Yesterday I got BIG news.
It wasn’t totally unexpected, but it will be totally life changing…
The news came from my husband, in the form of a text message no less! (This was BIG news after all!)
Our Australian Visa application has been approved!
This means that later this year, we will be leaving the UK behind and heading down under to live in Australia.
|Art work by Michael Tompsett|
Of course this gives me really mixed feelings: I’ve never been to Australia before, so it’s both exciting (I love new things) and scary. There will be new opportunities ahead, but existing ones will be lost. Australia has big countryside and amazing wildlife, here has my familiar and beloved (if, sadly, reducing) countryside and wildlife. And most importantly, while Australia is reputed to have an amazing outdoors and friendly lifestyle, the UK has my dear friends and family who I will be devastated to leave behind.
I’ve noticed that we are both dealing with this huge change very differently – my husband is far more nonchalant. He broke the news to me and his close family by text message! On the other hand I made sure that I called my mum and brother to speak to them personally (they are too far away for me to actually go round to tell them in person or I would have done that) rather than text.
When I said that I felt a bit melancholy because of leaving everyone behind, he pointed out ways I could make new friends over there. On the other hand I see these as two separate issues – yes I want to make new friends when we get there, but I see this as a thing in itself rather than as compensation for what I’m leaving behind. For example my best friend and her sons: I won’t simply find another woman my age, who has a couple of children, and suddenly think “well I have new friends, I guess I don’t miss those old ones anymore! Now to replace my brother…”
I’m sure that this side of things will catch up to him eventually – I just hope that it does so before we leave so that he doesn’t end up in a situation where he regrets not having more time with people…
|Fun times with friends|
|Fun times with friends|
Of course it’s not all sad. To turn this to a positive, this news provides extra motivation and impetus to do all those things you always think you have plenty of time for… spending time with people who may be difficult to catch up with, seeing all the places you haven’t gotten round to yet…
This had started already, I went away for a little holiday with my best friend for the first time ever, I’m getting in touch with people I don’t see so often these days to make sure that I will see them. I’m pushing myself to make crochet gifts for certain people before I leave, I’m noticing little things a lot more – such as on our recent walks; I’m not just thinking that everything is nice, but I’m noticing and relishing the different types of woodland flowers, song birds, enjoying the trees with their bursting buds as they thrust their new leaves out into the world. I dwell on the historical imaginings that the rolling chalk downland here invokes, and I love the voluntary work I’ve been doing to help maintain a little part of this. I feel very attached to all of the country houses, castles, and formal gardens that we have here, and the very idea of having a National Trust to maintain them all – I’m feeling nostalgic for things I haven’t left behind yet, and I’m glad about that because I would hate to only realise how great they are once I have gone.
As well as revelling in Britain and Britishness, I am also trying to learn about Australia, and northern Queensland in particular, as that is where we will be heading.
I’ve already been writing about things I’m doing here in Britain, so I’ll do a bit of forward looking now to the fascinating things that await:
Have you heard of Gondwanaland? It is the name given to the more southerly of two supercontinents that were part of the Pangaea supercontinent. These existed when the Earth and the land masses were extremely different from the way they are today, with continents joined in very different ways to their current configuration. Approximately 510 to 180 million years ago!
The fossil record shows that at the time Gondwanaland existed, it was covered in rich forests. Well, Australia is home to the most extensive area of subtropical rainforest in the world, and the species that are growing there today are the same kinds of species that show up in that ancient fossil record! How utterly incredible is that?
|I couldn't find many copyright-free images of these forests, but try Googling it...|
Of course, being “an outstanding example representing major stages of Earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features", these areas are naturally designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. They don’t form one continuous area, but rather are spread across various national parks. The parks within Queensland are Lamington National Park, Mount Chinghee National Park, Springbrook National Park, Mount Barney National Park and Main Range National Park. None of these are very near to Townsville, where we will be moving, but I reckon that something like that might just be worth a trip…
How utterly incredible to have a link – a living link – to the history of our whole planet? Almost puts our British castles into the shade ;)