Monday, February 20, 2012

In figuring stuff out

A number of times in my life I have packed up and moved somewhere new.  When I was 21 and in a particularly unhappy period in my life, I sold off nearly everything I owned, packed up my little banana yellow mitsubishi colt and drove by myself to Sydney.  And lived there for three years until a series of unfortunate events (house break ins, mugging, car stolen all within 36 hours) led me to returning to Melbourne with my tail between my legs.  Sydney was a FUN time, but a hard time and I have only returned once since.  It's not a place I miss at all.

When I was 26 or so, in the middle of a particularly unsatisfactory relationship, I packed up everything and moved to the UK for a couple of years, until I found myself in a even worse relationship.  Which is another story (I am a tres glam international divorcee lady of mystery).

SO. I am used to new places.  I am good at making friends, which is odd because as I bang on about here ALL THE TIME, I am QUITE shy and definitely VERY socially awkward.  I am good at occupying myself and moving beyond isolation or loneliness.  I am good at finding my way around, where the good coffee is and the best place to buy cheese.
That tin shed in the distance is our house
So late last year we moved from Melbourne to Armidale (well, about 10kms out), I have moved from big cities to big cities.  I have never lived in a small country town before.  And it's HARD.  I have friends who will read this and think that means I regret our decision to move, or that I want to move back, or that I  have changed my mind.  I haven't - this is absolutely the right decision for us as a family.  We LOVE our house and being able to afford to buy a massive place on 7 acres - we were looking around buying in Melbourne and getting very despondent before we left.  We love the fresh air, animals and friendly people and natural beauty and great selection of schools.  That Armidale literally only has two sets of traffic lights in the whole town.  THEY ARE LANDMARKS.  The daily storms and cool nights.  That's not to say that I am not homesick and missing my friends and the familiar and a decent selection of shops (I never realised before how much I shamefully enjoy SHOPPING MALLS.  Lordy)

I have been trying to work out where I fit here and I think part of my displaced feelings are because I miss having a bread and butter day job.  I liked my 3-day-a-week job in Melbourne and miss the certainty of having that to return to.  I don't think I was built to be a full time stay at home mum.  Even now, I volunteer at Ruby's preschool in their office half a day a week to help out and don't get me wrong at all, I LOVE being a parent and ADORE my babies, but I like being Sally and not MUUUUUUUUM sometimes too.  I think I am having trouble finding my place and who I am here - or who I am going to be.  It's a sticky transition.


Lien said...

Oh I just wanted to comment because I just blogged about a friend of mine who had moved to Narranderra. I was just saying what a charmed life she now has because she gets to work for herself and has so much time because there is no commuting etc. Are there community things you can be a part of? My friend volunteered at the local radio, started up a band and does a lot of community based stuff. Stuff that you wouldn't have the time or inclination to do living in a big city.

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

I know how this feels Sally - having two little ones under three myself, I find that if I'm not crazy busy doing a thousand other things besides being a mum, I feel kind of at a loose end.
But there's a certain loveliness in starting all over again somewhere new, and finding your feet in this new world. I'm hoping lots of creative opportunities come your way, that these new roles give you a sense of purpose and fulfilment; and that you snuggle warmly into the lovely country life you're creating for your family.

Ps. I like that your town only has two traffic lights!

Grounded in Vegas said...

I have moved many times. Many of those moves with my husband and family. I think that we have made our last move (which is to Brisbane). I always loved it here but it took me a long time to feel like I belonged (and that is with working full time while Mr Mum stays home). It was only when I started walking to work that I finally felt a connection with this place. Soon after I started my blog 'Grounded In Vegas'. It will happen, it can't be forced but don't stop trying to find that connection.

Frankie and Ray said...

Dear Sal, what can I say? Country towns are so different from the took me a very long time to feel at home and call this place 'home'. I think there's a strange grieving thing to go through over all those odd city things you miss before you can embrace your new place in the world. Oh, and make that visit to Melbourne, it'll do you good! xx

Pigs & Bishops said...

I think an important part of any transition is grieving the things you've left behind. That doesn't mean the change isn't wanted or welcome at all.

It sounds like you're settling in really well. You'll find room to be yourself in your new community, and it sounds like it won't take long at all.

I know what you mean about wanting time to be someone other than 'Mu-u-um' (or in my case 'Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma!', which either means 'Give me milk!' or 'Poo nappy!'). I find myself staying up after midnight making bread or doing bits and pieces of freelance work, because at last it's quiet and I can focus on something instead of having to be mindful of every move of a tiny, utterly dependent but thoroughly willful person.

Does Armidale have a Brown Owls group? I just went to my first meeting and it was fabulous. I could sew without worrying about Auden swallowing dropped pins, or eating my pattern pieces.

Candy said...

Oh yes, it's so easy to lose your sense of self when young ones are consuming all your time and energy. It sounds like you are doing all the right things to make your transition as smooth as possible! It takes time, doesn't it. I remember that feeling of displacement I experienced after having my first baby, and suddenly being stuck at home full-time (which I had always longed for). The gradual building of new relationships and connections with different individuals and community groups/playgroups etc. seemed to help a lot. Plus, making a point of carving out time just for yourself to do whatever YOU want...Hang in there :)

My Bearded Pigeon said...

the move from city to country is HARD!! I too have moved before- ( lived in the UK for two years too) but moved here 10 years ago and it was hard. My town doesn't even have traffic lights!! it is tiny 2000 people.

I like working too- I think it makes me a better mother as I cherish the time we have together more. xx

Liesl said...

Thank you for being refreshingly honest about how you are feeling right now. Because we don't always feel on top of the world. Though many bloggers would never admit that!
We are, as women, under so much pressure to smile and "get on with the show", as if we are failures for admitting when we are finding things a tad difficult. Though honesty begets honesty...and we can both bond with each other and find support in each other when we offer a piece of ourselves!
Things will get better for you, I just KNOW it! Cyberhug to you x

Lexi:: PottyMouthMama said...

Sal, I think moving to a town IS mighty hard, and I admire you for it. I don't know if I could move back to Tamworth - but then I daydream about moving to Scone. Go figure.
I absolutely think you are doing AMAZINGLY well - you've only been there a few months. I think people from smaller towns are more closed - sometimes - to new people. It's very hard to make friends, to carve your space out, to be you.

YOU ARE AWESOME! I'm sending you a massive big bear hug too. Things will improve over time. x

Rie said...

Oh I hear ya! We recently uprooted ourselves from Melbourne, where we'd been living for 12yrs & dumped ourselves near Hobart.... it's seemed like a good idea at the time. No, it is/was a good idea, it's just that it is all so DIFFERENT. I mean, no friends, no family, no cafe's that open before 9am. Ugh, where did we move too???
But I'm trying not compare this life with Melbourne life we left behind. I'm trying to absorb the life we now lead, I need to get used to owning a house(!!), I need to get used to having a son still (he's 14mths) and I need to make some friends & I need to make time for me. Ugh. So hard. At least I dragged my boxes of novels along with us, so when everything seems to hard, I just curl up on the couch & bury my head in fiction!
Hang in there, you're not alone...