In just a couple weeks, eighteen months of planning and waiting will come to fruition. At the beginning, we had so much time. We wouldn’t be leaving for ages. Now, just like that, it is almost upon us.

What has really marked the passage of time are the “lasts”. The last time we’ll do this before we leave. The last time we’ll see that before we leave. Life is a series of tradeoffs, and so it is with this. There are happy lasts, and there are sad lasts. As Frank Sinatra sang in the opening credits of Married… With Children, “you can’t have one without the other”.

First, the good

A few days ago, I ironed my last business shirt. I have 8 shirts ready to go, and 7 business days to get through (the math works thanks to my last short-and-dominated-by-lunch casual Friday). I won’t need another for 188 days.

Soon, the fish tank will get it’s last clean before being shipped to the Hookway-Bingham household for a winter holiday. I have lobbied for the fish to never return. Unfortunately I am the only one supporting that position.

Just before we leave, I’ll mow our lawn for the last time. Grass is lovely, but I will totally not miss looking after it.

At some point, we will do a last supermarket shop. At least in Melbourne. I’ve always enjoyed supermarket shopping overseas. The novelty factor of foreign supermarkets keeps it in the ‘fun activity’ rather than ‘chore’ column for me. Not sure if that will last 6 months.

Then, the sad

There are minor sad lasts. The last dinner sitting at the sushi bar on Hampton St. Last trip to the Thomas St park. After last Saturday I could add last trip to Northcote, but honestly who wants to cross the river anyway.

But the real sad lasts are about people.

We may have already seen some friends for the last time before we leave. We won’t hang out with them again for 6 months. As the remaining weeks tick by, more friends will join that list.

Hopefully we’ll see my siblings and their families at least once more, if we can lure them to the park for a BBQ.

The saddest last of all we have put off to the very last moment. Our parents are coming to the airport to have dinner at the Parkroyal and see us off. At some point we will walk into immigration, and the doors will close behind us. My parents are awesome. Svet’s parents are awesome. We’ll miss them.

For old people like Svet and I, 6 months is a blink of an eye. I once spent 6 months looking for a watch that I was sure I had left in my bedside drawer (it was in a pair of shorts). Yet for Oli and Lucy, 10% of their life will pass waiting to see their beloved grandparents or school friends again (at least in real life, thanks Skype).

On to firsts

The point of enduring these lasts is so we can revel in some firsts.

A mid-afternoon arrival time in Italy means we’ll be able to punch out a first pizza day one. And our first time getting lost in Venice may well be on the way to our apartment from the airport. Our first road trip, to Sorrento and back, starts just a few days after we land.

Our 6 months will be filled with firsts for us all. New countries, new experiences, new memories. Before we know it, it will be over and we’ll be back mowing lawns, ironing shirts and cleaning fishtanks. Hugging family and friends.

But for now, I have a recycle bin that needs putting out for the last time.