It’s been just over a month (40 days to be precise!) since I packed up my (too many) belongings and moved to Armidale, a regional city in the Northern Tablelands of NSW. It’s just over 500 km north-west of Sydney and the same distance south-west of Brisbane. In the coming weeks, it’s my plan to create some “Snapshots of Armidale” in the spirit of the Snapshots of Wollongong series. I’ll visit some of the local sights and give you a feel of the place. To date, apart from unpacking and settling in, I haven’t done much. It’s high time I got outside with the BIG camera (not just the phone) and did some photo safaris! What follows is a quick update on how things are going.
The Day Job
My experience so far has been positive. The new job is VERY different to my previous role and I actually have the ability to plan, prepare and complete tasks. The previous role, as a Deputy Principal in a large high school, was more like an emergency room. While we had a strategic plan, my day was typically consumed by life’s large and small emergencies. Most recently, of course, the impact of Covid on teaching and learning. I rarely had a break, and lunch was a snatch and grab affair constantly interrupted mid-bite by staff and students. It was emotionally draining.
At present because of the ongoing impact of Omnicron, I am working from home, so lunch actually happens. At a table! With cutlery! During the course of the day, my to-do list converts to a ta-da list. I am catching up on all my mandatory training.
This pleasant pace will not continue indefinitely. The role would ordinarily involve a lot of travel to rural and remote schools but with Covid still a serious threat, the departmental upper-ups are asking that we wait till the current wave has passed before we launch into school visits again.
On the downside, I am missing the interaction with the people I have known for close to twenty years. Many of them are ‘real’ friends, not just ‘work’ friends. I spent time with them in the holidays, shared my divorce journey with them and in turn supported them in their own times of need. I have not had an opportunity to mingle with my new colleagues “in the flesh”, as like me, they are also working from home and in-person meetings are discouraged.
The Home Front
While my intention was to move here and live more ‘intentionally and simply’, grow veggies and get some chooks; the reality is very different. The confluence of available rental properties, a restricted time frame due to some other family obligations and the fact that the day job may only be a short contract, has landed me in a very modern and very city-esque townhouse. No garden to speak off, three levels and more (internal) space than I need. It’s very comfortable and has a great kitchen. It’s within walking distance of the family and the town. It’s a fine staging point till I make up my mind about what happens next.
Getting back to a new routine.
While the house might not have the required number of chickens, the simple intentional living part can happen anywhere. It’s just not been happening around here – yet! My normal rhythms have been disrupted with the move. My bank balance has been going south with rental and moving expenses but that will plateau out. I have given myself some grace and will return to “normal” during the remainder of February and March and get back on track. I’ll return to a less-waste, less-spend lifestyle soon. I’ll make new friends and join in on some of the local activities. I’ve already started volunteering with the local SES unit and have done three Parkruns.
I have felt out of kilter and distracted but overall I feel like this has been a good decision. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a new lifestyle in a new town.