Long Goodbye

We’re starting to make our new life in France very real in our minds. We’ve planned out a strategy for telling family, friends and work. We’ve planned our last six months in England financially and logistically. And we’ve planned our last christmas here, emotionally, whimsically. We’re starting to indulge ourselves. Looking forward to having money from the house sale in the bank. Looking forward to six months renting in Cheltenham. A shorter and easier commute for Ben. A more active and luxurious social life as a family. Eating out, going for drinks, shopping at Waitrose. And having one last magical christmas week, our way, but emphasising lots of quality time with our families in the Midlands.

We’ve imagined Ben’s last ever day at work. Mom flying over a week before the rest of us to hire a car, get the keys and take delivery of our removals van. Our furniture and boxes and bags being unloaded into our new home. Waiting for us. Our home that will have hopefully have had a few months of TLC by local builders and just need decorating and furnishing by its new owners. That last week in England with mom in France. What will I do with myself? The packing will be done. We’ll clean the house over the weekend together. We’ll go out for a walk around Cheltenham and for a nice final roast on Sunday.

We’re planning way in advance, and in detail now, two years ahead, allowing ourselves to change those plans and adjust our timescale to adapt to things that we can’t prediict, things we can’t control and also our own changing thoughts and feelings. Because we want this to work, for this move to be permanent, happy, with no regrets, we all need to be really ready when we move. It’s not just about the actual time we give ourselves between now and that one-way flight. It’s how we spend our time, preparing ourselves and everyone else, and saying goodbye in stages, dealing with the less romantic side of moving gradually, as early as we can, so that it doesn’t take away from our sense of calm and peace in the approximately 3 month window between our last christmas and Ben’s last day at work.

We will come back. But it might ony be one week every other year. We don’t know how we’ll feel about coming ‘home’ as France becomes home. When we come back we know how we want to do it. We want to treat it as a holiday. Stay somewhere nice and comfortable. Not be in a rush. Take the kids to see things, to places we feel are important to their education, to their cultural heritage. I want them to know England. I want them to love it and to feel proud. I don’t want them to miss out on experiences we would have given them had we stayed in the Cotswolds, or the Wye. We’d like them to have a connection to the Isle of Wight. We’d like them to soak up the atmosphere of an English afternoon in summer. Pimms, cricket, a village green, a fete, tug of war, afternoon tea, fish and chips. Take them to the villages we took them to as babies. Villages that feel magical to us. A chance for us to keep hold of the England we fell in love with when we moved as newlyweds into the countryside to begin our Jam Jar life together.

~J

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