This journey to Australia with my 14 month old daughter was not planned and not one that I ever wanted to make. My Dad’s wife of almost 25 years, passed away after a 2 year brave battle with Ovarian Cancer. Always positive and encouraging of others, Lis very rarely complained about the cards that she was dealt. I received a call on Thursday the 1st of August from my Dad who told me with much regret that Lis’ prognosis was not good. Three months at best.
24 hours later I got another call. The one I didn’t want. I am so grateful that I was at the home of my good friend, Sarah’s, with my girls all happily playing. After the initial shock settled I started to consider coming home to be with family. It’s a looong way and an expensive ticket but thanks to my husbands insistence and the financial support from my family, I was on a plane by the 5th of August.
The last ten days have been a roller coaster of emotions. My Dad put together a beautiful montage of photos and immediate family all shared memories and stories at Lis’ funeral. What rang clear during the celebration of her life was that Lis was an encourager. She brought the best out of people and went out of her way to boost people up.
I’ve caught up with family friends that I haven’t seen for decades, gone bowling with my brother like we used to when we were ten, seen my Uncle and Aunt for the first time in many many years, hugged my sweet 4 year old niece and have watched my Dad do his very best at surviving these first few vulnerable moments without his soul mate here, earth side. Please pray for Dad and my sister, as we all try to get used to this new way of life without Lis. We may never get used to it but we’ll keep on keeping on as best we can.
I am so glad that I was able to laugh, cry, hug and stand beside my family. My daughter was able to bring about smiles in this sad time too- what a blessing!
Our commute to work is long but when we get to this cute little town of St. Peter we know that we’re almost home.
I grew up with the ocean always being about a ten minute drive away. The sky was always big and the sun set over the water, breath taking. But did it always take my breath away? Not really. I saw it every day. The old houses that look like churches around the Glenelg area, the terrace apartments over Rundle St, the drive to Victor Harbor, just normal life.
Absence does make the heart grow fonder in this case. This time in Adelaide, I’ve been able to see my hometown through the eyes of my Sister-in-Law (a native Minnesotan) and my girls and it has brought me to appreciate so many things that are beautiful about this place.
On a drive down south…
Sheep grazing on the hills by the ocean is a typical sight but not for my three and four year old little ladies. They loved it and squeal with excitement over all the wildlife that’s just outside their window.
The drive to my Mum’s house looks like this
HUGE rosemary, lavender and daisy bushes
Joining their great grandmother on her usual walk through the park. This was a moment that I just wanted to step back and observe.
And within a few minutes they were running off ahead of us
Until ‘Old Nan’ stopped us to point out the little ducklings by the pond
So I’ve had many moments of joy watching my girls find out what this country has to offer and seeing things with new eyes.
I’ll leave you with my typical morning view. Dressing gowns and Playschool 🙂
It took 3 days to get over our jet lag. I was pretty impressed with that. Our three little ladies woke up at 2:45am the first morning, ready for breakfast and morning cartoons… which I made happen. By the second morning, they stretched it out to 5am and Little Lady #1 had her first taste of warmed Weetbix for breakfast. A new fan. And that was the last of our crazy early starts. Easy.
So on day 4 (Tuesday) we went to the Royal Adelaide Show and had a blast but Wednesday had a different flavour to it. Little Lady #2 fell in a heap on the couch and didn’t get up off of it for most of the day. Coughing, watery, washed out looking eyes, congested, a slight fever and just generally miserable. Then the next day Little Lady #1 was out and Little Baby #3 started coughing a day after that. For 5 days straight, I kept the girls inside, out of the cold spring air and away from friends, in an attempt to keep this virus to ourselves.
It didn’t really work. Everyone in the house felt under the weather to some degree and many were feeling sorry for us. I hate seeing my kids sick and the sound of an infant coughing is heartbreaking. The days felt long and my load was feeling heavy without my man here. Sick kids only want Mum and Dad and it was a challenge to stretch in three directions but somehow we made it through.
We drank a lot of Emergen-C and chewable vitamin C. The kids had some homeopathic cough syrup and I found a liquid form of Echinecea to put in our water. Baby and I had a chiropractic adjustment but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t convince my older two girls to get treated by anyone other than our Chiro back home. I didn’t want to push them to, resulting in the treatment not working because of their tense little bodies or scaring them away from chiropractic adjustments all together, so I just left it up to them.
There were glimpses of joy as the days went by though.
Sitting on the front porch for morning tea…
With a view like this…
And fun with bubbles when the older two started to brighten up a little.
I don’t feel like our Aussie trip has been hindered at all by this slow down. We spent time with Nanny and Pop and ‘Old Nan’, listened to Magpie’s in the morning, drank tea, ate Weetbix and watched Playschool. We were still having Aussie experiences and most importantly, spending time with family. Being bunkered down with a yucky bug has it’s perks.
The Royal Adelaide Show! I haven’t been since 2003 when I went with a bunch of friends wearing baggy jeans, a tight t shirt and Dunlop Volleys with my eyes on a curly haired, green eyed American guy who hates roller coasters… but that’s another story.
As soon as my little ladies had jet lag under control (they had a hefty 14.5 hr time difference for their bodies to work out) our first destination was ‘the show’. It happens for a little over a week every September. For me, it’s all about the rides, the animals and the show bags. What took me by surprise was the rise in cost. Show bags are usually themed bags of junk food and/or toys at a bargain price compared to regular retail. What used to be $5 to $12 is now $10 to $25. I know this is life but at the same time…. this is ‘the show’! Noticing changes in iconic events like this just makes me realize how long it’s been in between innings.
But today was only a little bit about me reliving my childhood and more about my kids experiencing the show for the first time. We followed the yellow brick road which involved a map, a bag and stamping our guide as we went to each numbered yellow brick road site, accepting free gifts of fruit, biscuits, baseball tickets, yogurt sticks etc. doubling as healthy snacks lasting the whole day… Bonus!
The girls went on two rides each. The elephants…
And the Rockin’ Train…
(this is a perfect capture of the moment the train started to move)
Visited the animals. Watching dressage in the large arena, petting the babies…
And, of course, finding the Aussie natives…
Our day was long and unexpectedly hot but we had a great time. It feels good to be tired at the end of a full, happy day. Well, MOST of us had a big day… Someone just snuggled and snoozed in the Moby most of the time, perfectly blocking out the commotion.
I recently started a big adventure with my little ladies, traveling across the Pacific Ocean to my home town in Australia. The thought of traveling over thirty hours with three children under 5 would make any normal person shudder. Lucky for me, my sister-in-law joined me for the journey and is using her time in the Land Down Under to see some sights which definitely lightened the load for me on the plane.
I managed to get them all to snooze before our midnight boarding on the international flight.
Surviving with smiles
Just one more plane and we’ll be there!
Seeing my family’s eyes light up as we exited customs and then smelling the cool sea breeze made all those grueling hours of travel worth it.
I’ve been looking forward to seeing these smiles.
It’s been four years since I’ve been home. Most things still retain a sense of familiarity, like the single story brick homes, narrow roads, bark stripped gum trees, rolling hills by the ocean and of course the special people who waved me goodbye years ago. Four years on and people have become parents, some moved into new homes, fish and chips have become more expensive and shop fronts have changed. It’s a strange feeling being somewhere that feels so ordinary yet, because I so very rarely see gum trees and wattle bushes and eat fish and chips on the beach, it feels so foreign at the same time.
I enjoy being able to see what used to seem so ordinary, like a drive to work along the ocean and sheep scattered hills, through my children’s eyes. Their eyes just light up when they see the vast water and they’ve asked to build a sandcastle every time we get close. I have my own ‘must see/do’ list which involves a lot of culinary delights. I’ll let you know if I get them all checked off 🙂