the rambles of a family of five in Australia


Coming home

Our arrival home was much anticipated. We looked forward to: warmer weather; time with family; getting back into our own home; settling the kids into a new and hopefully more permanent routine; not having to get on a plane with two poppets for a VERY long time.

Thankfully, we didn’t seem to be as jet-lagged this time as we have been in the past, and the children coped really well with new surroundings.

We’ve been in the flat now for about 5 weeks, and although it’s not our preferred mode of living in a permanent way, it has been wonderful to be two minutes’s walk from Woolworths, the park, library and public transport. We are also 10-15 minutes from family (Rob’s) and the office.

A very jet-lagged S, at 9am on Saturday after we arrived on Friday night!

Ditto Mr. E.

It is about 45 minutes from the flat to our house – a trip Rob has done twice a day for the last 5 weeks. He has coordinated trades, deliveries and all the work we have needed to have done – as well as doing quite a bit himself. We are nearly there and plan to move in tomorrow – hurrah!

It is about two hours up the freeway to H’s parents’ house and we have stayed a couple of times. It has been a real blessing to have a little bit of country peace and quiet, some great views and even a trip to the beach in late autumn!

Scooting around after Zorro the cat at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

First time ON THE BEACH! Sand is NOT our friend, but we can subdue it with some judicious spade action.

Nanna’s birthday gift had a real workout.

Ocean Beach at Hawks Nest – a cracking afternoon.

E and S with Great-Grandma. We had a very special visit!

Our first visit to H’s parents’ place coincided with a visit from Great-Grandma, and it was a really wonderful opportunity for the children to get to know and reacquaint with their gret-grandparents. Neither R nor H really has much memory of great-grandparents, and it is a unique thing to see four generations of family together!

E and S with Great-Grandma and Grand-Nan – we think it is amazing that they have two great grandmothers to love and to love them.

 Coming home, and preparing to move back to our house, has prompted lots of reflection about the nature of where our ‘home’ actually is. H feels as though her heart is divided in two – one part in Australia, and one part in Northamptonshire. It is especially sad to realise that it is unlikely we’ll ever move back there, and even if we did, it would be very different. Australia is a great place and we love it very much, but even here there are difficulties, stresses and lots of hard work required. House maintenance and improvements demand a lot of sweat and ingenuity. One of the things we are feeling anew is the sense that we are ‘aliens and strangers’ wherever we are. It doesn’t matter whether we are natives or ex-pats, there are always times when we feel a disconnect between reality and what we long for.
We were content with second-hand and charity-shop furniture and toys in the UK, as well as loans from generous friends. Moving back and getting our things out of storage seems to weigh us down a little with the responsibility for all these ‘things’. Beautiful and useful though a lot of them undoubtedly are.
We know more than ever that our stuff cannot make us happy or more secure, and that it is futile for us to try to make a permanent and secure home here. Stocks fail, banks collapse, property prices tumble, people do not live forever on earth.
We are comforted that this is not all there is and that we have an eternal hope:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Cuddles with Grand-Nan!