Monday, December 3, 2012

This old house

I had a old house in South Africa.

But I loved her and I cared for her and she looked better and she felt like home.  I dont like new houses.  I dont like modern and am highly suspicious of white walls.  They look like they come out of a box.  I dont like chrome and gleaming metal.  I like old counters where other people have leaned on their elbows and made peanut butter sandwiches and drunk tea.  I like old baths that have been well soaked.  They feel welcoming.

Likewise I dont like gardens that look too well maintained or neat.  With colour blocks.  And raked paths.  I like chaos and leaves and birds and vegetables.  I like gardens that look shabby but loved.  Because the one thing that I have learn't is that if life is to be lived, really lived, it has to be messy.

I have an old house in Australia.  She looked very tired when I moved in.  She was shy at first, but she opened up to me slowly.  She started chatting to me one day when I was sitting drinking my early morning tea.  She whispered, I really need to be painted a bit.  So I did.  I wasnt very good but she was very understanding and even laughed softly under the tickle of my brush.  I started feeling her groove as I cleaned and dusted, slowly, slowly.  I felt comfortable in her passage, up and down, carrying laundry, toys, clothes, towels, the discards of life.  I found nooks that I dont think anyone had looked at and hung pictures there and I packed clothes in her cupboards and washed dishes at her sink and watched the red wattle bird that lives in her tree on the fence.

I like her more and more.  She is too small really for us.  I have too much stuff but she feels right.  As if I needed to be contained on arrival.  Perhaps she knew that too much space would make me feel more lost.  She is a wooden hug and I like her cracked step and front door that sticks.  I feel the echoes of others here and I like it. 

Its taken six months but I finally feel like I am home again.  I have spaces for things and know how things work.  I know where the creaks are when I sneak off from sleeping babies and I have her oven figured out.  I have waist high tomatoes and rows of corn and the neglected roses that I pruned down have rewarded me with blooms.

I have a good home in Australia.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The forgetful blogger

I am the forgetful blogger.  Or perhaps the reluctant blogger?  All I know is that while I have good intentions I have been very bad about posting.  And thats not to say that I dont have a lot to say.  Actually so much is happening right now that I have a lot to say.  But I havent been saying much.  I think part of this is that blogging as always been a revealing process for me and right now I am a bit fragile and not really wanting to deal with what is happening around me.

Its been almost six months and I am struggling here.  More then I ever thought I would to be honest.
I dont miss South Africa as much as I thought I would but I am homesick.  The longer I am here the more abnormal some things become for me and thats hard.  When I arrived I found everything abnormal but amazing.  Then we conquered the practical part of moving and I thought things got normal again.  Once again, you have a routine.  But it is the very midst of that day to day routine that I feeling lost.  I rise and do lunches and school dressing, frantically filling out forgotten notes and looking for change.  Then its the drop off and the shops and racing home and cleaning up and putting children down for a nap.  And its fetching time and sports time and supper time and more cleaning up and paying bills and more cleaning up.  And.  I dont see myself in the chaos or stop to talk to myself much and so I am feeling lost.  Asking myself who am I?  And what happened to my life?  And how the hell, beyond that terrible quantas flight, did I get her?

We moved here for lots of reasons and we get asked about them almost every day.  We did move here because of crime and political stability and all the other reasons why South Africans move here and elsewhere.  But it was more then that for us.  We moved here for quality of life and what we thought Australia could offer.  The thing is that right now we are too tired to really take advantage of the quality of life aspect of this country and so that is really skewing how we feel right now.

On top of that Jason found out that he wont be made permanent in January and that he needs to start job hunting again.  And because we are still raw and insecure after the last long job hunt, it has caused us a huge amount of stress.  This move has been hard on our egos.  So its November, almost December and I feel that we are limping a bit as a family, caught up in the madness of scouts and cricket and end of year events and birthday parties but huffing and puffing.  Not really as emotionally fit as we were when we landed, full of hope.

Now before it sounds as if we are about to pack for Pretoria, not so!  Even in the hard space i find myself in here and now, i am intrigued by this country.  I feel like one of the seedlings I recently put into my garden.  I am spindly and weak but full of promise.  I know instinctively that if I put down roots here we can thrive.

Memories bind us to a space and time.  So I am embracing this festive season with hope.  Its a sad time for me because I love the holidays and they have always had great meaning for me.  Two of my children were born in December and with their parties and christmas itself, this has always been the season for family.

But here lies December 2012 before me and I am determined to create new nurturing memories for my family.  I have extended myself, planned birthday parties, christmas lunch, been invited to new friends for christmas eve and I am embracing it all.  I determined to create some joy for myself right now.

I hope that wherever you are you are in the midst of diving into the season and all the joy that it promises....

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What happened?

Its been a year since i last posted.


Whats been happening?  Oh, no much.  Three kids, life... and we packed up our whole life and moved 10 000km to Australia.  All in a days work or life.

I know, it still doesnt seem real to me.  Or my previous life doesnt feel real.  I am still deciding which.  On the 19th June 2012 we flew from Johannesburg to Melbourne Australia.  The last 6 weeks have been hard. Doing anything with children is hard.  Doing something like this with three kids is just south of crazy.  I am really happy for the wonderful opportunities this decision has presented for me to be with my children.  But right now in the madness of setting up home, settling in, setting up life really, i dont always think that i am achieving what i set out to do.  I am short tempered.  They are acting out.  I am known to have the occasional crazy melt down.  I may have even stamped my foot once or twice.

I miss the feeling of comfort and home and long for my precious shipping container to arrive, full with my life.  I have realised how much of a nester i am.  How much i value and need every day comfort.  How simply domesticated i can be.  Even when i had the big executive job.

But i am going on.  Rebuilding day by day.  Putting out roots, meeting people.  I know some names, some faces.  Shopping isnt the nightmare it once was.  I baked a cake.  I made my grandmothers banana bread.  It tasted like home.  I have a library card.  I have a couch.  I have planted in my rental garden because i feel like its home when i have put something into the ground i walk on.  I am walking slowly along the path to normality.

And Lilith is still beautiful and soft and makes me so glad for her when i feel lonely.

And Seth is still blue eyed handsome, boyish, acting out more then i thought he would but still loved.

Gabby is still mine in the softest way.  He reads me so well, I love him so dearly.

Life goes on....