2 years ago we noticed a moving van backing up to one of the houses on one of our walks. When we were walking back we noticed a large Rottweiler standing on the deck and we christened the new neighbourhood dog “Thundercles”. Thundercles barked at us whenever we would walk past the house and our boys would eagerly jump up and down and greet Thundercles excitedly from the wings and even though we didn’t know Thundercle’s humans, we made a pact to always make sure that if we ever ran into them walking Thundercles that we would walk the other way or head up a driveway. Our boys plus Thundercles would probably be a disaster akin only to a major cyclone hitting the coast. We vowed to do our level best to maintain our distance from Thundercles…
And thus it went on. Occasionally we would see Thundercle’s and owners walking in the distance and we would hurriedly make plans for our escape. We weren’t the only ones. Obviously Thundercle’s owners were just as eager to maintain the distance/Status Quo, and we would catch glimpses of them high-tailing it up driveways, into the church and up side roads in order to let us pass. We did this for six months until one day it was just Earl and I walking and we ran into Thundercle’s and his female owner on a stretch of road where no-one could escape. What were we going to do? I called out that Earl was good with other dogs and Thundercle’s owner called back that maybe they should meet? I was a bit worried. Earl loves all dogs but Thundercle’s was doing cartwheels and I really didn’t know how this would go. I shouldn’t have worried. Earl sat down and ignored Thundercle’s efforts to engage him which calmed Thundercle’s down immensely and we decided to walk together back home…
Thus began a most interesting relationship. We learned that Thundercle’s was a girl! Earl and Mieka became firm friends. She and Bezial were not as easy with each other but they did have their moments of happy frolicking and after a while we settled into walking three times a week (and more if we ran into each other) with Mieka and Jan. We eventually met Peter, Jan’s brother, and we all hit it off. We would drop back to Jan’s house for a cup of tea/coffee before heading back home and as we walked and sipped we learned about each other and a friendship blossomed.
This week has seen us doing our best to help Jan and Peter pack up their lives and move from Tasmania back to N.S.W. The move to N.S.W. is only for 5 days however and is in order to deposit a shipping container load of “life” to a couple of storage units and then they are off to start a new life in Germany. Stevie-boy has played a big part in the moving bit and I have been keeping the home fires burning and cooking up a storm so that Jan didn’t have to worry about food in the mania that was packing. I hate packing up and moving on. Moving is in the top 5 stressful list, right after death of someone you love and divorce. I am inclined to agree and am quite sure that all of the moving that I did in my first marriage may just have contributed to that first divorce.
How many of us would be brave enough to pack up their lives into a few storage containers and head off into the great unknown in order to take a chance at a new life? I love my little patch of the world and am enjoying festooning it with narfish festoonings at the moment. Come Christmas this year and it will be positively festooned out the wazoo, but to grab my hat and coat, lock the front door and leave it all behind for a dream? Not sure I would be brave enough to do that. If it meant that I had to drop Bezial and Earl off to strangers I know that my initial bravery would crumble and die. Jan took a trip last week to meet the people that she is going to drop her gorgeous girl Mieka off to today when the ferry lands in Victoria. How brave do you have to be to leave someone behind?
Life is a series of choices and it’s our choices that make us who we are. Jan and Peter have had to make some serious choices in order to pursue their dream of starting a business in Germany. In the process they have had to pare away their past lives and give away a lot of their possessions in order to save money and make the process easier. We are not complaining because this process involved us absorbing the possessions that they had to shed. We now have a huge 8 seater table and chairs, a massive and most heavy Balinese coffee table that looks like monks sold off the monastery door after imbibing in too much of the happy juice once too often. We have delicious new bedside tables, lots of lamps, a treadmill for Earl to walk on in winter (HA!) and so much more. Steve’s shed is bursting at the seams with new/old tools and gardening equipment and my cleaning cupboard is about to explode. The fridge and freezer were bombarded and we won’t need to shop for a month. We could have started a second hand furniture shop with what we inherited and we are incredibly humbled and most grateful that Jan and Peter gave us what wouldn’t fit on their shipping container.
It got me to thinking about “moving” as more than just physical. 2 years ago, almost to the day of their move, Peter got divorced. The furniture that he gave us was tangled up with memories and now he is releasing those memories to the 4 winds in order to start out anew. We received little parcels of someone else’s life. Yesterday when we were unloading the trailer of “stuff” that they just couldn’t fit in the car, we inherited a tiny, ancient, German travel iron. I am guessing that it belonged to Jan’s mum. Our possessions reflect who we are. What we choose to keep reflects us more keenly and moving gives us a chance to re-evaluate and update ourselves accordingly. I can see why moving is numero “Tres” in the list of top stressors because it not only involves all of that hard work in packing up EVERYTHING and moving on, but it’s all those little things that accompany a move, changing addresses on all of your personal information, sorting everything out at both ends of the move from cutting ties at the first to sending out tendrils at the new.
Jan and Peter are being incredibly brave. We waved them off yesterday and they headed up to catch the ferry to head to the mainland. Peter had to sit in the back of the car covered in boxes and clothing that had to be crammed into the car. I dare say that small sedan weighs almost as much as a Mack truck there is so very much crammed into it. As I type this, they will probably be gearing up to land and start driving to take Mieka to her new home. I know that this will be the most stressful part of this whole move. Leaving someone behind, especially a most loved dog who adores you, is tantamount to losing a family member. Jan is doing the right thing by finding Mieka somewhere to live but in the process she has to lose her best friend. I, personally, couldn’t do it. I am NOT brave enough and my dreams are all simple and small and involve me and Stevie-boy and our 2 mutts tumbling around in various states of emotional tussles on this little patch of God’s own earth. To leave our dogs? Nope. Aint happening.
After Jan leaves Mieka at her new home it’s a 14 hour drive to a storage unit in order to meet the shipping container. They then have one and a half hours to unpack the storage container (which took Stevie-boy the whirlwind 2 days to pack) before it has to be removed. Any extra time taken means a most significant rise in the cost of the removal. Then they have 4 days to get the unit packed, sort out everything else that needs to be sorted and next week they are winging their way to Germany and their second winter of the year. We would have walked with Jan and Mieka today and our dogs will pull furiously towards their old home whenever we walk in that direction. We are heading to the beach today in order to avoid that tugging and those reminders that our friends are no longer there.
Social media means that we can keep in touch. We have “things” that we are attempting to sell on Gumtree for Jan and Peter. Things that would have had to be thrown out as they don’t know anyone else here in Tasmania (they lived here for 2 years). We hope we made the load of moving lighter with our efforts to help and we wish them a most wonderful new life with all the good fortune in the world. Did I mention that Jan is 63 and Peter is 53? Again I marvel at their tenacity to take a chance like this and uproot their lives to chase a dream when most of us “Middle agers” are digging in our heels and settling our roots for the long haul.
I have bruises on my hips from banging into the new dining table in the dark. I am not used to navigating its girth in my early morning narf hikes to the kitchen. I have a bruise on my shin from the new coffee table and my first up visit to pat a snoozing Bezial on the couch. He sleeps in the lounge room, doing his duty as night time watchman. Earl takes up in the day, Bezial takes the night. We are protected 24/7. Most of the time Bezial toddles off to take up my warm spot offering in our bed when I get up. Not today. Too much happened yesterday and he is playing his cards close to his chest and beady eyes are watching me surreptitiously from the couch as I type in the dark on a Wednesday morning. Moving affects so many things including friends you leave behind. Bezial and Earl are going to miss their friend Mieka. She is the only dog that they regularly play with and walk with three times a week. Now it is just us, and them. I am hoping we are enough.
When friends move away it leaves an empty spot. Where habit and lifestyles collide a new routine needs to be created. We can walk further afield now. Jan didn’t like walking Mieka on busy roads. Our boys are used to trucks and cars and city walking and so we can now change our modus operandi to incorporate new walks. Our boys are always up for new walks. Not so sure that “I” am up for their enthusiastic enjoyment of new walks, but like most things in life I try to look for the silver lining and I am calling this “my new gym workout”. Forget personal trainers, Earl is the toughest personal trainer around. I mean, who else would push a 51 year old woman to run down a 45 degree slope backwards, jump over a metre high fence, somersault upside down in mid run and hop and jump up and down maniacally in order to avoid colliding with rocks and low shrubs? If I wasn’t so exhausted at the end of every walk I would probably feel the need to pay him for increasing my fitness.
We meet people in our lives in order to change our point of view, to learn from them, to grow and to teach us how to share our lives and our hopes and dreams. When they leave it makes us think about our own priorities and hopes and dreams and we can clarify who and what we are in comparison. We are both very glad that Earl and Thundercles met way back last year and that we forged our friendship with Peter and Jan through our dogs. You just never know where life will take you if you take a chance…
Update: We got a text at 11am from Jan saying that Mieka is now living in Victoria and went to work with her new owner this morning. We are very glad that her meeting with her new family and 2 blue heeler brothers went well.