A fter my maternity leave, in 2014, we did move back to Denmark, just for 18 months. I did make it work, mostly, as a single mother with a demanding job, thanks to my incredible friends and colleagues.
It was painful when we left them, your second family, but so worth it for you to know your grandparents, aunt and uncle, and your little cousins. There are three of them now. Nick met Nozomi soon after you were born, little Ibuki followed, and any day now, I mean I’m literally expecting the call, a 5th baby cousin will arrive!
But I’m jumping ahead. It’s December 2012, Denmark. I’m 7 months pregnant. As I eat my nightly 3am pancakes, I research basinets, baby baths, change tables and car capsules. Work is busy and I’m not so light on my feet now. The documentary project, my other baby, is underway and I’m trying to manage logistics and offer some guidance to the students before they head off to shoot. Working with these courageous students, over years, seeing them make compelling films, has given me the courage and the drive to make this series. Students of the EFC, I owe you a debt of gratitude. I would not be doing this if it weren’t for everything you taught me. On the last day of school, in the morning, we have a staff Christmas event with gifts for everyone. I haven’t anticipated that this is also a farewell for me. I’m given presents for my baby, and a speech, by the Principal, that is so complimentary and so moving, that I cannot speak to reply. It’s so hard to say goodbye. I don’t know if I’m coming back and so much of my heart is here.
I pack all weekend. I have a lot more stuff than I thought. Steen comes to help. He’s someone you can count on to be there when you need him. He cooks dinner for Michael, who you’ve named Mimi, and me on my last night. It’s hard to believe this is the last time, after so many meals together. The three of us are single and have become great friends during our years together here. All three of us left the college a year ago, and settled around the world. Michael met Antonia again before we left, his girlfriend from a decade earlier. We’ve been invited to their wedding in New York! Steen has decided to go. I make a decision. We’re going to bloody do it too! As I board the final flight to Sydney, I am thinking more and more of home, of the new life I’m about to start, and I’m feeling excited now. I’m reunited with my family and meet my baby nephew Alexander for the first time. It’s a year since I was last home. Life can change so much in a year. Another family Christmas, but this time with a two nephews, and you, so close.
This is an independent production made by me, Sophie Harper.
Thank you to my friends, my family, my former students and colleagues and my daughter for allowing me to record, for your endless support and for believing in me. It means the world.
Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:
Say Goodbye by Adrianna Krikl; Fuck It by Broke For Free; Readers! Do You Read? by Chris Zabriskie; Level 3 by ZhangJW. Also a big thank you to the generous and talented Liz Tran of Blue Sky Designs, who has built me a beautiful new website, somehow, miraculously, while juggling a baby and a toddler. It’ll be live within days. And to all of you who have left amazing reviews and sent messages, you have brought me to tears multiple times. I am inspired. Please keep them coming!
It’s so hard to say goodbye. I don’t know if I’m coming back and so much of my heart is here.
A special thanks to all the generous and kind people who have donated to my fundraising campaign. Kate, Julie, Ana, Madeleine, Norelle, Audiocraft conference, Elizabeth, Cathy, Beth, Annette, Megan, Sher, Dimity, Jess, Ingeborg, Rebecca, Emily, Pearl, Cathy, Kate and Russell. Hooray for Lea Thau and Strangers podcast! Not By Accident was featured on the latest episode. If you don’t already subscribe to Strangers, do it now. You won’t be sorry. We are taking a week off to go to the wedding! See you in three weeks!