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Hi Stranger!

Happy New Year!

It’s been over 2 months since I last updated this blog and you know why? Because I didn’t think I had much to really tell you about! However I thought it would be nice to give you an update on what’s happening in our lives in Alice Springs and what we are hoping for in the future.

I have been working full time since the 1st November 2018 and really enjoying my job, role and team I am with. I am learning a lot and enjoying having some structure in my days! However I am also still yearning to be on the road exploring the country so we have tentatively decided that we will travel down through SA and Victoria to Tasmania in April 2020.

It is summer here in Alice Springs and really really hot. I mean, 45.6 degrees Celsius hot (114.8 degrees fahrenheit) so you can only do very little during the day time due to such sweltering heat! For Tim and I being such sand-gropers who came from a climate that barely reached 30 degrees in the middle of summer, we are feeling really claustrophobic and stifled by this heatwave. We dream of the ocean and crystal waters!

Tennant Creek (four hours north of Alice Springs and one of my favourite towns) is even hotter and one day (if not more) it reached almost 50 degrees (122 fahrenheit)!!!

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Tim and I moved into a 3 bedroom rental property in early November and we love it there. I have been planting flowers and keeping the garden green and lush despite the suns harsh treatment!

I’ve also made a few lovely friends here in Alice Springs so it’s wonderful to see them and have a laugh. I miss my friends and family back home HEAPS! And we look forward to seeing them when we visit Albany.

As many know, Australia has heaps of killer animals just waiting to pounce and attack! And we found two enormous spiders in the first few weeks of being here!

The first is a mouse spider and was discovered crouched in the cupboard under the sink of the apartment we were renting. He was placid though and seemed confused as to how he got there. I scooped him into a box and let him go outside without a fuss (from both me and the spider!).

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The next was a Huntsman spider who scampered up my windscreen while I was driving causing me to scream like a banshee and almost swerve off the road!!! He then sat on my roof while I was driving so I was too scared to wind my window down to swipe my card to get into the work carpark! I ended up leaping out of the car and using an old box to swipe him from my roof. He ran under my car and I believe he is still there to this day, waiting to leap on me while I’m driving! Argh!

We were planning on flying our dog Izzy over to be with us but after talking to Tim’s sister, it was decided Izzy would live in Albany with her and her family as she is very settled there and the kids love her. We miss Izzy a lot but comforted that she is loving life and being really well cared for. We get photos of her at the beach and she radiates contentment.

We love having a pet so recently we adopted a beautiful little scruffy terrier who came from a camp near Ti Tree about 2 hours north of Alice Springs. A local vet (Alice Springs Veterinary Centre) rescued her and provided treatment for her mange and undernourishment. We named her Georgie and she is about 6 months old.

Georgie is the light of our lives. As she is still a puppy, she is extremely adaptable and demands our attention to play, cuddle and simply just know that ‘I am here! I am Georgie! Let me bite your ankle!’. She has put on weight and getting used to being carried around and smooched on her fuzzy cheeks and fat little paws. We play and exercise her in the morning before it gets too hot and she gets a lot of attention during the day so is blossoming into a beautiful smart pooch. She wants me to tell you she can sit, lie down and almost roll over!

Georgie has missing/patchy fur because of the mange but I am keeping photos of her progress as she heals and grows more fur. She has also recently been spayed hence the stitches on her little tummy. We are so blessed to have her as part of our family and enjoy getting to know her and her quirky personality every day.

2019: I am starting full time studies towards my Master of Forensic Mental Health in February and will also start my full time graduate program in late March. It is going to be a huge but rewarding year and although I am super nervous about my graduate program, I have heard the team are really supportive and great to work with – yay!

So that’s about all we’re up to in our lives at this stage! Thank you for reading and keep in touch!

Love Rachel, Tim and Georgie!

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Please don’t go, I love you so.

It’s crisp here in Denmark, Western Australia, a small town on the south coast. Crisp, fresh, bracing, refreshing… I am a thesaurus! I’m here by myself for a couple of days in a really cool AirBnB on a lake, with iridescent blue wrens with round little bodies skipping around just beyond the glass sliding door; so close yet so far.

How have you been? I think about you, even though I don’t know you. I wonder where you are sitting as you read this blog. Are you happy? Do you know if you are happy? If we don’t have troubles now and then, how would we know when we’re happy?

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That brings me to Anthony Bourdain. Yesterday, Friday the 8th June 2018, Anthony was found in his hotel room in France after taking his own life. Death by hanging. Anthony was a celebrated chef and food writer, featuring in foodie shows such as No Reservations, The Layover and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. He was never afraid to try what us Westerners would call ‘ugh, really weird food that I would never try in a thousand years’ or ‘I can’t believe he is putting that in his mouth!’.

When I hear about suicides, I feel a pulling gnarly feeling in my heart. My eyes start leaking and I have to look away from whatever it is I’m reading or whoever it is I’m talking to. I’m not a stranger to having suicidal thoughts or, dare I share it, an attempt. When I become aware of a suicide, I feel drawn straight back to the empty blackness that filled my being when I truly believed I was better off out of this world and maybe, in my void of rationality, being reincarnated as someone who is immune to the dark feelings.

Who wants to talk about people killing themselves? Not many, but we need to. We need to not focus on the celebrity ‘live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse’ but how to reach out, connect with someone; hold their hand, hug them, let them hear you pour out all your reasons of why you think you would be better off not here. And we can let people listen to us, nod their heads, cry with us and purge feelings we have kept suppressed for so long. Feelings that have festered and turned toxic. Feelings that have become imbedded in who we think we are and who we think the world thinks we are.

This too shall pass. 

Yes, I work in Mental Health and I am passionate about mental health. But I know people who don’t work in mental health but are just as passionate about supporting people going through a tough time. You don’t have to have a mental illness to go through shit or feel like shit or wish that shit would just get better.

I can’t sit here and write sentiments like ‘Things will get better’ or ‘You are special, the world needs you’ because although those things can be true, what good is it going to do right now? But what I can say, from my own personal experiences, not quoting anyone but myself is that it is sometimes damn hard to forge ahead, especially when you resigned yourself to being 6 foot under in a matter of days. It is damn hard but a problem shared is a problem halved, and when I reached out to a good friend, when I let her know how low I was and how I needed someone to look out for me; she did. And every day I was above ground, I worked hard at achieving small successes. I went to work even though I hated being there because I was saving to find another job; that helped. I made myself see friends, go to coffee dates and contact my family. I tried to laugh and when I tried to laugh I started laughing because my fake laugh sounded so stupid it was funny.

As I think back, 10 years ago when I was at one of the worst times of my life, I bring myself to the present; where I am now, typing this to thousands of people of whom I have never met and may never will. I’m in a good place, through hard work and determination, through times and events that I thought I’d never recover from; I’m in a good place and I’m going to stay here even if things aren’t good all the time.

The sun will come up tomorrow and you’ll be here. I’ll be here and we can be shoulders of strength to people who truly believed the sun wouldn’t come up. And we can show them it has. Because it will.

There is always someone to listen, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you or someone you know may need help. 13 11 14.

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Take care.

Rachel.