This time two weeks ago, our sub-leasing tenant decided to break the lease in our Sydney home rather unexpectedly, so my partner and I were forced to make a decision as to whether we would find another tenant to occupy the apartment or discontinue to the lease. We chose the latter because we simply could not see ourselves coming back to live in Sydney again after living and loving the life in Tasmania for over a month. So we decided to leave Sydney permanently and settle in Tasmania long-term (instead of waiting until September this year to make the decision). It didn’t seem like the most ideal scenario at first, but looking back now, we are very happy with the decision as it allows us to focus on investing time, money and energy in enriching our (family/work/social) life here in Tasmania.
This decision meant we had to fly back to Sydney to sort it all out. And we did. As soon as we got off the Hobart-to-Sydney plane at the Sydney Domestic Airport, we immediately found ourselves overwhelmed by with crowds of people trying to go from A to B in a hurried manner, not to mention the crazy amount of traffic as we were trying to leave the airport even though it was off peak hour (well apparently Sydney has entered permanent peak hour), air pollution, construction sites and cranes lifting things up and down. Chaotic and messy – was the city we once loved living in. Good thing, though, was that it further confirmed how happy we were with our decision to move out of Sydney to peaceful Tasmania. For the next 10 days, we went through all the old furniture and boxes of stuff sitting in the garage, moved some, got rid of most of some, cleaned up and handed the keys back to the agent. Hard work yes, but it felt incredibly liberating, both physically and mentally. We still managed to catch up with some of our closest members and friends to say hello/goodbye, which was lovely.
Being back home in Tasmania (and back into our slow-paced daily routine) after spending a busy week in Sydney brought us a huge sense of calm, relief and gratitude. Having said that, Hobart was having a busy couple of weeks (supposedly the busiest time of the year here) with lots of visitors thanks to Dark MOFO – a fortnight of festivities and unconventional artistic experiences including the annual Nude Solstice Swim, where hundreds of people plunge into the River Derwent at sunrise to welcome back the return of the light after the longest night. Due to the road closure, there was a bit of inconvenience getting here and there but overall the city felt organised and well under control. We enjoyed walking around the city central glowing in Dark MOFO spirit and seeing the art installations with its symbolic red lights (including real fires being shot into the sky) and up-side-down crosses (which offended many Christians) everywhere, in both obvious and unexpected places. We also enjoyed the company of DARK CHOCO (i.e. dark hot chocolate) that kept our hands nice and warm 🙂
Another highlight of the weeks was our two consecutive visits at Margate Train located in Margate, Southern Tasmania, a 5-10 minute drive south of Blackmans Bay / Kingston area where we live and about a 20-25 minute drive from the Hobart CBD. Formerly known as the Tasman Limited that was built in England and used as a passenger service between Hobart and Launceston, it ceased to operate as a working train after its final rail journey in July 1978. Since then, the site where the train settled has transitioned into a charming little business/tourism district with quirky, quaint shops and eatery both inside and outside the train including Devils Brewery, Bootiful (a vegan boot store!) and the Pancake Train.
We opened the door into the Pancake Train carriage and were absolutely delighted to have an authentic experience of being on the train – they kept most of the original interior of the train (including the overhead baggage area, the seats and tables, etc.) so much so it felt as if it was about to leave and take us somewhere! Julian (my 2-year-old son) liked everything about it. The cafe staff were so friendly and brought us delicious food for us. The Apple Crumble pancake was to-die-for (not too sweet, not too blend) which came with oven-baked Tasmanian apple slices with a drizzle of Tasmanian maple syrup. The staff also brought us coloured pencils and paper (the space really sparked my creative spirit so I started drawing straight away!) as well as a basket full of train-themed toys for our son to play with. Speaking of play, there’s also a play area outside the train with the beautiful little wooden train (but big enough to be a playground equipment) with separate carriages for children to play and get all imaginative. Julian told me that the little red train was his favourite and that he wanted to become a train driver. Bless. Naturally, he made the rest of the family the make-believe passengers while he was driving the train to his wonderful imaginary world! It’s definitely one of the places we’ll take family and friends to when they visit us.
As I have decided to end my unofficial Maternity Leave at the end of June, I’ll start working from July on a part-time basis. This means I will be spending more time in the Hobart CBD area for client meetings, etc. so I will be exploring different cafes and other interesting little cultural spots. After all, we moved to Tasmania for its combination of nature and culture, and I am very keen to find more about the cultural aspect of living here.