So I imagine you’ve all been desperate to hear how the flight went…
Well the first eleven hours from Manchester to Hong Kong was a dream. My Eliza surpassed all my expectations. She was the perfect child. Quiet, mild mannered and a pleasure for all to be around. Some of the comments I received were the following “I can’t believe she is only three, how proud you must be” and “what a great traveller you have there”.
I was beaming with pride. My hard work and supreme parenting skills had paid off and were evident for all to see. We practically skipped off the plane in Hong Kong. I was a smug Mum and nothing could break me. Another two fingers up to the ex-husband as I text him to give a run down of our perfect journey.
I’m not even exaggerating she was amazing. Not one tantrum. The flight was from 12.20- 11.20 though so every parent reading this can imagine what happened next…
Hong Kong to Sydney. Only eight small hours and I wanted to die. I actually considered pressing the call bell and declaring to the air hostess that I couldn’t in fact do this and would she please take Eliza for the duration of the flight. I cried. I actually cried at one point and asked her to do “good listening” between sobs and clutching onto my own sick bag during the endless turbulence. My perfect child who was by now sleep deprived was pure evil and there was nothing I could do. No amount of redirection worked. None of my meticulously pre-planned activities worked. When we hit a real low point was when she deliberately poured orange juice on the book and phone of the guy sitting next to us. I wanted the ground to swallow me up but instead I put on my most defeated look (I didn’t have to try hard) and apologised. He hated me. I hated myself. There was a lot of hate in Row 40 that night.
So in summary you can say it was a journey of two halves. The first amazing and the second totally shite. So you could say just a typical 24 hours in the life of a three year old who is kept awake for those 24 hours.
Pictures below of Eliza and I on the first leg. There are no photos of the second. That will just be etched in my own memory for all time.
Note the guys face in the third picture. He actually loved us. He’s lived in Hong Kong for 6 years but was doing a masters in sport science in the uk. I know this because we had a full conversation about it on the first flight over a glass of wine. Good times…
So people have asked “why Australia?” Despite the obvious, wikitravel describing it as:-
‘world famous for its natural wonders and wide open spaces, its beaches, deserts, “the bush”, and “the Outback”‘
I also have a personal reason. Well actually a couple…
I have always wanted to go but it never made it onto our list. When I say our I mean mine and my ex-husbands. We met at Uni and so were together from when I was 21. He had spent a few months backpacking around Oz in his gap year and so it never factored highly for him to go again. There were too many other places to see together so a compromise I was happy to make. There had been talk of him wanting to return to watch the Ashes one day and so I was happy to put my desire to go there on the back burner. I was pleased when he announced we should to go for the 2017 Ashes series and we’d been saving for that.
Turns out that he went anyway with a friend the month after our divorce came through. It was therefore only a matter of time before I made it possible for Eliza and I to go. And yes, a rare chance to put two fingers up to him at the same time.
We also have family there. Much more important. It’s actually a really interesting story. I’ll save that for another time though. I definitely need to get my Aunt to do a fact check first before posting!
The Aunt I am referring to is Chris… Christine. She is my mothers sister. 18 years her senior and I have only met her once. She will factor highly in our journey so I will be sure to post more about her and our ever growing friendship. For now though here is Chris and Mum in 2014 when she last visited England…
Little did we know Mum would not be able to make it over to Australia to see her or that I would be coming here so soon on my own with Eliza . Life is ridiculous sometimes…
So the start of our actual adventure dates back to the 15th of November 2016 when my world as I knew it fell apart. Eliza and I moved back to Yorkshire. I started a new job. We moved into our first home as a pair rather than a trio and embarked on a new life together that looked like it was going to be pretty steady. Until September 2017 when my world really did fall apart.
Up until that time I truly thought that going through a divorce was the worst thing that could happen to me but it was nothing compared to losing my Mum. Didn’t even scratch the surface.
It turns out the divorce was a blessing. What I’ve traded for an unhappy marriage is an exciting new life with Eliza and the possibility of finding a new ‘someone’ I can invite in to share it with us one day. For now though we are happy on our own and although what comes with that is fear and yes, loneliness sometimes, I really think that we are not only ‘making the best’ of this new life but we are actually living it to it’s fullest. It’s very easy to get bogged down with work and daily life and forget that we must step outside our comfort zone to live that best life that everyone seems to be referring to. That thought brings me to the purpose of this post. To announce the start of our travelling adventure which has taken some planning and saving but it’s finally here. The start of our adventures around the world together. Just Mummy and Eliza.
First stop… Australia
20th of August 2018.
So apparently I had the intention of starting this blog back in March 2017. These are the pictures I had put up for that very first post. I didn’t get any further than that. I am so glad as the posts would have read very differently and the tone would have been much less positive. I was incredibly angry and hurt at that time. I won’t pretend I’m not still both of those things at times but the feelings are fleeting and much less intense. It is likely I would have used this as a platform to rage at my now ex-husband and that’s not what this is about.
For clarity though this is a heavily edited summary of the last 21 months. In November 2016 when Eliza was just 17 months old my husband of seven years, partner of eleven and best friend of fourteen announced he was having an affair. Cue dramatic move ‘back home’ for me and Eliza. I got a new job as a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at the local Hospital and lived with my parents for three months while we renovated my grandpa’s house (he had sadly passed away in the August) which then became our home. The next few months were a blur of working and Eliza in full time nursery while just trying to navigate through a new life that terrified me. The divorce was relatively straightforward. A signed confession of adultery always helps in moving things on swiftly and we were divorced within the year. I believed this was the worst thing that could happen to me but in September 2017 my Mum passed away after a six week illness. The ‘illness’ turned out to be lung cancer.
So I think I can be forgiven for not taking up the blog. A new pain entered my life and while trying not to sound too dramatic it is still as fresh nine months on as it was the day I watched her die and so that is all I will say about that at this time.
So here we are. August 2018 and thriving amidst the heart shattering loss. A life that I would not have imagined but that is mine and can go in whatever direction I choose. Mine and Eliza’s adventure together started when I took that pregnancy test in 2014 and we shared it with her Dad for a time but now it is just us two and it has already been unbelievably rich and exciting. My aim is to make her life as full of experiences as I can within my capabilities, while working full time in a job I love. Totally doable. I hope you enjoy reading my posts and that my poor grammar is not too off putting. Despite having a Masters in Speech and Language Therapy a linguist I am not. My undergrad degree was Psychology and so there is my defence. My one regret about not having my ex-husband in my life is that he can no longer proof read for me. He was good at that.