As we both lay in bed last night, tossing and turning, unable to sleep, I began to reflect upon some of the things that have stood out in my mind since arriving here. When Jason visited Arnhem Land last year I know that things like the amount of rubbish around, dogs sleeping in the middle of the street and the endless sounds of the crows were really noticeable. But for me (Kim) after living in Africa for some time, those things seem almost normal to me.
I have found it a challenge that the temperature hasn’t been lower than 25 degrees since we arrived. During the day, I expect it, but the nights are harder. I have also realised that i approach weather like a true Melbournian – I expect rain frequently and dramatic changes in temperature. That doesn’t happen here. Also as a Victorian, I expect the weather not to really heat up until the afternoon, frequently I find myself in a sweat at 8.30am and wonder why, only to look at our thermometer to find that it is already 32 degrees in the shade.
Another significant challenge for me has been the different culture we have found ourselves living within. Because of my African experiences I am still expecting my Yolngu neighbours to embrace me in that outgoing, vivacious manner which was my experience of Ethiopian culture. Yolngu people are not like that. They are quieter, more reserved and relationships take lots of time. Something i don’t feel like I’ve had trying to juggle a new home and a family who has been sick with one thing or another since we arrived. Another challenge there in itself.
But the story is not all bad news, as I lay in bed, looking out my window at the sky full of stars, I realised that is something I couldn’t do in Melbourne. You could never see that many stars with all the city lights. I have found that in the midst of settling in and all the newness and challenges there are so many unexpected joys to be found. Like the frangipani trees that flower abundantly all around Yirrkala, such beautiful flowers. Tropical fruit in abundance: Mango trees around the town, a banana farm nearby that keeps us stocked with cheap bananas and papaya.
I love the birds around our home. As Sam and I sit out on our back deck in the mornings, (for some quiet time for me and water play for Sam) we see cockatoos, kookaburras, parrots and others that I have no idea what they are called, flying into our yard and calling to each other. It’s a beautiful sound.
I love having other mums who are more experienced and/or at the same stage in parenting as me nearby. It is encouraging to spend time with each other, sharing our day’s struggles and successes and for our children to have others to play with.
I love it that Jason looks at the flight roster for the next day and is disappointed when he has a day off. No he doesn’t love work more than me…. well, i hope he doesn’t! 🙂 But he is excited to go to work each day, he is enjoying the flying and meeting lots of new people each day. He counted up that he flew 29 different people on his plane yesterday. It is so encouraging to be in a place where Jason loves what he is doing. That makes me happy too!
So as another week ends, one that has included both Sam and Jason being sick, it is nice to stop and remind myself of the great things about this place and season of our lives.