“Why are we leaving?”
The BB’s question was, this time, spurred by a conversation about the logistics of getting our goods moved from Australia to England.
As any mover will know, the timing of such a project is fraught. If your household effects go too early, you have to sleep on the floor of your empty house like a cave person; or acquire, then dispose of, sleeping apparatus; or commute to work from distant friends or family; or find a hotel. Going before your goods, is bravery or foolishness as you entrust the removal and everything else to others.
When confronted with the what-are-we-doing question, I have a variety of responses. My latest at the time was the old Kath and Kim standby, “I have three words for you”. I held up my left fist and released a digit with each word. “Old. Speckled. Hen”. It’s one of The BB’s favourite beers and is brewed in the UK. Mention of it causes his eyes to mist with anticipation. (Should I mention the drool or is that too unflattering?)
I am not sure if I will find a substitute for my Australian champagnes. (French people and wine buffs, read that as ‘sparkling whites’ please.)
We enjoy our little faux dramas, looking at each other with the thrill of anxiety or excitement, but, despite incredulity from every English person to whom I have spoken in Australia (“You’re doing what?”), I know it will be fine; way beyond fine.
The BB is thinking of it as an adventure. However, he anticipates homesickness for the natural beauty of Australia, our summer picnics at the outdoor movies, the varied work groups of which he is part and being in the same country as off-spring.
It is easy for me, in the lead up, to be lured by green rolling hills, stone walls and hedges, old houses, tiny streets and roads, hedgehogs and badgers and wildflowers that make an Australian would-be cottage gardener weep with longing. But I want to embrace the idea of a new country without stereotyping it. There are also motorways; appalling architecture and dense populations; mines and quarries; long, cold, dark winters and some of the trappings of societal inequality . Is it worth bearing those in mind as well to try to prevent disappointment, to keep realistic? Not for me. It is enough to know they exist. They are there as the occasional warp thread in the fabric of my imaginings.
Moving country is more than just a physical relocation. It is the grandest opportunity to slough off ways of being in the world that drag at one; that, taken to their frequent and boring extremes, dull and impede one. They are a habit that can be changed. This is the chance to transmute them into something more functional, more in keeping with one’s understanding of what may be possible for oneself.
I plan to leave behind other things too: memories of actions I regret which are really too small to bother with but which niggle me. Begone! I choose to lay down these burdens at this crossing of the sea.
I have struggled to live the idea that I can at any time release myself but I shall give it a red hot go from the moment I step on that plane. Sure, I could start beforehand (and that’s what packing is all about) but I enjoy working with the symbolism. I suspect I shall need reminders from my burgeoning self and from others but, as with entering a new landscape, one must simply step in and be, choosing the possibilities with joy, being aware of the warp threads but working with the weft to see and create new patterns.