It is done. Our life as we knew it is over. Two weeks ago we flew out of Wattay International Airport for what may be the last time.
The sound of packing tape retching across cardboard punctuated at least a week of my last month in Laos. Despite my best efforts to cull, our ridiculous amount of belongings have been wrapped and sealed into a 40 foot container that, at this moment, is floating somewhere out there in the Ocean.
While our ‘stuff’ makes its way towards us, we scramble to find a domicile to house it, and our family of five. Rent or buy, it is distinctly unlikely that we will actually be able to fit most of our belongings into our new abode, I foresee another cull on the horizon!
Leaving Vientiane was actually a lot more traumatic than I expected. The town itself had long since lost my affections. I was ready for the next adventure, but leaving the people who had we had come to know and love was awful.
We left in style – a big boozy party, several small boozy dinner’s, a few special boozy lunches…are you detecting a theme! There were laughs and tears and expressions of love and friendship. Nonetheless, these were goodbyes. I hate goodbyes. It was miserable.
I have moved, uplifted, changed and started fresh more times than I can remember. Moving and change seem to have always been a part of my life, particularly since I hooked up with G seventeen years ago. Yet this transition has been, and continues to be, the hardest I have ever faced.
Much of it has to do with the girls. They are in mourning for the only life they have ever known. They are desperately missing the only friends they have ever known. As young women, relationships and social networks are EVERYTHING to them. Taking that away has made me feel very guilty.
Watching our magnificent, brave girls farewell their school friends on the the last day was horrid. I made a complete tit of myself at each of the three farewell parties and spent much of the day unable to speak for fear of wailing. They had, still have, such beautiful friends, many of whom are the children of our own dear friends. The outpouring of love was overwhelming and humbling. I am so proud of daughters.
Leaving Bau, our nanny, almost tipped me over the edge. We love her. Chilli LOVES her. Bau LOVES Chilli. When I paid her and bid her a safe ride home for the last time we both wept openly. She was my friend and my sanity. She was Chilli’s other mother. Every single day since we left, Chilli asks about Bau at least 10 times. Yesterday she climbed onto my lap, took my head in her tiny hands, looked me in the eyes and said, “I have missed Bau for really long time. We go home now, OK?”. I wish I could, sweet Chilli. For your sake, I wish I could!
She, and I, also miss Nam and Lung and Kek and Uoi, all of whom worked for us and all of whom hold a place in our collective hearts.
I can hear you all scoffing, “Whatever Lady, I bet you miss them. I would find it hard to say goodbye to my nanny and housekeeper and ironing lady and gardener, that must really suck… Bitch!”
Yes, YES, YES, yes, doing my own laundry is not pleasant but that isn’t really the problem. I miss them because they were good people and all our families were, for a time, a big part of each other lives.
G and I had friends too. People who enriched our lives. People who we will miss terribly. But it is easier with those other adult expatriates. We all understand. We all have Facebook and email and Skype and the chance to maintain our friendships over distance. Those friendships, forged in Vientiane will continue to grow no matter where we all end up in this world.
Yet tears are still shed and I miss having those wonderful supportive people in my daily life!
At the moment it is hard. I have the kids in tow constantly, G is coming to terms with the demands of a new job, there is lots of paperwork, lots of major decisions to make at once (schools, car, house etc) and we are all suffering from a touch of reverse culture shock (shoes in the house, I don’t think so!)
But after all is said and done, we are here in Brisvegas with a chance to start a new chapter. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to. I am not sure how, but my gut tells me this is all part of my journey to FABULOUS!
Thanks for reading.
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5 thoughts on “So that’s that then!”
xxxxx lots of xxxxxx (you can translate love or swear words – which ever seems appropriate…) Jeeez..done it once – but without kids and without them leaving their birth place…high five to you for just getting this far..tell me the cork screw was in hand luggage?! xxxxxxxxx
I threatened to pack the expresso machine in hand luggage! Still rather displaced but it is only temporary. Looking forward to the dust settling and the possibility of something new and exciting appearing on my horizon.
Before I go look up where the bleeding’ ‘ell Brisvegas is, I wanted to congratulate you on making such a big change. That takes balls and many people would have chosen not to and regretted it forever. I hope to be packing my belongings into boxes just like in your picture very soon (although only moving fifteen blocks away give or take but still, those boxes set my heart to racing!) If it makes you feel any better, I’ve always found that kids who moved around a little in childhood are much more social and adaptable as adults. And happy parents = happy children. So happy Settling in! Now where’s that atlas..?x
Aaah Jackie, been in brisvegas ( local slang for Brisbane, QLD, Australia) for coming up to a month now. Still in temporary accom and still waiting on the ‘stuff’. It is not easy and there have been a few tears but nothing worthwhile is! Good luck with your move. I hate packing but love claiming and organizing a new home!
Got your nest yet? hope so! xxx