With one giant step from Maleny to Lausanne on the Lake Geneva shoreline, my view of life was changed forever.
Most of the important lessons that I learned came via my asylum seeker family at EVAM Crissier.
Now, sitting back in the land of plenty, it is time to put into practice what I have learned.
Limpinwood - my spiritual sense of home
Jo and I returned to our rural home in the Sunshine Coast hinterland after two years of living in a 70m2 apartment that was located a short walk from the centre of Lausanne, Switzerland. Our one bedroom, third floor, Pully apartment had everything we needed for survival within a four hundred metre radius. We could drag a suitcase across the road to the railway station and be at Geneva airport within the hour. Every window in our apartment afforded us and our guests expansive views of Lake Geneva and the majestic affection provided by the French and Swiss Alps.
At night the lights of St Gingolph and Montreux would reach out across the lake’s misty surface and seduce us with a wonder from ages past, using the forgotten language of the poets and scribes that once walked these shores to still the madness in the haven of a local winery and more often than not in the company of an understanding and stimulating muse. I’m talking about visitations from quality ghostly images, reeling off prophetic prose and wisdom in the vein of Hemingway, Nabakov, Byron and Tchaikovsky and not forgetting Hugo and Chaplin.
Jo and I chose to return home to the to the ways we find familiar. To a culture and language we understand. To endless acres of sand and ocean, forests and streams that can’t be owned and bought and are provided free, equally available for all to enjoy regardless of their standing in the community. Our overseas visitors (known as ‘foreigners’ in Switzerland) enjoy the same standard of access to these natural treasures as do the locals.
Seven months have passed since our homecoming. There were no fatted calves, but awesome meat pies, fresh barramundi and hamburgers that can be purchased with coins are in abundance. Initially, we were overjoyed with the freedom of our acreage property. The daily joy of the colours and songs expressed by our native birds and the tranquility of our rural isolation. But by the time we had cleaned up our cottage and its surrounding gardens, painting once more by numbers to draw out what once attracted us so strongly to this particular expression of home, our heart-shaped overflow remained silent. The season of change was once again upon us and our gypsy blood held all the cards in the shadows of an El Nino sun.
We had grown tired of wasting life in our car, just getting to and from work and to where we could swish the foaming splendor of the Pacific Ocean shallows. A practiced pastime that has always been such a sweet part of our individual lives. We put our rural retreat on the market and it sold to the first lookers.
Mustering the best of our combined human resources, we identified the qualities as best we could for our new abode. Things like; close to beach, central, small, low maintenance block of land. Funky cottage style place with a spare room for friends to stay.
After three weeks of realestate.com research and physical inspections of mutually identified properties we came up empty handed. Driving back home one afternoon with an empty sense of belonging, we revisited the qualities we were looking for in a home. To our surprise they had changed.
Our new home was suddenly redefined with words like space, indoor/outdoor living, community and lifestyle accessible with a hint of a salty breeze. And our ideas of a cute and funky style were left to blow in the wind and were replaced by the emphasis on a more neighbourly and welcoming kind of home, much like Jo and I both grew up in.
And later that night, clutching at this redefinition, I found 15 Kelks Hill Road in the only town on the Sunshine Coast where we both preferred not to live, Nambour.
Early the next morning as we drove down to have a sneaky drive-by of the house on Kelks Hill Road, we received a phone call from the agent in response to our email about the property. As fate (if you believe in something outside of your own powerlessness) would have it, she was also on her way into Nambie and could meet us at the property in ten minutes.
Well the long and the short of it is we loved everything about this brick and tile, old school relic from the 70’s. Our prayers for right placement had been answered and the deal was sealed when a Blue Triangle Butterfly landed on Jo’s shoulder. And did I mention the views on the horizons of the ocean and the Glasshouse Mountains?
Our frangipani flowers
15 Kelks Hill has been our home for a five weeks now. We really enjoy the fifteen minute drive to our favourite surf beach (that is, what is left of it after the recent ark weather )for an early morning or after work body surf. Each morning birds that live in the twelve acres of remnant forest that encroaches on our rear boundary vie for the right to be our daily alarm clock. Yesterday the morning alarm winners were a pair of green catbirds. How awesome was that.
In one recent week we have had more visitors than we’d had at our previous home in six months. Our neighbours are neighbourly and welcoming and cups of tea and cake and conversation are a daily occurrence. The afternoon sea breeze (when it’s not raining) is refreshing and a reminder of what is always waiting patiently for us a mere fifteen minutes away.
A couple of weeks back a mate from Maleny came to visit and brought his father along for the drive. Turns out my mate’s father and our neighbour Vince had knocked around together on motor bikes in Nambour over sixty years ago. They hadn’t seen each other for at least fifty-five years. So while my mate and I drank coffee on the verandah, and my nephew played on a home made water slide with Vince’s grandkids next door, two old timers sat on our red lounge and kick-started a few old Triumphs and BSA’s, reliving their glory days in technicolour and laughter that healed the distance since their last conversation.
And in that bubble, where place and purpose stretched out across generations, the Truth became visible to me inside a heightened breath. And there and then I knew for sure Jo and I had found our home.