One year later, and the “honeymoon” feeling is not yet gone.
The sheer magnitude of picking up lock stock and barrel is poignantly reminded to us when we get to Kings Park in Perth and encounter Gija Jumulu, the Boab tree that was moved 3200km from the Kimberley. Our journey was only 2738km and only a nudge over 6 degrees latitude, although it was across 2 state borders and not simply from the north of one state to the south.
The decision to do a reconnaissance trip to Perth in December 2009 was a bit of a surprise. I never thought Jo would leave but she’d had a taste of travelling with Intimo when she went to Vietnam, and had the inkling of adventure. In the first few days of that trip we couldn’t see a way to make it work, but then suddenly “green lights” started appearing and we were off. We picked the place in Port Kennedy on the last day, and then flew back to Melbourne (it was not a restful trip).
Then the rollercoaster began: break the news, arrange a tenant, refinance, pay deposit, organise removals, CHRISTMAS!, ship one car, pack, renovate and live wherever we could, sell the other car, tidy up, pack for trip, last goodbyes, WHOOSH! pick up car, buy a bed and some mattresses, and move in wait for the container, unpack and settle, start work, get internet and electronics working.
I bought myself a hybrid car since I knew I’d be driving distances; a Prius, a Blue one.
I had some travelling down to Busselton for installations and up to Port Hedland to visit another Bush School, not to forget Broome and Darwin, but otherwise we’ve had an eye opening experience just having the beach nearby and exploring Perth. It’s not unusual for us to go out of an evening and stroll down to Warnbro Sound with the dog. In the summer months it stays warm well after dark, and the beach is protected by a reef. The reef connects Point Peron to the north with the Port Kennedy point to the south. During the daytime you can see dolphins frolicking out in the bay. The weather would cycle strong SW winds to warm balmy quiet days that left the bay like glass. A little further to the south we have Secret Harbour where the surf has been a real attraction. With the temperatures well above the Melbourne averages it is very much an outdoor lifestyle.
Since the move Jo’s parents Harry and Anne have visited us and we had a great time exploring the surrounding areas including Fremantle where Harry was deposited for the first time onto Australian soil. Mum (Anneke) travelled across as well and we again saw many of the sights. Then Connie and Anne, then Harry and Anne, and then Anneke again. Each time has had its own features and reminiscences, such as Kings Park, London Court, Hillarys, The Rockingham Musselfest and promenade, as well as the Fremantle Markets and Mandurah.
Rhyanna has been strolling through year 11, has made lots of friends, and has also met Jerome. Jerome has similar circumstances in moving from Melbourne at about the same time and starting Year 11 over here, though in different schools. The two are inseparable and are a mutual source of support. Rhyanna has also recently decided she wants to wear the blue uniform of the constabulary, and Jerome the black one of the Fire brigade. We wait to see if it comes true but there seems to be some drive behind it.
Talen has sauntered through year 10, and has made many best friends. He cavorts around and makes people laugh a lot, and has just enough mischief in him – hopefully not too much. He has also had his braces removed (the reason behind many trips back to Melbourne for he and Jo), and now has a devilish grin that has made him the centre of attention for several girls. His flame is Courtney, she is probably as tall as he is, and he now towers over Joanne (nearly up to me)
Dion has attacked primary school, and has been involved in rugby, and recently in the Surf Life Saving Club at Secret Harbour. He launches himself at the beach events with vigour, and goes jogging with me as many mornings as we can muster. Dion always has friends knocking on the door to come around to play. He rides his bike to school every day. Dion has taken an interest in caring for his two aquariums of fish along with his PH testers, and Ick and Whitespot cures. He also asks difficult questions, and is growing at an incredible pace.
Jo has been a great source of support in my challenges of getting the business growing over here and has also been involved in the primary school where she organised three discos, six if you consider that each disco was split into junior and seniors. I come along to help out and look intimidating, though if I hear one more Justin Bieber song I will scream. We also took on managing two rugby teams. Jo has relaunched her Intimo business over here, and is operating at about 50% with a lot of support from loyal Victorian customers while her downlines continue to build the Melbourne base.
I have been flying at Mount Bakewell and Serpentine and once at dunes along the local Warnbro beach. Being so close to the beach sailing is a big part of the lifestyle and while having the chance to cruise around on a friend’s 21’ raised keel we are also about to embark on owning our own 16’ Hobie cat.
Although we miss our friends in Melbourne we have made many new and interesting friends. Most are migrants just like us but from areas such as South Africa, UK, the US, and New Zealand.
The whole scary process has really become a validation of the strength of the family unit, and the adaptability and resilience of the individuals as well. If there was anyone with feelings of trepidation they have risen to the challenge and thrived. In a subtle twist the things you may hope to leave behind also try to follow you, and this also has become a learning process. It is also true that we have become aware of how fortunate we are in having both the opportunity and each other. There are many less fortunate, and in some strange way we have become a sort of gravitational centre for some. This also forces a balancing act between our values and openness. You can’t be a part of the world from behind closed doors.
As we draw close to the 2010 year’s end we hope everyone has a great festive transition and a 2011 that brings a thriving future and a zest for life.
Greg Jo and Clan