December 10, 2011

The Bend in the River Near the Botanic Garden

Baby, It’s Hot Outside. Finally.
And thankfully, for today at least, it’s stopped raining. Which is good. For those who are up on last year’s Brisbane River flood, we’ve been a little nervous about a repeat. High tide is currently lapping at the edge of the board walk, and the big tidal shifts turn this lazy river into a fast moving (and rapidly reversing) one.

But—rain and river aside--we’re getting into the holiday spirit. This is the first Christmas in a few years that we’ve known where we’ll be and what we’ll be doing. And Maia is loving having the ability to plan things and actually have them work out.

This past week we’ve decked our hulls and Maia has started baking up a storm with her friends. We have gingerbread cookies and gingerbread houses, and sugar cookies and Christmas cake are sure to follow. The one good thing about the cool rainy temps is that running the oven for hours on end isn’t too unbearable—and with nothing but puddles outside, spending an afternoon decorating seems about right.

Last night we were lucky enough to get a break in the weather and headed to The Lord Mayor’s Carols in the Park with Connect 4 and Hadar. Mostly we heard the old standards, sung by a range of Auzzie personalities we’ve never heard of, but they did slip in the odd carol that let us know we truly are down under:

"Dashing through the bush, in a rusty Holden ute,
Kicking up the dust, esky in the boot.
Kelpie by my side, singing Christmas songs,
It's summertime and I am in my singlet, shorts and thongs!"
 Slowly we’re finding our way into life here. We’ve got our library cards and know where to get water for our tanks (although with the rain we’ve been catching all we need). We’ve dug out our city clothes (the less tattered and stained stuff) and begun to make our Christmas wish lists. We’ve started exploring beyond our immediate neighbourhood and are hunting down playgrounds, farmer’s markets and hardware stores.

Settling in for cyclone season, or so, is almost as complex as casting off. Rejoining society is more difficult than you might think. When you spend two years letting the trappings of a civilized life go, when you convince yourself that most of it’s pretty meaningless, it seems like a bit of a mean trick to have to come back and do simple things like get a phone, or a library card. Especially because most things in life revolve around having an address—and it turns out that telling people we're anchored at ‘the bend in the river beside the Botanic Garden’ isn’t the same as having an address.


Jonathan said...

Hi Diane, Evan and Maia,
A belated huge Thank You! for taking us along on you marvelous journey. So beautifully written, a joy to read.
Best wishes for Christmas and your stay in Oz. Jonathan

Diane, Evan, Maia and Charlie the cat said...

Thank-you, Jonathan. What a lovely thing to say. It's been a priviledge sharing our journey:)