Thursday, July 19, 2012

Settling into Newcastle June 2012

Settling into Newcastle again Settling in has gone pretty smoothly (except for getting the phone and internet - but it is finally on now!). Fi’s mum sold us her car (the hatch version of our old wagon). The house was partially unpacked and there was food in the fridge and cupboard :) We’ve unpacked all our boxes and are gradually getting back all our belongings which we loaned out - but we’ll be waiting a long while for our things from Stellenbosch (waiting for the container to be filled, then sailed to Aus).
The kids settled easily into school - Jesmond Public School was very happy to have us back. Connor’s friend, William, said “Where have you been? I came back to school and you weren’t there!” (we did tell him we were moving but it’s a bit much to take in as a 5 year old). Connor is in the 2/3 class and Laura in the 5/6 class. It is great to be back at Jesmond Park Uniting Church again and seeing lots of good friends there. Niall commenced his PhD at Newcastle University. Fiona went back to work at GHD 3 days a week (to have some money coming in again!). And we’ve managed to get the kids into their activities - piano lessons, tennis for Laura and hockey for Connor and swimming for both (and Fi & Niall can do laps during the lesson). Both kids got a merit award at the second assembly and were in the top of their class for speeches (only a few days to prepare!) - they had plenty to talk about after our adventure! So as we settle back in here, we think of all our friends back in our other home, Stellenbosch. We miss them all terribly - which hasn’t been helped by our lack of communication with the outside world (yes, even in Australia it takes over 2 weeks to get a home phoneline!). But now we’re on school holidays and we should be able to talk to some of them a bit more frequently.
Connor had his 8th birthday on 8 July at Blue Gum Hills Regional Park and enjoyed celebrating with his friends with an apple pie birthday cake (with Connor spelt out on top) and playing in the maze and riding bikes. His special birthday present was our new pet guinea pigs, named Coco and Splodge.
We won’t be travelling far these holidays - just up to Gloucester to visit Niall’s mum’s house for a short relax before school starts. Our family has done enough travelling for a while now! We’re still working out what we want to do with our lives as we settle back in, but giving ourselves plenty of space to do that. Niall is looking for part-time ministry, computers or teaching work and Fiona is looking at options for singing (Chamber Choir is currently on tour in the USA at the Choir Games). We’ll both be back into church music this week, so then we’ll really feel like we’re home. Fi made a collage of many of our friends and family from SA which will adorn our wall and remind us of the adventure we have taken (it sometimes feels like a dream). If you’ve made it through this whole saga - well done. You’ve travelled with us! Keep in touch so we can keep travelling with you. Lots of love, the McKay Family.


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