We made it! I have to say a big thanks to Renee and Kerri (but especially Renee for being so bossy) for helping me clean up the house before we left. I'm so grateful for your help because I know how busy you both are with your own stuff.
I cannot tell you how good it feels to be in Canberra. I bounce out of bed early each morning (and anyone who knows me well will tell you this is not the norm for me) because I can't wait to start the day. Seriously, I love this place!
Yes, it's cold. But it's so different here; it's not bleak with howling winds like over on Hindmarsh Island. We have excellent heating and a trip to the Salvos for second hand winter clothes last week has been a lifesaver. I did have to buy some extra blankets but, I have to admit, I kind of like snuggling up with the pets and kids on cold nights. The best thing about the cold weather is cooking; I get to use my slow cooker as often as I like and I get to cook all my favourite casseroles and curries.
The trip over was difficult. For anyone who doesn't know, I am a fairly inexperienced driver and have never driven by myself on long trips or in city traffic. I also managed to catch an awful cold the day before the drive from Swan Hill to Canberra. Michael drove the Nissan (with Daniel) and I drove the Magna with Kayla as my passenger. She was an amazing help and saw me through some tough spots.
There was one moment, after being overtaken by a huge truck on a dirt track (I'd pulled over to wait for the dust to settle so we could see again), when she turned to me and said "Mum, I am so proud of you."
She was so supportive. Especially when we arrived at the outskirts of Canberra at dusk (my night vision is terrible as I can only see out of one eye - and not very well at that) after nine straight hours of driving and with a terrible head cold. I had to strain to see in the dark as well as try to negotiate the freeways and busy traffic (neither of which I ever normally have to deal with) for almost an hour. I won't lie and tell you that I handled it with grace and poise, but I did manage somehow not to die. That in itself was a feat.
We stopped at Swan Hill with my sister and her family for a couple of days to break up the long drive. I didn't realise how much driving for long periods can hurt! After the seven hour drive to Swan Hill all I could think about was sretching. I did an hour of yoga on arrival and felt right again.
Staying at Mat and Christie's was great. I'm so proud of my sister. She's made such a great life for herself and is an awesome mother. Her three kids are polite, helpful and just so adorable.
Christie's a real Earth mother; she keeps chooks, grows her own fruit and vegetables, makes her own jams and spreads, and never wastes anything. She rarely has to raise her voice because her kids know who's running the show. She's due to have another baby in a couple of months and at one point I might have thought she was crazy (four children under the age of five is no picnic) but now I understand why she's doing it. If anybody can pull it off, she can.
Kayla's future vocation...teacher?
A flower from Christie's garden.
I love the new house. It instantly felt like home; unlike the last house which, although spacious and pretty, was extremely sterile and uninteresting. I'm lucky that the suburb I live in is very central to everything and very close to work too. The weirdest thing, our new home phone number has the exact same last four numbers that my home phone had my entire childhood and adolescence.
I had my mother staying with us the last few days (she was here for my cousin's funeral and left today) and I've been cooking up a storm for her. She didn't appreciate the raw chillis I added to a green curry (just before serving) on the first night though. I cooled things down after that!! We don't always see eye to eye but I really enjoyed having her here. It was under very tragic circumstances, but it was one of the nicest times I've ever spent with my mum.
I've been driving around a bit, trying to get used to the speed and traffic lights etc. I actually almost got wiped out yesterday when mum was in the car with me (sorry mum). Seriously, it was a close call but I learnt a huge lesson.
I had my first day at Prouds on Friday, a five hour shift, and really enjoyed it. There was a lot of information to take in because I knew less than nothing about jewellery. I found it all quite interesting and keeping up with the customers was very challenging (as we get closer to Mother's Day). I have a lot of shifts coming up so I'm sure I'll know my way around the store in no time. Michael has been cleaning up the kitchen and helping out around the house more now that I'm officially working. I'm still in charge of cooking apparently. :) I don't mind, I really enjoy it (as long as I have the time).
We got a puppy. Having to give up our other puppy to move to SA was so heartbreaking for all of us. Daniel especially was affected by the loss. Our new addition is an eight week old Jack Russell female and she's the cutest little thing ever.
Even my mum (not the world's biggest animal enthusiast) was impervious to her charms.
It's so great to be near family at last (all of Michael's family live in Canberra). You feel as though you have an instant support system and the security that gives you is just amazing. For the first time, Kayla has cousins her own age to hang out with.
Totally innocent, right? Not!
It's not always peaceful, but they love each other deep down.
It's a long weekend here and I'm going to spend it recharging. It's been a tough couple of weeks, what with being sick, packing up the old place, cleaning it, living out of suitcases, travelling for two days, unpacking and moving into the new place and starting a new job. Even though I know I should feel stressed out I actually feel happier than ever. At last I feel we've made the right move.
Take care, all. Stay in touch.
The First Week in Darwin - some picture
7 years ago