherlands for more than a month. Packing for such a period is a logistical puzzle: When do we need what?
I normally can’t stand it very well when things are not in their proper place, and with such a major reshuffle I get a bit stressed. To make matters worse, this last week my reservation of the new Harry Potter book suddenly became available at the library. Of course I don’t let that opportunity go, however busy we are. Luckily, it is a quick read, because it is a play.
In the midst of the chaos there are also small triumphs, like when the world map came down neatly, without the blue tack pulling the paint from the wall. Yesterday we washed all the curtains and the house smelled wonderfully fresh. After that it just smelled of boxes again.
We are also saying goodbye to the people here, which is a pretty intensive process. We have made good friends here and it’s difficult to leave. It also gives us a warm feeling, the moments of farewell in which food plays a major role and we receive an overwhelming amount of love and gifts.
We have a prevailing sense of gratitude, for our beautiful little house and garden, the inspiring people we met here, for my job and Freddy’s PhD, and the freedom to let go of it all and step into the next adventure.