Leaving Australia

large flock of cockatoos in South Australia

Saturday, 13. April 2013, Wandlitz-Basdorf, Germany
It's now 6 weeks since we left home, and a lot has happened. Even in the last weeks in Mullum there was so much going on that we thought we would never get finished and leave. I began to wonder if I would ever feel like I was not exhausted again. But here I am sitting in the kitchen of our home in Germany - it's 8 o'clock in the morning and I've been up for an hour and I'm feeling great. So time changes everything…
If getting ready to leave was eventful, the trip to South Australia was a bit over the top with what it threw at us. We left a day later, and ended up driving later in the afternoon, than we had planned, so we were driving from Byron to Port Macquarie late afternoon-early evening on Friday March 1. And it was pouring with rain. The last stretch I drove into Kempsey it was so heavy that the windscreen wipers were on full and I could still hardly see - and it was dark by then so every vehicle's lights, whether from behind or in front, were blinding. Juergen drove on to our destination - Lake Cathie.
We spent a pleasant night at Fiona's and then headed to Sydney in the morning. Once again I was driving and once again the rain was every bit as heavy as the night before. I was obviously not driving fast enough because a b-double had to overtake me, throwing up so much water that I was driving blind. My reaction - wrong, I know - was to put my foot on the brake, hard. We were really lucky that the brakes didn't lock up - thank god for ABS! The closer we got to Sydney, the less rain we had, although it didn't stop completely for long. We were within few kilometres of our friend's place at Guildford when the ABS didn't seem to work as well. It wasn't raining at the time but the car slid as we were going around a corner and hit the curb on the traffic island hard with the front right wheel. It made a really loud bang but we both got out of the car unhurt and it wasn't even hard enough to set off the airbags. It was, however, hard enough to damage the Mazda in such a way that the insurance company decided to write it off! But of course we didn't know that until sometime later…
So, we were stranded in Sydney without a car and with piles of luggage and the need to be in Renmark for a wedding a week later. Of course, when we got over the shock of it all, we simply rented a car to get us and all our stuff to Renmark and eventually Adelaide. But first we spent a couple of days with our friends - a large part of Sunday visiting Bec in hospital. We were relieved to hear that she finally got out of there a week or so later.
The two days driving to Renmark were pleasant - the further west we drove, the less rain we encountered. It was so nice to feel dry! We felt like we had been waterlogged for so long at home that nothing we owned would ever lose the damp feel. That changed very quickly as we left the east coast.
It was lovely to arrive at my sister's house, sit down and let out a long sigh of relief. There was no longer anything that I had to do and nowhere I had to be. But it still took some time to really relax. I would find myself wide awake really early in the morning - sometimes well before the sun was even thinking about getting up. I would make myself a cup of tea and sit in her lounge room with the blinds open, reading and watching the River Murray come out of the darkness as the sun rose. What a peaceful place to be.
But of course, there were still things to do to sort out the car stuff. We were worried for a time that the insurance company would decide to repair the car and we would then have a car in Sydney after we left the country and wouldn't know what to do with it... It came as a relief when it was written off. It certainly recouped us less than if we had sold it as planned - $600 excess, $300 rental car (insurance paid a bit over half the $600+ it cost), $400 infringement notice (served automatically in NSW if you have a single vehicle accident and the car has to be towed!) - but we were saved the hassle of it maybe not selling before we left and leaving someone else with that responsibility.
Our time in SA, before flying out on the 16th, was spent with family and friends. My niece's wedding was delightful - even though the temperature that day was in the high 30's, there was at least no rain. My mum had been put in hospital 2 days before the wedding with a suspected TIA and we were all on tenterhooks as to whether she and dad would make it to the wedding. But she wasn't to be defeated and she was released from hospital on Friday and made the 3+ hour trip to Renmark that afternoon. She was very tired and would drop suddenly from being totally involved in what was going on around her to needing to be in bed 10 minutes ago! It was quite confronting for all of us - she is 80 years old and won't be with us forever, but I don't think anyone ever comes to terms with losing their parents before it actually happens. I am thankful that they were both there for the wedding they had been so looking forward to.
We spent our last day in Australia at my neice Ruby's birthday party. It was at her home - my brother's home now - where my family lived as I was growing up. It was a lovely day full of the fun and laughter of children, and the company of my brother( Richard), his wife (Terressa) and their three children (Nellie, Tilly and of course Ruby ). Another of my gorgeous nieces (Thaao) was also there, and drove us to the airport after the party to depart Australia for an indeterminate period of time. And so our new journey began.

Continuation on > Page 2 > !

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