Friday, 26 September 2014

Bravery

I've been getting some lovely responses to my newsletter, some from friends and family I haven't heard from in a very long time (I guess if you stop writing to folk they'll stop writing to you? Huh. And if you stop blogging then people stop visiting...)

Mostly they have been messages of "Wow, that must have sucked, glad you are through it".

Today a friend wrote to tell me I was "brave" to leave Sydney and my life there for a new life in Canberra. I responded with this:

Funny, I don't think we were brave to move to Canberra. Is it brave to take the only job offer you get when you are about to have to sell your house just to get by?

That's like saying you'd be brave to leave a burning building LOL!

To me, the brave thing was holding the marriage together through it all. No fighting, no nagging, no blaming, biting my tongue day after day until we found our feet again. Being supportive when I really wanted to scream and run away. Being kind when I was angry. Being loving when I felt betrayed and disrespected.

Now that felt like staying in a burning building.


I've also had people tell me I am "brave" to share what I've been through.

Is sharing brave? I suppose it did take an effort to hit "send" or "post" and to open myself up again after so long.

I'm tired of hiding how I feel. I have built barriers between myself and the rest of the world, to the point where my own husband was blindsided when I told him that I couldn't cope any more. That if we didn't do something about it then the marriage was going to fail. That I was sad to my core.

I couldn't blog or write emails to friends, because I was living a lie and couldn't bring myself to write it too.

It was, I think, necessary. I don't see how we would have pulled though with me being all Drama!Queen at the same time.

Hiding my real feelings was hard. Was it brave? I suppose it might be as brave as staying in a burning building until you are sure your family is out!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Personality Profile - Kingdomality

If you have 10 minutes to spare, have a look at Kingdomality. Just 8 questions, which try to determine what medieval personality you might have.

I am: The Black Knight

Your distinct personality, The Black Knight, might be found in most of the thriving kingdoms of the time.

Your overriding goal is to win.

You approach each task or situation as a contest to be won strategically and efficiently.

Because you can control your feelings, it is not unusual for you to charm, as well as successfully delegate tasks and responsibilities to the more emotional types. You are often concerned with what's in it for you. You seldom involve yourself in activities where you can not foresee a reward for your investment or effort.

On the positive side, you can be analytically empathic and logically persuasive.

On the negative side, you may be unemotionally manipulative as well as impulsive. Interestingly, your preference is just as applicable in today's corporate kingdoms.


That's... not bad, actually!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Quality Time

Last Saturday Milord, myself and the kids went off to try out a playpark I'd spotted while out walking with Mom. It is on the shores of a huge lake, but set back in the trees beside a carefully designed water feature of streams, bridges, rocks and pools that will be great to splash about in when it gets a bit warmer. There are also grassy areas where we should be able to kick a ball around.

We parked about 10 minutes walk away so that the kids could have a ride on their new bikes on the way. They are still getting the hang of pedaling, so this is just the right distance to practice.

Then we had a little play on the baby structure, went over to the the water feature and explored and threw sticks and paddled (very briefly because it was freezing!), and then wandered over to the play structure for bigger kids. This was quite challenging, with rope ladders and climbing walls and steep ladders the only way up. I was quite proud of how bold my kids were at scrambling up and then coming down a spiral slide. There are a few more challenging items in the structure that they didn't want to attempt, but I'm sure they'll get braver the more often we go.

After an hour or two they got back onto their bikes and Milord and I pushed them back to the car as they were too tired to pedal!

On Sunday, after swimming, Milord and I went out alone. This is most unusual, and it is something I asked for in the TALK - quality couple time. We hardly every get time alone. We went to the shops and ended up beside the same lake for a beer in the sunshine. It was very pleasant!

So, a weekend with quality family time and quality couple time - the first in many months and hopefully the first of many more.

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!

Old News

I am gathering documents to apply for British citizenship for Princess and King, and at one point I needed to list all the times I was out of the UK between 2002 and 2006. Who can remember that kind of thing offhand?! Not me!

So I logged into an ancient email account and went through some emails from my previous life. I found the info I was looking for, and I also found a window into the life of Saffa Chick 15 years ago. Quite fascinating. I've copied all my email newsletters into this blog to share - get a glass of wine it will suck you in for ages!

I was so young! Partying so hard! Kissing frogs! Hopping jobs! Travelling! Wow, no wonder I get homesick for that time and place sometimes.

I was also taken aback at how chatty my newletters were. Not unlike how chatty this blog used to be when I started it - I've lost my mojo somewhere along the way.

Perhaps I should start writing newsletters again? Facebook just isn't the same.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Whoo it's been a while!

I haven't been blogging lately.

My relationship funk, which started back in Feb last year, finally overcame me recently. I was also repeatedly ill with pretty bad colds, I put on loads of weight (I comfort eat), and it all dragged me down and under and I finally reached the end of my tether.

On the surface everything looked fine though, and Milord was completely taken by surprise a few days ago when I detoured our drive home to a pub for a TALK. A very overdue TALK perhaps, as we haven't ever thrashed out the events of last February. I thought I could just move on, but it didn't happen...

Anyway, the TALK went really well! So well that I feel silly for putting it off for so long.

The cloud of gloom at home has lifted, Milord is more involved with the kids and more affectionate with me, and he says his mood at work has even improved!

During my funk both kids had birthdays! Princess is 5 and King is 3.
We held a party at a local indoor playground in the Pirate Room. All the kids had an absolute ball.
I made Rainbow Cupcakes! I'll blog about that separately...
Friends came from Sydney and stayed for the weekend, and their son and Princess had a Sleepover in her room.

I have also started work on a major project as part of a team working clear on the other side of Canberra. It's keeping me very busy, and blogging isn't possible!

I will try not to disappear for long again though, now that my world is so much better.