Thursday, December 31, 2015


2015 is almost over and we have been SO terrible at keeping you updated for which we want to apologise! Many of you have been asking about the blog and updates over the months, so thank you for your patience!

While in theory the move from Third to First World should have been relatively straightforward ... reverse culture shock, learning another new culture, settling into yet another new community and building relationships ... a third international move in just 5 years, seems to have taken it's toll on us, with no expendable energy left for anything else. Certainly not how we would have planned it to be but we're working our way through it. For the most part it's been a more of a case of survive than thrive but there has been lots of fun dotted in amongst it all!

In a nutshell, here's our year ...
  • We said Goodbye to Nana, Jenny's mum in January and the girls started school and Kindy
  • Our container arrived in February and the unpacking began ... again!
  • Mark spent a week in PNG in March and Jenny started work in the hangar too
  • Grandma & Gramps, Mark's parents, visited in April/May
  • We were in the UK June/July for Home Assignment and Mark's sister's wedding
  • Jenny's sister travelled back to Australia with us in July and we all got chest infections
  • August, we were in recovery mode from everything that had gone before
  • In September we got a few days away at the beach as a family
  • October saw us celebrate a year since we arrived in Mareeba and finally have the chance to start getting into some kind of rhythm
  • School and most other things start to wind down in November for Christmas (yes, really)
  • December saw the start of the two month school break ... for Summer and Christmas!

As you can see it has been anything but quiet, we even put a 6 month ban on visitors to help us just have the time and space to process the last couple of crazy years but now that we're almost at the end of that time, we realise that it will probably take a lot longer than that!

It has been an awful lot tougher than we could have imagined. At times where we would like to have had the energy to invite people over to get to know them better or be involved in more things, we have been more focused on just getting to the end of the day in one piece. With transition comes extreme tiredness and that still seems to be affecting us, although not always on a daily basis any more. We know the stages of transition, we understand the why's and how's etc but sometimes knowing it and knowing that there will be an end to it just hasn't been enough comfort! The daily struggle has meant we haven't had the time or energy to focus on too much outside of our immediate family, including replying to emails etc, so again apologies if you're used to us being a lot more efficient than perhaps we have been!

There has been lots of good stuff though too, even from the list above you can see, we've been lucky enough to make many new Australian memories, as a family and with our visitors too. Here are a few observations that we have made about how life is different for us once again since we've been living here in Far North Queensland ...

  • Lying in bed and hearing the sound of a hot air balloon directly above our house on so many different mornings!
  • Watching flocks of hundreds of cockatoo's flying over our house
  • Living within an hour's drive of idyllic paradise beaches
  • Eating dinner outside and noticing flying ash and smoke dumping on our garden and our food from the burn-off ... fires lit intentionally in the surrounding areas to prevent bush fires later on
  • When your children say 'There's a really big worm in the laundry room" and your first thought as you head to check it out is, is it going to be a big worm or a small snake?!
  • Every day being approximately 5 degrees hotter than when we lived in Africa
  • Kangaroo's and wallaby's really do just hop a long the side of the road (and yes, many don't make it!)
  • So many new acronyms and abbreviations to learn, some not as obvious as others!
  • When there are several 'pet' lizards all over your house, one in particular who lives under the oven!
  • Hanging out a basketful of washing and the first things being dry by the time you peg the last ones up!
  • So many more British food items available in the shops, than in both Tanzania or America
  • Recognising that the chirping sound we regularly hear is not in fact a bird but our resident gecko's (no idea why we didn't pick that one up in Tanzania!)
  • Having most things available locally but only having to drive an hour to a wider selection of shops and restaurants rather than an 8 hour drive to Dar Es Salaam, where things still weren't all that straight forward!
  • Having the girls mimic the laughing kookaburra sound, over and over again, as we regularly hear it!!

These are just some of the things that have become 'normal' for us over the last year or so! Who knows what 2016 will bring for us? We hope that it won't be too full that we can't take the time out to 'breath' every now and then ... and we'll try to be a bit quicker in letting you know what we've been up to as well!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

First Visitor to Mareeba!

While our second set of visitors have just left ... back in December, just over 5 weeks after we moved into our house and even before all our belongings arrived, we welcomed out first visitor to our new home here in Mareeba. The house was all a bit upside-down and having arrived from Tanzania with 4 simple suitcases, we were living with all kinds of things begged and borrowed ... but it worked and Nana came to spend out first Australian Christmas with us!

As you can see our Christmas decorations were small, understated and mostly from the local charity shop (whilst our others things were still on a ship on the way!) ... but fun nonetheless!

While we weren't able to answer half of her questions about how things work over here or about where different things are ... we were able to explore with Nana and try and work out the answers together!

Abigail started her month long Christmas holidays just 2 days before Nana arrived and so we had lots of opportunities to explore our new 'home' town and area with her. While Mareeba itself pretty much shuts down for a couple of weeks over Christmas with businesses and shops closing, all the local touristy things were thriving and so we had the chance to visit some of them with her.

We had lots of crafty fun at home too with all kinds of projects ... and lots of water fights to cool down, in the garden, in the sea, at the pool, at a local creek and a trip to Green Island, as it was so stinking hot!


But one treat that wasn't available to all, was a chance to go up in a MAF plane over Mareeba, while one of the training pilots was keeping his hours up. It was a short 20 minute ride but gave us the chance to see our new home and the surrounding area from the sky.

We also celebrated our first Christmas here during Nana's stay. After early morning pressies, we took a trip to the park and even spied a couple of kangaroo's off in the distance! Yes, really!

With limited kitchen equipment while we waited for our container ... we went for a more simple option for Christmas dinner! A BBQ, seemed to be very fitting for where we are now living, followed by a meringue tower! Very different from anything we have ever had before on Christmas day and a lot of fun!

It is safe to say, as well as exploring with her, we made lots of memories and we had lots of fun with Nana over our first Christmas in Australia. Early in the new year, Nana flew back home and then we properly started the task of settling into life here in Mareeba!