Last week I promised to check back in with the blog this weekend to say whether or not I had been able to get things sorted, as I had intended to. So here goes…
I certainly got a lot done – things are coming together nicely! But a week at home with no plans turned in to a pretty packed week. In between catching up with friends, helping out at my friend’s Halloween event in aid of her new charity, People Like Me, and making Halloween treats (any excuse to bake…) I managed to confirm my place with the recruiters in Oz, book a doctors appointment, get the ball rolling with visas and give the house a proper clean before putting the bins out (you’re welcome, Mum). There’s a fair amount still to do and a number of jobs unfinished – many of which result in the fact that I haven’t made it to a bank yet – but there’s also plenty of time.
A Family Affair
I’m not sure if I am possibly too chilled about this whole “drop everything and move to the other side of the world” thing; on the one hand, pretty much every one of my close friends would be wanting to have things booked, finalised, printed, copied and filed safely away by now. Then again, the Aussie lifestyle does seem pretty relaxed…from what I’ve heard, at least. So I’ll call this good practice. I suppose I must also remember that travelling the world is in my blood.
My family has always travelled – whether just to see the world, or make a more permanent move. We have family living on five continents!
My Mum’s Grandma was born in what is now Zimbabwe and sent over to England with ‘Old Auntie’ at the tender age of 10 as, following the death of her father, her mother remarried. Her half-siblings remained out there into adulthood, before one set-up home in Canada. My Grandma is still in close contact with her cousins and each have visited one another over the years.
In addition to this, my Nonna decided as a teenager that she wanted a better life for herself and did everything in her power to work her way from her home country of Italy, across Europe to the UK. It took years of nannying and house cleaning, being treated like filth and living in squalor, but eventually she found work with a loving family where she was made to feel at home, met a young man who she would later marry, settled in bonny Scotland and lived happily there for over 60 years.
As I write this I remember what day it is. Sunday 2nd November 2014. Almost one year since my Nonna, Anna, passed. It’s not a date I want to remember really – her birthday is the one, to celebrate her life and remember the amazing woman she was. However this first year was always bound to sting. The last time I saw my Nan was July last year – I spent a week staying with her up in Scotland, enjoying spending time just the two of us, getting to know more about her and realising where I get certain traits and habits from – she had so many tales to tell. Memories were made that week that I will treasure forever and I learnt so much of the life she had had – far more than I’d ever heard before.
When I accepted the job offer in Kuwait, I phoned Nan to let her know. She was cautious in her response and naturally a bit apprehensive. Where is Kuwait? Is it safe? To be honest my reply can’t have been too convincing. I only found out where Kuwait was having googled it AFTER accepting the job. Something I did remind her of though, was what we had discussed that summer. How she had decided to leave the farm work that had been forced upon her and her siblings following the premature death of their parents, moved alone through foreign countries with no money, no other language skills and no certainty that what she wanted would be available to her. How in the years since her husbands’ passing she had travelled the world, meeting new people at every turn and becoming well loved by most everyone she met. With that sort of influence in my life, how could I not take the job? She laughed at this, taking some comfort and – dare I say – pride in the knowledge that I had inherited such a wonderful thing from her. If she can cross Europe alone in post-war 1940’s, I could do this.
Had I known that this phone call would be the last time I’d ever speak to her, it may have swayed my decision to go abroad – such is my trepidation to leave my family again. However then I think about the travelling I was lucky enough to do as a result of having moved to KW and I see her influence shining through. More importantly though, I remember the circumstances that led to Nonna deciding to leave her home; I remember what she lived through and dealt with; I remember that she was widowed in her 40’s yet still carried on and led an incredible life; I remember my Nan’s strength. Nothing stopped her. In her
old age (she’d get me with her slipper for that) ‘latter-youth’ you would still find her climbing ladders to clear out the gutters on the roof of her house, amongst other things. She led an independent life in Scotland whilst her family built theirs in England, visiting when time would allow. If my Nan could achieve what she achieved when she achieved it, nothing is impossible.
So as I embark on this next journey, I will do so in honour of my Nan. Knowing that her strength ultimately resulted in my being here to do this and that she will be watching over me, giving the occasional nudge whenever I doubt my ability to do something. Seeking comfort in knowing she was proud of her wee Granddaughter.
I come from a remarkable globe-trotting family. It’d be rude not to continue the tradition.