I left Melbourne on Tuesday 20 February 2018 – 5 days after my birthday.
The month leading up to my departure was a big one full of combined birthday and farewell gatherings with different groups of friends. It had been lovely – catching up with some friends I had not seen for a long time and celebrating over drinks and good food.
Farewell Parties and Birthday Celebrations
I even cooked a birthday dinner party myself …
at Ludovic’s home ten days before I left. Crazy, I know but good all the same.
It went fabulously. Only 4 close friends (I had invited more but they couldn’t make it – shame as it was my special night for special friends).
I prepared a gourmet menu, all with superb complementary aged wines from my collection. You can see the twice baked blue cheese souffle in the photos (apologies for the messy plate – I wouldn’t get through on Masterchef hehe). A delightful evening all around.
A Quiet Day for My Birthday
My birthday was spent quietly with lunch with good long-time friends from my first university days, as a teenager, and then dinner with Ludovic and my gorgeous niece Holly. I even cooked the cake and Holly prepared a yummy pudding to go with it. That would be why it looks very homely in the photo.
So after nearly a month of celebrations, catch-ups and farewells, thinking I may not see some of these people again, I was quite emotionally spent. I had focused on the joy of seeing my friends and sharing with them rather than feeling sad about not seeing them again. Hey, there’s always Facebook to keep in touch.
My last day in Melbourne was the hardest though.
I had planned to do quite a few final tasks the day before I left, but my car decided to spring a significant oil leak on the weekend rendering it undrivable. Argh!!! That was all the last thing I needed in my last days at home. I was so stressed about all I had to do and pay for that I broke down in tears on Sunday when it was confirmed that it was possibly a major problem with my car. Why couldn’t it have waited a few more months until after I sold it? Apologies to whoever might have bought it and inherited that problem.
So, as well as having to drive for over an hour from one side of Melbourne to the other to drop more boxes off for storage and do some other errands on my last day, I had to see my parents to say goodbye.
Luckily Ludovic was able to take the day off work and drive me in his car, so at least I got to share with him while I spent 4 hours driving and stuck in traffic. It was very frustrating as I still had to get home and finish packing before I left at 9 pm that night.
Saying goodbye to my parents was hard because they are 84 and 87 years old and not in good health, so there is always a chance I may not see them again – although I feel certain they will still be with us in July when I am back again. My father was very sad and will miss me. My mother was not really cognisant enough for me to know if she understood what I was saying to her. There were tears from Dad and me, but I had to keep moving on.
My final packing was really unpacking as I tried to reduce the weight of my 2 suitcases … most frustratingly!!
I packed and unpacked those suitcases several times. Each time taking out more and more pieces that I knew I would need. Bloody airlines and their rules and controls – not letting me take what I wanted on the flight. I ended up with a total of 53kgs and got through without any excess baggage charges – but I was very stressed about it until I checked in.
Ludovic took me to the airport and the air between us was full of emotion and a lot of things we weren’t saying about how much we would miss each other. The hugs were long and tight, as neither of us really wanted to let go. We both knew we will miss each other a lot as we are each a big part of the other’s life. The kisses were too short. Our eyes were filled with tears that were threatening to spill out and leak down our cheeks.
The thing is, it is not goodbye and we are not actually breaking up – we are just going in different directions. Our lives are taking different paths for the next few months – maybe longer, but we will cross that bridge when I return to Melbourne. There is a suggestion he might follow me to France but we really don’t know. I am going over as a single woman as we have both decided we need the freedom to do what is right for us in the moment. I am exploring a new life with all the opportunities it might bring me. None of that made saying goodbye to the person I love, and have spent almost 9 years of my life, with any easier.
I walked through that customs door and looked back at him for the last time. I didn’t feel the excitement of my new journey, just the sadness of farewells. I was tired and emotional and quite exhausted. I got on the plane and made this Good-Bye Video.
Sorry about the background noise and for my low voice. I didn’t want to talk as loud as I should have on the plane with people all around me. I know. A bit self-conscious.