When people have said before that moving house is one of the most stressful things in life I have thought that it can’t be that bad, I can now say that it is true! For us it was not just moving house but moving countries too. None of the copious trips back and forth with a van …. just one van and a whole lifetime of stuff to sift through, sort, sell, take to the dump, charity shop and repeat again and again. This was happening right up until the day we left. In the midst of all this saying goodbye to so many friends, neighbours, work friends and clients which was just adding to the emotional roller coaster! I think I can say that last week was one of the most stressful weeks of our lives (omitting Rich’s ship wreck situation in the Atlantic).
We did try and get into ‘expedition mode’ seeing it as a challenge or a mission, but as the week went on with the clock against us we didn’t know how we could clear our whole house to empty and fit everything into the van. I can recall a number of moments when the stress on my shoulders felt like a weight pressing down on them, tears were shed but needed to be held back as we had no time to lose! The rain kept beating down and to add to the dark moment thunder started to roll. One picture that comes into my mind is of me, Rich and our neighbour Iris huddled on our doorstep with the rain lashing down while we had a brief cry, not knowing how we could get everything done for the next day. We then had to snap back into action handing over house plants, lamps, the bread maker, the kenwood mixer and any other possessions that we could off load on to our neighbours. The pile for the van kept increasing. The tape measure came out to see if this huge pile would fit in and we thought at a push we might just be ok!
The person that has been the constant joy throughout this process is Josh. How much can we learn from children. His enthusiasm remained even when his bunk bed had to go and his toys were sifted through. Even his last day at school as I was struggling to hold back the tears he was bouncing around pleased with the balloon poster that his school friends had made him for a farewell present. While we were stressing he was at his best friends house having a ball. When I felt cold and gloomy he was kicking the leaves and throwing them in the air saying “I love autumn! It’s snowing leaves”.
Leaving Rich behind to deal with loading the van and a few more dump trips and a 24 hour drive ahead with James felt unfair. After another short nights sleep Josh and I made it to the airport. Thankfully no one questioned my rather large hand luggage bag that was stuffed with books and toys and a few things that we would need before the van arrived. It hit me at the airport that I have never bought a one way ticket before. This was it we were finally doing it, moving to Spain!
Arriving at Barcelona Sans train station with Josh in tow and a few queues later trying to work out where we needed to go to catch our next train a few thoughts of panic came into my mind…’what have we done, is this the right thing for Josh, for us …ahhh!’ Then my rational brain set in and I knew that long term it would all be worth it. It highlighted the increased need to get to grips with Spanish and Catalan quickly and I knew deep down that we could make this work.
We have been shown no end of kindness. Josh and I were collected from the station by our friend (when I say friend we had only met him in a cafe once on our last trip). He helped us find our flat and later came to collect us to join him, his wife and his daughter for tea and games and general fun at their house in the country with their pet dogs, cats, hens and a goose. We had the fire roaring, music blaring and Josh and his new friend Meya hit it off. There was lots of laughter too. Just what was needed after an epic week and a good means of taking my mind of Rich and James driving through the night on very little sleep.
Rich and James arrived the following evening in high spirits despite the 23 hour journey and 2 hours sleep on the floor of the bar in the ferry (not because they had passed out from booze-just because it was quite and more comfortable than the recliner chairs!
So here we were reunited as a family ready to take on the new chapter. This dream hatched many years ago and it is now starting to become a reality. There will be many challenges and hurdles to scale along the way and probably a few more years until this chrysalis turns into a butterfly but I know it’s happening and I know that with God all things are possible.
Until next time!