It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …
This has been a week of contrasts. It’s the end of Term 2 in Australia, and the start of the 2-week winter hols. This was the last week of school for Tilly and Sasha and the last week of me working at their school.
This school is a very special place. It looks like a normal Aussie Catholic school from the outside but is actually a subversive underground club for lots of lovely people and families. And you’re not allowed to be a teacher here unless you have superpowers, including a heart twice the size of a usual human heart and a passion for guiding and shaping young people to be the very best version of themselves possible.
So although we are very VERY excited to be a step closer to dropping the lines and heading out into the wild blue yonder, we are very VERY sad to be leaving this part of our lives behind, at least for now.
There were some wonderful cards from the students too, and as the week went on, and as I said my goodbyes to each of the borrowing classes that came through the library, I got more hugs, some hip-hip-hoorays and wonderful bon mots from the students. “Make sure you don’t sink, Mrs Stewart”! (do my best!), “you’re the best librarian ever” (thank you), “are Tilly and Sasha going with you?” (hope so!), “I’m going to miss you” (going to miss you too) and the most-heard “will you come back to us?” (I very much hope so).
One class hug was so enthusiastic, my toes scrabbled to keep hold of the ground. I’m going to miss every single little person that I’ve got to know over the last few years, every little parcel of fun and fears and quirks and worries and hope.
My heart is very full.The staff at the campus where I work organised a fabulous morning tea, to say happy birthday to one member of staff and goodbye to me. Everyone brought a plate and there was so much yummy food and cake. I was given flowers, cards, a million hugs AND some very nifty drinks holders for the boat! There were speeches. Very beautiful and touching. I may or may not have cried, quite a bit. Other people may or may not have cried too.
|This Grade 6 student blew me away. What a very special lovely person.|
I’ve been worried that Tilly and Sasha would struggle to say goodbye to their friends and teachers at the school, but, although sad, they’ve been quite relaxed about it. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is because they don’t know. They think this is quite normal, that this is how all schools and communities are. They haven’t been around the block a few times, like I have, I know what a jewel this place is.
|A beautiful journal, beautifully inscribed.|
When we finally left, laden with school books and bags and gifts and hats and precious dinosaur pictures, the light was fading and there was a distinct chill in the air. I cried again walking to the car across the oval, away from everyone.
I know that we so lucky to be doing this, taking a chance, one long holiday to spend together as a family, living in nature and exploring the islands and beaches and coastline of Australia. We are so lucky, and we’ve also worked hard and saved hard to be able to make it happen. And I know there will be challenges and hard parts along the way. I just thought the hard parts would be on the boat!
|What an awesome boat gift!|
So now it’s the first morning of freedom. Freedom from school and work. Also freedom from earning an income and someone else being responsible for our kids’s education. Scary, much?! But I know that we’re one step closer.
Now we have some real work to do, move aboard, get rid of a house full of stuff by giving it away or selling it or storing it, then finding someone to rent the house. We’re facing forward, chins up, ready for the hard work and the adventuring to begin.