Well, after 12+ months planning, and a bunch of hiccoughs along the way, we’re now in Melbourne.
The last week or so of the move was crazy, to say the least. Long days of work followed by evenings of preparing for the removalists weren’t enough, it seemed, for us, and so a few other things were thrown in at the last minute. And not inconsequential things. This isn’t the time or place to go into them, but let’s just say that the stress and challenge of the mood shot up by an order of magnitude in the last week, and that had nothing to do with the moving process itself.
Our last day of work before the move was Thursday 29th, and after a successful day of work on the Friday, I ended up having my first major stress reaction of the move on the Saturday morning. Typically for me as a geek, it manifested as a brief tantrum as I worked on disassembling the computer room. It was illogical and stupid and for 20 minutes I was behaving like a teenager, but I guess it was cathartic as well, because it got it out of my system and let me move on. During the day, Darren’s parents came down and helped us with getting the house ready for tenants – they’re troopers and their generosity of time and effort is nothing short of remarkable, as always.
Saturday night was our farewell drinks, but also Darren’s birthday. We had a great collection of friends turn up, including some folks I’d not seen in years. What could have at times been a sombre occasion was instead one of heartfelt laughter and appreciation, and we both I think will treasure those memories. If nothing else, it recharged us for the storm that would start the next day.
It also gave me a cold. Thankfully almost gone now, but it was at its worst on the Sunday and the Monday – when our removalists arrived first to pack the house, then to pack the shipping container. The team was amazingly efficient, and so much of our nascent stress about the move evaporated as we watched (and where possible assisted) them with the work. (Aus Removals. Definitely check them out if you’re making a big move.)
NSW turned on bitter tears of farewell for us on the Monday in particular. It drizzled, it rained, it pissed down and it even hailed. The removalists did their magic, working around the worst of the weather and closing the shipping container door in the afternoon on a floor-to-ceiling packed unit, the last mattress neatly slipping in and taking up the last bit of free space. We watched our possessions be driven off, sans the seemingly huge pile we’d be taking in the car with us, then kept working with Darren’s parents on final prep for tenants.
On Tuesday morning while I did a final cleanup, Darren visited his grandmother in hospital, quite likely for the last time, and so it was with one part subdued excitement, one part deep sadness and one part stress that we finally got on the road at 3pm Tuesday and headed down to Sydney so that we could get onto the Australian Bear Southern Migratory Route – AKA the Hume Highway.
The rain until 100km south of Sydney or so was at times a potent physical force pushing against the car – a car packed to the rafters with the bits and pieces we’d decided were essential for living with until our possessions arrive this coming Monday. I had preloaded an iPod Nano with music for the trip, which got packed by mistake in the boot, of course. We both had iPhones with plenty of music on them that we could have plugged in, but instead given the events of the week were content to travel just in the company of each others thoughts and words.
The trip was long, but tiring. We pulled into the driveway at our place in Kingsville around 2.30 to 3am on the Wednesday morning, spent 30 minutes unpacking the car (constantly, incredulously remarking “fuck! how did we get all this in here in the first place?”), got some air mattresses inflated and then slept a restless night. Melbourne had a cold snap to welcome us – it got down to about 3º overnight; but that wasn’t really the cause of our restlessness – when the road is long and the day even longer, sometimes sleep, much as you need it, remains elusive at best.
Yesterday was a bit of a blur but a brilliant one – cooked breakfast, took a trip over to Footscray to buy a few basics, then last night met up with a friend, had pizza and a relaxing evening before getting a better sleep last night.
And it 100% proved that the move was done for all the right reasons. Hell, by the time we’d crossed over the border into Victoria on Tuesday night we both knew entirely it was the right thing to do. Long days not withstanding, other challenges not withstanding, Victoria beckoned like the beacon of revitalisation we’d long been seeking. Our first full day just proved it beyond a doubt.
Even with looming stress and grief ahead of us, not to mention waiting for our possessions to arrive, and the typical minor problems like phone connectivity, residual tiredness, etc., we’re both, in our own ways, more alive than we’ve been for years.
Goodbye rut, hello life. We won.