How I Came to Live Down Under & Funny Things that Happened
July 23, 2018
If you’ve read my “Meet Leigh” page then you know that I ended up in Australia as a result of a bachelorette party in New Orleans. I was pretending to be Australian and lo and behold the man I was standing next to heard me and declared that he too was indeed an Australian! So after trying to pull off an Australian accent and failing miserably, I admitted to him that I was actually a “southern belle” from Jackson, Mississippi. The rest, as they say, is history. I visited him in Australia four months later, we got engaged and were married exactly one year after we met. In his toast at our reception, my sweet Dad said that he and my Mom had always prayed that I would meet a good man, but they’d forgotten to mention the location!
As you can imagine moving to another country is a huge thing. Not only did I do that, but I also moved to THE country. Back when I lived in Jackson the population was about 500,000. Compared to the local village (population 14!) closest to our 9,500 acre farm, it might as well have been Sydney! So not only did I have to adjust to living on the other side of the world, but I also had to adjust to living on a farm where the nearest grocery store was 90 kilometers away! But my hubby was definitely worth it and we have such a blessed life here.
Moving to an unfamiliar environment leads to all sorts of new and interesting experiences, some of these quite humorous. I’ll never forget my first morning waking up on the farm. A kookaburra was outside our window “laughing” (they definitely don’t chirp!) and it scared the life out of me. Momentarily I thought I was in a Tarzan movie and there were monkeys about!
Later that day my soon to be husband was showing me around the property and while viewing the work shop, shearing quarters and shearing shed I saw the BIGGEST ant bed I had ever seen! It had to be at least a foot tall! (And apparently they get much larger!) I didn’t know they got that enormous! To say I was shocked is an understatement.
Another time I was in our bathroom getting ready for bed and minding my own business. All of sudden I looked up just in time to see a gecko jump at me! Now to this day my husband and I still argue as to whether or not this actually happened because he says that geckos do not jump. However, I beg to differ. It was up on the wall near the ceiling and apparently wanted to be somewhere else and jumped at me! (Now they just poop on our walls.) Maybe this was a rare jumping, flying sort of gecko. Regardless of what actually happened I do not like geckos!
Eager to show Philip that I could be helpful on the farm I went out to the paddocks with him quite often. I’ll never forget (he and his family won’t let me forget!) the day we had to bring back a sheep that had wandered into the neighbor’s paddock and also our tractor from another nearby paddock. I was to drive the truck home with the sheep in the back while Philip brought the tractor. He was across the bore drain (sort of like a ditch) from me which meant I couldn’t hear him. So he started giving me hand signals that meant “Come down this way, cross the bore drain and follow me home”. I thought he meant “Drive home and I’ll meet you there”. Unbeknown to me I had no idea where I was going! I thought I remembered the way back, but was totally turned around. Well, Philip became quite alarmed and went in to the neighbors, called his Dad, and got him to go to the nearest road that I was apparently headed for. Their worry was that I would get on this main road, drive on the wrong side (they drive on the left side here) and get into an accident. Meanwhile I’m merrily driving home (or so I think) and listening to the radio without a care in the world. After a few minutes it began to dawn on me that I actually had no idea where I was going and I got a bit cranky. I decided to turn around and go back the way I had come and when I did I ran into Philip who was still in a bit of a panic. After a short “discussion” we decided that we wouldn’t use sign language again and to this day still laugh about this!
One month before I was to deliver our first child, Olivia, we decided to go into the village with one of our friends for dinner. The sky was threatening rain so we had to be quick. (Many of the roads surrounding us are black soil and if they get wet you have to have four wheel drive and even then you can sometimes get bogged…our friend’s car wasn’t four wheel drive) We ordered our dinner, ate quickly and started home. It had, in the meantime, began raining. We decided to take a short cut through Philip’s cousin’s property which proved to be a huge mistake! You guessed it…we became bogged. Our friend was panicking so he ran to the shed and borrowed the tractor. In the meantime Philip and I are listening to the radio and chatting, not worried at all about being bogged. The friend and the tractor arrived and once the car was tied on to the tractor it was time to free us. When he started pulling the car out of the bog somehow a stick poked up through the floor in the backseat! Philip and I were hysterical with laughter. Our friend, however, didn’t think it was so funny (probably because he thought I was going to go into labor AND because it was his car!). In the end we got home safely and Olivia didn’t make an unexpected arrival.