After all our ups and downs, lefts and rights, twists and turns during the last 4 1/2 years in Barcelona, it's hard to believe we are down to our last 30 days in Barcelona. If you asked me 4 1/2 years ago if I ever even thought I'd make it to my last 30 days, much less be sad about it, I'd be hesitant to say the least.
Days. I can't believe we are down to days. How did the time that once seemed like forever now seem to be flying by so quickly? There were times were the years couldn't go fast enough. This last one, in particular, has been tough all around. There have been so many wonderful moments though that make up for the ones that haven't been all that great.
In the next 30 days we have so much to do, but I don't want to forget to take the time to enjoy our last moments here because they are going to go by so quickly. These past 4 1/2 years have been life changing for us in ways that I will never be able to properly describe. And this next chapter will only reinforce what we have learned and how we have grown as individuals and as a family.
But things are starting to come together. There is still more to do than I can wrap my arms around but we are chunking it up and taking it a piece at a time. Tomorrow we will find out who our movers are so that we can finalize move dates. Once have that finalized, we can arrange for utilities to be transferred or shut off and the cleaning service to come in. And we can book a hotel for our last nights then as well.
I meet with our landlord on Tuesday to do a pre-walk thru and determine what needs to be fixed and what does not. From there we will start our repairs and work with our handyman to put cabinet doors (glass ones we took down to prevent the kids from breaking them) back up, paint walls and make general repairs.
And speaking of repairs, we're also working on trans-Atlantic repairs. Because home ownership doesn't matter if you are 4000 miles away. If it needs to be fixed, it needs to be fixed. And lots of stuff needs to be fixed. Why? Because I'm 4000 miles away and have a million things on my plate. But that's ok, it will get done and checked off the list along with everything else.
We're heading on vacation before heading home. So I'm trying to organize our trip along with packing for 7 weeks (thank goodness for washing machines!). But also trying to bear in mind that when we arrive in Amsterdam after our trip home, that the kids start school the next day and need to be ready for that as well.
While we are home, I will go thru our storage unit and ship most of our things to Amsterdam. So I've been organizing getting our storage unit delivered to my parents and trying to get estimates for shipping overseas prior to us even leaving Barcelona so that when we land in the US, we'll be ready to hit the ground running.
We still have to turn in our car, hopefully in 2 weeks. That's assuming we can get all the details worked out. Who knew turning in a lease could be so difficult?
But before we turn in the car, we are heading to London for a few days. And then to Amsterdam for house hunting. So that's 5 days of the 30 that we won't even be in Barcelona!
In 19 days the kids finish school. One more school year complete, this one more bittersweet than in those past. Because this time it's us leaving instead of everyone else. It's going to be a tear jerker and I'm not looking forward to it.
With the 10 days remaining after school gets out, we'll have Sant Joan, a bit festival for the summer solstice. We'll schedule as many playdates as possible so the kids can see their friends before we leave. The movers will come and pack everything up. The house will be empty and we'll head to a hotel, feeling more like tourists rather than leaving home.
It's all so surreal. I know we've done this before and it felt surreal then too. I knew we weren't staying here forever, but at the same time, I didn't see us leaving either or maybe I was just in denial at having to ever need to move again (do you know anyone who enjoys moving??).
The goodbyes are starting. I don't like it. Not one bit. I had lunch with my gym friends about a week ago, my last lunch as a group. We had lunch with other friends yesterday, some really great ones. And knowing I may or may not see them again before we go is heartbreaking. Dinner last night with some of Josh's co-workers from the Barcelona office was also a farewell. There are still lots of goodbyes to say. Hopefully they will be more like, "see you later"'s rather than goodbye. But we know of all that we will say goodbye to, most will be forever and only a select few will be of the see you later variety.
The kids will have to start saying goodbye to their friends soon. And that's going to be heartbreaking for us all. They have such a great group of friends. I wish more than anything we could just take them with us. And I hope that now that they are getting older it will be easier to stay in touch (at least more so for Aidan and his friends).
It's starting to really hit the kids. I could see it in Aidan's face today as I was going thru his lego sets and asking what needed to be shipped "assembled" (yes, we are seriously going to attempt it... whatever it takes to keep a smile on his face, I will do) and what could be taken apart and packed away soon. I cleared off all the shelves so we can start to put the cabinet doors back up. The look on his face said it all. It's happening. And it's imminent. And he's like a deer in headlights. He's been thru it before but now he's older and wiser and he knows what's coming and he's trying to internalize it no matter what I say or do. Liam is taking it in stride at the moment but I don't think the full reality of the time frame has hit him yet.
We're trying to get them both excited about the Netherlands and all that we'll have to do there and all the opportunities to go to new places and try new things. It's hard though because while Josh and I are excited about this new opportunity, we're sad to be leaving here as well. And I'm sure that sadness comes thru to the kids. And so we plug away and keep a positive spin on things. Even the weather. The weather in Barcelona for the last few weeks hasn't been great and we said to the kids that it's just the weather gods getting us used to what it will be like in Amsterdam ;) They don't find it as amusing.
There is no doubt that the next 4 weeks, just 30 days, are going to be chaotic. I feel like I just hit upon the tip of the iceburg on what needs to be done in those few weeks. Thankfully I have the kids and work to help keep my mind semi sane. But the balancing act will be a challenge. Though I thrive in these kinds of situations when my plate is full. Part of me is actually enjoying the chaos. The other part wants to just get to August so that we can start getting settled into our new lives. But the bigger part is just trying in vain to go along for the ride and take in every experience, no matter how stressful or frustrating it might get. Because the end result will be worth it.
So it's on. 30 days and counting.