Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Saturday, 07 January 2012

The rest is still unwritten

Not my photo

I'm sorry. I know you've all been wondering where I am and how we're getting along. Some gave up and left completely, I see. No problem... it's to be expected. Thank you sooo much to those of you who hunted me down! I could fill pages and pages with our experiences. I've missed sharing so much.... I hope to try to share at least a bit, but first, for a few of my closest friends... here's what my story's about.

The short version of why I haven't blogged is that we're often without internet and when we do have internet, Jurgis is often on the only pc we have. When I've had time to get online, it's for checking mail, very brief appearances in social realms and then falling into bed. And then there have been the times when I simply didn't have the heart to post.

When we first arrived here, there were a few people who made comments about "when reality hits". 'Reality' hit almost right away, but not in the way those negative comments implied. I expected that there would be parts of our new life that would not be perfect and I expected that some parts may even rankle. That's life. You take the good and the bad. This place is the paradise I'd dreamed of - barring the mud. Oooooooooooh the mud! *laughing* I could write odes to mud.

Reality check: No snow!!! The sprinkling we had the one day doesn't count. I had that in South Africa. Where's the snow I ordered??????

To understand the rest, you need to know the background of why and how we got here...

About a year and a half ago, I decided to stop waiting for life to help us leave Brazil and take things into my own hands. I posted on the internet that we were looking for work in the UK. Almost immediately, C contacted me. We, as a couple, were a perfect fit for what they needed. Now those who know me well will react the way I did when I saw the 'job'.... estatic. It's the life we were looking for... and if things went wrong, it didn't need to be permanent. I had visualised this place long before I heard from C - right down to the type of grass, a type I'd never seen before! The ravine with the river, the walks, the hills, the trees, even the log cabin. Ask those who know... they had to listen to my ravings =Þ

So the good side is... this is a paradise. I love Wales and the Welsh people in general. Like all nations, there are oddballs, but that comes with the turf, as always.

Reality check: We work very long hours and work very hard - certainly far too hard for the pittance we get paid. We don't say anything because we're not meant to be working or earning, but there it is. Jurgis does just about everything outside on the farm. No job is too menial or tough. The poor man is half his original size... he's lost so much weight. We start before sun-up and seldom finish before 6pm with snatched lunch breaks. We work a minimum of 6 days a week and often put in time on a Sunday too. It is, after all, a farm and life happens here. I do a wide variety of work. I thought my main task would be to take care of the kids, but I don't often deal with them on the basis I thought I would. I clean 3 large triple-storey houses, top to bottom. There's the main farmhouse and the two holiday cottages. Ok, I lied... the one cottage only has two floors, but I can't be bothered changing the sentence. The holiday cottages get, quite literally, spring-cleaned before any new guests come in, around twice a week. Aside from that, I'm cook, seamstress (C doesn't touch needles), webmaster, social network manager (or whatever you'd call that), goatherd (the one job I like lol), gardener. Both Jurgis and I pretty much turn our hands to whatever is needed.

Where is this going? The whole idea is to not be an ocean away from Tatiana (yay! Got that covered!) and to be closer to the Lithuanian embassy, so Jurgis can get his Lithuanian citizenship, which, according to the embassy, is one of the most straightforward cases they have seen. The problem now is just that we're that much too far from London. It's a mission to get in. But... we've made a start.

So there you have it... the (very) long and the short of it. I'm not unhappy. I adore the kids and get on well with C. I can't stand her husband, but hey... I don't have to like everyone, right? The less I say about him, the better. I avoid him now and he keeps out of my way. I think I'm the first person in years to stand up to him. Everyone tiptoes around him. He's rude and treats the people around him like dirt - unless they're customers bearing money. Now, if I can ignore his existance, life is peachy =) If I can't ignore him, I do deep breathing exercises and imagine putting itching powder in his undies drawer.

What does that have to do with the title? I've started a new chapter in my life. The page is unwritten. It's up to me to create this chapter and creating I am! I'm keeping an eye open for jobs, particularly in southern Ireland. There are plenty I could fill, the challenge being that if I were accepted, I'd need to go in for an interview, so I'm holding off for now.

Anyhow... enough waffle. If you're still reading, you need a Noddy badge... honestly! Once again, thanks for still being there and for all the unstinting support!


  1. Can I get my Noddy badge now? ;)

    Great to hear form you again here.

    I'm so glad to hear you're settling in. I had no idea what you were actually doing there but hat off to you two ... what a change of lifestyle!
    Is Tat anywhere living near you now?

    This is up till now the strangest winter we've had in ages here in Western Europe. No snow at all, too warm, too many storms ... I blame it on you of course. You brought Brazilian-type weather with you! LOL

    Why would you want to go to Southern Ireland?

    Oh, and don't you think for one moment you'll get rid of me *grin*

  2. *hands Riete her Noddy badge* =)

    Tat lives a couple of hours' drive away. If we had a car, it would be really easy to visit her. As it is, it isn't a bad train ride (assuming you have less than 50 suitcases - yes, Tat!)

    The weather has been weird. I was just thinking this morning that it's been a very southern hemisphere type of winter, with very occasional cold days. As for Ireland... right now, Southern Ireland is one of the few places I don't need a visa to enter as a South African and we've been told that they're keen on getting people to work there, so getting working visas isn't hard. Besides, Tat has fallen in love with Ireland. I blame the leprechauns!

    Thanks for not giving up on me, Riete!

  3. Can I have a Pink Cat badge?

    It's nice to see you bck here again. I was going through something a couple of weeks ago and found this. I hope it helps ...

    "Your journey has molded you for the greater good. It was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think you've lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time." Asha Tyson.

    We have to catch up. Thank God Tat likes Southern Ireland .... it would just be typical of your book to have an IRA chapter otherwise .... :P

  4. So good to hear how life is going for you in Wales! Yay!
    Every day is a stepping stone towards greater, better things.... And look how far you've come :-)
    I love that your vision of "paradise" became so real, even down to the grass! All good things come to those who wait... and so much more will be given to you, for sure! Cos you both so richly deserve it!

  5. Katey, my friend... you know what you can have??? All the shiny stars that are currently littering the cabin floor! LOL Tat brought them in and they're all defying capture! I love that quote. I was reading it just yesterday. So so valid! And so hard to remember when you're going through something, isn't it? Hey... do they have sheep in Northern Ireland? Still cackling over your sheep comment on her Fb!!

  6. Kerry, it is exactly as I'd envisioned it... everything! The whole thing was almost uncanny. I believe in stepping stones. This is a journey we're on, not a destination :) Your time's coming too!

  7. *big, big smiles* So happy for you, and it's so interesting to hear, as we'd say, "the rest of the story." Not that I think this is ALL the rest, but interesting to read it, anyway. I love where you are, because I think it's just a warm, grassy (ok, muddy) stepping stone to where you're going! We hold you close in our hearts, m'friend. In fact, everyone who's commented here so far! :) It's been a pensive day for me and I'm thrilled to see blogs from you!

  8. Ahhh - now I know how it really is for you. You know I was concerned.

    Unfortunately in NZ we have some employers who take advantage of people who are in an urgent position to change their life circumstances and will find a way to commit them so they can't leave in a hurry.

    At one stage, with a young baby, I took on a job as a housekeeper for a man and his two young sons on a beef farm that also had a big piggery on it. It did not take long before he went to the city Sunday night to Saturday morning to follow an acting career and I was left to run the lot and face up to a rigorous check-up on my work on his return. Funnily enough, after the initial shock wore off, I got into the rhythm and actually enjoyed it and learnt so much in those 18 months that I went on to use for ever afterwards. I was in retrospect so grateful for the experience.

    Before you decide on your next major step may I suggest you look at the WOOFER movement - www.wwoof.org/ and take a look around some different places in the UK and Ireland. There is a sort of unwritten list of who are the good employers. I have had different Woofers help me out when I needed an extra pair of hands, like fencing - most were young English or German tourists backpacking the world wanting a bed and board for a week and a few extra dollars in exchange for a couple of days chores, but two older ones who stayed a lot longer were both Swedish ( they came to help me paint the house doing the high parts while I did the lower half - and insisted on taking over the kitchen for the evening meal and introducing me to their recipes - such fun and laughter) and the one who house-sat for me (when I went down country when a grandaughter was born) was a young Japanese who was training to be a wild-life zoo-park ranger. He kept on coming back to visit until he returned to Japan and the last I heard he tours non-stop with a group that takes a caravan of farm animals to the Japanese City schools.

    (As a safeguard, because I was on my own with young daughters, I got a loan of recommended Woofers who were already working on my friend's farm.)

    In the meanwhile. So glad that you are finding your feet and have such a positive attitude to these new experiences.

  9. Thank you for including me. I have been concerned too. It kind of sounds like you're an indentured servant there...which isn't very nice. Oddly, when you were describing what you do I was thinking "she must work for my boss" (maybe not so odd...) But this IS a step for the next adventure.

    I tend to think whatever I am doing is forever. Even when I know it isn't, I treat is as if it is, and I tend to freak myself out. You have Jurgis though, which is very good when you can lean on someone else now and then. How does he like the circumstances?

    I'm hoping for all the best for you!! Even if it means snow (haha) we don't have any either, right now and it's very unusual for NY state. I HATE MUD. Hate it. I feel for ya. Some days I consider having the grass paved, the dog lot paved, and be done with it all.

    As always, if there is anything I can do...let me know. HUGS.

  10. Kippy, ALL the rest would take up a book *laugh* It is a stepping stone... and a very beautiful one. Now I'm curious about your pensive.... Thanks!

    Lois, thanks for the messages and for caring :) That Wwoof site... I'm a member of the Permies forum! We're hugely interested in permaculture and organic. I'll bookmark the link. Never know when it will come in handy. Perhaps when we have our own smallholding and are practicing the lifestyle independantly? Now that sounds good! Sadly, I think the whole abuse of those needing the opportunity is rife pretty much everywhere. I'm not fussing over it. This situation serves us for now as much as it serves them and we've both learnt a lot... about people, yes, but the lessons on farming in the northern hemisphere have been invaluable for us. I know just what you mean about that rhythm!

    Kat, one of the things I specified right at the outset is that I'm not a servant and never will be one. I refuse to even consider the term. Sure, the one house I clean is the owner's, but the other two are holiday cottages. I had, at one point and am still toying with the idea, considered having a bed and breakfast on our property. This is a valuable lesson in how it's run and what's involved. The rude one is the husband and thankfully, I have little to do with him. What has gotten me through many rough times is that "Everything is temporary". I have seen over and over how true that is. Jurgis doesn't do change very well, but he's finally looking up. I think Tatiana's visit helped. Want to do something? Send snow! LOL

  11. I will do my best!!!


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