The big delivery van races across the sea bed. The little boy turns the wheel with shiny eyes. With his arms outstretched he can just reach it. Far too soon he has to go back into his car seat. It is only when we get out of the Eurotunnel that we can fully believe it: we have crossed the border.
Nine days ago it looked like we would have to cancel our move to the Netherlands. France closed the border to all traffic from the United Kingdom. When a few days later we heard the news that you could cross the border with a negative corona test, we quickly booked a test. On Boxing Day, we got to get our tonsils tickled at Heathrow.
The results came back two days ago. We were corona-free and could go on to pack the last boxes. This morning, two amazing friends came to help load the bus. Y.’s local grandparents took care of toddler entertainment. French customs also cooperated, and so, with combined efforts, we ended up on the other side of the channel. A small miracle.
Daylight soon loses out to the heavy clouds on the horizon. But then a different light appears. The full moon carefully creeps out from behind a cloud. It is still low in the sky and is a warm orange. We can’t take our eyes off it. For Y. it is a daily ritual: “There moon!”
Despite the corona crisis and Brexit, the move doesn’t feel like an escape for me. During the past eight years I have found a second home country. From Stonehenge to Percy Shelley, from Doctor Who to Radio 4, from old drafty houses to the sweeping south coast, a part of me will always be there. And of course we stay in touch with friends.
While we zoom across Belgium, the moon dances further and further upwards, swinging in her cloud dress. The clouds disappear when we enter the Netherlands. Y. is sleeping in his car seat and the moon now shines like a beacon directly above our destination. We slowly roll into the street. Ready for a new chapter.