If you don't leave until January, you still have 5 months to take lessons. Why not? Even if you do one lesson a week, that's some 20 lessons. You can learn quite a bit by then! I am away from my instructor for 7 months, and if I can afford to, I try to take a lesson with a local trainer if I can. I miss taking consistent lessons, I had a lot of fun when I did. Hunny will be fine when she takes a break while you are abroad. That shouldn't stop you from working with her now. :)
Think of it not as a failure but as a success in how not to do it.
Don't look in a horses mouth for a gift.