January 19th, 2022
Washington DC, USA
I feel like Julie Clyde Creative ended a year, maybe two years ago. It's bizarre to feel that way when I've only been out of the country for 18 days or so. The last few days of JCC in Australia weren't anything remarkable. My car sold rapidly before Christmas and on Christmas Eve, my last job was sent to my client and that was it. Silence.
There were no parties, no celebrations and no happiness is thrown around. Just silence in the studio.
Let me catch you up a little... Just over 14 weeks ago, we found out that we were once again being relocated to the USA for two years. We have wanted family time together for four years, but relocating to the other side of the world, mid pandemic was slightly terrifying. There was SO much to do generally to get the house and kids ready... but I had a thriving and busy business to close out and prepare for international relocation too.
As we walked around local Christmas lights on Christmas Eve (it's our family tradition) my husband asked me how I was feeling now I had completed a 3-month mammoth task to complete everything before we were leaving. The previous three months had been hell... 20-hour workdays, editing for my life between getting the kids to and from school and activities whilst trying to keep my all-around health in good form. It had been a huge challenge.
I replied, 'I have been working my ass off for the last 3 years and last Christmas I promised myself I wouldn't end 2021 the same way I ended 2020, yet here I am. Exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, everything-ly. I adore my work and my clients but is it worth THIS every year? We were about to leave Coffs for the second time and I pointed out whilst I had made some treasured friendships, I hadn't actually been able to enjoy them, spend time with them how I would have loved to.
It's a fair assumption that I work hard and I do my utmost to deliver quality in everything I put out, but there was a huge relief when I saw my computer and camera gear disappearing onto the removal truck. I had a reason to stop finally. It was a very weird thought at the time but over the last couple of weeks it's evolved.
January 3rd rolled around far too quickly. We had spent five days in the bliss of Bonville Golf Resort around the house being packed up and cleared out. There was a moment there too, in the pool with the kids where I said to my mum, I didn't realize how badly I needed a break until this moment. We were five minutes from home but floating around in the water felt like a world away. My parents and I have always been extremely close and it's a relationship I treasure. Mum and I had been ignoring the fact that we were about to be apart for the next two years but the gate call reminded us that it was time to say goodbye.
I didn't even make it past the ticket lady before the sobbing began and it didn't finish until we were landed in Sydney. The air hostess thought I didn't like flying, but one of the kids told her 'Mum's heart is breaking because she's leaving her mum'. Well put. Now for all of you playing along at home, know wearing a mask can be interesting sometimes. Let me add a new level to the mix... sobbing whilst mask wearing not only hides said snot coming out of your nose, it also dampens your mask making your face a wet mess. Being unable to remove said mask until later that day (you'll read below!) made for a damp and soggy experience. Also would like to note that sobbing on the said plane also gives you blocked sinus making the remaining 40 hours worth of flying and travel SUPER fun.
The taxi coordinator at Sydney airport is a legend. He saw us coming with 15 bags various of suitcases and carry on, and organized a bus to get us to the international airport. Australia hasn't always been known for its customer service, but he had us covered and it was refreshing.
We had to have COVID-19 tests prior to checking in with our airline. We found the testing area and after a little confusion, one soggy snotty face clean up, we were spending 3 hours waiting for our check-in area to open.
Chris and I have been blessed with three of the best kids in the world. They sat down with us while we killed a few hours just hanging out, playing games, and pottering around a very very empty airport. There looked to be around 100 people on our first flight with Qatar Airlines, but I'm sure it was more. The check-in process was a breeze and before long hubby got the news that the lounges were shut (hahahahha) and that we'd be in the general passenger area. His tired face looked even more defeated.
The kids and I went and bought 3 Australian Hoodies from duty-free and I found a couple of beers for bear. It was getting late and the kids were tiring quickly. They managed to keep it together until boarding when the excitement of the plane took over.
If you haven't seen Qatar Airlines or flown with them, I'm absolutely converted. Although our flights were long and rough at times, the crew were phenomenal. We had a short stop in Doha where we were again impressed with the customer care, cleanliness, and volume of people in the airport. It was running like a ‘normal’ day from 2018.
Landing into the USA was more like a chair to the face. We were prepared for the snow and cold until bear had forgotten his roll-on suitcase somewhere in Qatar. I ended up in two hoodies and he was in my Kathmandu snow coat. It wasn’t too bad temperature-wise but having left summer to land into this weather was a shock to the system.
The airport was filthy. I wish for my US friends I could write that differently… but it’s the truth. There was no one around to ask questions (which possibly is because of covid here) or get help from, and the bathrooms were beyond feral. Trying to get a cab outside ended with us ordering our own Uber’s after the taxi coordinator said ‘there’s no way you’ll fit in a cab” after many large cabs drove straight past us. My credit cards weren't working overseas so trying to book in a car instead of paying cash was next to impossible… An hour and two Ubers later and we finally made it to our hotel.
Recap of the last two weeks:
Recapping our last two weeks in the USA, liife's been incredibly interesting. Beear is learning the best way to work with his babies again after being away for so long and we are adjusting to being a different kind of busy. We are having to find our own homes, furniture, cars, schools... everything all over again. I'll write more about that in the next post, but there have been days when I've said to bear, how having two newborns and post natal whilst relocating countries was easier than this time around and he's agreed.
We have already seen the Lincoln memorial and driven past many of the landmarks here. We've accidentally ended up in the really rough side of town, seen a bunch of homes and sat in the hotel room for hours upon hours as we wait for bear to finish work as my cards weren't working here and it was minus minus minus outside so walking was off the table.
I have found that I'm having a few personal battles around not working, not feeling like working, feeling exhausted, and feeling nothing. It's a hell of a mix of emotions but we are alive, fed, warm, and together. Definitely the light in all of the mess most days. The weirdest feeling I've had is being altogether yet feeling like a massive part of me is missing. Having talked to a great friend back home, she reminded me that as an artist, we often tie our self worth to our work, and maybe it was time for me to work out who I am when I'm not creating, mum, wife, daughter, sister, and friend... I think that sounds like a hell of an adventure, don't you?