leaving-soon list

This week, I made pumpkin soup. A big fat pumpkin from the Lecidere markets roasted with shallots and blended with garlic, cumin, turmeric and barley, drizzled with chilli oil and eaten at my desk.

I’d planned to save its seeds.

A few weeks ago, when Felix and his brother erected a wire trellis at the front of our verandah, I decided to train jasmine up one side and grow a pumpkin vine up the other. The Lecidere seeds would have germinated in the kitchen and then grown a thick leafy vine up the trellis.

Pumpkin grows quickly. But chopping the pumpkin up on Monday night, I counted the days and decided to discard the seeds — I wouldn’t grow them at all, actually, because I’m leaving in two weeks. I’m leaving in two weeks and Felix doesn’t have a green thumb so I won’t leave him with any extra garden, I just won’t bother with it all — no matter how quickly they grow, I leave in two weeks, in two weeks, so there’s no point.

This is the mentality I spent November resisting with my peonies in Melbourne; the reason I started Indonesian classes in my final few weeks the first time I lived in Dili. Fight the urge to write it all off because the end is approaching; enjoy the sunset sky before the sun disappears into the sea.

I’m not going to germinate the pumpkin seeds; there’s no lesson here. But there is, as there has been before, a list. A leaving-soon list of final things to cross off. I asked my Instagram last week.

I have 20 days left in Dili, I posted. What do I have to do before time’s up?

Have a coconut on the beach. Go OB shopping. Run the Horta Loop. Watch a dog eat a dirty nappy from a rubbish pile. Some quintessentially Dili things (the dog one is gross, but not wrong), including a couple of sadly now-impossible options (RIP Pico Leste icy poles; Skybar, when will you re-open to the public and not just for private functions?).

Combining those suggestions with remnants of my last leaving list, plus new ideas, here’s the list — 14 things to do in 14 days left in Dili, to shore up against wasting it all away thinking ‘I’m going to leave soon anyway’.


To do before departing

  1. Go for a dusk dive at the Pinnacle.
  2. Run (at least part of) the Horta Loop.
  3. Swim in the morning at Dolok Oan.
  4. Drink a coconut at Lecidere.
  5. Buy hot bread at night from Padaria Brasão.
  6. Buy kale at Taibessi markets and make caldo verde.
  7. Drink a passionfruit caipirinha at Nha Casa.
  8. Visit Maliana.
  9. Go OB shopping in Bebonuk.
  10. Finish my diving course.
  11. Read Beloved Land again.
  12. Go for a run in a bin bag raincoat.
  13. Eat fresh fish at the Metiaut warung.
  14. Drink the local Liurai beer on my final night in Dili.

We’re not growing a pumpkin vine but we’re not wasting these final weeks either.

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