It’s 4 in the afternoon. Still a few hours until nightfall. The birds are singing, chirping, squawking, such a variety nesting in the area. The rest of the world is quiet in the small town of Tyalgum, Australia. The gentle breeze is soothing and relaxing and my cup of tea makes it all a very serene moment, giving me time to reflect.
My two eldest sons have now been living in Australia for the better part of the past 16 years – my eldest moved here as a teenager to further his university studies and decided to make this country his home. My second son moved here with his wife (then girlfriend) about 6 years ago. Both now have 3 sons between them, and I am a very proud grandmother.
My husband and I have been here now for just about 4 weeks, and the time is flying by ever so quickly. Using our time and talents to help our sons with their growing families. Enjoying the precious time spent with our grandchildren – meeting them practically for the first time, after leaving our eldest two years ago at the tender age of 3 months. We were greeted by two little confident, loving, funny, chatty, determined toddlers and one sweet 3 month-old angel – our hearts melted instantly and we immediately felt the dread of leaving them in the short six weeks ahead.
How does that work. How is it that you can fall so deeply in love with little humans with just a smile, a snuggle, a giggle. I will never understand.
We’ve been busy travelling back and forth between their homes – an hour’s drive each way – and have come to love this part of the country. Tyalgum boasts of just over 500 residents and is nestled in the foothills of Mount Warning, the world’s largest extinct shield volcano, surrounded by farmlands, mountains, creeks and rivers which make this area such a joy to explore. The centre of the town itself can be leisurely visited in just a short 10 minutes and has all the necessities including a cricket oval, a playground for kids, ice cream parlour, general store and of course, a bottle shop. Sunday afternoon is their busy day when the neighbours gather at the local pub for a quick meal and a beer or two, while being entertained by a live band made up of members of the community. Charming indeed.
Mullumbimby, Australia’s biggest little town, is a bit larger with just over 3,000 residents and seems like a metropolis in comparison. When you first arrive, it feels like a one-horse-town with not much action but that is part of the charm of Mullumbimby. It is known for its cafes serving world class coffee, quite often locally grown, and its choice of restaurants, local bakery and butcher, all your needs being met within a stone’s throw away. The weekly Saturday market offers an opportunity for the neighbours to meet each other, share a meal, and of course be serenaded by the local artists. A simple life, no fuss, no bother. Locally the town is known as Mullum. Back in the day, this town grew weed so potent it was known as Mullum Madness – go figure. Fashion is alternative and shoes are always optional.
Both towns exude a simplicity of life and ease of living. A haven for young children where the outdoors beckon, the rivers pique your curiosity for exploring, the trails easy to venture.
We’ve been joyfully busy. Grateful for every moment shared. But the reality is that we will leave in a short two weeks, having put our life on pause for our grandchildren. Creating memories that we hope will build a base for many more to come.