Thursday, 23 June 2016

Dear friends...

We are coming back to Australia. Probably almost three if I scheduled this right.

But we might not be much fun for a little while.


Well, we don't have much to be excited about, because we are returning to Australia without work lined up, for the second time in nearly 10 years and the economic climate seems very similar, even if our skill sets are a little different.

Yes, we are happy to be coming back to Australia, but we would like to be able to support ourselves, save up for a house or apartment, put money aside for our retirement, and have something leftover so that we might go camping around Australia or whatever. You know... we just want a simple life where we don't need to worry about contracts dependent on grants coming through, so that we can settle down in one place and never have to move again.

We live in hope that this is in our future, but right now we are unemployed and that sucks and it hurts. We will have our good days and bad days, days when we're eager to catch up and others when we cannot deal, cannot adult, and being around friends who are employed and/or paying off a mortgage is too much. Seriously.

So, before we catch up there are a few things I'd like to clarify:
  • we are happy to be back in Australia, but that does not make it home; 
  • we are happy to see you, but we are not excited to be unemployed; 
  • we are happy to see familiar things, eat familiar foods, and smell familiar smells, but we have taken Jimmy away from the only home he knows;
  • you might think you know Jimmy, but he doesn't know you, so give him time to come to terms with is surroundings and then slowly engage him in something - something that involves running around preferably;
  • catching up may be emotionally very difficult for us, so if we put things off or cancel for no apparent reason, it is simply because that day or that week is hard and we can't.
This is part of reverse culture shock and life not going as we would have liked. This is part of trying to judge where we're at each day and provide Jimmy with some sort of routine and stability, until the inevitable happens and we move. Again.

For the most part, Jimmy is taking the upheaval well and has been very good about not getting in the way of cleaning. He's been enjoying being at home with Daddy, but he knows something is up and that makes him clingy and withdrawn at times. He can be drawn out, with the help of other children or an entertaining father (not necessarily Michael), but some days he is easily overwhelmed - just like anyone who has had to move a long way away from familiar people and returned more than a year later.

We will do our best to catch up and reconnect, because we don't know where the next job will take us. If it's been two (or more!) years since we've seen you, then we don't want to wait another 2 years to see you again. And we will make the effort.

We understand that your lives have changed, but please forgive us if we sound pissed off that you're not dropping everything to come and see us. As we will be living in Warwick for the foreseeable future, we cannot make it to Brisbane every weekend, even if we are unemployed - actually, especially if we're unemployed because petrol costs money, something we don't have much of and something that's not coming in.

If we are lucky and are able to remain in Australia, if we find work and are able to settle in and make a new home for ourselves, it will take us about 3 months to find our groove. Please be patient with us, because you are important to us and we want to fit our life back into yours, as best we can, given all the changes everyone and everything has been through in the past 2 year.

And for the friends we made in Manhattan, KS: you will be missed. Stay in touch as best as you can - we will do the same. Who knows, we might live in the same town or city again, and we will try to pick up where we left off, but changes that come with time (and life) might make that difficult too.

Hopefully, we receive some news to make us excited about the next stage in the life of our little family. Hopefully soon.

See you when we land,


Friday, 17 June 2016


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2016

Jimmy: Kicking up some dust at Konza Prairie...

We kept asking him not to! He even walked through some dust he'd kicked up and didn't like it, but he didn't stop it. Going to Konza on Sunday was the highlight of the week and Michael has captured Jimmy in all his Kansas-ness while at Konza beautifully.

Jimmy has grown so much since we left Australia, but Kansas-constants have been those fruit shorts, sunnies, him stricting out and exerting his independence, long sleeve tops with buttons (we've all collected a few while we've been here), my old backpack, and a bold combination of colours and prints that clash but work together because they clash. That's our boy.

Thursday, 16 June 2016


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2016

Jimmy: Posing on the tennis court.

The reason Jimmy stopped going to school when he did was because Michael had some leave saved up, so Daddy is taking a staycation, I'm still at work, and Jimmy is at home with Daddy. Or on the tennis court, playing with tennis balls, and posing for Daddy.

Ok, so Jimmy might have just been taking a rest, soaking up the sun as Michael took this photo, because...

Unfortunately, Jimmy was a little unwell the week Michael took this photo of our boy. We're not sure that it was hand-foot-&-mouth disease, but he had a fair few of the symptoms. He was mostly fine and bouncing around, but he had a fever and cough and runny nose and what might have been a tiny blister in his mouth. And HFMD was at his school the week before. Anyway... He's well and truly back to full health.


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2016

Jimmy: Starting his last week of daycare/school in style.

The last week was serious business: lots of colourful clothes, much to the enjoyment of his teachers; lots of puddles to jump in; and cupcakes on the last day. Even with the outbreak of hand-foot-&-mouth disease in his classroom, it was a good week. Actually, as Jimmy was fine all that week, it was a great last week. And it started with this photo taken by Michael.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Jimmy in an Akubra!

Because it's so right, even if the Akubra in question is too big for him, because it's Michael's. One day Jimmy will have his own, and Michael will take a similar photo of our boy (this photo was taken by Michael).

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Missing/enjoying: Spring showers...

I really, really like spring in Manhattan. Once the fear of tornadoes wears off, we are left with comfortable days, light showers and scattered storms.

And puddles.

Lots of puddles for jumping in, especially after school and work, so that we don't have to worry about gumboots that are no longer water tight or wet and muddy clothes.

Everything turns green and flowers, and the air smells fresh and clean and a little sweet. There might have been muddy or wet (or both!) clothes in need of washing every day, but when it was so nice outside and we didn't have to worry about the extreme cold of winter or the extreme heat of summer.

I think spring has become my favourite season and I miss the cooler weather, now that we are definitely in summer with days over 30C, and forecasts for 36C by the end of the week...

I already miss spring showers in Manhattan, not just because of the heat, but also because going home to Australia means that we will not experience such variation in seasons again, and that makes me a little sad... Hopefully we'll find some spring showers in Australia before too long.

The first photos was taken by me, all the other photos were taken by Michael.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

May all your bacon burn and other curses...

Some jerk stole my bike the other day. Or night. Sometime between 5:40 pm and 10:15 am. Stole it from under the stairs that lead up to our apartment. Just my bike, not Michael's. Jerk.

My bike was not worth much. I found it by a dumpster, unlocked with old, flat tyres and a dry chain. We nursed it back to rideability. It was a twitchy thing - just the thought of turning seemed to make the handlebars and then the front wheel start to turn... 

But it became my bike. And I enjoyed riding it, even if the handlebars were slightly twisted thanks to a fall and laziness on my part (I never fixed them properly fixed them). There was also the issue of the brakes not working when wet. Damp. In the presence of a few drops of water. Otherwise, if I applied them too quickly I felt I might be thrown over the handlebars... Funtimes.

And no. I never rode it through snow. And riding over ice? Hell no. Unless it was a tiny stretch, no bigger than a puddle. And then I'd often have my feet off the pedals... not that my boots were any surer than the tyres.

Because of the nature of my bike, I decided I wasn't going to be too put-out if it was stolen in the last few weeks of our time here. But I was wrong. Very wrong. I'd had a rough night (Jimmy had a fever, and even though it was going down, I still didn't sleep well - it's a thing that happens when Jimmy is sick), and was late for work by necessity and it was gone. No bike.

A crazy idea went through my head: did I leave my bike at work? I had been doing it a bit because rain and the issue with the breaks. But no, I remembered riding it home and thinking that maybe I should lock the wheels, but hadn't. Naturally, I started kicking myself for not doing so before realizing that if someone really wanted by bike, the bike would not have stopped them.

So with that, and a picture of Jimmy and my old bike, I curse the jerk who stole my bike:

Could you have waited another two weeks? I want my bike back! 
Failing that: may the twisted handlebars bug you, may the rear tyre go flat often, and may the brakes fail. 
On a downhill section. 
In the wet. 
Because they will.