Saturday, 26 October 2013

I hear there are people who actually enjoy moving. Sounds like a disease to me - they must be unstable. Though it does have its poetry, I’ll allow that. When an old dwelling starts looking desolate, a mixture of regret and anxiety comes over us and we feel like we are leaving a safe harbour for the rolling sea - Jan Neruda

I'm sitting on one of the cats' blankets on the floor of my very empty flat. Everything echoes. I just sneezed (it's the dust) and I think I woke up the whole building.

Yesterday was a particularly stressful day. The removal men arrived on Thursday evening and popped up to say "hello". And to assess the work that awaited them. They were dismayed. So then was I. It would not be possible to fit everything into the lorry. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattt?! Their "well, we'll see" was not even vaguely reassuring. My stress levels were already up there. The night was going to be long.

When I went out later, I was dismayed. To say the least. The "lorry" - which I was told would likely be the equivalent of 3-4 car lengths - looked a good deal smaller. Now, I am the first to admit that I have absolutely no concept of space. But I had to agree with them: we were going to need a bigger van.

But these guys were seriously professional. Nick and Connor. Monkey Removals. I don't know how they did it. But they did. With a little encouragement from me and my friends. Coffee at 7am. Croissants, ham and cheese at 8am courtesy of Camping Chum. Moral support at 9am from a couple of other friends. Although it was all in French and Russian, so I'm not sure they got it. And even chicken sandwiches at midday. Prepared by my very own hands. A feat for a vegetarian with an aversion to handling meat...

And so my furniture is on its way. I remain here with a suitcase and the cats. And lots of calming Feliway and drugs for the journey. For them, not me. Unfortunately. My weekend will be full of cleaning and goodbyes. But the excitement mounts. And I can't stop smiling.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

There is always a sadness about packing. I guess you wonder if where you're going is as good as where you've been - Richard Proenneke

I need to sleep. So badly. Soooo tired. It's been a week of long days and late nights. Running around, trying to make order of the madness of the move. 

When I have slept this week, I've actually dreamt about boxes and packing. And fighting with packing tape and the gun dispenser. Although that has actually been a reality for the most part. I have the puncture marks on my fingers to prove it. The detail seeped into my dream. Like a nightmare.

And at the same time I'm still job hunting, of course. Yes, still no job. I'm not stressed. Yet. But could be very soon, methinks...

The cats, on the other hand, are stressed. And consequently very clingy. Even the independent and aloof Mr Montague. Especially at night. I either wake up unable to breathe with a cat (or two) across my chest or wake up to find a cat face inches from mine, staring hard at me. I assume to ensure I'm still around and still alive. Disconcerting, to say the least.

I hope they can hold it together for another week. Me too, for that matter. Although I'm not sure I am actually holding it together. I don't know where anything is. Which is a complete nightmare for a control freak like me. But then, for the most time I don't know where I am. Who I am. It's the fatigue, of course. I hope. But it's an interesting feeling. Not altogether unpleasant, I might add...

The packing though was never-ending. I'm so tired of packing that I'm tempted to say that I really do have too many books. Packing them went on and on. And on. It felt like they were breeding behind my back. Multiplying before my eyes.

Still, all is finally under control. Yesterday, a group of big and muscly friends delivered the fridge/freezer, washing machine and bookshelves to their new homes, and moved all the remaining furniture into one room. Everything else is now boxed up and the world feels like a better place. So that the cleaning can begin. Oh joy! 

But tonight I intend to sleep a long, long time. And then some more. And I have a full and fun week ahead to soften the blow. More goodbye coffees and lunches and dinners. I could get used to life on this other planet. Can I stay here?

Monday, 14 October 2013

Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting - Judith Minty

So there's progress tonight. Real progress. Boxes have been packed. Things are starting to form organised piles in my lounge. I now officially have a home to go to. Ready and waiting for me on my return. With a view over the harbour and into the sea. Just as I dreamed.

And I have a date for the pick-up of my furniture. Finally. It's been a tad tense waiting for confirmation of the date. For no reason other than that I needed to organise permission from the Town Council to park the removal van outside the house. Not complicated, but with deadlines to respect. The transport company cut it fine, but I now hope I can slip my application in without too much hassle. Between more boxes.

I'm actually enjoying the packing. My new landlord sent me photos of my new home and I've mentally placed everything. I'm also being very strict about throwing out what I don't believe is absolutely vital for my well-being. The pile is growing. Although I admit that things do sometimes join the pile only temporarily. My indecision is final...

It is without doubt very therapeutic going through your affairs. Tidying things up. Sorting things out. I foolishly believed I was living sparsely. Aside from my books, of course. But they're an addiction. And I don't apologise for them. Still my belief turned out to be erroneous. Foolish. And very far from the truth.

Seriously, how do you accumulate so much "stuff". So very much. How can any of it be necessary to my existence? And if it is, what on earth does that say about me??

But maybe that's a topic for another occasion. When life is more stable. And I'm not crying into my coffee over how many more boxes of books are left to pack...

Thursday, 10 October 2013

I travel light. But not at the same speed - Jarod Kintz

The grand circuit of goodbyes has begun. At work, at home. Colleagues, friends, acquaintances. Over coffee, over beer, over food.

I don't like goodbyes. I never know what to say. And what I say is never enough. I actually prefer not to say goodbye. Not to make a big thing of a parting that is only temporary. Momentary. Especially today when technology transports us over sea and through air, virtually anywhere. Virtually.

But goodbyes still need to be said and done. Indeed, yesterday was my final day at work. And thus full of goodbyes. It was most bizarre. It's not like it's the first time I've changed jobs. When I think about the number of times I've moved - jobs and countries - it should really be quite easy by now. Still, it never is. And bizarre it remains.

Yet it should be, shouldn't it. You couldn't be human if you moved with indifference in and out of time and space filled with other beings. These people that fill every nook and cranny of our everyday lives.  Whether we want them to or not. 

Ultimately we are creatures of habit. We like, we need some kind of routine. To help us to see where we are and where we are going. And the people around us add to that routine, that habit. Sitting in their offices, taking coffee at certain times, with their own special ways of existing: their special phrases and expressions; their reactions, complaints. Their joy and laughter. All contribute to the security of your day, the habitual. And moving on from that is more difficult that you may imagine.

But change is good. The path turns, it doesn't stop. The route meanders off elsewhere, the vista alters. But it's always best to be carried forward on the good memories made.

And so as one door gently closes, another one opens. And on we go. There are boxes to be packed...