Happy New Year everyone! Let me start by saying a huge thank you to all who have checked in on us as the fires raged here in Australia. We so appreciate your concern and taking the time to email, send messages and posts via social media, etc. We truly are deeply grateful! We are safely north of the current fires as we are located in Brisbane. If you are looking at a map of Australia we are on the eastern coast north of Byron Bay, north of Sydney. There have been bush fires close enough to smell the smoke this summer but nothing of the magnitude of the fires in New South Wales. They are devastating beyond words. We have recently had rain and it has helped with the fires but please continue to pray for relief, please pray for more rain as the whole country is in a drought, please pray for the fireys (firemen and women in Australia, told you they shorten everything) and please pray for the injured animals and people who have lost so much. I’m not going to post any photos of injured animals but instead of a beautiful koala we had our photo taken with just before Christmas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary..
I have at least 10 half written posts from last year that I never quite finished. The reasons are many but can probably be condensed down to the fact that last year was really hard (with some fabulousness thrown in there) and every time I tried to write I veered off course into heavy territory and frankly I didn’t feel like anyone needed that! I tried to rein it in but there it was on the page! A new friend who has lived abroad for many years reminded us recently how hard the first few years are in a new country. There is no way around things being different, not bad just different. I have struggled the most with, not exactly homesickness but something akin to homesickness. It’s quite an elusive thing to put words to and then there is always an element of nostalgia which cannot be accurately relied upon. I miss my physical home back in Florida but the house is all that really feels like home there now. Well that and the familiarity of place. Those two things and of course the relationships are what can make you ache some days There have been health challenges as well that I will include in a future post on our experience so far with the health care system. I have tried to keep our instagram and facebook somewhat updated because that is a way to stay connected with photos but words are what really fill in the blanks.. It is hard to get back into a habit like blogging that you have neglected but I hope to get back in the groove even if the first few seem as choppy as this one is feeling. It’s in the starting back right?
The year is already off to a quick start. We have three birthdays between mid January and mid February in our family so it’s always pretty full on here but especially when January is summer instead of winter. I have always loved the start of the new year back home because you nest in and plan but here in the Southern Hemisphere it is beach time, vacation time! So, the beach it is! We took a quick trip to Tangalooma Island to experience feeding the wild dolphins and snorkeling the wrecks a couple of weeks ago. It was a fun trip but we will never do it again in summer as it was insanely crowded. We also found it a bit unorganized with both those events so the mechanical engineer and professional organizer in us were both frustrated and wanted to problem solve this issue. However, the experience of feeding a wild dolphin was pretty special and was just a ferry ride from Brisbane. Our oldest daughter turned 23 this past week and she had planned a trip to the Sunshine Coast with some friends for her birthday. We were able to drive her up to the Sunny Coast and spend some time exploring before dropping her off and heading back home. We also fit in a quick trip to the New South Wales beach town of Cabarita. We are hoping the year ahead brings lots more exploring of the coastal communities both north and south of us. It is really great being based out of a city that is so close to great beaches!
Among the events in the past year that I missed that were supremely important was our Sophie’s graduation from the University of Queensland in December. It is a brave person to move university almost half way through their program but that is exactly what she did in order to embark on this expat adventure with us. She did not seek it out particularly but she ended up graduating from one of the top 50 universities in the world and we couldn’t be prouder of our girl! Most university students live at home while they are in university and we have been lucky enough to have her with us on this adventure so far. She is working hard to save so she can move out on her own in the year ahead. She will continue working at a local Brisbane shop that carries some of the loveliest organic linens and other sustainable products. In the rather poorly planned category would fall Eve’s wisdom teeth coming out the day before Sophie’s graduation from uni. Fortunately we had a top notch oral surgeon for Eve and she was determined to not miss her sister’s ceremony!
Well, a rather disjointed beginning to a proper catch up but there it is! Please keep praying for Australia! And, thanks again for checking in on us and hanging in there through this long drought in our blogging. Big hugs from our family!