The Final Countdown

In just over two weeks, Bianca and co embark on their year away.

Bianca 23Bianca Havas

Have you ever had a song stuck on repeat in your head? For me at the moment it’s the 80s anthem The Final Countdown by Europe. Despite being a relic from a former time, the song is a fitting choice as we count down the days until our year away in Europe. A year-long adventure that had its genesis nearly two years ago, will become a reality in 18 days!

We move out of our home in two weeks and embark on our adventure in three. I am both excited and nervous. As I vacuum pack our linen and clothes into large plastic bags, and pile our books into boxes, The Final Countdown plays endlessly in my head and is sometimes sung at sotto voce with full electric guitar and synthesizer effects. It helps with the packing and diffuses the nerves.

In the moments between the busy-ness I reflect on my hopes and expectations for this trip. I hope this voyage will be an opportunity to take a pause from the conveyor belt of daily life we have come to know here in Australia; that we will have the opportunity to see differently, hear differently, take on new perspectives, listen and learn from others. My wish is that we will learn about ourselves individually and as a family when tested against completely new landscapes and cultures. This is our chance to open our minds and step outside the roles we take on within the current structures of family, friendship, work and community in Australia.

In terms of the practical side of things, here is an update on our preparations:

  • We recently found new tenants to rent our place for one year (the first tenant pulled out after signing the lease)
  • Sadly, our beautiful 12 year old Golden Retriever Chula had to be euthanized a month ago, after developing a number of ailments that weren’t treatable. We have been mourning her loss terribly.
  • My husband is recovering from ACL knee surgery after youthfully jumping for a soccer ball before landing on his 40-something year old knee and tearing his ligament.
  • The children have been enrolled into both Australian Distance Education as well as a local school in Spain and this week we will meet the teachers at the distance education centre.
  • We have sold our car as well as many household items we no longer need. We are relieved that the trampoline has finally found a new home down the road. Thank you!!
  • My European passport recently arrived after 11 months and two weeks of waiting.
  • We’ve managed to navigate the confounding administration of health, house, landlord, car and travel insurances as well as residency paperwork.

All that is left now is to pack up our personal belongings and bid farewell to our friends, family and community who form a part of our identity and whom we will carry with us in our hearts and minds. No doubt several family and friends will turn up on our Spanish doorstep. Last weekend we held a farewell celebration with all our friends and family. It was like an episode of This is Your Life with friends who I have known since primary school, high school, university, various workplaces and families from our children’s school – a veritable patchwork of life represented by the people around us.

Bianca will write for WonderWomen about her upcoming travels in Spain. You can also follow the family’s adventures on her blog ouryearinspain .