Our Second Seachange Year

During our practise year, towards the end, hubby's boss told him that his contract wouldn't be renewed. There was no work for him. That gave us time to look for work. This was when at 39 years old, nearly 40 that the penny dropped about saving money. By the time we were to come home I had $800 saved. On top of that I had food organised in the form of Chrisco which arrives in late November, early December. Our job finished just before Christmas, just to give an idea about the time of year.

So my saving thing continued. In our early days here I heard that some students in my eldest's age group who were studying History were planning to go to China. So I saved up for this. I didn't quite allow for any changes for the cost of the trip, so a little disappointed in that, but mostly I did good. The international airport here is 5 1/2 hours away. Since my husband was working in the corporate world for a time we had experience with the airport. Once I packed up the kids (four of them?) and woke at 2am or so one morning to drive 3 hours to be there waiting by six. I thought that was stupid later, we didn't believe in mobile phones at that point. Mind you our new one is just for show in some ways because it probably wouldn't work here along the road.

This flight from China was also pretty early in the morning. So we stayed in a caravan park unit, great for large families, and got up at 5 and made our way there to collect him. The trip made such an impact on his life, that a year later he made a decision to study Chinese in a double degree at uni. He got exactly the right marks and did exactly that; at least for a time, but that is another story. He sees a lot of Chinese on a daily basis where he lives so it is good he visited their country.

Our house here had a fantastic Japanese garden near the back door when we moved in. I remember spending time on the net learning about Japanese gardens, and eventually I got a statue as well. A lot of things I am forgetting now, all of these things were a big deal at the time, lots of detail I could have shared. But with being in limbo about our new house that we have bought, I guess these memories have been pushed to the back of my mind.

The statue was named something related to viewing snow, I was excited as you can see snow from the house once a year if you are lucky. So I thought it was special. I got the statue for my birthday, I don't usually get presents, I allowed myself this statue.

We visited the Lennox Gardens in Canberra and studied what plants etc. they had used in that garden and took photos. I tried to buy one of the ground covers, but had to settle for another one as I couldn't get my hands on them.

We went shopping in Coles, and I think bought things we couldn't buy here, like black cake decorating gel and other special things to add to the pantry.

We saw a blue-tongued lizard in our garden that year. We saw another one this year and he is the one pictured. We have seen other wildlife, like the tortoise that just walked along basically the footpath up the hill in the side street. We put him in our yard, and he went up the driveway still wanting to go up the hill. So we put him down on the corner and he continued on up the hill along the pathway.

Not too long ago I was at school waiting for the kids, and an echidna was just walking around on the lawn. Once I saw a fox running around town. Early on we saw flocks of corellas and those black parrots, Major Mitchell cockatoos?

Before we started on our seachange, our cat died. It was a Siamese seal point that we were very attached to. For some reason she started having fits. At some point I told our eldest daughter that when were were settled in a new place with a stable income we would get a cat. So in our second year here there were some free cats. I was quite stressed about this new cat and looking after it. I feel now I have done a good job, and the children get daily joy from the cat. I named him Cassidy from Hoppalong Cassidy. Manx are supposed to have longer back legs and remind me of a rabbit the way he moved as a kitten. He is also named after Butch Cassidy and David Cassidy, need I say more? Or was it Sundance that held my attention?

I remember we got Bigpond movies about this time, where the DVD arrives in the mailbox. I got a DVD of David Cassidy in concert. It was fairly recent. If you loved David Cassidy years ago, have a look at it. He was in the UK in the concert.

I didn't think the cat thing would work out so well, I was very negative at the start. There is a photo of him here.

I found some online friends at some stage. Two people in particular that I met on forums. I remember that really helped me with adjusting to my new environment.

During a visit to the health centre for our three year old daughter the nurse mentioned because of the way the town was, our daughter should attend, I think it was daycare, not sure. But anyway, I took it seriously in that I enrolled her in a local dance class. The friends she met there are still her friends today. It took ages for me to get to know the people and put names to them etc. so it was good I started early.

There was no 3-year old kinder here. I had put the older girls in three year old kinder. It turned out there was a kinder in our Shire, in a place I wouldn't have thought of. I wasn't going down the daycare route.

That year I decided we needed a visit to beach. So we did a day trip to the beach we visited in the early 80s. Amazing.

Earlier on in the year we went to the Agricultural Show. In our hometown I hadn't attended very often. I am not sure if this was our first or second visit to this show here, but our daughter won a prize for her toy bear that miraclously appeared during our practise year Christmas. I remember the first Show included a Punch & Judy performance and I was thrilled. The Show included what was in my childhood a Red Cross flower show. The Junior part had been joined to the Agricultural Show and the senior part left as it is. Need I say more?

I was thrilled to get reacquainted with Floral Saucers, though my daughters don't share my enthusiasm. My Nana and I had a lovely time attending flower shows, until the day, well I still enjoyed them; but, Nana put rag curls in my hair and I ended up with an afro.

At the end of the year there was the dance concert. The local Pentecostal church lent the hall for it which I thought was nice. The dance was a can can, and I was able to use an old tutu with a character skirt over, that we already had. Our other daughter had a matching character skirt and I got a sparkly leotard from ebay.

In my life before marriage and after the farm, I went to a Pentecostal church, but I haven't gone to this one. I guess you just get set in your ways.


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