I don’t know quite when it started, but sometime in the last few weeks, without talking about it, Haak and I moved into moving mode – we are getting shit done. Things on the to-do list for months or years are being nailed down [and oh, that only took AN HOUR?].
In five short weeks, we will be moving back to Australia after three years of living in Montana. I have this image of us flying into a Sydney dawn as we have so many times before, pointing out the water to the kids and trembling with the anticipation of hearing Australian accents all around, seeing the vegetation, smelling the air.
But the more times we do this, the more nervous I get. We’re 35 this year. We’re not travelling twentysomethings anymore. There are two kids to consider and shouldn’t we be working on our future security?
It feels now like I’m about to do a huge bell flop when I imagine looking down on Sydney. Here we coooMMMEEEeeee!
In between checking off our to-do list, Haak and I pace anxiously and snap at each other. We’re not leaving for over a month, so you could say this was premature. But the desire to beat the clock, to somehow be halfway moved now so we can enjoy some lake time before having to complete the move has overcome us.
It won’t work, of course, but after doing this a few times, I do believe in decision fatigue and getting some of those tiny decisions made before we hit that point makes sense.
There is always that one box when we’re unpacking that has all the things in it we just couldn’t make a decision about and you can tell: it’s stuffed carelessly with all the fucks we didn’t give, about to board the plane.
Moving countries is really the same as moving across one country but somehow produces a higher anxiety level. There is no driving back to get something you forgot and no overnight courier service to Australia.
When we get on the plane in five short weeks, we’ll each have a bag and that’s all. Some clothes, a book, some toiletries. The kids will stuff every available space in their bags with rocks and broken plastic toys and toilet rolls.
Just like we were going on a week-long trip.
In some ways, I love the purge – although I’m not a collector by nature [and Haakon is often firmly rescuing things I’ve put in the thrift store pile or recycling] our moving cycle ensures that all those weird things that add up over the years are eventually looked at, and reconsidered.
When I woke up this morning, it was with a clear idea of looking in our top most kitchen cabinets for items to purge. In the backup tea department, I found iced blueberry green tea powder.
I’m sure I didn’t buy it. It sounds disgusting. So how the heck is it there? Flotsam and jetsom tea that happened to be spinning past and get stuck in our orbit. Space junk.
As we move towards the final pack up, the concurrent using up and rationing become more intense: Can we live without cinnamon for a month? what about baking soda? a drizzle of maple syrup is all that is left. I’m certainly not going to buy a whole half gallon again, but can you buy the right amount of syrup for four possible pancake weekends?
And how can I use up the full jar of celery salt and half a kilo of coriander seeds I seem to have?
With these questions comes a curiously morbid desire to bequeath things to people I love. While Shawna loaded the cement mixer, I solemnly left her all the good tea I won’t drink in five weeks.
A bottle of oyster sauce will go to someone who raved about my greens with garlic and oyster sauce, our walnuts to Madeline for her delicious walnut bread. The end of a ten-pound bag of split peas to my mother-in-law, who makes excellent soup.
And then, in a flurry of decision fatigue, we’ll stuff all the odds and ends of food in a box and guiltily leave it on Shawna and Ben’s porch, or with Haak’s parents, so they can hold onto that full jar of celery salt, never using it, and give it back to us in three years.
Sometimes the continuity of space junk can be comforting.
Thanks for reading!
What do you use celery salt for????