So, I landed a job in Sydney (which is about 900km from hometown Gold Coast). Its a changing of the guard once again. This time back on southern hemisphere soil.
It’s a risk, really. It means that my hand is forced and I have to quit the United Nations. This work is for the government and I am not allowed to work for a government whilst also part of the UN. So, it’s a farewell to my European and international working life. I’d like to think “for now” but the reality is that once I am bound by these island oceans once more, escape to international working waters is nigh on impossible. I left, 6 years ago with the ability to have visas on account of being younger and eligible for working holidays. Now on the ugly end of the 30s there is no availability for that option, with the world closed off to me unless I get recruited/scouted from an external company. Which wont happen.
I knew that coming home this time. In amidst the angst of knowing that I was coming home so that Mum could die, I also knew that it was the death of my international/European life and I admit - I spent some time mourning that. I miss Europe a lot. The freedom to just up and out for a few days over a weekend to another country, another diverse culture, to throw myself in the deep end and make my eyes wide with wanderlust again … the freedom of public transport allowing you to go anywhere anytime - not burdened by distance, alcohol limits or anything. Here you have to drive everywhere. I can drive for 15 hours and not even leave my own state. That gives you an idea of how large it is here.
I digress. Risk, that’s where we were.
The job is political suicide from left right and centre. It’s an independent review into the removal of Aboriginal children under the guise of “child protection”. In Australia in previous decades - we have forcibly removed Black kids from their families and placed them either in institutions or with white families because … well only because they were black. Its a long story. Essentially its still happening. Black kids are removed from their families at rates that are 7 times that of white kids, despite an apparent shift in government intent. There is fighting from the community against the government, the government to government departments, the black workers in government and black community, black community fracturing against black community etc. Our ‘job’ is to determine why the rates are so high and develop strategies on how to fix it (how do you fix a problem that is completely inter-generational brought on by the legacy of past policies?). You see, its complicated. BUT. It’s my passion, always has been so I hope to do my best.
I’ve been “working” on this since February … without a contract - which only came through yesterday. More fool me, maybe - but sometimes you need to take a hit (and a risk) to find your feet. In the end, I think that it’s more cash than the UN. We shall see. So, with the contract yesterday and the fact that we are on an insane deadline to hand in (one year), I am moving on Tuesday.
In the middle of all of this, I’ve gone and fallen in love. Yes, Love. People - Kobie has an actual boyfriend and huzzah - he is in Sydney. After many many years of being more than happy alone, this man has come from absolutely nowhere and completely swept me off my feet. I don’t quite know just how to describe him, or “us” or what a whirlwind it has been. But it’s … amazing.
Before we met, we spoke on the phone for the first time for more than 1.5 hours. And we speak to each other every on the phone for hours. What about I’ve no clue. The first night we met he made me dahl, drove 40 mins to come and pick up then another 40 mins back to his place. We went at it like rabbits, 5 times in the first night I think and physically, he is everything I need. We sat, staring at each other on the couch. Just quiet, eyes locked - eyes sparkling. When I bounced down the road to meet him when he picked me up there was no hesitation, I was straight into his arms and we kissed immediately. He held me tight, all strong arms holding me close and I placed my hands along his incredibly muscular back and held him even closer. The car ride back to his place he had his hand on my knee and would occasionally drift off and then say “I keep thinking about that kiss”.
After that first night, we seemed ‘inseparable’ even though I returned to Queensland. We spoke every night and within a week he had invited me camping with all of his friends the following weekend. I agreed, we discussed flights etc - and he encouraged me to come and visit him for 4 days. A second date that was 4 days long. Turns out, that it poured rain the entire weekend so the trip was cancelled and we ended up just staying inside, getting to know one another, cooking amazing meals together and falling in to bed more times than I can even count. I think at least within the first 24 hours it hit about 10. We went rock climbing with his friends, and then surfing with more friends. Immediately he brought me in to his circle, it was amazing. He invited me to travel with him in June on a surf trip to Indonesia and then started to plan going to Fiji together in August. There was nothing ‘short term’ about him at all.
He listens to me, listens to everything that I say and we bounce back and forward with ideas and communication and expressions of affection. He is a creative thinker, always coming up with great and fun ideas, and at the end of that second (4 day) date I was so incredibly sad to go. Unsure when I would see him next. We stared at our calendars - he has a 4 year old daughter than he has every second weekend so it was tricky to work around that. Until he said for me to come down the weekend he has her (to sleep on the couch whilst she was there) so that she doesn’t get confused about her time with him and where I fit. I wasn’t sure but then agreed.
And it was one of the best weekends (actually date 3 was a five day date) of my life. I got to the train station and he and his daughter were there, she had been practicing how to say my name and was the most adorable kid you could imagine. All big blue eyes and giggle fits and curious nature, super friendly. And he was there looking happy, and amazing and beaming and my heart was just in a million golden pieces of contentedness. That night he drew me a candlelit bath, just for me so that I could relax. He had made me peppermint choc chip ice cream because he remembered that it was my favourite. We all went to a massive carnivale the next day, his daughter and I got our faces painted together and had such a great time, came home and cooked and hung out, bedtime stories and laughter and just .... all of the nice things. The next day we went to a friends bbq, and again I got introduced to all his key people and it was fantastic. I was just happy and content the whole time. Of course when his daughter left we engaged in serious adult time, and adored being all wrapped up in one another, just content. Waking in the middle of the night to begin again because we are just hungry for each other. He went to work on Monday and I went to meetings for the new job, came home and baked the heck out dinner and dessert for him and it was so nice to feel ‘homely’ again. Hard to explain.
At the end of date three we had our goodbyes again uncertain when we would see one another, it’s been just over a week since saying goodbye and we have already made plans for a camping trip mid May, booked festival tickets together for July and he has bought a tent that looks like a watermelon slice because he wants to “start a legacy of adventures” with me. And now with the contract coming through, he immediately told me to stay with him until I find a place and that he will go furniture shopping with me and help me out as much as he can to get settled. And we get to really begin “us”.
He is loving, he is supportive, he cares, he is affectionate, he is a brilliant father, he is hilarious, incredibly intelligent (emotionally and intellectually), he is romantic and thoughtful. I am doing the drive down to Sydney Tuesday and its about 9 hours. He is making me a route/map so that every 2 hours I can stop and have a swim in these amazing beaches that he knows. Thats just what he does. With this festival that we are going to, he suggested that each day we listen to one of the acts and then discuss it that night - as a means to get to know one another more through music and to also help us get excited and plan about the festival. Thats just how he operates. The depth of him, all of him is astounding and I am incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon him - and to be able to move to Sydney with him in my future.
I dont know what this next adventure holds. I’m terrified and a wild array of emotions at leaving Dad, and home here, and the memories of Mum and my “known” career. But as I’ve always done, I’m just going to yell “YOLO” - and run headfirst in to whatever awaits me.