30 April 2010

Gone baby, gone

Busy week for us here! The day after I last wrote, Nick got a call from a woman on the Gold Coast who was very interested in our motorhome. She asked us to send through lots of pictures so that she could see the condition of the upholstery and benchtops (which were all in great condition) and decided to fly down the next morning to have a look at it. Nick met her and her mum (they were planning on going halfsies on it) at the airport the next morning, and they loved it and gave us a deposit. They knew that we had an appointment later in the week to have the registration sorted (and the last few bits and pieces fixed) so they couldn't take it that day, and they planned to fly back the following Saturday to pick it up.

Today is Saturday. They have just driven away in the motorhome, and we are in possession of a big fat cheque. Nate and I were sad to see it drive away, but now I feel elated that it's all over. It was really stressful, particularly for Nick who sorted everything out with the motorhome.

We are in possession of the kids' passports and... our tickets! We fly out on the 18th of May. 17 days from now. I alternate between overwhelmed and excited and sad and nervous.

Our next two and a half weeks will be spent saying goodbye to our beloved family and friends. We don't have a whole lot of practical stuff left to do which eases the stress a lot.

The countdown to beautiful Portland has officially begun.

24 April 2010

Come on now

Our stuff has been shipped! The kids' paperwork has been lodged! Our motorhome has been fixed and advertised, and we have have had two people come and look at it, and one coming on Monday. One of the two today looks very promising - he is in the process of looking at something like nine different motorhomes (some of them in Queensland) and he was really happy with ours out of the ones he has seen already. He should be, because ours is awesome (now that it's all fixed up).

So now it's just a waiting game.

Nick and I are keeping busy. We joined a local gym, along with the couple we're staying with, and we have all been going to the gym every day (not all together - I'm usually home with the kids while they go, and then I go alone which suits me perfectly). It feels great. I've also been eating really well, giving my body a bit of a clean out. I had a week of raw vegan, then today the kids and I had sushi for lunch. It was delicious. So were the (way too many) cookies I had afterwards. I realised that I have been too strict with myself. I don't have to eat ALL raw food ALL the time. If I don't have the occasional curry or sushi or cookie I'll go crazy and make up for it all in one sitting and then feel miserable. It does feel excellent to have so much actual nutrition in my diet though. How many people actually eat 5 servings of vegetables every day? I love Michael Pollan's advice: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

16 April 2010

Getting there...

We picked up our motorhome today! We just need to get it registered which should be relatively simple now that the place we bought it from have agreed to honour their website and include 6 months of NSW rego. As of Monday, it will be advertised in Gumtree (it is already), the Trading Post, RV Point, maybe eBay, and CMCA. The guy that fixed the back (and did a marvellous job, by the way) said that we should have no problem getting what we're asking for it. Fingers crossed!

We have also juuuust about finished packing. Just a couple of boxes with some loose stuff. We have sent the customs forms off to the shipping company which they should have received today, and hopefully they will pick everything up next week! I wonder if our boxes will beat us to America. Very exciting.

AND, we made it to the US Consulate last week. You know, I never used to agree with the term "Terrible Twos". Nate and Maya were so agreeable and easy to be around when they were two. Eli, on the other hand, is just like what the mainstream would have you believe all two year olds are like. And taking him to the US Consulate was just like what you would imagine taking a typical two year old to a consulate would be like. He shrieked in the security office. He ran under barriers into forbidden areas. He threw himself on the floor screaming in the quiet waiting area. He protested, vehemently, absolutely everything. Finally a kindly employee pointed out the toy area. Ahhhhh. $500 later, the US citizenship paperwork and passport applications are waiting to be processed... I didn't provide any proof that I have ever spent time in America. I didn't think I'd need to since I had to list all of my movements in and out of the US *ever* on their paperwork. That was tedious. Plus I have pages and pages of passport stamps. Not good enough. Luckily my high school got back to me with my transcript right away! That's four years down. One year to go. I'll call my middle school tomorrow as they don't seem to have an email address. (I know, right? Weird. It's 2010.) Then we can forward that info through and viola, citizenship granted.

That's just about it. Stuff shipped, tick (well nearly). Kids' passports sorted, tick (again, nearly). Motorhome in our possession and ready to sell, tick (um, nearly - it just needs a good scrub and some rego). If it sells in two weeks, we might be leaving the country in three!

I'm so excited, but at the same time I'm well aware of all of the wonderfulness I'm leaving behind. I tend to deal with things after the fact. I won't think about how much I'll miss all of my friends until I'm gone, and then I'll suffer dearly. But that suffering will be tempered by the excitement of being home and seeing my beloved "old" friends and family. I'm not sure if that's a healthy way of dealing with life - am I not mourning properly and pushing things under the surface? Or am I just incredibly clever? Maybe a bit of both?

09 April 2010


We have officially lost all of the data from our hard drive. The attempts to recover our photos and videos from our old computer were fruitless as well.

Gutted. Sick to my stomach, and such a strong sense of mourning. It isn't just photos we have lost, but access to memories. It's like we have allowed ourselves to mentally delete the shortcuts because we would always have the pictures to rely on to remind us.

I always loved to go through those pictures on random - snapshots of our lives over the last 6 years since we went digital. Our own personal highlight reel. There were always pictures that would prompt an "Awww, remember that?" or "Wow, I forgot all about that!" The hardest part isn't actually losing the pictures, it's knowing that because the pictures are gone, certain memories will just disappear into the ether.

Photographs have the ability to take you right back in time. It's like you can experience your children as tiny babies all over again. The picture delivers you to that moment that you first held your child and you can feel it, you can feel that baby in your arms, you can feel the pride and love and relief and intense joy all over again because you are there all over again.

I had to ask myself: what can I learn from this? There's the obvious: back up data! But on a deeper level, I think this is a (harsh) reminder to really be mindful of every moment. Be there. Live. Take it all in. If we rely on photographs to replace our memories, we are missing out on the richness of keeping those memories in our everyday lives. Before we know it, poof! It could all be gone.

05 April 2010

On being homeless

We miss having a home. We miss having our own stuff.

It's not the actual stuff we miss, you understand. Although we do have some stuff that we will happy to have back once we're in America (mostly the kids' toys and our photos and books), we can live without it quite happily. The issue is living with other people's stuff. People who don't have kids tend to have stuff that's in really nice condition.

I'm tired of constantly saying no. "Don't climb on the table. Don't jump on the couch. Don't bump that into the wall. No textas on the carpet!" Of course we talk about all of the whys, and we explain (over and over it seems) why we don't want any marks left on the walls and why some people have issues with their couches being used as trampolines. But it's really boring! I just want to have a home again where the kids can be free. Our stuff is never so precious (with the exception of books) that we feel the need to adjust their natural play in order to protect it.

I'm so grateful that we have been invited into this home to stay for as long as we need to. We have so much room (a whole level to ourselves!), a big backyard, and a few extra adults around which is fun for us and for the kids. They very rarely say anything to the kids (or to us) about the house or their stuff, but they put a lot of effort into their house looking nice. We totally understand. We want to be out of here before any permanent damage is done.