Our New Home… Just In Time For Christmas
I am writing this post from my new home. We moved here only a few days ago, just in time for Christmas. Perhaps not surprisingly Brian and I had underestimated how hard it was going to be, this whole process of downsizing house malarkey. Thinking about not only the logistics and practicalities that took many months of planning, the financial implications but also and perhaps the hardest challenge was the emotional rollercoaster of closing a life chapter. It was harder than we thought to let go of the memories that we had associated with our home.
For Brian perhaps even harder than for me, since the house had once belonged to his parents and there were still many lingering memories of their lives there, in particular of Brian’s father who has passed away a few years ago. Brian’s mother now lives in Scotland, and interestingly when I invited her to come over for one last visit to her former home she turned down my invitation. Wisely she told me on the phone “It is not the house, but the people that matter the most and as long as we are together it does not matter where we live“. Very wise words indeed.
We sold and/or gave away most of our stuff and even after a major downsizing we realized we needed to downsize some more…we still had too much stuff. Nothing can prepare you for how stressful and exhausting the move is going to be. Once our house was on the market we had to ensure that the house and garden were clean and presentable at all times…no easy task when we were both still working our full-time jobs. Particularly when Autumn arrived and with it, a season of falling leaves that nearly drove us to despair…blowing leaves out of the drive became Brian’s second full-time job. Selling our house took a lot longer than we had expected which just added to the stress and worry. It is true that however long you think the whole process is going to take you can be certain that it will be a lot longer than you had expected.
On the day of the house sale completion, we went back to the house for one last goodbye and I took some photos of the empty rooms. Stripped of all our belongings suddenly the house did not feel like a home any longer, without furniture the empty rooms looked huge and soulless. One of our lasts tasks in the old home was to write a note to the new owners to inform them about things such as when to feed the pond fish, also explaining about my beloved Araucaria tree from Brazil, plus all the different house keys and codes for the alarm etc.
As we drove out of the front house drive for the last time we sat inside our car in silence for one last look at our family home. There was sadness for both of us, but our sadness did not last long as we drove towards our new home we felt reassured that we had made the right decision for us. A house is just bricks and mortar, we take all the memories with us and we are now looking forward to starting building some new memories in our new home.
The process of unpacking, building furniture, connecting phones, wifi, satellite TV etc has been exhausting but we are getting there and our house is now starting to feel like a proper home. We love it and we already feel that it is perfect for us. We are only a very short walk through pleasant and well-kept gardens to the town centre with all the amenities such as a wide variety of restaurants, shops, cinema, theatre, gym, coffee shops, supermarket etc. We can also walk to the beach and there are many beautiful coastal walks within very easy access.
The house is a lot smaller than our previous home, but that is precisely what we wanted. We still have enough bedrooms for our two children ( now adults with their own homes) and a spare bedroom with a comfortable sofabed doubling up as a study room. The kitchen/dining room/sitting room is all open plan, with three bathrooms and a small garage. We have a very small outside space facing a communal garden. It is a perfect lock-up-and-go type of property, low maintenance and it suits us well for this next stage of our lives. We could not be happier.
It has only been two months since I have taken early retirement from my job as a Dietitian working for the NHS. My office farewell party was organized by my line Manager and other work colleagues who threw a travelling themed party at a local restaurant…..they certainly know me well, I felt totally spoiled.
I also got invited by one of the GP Practices I have worked closely with for many years to join them for a farewell meal at another local restaurant.
Another very thoughtful farewell do was at the Community Hospital, where they surprised me with flowers, chocolate, cards, etc. I came away with so many lovely and thoughtful gifts and enough flowers to open my own florist shop. Goodbyes are always emotional and a little bit sad, but I am sure that I will be staying in touch with many of all these wonderful people.
Recently friends and family have been asking me how I am getting on with being a retiree…bored yet? I can report that it has been great, I have not had a minute to get bored…moving house might be to blame for that. Seriously I am loving it, my mornings have been so much more relaxed as I take my time to get ready for the day ahead. Gone are the rushing around the house to have a shower, get dressed, have breakfast, drive to work often in the dark, cold, raining mornings. I no longer get that awful Monday morning feeling anymore.
To ease me back into a life of no commitments I did enrol myself in two very interesting courses which kept me out of mischief for a little while. I have just finished the said two courses which have been running for the past 10 weeks. A WordPress course, which has helped me to better understand how to fix and sort out some of my blog issues, although I did find this course was a bit too technical for me and I did struggle to make sense of it. In any case, I did enjoy the learning environment and also got to meet some like-minded people and make some lovely new friends. I also attended a Photography course, which I absolutely loved and although it was only a beginners class I feel that I have learned a lot and hope that my newly acquired photography skills will help me to improve the blog photos.
Plans for 2018
We are sadly saying “goodbye” to 2017 in few days time and what a year it has been for us.
We started the year spending 3 amazing weeks Down Under visiting our wonderful cousins Yvonne, John, Lexie and Maddy in Perth. Also cousin Carol in Caloundra (near Brisbane) and we could not have been better looked after and totally spoiled by them all. We also visited Hamilton Island, the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef and finished off in gorgeous Sydney. It was an epic trip with great memories to last us a lifetime. I have written four blog posts about our trip.
We returned from Australia and started the hard and painful process of downsizing, looking for a much smaller property and selling our large family home. We spent the summer working hard towards these goals and I requested early retirement from my job. My last day at work was October 19th just before my Birthday.
In September we decided to leave it all behind for two weeks of fun, sun and delicious food in the stunning Mauritius Island. I am yet to write more about our exploits there, but I did write a post about our hike up Le Morne Brabant which was very hard work but very rewarding.
I will be welcoming 2018 at the beach in the South of Brazil with my daughter Chloe and my Brazilian family. Sadly Brian and our son James are not able to join us there this time due to work commitments. So it is going to be a mother/daughter trip again.
Brian and I hope to travel a lot in 2018, but we don’t yet have any firm plans, therefore, watch this space as it all will be revealed when we have made some decisions at the beginning of the year.
To all of you who have been following my journey, who have supported me through reading this silly little blog, commenting and offering friendship I am immensely grateful and I want to wish you all plenty of health, loving relationships, success in all your endeavours and safe travels for 2018.
I leave you with a beautiful and peaceful Mauritius sunset and two inspiring quotes for 2018:
I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. Quote byJimmy Dean
What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? Quote by Robert H. Shuller