So, that’s it. The last of the Christmas / leaving dos took place in Dorchester last night and a fabulous evening it was, too! Much Prosecco was quaffed, we all proved way too good at Fuzzy Duck and at the end of the evening a select few retired to our hotel room for a game of Cards Against Humanity. (Enough said on that subject, methinks.)
And then came the (not quite tearful) goodbyes. It definitely makes it easier knowing how straightforward it is to keep in touch across borders these days and that so many people are planning to visit me in Valencia (and it really is a fabulous place to visit).
One of the declarations I have been saying regularly over the last few months is this: “I am loved, valued and respected.” At first it was just something I said, something I told myself but didn’t necessarily believe. But the last few weeks have made me feel it is entirely true. The cards, the gifts, the warm wishes, the help and the love I have received, not just from my colleagues but also from the writing group, the ukulele group and others have made me feel really warm and fuzzy. But this is not an ending, it is a beginning.
It all feels a bit surreal at the moment. I’m not sure when it’s going to sink in that this is really happening. I suspect not for a few weeks yet. Although (hopefully) I will be in Valencia in just a few days, I am sure at first it will just feel like I’m on holiday. At first, I will be caught up in enjoying Christmas, in settling in, in getting to know the city in a new season (it’s my first visit in winter). But then at some point, it will start to feel not just like a homely place, but truly like home.
But now, I need to repack my case and my rucksack, book somewhere to leave my luggage in London and get an early night. Tomorrow I head to Essex to visit family. The final countdown has begun.