2019: A Year for Building Community

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If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that I always choose a word to guide me through the year. Previous picks include Learning, Courage, and Focus… but after a few weeks of reflection my choice for 2019 is Community.

In late January we lived that word to its absolute fullest by taking part in a citizenship ceremony and becoming official members of the Australian community.

Our ceremony took place at the Sandy Bay Regatta – in the very park where almost six years ago I decided to give this whole Tassie thing a go – and I think we were all surprised by how emotional the occasion was. It started with a beautiful Welcome to Country from Aunty Brenda Hodge (who I loved all the more when she asked for the support of new citizens in changing the date of Australia Day, leaving Senator Eric Abetz looking like he’d chewed on a fly…) We received warm hugs from a couple of Green pollies who had helped us with earlier visa applications; DorkySon’s best friend was in the audience, watching his Grandpa receive an award; and we sat in the same row as a man from Uganda who had been here ten years, and a man from Edinburgh who had been here 65. Rosellas, cockatoos and lorikeets made a joyous racket in the surrounding gum trees as 80 people, from 29 different countries, became citizens on that day.

It felt like a fitting way to end what has been a lovely summer. Continue reading

Running

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It is running season here.

I’m not a matchy-matchy clothes kind of runner. There’s no Lorna Jane activewear lurking in my drawer.

Instead, I wear one of DorkyDad’s old gym vests that I rescued from the op shop pile. There are battered trainers that I should probably get around to replacing, and a pair of shorts that are older than DorkySon. On sunny days, I pull on a cap that was a freebie at a university event. Red on black: Save the Tassie Devil.

I’m not a competitive runner either. Not even with myself. An occasional glance at the default health app on my phone tells me that I run somewhere between three and five kilometres most days. There are routes I know I can do in 15 minutes (ish) when the air is cool and still. But on those syrupy nights when the sun is still bright above the mountain, I know it’ll be more like 20. I don’t measure time or distance any more accurately than that. Continue reading

November in Tasmania: Spring Turns into Summer

Spring in Hobart Tasmania: ladybird on a finger and young boy in water

It was a teasing start to spring in Tasmania, with several weeks that lurched between glorious sunshine one day and snow the next. I got a little over-excited when we finally had a few warm days in a row, and put all our winter clothes away in the cupboard. Goodbye to those puff jackets and Ugg boots for another year, I thought to myself with glee. The next week I was hauling them right back out again.

Now the warm weather has arrived for good though (crosses fingers tightly) we’re taking full advantage of it. Despite applying copious amounts of Factor 50 every time we leave the house, I’ve already had my first sunburn, and DorkySon is taking every opportunity to swim in the river. First time in, he was fully clothed. Second time round he was better prepared, with beach clothes and a bodyboard, but a rogue wave washed a pebble into his ear and the resulting pain cut his adventure short.

No worries: with the official start of summer this Friday, I’m confident there will be more swimming days ahead. Continue reading

Four Years and Ten Years and Tasmania, Oh My!

Yellow blooms

September has long been one of my favourite months, all the more so now I live in a place where it marks the start of spring.

It’s probably the most unsettled time of year here weatherwise. It’s entirely possible to have a 2-degree night immediately followed by an 18-degree morning, and a simple trip to the shops can involve sunshine, rain, hail, snow and then back to sun again. Thank goodness for layered clothing and rainbows.

It’s a colourful time across the city. The brilliant yellow wattle is starting to look a little tired, but there’s pink and white blossom everywhere, and when I walk through our neighbourhood I catch bursts of honeysuckle on the breeze. It’s beautiful.

This September marks two anniversaries for us. Four years in Tasmania, and ten years of marriage. I’m not sure which of those feels more astonishing now, or which was the more surprising decision in the first place. Continue reading

Winter Number Four

Willie Smith's Apple Shed enamel cups

We are coming towards the end of our fourth Tasmanian winter.

I don’t want to tempt the weather gods. Perhaps just by writing this I’ll prompt a flurry of sea level snowfall, but so far it has been the easiest winter we’ve spent here. Chilly, for sure, but mostly dry with bright blue skies and beautiful sunshine.

We have learned from experience and accepted the limits of this old brick house to keep out the cold. We’ve stopped being mean with the firewood, and instead light the stove almost every day. Before he goes to bed each night, DorkySon has taken to placing his cheek on the wall upstairs where the chimney warms it. He smiles at me.

Good old fire,” he says. Continue reading