So it may or may not contradict what I said in my last post but I was fist-pumping excited to receive this in the mail this week...
I need to participate in a swearing-in ceremony and then I will be a proud Australian-American! Somehow I feel like I AM (or will be very soon) Australian, yet I feel like even a passport couldn't make me Dutch. I think this is because most of my friends here are Australian AND Something. Being 100% Australian, and 100% Something Else does not seem to be a problem.
This weekend I was away with five other women for a girl's weekend. At one point we looked around and had a giggle that there were no two people of the same ethnicity in our group, but we were all Australian (at least I almost am). There were moments during the trip where things had to be clarified for those of us who didn't grow up here, or where we referenced our cultural background to explain our point view. It was so seamless and...not a big deal.
Going away for a whole weekend away of Girl Time was a BIG DEAL for me! Several months ago a mom from Small Sun's class at school sent out an email to see if anyone was interested, and even though I didn't really have a relationship with any of the women interested in going, I said yes. It has been just about a year since my last weekend away from the kids, and I think I was due for another!
The dynamic of six women, all aquantainces, made for a really fun and interesting trip. We went to Bundanoon, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, about a two hour drive from Sydney.
How fun to discover that we all like antique shopping, and that there were some fabulous small town markets and antique shops nearby!
We stayed at Old Cedars, a stunning five-bedroom modern country house, nestled amongst gorgeous gardens. As soon as we turned off of the Hume Highway, into the Highlands, my soul started to stir. While most of New South Wales is characterized by silver-grey eucalyptus trees, and sandstone boulders, the Southern Highlands feature rolling green hills dotted with grazing cattle, and during springtime, plentiful "blossom trees", as The Sprout calls them.
I feel refreshed on a near-cellular level, in the presence of green, and this weekend brought me alive in ways I hadn't realized I was dying.
The house was amazingly well-appointed and we were encouraged to enjoy everything!
The breakfast nook with double french doors, opening onto one of many verandahs and courtyards, let in wonderful afternoon sun.
In this fountain lived a frog that nearly drove on of the girls insane. We even went out hunting it at night, with a flashlight and tupperware container at the ready, but he was too smart for us and stopped croaking when we got close to capture.
This was my room. I chose it for the garden view. I even got to lie in bed to read a magazine and take an afternoon siesta, and stayed up nights scribbling poems into my diary.
The view from my wonderful, crisply made up bed.
The front door, from an 18th century Spanish Castle.
The road less travelled, which we found ourselves on thanks to a tempermental GPS, ended up being on of my happiest moments. We passed lovely stone farmhouses tucked into hillsides, wealthy farms with formal hedges and gravelled drives, and eventually we arrived here...
I cried a bit, crouching down to photograph this creek, while the other girls consulted their iPhone maps, and GPS. I flung my arms open, feeling so renewed. This looks like my precious home-land. This looks like my happiest childhood memories. In a wonderful weekend of food, laughter, heartfelt encouragement, shopping, and luxury, it was this electric green that made my heart sing most, because it felt the most like home.