We are in for a few more changes this month. As I wrote on February 01st our lease at Simmons Street was terminated in January and so we started looking for a new house. We were struggling to find a house that fit us all and that we liked. In the midst of that someone from our church let us know that they would be leaving the two bedroom house that they rent and would Martin and I like to take it. At first we said no but then after some thought and some discussion with the boys (Ryan, Tom and Matt) we decided that we would take it. We had thought about moving out just the two of us late last year but decided not to, the time just did not feel right. Now however it does feel right so that is what we are doing. We also thought that it might be easier for the boys to find something. That thought turned out to be fantastically wrong but by the time we realised that we had made our decision.
The house we will be moving into is in Glebe, just down from Glebe Point Road. It is one of four owned by our church and in the others live couples or families from the church with whom there will hopefully be some community feel. It has two bedrooms so Jem will live in the other for the two days per week that she is not at L’Arche and I am hoping the rest of the time it will be well occupied by family and friends needing places to stay. It has a pretty nice feel to it though it is very small. We certainly won’t be having the big dinners that we are used to. The other drawback is that it has an out door toilet. Although it is not too far away so we should be okay. I guess I will just have to drink less at night.
I am looking forward to living with just Martin. After five years together it is the first time so it will be a new adventure. I also really like Glebe and will enjoy being closer to the church and community there. Having a spare room to offer people is also very exciting. I am on the other hand feeling pretty sad right now. I am going to miss Enmore and the constant activity of that house. I think most of all though I will very much miss living with Ryan, Tom and Matt. It is especially sad that Tom is moving to Turramurra and so will be very far away. I am sure I haven’t always being completely positive about living with four boys but they really are wonderfully fantastic and would reccommend living with them to anyone. That goes for Jem, Jo and Jon who also lived in the house over the years.
I remember when we were all moving in together some people told me to be careful as it could really ruin the friendships. I am very grateful that, that is not the case with us at all. In fact I think it only made the friendships stronger so that is a good thing to finish on.
Last week we fed our neighbours cat while they were on holidays. As a thank you present they gave us a whole case of wine. It seemed it a bit excessive for what we did but they insisted and it is vey nice wine. When Amber dropped the wine around we were looking at the garden which at this stage is incredibly overgrown but full of veges. We have chilli, basil, pumpkin, corn, tomatoes. I am not really that into gardening as most people would know but it is very exciting. Anyway, I told her if she ever felt like taking anything she would be most welcome. So the other night when Martin and I were cooking we heard someone in the garden. We looked out and there was Amber taking some of our basil. Her husband was making bruschetta. It all felt very neighbourly. Makes me sad to be leaving.
This morning I rode Martin’s bike to church. Martin had gone to a party the evening before and stayed the night so I did not have the car. It was a little scary but mostly fun. I felt not only fit but environmental. Anyway, Martin then met me at church with the car and afterwards he decided to ride the bike home and I drove the car. All the way home we were overtaking each other but in the end he actually beat me. How cool is that. I think I will try and ride more often. The only problem is you arrive where you are going some what sweaty. And I reckon during the week when there are more cars I would be a little bit scared.
I have possibly said this (or something similiar) on this blog before but I want to say it again as it is important. There really is not enough support in this country, probably the world, for people who have a mental illness and their carers.
This morning I attended a breakfast and a talk put on by ARAFMI (the association of relatives and friends of the mentally ill) and I was very moved. I go along to these things sometimes. My bosses let me go to “network”. I really do hate networking but I do think it is important to get out there and hear people’s stories. I think sometimes I get so involved in what I am doing that I forget about the bigger picture. I think I also forget how much stigma there is about mental illness. Obviously working in this area almost everyone I associate with is pretty educated on the issues and most of my “lefty” friends are too so it suprises me to hear stories of such prejudice.
So I will finish this by saying some things that address some of the stigmas I heard people facing this morning. Probably most of the people who read this blog will know but just in case.
1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
People receiving treatment for a mental illness are no more violent or dangerous than the average population.
There is no definitive answer on what causes mental illness so people who have one are not necessarily drug users or their parents did not necessarily abuse them.
Schizophrenia is not the same as pyschopath.
Mental illness is an illness, like cancer or diabetes. It does not indicate fault or weakness on the part of the person who has it.
Not a very original title but appropriate for the day. So it’s finally happened. Today the PM of Australia said sorry to the Stolen Generation. It was a moving moment. I have to confess I did cry. When I woke up this morning and looked out the window at the pouring rain and I very nearly stayed in bed but then I had sense that today history was to be made and I wanted to be there. So I got up and went to Martin Place and stood there in the rain with Carlyn and an old friend from Rough Edges who is indigenous and watch after many years of wishing for this moment Kevin Rudd say the word sorry.
I’m excited! Not because (as many have stated) an apology in itself can bring about reconciliation or close the enormous gaps between indigenous and non indigenous people but because without it, we can not even really start. I also thought it was a good apology from Kevin Rudd, respectful and honest. I heard that he spent hours with members of the Stolen Generation just listening to their stories and it showed. I like the fact that we have a PM who listens. It was a shame that this was not mirrored by Brendan Nelson whose speech was completely disrespectful, inappropriate and plain down right rude. However I am not going to let that ruin the moment. I would like to think in 100 years people will remember today. That they will remember the thousands, perhaps millions who gathered around in public and private places to apologise for the horrendous way that we, as a nation, have treated our indigenous people. And they will remember Kevin Rudd’s words and not those of the opposition leader. So I with the PM and others say sorry again to the aboriginal people of Australia and let’s hope that this will be the beginning of some big changes.
“You do right in grieving for your sin. However, I advise you to grieve moderately. For you must believe that God’s power to forgive is greater than your power to sin.” Brother Giles
If you have not already read it on Tom’s blog you can read it here. As of last night the community house has 60 days to find a new home or we will be out on the street searching for people who would like to have us in theirs. Our landlady has decided to terminate us. On the termination form there are a number of boxes that give different reasons why one would do this. They say things such as “doesn’t pay rent” or “property damage”. There is also the no grounds box which is what she has ticked. It appears she is kicking us out for no reason. We think the reason is she wants more money but I guess she can not say that.
We have been thinking about the possibility of moving since she hiked the rent up on us and at least this makes the decision for us. We have looked at a couple of houses but we haven’t found anything that is ideal. However after last nights termination we are no longer able to hold out for the perfect house so we decided that we would go for the one we looked at the other day. It’s no guarantee but Matt’s agency is renting it out and he thinks he may be able to get us a good deal. It is still quite expensive though and very posh. It appears that Martin and I will have a walk in wardrobe and ensuite. Ryan says we have officially graduated from huppies to yuppies. Part of me is very excited about it, the other part is kind of uncomforatble and hoping it will fall through. Our furniture is going to look quite out of place.
I’m going to miss Simmons St, I’ll miss being 2 mins from the coolest pub ever, 3 mins from the yummiest thai ever and 5 mins from the station and King Street; I’ll miss our neighbours (Amber, Duncan and baby Electra on the right; the jazz playing, pot smoking, young guys on the left; the greek man across the road who is forever washing his car and Trish next door to him who is forever walking her dog), I’ll miss the people who drop by who probably won’t anymore now that we are 20 mins walk away rather than 5; I’ll miss the balcony; and I guess I’ll miss the general vibe that’s been established there.
On the other hand I will not miss the smelly kitchen; the bathrooms that are dirty again one minute after you clean them; the sloping backyard and of course having to deal with the land lady. And I am hopeful that we can create some kind of community in the new one. It is much bigger so there will be less squashing for community dinner and perhaps we’ll find others to drop by. It is closer to Glebe so maybe some people from church will come.
So come and visit us. As Tom says we’ll all be so poor from the paying so much rent we won’t be going out much. It’s big, there’s a projector and we might even let you use our spa bath.