Going, going, (almost) gone!

We’re on our way to the States: our house is under offer, we’ve traveled to Auckland and have had our Green Cards approved, and tomorrow, Lord willing, we fly out to New York.

The last few weeks have been a super busy time, and a bit of an emotional roller coaster. So much to finish off, so little time. So excited to go, so sad to leave. So many lasts (for a while — not forever!). So many things falling into place at just the right time. So much to be thankful for. Too many goodbyes. So much grace.

Last week Thursday the packers came.

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(Some left-over balloons from Marica’s birthday party the previous weekend in the midst of all the packing mess!)

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Thursday night the tummy bug came for Ben.

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We said goodbye to our house.

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We said goodbye to friends and family (and I didn’t take photos of nearly half of them, which I regret) and had many lovely meals and visits, which we’re so thankful for.

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And for a bit of (embarrassing to us) fun, here’s a song Ben and I wrote about our move and that we played at the Hoyt reunion in January.

Next time I hope to send you all an update from the Big Apple!

Gearing up to go

The last few weeks have gotten exponentially busier as we’re getting ready for our move back to the States. It is strange how something can feel so unreal even in the midst of the busyness. I have days where it’s almost a surprise to me when people ask when we’re leaving. “Leaving? What do you mean? Oh yeah…” But I work a bit that way: get things done that need to be done, and process it all later.

This past weekend we had our garage sale, as well as the last open home for our house. Our car is also sporting ‘for sale’ signs, and the couch I’m sitting on right now is for sale on TradeMe. It feels a bit like my whole life’s for sale at the moment, ha!

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We’ve had many opportunities to have some lovely last catch-ups with friends and family, and that will continue until we leave, with the diary all booked up. Ben and I just continue to marvel and God’s blessings to us — undeserved grace overflowing into every nook and cranny of our crazy lives through many wonderful people and opportunities and material things too.

Wednesday is the deadline date for offers on our house. It will be interesting to see what comes our way! Thursday and Friday the packers come, and on Monday we fly out to Auckland. It’s all go!

On being home

So yes, as Ben informed you about 2 weeks ago, we’re back in Christchurch! I can hardly believe it’s been two weeks, because it’s been so busy with unpacking and getting right into things here.

We were given a wonderful and warm welcome home. There were friends and family who met us at the airport, and a very clean home and tidy garden waiting for us. My parents have been fantastic, working so hard here with lots of help from friends, not only before we came but afterwards helping us unpack too.

My friend Miriam had organised a whole basket of groceries for us,

and we had a fridge and freezer full of food and meals (I’ve only cooked once since we’ve been back!) from friends and family. My mum’s a fantastic cook, and to have had a whole heap of meals made by her in the freezer and eating at their house the first few days we were back was great. A real taste of home, you could say.

Being back is filled with mixed emotions. Mostly it just feels really strange, as if we’ve just woken up from a 2-year long sleep, as if our time in the States was just a big blurry dream. Things here are just the same as always, and yet subtly different (sometimes not so subtly,  like all the many buildings that used to be there that are gone after the earthquakes), and it’s those subtle differences that make it weird.

It’s been great reconnecting with people — lots to catch up on — and I do enjoy the fact that people can just visit without having to plan a visit 2 weeks in advance. New York distances sure made just popping in for a visit nigh to impossible.

Ben’s getting into the work here, having to readjust to working from home again, and the perks and challenges that that brings. The kids seem to have handled the transition well, and Esther is getting used to the idea that she’s going to sleep in the same bed (oh, I forgot to mention the beautiful white bunk bed with matching bedding and dressers my parents got the girls as a welcome home present, so lovely!) for the foreseeable future. She’s starting preschool next week for two mornings a week, and we’ve gotten into the routine of doing homeschooling work with Marica again too.

I won’t deny it, I’m very glad to be back. But I also can’t deny how much I miss the States. I don’t feel quite ready for the change, but there’s no time to get ready! — I just have to jump into life here whole hog! I thought that two months on the road would work well as a transition, but if anything it just made me more attached to the States — it’s such a vast and beautiful country.

It’s been pretty grey and dreary with rain almost every day since we’ve been back, and our yard is turning into a bog.

I was about to feel miserable about all the grey the other day when this beauty brightened up the day:

Anyhow, we’re now close to being all unpacked and settled. I just need to unpack my music books, some ornaments and little bits of junk that usually live in my bedside table, and hang some pictures on the wall and I’ll feel all moved in! Then it’s just a matter of time to get my head moved into the routines of Christchurch life. Once I do that, I hope to resume posts about the rest of our roadtrip — I have some really amazing photos to share. The photos aren’t so amazing, it’s the subject matter: things like Garden of the Gods that I went and photographed before and during sunrise, Arches National Park, Monument Valley, oh boy, there’s some good stuff there. I look forward to sharing it all with you soon, hopefully!