I have just woken from a nice afternoon nap with rain pitter-pattering on the hatch above me. Its my 2nd day in Greece and the jet lag and stress is slowly falling away.
The last few weeks I have been feeling so many things I have been unable to write or express anything publicly. Months and months of preparation and big changes and shifts and then Corona Virus on top of it all with looming travel restrictions and all countries shutting their doors.
The last few days before we where leaving I was just on edge and so nervous that we might not be able to get to Tim in Greece.
There were so many good bye catch-ups and farewells it was hard to digest them after a while. We didn’t really leave because we were really unhappy or didn’t like where we live. We are looking to improve what we have already got, simplify a lot and get some time to spend together as a family. But that also meant giving up so many things – our beautiful homes, our businesses – for both of us not only a job but also a passion, it meant separating our kids from their friends and everything they know, it meant leaving our friends behind, leaving our comfort behind.
And it all had to go within a short space of time – lots of emotions and detachment for all of us. We had so many lasts, Luca had his last Futsal Game, both had their last birthday parties with their friends, they had their last days at school, we had a last walk through the house & garden, I had a last shop at my favorite little organic shop where I knew exactly where all the food came from, a last walk at the beach, a last walk at the dog park, Tim had a last day work, I had a last session at my yoga studio, a last drive in our cars, a last catch up with so many friends, a last glance at my home for 17 years where I found my husband and started a family from the plane window – wondering what the heck we have just done.
The last 2 weeks before we left are all just a bit of a blur now. We all got ear infections and I also had a sore throat and a horrible migraine -hugging the toilet bowl for a day the week before we left. We all felt right in the end, but men was I worried that one of us would be unwell and we couldn’t go.
We had to send our Lucy off the day before we went – I was so nervous about her going, as I couldn’t explain to her what was happening. She is like our 3rd child – she sleeps on our beds and gets so many cuddles and kisses and attention. To stick her in horrible cage and send her on such a long journey was a biggie for me. Then there was the worry, if she would get through all the flights alright with the uncertainty around travel restrictions and if we would get her through customs in Greece alright.
There were so many things to organise – how to fit the remaining belongings into a few boxes in the most economic way, how to pack the left overs neatly into 3 x 30 kg packages and 7 kg packages for hand luggage. Tim calling me scared and telling me Greece was shutting down. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep and stress levels where at a high.
Once we arrived in Auckland at the Airport and the kids and I were standing in line at the Quatar check in I was feeling so nauseous and like was going to faint. I was so worried they wouldn’t check us in. One hour waiting in line and seeing people being really upset and turned away, crying. Stewardesses with big wads of paper screening for travel restrictions. Once we where at the check in the person waved our passports to the stewardess with the wad of paper asking if we are allowed to go. I was shooting soo many prayers towards the sky. Once we got the nod it turned out that our luggage was 7 kg overweight and the check in person announced that that would cost us $700 NZD. I realised I hadn’t the nerves to start unpacking and sorting through our bags in among all that chaos with 2 kids in tow. Seems like our home scales weren’t quite up for the job. I paid and we moved on and I had a big hug with the kids and huge exhale.
Now for the next challenge to get our other 40 kg or more of hand luggage through security and into the plane. We looked like donkeys – I still can’t quite belief we got all that through without problems. After the long flight to Doha / Quatar it was a 7 hour wait, seeing more upset people, cancelled flights. Every hour or so I would nervously walk up to the screen to see if our flight was still on – in my head making plans for Route B to Germany. I did a bit of yoga, deep breathing and a meditation and more praying. And we got on again and a huge relief settled in for me – soon we would be able to give Tim a hug. All of our overweight luggage arrived the other end too untouched. I was so nervous about my 140 bottles of essential oils, my homeopathic pharmacy with about 80 remedies, my Tibetan Singing Bowls – all arrived unchecked and unscathed.
Expecting health screening in Athens I mentally prepared myself for another ordeal of checks and tests and instructions for self isolation – and nothing, absolutely nothing. We took our luggage and walked out. I couldn’t believe it. NO checks at all. We went straight to give Tim a big huge hug, piled our belongings in the tiny car and went to the yacht.
It felt still all so surreal, almost like in a movie. Coming from a home to a boat felt strange. It felt big compared to our old boat and tiny compared to our house. It felt unfamiliar and I was so tired. The kids were so excited to see Tim and their rooms and went straight to unpack their luggage and arrange their rooms. Tim cooked us a nice meal and we had glass of prosecco and we all had an early sleep – all of us exhausted after all of the worry and stress of the previous weeks.
Now we have had 2 days on Polly and she starts to feel like home. She is comfy warm and the spaces make sense, like a small apartment. We had a big grocery shop to stock up in all this uncertainty here, so we have food for a couple of weeks on board. Also we had a rental car and big food shops are not going to be easy at all, because we have to carry everything.
We picked our Lucy up from the airport – 4 hours of greek bureaucracy we could finally give her a hug and take her for a long walk to stretch her legs. She felt home right away and was so happy to have us all here.
Our family is all together again and that is all that matters. When I was just lying in bed for my nanna nap, waking with the rain I felt cosy and warm and rested and light for the first time in months, things felt just right, despite all the chaos around us. We are together, we have our new, simple floating home, we have some good food and time to just be. There are things to do, but nothing is pressing.
All I can describe it as is the biggest, hugest exhale.
While we just went through the destruction of the old to start building something new it seems the world is doing the same but not by choice. The timing is just really strange with all this happening at the same time. Lets see what comes out of all of this.
Our new life can now begin – slow and simple – baby steps in a new direction.