Thursday 21 June 2012

To a warm country

Three sad noses press against the window of the back door. The glass is studded with drops. It is raining. Again. And it is cold. Come, Tijm pulls his sisters away. They get their rug sacks, their suitcase and climb up the stairs. In the suitcase they pile clothes. Linde’s new pink sundress. Tijm’s favourite checked shorts and his new giraffe shirt. They don’t forget swimming costumes and towels, and in the side pocket they stuff toothbrushes. Tijm puts his new flowery short on, and Linde slips into her strawberry dress. Flip-flops on their toes. Jasmijn toddles around with her baby float. She stuffs and stuffs, but all inflated, it won’t fit in the suitcase.

When they walk down the stairs fully loaded I ask what they plan to do with all that stuff.
‘We are moving,’ answers Tijm, ‘to a warmer country.’
‘Nice,’ I say. ‘Can I come?’
I can.
Tijm puts all the chairs in a row. The little bear chair, the old wobbly one, the dining chairs and the orange high chair.
Jasmijn climbs on the bear chair.
‘That one’s for you, mama,’ the stewardess points.
I sit down while Tijm loads the luggage on the plane. ‘Where are we going?’
‘Australia,’ yells the pilot.
‘No, Singapore,’ screams the stewardess.
Before things escalate, I propose: ‘What if, we go to Singapore first, and then fly on to Australia? That’s how it happens with real planes. It is too far to fly to Australia at once, so planes always stop over in Singapore to rest and refuel.’
Only when all of the staff have agreed we take off. But, somewhere over the Indian Ocean danger arises. One of the passengers decides to leave the plane.
‘No, Jasmijn,’ yells Linde. ‘She will fall in the sea, help!’
But Jasmijn has left already. ‘Let her go, she’ll be all right.’ I point out. She brought her float.

We fly on, calmly and without further problems.
‘We are going to land, in Singapore,’ the pilot announces.
We fasten our seatbelts and hold on tight for landing. When I want to disembark the pilot and stewardess protest loudly. We still need to go to Australia.
‘No mama, we won’t have anyone left.’
I look around and have an idea. I put Poppa, Nelly, Miss Piggy and Duck on the empty chairs. ‘You guys fly on,’ I say. ‘Mama has work to do. Mama is very busy. Mama has many things to organise.’

Because, yes, it is a lot of work, moving to a warmer county. Removers need to be found, flights be booked, temporary houses be located, kids registered at schools, houses de-cluttered, assets sold, a rabbit re-homed, and leaving parties organised.
Later, behind the computer, Tijm stands behind me. ‘How many days until we move, mama?’ he asks.
I count down. And, counting, both euphoria and panic strike. Only forty. Forty days. Forty nights. And then we will move to Singapore!