On saying goodbye

Our last weeks in Adelaide became frantic with effort, and any time I had for recording what was happening was lost in packing and cleaning and chasing the bank and saying goodbye and goodby and goodbye. Even then, I missed seeing some people I had especially wanted to see – Melissa and Jennie L. and Leslie and the wonderful Pavlov’s Cat. But I saw many lovely friends in the week or two before we left. My singing friends met to share a meal, and we had one last singing session together, leading the carols at a service in the church where our formal concerts were held. My husband’s colleagues, and my friend who gave me the wonderful bag, and a very special woman who has become a friend this year over Friday morning coffee and gossip sessions, cooked meals for us. I found all these farewells hard, even harder than the farewells when we left New Zealand three years ago. Back then, I knew that we would come home at least once a year, that I would be sure of seeing people again, but I’m not sure when we will be back in Adelaide again. Sometime in the coming year or two, I hope, but it will depend.

What really touched me was the farewells that my daughters’ friends arranged for them. The day after school ended, the Misses Nine had a farewell party at a school friend’s house. She and her mother had invited all of the girls’ friendship group, of lovely mix of eight and nine and ten year old boys and girls. The children organised their own games, and celebrated their friendship, and made promises to e-mail.

On the following Tuesday, Ms Twelve had been invited to spend the afternoon with a friend from her drama class. When she got there, she wandered into the family room with her friend, and “Surprise!” Her special friendship group from her drama class was there. About six or seven girls had gathered to spend a last few hours with her, outside of drama. It’s a lovely group of kids, all aged about 11 or 12 or 13, but none of them 13 going on 16. She was completely surpirsed by the party, and heartwarmed by their concern for her. The next day, her school friends gathered. Her school friendship group was spread across two years groups and two classrooms. The girls in it are notable for the way they support each other and look after each other. The group is splitting up a little at the end of this year: some of the girls are heading on to secondary school, while others still have a year to go at primary school (the South Australian system is similar to New Zelaand’s system, with eight years at primary school, and five at secndary). So that particular grouping was going to change in any case. But I think that each of the girls has been very lucky to have had that experience of friendship, and I know that each of them has contributed to the group. I never experienced friendship like that as a girls, and I can’t recall all that many instances of it among other girls at the schools I went to. I am so glad that Ms Twelve has been part of this group of friends.

The last farewells came on our last days there. I met my singing teacher for coffee in the morning, then in the evening we were looked after by my lovely friend J. and her daughters, who are friends of my daughters (J.’s elder daughter was part of Ms Twelve’s friendship group). Last of all, as we flew out on Wednesday morning, heavy hearted and rejoicing, my wonderful singing teacher, who nurtured me, and cherished my girls, came to the airport to see us onto the plane.

We’re home in New Zealand now, still in transit, as we will be until late January when our house lot arrives, and we settle into a house in Greenhills, and take the girls to their new schools, and start our new jobs. Sometime around then, I will be saying goodbye to this blog. I started it in part to record our new life in a strange country. Now that I am home again, I don’t need it so much.

But I will continue blogging. At The Hand Mirror, and at a new place which I am starting to get ready now. I’ll keep posting here for the next few weeks, and then towards the end of January, I’ll let you know where my new place is. I hope you will come by there too.

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11 responses to “On saying goodbye

  1. I”ll miss this blog, but look forward to the new place. I’m sorry I never got to meet you while you were in Adelaide (a place I don’t often get to), but maybe when I travel to NZ next (sometime) we can meet then.

  2. Like so many partings there is a mixture of happy and sad feelings.

  3. I’m so glad you’re home; I know what it is to long for a place in your bones. I have so enjoyed In a strange land and will follow you on to your next blog – still referring to this one when I’m in need of some recipe inspiration and fond memories, of course!!

  4. Your daughters’ friends sound a wonderful group of people. What a lovely send off! I will look forward to your new blog, I’m so glad you are going to keep going.

  5. I hope you get to spend some time in your summerland while you are waiting.

  6. We’re planning to be there for New Year’s Eve. I’ll look for the rata, and think of you.

  7. I will miss In a Strangeland but look forward to the new blog. What will Mr Strangeland be called now?

  8. Thanks – it is too bad that we didn’t manage to catch up before you left. Maybe when you come back for your next visit – assuming you don’t leave it too long; it’s somewhat possible I might be relocating myself at some point. :-)

    Anyway, it was great having you here in Adelaide, this year especially: it was hugely helpful to know that I wasn’t imagining the problems with my academic situation and that others had been through the same thing.

    I’ll be following the new blog!

  9. What Mindy said! Hoping for interesting new adventures for you and the fam for you to blog about.

  10. As I said before, I feel oddly bereft at the thought of you not being in Australia any more. I’m glad that Adelaide gave you all a round of touching farewells. It’s probably a testament to what nice people you are, that so many people made such an effort to farewell each of you in different ways.

    See you in Palmy sometime!

  11. Hi Deborah – hope the transition will all go okay. Plse send me your new contact details once you’ve got settled!