Dream scheming: Random nights where thoughts and ideas flood your mind, and you suffer by not being able to fall asleep and turn the thing off.
The dream scheming started nine months ago when David first mentioned that he had been approached about a job selling yachts in China. It appeared like a hand dragging us free from an ocean of routine, grind and tedium that had gradually become our working lives. Until the opportunity was presented to us, neither of us realised how much we craved a change and were ready to grasp that hand and let it lead us into the unknown.
For months I have woken up at around 3am with my brain whirring aggressively into action, relentlessly circulating thoughts, concerns, ideas and worries around my head - keeping sleep firmly at bay. How could we leave the comfort of our home in the UK? What would we do without our close-knit group of supportive, caring, naughty, fun friends? Who would look after our dog, Winnie? How would we deal with moving somewhere where we only knew each other? Would we be able to learn Mandarin? Was there an established expat community? What would I do for a job? Where would we live? Would I have to pretend to be a good corporate wife in front of David's customers? How would my hair cope with the heat? Where would I get my highlights done? Did they sell fake tan in China?
You name it, I've thought about it, dwelled on it, investigated it on my iPad and obsessed about what our new life in China could be like - at 3am. And then David finally got offered a job in Hong Kong six months ago... and the dream scheming belligerently continued. Would we be able to learn Cantonese? Where did the expats live? Would I get a job without being able to speak or write Cantonese and Mandarin? How could we afford to become members of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club so I could pretend to be a good corporate wife in front of David's customers? How frizzy would my hair go in the humidity? Was there a Toni and Guy? Did they sell fake tan in Hong Kong?
Now finally, the dream scheming is almost a reality and I still don't know the answer to half of my questions. What I do know is that nothing could have prepared me for the reality of saying goodbye to my amazing family and wonderful friends. So many have revealed just how supportive and considerate they are. There have been those that have been there in person or at the end of the phone whenever I've been tearful and tearing my hair out at the scale of what needed to be done to downsize our lives and move abroad. Those that have sent me comforting text messages to check that I was coping after David left in January. The ones that dropped everything to help me dismantle wardrobes, sofas and tables, that have driven me to my parents with furniture. Those that have taken me out to dinner or invited me to the pub and plied me with wine and lobster. The ones that looked after me and lent me a car the day I locked myself out of my house. The ones that have put a roof over Winnie's and my head after the tenants moved into our house. The ones that have shared their sausage casseroles, polenta, chilli con carne, pasta, pork belly and scallops with me. Those that have sent me daily emails full of banter and have mopped up the tears when the reality of leaving eventually struck. And everyone who made the effort to come to the pub to see me off and have written me cards with messages that I still can't read without choking up. You know who you are...
And so the dream scheming continues and the next chapter begins.
"Friends are like stars - you don't have to see them to know they are there."