It’s been 20 years since I’ve spent more than a fortnight in Perth – many things have changed, but in essence it’s still the same.
I’ve been back a month and small things still make me smile – today it was a sprinkler on a lawn – creating a semi spherical arc of water on a bright green lawn. Memories of childhood – hot days running under them or riding past on push bikes getting refreshed.
The familiarity of sights, sounds and smells has been at times overwhelming. To be amongst my own kind and hearing aussie accents and slang is nothing less than delightful. ‘No worries’, ‘thanks mate’, ‘this arvo’ and ‘heaps’ abound. Listening into conversations in shops and trains with a smirk.
It’s been a mixed bag being home – I’ve had both parents in hospital with mobility issues – randomly seeing them placed in the same ward in the same hospital one room apart – that was surreal. My brother came into the corridor as I was moving between rooms – “Mum’s in there and Dad’s in this one – take your pick!” They are both on the way to recovery but it will be slow. I’m helping where I can – making a lot of soup!
I have had the fortune to spend the bulk of my stay in the Perth Hills, firstly at my brothers and currently in the studio on Linda and Paul’s property just outside of Chidlow.
It is beautiful up here – eucalypts and bush all around, rosellas, galahs, magpies and kookaburras – on dusk the kangaroos come out of the bush to feed in the paddocks to the back.
I just went to look and sure enough there was one feeding – it hopped off as it heard my footsteps – or perhaps it sensed Leroy Brown – Linda and Paul’s rather big puppy – I’m a little in love with Leroy Brown – a gentle bull mastiff, it’s paw is the size of my hand!
I’ve managed to pick up some English Language teaching – so last year’s CELTA Course is paying off – I’m on call with three colleges and I’m really enjoying it – it’s nice relaxed teaching, no behaviour issues and it really is just following the instruction – akin to following a recipe – it should keep the wolf from the door for the next couple of months before I move East. My approval to teach in NSW has been approved but i’ll see how much work I can get in the new year before I set a date. Plan B so far is panning out (Plan A was thwarted when I failed to even interview for a job which on paper was mine – bastards!).
Last week I finally had my first ocean swim – I spent a couple of nights in Scarborough with Therese and Finn – evening and morning swims and fish’n’chips as the sun goes down – the welcome to W.A. that I have needed. I will always say the thing I miss most about Perth are sunsets over the ocean and the amazing Perth coastline. Free beaches with no music blaring – just a couple of great white sharks in the neighborhood of course which have seen me sticking to the shallows!
As I waded in the surf I had the realisation that I’m very glad to be on home soil and have no plans to leave for a while – I’ve been wanting home for so long and now that I’m here I’m staying put for a while – tax free deserts are not tempting me at this end. Can’t say I miss Qatar at all – and coming out the other end of the analysis, whilst I thought my time there would enlighten me in an understanding of Arabic Culture and Islam, I can honestly say that I left more confused than when I arrived. The people I met were amazing and it was an interesting experience but let’s be honest – this lefty greeny feminist was always going to be slightly displaced in a patriarchal homophobic islamic state.
I’ve suddenly become Aunty Peta. It’s been a joy getting to know my lovely nephews Ben and John as young adults – Ben graduated High School last week – we embarked on a drive across to York to look at junk shops and hunt down fleece – I ended up with some alpaca and Ben with a 99c cassette and some alpaca gloves – a good day out!
I’m also Aunty Peta to a few of my mates kids which is lovely; Isaac has welcomed me to the household in Chidlow and the gorgeous Finn is simply delightful.
The universe has provided me with a spinning wheel and a spinning group. A conversation with a woman in a knitting shop in Subi saw me acquire a wheel as she wanted to free up space over Christmas – OK! And Linda had sussed out the Chidlow Spinning Group – a wonderful bunch of country women with colourful language and crafts, unfortunately they meet on Monday mornings so I can’t go if I get work – which was the case this week – pooh bum!
So as we enter the silly season there are many reunions planned. I have said many times that the best thing about getting older is hooking up with old mates and picking up like no time has past – all of us older and wiser from what life has thrown our way. It’s been a long time since I have been around so many folk who love me and for now I’m feeling very blessed and quite overwhelmed by friendships and acts of kindness – you all know who you are and there are more good times to come as mates come to Perth for Christmas and I meander East in the New Year.