I left Tanzania Sunday 4th December after limping out the year suffering malaria followed by a chest infection. I wasn’t too healthy leaving the country but, in good Aussie spirit, I managed to party with, and farewell, some of my dear friends who were finishing their VSO placements here in Tz to continue their careers back in their own homelands. Great reasons for me to continue traveling the world!
Jim, Pam, Hanna (aka Sean) Claire (aka Paddy) and me (aka Mickey)
Arriving at Tullamarine airport, Melbourne, nearing midnight, Monday 5th December, minus my luggage which hadn’t made the 1hr transfer at Doha, I was enveloped in the warm hugs and kisses of my three darling children! Oh how special to finally be able to hold them closely again.
I stayed with Gem in Melbourne then on Tuesday we arrived in Ballarat to arrive unexpectedly on my very surprised, emotional Mum! She knew I was coming home but didn’t know it was going to be so early in the week!
It was so nice to chill out in front of the TV with Gem and Mum....armed with cups of tea, chocolates, books, chat and everything at my fingertips!!! (sorry Gem..I know you didn't really want me to print this one but it perfectly represents being home! xx)
I spent the first week feeling as though I was in a bubble. I have been around Christmas shopping in Australia for a long time so didn’t expect to be so culturally shocked. I felt the intensity of all that was around me: the vast selection of items in the shops and the endless buying of seemingly incidental necessities…both large and small, expensive and inexpensive. It was challenging being around the unending quantity of things…… so I stayed away from the shops and retail as much as I could and spent my precious time in Aus with my children, family and friends.....
Ballarat with Mum and the family gang and friends; Melbourne with Gem and helped her move address to a lovely town house in Moonee Ponds; Torquay and the beach with AJ, Dyl and Kiz….having the grand tour of the impressive headquarters of Quicksilver which is the workplace of both Aidan and Kirrily...and the Roxy/Quicksilver factory outlet where Dyl is wooing all the customers with his charm!…......breathing in the ocean walking the warm beaches, getting my fix of the pounding surf and harsh summer sun;
Bells Beach where the boys surf. Renowned for it huge waves and also The Bells Beach Surf Classic which is an International surfing competition held annually at Easter time.
I spent several days hiking the beaches and cliff tops soaking in this beauty.
Dyl and his mates checking out the waves before heading in for a surf. Disappointing as the waves were only small stuff but still good fun.
In my borrowed Gringo cap....loving it all!
Quicksilver Headquarters, Torquay, Victoria, Australia!
Kirrily and Aidan's workplace
...and just down the road....
Dyl's headquarters....well where he chats, sorts, organises... and sells great cheap gear!
.... sharing Christmas lunch with Sandie’s family then back to Mum’s for our traditional Bruty gathering…..
Christmas morning and time to open our pressies.
Gran reading our '2011 Y-Worry Rag'
...An annual production distributed every Christmas day which shares the goings on in the Bruty family. Contributions of events are given by all (well almost all) members of the family and are tirelessly collated then published by my Dear Bil, Colin together with his very patient wife, Eily and IT savvy son, Grant.
ASANTE SANA guys for your dedication to capturing our special family's many memorable moments.
We all love it .....
An Aussie Christmas lunch outdoors at the Deveralls..what a perfect setting for a perfect day!
Me, Sandie, Les, Nick, Ange and Mum (and Dee was taking the pic!)
Sandie had asked me what I had missed? I remembered one of the nights when I had first returned. I had been sitting out the back of the Gdaks home in Geelong with Evie, drinking champagne out of fine glasses watching the girls play and the sun set.
"Fine glassware, champagne and good wine!" I replied!
I opened their present to find 4 beautiful wine glasses especially to take to Tz.
(I wasn't sure if I could get them back in one piece but.....I succeeded....and guess what??...even water tastes fantastic being consumed from a fine wine glass!!! My first celebratory drink when I returned to Tz was a shot or two of Johnny Walker Red whiskey on ice. I had managed to buy a bottle duty free on my return and, as I didn't have any other alcohol in the house, it was appropriate! Yes, I have since been to the duka and bought quite a nice bottle of red to really celebrate my return, my wonderful memories of my time at home and the safe arrival of all 4 glasses! So decadent!!)
Us all together in one place at the same time!...
nili furahi SANA...I was sooooo happy!
.....all 'slightly' sunburned....
surely we should know how to live in this harsh Aussie sun by now!!?
....and so the eating, drinking and celebrations continued around Mum's Christmas table...!
My wonderful family: Tony, me, Evie, Mum, Jules, Sandie and Eily
The boys in the kitchen!
...and the girls finishing their cuppas
'The grand kids'...(and the big kid hiding at the back!)
'The Bruty Gang'
Traditional Christmas birthday wishes were sung and candles blown out.
The three tall boys...Dyl, AJ, Grant....and one short one....brother Tony! (can you see him??)
Our three eldest girls: Dee, Kathryn and Gem (her sunburn getting redder as the night progressed!)
My boys and their little idol LJ
Mum (Bibi Gemma) Auntie Mollie, me, Lynnie and Doug Thompson
Oh how wonderful it was to be home amongst the people I love so much…..we ate, drank champagne, talked and talked and took the annual family pics (about which no one complains these days because each pic holds such wonderful memories!!); visited Bacchus Marsh friends …such a short time to try and catch up on 15 months of goss….Geelong with Evie’s gang and her school family; "Yes I’m selling Trav, my car…….no I’m not….I can’t bear to part with him!!"....Melbourne again: more dear friends.......
Too much emotion to be bottled up and kept inside so when I left Melbourne at midnight on Tuesday 3 January, farewelled by Kiz, AJ, Dyl and my Darling Bloss, Gem….it hurt.
Farewells have never been easy for me.
I love you all.
Dyl, Bloss, me, AJ, Kiz.