In my last post, I shared some of the… trials…of our recent move. Check it out if you haven’t already, because this post, while a little late, follows on from my promise to share some of the highlights and rationale for our move!
There we were, a family of 3 + 1 on the way, 1 dog and 4 chooks, settling into our new home, freshly built a year ago. Conversations about where we as a family were headed, arguments about whether to invest in the time and money to plant fruit trees on our yard, and pondering how to live as our authentic selves in somewhat less than authentic settings collided abruptly and rudely with a job opportunity coming of out nowhere. I say nowhere to mean out of thin air, but figuratively and geographically speaking, the location of this job opportunity was also nowhere. In the middle of nowhere compared to where our lives were, and where our recent conversations had imagined our lives going.
So here we landed; Bordertown. Population around 3000, a complete unknown and I guess, an adventure for us. One benefit of this move is that it brings us closer to Jonah’s family, although with the current border closures the only family member we can share air and space with is his brother, Connor. This man is one of the few people (especially men) who Reuben will immediately and unreservedly cuddle with. Very handy to have him on call for babysitting duties for the impending arrival of baby #2 and a sneaky date night only 3 months in the making.
We do suffer the loss of my family, adding an extra hour onto travel time for the majority wanting to visit. However, this added travel time does mean longer visits for family willing and able to make the trip, and with the slowed down pace of our life here, it won’t be so hard for Jonah to take time from work and us to do road trips for visiting ourselves. Silver linings and all that..
Another loss we suffer is the network of friends who have supported us through our first year of parenting. Yes, online communication is the best it’s ever been thanks to fast internet and video calls, but in those first months of vulnerability and exhaustion, of questioning and doubts and fears, nothing comes close to proximity, physical presence, and shared experiences for getting through. Nothing. Naturally, starting fresh with these kinds of relationships is completely terrifying especially considering we’re about to welcome another child into our lives, inevitably throwing everything we thought we knew into disarray.
But we have already begun to meet people who have made us more relaxed and able to see potential partners of navigating this tricky time. We have been blessed to meet a friendly face over the fence, to share local wisdom, his backyard produce, and simply a smile. We have been overwhelmed by the friendliness of strangers in town, something I have been assured is “just country folk”, and I have been encouraged by the surprisingly high number of young mothers with young children I see around town, and especially at organised events like KinderGym (which Reuben absolutely loves). I have been stopped in the street and invited to sit with some mums who knew I was new to town, we have been welcomed by shop owners who don’t recognise us, and we have been thoroughly delighted by the lengths the local property manager has gone to to see us housed appropriately as quickly as possible (more to come on this in my next post).
Reuben and I have ventured out for our first playdates, including being welcomed wholesomely into another family’s home as we met them for the first time. All of these interactions, and more, have helped us to feel calm when circumstances haven’t necessarily been gracious. People make a huge difference to our lives and we will never forget this.
We know we have been wildly fortunate to be doing this move in South Australia where we can get out and meet new people, explore the new town, and enjoy the sunshine. Others in neighbouring states and countries do not have it so good and I can only imagine the additional struggles they would be facing. Putting faces, names and voices to this new community has been an integral part of “settling in” in a way that online platforms simply cannot extend.
Possibly the highlight of discovering this town so far for me has been the local Tatiara Work Centre shop; Homemade Homegrown. Inside this shop not only are you greeted by a delightfully cheery volunteer, but every single thing for sale, from jams and fresh vegetables to wooden toys and funky aprons, has been handmade or homegrown by someone in the local community. Each person who sells their produce in the shop is a member, and the shop takes a commission but the seller pockets the majority of the sale. Handmade toys, artwork, homegrown seedlings, pumpkins, lettuce, eggs (like we need more), home cooked meals and pastries… This place has it all. I have a feeling this shop has a shelf which will hold some of my creations in the future.
Jonah comes home from work for lunchtime, and on-time at the end of the day. Although his days are long, hard and dirty, they are normal. He’s not expected to leave his heart at the front door, or to forget he has a family at home. He’s re-learning how to work in the manual parts of his trade, and although his face is filthy and his eyes are tired, when he comes through the door there is a smile that has made it through the day. Such a blessing and relief after a long period of wondering when the end of the day smile would resurface.
While the last month of everything being new hasn’t been easy; my patience has been struggling, and my toddler has been prompting me to wonder if he actually hates me at times (I know he doesn’t), I’m proud of the leaps of faith we have all taken to find ourselves here; physically, and metaphorically. Over the next few months and years, I’m certain we will keep discovering who we are and how to live authentically in that where we are. Our first month, a period of adjusting, breaking down, building back up, and settling in has come and gone so quickly. Bring on the next challenge, the next discoveries, and our new lives here.
Stay tuned and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss the next challenge… Already underway as I sit in the peace of a toddler sleeping in my arms to write this post.