Recently I turned my life on its head and left the comfort zone of home town, family and friends in Wellington (NZ), to start a new chapter in Western Australia. As I adjust to my new surroundings, I find myself thinking in the shape of stories and letters home. Feel free to take a seat and read on..

Thursday, April 19, 2012

From Hobbiton to the Circus. Or: I'm back..

"…we moved into a proper house a few weeks ago - it was time, but we didn't anticipate how much it would knock us around..  leaving Hobbiton was more emotional than we had expected. Particularly for me as I had spent so much more time there and in many ways it unlocked emotional and creative doors that had been jammed shut for some time. My challenge now is to keep those doors open while getting back into the wider world and earning some money while I'm about it. Watch this space. Richard's job continues to stimulate and challenge him, it's been quite a roller coaster ride but overall it's better for him than getting bored - when he gets bored he gets dangerous! Gorgeous day here, and about 31 degrees although I am nice and cool inside the new abode.  We are coming over late January to visit so hope to see you all then…"

Even as I wrote those words in an email to my aunt, I knew that those recently unlocked doors were quietly swinging shut again as we settled into our new and much more conventional surroundings. We had grown very fond of our little nest but it had its limitations, and they were beginning to outweigh the positives, although the things that were becoming an irritation were also the things that had kept us awake to our environment. My seemingly disproportionate grief over leaving our funny little Hobbiton was a shock, although it probably shouldn't have been. For just on a year I had roamed  the neighbourhood watching and absorbing the sights, sounds and smells of my new surroundings with my heart and mind free and open. As we surrounded ourselves with the trappings - never has that word felt so apt - of domesticity again our hearts were sinking, but neither of us quite understood what was going on. We were supposed to be happy. 3 weeks without the Internet while we waited for Telstra to send a modem from "over east" - why can't they keep a spare one here? - made me realise that while I had been regularly in touch with a number of people, they were all somewhere else. Having no internet connection highlighted my isolation - after a year I hadn't made any real effort to forge friendships here, and I was lonely. Bugger.
Within a few weeks however we had a wonderful visit from my sister and I began to appreciate some of the benefits of living in a "proper" house. Spare bedrooms and all the ablution facilities indoors are a definite plus if you want to attract visitors!  And now we can have people over for dinner - although we have to sit at the table all evening as we still don't have any living room furniture. But I have a kitchen again - including an oven and dishwasher. And for the first time in my life, a whole entire set of brand new pots and pans.  
Summer was more do-able too, as the house we are now occupying is built for the conditions; plenty of trees for shade, awnings over all the windows and doors, and blessed air conditioning.  My walking regime took a hit though, for two reasons..  the first being that shortly before we moved, we bought a car.  Up until then himself had been driving a company car which I wasn't allowed to drive, and every second week when he went away, the car stayed at the office.  Now that we have a vehicle of our own, shopping is easier, but so is being lazy!  Especially if it's "a bit on the hot side"..  the closest we got to exercise for a while was throwing ourselves into the sea at the end of the day - but not too far out or for too long, and always with someone else between me and the horizon as shark bait! There's a very noticeable change in the local swimming habits since the spate of deaths and injuries from shark attacks in recent months, and I see no good reason to tempt fate.  
Having got over my "I had a perfectly good set of friends, why should I have to make new ones?" attitude, by Christmas we were enjoying an expanded social life which included some lovely outings into the country and Christmas day with new friends on a boat in Fremantle..  which wouldn't start so we didn't actually make it out of the pen and up the river, but had a marvellous afternoon with some very interesting and fun people, not to mention great food and plenty of wine.  
I have also got a few little projects underway as I cast my net about to see what might come to light, and what lights me up..  after roughly 25 years of doing the same thing it's sometimes a challenge to work out "is it because I think I should?, because I can? or because I really want to?". And now I remember the question I was asking myself last year - what would you be doing if you weren't afraid? Hmm.. 
We had an all-too-short visit to Wellington in late January which was great, despite both of us acquiring chest infections - the engineer going one better with a throat infection as well..  one day we were driving up to the Wairarapa, and as he had no voice I was free to talk without interruption for a whole hour.  I was lost for words! 
I had hoped that arriving back from that trip would feel different from my last visit home - which in hindsight was probably too soon as I had neither properly left Wellington, nor properly arrived in WA. I'm glad to say it did.  I loved being in Wellington, and as the plane touched down at 'Pert Hair Port' I was very happy to feel we had arrived home again too.  Yay - getting the hang of it!
The thing that has been occupying my mind for some time now though, is this:  ever since we moved, I seem to have got TYTS. (I made this up yesterday - it should really be TMTS, but TYTS works better for the purposes of my story). TYTS is Taking Yourself Too Seriously.  Which means it's really hard to have fun, feel creative, BE creative, have more fun, want to write blogs, feel truly alive..  and  so on. And oh! the irony.. our new address is Richmond Circus (aren't circuses supposed to be fun?!) So I am giving myself a TYTS reduction as of this moment. I have my toe in those doors and am quietly and steadily pushing back.  Wish me luck!