At long last, our trip to Victoria finally came to an end last week. We arrived home on Tuesday night and despite the extreme heat, we have settled back into North Queensland life again quite comfortably. Our first trip home since moving to Townsville was overflowing with the company of good friends and family, delicious food and a variety of weather conditions. It was everything we hoped it would be, and although not everything got ticked off our ‘bucket list’, it is comforting to know we have years worth of trips back home to look forward to.
Our trip started way back in mid-December, where a series of mishaps ensued. Originally, we had arranged to transport Wallace on the plane with us, but due to some extremely poor communication from a certain pet transport service, he was not allowed to fly. Naturally, we found this out an hour before our flight was due to take off, so Evelyn and I ended up flying solo while Jordan stayed behind with Wallace. The prospect of a Christmas spent apart was quickly dawning but luckily, some good friends of ours kindly offered to look after him and Jordan was able to get a later flight. Meanwhile, Evelyn and I got stuck in Sydney after our connecting flight to Melbourne was abruptly cancelled due to industrial action. Needless to say, it was a pretty stressful day but not without some beautiful moments. I was particularly moved by the genuine kindness bestowed on me from perfect strangers. With a suitcase, handbag, baby bag, pram and baby in tow, God guided me through it all and I was blessed enough to get a spot on a new flight only an hour later. It was a late night for us all but such a relief to finally be home.
After taking a day to settle in it was pretty much all go from there, starting with frantic last-minute Christmas shopping. Jordan’s parents were kind enough to host us for our 4-week stay and as they live close to the shops, we were able to walk there quite easily which came in handy. We were also pretty keen to spend time outdoors so it was a win-win. The lead up to Christmas didn’t stop us from catching up with people and our first social occasion was breakfast at Panache, a local favourite. I had the Blueberry Kosciusko like I always do and was filled with the taste of sweet reminiscence.
That weekend marked Evie’s first time in a windbreaker on a particularly cool day in Torquay. Being a Queensland baby, I’m not sure if she knew what hit her but it didn’t take long for her to acclimatise. I also got such a kick out of dressing her in layers for the first time!
On Christmas Eve we had dinner at my sister’s house and Evie was doted on lovingly by her aunts and uncles. It was really nice to be with family again and a reminder to make the most of the time we had together. I never really fully considered what starting a family would be like two states away from our own, and while it hasn’t felt too challenging, being back home reminded me of what we have been missing for the past year.
The next morning we woke up and I was immediately hit with the excitement of Christmas in the air. Being Evelyn’s first Christmas, the holiday took on a whole new meaning for us as parents and it was just magical. Jordan’s grandad and aunt were with us from the UK so the house was extra-specially full this year. After hugs and kisses from all, we tucked into breakfast and were presented with an abundance of gifts. (I’m actually planning on doing a separate post for them alone as we received so many thoughtful presents from our friends and family).
After breakfast the three of us attended a Christmas Day church service which was just lovely. After that, we were back home for Christmas day roast with the family.
Obviously I had to buy Evie a Christmas outfit and she looked pretty adorable if I do say so myself. After everyone had gone to bed Jordan and I stayed up watching TV and sneaking in some extra dessert. It was hands down our best Christmas ever.
A few days later we caught up with my best friend Saffron. After a year of phone calls and long text messages, it was so good to finally see her in person again. Although our time together was brief, it reinstated the knowledge that my closest friendships have only gotten stronger since we moved away.
On New Years Eve Jordan and I had a relatively quiet evening, just the two of us. We went out for dinner and then for a stroll through Geelong. Being there made me realise how much I took it for granted when I lived there. It truly is a wonderful place and I hope one day we can come back and settle down permanently there.
Early in the new year, we had lunch with some good friends of ours at a cafe called Woodhouse. I had the ricotta hotcake which was just divine.
Right before Jordan’s aunty was due to head back to the UK, we had a family dinner at a local Thai restaurant. Not before a family photoshoot though! It’s amazing what you can do with a self-timer and a camera balanced on a rock. I think we did pretty good, wouldn’t you agree?
On the first weekend in January, we took a trip inland to visit our old pastor and his family. Of course, we had to stop in Kilmore – where we lived before we moved to Townsville – on the way up. First stop was the Rose for scones and then on to Mac’s for a pot of Guinness!
Our friends live in Tallarook, right up the top of a huge hill next to a national park. We stayed the night and it was so good to catch up with them. The next day it was particularly chilly, with a top of 14 degrees. I can’t say I was at all mad about it, I had been fantasizing about cold weather for so long!
We went to our old church in the morning and then parted ways. On the way back to Geelong we stopped in Kilmore again for kebabs from the truck we used to get them from. Well, technically we had snack packs but you know what I mean! We haven’t had kebabs in Townsville but somehow I just don’t think they’d be as good as VIC. I’ve actually only ever seen one kebab place here which is not a good sign in my books…
As the first week of January progressed, things momentarily quietened down for us. Jordan and I got a 5-week gym membership at a local gym when we first arrived which we were actually pretty consistent in going to. Jordan was obviously a little more committed than I but for the most part, I think I did alright. We went in the lead up to Christmas too, not just in the #newyear. It was nice having some time to myself, especially as back in Townsville it’s not so easy with a baby and no family around to look after her!
We also went for lots of evening strolls and soaked up the sun being out past 7 pm.
On the last weekend of our trip, we went and visited my brother and his partner at their house in Melbourne. Let’s just take a moment to admire this cheese platter. Just, ugh, so good.
Later that weekend we met up with friends of ours who were visiting from Sydney. We had brunch at Winter’s, and it was as good as I remembered.
Afterwards, we headed to Tuckerberry Hill where we picked blueberries. Well, we strolled through the fields while our friends picked some. They were delicious, especially right off the bush.
On the last day of our trip we caught up with more friends, the highlight of this day was definitely lunch with my best friend Luke and his mum. We had homemade lasagne in the good room and it was a bittersweet end to the best trip ever.
The next day all three of us flew home together as a family, with no missed flights, stopovers or cancellations in sight. It was sad leaving our family and friends behind, but it also felt like it was time to come back.
All up, our first trip back home was just what we needed after a year away. For me, it solidified the fact that Townsville is our home now and where we will most likely be for several more years. It also made me come to the realisation that home can be in two places, which is very comforting as this time a year ago I couldn’t think of anything worse than returning to Townsville after a trip down south. That being said, I am counting down the months until we are back home again!