The last 5 days have been incredibly full of emotions, of packing, of last minute things to arrange / give away / sell / tell / take back / give back / fill out / sign / finish... etc...
The other reason is more poetic - none of us wanted to face reality that in a very short time we have to depart from our home and ship friends for good this time. Actually as I am typing this email from my living room (with fast internet! - thought I mention this for you all :) ) we are still in denial. Ok, maybe not denial, but we still avoid talking about the ship and keep snooping around in our ship friends' facebook and blog updates, we still check the temperature in Conakry every day and reject this cold winter reality.
For the last 5 days we tried to spend as much time with our ship's family as possible. We went out for countless dinners and had breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning coffee break, afternoon coffee break and after dinner dates with many friends - I think we spent more money during the last 2 weeks than what we did in a normal month, but who cares? :)
We also tried to soak up as much sunshine as possible - went to the island (together as husband and wife for the first time), had lazy hours by the pool and enjoyed those unforgettable sunsets on deck 8 every evening.
Visiting places and people for the last time was another item on our busy agenda - went to the market for some last minute gift shopping, said good bye to our local friends and had one last drink and meal in our fav. food places.
And of course there was this white elephant in our living room - empty suitcases who were mocking me every day with "you will never be able to squeeze everything in me!" Well, they were right! I couldn't!
Truth be told it was my amazing husband who did all the packing and guess what: he DID PACK everything we wanted to take home in those bags! We also blessed people by putting stuff outside our cabin door with a 'free' sign over it and we could also sell many items to fellow crew members.
But no matter what you do or don't do, the dreadful day sneaks up on you quietly. On the day of our actual departure (19th Dec) we just switched to autopilot and flew through the day in fast-forward. I must have had meals with our friends and ship's family, must have said good bye to everybody,must have distributed those thank you/love you/miss you already cards, must have cried a bit - I cannot really recall any of it.
All I know that my only comfort was the fact that I didn't have to do this alone; my wonderful husband was standing next to me, holding my hand, helping me cope and actually leave the ship.
The rest was a big blur; it still is. We got to the airport, had some last coffee with Gerrit and Herma, travelled well to Europe, said good bye to the Palmers in Brussles, slept at the airport, FROZE at the airport, boarded the plant to Hungary, saw lots of snow on the Alps then finally landed in Budapest. Parents came, picked us up, we went home, had lunch and we went to sleep. The next day we went Christmas shopping, ate, saw the Christmas markets, ate, drank lots of mulled wine, ate, FROZE to death, ate, were welcomed back at church, ate, ate and ate some more, met friends and more family, ate, somewhere in between we celebrated Christmas, ate some more, met more people, exchanged more gifts, ate... and now is the first time when I have a couple of seconds (before eating again!) to update my blog.
Last Supper in the Davies Cabin :(
Food on the plane - let the massive eating season start!
Christmas Market at night with some mulled wine to save us from freezing!
Darren found some more wine while I ate chocolate fondue..
Yes, we are in Hungary. No point in denying it. It's cold, it's dark, it's weird, it's TINA (This Is NOT Africa) and it doesn't feel real... :(