See Ya Later, Alligator

I’ve never been good at saying goodbye. I tend to slip out of parties and gatherings, choosing the sometimes awkward “Irish exit” over having to say rounds of farewell. Unfortunately, when you are moving 8,700 miles away from home, you generally have to say goodbye in some form. Luckily, we have the best friends and family who made this process easy and even fun!

Leaving my job was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I was incredibly lucky to work with a close team of truly amazing, passionate people who became a second family.

12362904_888807087899391_9205960148626982163_o.jpgThese people work tireless hours to make sure that every high school graduate in the state of Tennessee can go to college tuition-free and with personal mentor support. I grew so much, both professionally and personally, in my time with tnAchieves, that I can say with certainty that I left a better person than I arrived. Saying goodbye to this group was tough, but made better by delicious Thai food at the ever-so-classy Thai Phoo Ket (it’s a restaurant in a trailer in a parking lot across from Nissan Stadium– but with some of the best Thai food in Nashville.) So with noodles and some tears, I said goodbye to my work team (for now.)

My friends are scattered across the country, and with no concrete moving date, it was somewhat impossible to plan any group gathering. However, my sneaky bestie Hailey surprised us with a gathering of our Nashville friends in January. Donnie and I went to dinner with Hailey at Farm House (highly recommend the rabbit confit with sweet potato gnocchi) and then to have a drink at Green House. We walked in to a bunch of Donnie’s friends and my friends all sitting together– and I was so confused! It took me a beat to realize they were actually there to see us! We were so glad to get to see everyone together before leaving.

I didn’t know how I wanted to say goodbye to family, but my mom had the perfect idea for a fun, Australia-themed gathering with our parents and siblings. She cooked up a storm for a delicious pasta bar, and we played Australia games that turned out to be hilarious.

IMG_2412.JPGOne game required everyone to try to guess the actual meaning of Aussie slang. For example, do you know what a budgie smuggler is? If you guessed a man’s bathing suit, you would be correct. (I had my first budgie smuggler sighting yesterday.)

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We also played a game where we threw baseballs that were designated “Aussie threats” like Stone Fish, alligators, box jellies, funnel-web spiders, into a “Great White Shark” mouth to save me and Donnie from imminent death. My Dad won pretty handily.

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Donnie’s mom brought these delicious cupcakes with flags representing all of our homes: TN, NY, US, and Australia. Donnie kept the flag display and put it on his desk at work!

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My brother and sister-in-law wrote a hilarious song to the tune of “Rocky Top” and sang it to us all. My favorite lines include: “You’ll abbreve all the words” (if you know me at all, you know I abbreve anything possible, and the entire country abbreves everything here), “supes fun life,” “Eat all the vegemite and stream all your games to root for your TN Vols,” “when you’ve had years of cramped up Sydney life” (because how clever) and most of all “Enjoy those gun-free laws!” This was easily one of my favorite gifts ever.

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I learned that saying goodbye isn’t easy, and sometimes it involves tears, but also it’s such a blessing to have so many people who care about us. I was so thankful to my Mama for creating such a fun, lighthearted party to allow us to spend time with those we’ll miss the most.

We also expect as many visitors as possible, so if you miss us, book a flight and come stay with us!

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