I have two lives. The first life you know lots about: the work-at-home mum of two energetic lads who lives in the burbs of Melbourne, Australia. She adores her family, dressing up, shopping her wardrobe, baking and discovering new playgrounds.
The other life, which is rarely shown here on my blog, are the things I'm truly passionate about. Like the Indigeneous people of Australia. Which is why the past two days we've been travelling to the Western Desert in Western Australia.
To visit an Indigenous community near Meekatharra.
You see, my husband is the national director for Indigenous ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And it's my ministry too. Now we have two little extra airfares (ie. the lads), I don't visit with him like I use to, but this weekend we couldn't miss.
You see, this place is special. Not only because I celebrated both my 30th and 40th (yesterday) here, but because it's jam-packed full of amazing memories.
It's a place called Karalundi Aboriginal Education Community. It's an oasis in the desert. This community is based around a boarding school, so there are lots of kids, a caravan park, cafe, mud brick housing, a community store, a farm, an underwater aquefa. It's a dry community (no drugs, alcohol or smoking is allowed here), and it's won WA's tidy town two years' running.
My husband worked here for almost seven years, and I worked here almost three. I'll confess it was the hardest and most incredible thing I've ever had the privilege to experience. When I decided to leave my Sydney job in Public Relations to live in the desert, my friends laughed.
They said, there was no way I could do this.
But I did. And even cried when we left, because I was going to miss it all so much.
So this week, I'm grateful for:
- The hard times. I've never been called a F*cking White C#%t so many times in my life, never worked such long hours, had endless knocks on my door at all hours in the morning, never been more homesick, or disliked the person I became at times when living here.
- The good times. Reading bedtime stories to homesick students in our spare room double bed*, singing with kids who sang as loud as they could (out of tune) with all their heart, the space in conversations, the storytelling, all the cuddles, and "Miss, can I sit on your lap?", making many life-long friendships.
- The memories. The long drive from Perth (eight hours). The wildflowers in spring. The many kangaroos and emus that 'cross the road'. The roadhouses. Reconnecting with people you haven't seen for years. Always knowing two or three people in each town along the way. Having it all feel like it was yesterday when we saw each other last.
- The things I learnt. Life is too short not to sit down and connect with people. Lots of families sitting down on the lawn enjoying the sunshine/shade, watching children playing nearby. I remember often being too busy to sit down, but often thinking that I had it all wrong. Turns out I learnt a lot more than what I thought I would.
* The first photo is of one of the young boys who slept in our spare bed because he was homesick, and here he is, now a Dad. We were so thrilled to bump into him at the Meekatharra service station and meet his partner (also named Kim) and his new little girl!