Saturday, September 22, 2012

Here ...

Making cotton dishcloths. 

We arrived in Australia five weeks ago and are currently living in Brisbane with my parents and grandparents. Including my three sons and my husband, that's four generations. The weather is all that its reknowned to be with only one rainy day since we've been here. The heat is overwhelming and they say that with summer coming, we may struggle somewhat. I am used to overcast skies, cooler climes and more wind and rain. The other day the boys wound down their car windows as we hurtled along the highway because 'we miss the wind'. With the temps already mid 20C in Spring, I heartily agree.

Sitting here catching the breeze and marvelling trees have flowers. 
                                   Feeling like a snail with my home on my back, or at least in my basket.

My thrifted basket with some cotton yarn, a great read by an Australian author, my bible, journal and phone. I read Paula's post this week and she said that until she had her home, she  had felt like a snail carrying her home around on her back. I understand that concept. Paula migrated to Melbourne via London from South Africa. She is also my dear friend Shells sister and the other half of their online business Lovely Sweet William

I'm also enjoying Rhonda's book 'Down to Earth'. Go here to find her 'Down to Earth' blog. In a highly consumerist society (try a mega mall every few blocks!), its refreshing to read about the joy of simpler things in life. Of course its nigh near impossible to be all things to all people and I'm certainly no purist but if one finds just a few simple principles that help us look after our planet and one another better, even ourselves, well that can only be a good thing. 
Eating strawberries, watermelon and pineapples just feels plain odd in Spring but we are not complaining. 

Everything as a result is more lush here. The trees have the biggest seed pods which my son and I love collecting. The bird life is prolific and I found a nest on my way to the train station one morning.

We've walked along the shore at Sandgate while the tide is out (for miles) marvelling at the large jellyfish and weird looking blue crabs, collecting shells. Naturally a nature basket has evolved which gets added to on our outings. I love these free treasures that abound. Australia has its own kind of beauty. There is no point making comparisons. It is simply what it is. Vast, hot and lush. And we are adapting to our new climate with a freezer full of ice blocks for the kids, Lipton's peach ice tea and lightweight clothing. 

The kids have settled into their schools and Rich is busy applying for jobs and attending interviews. He is also studying and working towards more qualifications. I have a wee job volunteering at the local Vinnies just a few hours a week. Its good fun and as you can imagine, I've gleaned a few treasures. I am impatient to move but deciding where we settle will ultimately be defined by where Rich works and where I feel I most can serve a community. So far the south side of Brisbane is looking good because its where our church community are and many our family activities revolve around our church life. I really love Hillsong's global outreach into each cities communities. Just people caring for people but when you have a grand scale of people, then grand scale projects are possible. And where there is a selfless community, well that's where I want to raise my kids amongst.  

I realise that though I am ok about using my life to help others, I also require private moments and space where I can collect myself and my family. I am constantly reminded that life is not a sprint, its a marathon, and we must be wise where we spend ourselves if we are to live intentionally and purposefully. These jaunts to the sea have been lifesavers especially now that we are living in a communal manner.

There's been a few struggles. I knew there would be but solutions are coming, its just a matter of time and opportunity. 

Having extra hands which makes managing the children easier, as is having people who can help guide us when we need extra assistance, financial and moral support and having other relatives who've recently migrated offer us companionship. Someone wrote me a couple of weeks ago on facebook and talked about the trade offs between staying and leaving NZ. We have gained so much but I lost a few of my vital supports and without internet access, I've felt very isolated and cut off from things that make sense to me. Its a personal thing and feels intense and complicated at times. So thankful for my husband's steady ways. 

He took me thrifting the other day where I happily scored a couple of vintage blankets. We then headed to the beach with coffee. Fortuitously, it also happened to be the one rare day that it rained and as I stood out in the rain with the breeze coming off the inlet (its not really a beach, more an inlet) and the sound of thunder reverberating above, I felt more energised than I have in a long while. 

Self-care, its something I'm passionate about. We become so accustomed to taking care of others but I'm only too aware that we can only give out what is inside us. If I'm full, I'm able to be about others easily. Its why I craft. Its why I spend time with great friends (speaking in faith for new friends to come) and its why I love quiet days in my own head space just reading my bible, catching up on sleep, journalling, pootling around op shops and walking along a shore. 

And I have to admit, I probably more than the rest of my family am feeling more isolated and disoriented than I have in a very long time. The fact there are so few seaside suburbs and everything is so far away from everything (Brisbane is huge and goes on forever), the fact that I am used to being able to access my friends and my artistic creative community, and now I can't, it presents me with new challenges.

One thing I know is that challenges don't kill, so its just a matter of biding time, accepting the discomfort for a season and trusting God. And when I stand under a booming sky, suddenly I don't feel so alone or separated from what really matters to me.

My kids are tanned and making friends. My husband loves the newness of it all. Its great to see my folks who have been helpful in so many ways from building us our own private room to loaning us a car and resourcing us until we get on our feet. 

And then there is my grandmother. I love praying with Mama and talking with her. She's old and crotchety but every now and then the woman that I knew, the one who taught me the value of making and being creative with everyday things, of being tough and not wimping out just cos it hurt or someone didn't like me, the one who was so magically powerful and insightful when I was a young girl, well she makes an appearance. My youngest son plays with the dogs at her feet and I'm blown away with when I realise that she shaped me like I am shaping my son. 

You see, I collected shells and pinecones when I was a kid. And she had my grandad build a special garden space where I could put my found treasures. She's camera shy (in a grumpy kind of way, lol) and so I have no photo of her but I am thankful for this opportunity to spend these days, months and perhaps years with her, while my children adore their grandmother (my mum) in a similar kind of way. Its synchronicity that I believe has God's fingerprints all over it. x