Monday, October 20, 2008

Reasons why I love living in Australia

This should be titled "Reasons why I love living in Australia and reasons why Tom doesn't". One of my favourite things to do in this country, and something I missed dreadfully when I lived in England, is going to the beach. I can't explain why I love it so much. It is something that I have grown up doing and something that is important to me to share with my own children. I went through a stage in pre-adolescence when I hated sand and the beach was not my favourite thing for a year or so; luckily that passed. Then I was self-conscious as a teenager for a couple of years but I went to the beach anyway and spent far too long worrying what people were thinking of me. That period too has passed. Now when I go to the beach, and watch the waves rolling in, I feel a sense of happiness and peace within me that few other places or situations can provide. Somehow the ocean is restful and exhilarating at the same time. I don't mind playing on the sand with the kids, or watching the waves from a nice shady spot on the beach. But actually being in the sea, experiencing the rhythm of the incoming waves, watching the wave patterns and predicting when the next big set will come in so that you can be in the right place to just get over the wave before it crashes down, that has got to be one of my favourite things to do in life.

We just had a long weekend away with some friends up at Nelson Bay which is about two hours North of Sydney. Gorgeous area and heaps of beaches to choose from. We managed to coax Tom out once to the beach, but he sweltered in the sun, hated being on the sand, and didn't pack his swimmers so he couldn't get any relief from the heat by going in the surf. I shake my head in wonder at him. I find it hard to comprehend his dislike of the beach. I just don't get it. And I worry that his feelings about the beach will transfer to our kids and that I'll be outnumbered one day when it comes to family day trips and holiday destinations. At least on this trip, Beth and I thoroughly enjoyed being at the beach. On our last afternoon, we left the boys at home and went to One Mile Beach with our friend Pecky. Us girls sat in the sand at the shoreline so that the waves would lap around our legs and hands but not completely swamp us. The fading sun was still warm on our backs. It was perfect! I used to do this as a teenager with my best friend Sara at Avoca Beach. It was so nice to be doing it again 20 years later. I hope I still will be in 20 years time.

My only hope with Tom is to revive his love of scuba diving so that he can enjoy the ocean depths and, mainly, avoid the hazards of sand that he particularly hates. I went for a dive at Bare Island with my sister and brother-in-law last weekend. It was my first dive for probably 4 years - before we started trying to fall pregnant with Beth. Gearing up was fine, my wetsuit was a tad too tight, but once we were underwater it felt great to be back doing something that was a huge part of my early 20's. We saw a port jackson shark (v. cute, not dangerous), great fishlife, nice rock formations and sponges, and even a couple of nudibranchs (colourful little underwater slug-like things). The elation of the dive lasted long enough to get back to the car with our waterlogged gear weighing heavy on our backs. Tom arrived with the kids and we all went for a nice post-dive lunch, followed by putt-putt golf in the afternoon. A great day and hopefully Tom and I can get underwater together soon. He learnt to scuba dive in Australia after we'd met and I'd waxed lyrical about how fantastic it is. I know he loves it but it can be hassle at the same time. I'll have to ban both of us saying, "I'm getting too old for this". All being well, more posts about dive adventures to come....

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