Thursday, September 24, 2015

How Times Have Changed!

How Times Have Changed

It doesn’t matter if you live in the city or in the country, there is always going to be an element of change once you settle down, marry and have kids. And (as I have written about before) I am all about embracing change. In just a few phrases I can neatly summarise how far I have come in that time (that aren’t topics I have already covered in previous pieces).

1. Snakebite:

                      NOW – An actual injury resulting in contact by a reptile with another living creature (presumably a human being) that sends shivers down the spine of all Australians, but especially those of us Australians living in an area inhabited by King Brown snakes.  
                      THEN – a well-priced beverage comprising of a delicious mixture of beer and 
coke that was regularly consumed in a poorly lit bar in the city, usually on Thursday Student Nights.

2. Dancing:   

                      NOW – something I do civilly at either weddings (or as I am cleaning the house). Usually I hope people aren’t watching me, but mostly I know that they aren’t.
                      THEN – something I only ever attempted after consuming multiple snakebites (see above), and usually only ever on a stage or table at above mentioned poorly lit bar.

3. TV Shows I watch:

                      NOW – ABC news, Landline, The Batchelor. Shows that are informative and educational. (And also light relief from the seriousness of other shows often seen on the ABC and SBS – both of which I love).
                      THEN – I honestly didn’t know that the ABC or SBS existed for any other purpose than playing kids shows.

4. Rain:

                      NOW – My whole life revolves around if and when it arrives, and in what amount. It is the life blood of everything in my life. I run outside to check the rain gauge in order to complete our rainfall charts we compile.
                      THEN – The rain only ever affected what outfit I was wearing, and how I would need to do my hair. I used to sit on the verandah and marvel at it during the summer storms when I was at university.

5. Conversations:

                       NOW – Almost all are weather related, or contain a small part involving weather. I can’t recall a single day of my new life where weather conversations don’t play any part at all.
                       THEN – I can’t recall a conversation about the weather where I wasn’t complaining that it was too hot, too cold, too wet etc.

When I think about my city life, I am often amazed at the 180 degrees that I have spun over the last twelve years, and at how well I have adjusted.
Do you have anything you would add to the list? Let us know.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Many Hats I Wear

I’ve had quite a few people find their way to my website this week just gone. It’s probably a good opportunity to introduce myself in more detail. Mostly I am a mum, wife, teacher who also happens to reside in Western Queensland, but I wear many other hats as well.

Wannabe Writer: Several years ago I started a blog to serve as a kind of journal about my seemingly unique experiences as a city girl making a life in the country. As it turns out, my unique experiences were anything but. There appears to be quite a few of us figuring this whole ‘Farmer’s Wife’ bizzo out. I have been fortunate enough to be able to have many of my musings published, which is not only great for a laugh, but also great for my ego.

P&C Mum: I try to limit my involvement in local community groups to a number just high enough to stress me out moderately, but not enough to send me into a complete state of meltdown. The P&C is one of those groups. I am passionate about my children’s education and find the P&C a welcoming, fairly straight forward commitment. This committee involvement has (at some point or another) also been the Show Society, Kindy Committee and Rodeo. It evolves with our social dynamics.

Soccer Mum: I’m not really a soccer mum. We only have JRL out here, so we spend winter weekends for a few months of the year travelling huge distances to watch our kids have fun kicking a ball around, and I definitely don’t misbehave on the sidelines. When the weather warms up, I swap my hat from JRL mum to swimming mum. The kids pretty much just swap boots and ball for togs and a towel. Same same but different.

Friend and Neighbour: There aren’t too many people out where I live. It pays to get along nicely with the small number of people who surround you. If you run short of bread or milk or barbeque flavoured rice crackers, a good relationship with the people next door is the difference between a 20km round trip, and an 80km round trip. Thankfully I actually really do like my neighbours.

Given all the different hats I wear, you would think that I actually wear a bunch of other (real) hats as well. I don’t wear too many hats. (Or rather, I don’t have a favourite). Incidentally I don’t wear an Akubra. I never have. But I’m definitely considering it, and actually, if I really think about it, it’s the hat I am most looking forward to wearing.

If you have any other questions for me, I’d love to hear from you!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Farmer Speak


Last week I spoke about the things my children (and specifically my mini-me) say. As I am writing this piece on Father’s Day I have been thinking about some of the funny things I’ve heard The Farmer (and probably most country folk) say.

1. “Up the road” – This could mean any place between where you are standing at the point of conversation, to some place still in the state (or even interstate if you live close to the border). Eg: “We went to a party up the road on the weekend. We drove for almost a day to get there, but it was definitely worth it.”

2. “A few days ago” – Any time between a few days ago up until approximately a year ago. This is definitely a Farmer favourite. Eg: “Remember I spoke to you about that a few days ago?” “That was like, four months ago.” “Yeah.”

3. “Old mate” – Anyone. Absolutely anyone. Male or female, your guess is as good as mine. This one often leaves me truly stumped.  Eg: “I ran into old mate when I was in town. He said to say hello.”

4. “Later” – Any time between an hour and never. Often refers to jobs that need doing inside the house. There is literally a 50/50 chance or less that ‘later’ will ever actually happen. Eg: “Can you fix the door in the kids bedroom please?” “I’ll do it later.”

5. “She’ll be right” – It’s all good. I have this under control. As much certainty as I’m likely to get out of The Farmer. “Eg: “Do you need a hand tying that tourno down?” “Nah. She’ll be right, mate.”

6. “When it rains” – Any time between here and eternity. Often used to give an estimate on when you will be able to do something. The sad thing is that so much of our lives out here revolve around the weather, and Mother Nature marches to the beat of her own drum. Eg: “We’re hoping to do renovations when it rains.”

People, places and times in the bush are all fluid things. Sometimes it helps to have a bit of an imagination (and a fair grasp of the English language) to understand farmer-speak. Without the assistance of an actual translator, I am thoroughly enjoying the guessing game in the meantime.
Do you have any that you would add to the list? Let us know!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

You want me to go where??

‘Change’ affects all of us differently. For some people, changing is like a duck to water. No problems at all. For others change is much more difficult – impossible even. New friends, new job, new routine, new life.

“You’ll love it!” They said about my new job out west.

“So many young people and such a good social life!” They added.

This is all true. But it’s not until you get out of your black synthetic city pants and into a good pair of comfy jeans (literally and metaphorically) that you can fully appreciate it. Embracing change is easier (and happens faster) for some, and it doesn’t happen at all for others.

Rural living had never factored into my future plans. I was an inner city apartment kind of dreamer. I think that’s why I resisted it so much at first. And when I did finally embrace it, there was WAY too much local wine involved and I then spent the following twelve months apologising to everyone who witnessed my abysmal fall from grace. Not an ideal way to kick start your time in a rural community.

After my initial nose dive in small town socialising, I relied more on conversation and less on wine to see me through. It paid off. I made loads of great friends and began to see my time out west for what it was – an opportunity. An opportunity to meet new and interesting people. An opportunity to learn about such a different lifestyle to the one that I had known previously. An opportunity to learn about farming and other lines of work completely out of my comfort zone. As a teacher, I learned phrases that I’d never heard before: “piggin’”, “bull dust”, “lamb marking” and “stick picking” are only a few.

I finally grasped the importance of rural and regional areas on my previously sheltered life. Toowoomba was as far west as I had ever dared to venture. Australia ended there for me until I was sent out west to teach. A whole new world then opened up for me.

Change doesn’t have to be difficult, because (most importantly and in spite of my initial resistance), I also learned that not all farmers are grass chewing, big hat and boot wearing country folk, and even if they are, that might be exactly what you didn’t know you needed. And thankfully I figured that out quickly. It certainly worked in my favour all those years ago!