An innate sense of belonging



We arrived in Australia beginning of January – just after the Christmas holidays.

Here January means summer holidays, and the school year starts at the end of the month.

The kids and I spend most of the time in exploring neighbourhoods and playgrounds. But unfortunately for a newcomer, the city is a bit empty, and a bitter sense of isolation comes over us.

Kids are naturally sociable. So, for me was important to find ways of nurturing this side of them, even when there were no other kids in the playgrounds.

As new arrivals in town, we love to do the touristy things. Museums, attractions, aquariums and zoos are must-see places – to get my kids entertained and to find social opportunities. Fortunately, Melbourne has an abundance of the above to explore.

There are plenty of activities for kids in this big town, even if it is the least active month of the year. Also, house hunting is challenging in January, but I will talk about this in another post.

As a mum, I focus instinctively on fulfilling my kids’ desires. This is the first time in our life that we have lived by the sea. The kids love to spend time on the beach, and we spend time there, until the chilly wind starts to blow, generally in the afternoon.

Finally, we receive the first communications from the school which is about to start, and my daughter can’t wait to meet her new schoolmates.
She is turning 9 this year, and Australia is move number 3 for her. It is a crucial age from a social point of view: schoolmates and friends are an important part of a child’s life. My daughter wasn’t immune to huge sadness at having to say her goodbyes to her friends when we had to leave.

Her strong sense of belonging manifests in many ways, and this time school uniform represents a new entry. She just loves the idea of wearing a school uniform. A) because its colours are purple and golden, B) it’s a kind of “dressing up” that she is allowed to wear at school every day. C) it fulfils perfectly her sense of belonging to her new unknown class.

With a thrill of excitement, we head to the uniform shop, to try on the summer dress – yes, there is a uniform for each of the two seasons – and a mandatory hat to protect from the nasty UV rays, abundant in this part of the hemisphere.
On this occasion, we learn with great curiosity, about the history of the two colours which represent the school values, together with the lion crest dated 1877 and the notable motto Sapere Aude – dare to be wise.




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Landing Down Under


We arrived in our new host country on the 6th of January – full summer. Yes, in the southern hemisphere the seasons are reversed.
One of our suitcases is lost, and we are surprised to see that so are dozens of others! I have never seen so many suitcases on the floor. After filling out the necessary forms to rescue our missing case, we make our way out to get our car.

As the sliding doors open we are hit by a wave of heat – 42 degrees Celsius! With this temperature and a huge number of cars lined up in the outdoor carpark, for a minute I am confused… Did we land in Las Vegas?

Slowly we manage to fit all our luggage, the pram, the two car seats and ourselves in the car –and set the GPS to our new temporary home.

I look out of the car window and see eucalyptus trees swaying in the wind silhouetted in a deep blue sky. The radio is playing “Stand by me”. The lyrics resonate with our mood:

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

I feel a sense of bittersweet nostalgia mixed with excitement and curiosity.

We left Europe in a Christmassy festive mood, after having said our goodbyes to our families.

My head is full of thoughts.

The most pounding thought is that we have moved to the end of the world… or almost. One of the farthest places on earth.

And a feeling of isolation emerges (The Big Island). The weird description that here in Australia we are down under. And we literally are! This must be the reason for a headache I have for the first few days. That, and the 9 hours’ time difference with Europe, from where we departed.

Anyway, we decided to move, we packed and here we are.
We put away the initial feeling of disorientation to support our children. They are part of the reason we decided to move down here.
So Melbourne, here we come!

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