This is what my friend, Trevor, said to me on Saturday when I told him about having to bid Eliza, Nathan, and their two boys farewell as they leave for the land of kangaroos ‘n koalas.
There’d been talk of emigration two years back already, but the wheels were only greased into motion earlier this year – the motivation being that their youngest child would be starting primary school in 2023. Paperwork was submitted, IELTS tests were done, prayers were prayed, and sooner than anyone would have imagined, visas – with permanent residence attached – were approved at the beginning of August! It was surreal.
For the most part, I was genuinely over the moon for them. After all, this is an amazing opportunity for them which will almost certainly assure their children a brighter future than what they are likely to have here in SA. A tiny part of my heart ached though – because at some stage, I knew they would really be leaving. It was no longer a dream, something of which we all talked, it was a foregone conclusion, a dinkum reality.
They fly out on the 26th, but because they are going to have one last family holiday, their last day here in Sleepy Hollow is this Thursday. We went to church last night to sing Christmas carols. The service kicked off with Little Drummer Boy – cue snot factory. Thank goodness for waterproof make-up. Afterwards we went for pizza at a local seaside haunt and collapsed into bed when we got home. I struggled to sleep, despite the joyful chorus of frogs enjoying the weather, which has been oddly rainy and humid the past few days. It’s our last visit for who knows how long kept milling through my mind.
I found myself grateful for writing them a letter to read when they arrive in Sydney. It was tough to write, not because it is sad, but because summing up almost a decade of memories and the value of a friendship so special into a few lines is no easy feat.
So, in mist as thick as pea soup this morning, we said our teary goodbyes. We hugged just a little longer, and a little tighter, as if not letting go would delay the inevitable. In Eliza and Nathan, I have not only found friends, but kin.
Will we miss each other? Of course – insanely!
Will we stay in touch? Absolutely!
Will we cope with the distance? You betcha!
I know that this chapter is going to be challenging (and quite possibly, tough) for them, but what a story they are going to write! With the love, determination, strength of character, and the faith they have as a family, it can only be a huge success.