Epic adventures in international relocation #5

this post must be read in a breathless, high-pitched voice at 280wpm, preferably while multitasking at hyperspeed (breastfeeding, packing a box, and yelling on autopilot about not climbing on disassembled furniture), in order to replicate the breathtaking level of stress i’m currently operating under.

at the moment, it’s that itchy stress where there’s actually nothing i can usefully do right at the minute.  joel’s taken another truckload of stuff to distribute to friends’ houses and storehouses across the city (literally:  berwick, then montmorency, then port melbourne.)

1. the cats got picked up on tuesday for their flight.  they should have arrived in HK last night but i haven’t heard yet.  the transport van was decorated with decals of cats and dogs carrying suitcases.  rufus did a little wee in his pants at the thought of cats and dogs taking to the air with a bag just like his own.

2. the house is a state of complete and total chaos.  lots of stuff is in storage now or at friends’ places – LOTS of stuff – but what’s left is the annoying stuff that has no box, or we can’t get rid of for another day or so.  you know that final box of uncategorised left-overs you always have after a move?  i’m pretty sure i can’t turn up to the cathay pacific counter with it on sunday morning.  so we’ve been ruthless in chucking shit out.  already we’ve filled two four-tonne skips.  and yet, the house still looks like 12 squatters have been bunking down here for five months.

3. we’re lending my nan our TV.  she’s such a child of the Depression.  she nearly started weeping when joel had hooked it up in her loungeroom (including to VHS, natch!).  “oh, it’s BEAUTIFUL!  oh, LOOK at it!” we also gave her one of the PCs so we can skype with her, but i can’t say i have much faith that that will happen.  she did, however, set up the computer on a side table with decorative carved legs and a lace doily underneath.

4. speaking of grandparents, by being one, dad has saved the day with our permanent house in hong kong.  we still hadn’t signed a lease and my stress re this was becoming more pronounced than the pope’s proverbial catholicism.  the real estate agent and my dad decided to make a last-ditch appeal directly to the owners.  as head of our family, dad’s presence at the negotiation was taken as massive respect – greatly amplified when he started speaking chinese to them.  as he walked up to the house, the owner’s grandparents came out to greet him.  the goong goongs had a pow-wow.  at the end of a mutually respectful discussion between goong goong kong and goong goong el wayno, and sharing of pictures of grandchildren, he signed the lease in our stead.

i’m glad it all worked out, very glad.  i love the house.  and i’m glad my dad is worldly, culturally sensitive and trilingual.  imagine i had sent my own nan, she’d probably have called goong goong kong a jap to his face.  she said “scarf people” to me not two days ago!  she actually says “eye-talian”!

fucking old people, i don’t know…

5. i’m too tired to write more here, and the rest of the list will just be various permutations of “the house is fucked, but things are getting crossed off the list”.

6. seriously, y’all know how little sleep i’ve survived on this year, but even i am not conditioned for this almost unconscious level of fatigue.


is it christmas eve?  never has it meant less!  tonight, after another trip to the storage unit and then the tip (let’s hope we make the drops in the correct location), we’re having dinner at joel’s mum’s in greensborough.  tomorrow, it’s breakfast with my dad and my sister and her husband, in the parklands outside the MCG.  lunch is here with joel’s dad.  our traditional lunch will be facilitated using one wok and one small lidless saucepan; taken on manky old cushions on the loungeroom floor; and partaken of with five people sharing a bread knife, three forks and a plastic baby spoon.  joel will be cripped from days and days of moving just about everything on his own, and i’ll probably be crying and giggling from exhaustion and nervous tension.  ru will wet himself simply because the washing machine is gone and i’m trying to ration his pairs of jocks to last until we get to hong kong.  hopefully zadie and grandpa dave enjoy the festive atmosphere.  in the evening, it’s off to nan’s for my mum’s family christmas.

i take a minute here to remind myself and joel not to get divorced, because having four christmases every year is a pain in the arse.

we do our final trips to the storage unit on boxing day, clean the house, return the beds and toys we’ve borrowed off people, clean out the ShitTruck and take it to its new owner (my cousin joel).

i’m going to be so very, very proud of us, and i already am.  this has been a monumental process and almost indescribably difficult and stressful (though i’ve attempted, with these updates).  i can’t believe we’re two days away from it being done.  i can’t believe we’ve pulled it off!

so, boxing day evening, we’ll pack our bags and take the keys to the real estate agent.  bid yarraville farewell, and ride out to the airport.  i’ll be looking out the window with tears pooling up behind my sunglasses, and indescribable excitement in my heart.  (that will be tempered, no doubt, by the sure lack of luxury, even relaxation, afforded us on our final night as australian residents – at the Quality Airport Motel.  at $60/night for a family room, i’m pretty sure the “Quality” aspect is rather subjective.  we gotta check in for the flight at 4.50am anyway, so i shouldn’t get too tied up with thoughts of the uncomfortable beds/purely functional bathroom/ugly “art”work/continental breakfast consisting of burnt toast with individual serves of vegemite/crying, underslept children/the 680kg of luggage we’ve got to haul to the terminal…


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