You may have noticed our location recently listed as "the last days of chez nous". And they have been. On Saturday, Xander and Nico are (finally) moving to Sydney.
I've only recently told people about this, and the response is often "that seems awfully quick". It isn't; I've just kept it quiet until everything was certain, as I couldn't bear the humiliation of having it fall through (especially after the Great Debacle of '05). In reality, the whole thing has been a nightmare odyssey ever since the day, nearly two months ago, when I discovered that the Xander and Nico house was due to be demolished, and before I knew it I'd agreed to move to Sydney with friends.
If I'd had any idea just how difficult it was going to be to find a house, I would never have agreed to this. You might have heard in the media about a "rental crisis" in the market these days. It's no exaggeration. Most Saturdays for the past months, I've been in Sydney, trying to navigate my way through unfamiliar suburbs whilst dashing from one open for inspection rental property to another, and returning home to fill in and send off mountains of application forms. This went on and on, becoming more desperate as homelessness looked like an increasingly likely possibility, until we finally recieved that call last week, telling us we were successful. Now I keep hearing, "You're so lucky to have found a house!" Lucky? It wasn't luck...it was an awful lot of hard work to find a place. (Which I haven't even seen yet; it was a house inspected by my flatmate-to-be whilst she was also doing the inspection-application rounds).
(And as this has been going on, I've also been attending job interviews. I thought the best course of action was to find a job first, then get the house sorted, but as the housing crisis dragged on I decided to focus my energies on that. I'm back on the interview merry-go-round now though. Another of the many comments I keep hearing lately is "You should have moved to Sydney years ago." But there was no way I was physically or emotionally able to deal with all this back then.)
Anyway, it's hardly a novel observation, but I'm being painfully reminded: moving is hell. When I first moved into my house, out of a share house, nearly seven years ago, the place looked rather empty, and I knew I needed to...fill it. Fast forward to now, and I've got seven years worth of stuff to sort through and pack. Obviously I was keen to avoid this if at all possible, but as I listened in slack-jawed horror to several quotes from removalists I realised I'd have to do it all myself, and set to work. Every spare minute at home recently (and there haven't been many) I've been cleaning out cupboards and shelves and drawers, unable to understand why my house was such a mess when I'd gotten rid of what seemed like almost everything I owned.
But when that was done, we moved on to the next, even worse stage: the actual packing. Thankfully, when the inevitable breakdown on my end came on Monday night (a brief but intense crying fit) my mother offered to step in, which she did yesterday with admirable, if slightly overzealous, efficiency (packing some things I still need for the next couple of days). Still, it's great that the end is in sight, and everything major is just about done.
So how's Xander, you ask? He's been pretty unsettled lately. For a start I haven't been home much, and he's seen all the unusual clean-out activity, and he can sense my moods, and he can just tell something is up. Like his Mum, he doesn't much care for change. I'd expected major problems last night, as the house is completely turned upside down, and there are boxes stacked where furniture used to be, but he didn't make a fuss; perhaps sensing I'm on an emotional knife-edge, he merely had a snooze in the one largely undisturbed place, the bathroom; then wandered through the house, looking around with an expression that said "What the heck happened in here?!?" And I have no answer. The big test comes on Saturday, when he leaves the only home he's ever known on his first long car journey to live with the first non-me people ever. I'm sure there will be a long, difficult period of adjustment, and possibly some tantrums. And that's just me. Goodness knows how he will react.
Surprisingly though, I am not sorry to be leaving Newcastle. I always imagined that I'd find leaving here nearly impossible, but things have changed; partly because I've been spending so much time in Sydney lately I'm starting to feel more at home when I'm there. Far more disappointingly though, there have been some awful things going on in Newcastle lately. Nothing that's affected me personally, but basically I no longer feel safe here, and it's soured me on the place, and I'm more than ready to go.
A new life awaits. And in a roundabout way, this brings me to the main point of my post; it's possible that I might not be updating here for awhile. Not because I'll be busy living the life of the inner-city single woman (not least, because although I'm discussing restaurants and clubs and galleries as things I'm looking forward to, my secret most anticipated activity is going to the airport to watch the planes take off - please don't tell anyone!) but because based on past experiences, apparently it's going to take us some time to get the internet connection running.
It's a two-hour drive from Newcastle to Sydney, but for me the journey has taken years and years. I'm nearly there now though.