We have spent two full weeks in Hobart, now. This time sixteen days ago we hadn’t even landed. What an odd thought that is.
It feels like we’ve achieved a lot in a short space of time. We have bankcards, health coverage and – after much wrangling – a landline and internet connection. DorkyDad has already been to his first spoken word night. We’ve had the gap under our front door fixed, thanks to Rick the Handyman. The iPad that we lost in Dubai is on its way back to us, thanks to a wonderful woman called Rasika who works for baggage handling at Melbourne Airport. Life got immeasurably easier when we had a second set of house keys cut. All the pieces of the puzzle are fitting into place.
DorkySon is being an absolute star. He has just one shelf of toys and books with him, but he is filling the hours with imaginative play; drawing various colours and flavours of ice cream for me, enacting complex scenes with the half dozen or so Lego men he has, and happily wombling around our little garden, watering the flowers with saucepans and mixing bowls. We are also getting well acquainted with our local parks – there seems to be one every couple of blocks, so we are yet to decide on a favourite.
So we are finding a routine of sorts, starting the mornings with coffee and milk and books in bed, eating breakfast together and then heading out to explore the city. Some days we’ve been doing that alone, by foot, stumbling on wonderful shops and restaurants that make us turn to each other with a smile. Other days we’ve been more focused, heading out in the car with our guardian angel – Jo Reardon from Settled In – who has blessed us with her infinite patience and local knowledge, helping us work out what area we eventually want to settle in.
All the clichés you read about Tasmania are true. The food is ridiculously good. The people are incredibly friendly. The weather is a bit bonkers in its changeability, but the light is beautiful, the rainbows are plentiful, and the sky at night is something else.
With the obvious caveat that we miss our family and friends, so far this all feels comfortable and easy and right. There are still a few practical niggles – tying up loose ends with bills in the UK, getting set up with mobile phones here, learning the local bus network… We are taking our time getting to grips with the local lingo too – I’ve had to Google pokies, plungers and Manchester today. And there are a few things that I think I will miss for as long as we live here; Jon Snow… the Guardian Weekend magazine… Innocent smoothies… Gap Kids… CBeebies… Dettol Wipes… All silly stuff, really.
But then you get a magical day like yesterday, and the silly stuff fades into insignificance. We found a small, wonderful school, right on the beach, which has room for DorkySon to start after Christmas. They focus on early years education. He will have a playground with a tree house, a slide, a sandpit and a vegetable garden. He will borrow books from their extensive library; learn Indonesian as his second language; and will no doubt benefit immensely from their focus on daily exercise and healthy eating. He will even get a wear a uniform in his favourite colour, which is blue.
Last night, still full of the joy from our school visit, we headed down to the docks to admire all the boats that are in Hobart this weekend for the Tall Ships Festival. We enjoyed dinner in a lovely restaurant. We had a giggle-filled ride on a traditional steam-powered carousel. And then we stood beside the Lord Nelson to watch DorkySon’s first ever fireworks display. It was a very tired, but very happy Dorky Family that collapsed into bed last night.
This time next week, DorkyDad will be getting ready for his first day at work in a new job. We will also be celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary. Who knows what else will have happened?
I can’t wait to write our three week update – see you then.