Moving house is not easy.
Moving countries is harder.
Moving continents is huge.
I left with my belongings in around 20 boxes, that I shared with Hubs’ belongings! Not bad for 30-odd years of a life in the UK. I’ve missed weddings, funerals, births, birthdays, crises, tears and laughter. I feel oddly removed from all my family and friends back in England, because although for many I will forever inextricably be intwined in the lives, and them in mine, we are not in each other’s lives. The only person I speak to weekly is my beloved brother, something I look forward to every weekend. Sometimes it’s only a case of waving our children at the webcam quickly before one or other of them kicks up and we have to close, other times we can talk for nearly an hour, our respective spouses puttering around the houses in the background.
We chose Melbourne to be close to Hubs’ father and brother. Hubs had been living in the UK for seven years, his niece thought he was a voice on the telephone, his nephew couldn’t talk when we arrived in Australia. Hubs stayed with his brother for a month while he started his job and found us a place to live. Just a few months after we arrived, Christmas loomed on the horizon. I was anxious about how I would cope with it, being so far from my family and friends.
I needn’t had worried. We were all invited to Rod and Kim’s house to be included in their family get-together. I think there were nearly 20 of us there. It was a bright, warm, sunny day, so immediately didn’t feel at all Christmassy to me, but I was still a bit weepy over lunch, but Kim squeezed my hand and helped me get through the day.
When L & R got engaged, they had their party back at that same house. During his speech, Rod graciously thanked everyone for coming, then welcomed not only Lachy to his family, but Hubs, his Dad, his step-mum and myself to the family too. It floored us all, we weren’t expecting it, but we felt it. Whenever we went to visit that family, at whatever house we happened to be, we were embraced, made to feel welcome, teased, laughed at – all the normal things families do. We ate too much, drunk too much, laughed long and loud. On one visit Kim showed us the craft projects she was working on in her own little room. It was packed to the roof with fabric, card, boxes of materials that she would create pictures, toys, dresses, Christmas and birthday cards from. She made our niece’s dress for our wedding day. With Renee she put together a hamper of goodies for Archie, including the elephant we take his monthly progress photos with.
Kim worked tirelessly for as long as I knew her, confessing that she worked, because if she was at work she wasn’t being bothered by anyone, she could “Just get on with it”. Laughing as she said this, as she had some pretty odd, menial jobs, these hid an accomplished business woman who also raised 4 children, including three only thirteen months apart, ran a home and always was dressed beautifully. The glow and Joie de vivre she conveyed as she gave constantly to others, presents of her carefully made and thought out projects, or just taking delight in going to wineries, casinos, parties, on holiday, out for meals, she was the life and soul of every party.
There are three images that I will remember her by; at Renee’s hen party, putting on a priceless Venetian mask with feathers all around it and doing the shoulder shimmy across the room, much to the consternation of the lady hosting us; the pride in her face at her only daughter’s wedding; and finally the look and smile she gave me as I handed her my new-born son.