Posts Tagged ‘Mildura’

Reminders of homeThe original family farm truck

It’s hard to believe that is a month ago at this exact moment that I was saying ‘see-ya later’ to some of my amazing friends that I had made whilst I was living in Calgary.

It was an emotional time, but I have to admit I suprised myself and contained the majority of my tears.  I’m not sure if this was because I was tired and lacked the energy; because I was coming home and would see family and loved ones that I had not seen for the last year and a half; or simply because I knew that this was the beginning of the next chapter of my life.  Secretly, I think it was a combination of EVERYTHING.

Getting home was not a quick trip.

Calgary to L.A.  A 12 hour layover in LA.  LA to Melbourne. 5 hour layover in Melbourne. Melbourne to Mildura.

In total I think it was around 30+ hours, but walking across the tarmac in Mildura and spotting my niece Tamsin pressed up as close as she could get to the entrance turnstile with one of the biggest smiles on her face, made the entire journey so much more worth while.  Of course there was the rest of the homecoming crowd including my Mum, complete with a ‘Welcome Home’ balloon.

It was good to be home!

Golden Fields of Wheat

Golden Paddocks of Wheat

The last four weeks have passed by almost in a blur (thank goodness I have photo’s).  I have witnessed 2 amazing friends get married. Enjoyed a day in the beautiful Grampians. Celebrated a hen’s day floating down the mighty Murray river. Played, painted and laughed with my neices and nephews. Met the newest addition to the beautiful McLean family – Jorge. Become a ‘cricket Mum’ for our four farm kids and simply enjoyed the peace and quite, warmth and beautiful sunsets and simplicity of life that exists in this untouched place that I love and that I call home.

 There truly isn’t no place like home!

Beautiful day in the Grampian's

A beautiful day in The Grampians

Watching the kids at cricket
An evening on the pitch
Oops.. was I in charge!!
Oops… was I in charge??
Sunset at the Farm
A picture perfect sunset on the farm

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Ok.. well technically the countdown started a long time ago.. but since it’s getting closer and with only 18 days left until I’m on a plane bound for home, I thought that I’d post a daily photo of my time in Canada..  

Now I have to admit that it is going to be one hell of a challenge choosing JUST ONE photo everyday, but hopefully you can relive the last two and a half years with me in these last few weeks..

I have been lucky enough that each of the cities or towns that I have lived in (ok, well we won’t count Patche in this) have all had a river run through them.  Mildura – The Mighty Murray River, Dublin – The River Liffey and now Calgary – The Bow River.

Each of them have their own special trait’s, but living in Calgary has made me realise how little I ever ‘enjoyed’ the Murray River, which has been on my back doorstep for over 10 years.  One note to self is when/if I ever move back to Mildura, or any other town that has a river flowing through it, that I make the most of it.

This photo was taken within the first week of my arrival in Calgary.  I had just been for an interview with a financial planning firm which operated out of a beautiful 100-year-old house on the banks of the Bow River.  It was quite a change from what I had come from (a firm with in excess of 80+ employees).

Little did I know as I stood there on the bridge above The Bow, that that financial planning firm would become a huge part of my Canadian family and that one of my colleagues was literally my sister-in-laws next door neighbour from Benson, Sask.

Over the past two and a half years I have learned that it is not really that cold in March, in fact that small amount of ice you see on The Bow is nothing in comparison to what you get to experience if you stay for a winter.  I have learnt that a balmy 5 degrees celsius or even a balmy -10 degrees celsius can actually be quite warm (after a winter that included a few -40’s).

I have learnt that being from Mildura will get your foot in the door for an interview (if the person reviewing your random email enquiry enjoyed their honeymoon picking grapes in ‘sunny sunraysia’). That a 2 week job placement can turn into two and a half years in the blink of an eye and that no matter what you have done, where you have been or where you are going, there is always something to learn – Personally and Professionally.

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Darrell Lea’s FAMOUS black gold!

I must admit, I did quickly glance over the headline yesterday ‘Darrell Lea goes bust after 85 years‘, but today I read it a little more closely and realised that yet another connection to my past was slipping away.

Now I’m a lover of chocolate, a lover of lollies and a lover of all things sweet and honestly I struggle to fathom how a chocolate company can go under (oh that’s right, I left oz. no wonder their sales dropped!), but there is a larger part of me that has a connection to good ole Darrell Lea that I really don’t want to lose.

When Dad was alive, I remember there always being a bag or two of Darrell’s soft licorice in the fridge, and even though to a 5 or 6 year old it’s not really that tasty (well the first few pieces anyway), it is one licorice that I have come to love and one that I almost cherish with all of my heart. I’m pretty sure that there are other licorice’s out there that are just as good as Darrell’s, but none will ever hold the memories like this one.

Years pass by too quickly and in someway or another, even though memories remain, connections slowly disappear.

There are many things I know I have grown to forget about my Dad (or that at least are pushed behind newer memories), but one of the memories I have is of his licorice stash.  Well I guess it wasn’t actually a stash, but it was for him and technically us kids weren’t allowed to eat it (plus Mum kept in that little cheese storage section at the top of the fridge door… which at one time I couldn’t see into…. oh how times have changed!!)

How lucky was I… Mum, Dad and I

As much as I’d love to believe that he only shared it with me, I know that Dad never had favorites and I’m sure that at times (when Mum wasn’t looking) he shared it with the boys too.

I remember climbing up onto Dad’s knee for a hug, a dry shave (think 5 o’clock shadow whiskers and him rubbing that against my face) or simply to watch TV.  Secretly when he didn’t think that Mum was watching he’d slip me a small piece of the darkest, softest licorice and tell me that this was our little secret. Of course Mum knew, she knew everything and still does, but she turned a blind eye and let us have our secret, after all, what harm was in it.

After Dad passed away, the licorice stash slowly dwindled, but whenever we were in Mildura, Mum would venture into Darrell Lea’s and buy a couple of packets of the black gold to have at home to share as a family. I’m sure the subconscious memories in each us 5 kids is what keeps drawing us back to this licorice even today.

For me at least, I hope the Darrell Lea can work through this rocky road and can at least get the opportunity to purchase just one more packet of licorice… just for my Dad!.

xx J

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