Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Settling in


So many things have happened on the journey from here to now.It all began with the car journey from Tully to Brisbane, and our bird keeping us on our toes on the way down. We stopped into see Brad and his wife Jess as well as Dan on the way down.

We discovered which were the most boring pieces of road, and the most exciting. Brad, Dan I worked with on ABC open during the 500 words project, and had never met in person before.

“Met Daniel Battley AbcOpen in person with his two gorgeous sons. Awesome.  We went via an interesting back road into Bundaberg with navigator Sandon, like a rollercoaster ride, stomach survived just, bird doing well on our travels, and keeping us all entertained, classic photos of this later though, lots of Simon and Garfunkel in the car, more adventures tomorrow and then into Brisbane.”

Then there was the month we spent living in West End, house sitting for friends.  I loved the sunrise from their house.11485_10202284003434402_907842044_n
We went to a street neighbourhood gathering in their area.  It was awesome and my son jammed with some musos.  They are setting up a garden and doing lots of projects like clean up Australia day etc.


We caught up with our friend Temily who lived around the corner who we hadn’t seen for over 10 years.  She is an artist and lived in a very interesting share house, full of energy, light and colour.

We visited the museum and South Bank.  The children were much taken with a Hobbit house featured in an exhibition of collections.  We went to the cricket as well, which was brilliant as it looked like Australia were losing, but then a miracle, they won and we were there.


We had lots of adventures house hunting and I made the following discoveries about Brisbane.

”Brisbane discoveries, looking for houses requires military operation precision, and a swot team to help you out, busking licenses for South Bank require auditions in November and only happen but once a year, some suburbs people appear friendlier than others, Aldis are cool, self serve zapping in shops requires practice …”

“More things learnt about Brisbane, videos can be found in vending machines, laundromats are plentiful, and have wifi and cool websites, birds interact with the city and find the nearest tree to flock too, and adopt humans to feed them, sunrise splashes golden light on buildings, afternoon practice bands near our home have a reasonable guitarist, and average drummer and singer, your real friends have to make appointments and cannot rely on bumping into.”

Finally we made it to our new house:
“Didn’t notice it on the first view through but there is a dish washer in the kitchen … an upstairs and down stairs clothesline and laundry, a shed, and to my relief quite a bit of storage under the house so we can fit our stuff and even divest of more with more sorting if we wish (my excuse we had looked at a lot of houses and I was getting tired) , bird is settling in but was a little crazy this morning on the new verandah poor thing!

Ben to the rescue. Have now put all our present stuff in the cupboard and made air mattress couches, plus we have a kettle, and a saucepan, and esky with ice, time to have a cuppa, other news both school kids have already been put on invitation lists to events with friends and started bringing home phone numbers, and are quite excited about finding buddies who want to get to know them better, this is what makes me the happiest.”

We continue to connect with old friends from the area as our boxes were all unpacked and our home began to felt like a home.  One of our friends from Atherton came to visit us with his son, and had a chat about the universe which was cool.

And so the journey to settle in continues, with new horizons like learning how to use public transport again, and how to drive around the city.

Riddle Me

My cultures seem clearest to me in objects and values my parents had in our house when I was growing up, many of which are still there.

I think immediately of string bags, grass skirts, shell necklaces, bush knives, and Dad’s cheap reproductions of Gauguin paintings of women in the tropics.

I remember being sent to care for old neighbours and baby sit other people’s children for no payment so my mother could show her generosity and teach me the value of service. I remember cooking family meals and being the little mother to my brothers from a young age.

As I think back on these objects I think of the riddles they hold, and want to go deeper under the surface to explore what context they have in the present and past.

The values my mother taught me were sometimes explicit and other times hidden in the objects and gifts she gave to me.

Listening to a tape of my bubu, grandmother’s voice, I hear the chant of her world. Looking at the cards from my English grandmother, with animals made out of leaves and seeds pasted onto cardboard, I am struck by the time she spends to connect with a granddaughter she so rarely sees.
I am a daughter of many cultural worlds.

(c) June Perkins

For more stories in progress head to  Northern Gal Dreaming

I will be spending a fair bit of time over at my Northern Gal Dreaming blog, as I’ve decided to devote a lot of this year to writing memory stories. I’ll explore how these memories come to live in the present, and become embodied in objects. Also working on some ideas for fiction for young adult readers. Here is the first draft of some writing done today. Will come back and do some more rewriting on it, for the moment it will serve as an introduction.