We hate good-byes. Who doesn’t, right? They are awful and difficult to do. Goodbye hugs are the saddest hugs. I would rather fast forward past them if I had Adam Sandler’s Click remote, but I don’t.
THE EXCITEMENT BUILDS
It is so exciting when you first, while nervous and unsure of yourself, make the decision to leave everything behind to start a new way of life. It gets more exciting when you tell your closest relatives and friends about your new plans. You even convince yourself more and become surer of your great plan as you tell them about it.
The excitement peaks at dizzying heights when everyone knows, you are 100% committed to the plan and you start making arrangements to leave. You can hardly think straight. I googled travel destinations and maps and itineraries day and night at this point but soon the excitement fades a little bit. You have tough decisions to make when giving it all up and it slowly dawns on you that you have work to do, mountains of it before you can leave.
Then the excitement temporarily (note: only temporarily) disappear when you suddenly really realise that you have to say good-bye. It now sinks in that you WILL be leaving your life behind and everyone in it. IT. IS. HAPPENING. Cue emotion. 😢Buckets of emotion.
Time Does NOT Fly
The last few weeks and days before you check in for your long-haul flight away from home, are the longest! They drag.
We planned a little get-together for our friends and family just before we left. I booked ladies night tickets at the theatre with my Mom and a few girlfriends. So much fun! We spent quality time with our friends and family over a braai or home-cooked meals.
A Good-bye highlight was the surprise treat my friends planned for me. I was truly so surprised that I burst out in tears. The very emotional ugly sobbing kind, leaving mascara and goodness-knows what else all over their shoulders.
The girls surprised me with a very entertaining (not the fish but their reactions to the fish) Gara Ruffa fish spa treatment and breakfast afterwards at the stunning Bayleaf Cafe. What worried me is how Brendan played the “surprise” game like a pro! I did not for one second think something was up so the surprise was very effective.
Brendan and I got to spend a night in Wilderness for our anniversary while my family looked after the children.
Our going-away party at the lake got rained out, so we let our family and those friends who wanted to say bye join us for cake and coffee the day before our flight.
I know it sounds silly, but reality set in for me for the first time at this point. I looked around at our loved ones. Some were so excited for us they could hardly contain it. Seeing themselves in our shoes and mentally doing it if they could. Others were emotional. Sad to see us go. It was very touching.
An Unexpected Scenario
That night and the next day we felt, well, a little flat. Not sure how to explain it, but even at the airport, checked in and ready to start our big adventure, the way I felt was not what I expected. I thought we would be supercharged with anticipation and excitement like you are when you go on holiday. We’ve wanted to travel again for so long.
We were sad. This is a long-term goodbye. Not a see-you-in-a-week-or-two goodbye. We were sad to say bye to our wonderful family and awesome friends who filled and coloured our lives. Our support system. Our close buddies who recharge and re-energise us when we need it. On all levels. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Now it will just be us. I know that “just us” will be enough, but we’re seriously going to miss them.
Every time I read this post I tear up!
To our friends and family in South Africa:
We are not sure when we will be back. You never know, maybe sooner than we think, although we hope NOT. We will miss you terribly and think of you often. We’ve had an amazing five years sharing our lives with you in our beautiful country and we are so much richer in our hearts for it. Thank you for being so amazing and for caring about us so much! We felt loved and we thank you for that.
It was harder to say goodbye than we thought it would be. We miss you already and we love you very much!
Please stay in touch with us and we promise to do the same.
Lots of Love,
Brendan, Lindsay, Matt, Megs & Milly