Our big move to New Zealand has been so long in the making, always so far in the future as to be something from a fantasy, a dream-life that exists only in conversations or in the hypothetical. Something so far off on the horizon that only faith tells me it is there. But somehow here we are, standing and staring this move straight in the face. How did it get here? Ten days? Really? That’s all we have left?
We’ve bought our one way tickets to Chicago, where we’ll visit with my folks for a while. Then we’re off to Oregon, where we’ll visit with Sean’s folks for awhile. We have our one-way Air New Zealand tickets from San Francisco to Auckland and then on to Gisborne. We have a home in Gisborne. Our kids are on the enrollment lists at the school and preschool there. We have buyers for some of our furniture. We have a friend’s church who will come with a truck and get everything else. We’ve purged and donated to Cradles to Crayons and Goodwill. We’re sorting and packing and making phone calls and canceling services and meanwhile trying to enjoy the final days with our friends, trying not to think about the looming goodbyes, doing our many “lasts.” God, this is gut-wrenching.
I’m ready to be on the other side of these ten days, while at the same time I’m clinging to them. I’m afraid of the sadness, of choking back tears, of hiding my sadness from my kids. I’m tired of the jaw aches and stress of emptying our house of all our possessions and getting the place ready for our tenants. What I’m ready for is the fun. The fact that Sean will be on vacation for a month before starting his new job in early October. That we’ll get to see some old friends on our way West. That, finally, there will be time to relax enough to savor this transition. The fact that our accommodations in Gisborne are unbelievable: three big bedrooms, a deck, and a pool, in our ideal part of town! We’re anticipating living the good life in our new digs. I’m ready to be moving around our new city, our new country, with eyes wide open, experiencing everything, it all taut with newness. But first, I have to rip my heart out.
This stage in the process is filled with optimism and excitement and yet feels totally terrifying and heartbreaking at the same time. I feel bold one minute and watery the next. But how I feel has no bearing on the rush of wind that is our inevitable preparation and departure. I’m standing and the wind is gusting behind me, nudging me forward. One more step. And another. “Keep going,” it’s saying. “That way.”