Let the countdown begin: 7 weeks till New Zealand!
I've reached the point where my brain is surging into overdrive all the time, trying to figure out exactly what needs to be done in order for us to get to New Zealand in one piece with everything we need, and with all of our arrangements in the states taken care of. So much to think about: moving out of the apartment, packing for the trip, pruning down belongings, storing almost everything we own, paying for storage, transitioning out of my job, getting lots of time with friends and family before we go, and on and on and on. Add to that the fact that we will be out of town three of the four weekends before we leave, and on the fourth, my parents will be visiting! I have a feeling that the 13 1/2 hour flight from Los Angeles to Auckland will be something of a relief- after weeks of busy, we will have nothing to do but sit. (Plus, I'm kind of a geek who loves to fly- I really enjoy long haul flights. Is that weird?)
Packing for a trip is one thing. Packing for an 8 month trip while also moving out of an apartment and leaving the country is quite another. I was talking with my friend Lydia the other day, about how if the apartment was bigger, we would be able to set aside one room and put all of our "to store" stuff there, while we set up another space for the "to New Zealand" pile. However, we don't even have the space to sort things easily! My fear is that I will be packing up stuff to store while forgetting that a certain item needs to go on the trip, and then create more work for myself by having to dig through all the boxes trying to figure out where I put it. I am thinking about making a list of every individual item I plan on taking to NZ, so that as we're packing, I can separate things with a little more ease of mind. Hmm. We're really not taking much with us to NZ. We'll each take a large backpack, and one large suitcase between us, for 8 months! Since we plan on having a vehicle while we are there, we can take more than we would if we were just backpacking around and hosteling, but we still don't want to take too much.
A few things are already out of the way: I sold my surfboard last week, and my old digital camera as well. We are going to buy used surfboards once we get there, and sell them back before we come home. The board I had was nice, but not exactly what I want anyway, so I figured if I sell it now, I have a little extra cash for the trip. I was happy to get $272 (I know.Random.) for it. As for the camera, mine ate through batteries like crazy, and Matt has one small digital camera and a larger, nicer one as well, both of which we are taking, so mine was expendable.
Storage is another matter. Payment is taken care of: since I am refusing material presents for my birthday (any new belongings would have to go into storage anyway), my parents will be paying the cost of storage for my birthday present. I may have to get a storage unit, but I'm hoping to be able to dole things out between friends and then rent some garage space from another friend for the rest. I would feel much more comfortable with that.We'll see what happens in that realm.
At work, I am pretty deeply involved in the hiring of my replacement, of which I am very glad. My job description has changed about 75% from the time I started this job in February of 2009, so I am the only person who really understands the position, and there are so many little details of bookkeeping and everything that it is important for me to be involved in deciding who we hire and training that person. I am very happy to do it, because I feel very invested in this position, which has basically gone from "Program Assistant" to "Liz's Job." I will be doing the initial evaluating of all the applications we receive (we anticipate at least 150) before they are passed on to my supervisor, and I will be doing the interviewing with my supervisor as well. I have been writing a manual for the position as well as a training checklist, so hopefully the transition will be smooth and healthy.
One of the things I am saddest about is leaving my garden. I have seen that plot of land go from grass and sod to a bountiful mix of tomatoes, cabbages, flowers, peas, and everything in between. I will be leaving while the tomatoes are still producing, and before I ever get to see the winter squash gain much size. I am not sure if I will get to eat any of my own cabbages or not; that remains to be seen. But I am also glad to have left my mark, to have made it easier for the next occupants to plant a garden there, and to have made the soil and air healthier by planting a variety of things. I purchased and installed the compost bin, Matt built the trellis, and I planted all those beautiful daffodils and tulips, which will hopefully still be blooming 15 years from now. The rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and mint are perennials and hopefully will be enjoyed for many years. I like knowing that, while I leave behind my own work, it is there for many someones to enjoy.