We’ve just got back from a little trip up to the snow at Mount Baw Baw – just a short 2.5 hour drive from where we live on the Peninsula. We’ve been desperate to get away for a few days as a family. Life was beginning to merge into one big soup of work and the mundane chores that pepper the day-to-day. In any case, it may have only been a few short days but we’re all feeling refreshed – helped in particular by the fact that it’s a perfect warm winter’s day today (I’m not going to let the mountain we brought home with us – the dirty washing, change that – where does it all come from?!).
We were unsure whether we’d make it up to the mountains this year because it can be a costly affair but I managed to find us accommodation on the resort that did not break the bank. It was a bizarre realisation when I was looking at these family lodges where you share a room with your children but then share the communal areas with other families. I was thinking, wow that’s a really good idea for families to keep costs in check. Then out of no-where I had this epiphany that we are actually a family and lodges like this are designed for people like us (duh!).
It’s a funny feeling that these holidays are the holidays of the boys’ childhood. The ones I hope they’ll remember glimpses of as they get older. Just like the fleeting memories I have of staying in caravans with my family in Wales when I was younger. I wonder if Laurence will remember his first skiing lesson? He loved it so much that he didn’t want it to end and cried the whole walk back to the lodge for dinner. Jonny was just happy being in the thick of the snow and having a go of sledging, or tobogganing as it’s called here (which is more of a winter olympic sport in my mind).
We brought lots of provisions up to the mountain with us, which was a good job because we didn’t realise until we got there that there’s no general store there anymore. We filled our tummies with porridge and ‘hini’ (tahini) as Jonny calls it, dahl and easy pasta dishes. The evenings involved books, wine and chatting while the boys slept solidly from exhausting themselves in the fresh air during the day. The time away was as just about us as it was about them.
Feeling rested and settled
In a former life before I met him, Rob used to be a snowboard instructor and he absolutely loves the snow more than anyone I know. He literally dreams about it and I think he would be completely at home living on a snow-topped mountain for the rest of his days. And although I enjoy it, I do need some balance with warmer weather and vitamin D, so I’m not sure we’ll be moving to a mountain hut any time soon.
Where we want to ‘be’ is something we find ourselves mulling over quite often – pretty much since we found ourselves on the other side of the world to the home that we grew up in. I hear similar thoughts from other expats who have experienced a different way of things. Often times though, people are either set in a camp of staying for a while, with clear plans of returning back home (usually the UK in our circles) or people have no plans to ever return to the UK and they see Australia as their new home. But either way they seem to know the place where their heart lies.
I wish we could be so sure about where we want to be – it gets quite exhausting when your heart wanders metaphorically around the world. I wonder if part of the problem is that we simply haven’t found somewhere that feels completely and utterly right for us. I would love to base ourselves somewhere we could see ourselves being for the rest of our days and travel the world from that place, always returning back there to be grounded and content.
We love our home here on the Peninsula but in our hearts it isn’t our forever home. We can’t put our finger on what it is… just something in the air. We feel this way much more in winter because having the seasons the ‘wrong’ way around for us and also not having a ‘proper’ cold winter I think is something we have struggled with since we moved to Australia, and one of the reasons we decided to go to the snow this year. In summer we’re a bit more distracted with the beautiful warm days, daily trips to the beach and swimming in the bay. Believe me, we don’t take where we live for granted.
We are not ready to go anywhere just yet, partly because we only bought our house a year ago now and need to figure out where Laurence is going to go to school. But more importantly, where would we go? Back to the UK perhaps – but where? I’m very conscious, particularly since becoming a mother, that as the saying goes – the days are long but the years are short, and I guess we want to look back on our lives and hope we made the most of it, doing things we enjoy, with the people we love, in a place that brings us joy. I’m interested to hear if you know where the forever home for your heart is?