Friday, 19 September 2014

Newsletter September 2014

I've been looking through my sent emails and it seems I haven't emailed y'all since November last year - can that be true? I am so sorry! I've been in a bit of a dark place and that made it hard to write a proper letter (everything comes out bitter or superficial), but Facebook is not really a substitute.

Can you believe I have been living and working in Canberra for just over a year now? If you had told me back in January of 2013 that this would happen I would have laughed at you. "I'm not going back to work until the kids are in school. We have an agreement." Oh, how we laugh now.

What an interesting time this has been. (I think that's a Chinese curse? Okay wikipedia says not. It should be)

Let us recap. In February of 2013 Milord had a row with his boss and left his job. Without talking to me about it and with nothing lined up. We have recently (finally) talked about it and he swears he meant no disrespect to me, it was a rage thing. Which makes me feel better. I suppose.

Although Milord was confident he would waltz into another job he was wrong, so I started job hunting too. We shoved the kids into a daycare they haaated so that I would be free to work and my Mom put all her travelling plans on hold. However, it turns out that no one in Sydney wants someone who has been a stay-at-home mum for a few years to write their software - there are too many superstars clamoring for every role.

Savings ran out and we began living on credit cards, my Dad's inheritance, charity and welfare. We cast our jobsearch wider, beyond Sydney and beyond the state of New South Wales. Summer ended. Milord did a project manager course, and I did a programming course. By mid winter we were close to selling our house. We finished off some renovations and repainted it ready for sale.

Then suddenly, finally, we started getting nibbles on the job front. From Canberra. Not where we wanted to live - but also not where anyone really wants to live, which is why there were opportunities. I had a couple of interviews and Milord had a couple of phone calls. Then I landed a job in Canberra! We packed up the house, and left Sydney, and got tenants, and rented a place twice the size in Canberra for the same money, and bought an extra car!

My job sucked and I cried every night for a couple of weeks but I adapted and I am still there a year later. They LOVE me and I have had 2 decent pay increases and I am now almost being paid market value. I am biding my time for another 6 months and then I will be seeking something better.

Then Milord got a job! He really hated it at first but they LOVE him and he has a decent pay increase too. He's also biding his time for a bit longer before looking around for something better. He promises me he will not leave this job without another one lined up - no matter how angry he gets!

The kids got into a great daycare that they adore, and Princess will be starting "Big School" next January which she is very excited about. While my Mom's plans are still on hold while she does the stay-at-home-Gran thing she does manage to get away for the occasional long weekend in her campervan.

We remortgaged our Sydney house and paid off the credit cards, and have been mostly in the black since then.

We had Christmas in Sydney, house/dogsitting for a friend for 2 weeks. It rained a lot, but that was actually nice as we had a traditional midday dinner at friend's and it felt right to have a grey wet day! The kids got so many presents that they were both presented-out! We visited people and had a big informal barbeque one day and oodles of folk turned up. At one point there were 12 kids in the massive inflatable paddling pool!

Just before Easter Sis came over for a visit. Her first time to Australia, and her first time out of South Africa since she was a kid! (And her first ever jetlag heheheheh) The airlines looked after her very well (she has cerebral palsy) and the travel went smoothly. Mom picked her up in Sydney and they did some sightseeing there but Sis spent most of her time with us doing the family thing in Canberra. It was wonderful to see her and she had a lovely time with her nephew and niece.

Over Easter we went to the coast, to a town on the shore of a huge bay. The waves were small and the beaches white, it was not too hot and we all had a great time. Princess keeps asking to go back, and we have booked a house even closer to the beach for after this coming Christmas!

When winter arrived we were very glad of the central heating as we experienced below freezing temperatures at night (some of us for the first time). It snowed on the nearby hills a couple of times and we took the kids to see it. We built snowmen and threw snowballs and did a bit of tobogganing - it was good fun. Next year we may go to stay closer to the snow and maybe get the kids some skiing lessons - maybe!

Things are going well for us in Canberra - the quality of (family) life is way better than Sydney Inner West. Lots of space and a slower pace in general. And no traffic! I'd probably hate to be younger with no kids in search of a good night out, but that's certainly not on our radar.

My marriage took a beating over the past 18 months but we held it together, and we are now putting some work into repairing it.

We could do with some friends to take the pressure off the FAMILY... Milord is going to join the local golf course and hopefully make some friends. I am close to making friends with some workmates - these things take time, especially when we all have small children. Mom is going to campervan club meetups and might be making friends sometime soon too. Princess has made friends at daycare, and King doesn't know what a friend is.

So, that was my Most Excellent Interesting Adventure of the past year and a half. Sorry for the radio silence, I will try to correspond more regularly as I get my mojo back!

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