I’ve tried to write this post for almost a month now – each time I type it up, I leave it for a few days and revisit to spell check and make sure its coherent. And each time I find myself deleting it and rewriting it in a whole new way.
There are a tonne of things I want to say about my move, about how much I love this new place and the massive change it is. But it has also been hard.
When Charlotte was 12 days old, we packed up our life in the city and moved to a rural area along the south coast of Australia for my partners new job. We’ve been living here for almost 3 months now, and thus far we’ve noticed massive differences between our old “small” city and the new area. Mainly the people, community, and obviously location.
The people are your typical Australian country people. Open, friendly, and always willing to lend a hand even when it’s hard work (digging people out of getting bogged, helping load and unload firewood, and driving out of their way to see if they can fix something for you).
The community is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime – it’s like something from the 1950’s that I’ve only ever heard about in movies or tv shows. Everyone volunteers to clean up trash on beaches or in the bush in their free time, and people host community meals because they can. In general, there’s a real sense of belonging.
And obviously the location is entirely different. I’ve gone from living in a “smaller” city of 2 million almost my entire life, to living in a place where the surrounding areas and town make up 12,000 people. My nearest neighbour is over 1km away (0.6 miles for the Americans) and the majority of the scenery is cows or bush. So far I haven’t heard any noises whatsoever from a human neighbour, I have heard the odd cow in the distance though.
Our house as well is great, a big backyard for baby and dog, a large kitchen, an absolutely huge lounge room with a wood fireplace. It’s gorgeous, and also kind of fun learning how things work when your not hooked up to the power grid – we have solar panels for the day, a generator for night, giant gas bottles for hot water and the stove, and a massive water tank out on the hill.
Things haven’t been all wonderful though – and I think thats the trouble I’ve been having in trying to write up this experience.
We no longer live near any of our family or friends and having such a small baby does make it a lot more stressful. There are moments when I think “I wish I could just handball her for a few hours so I could nap or do the shopping without distractions“, as well as go to Mum’s and have her make dinner – something I used to do all the time before I got pregnant.
It’s also a challenge adjusting to the resources around me. I used to be able to know what I wanted or needed, and fairly easily drive out within 30 minutes of my house to purchase it the same or next day. Now, I have very few retailers in town, and the majority of things I want to buy I have to order in to our PO Box – and some retailers refuse to ship to PO Boxes frustratingly.
The massive change in lifestyle – from pregnant in the city surrounded by family and friends, to a small baby, and then moving to a remote area when Charlotte’s less than 2 weeks old, has had an impact on my mental health.
I managed to convince myself that I was fine and this change didn’t impact me at all. In reality, in what feels like a big drop out of my support system, and the sleep deprivation mixed with learning how to care for a baby, has slowly but surely had its affect. In being honest, there are days where I feel like I can’t get off the couch and don’t want to care for my baby. But I know this will be temporary and I love my little girl (and I do get off the couch and care for her for anyone concerned).
In total, I’m really happy I moved here. The area is beautiful, the beaches and parks surrounding me are gorgeous. The town and the people are amazingly friendly. Though it’s difficult at times, I never wish I was back in the city even when I’m feeling down. This feels like home.
– Caitlin –