Sunday, August 22, 2010
How to Survive on A Farm (Tips from someone who knows nothing about it). Part 3: Getting Out and About
And my answer has always been the same. NOT A CHANCE.
I have a fantastic neighbour, who helps me polish off a good bottle of bubbly (or not so good, more often than not - as she has pointed out to me), platter of cheese and crackers, or chocolate slice (depending on the occasion). She humours me by joining me as my "exercise buddy" when I think we have overdone the cheese and bubbly. She lends me ingredients to save me the 80km round trip to the nearest town. She lends me the use of her dryer when we have had several rainy days in a row and I am desperate for my washing to dry. We drive to book club together, have BBQ's and drop each other's mail in on occasion.Whatever the excuse, we find the opportunity to catch up on a regular basis. And that's just my neighbour.
I also have several very good friends who live locally (within a 150km radius) who provide me the same entertainment as my neighbour, only perhaps on a less regular basis. Our kids share play dates, kindy days and birthday parties. We share car trips to the nearest 'big town' to do our shopping.
Out here, everyone (and especially the women) gather regularly to discuss husbands, and children and in laws. We also discuss the pros and cons of country living, the cost of living, schooling, distance and recipes. I started a Book Club, where a variety of women from varying circumstances gather once a month to discuss books, life, garlic prawns, sticky date pudding and "bin juice" (long story). Many of my close friends are also involved in committees of some form or another. I am personally on the local Show and Rodeo Committee, I'm the President of the Parent Group at the local Kindy, and I attend P and C meetings for the Primary School. I assist in the organisation of key community events like the Annual Quiz Night and The Spring Fling. I do relief teaching and I am raising a young family. The community hosts a myriad of social events ranging from Local Celebrations, Fund Raisers and Races.
If anyone out here tells you they are bored or lonely, it's self-inflicted.
We don't have cinemas or trendy restaurants. Instead, we open our homes (and our kitchens) to our friends and family. We receive a steady flow of invitations to birthday parties and Christenings, weddings and celebrations. And we go to most of them.
I recently ventured out on a "Girls Trip" (with my neighbour) to New Zealand. 4 days of pure, unadulterated fun. No husbands and children. Sleeping in and eating whatever and whenever we wanted. Shopping till we dropped and thinking about ourselves the whole time. Absolute joy! Oh yes - I did miss my family quite a lot too, but when you put it in perspective, it was all about "me time".
And so, NO, I can assure you I am not lonely or bored out here!
I am not saying that you can't live in the city and have all this either. My point is that just because we live a million miles from anywhere, doesn't mean we act like it. Distance becomes relative. An hour in the car for hot chips is completely acceptable. An 80km round trip for bread and milk is normal. And a 300km round trip for a BBQ is encouraged! (And not an issue). In fact, when us country bumpkins find our way into the big, wide world, distance is even better! 10km to get groceries... a breeze. 100km to go to a theme park, NO WORRIES!
In order to survive out here and not drive yourself crazy listening to the droning hum of crickets, you need to CHOOSE to be social. You need to choose to make the effort. And of course, you are well within you right to stay at home too (sometimes I find it hard to say no). But never feel sorry for us and our ability to thrive as social creatures out here. Because we don't even have the time to think about it ourselves!