30 July 2016

A Year of Change (so far)

The Story Bridge, Brisbane

This year has been a year of change for my husband and I (and our doggie, Oscar).

{I wrote this 2 months ago, but the facts and my thoughts remain the same}

We have:
  • packed our belongings into a 6x4 trailer
  • sold, given to friends, or donated the remainder of our worldly possessions
  • said goodbye to my family, our church family and our friends
  • left our jobs - for me, that meant saying goodbye to coworkers who I thoroughly enjoyed working with and had become friends with, and giving up a very nice, secure job
  • road-tripped and camped our way from Adelaide to Sydney to visit my brother and friends, then from Sydney to our final destination, Brisbane
  • lived with friends for a week and a half while house-hunting
Rob, me, Andre and Aaron about to unload furniture into our new home.
We lived with Rob and his family for the week and a half prior to finding our house
  • settled into a new home
This is what moving can look like!
First meal in our new home - fish & chips, from the seafood shop right next door
These are all (yes, I mean ALL) of our kitchen cupboards, apart from one shelf where we keep saucepans and bread boards

  • searched for jobs - by the grace of God, I found one in less than 2 weeks; the process for my husband has taken much longer
  • learned new systems and policies and met new people at those jobs
  • been church-hunting!  We've visited every Church of the Nazarene within a half-hour radius from our home, trying to find somewhere we can call our church home {update: we are settling into a church that is just 3 minutes from our house}
  • adjusted (or should I say, we are still adjusting) to a lower income overall {update: we are doing very well now}
  • (this one is for me only) enjoyed becoming a student again and learning about counselling
  • had our dog run away many times - in this process we've suffered fines from the council, he has gotten hit by a car twice, and we've been overwhelmed by our neighbours' kindness in looking out for him
Our front porch [with Oscar in the yard, for once...]

  • enjoyed living on a little street where we have gotten to know a few neighbours and quickly gotten used to living right next door to an IGA... so convenient!
The view from our kitchen sink - IGA

So much more has happened, but can I just say, in some cases, change is definitely not as good as a holiday.  I have LOVED so many parts of our journey this year; however, it has also been a struggle at times.

Leaving family and friends and my hometown behind has been relatively easy (thank goodness for texts, phonecalls and video calls!), but there is definitely a sense of loss of the familiar - friends who I have known for years are no longer a coffee-catch-up away, and Sunday lunches aren't quite the same without my family.  I'm so grateful that, overall, it has been easy so far, but that doesn't stop me missing the people I love.

It feels like we gave up a lot to move here.  I guess it's a matter of perspective, but we left jobs and furniture and places full of memories as well.  It really felt like a lot to leave behind.

Andre and I have realised that this year, of all years, is one that we want to look back on and smile and say, "Yes, that year was tough, but it didn't matter because we stuck together and grew closer together."  By God's grace we ARE growing closer together and learning lots together!

I'm so grateful for this year - this year of change.  Giving up so much has shown me how little I really need, but it has also shown me how much I have.  I can see now that I don't need a lot of "stuff" (although we still have too much!); I can easily make new friends to share life with; moving away from the familiar doesn't have to be so sad, because there is so many new experiences to look for!

In fact, while it has been hard at times, I would recommend to anyone to move away from home at least once in your life - whether short-term or long-term - because, in my experience, you can learn so much about yourself.  Plus, it's simply fun looking for new places to visit and experience!

This is a random collection of thoughts, but I hope it shows a little of what has been happening in my life so far this year, and inspires you to look for new experiences in your life.

~Rachel
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