The surge of emotions that we are feeling right now cannot be described. While I am preparing myself to go back to work after three wonderful years of living a different life that I never planned or expected, a life I could only have imagined and envy somebody else, it is maybe easy to push to the side the events of the previous week. It is only when we calm down a bit and we have time to reflect a bit does everything come boiling to the surface.
The dramatic goodbyes in Dundee, saying farewell to the house, neighbours, acquaintances and friends made us shed more than just one tear and these events affected us more than we would like to admit to ourselves right now.
However, I have never seen our kids cry as they did on Friday morning when we said goodbye to Ruby and her family – our saviours during our last days in Dundee.
If Anita, Oran, Leon or Ruby are reading this – thank you so much and we love you.
When we drove off from Woodland Way, waving to our friends, the inside of the car went silent and for the first time the kids cried adult tears – it was not the wailing loud crying of children, but the silent emotionally complex crying that comes from evident emotional pain. While the kids were crying in the car and Paula was wiping away her own silent tears I had to keep my composure and concentrate on our trip and on my driving to Newcastle. There was no time for sad thoughts, there was just too much to do, but the pain was and is there.
Our last week in our Kingoodie house was all about cleaning and getting the necessary for the move. All my ideas for a last walk with Paula or saying goodbye to everybody were soon crushed because a trip like this took more effort and energy out of us than we expected. On the last day of cleaning I truly believe I was high from all the fumes from cleaning chemicals that we used. Especially the dust for carpet cleaning gave me some concerns regarding my health when my skin started burning despite the rubber gloves I wore. But we managed to make the house clean and looking real good for the next tenants.
I have nothing else to add about the events of the last week except to tell you about a special project of a very special young girl. Ruby has been preparing a secret surprise just for us for several months, using her Polaroid camera to document some special moments she had with us. When she gave us the memory book she had been preparing, I had to read it in front of everyone and I couldn´t continue when I got to the sentence that said that a person does not have to be related to people to still be part of their family. At that point I couldn´t hold back the tears and did my manly walk-away.
Ruby, just between you and me, you are completely right about that.
The three day trip meant 1700 km of driving and 16 hours of ferry crossing. Our kids took the trip like champions. Not once did they cry out of exhaustion and they complained just as much as Paula and I did.
The second day we needed to drive 850 km from Amsterdam to Bogen near Passau in Germany. At the edge of fatigue our dear friends Andy and Amelie with their new-born Valentin gave us a warm home for a night including a delicious dinner and a friendly hug to give us some comfort.
Third day the anticipation of arriving to Slovenia started to build up and every kilometre closer to home started to drag. After we arrived the familiarity of our home country, the closeness of our family and friends started to lift the depressive feelings of loss. After today´s visit to Ljubljana, meeting my best friend Tine on his birthday, being heated up by the warm Slovenian sun, I finally began to look positively on the whole “coming-back-home decision”.
Still, while I sit here, drinking Slovenian Laško pivo in my family´s house, thoughts of Scotland keep creeping in, the things we have experienced and people who we were there resistant of letting go. Hope it is true that time heals wounds, because there is a hole somewhere in my chest that needs to be filled before I feel whole again. If that makes you feel sad, then here are some Ellis kittens
With these happy-sad thoughts I have come to the end of our story – the story of Hertourage. After today, I will no longer be a blogger, a would-be writer, stay at home dad, the self-proclaimed leader of Hertourage, an adventurer and all the things we were and could have been during the last three years. After today I go back to being a lawyer and a dad, living in the beautiful Ljubljana, married to a lovely wife Paula, waiting to move into our bright renovated flat (in a couple of weeks it seems). And you know what? That does not sound too bad. No, not too bad at all. And seeing the kids experience their…our home country the past few days has been a sheer delight.
To all of you who have endured my ramblings, who have followed us on the most interesting three years of our lives – thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Our story as Hertourage ends here and another story as a family living in Ljubljana begins. I promised that I would finish this blog with a picture of us in front of our apartment building – and here it is: