June 9, 2016

The Last Goodbye

Category: Family life

The last 2 weeks prior to our departure was the busiest and toughest yet. There were numerous things to sort out while still working full-time; from the never-ending farewells and get-togethers (the fun part!) to the not-so-fun and stressful bits like:

  • Termination of phone lines, bank accounts, internet/cable connection, rental lease agreement, energy bills
  • Ensuring that the final payment for kids’ schooling, swimming and Taekwondo’s lessons were made in time
  • Assisting our Nanny with her new employment search for an expat family, arranging that her salary and visa as well as her flight ticket back home were in order 
  • Selling away second-hand items to minimise our shipment costs (while having to deal with crazy, sometimes unreasonable buyers!)
  • Picking out items and clothings to be given away to charity
  • Evaluating moving companies and arranging for the movers to come in
  • Sorting out the mess of our flight tickets 
  • Figuring out all the papers/vaccinations/permits needed for our 3 cats, their advance quarantined trip to the airport
  • Shopping for the right and airline-approved cats’ carriers
  • Discovering that we did not have enough suitcases and had to do a last minute run for them
  • Having to do unprecedented runs to the hospital (thanks to my eye infection!)

Those were the major ones I could remember; enough to provide us with the adrenaline rush for this major move. Not something we have done before!

It was most stressful when the movers came in to pack our things. Once they got into our home, they were all over our place and packed so fast that we did not even have the luxury to finish sorting out the stuff we needed to separate out from what were required to be shipped.

It didn’t help that:

  • We both got home a little later than expected on the day the movers came in as we both got held up at work
  • A buyer came to pick up the items we were selling right smack in the middle of when the movers were in and was then looking for more items to buy
  • The kids came home from school at about the same time

It was chaotic. I had not even taken my lunch or had anything to drink yet! These movers worked at lightning speed and I got all stressed out from it. After some time, I lost track of what they packed, left it at that, sat at the foot of the stairs, watched them do their job and decided to snap some pictures.

They were done packing things in bubble wraps and boxes complete with labeling in 3 hours flat!

 

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Boxes up…
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Boxes down…
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Boxes away…

Then it felt real.

Our home of 6 years was bare of our personal effects. All that were left were furniture belonging to the apartment, items that we wanted to give away and our luggage that had yet to be packed.

We had lived in the apartment building for 9.5 years. From a 2-bedroom on the 4th floor, we shifted to a massive 260+ square meters apartment on the 8th floor in the same building before Squirt was born.

While it was temporary, old and not the prettiest, it served us well.

It was our home for many good years, each year filled with new memories. For the kids, they have had a deeper attachment to the place as it was the only home-home they ever knew since they were born. It was a home we all loved and had filled it with love. It was a home where real friendship were harnessed and bonds with other expat parents in Bangkok were strengthened. It was a home built on adoration, trust, honesty and communication. 

Every corner had a story to tell and every single walls had bear witness to the tears of joy, laughter, frustrations and nightmares that had happened within them. Within those walls, we were meant to be insulated from harm and bubble-wrapped from the negative influences and harsh realities of the outside world. It was our safe haven.

With hands akimbo, both Silver Bullet and I stood next to each other in the hallway near the stairs after our final checks in every single room in silence before heading out to the lobby where our van to the airport was waiting.

For a few seconds, we both were lost in our own thoughts as we looked around the house. As our eyes met, we both felt overwhelmed with the unexplained emotions that surged within us.

The apartment was an empty shell.

 

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Stairs leading to the bedrooms
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View from the top of the stairs
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Our Master Bedroom: Large enough to be playing tennis in there!
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Spud’s bedroom
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Squirt’s Bedroom
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Walkway to and from the bedrooms at the top of the stairs
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View from the walkway featured our main balcony, a large wooden carving and a home with a very high ceiling!
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This is where all the magic happened! There’s another balcony attached to it with another flight of stairs leading to an empty maid’s quarters.
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The dining area
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The Living Room where we last stood. To the right of it is a large guest room with a connecting bathroom

 

“This is it,” he said.

“This is it,” I echoed softly

There were no other words as he pulled me closer by the waist. I didn’t think I would cry, but as I buried my head in his chest, we both broke down into tears. We had purged out all the emotions within with a good cry to step over that invisible line of releasing the past to embrace a new future. We had no words between us.

With tears still brimming in our eyes, we walked towards the door with the last of our luggage and closed the very door that has welcomed us home every single day and kept us safe as a family for so many years. As much as we loved the home and had grown very attached to it, it wasn’t ours. It was time to close this chapter of our life.

We stood in front of the door that still bore both of our names, to take in the moment (actually, we were waiting for the elevator), and with a heart filled with many a mixed emotion of being sad to leave and glad to be going, we know that it was a sight we probably would never see again in person.

There was no turning back. It was our last goodbye.

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In the right hand corner stood “Harry Potter’s” door into the kitchen
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Where we said our final goodbye…

 


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Comments
  1. I know the bitter sweetness. I had that feeling when we moved to Canada from Virginia (a 1300 mile move in a UHaul). It’s not easy leaving the house you started your family in knowing you’ll never see it again. But the thought of the next chapter bringing bigger and better things keeps you going! Enjoy getting settled in 😀

    • You are right Eric, and you have experienced that after having uhauled your asses 1300 miles away! That’s a feat and an entirely new experience for the books. It was hard and yiu are definitely spot on with us looking forward to although not necessarily “bigger”, but better things to keep us going. For now, boring hasn’t happened yet!

  2. Benz

    Hi N! Beautiful post. Really resonated with me. Just wanted to let you know that I am still reading your blog regularly. Love the honesty of your posts. Keep writing!! x Benz

    • Hi ya, Benz! What a wonderful surprise! Thank you for reading and dropping by. 😀 😀 😀 Hope you are all doing well! What a pleasure to hear from you here. *muaaacccks*

  3. Sad to say goodbye, happy that the madness is over. Mixed feelings… until you settle again and realize that home truly is where the heart is…

    • Yeah…the mixed feeling is a strange one, Sandra.Home is truly where the heart is…whatever and wherever “home” is. 🙂

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