Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Warning... Melancholia Alert!

Today I have no trouble thinking of what to write about.  Today I have a topic that has been on my mind all day.   This topic is in my thoughts nearly every day... when I daydream about bigger and better things, this is what I daydream about.

The northern beaches in Sydney in particular.  This is a story of unrequited love.  It began in 2006 when my husband and I went travelling.  We were touring South East Asia for a couple of hectic months before hopping on a flight to Sydney to stay for a while with Wad’s aunt and uncle (referred to as AJ and UP from here on in).  Wad had raved about Sydney the whole time I’d known him.  He had lived there for a gap year in the middle of university a few years before and vowed he’d come back to stay forever.   After the assault on my senses from Vietnam to Singapore (and everywhere in between) it was a welcome respite to nestle into my cultural comfort zone again...and I was curious what it was about this place that had Wad so enamoured.
On arrival it was rainy and grey.  We had taken the train from the airport into Circular Quay (Wad was keen to have me experience the Manly ferry on approach to AJ and UP’s home in Harbord) only to find the ferry was off.  We then waited, exhausted, for a bus that never came.  We called AJ but she had no car to collect us, so we took a taxi that ate a significant hole into our already failing cash supply.  Needless to say, I was not impressed.  I spent the next 36 hours trying to conquer my jetlag.
On the third day I awoke uber early to my first live performance of a kookaburra’s laughter.  Intrigued, I got up and went outside to see if I could spot it and as I searched to trees, it flew off, dragging my gaze across the vista of Curl Curl and Manly.  As spectacular as it was there was nothing outstanding about the view.  I have seen lots of stunning vistas and this wasn’t the most beautiful... but something about that moment, the morning noises of the native urban wildlife, the warmth of the early morning sun... the light was different – it made the colours of the landscape look more vivid, the faint sound of the surf.  I don’t know what it did to me but within those first few minutes I was smitten.   Wad startled me by joining me and putting his arm round me, saying, ”This is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.”
I was so happy in that moment.  Wad and I were only married a few months and our whole lives seemed stretched ahead of us bubbling with good fortune and possibilities (we were newly qualified architects).  I was luxuriating in the knowledge that things were going to be just great.
Wad spent the next few months working on my induction to the Aussie lifestyle, most importantly, the early morning surf.  I am not suggesting for one second that I am in any way adept at this but I was hooked, despite near drowning experiences and post-surfing ‘nose bleeds’ (you can be standing having a cup of coffee several hours after your surf when all of a sudden a gallon of sea water pours out your nose). Not very attractive.  But then, I wasn’t your typical attractive surf chick – I just loved it.  I remember going for a (very amateur) surf the morning we were leaving, sitting on the beach and drinking it all in, *knowing* I’d be coming back with a job, a visa and my whole life ahead of me.  Hell, Wad already had a job offer from DesignInc, with the details to be ironed out when we were back on British turf.
That was five years ago.  The job offer fell through.  Although we were both under 30 Wad had already used his work hol visa and at the time I didn’t want to go out there without him. By the time we’d built up enough savings and I’d built up the courage, it was 2009 and the month before I was due to do it I fell pregnant with Bubble. Then the recession really hit.  Wad was made redundant.  We tried going through agencies but Aus was having its own recession and they were obviously giving local folk first preference. 
Ultimately, we still haven’t made it there.  I dreamed of raising my children in Australia but I’m raising Bubble here in the Ards Peninsula.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely little corner of the world but it’s not where we want to be.
They say what’s for you won’t go by you.  I can only hope that’s true.


  1. Hi! Great post. We are on the Gold Coast in Queensland and it too is a lovely piece of Australia. It's hard when you find somewhere that feels "like home" but it's unattainable.

    You'll get here. xx Thanks for your comment too. Bern (So Now What)

  2. Bern,

    You are officially the first comment! I'm so excited :o)

    The thing that's been hardest about it (and the reason this came up in the blog) is that my family are moving there one by one. My brother is in Melbourne, my cousin and her family in Sydney and my uncle and his family are relocating from Auckland to Brisbane.

    On that note, my hubby says the Gold Coast is lovely too...I've not been there... yet.




Thanks for dropping by! I'll be sure to pop over to you too sometime soon :o)

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