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  • gillianvann

Things go awry, mistakes made, but we muddle through.

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

We returned home to Brisbane full of excitement, and we were anxious to get our plans underway and began enthusiastically telling everyone about our new chapter.

That's a bit of a mistake. Turns out once you are leaving a place people start behaving quite differently towards you, and if you want to retain those 'friends' it's best to pretend you are sad to be leaving. That is something we learned, but not something i'm particularly skilled at. Pretending to like things for the sake of social niceties has never been my strong suit. Friends have described me as "very real" in the past, and not everyone likes my brand of brutal honesty, and in the recent wave of the new PC trend of virtue signalling I am not a star player. If I like something, you know, if I don't, you know. I cringe at the term but i've been #authentic my whole damn life. And I've found out that not everyone actually likes that about me. When you move you find out who your friends truly are.

I've always been fine with being left alone, so a move to the country didn't seem so crazy to me.

Just over 40% of Australians move every five years, more than twice the worldwide average

I've also always been one to try new things and "swim in the other direction". Australians are more mobile than other nations, hard to know why, do we not have long term roots anywhere (like Europeans)? We aren't beholden to our employer for health insurance or moving to a lower tax state (like the USA). Or maybe because my hubby is an immigrant himself he had no qualms about moving to a new state, he certainly never saw himself as a Queenslander, and Brisbane was not his childhood home. It took me much longer to come round to the idea but once I'd warmed to it, within 6months we had actioned our plans.

So there we are, in the 15%. Sounds about right. We soon found out that not everyone is thrilled for you when you do something they can't understand. Most friends were puzzled why we'd move to South Australia, ok, that was valid. A few who had actually been to SA (notably Barossa and Adl Hills) were more understanding, and one friend who was a food journalist actually said "why??" when I told her what we were doing. This was astounding, but to her credit when it comes to food she bypasses all of Australia in favour of Europe. Ten years later, she still hasn't explored this region.

Did I mention I'm a strong person with strong opinions? well, we didn't care what anyone thought, because we aren't in the 85% and were more than happy to be bold. A few called us brave and admitted they could never do what we were doing, and perhaps if we'd thought it all through we might have been too scared to act. Our parents were a little upset that we were moving their grandchildren 2000km away, but for the most part were excited with us.

“You're already gone

We were in a whirlwind of plans and I remember chatting to a client and he said to me "you're already gone, aren't you". And that was the truth of it, once we'd made the decision to go I wanted to leave Brisbane. Suddenly we found the humidity to be stifling, and the traffic to be unbearable and many little things jumped out at us as being less than perfect, and we were already thinking ahead to our new farm life. I lived in Japan for 3 years in my 20s and I remember how awful that last month was, when I just wanted to return to Australia, and I had to smile my way through good-bye parties and I practically hated everything about the place by that stage. It felt a little bit like that for me too, those final weeks in Brisbane, and when a few mums were quietly gossiping and it got back to me, I actually felt relieved that I didn't have to feel guilty to be leaving my group of "friends".

Lesson learned: when you step out of line and do something different, not everyone is happy for you. (covid 2021 update: haven't we all seen such divides in the dreadful attitude of some towards those who oppose the vaccine mandates)

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