Today marks two weeks since my husband and I arrived in Broken Hill. How much life has changed for our country in the past two weeks because of COVID-19? In that time we’ve seen government announcements begin with banning gatherings of 500 people, than 100 people, closure of non-essential businesses such as clubs, cinemas and gyms, restaurants and cafes restricted to offering take away only, beauticians closed and hair appointments limited, weddings restricted to five people, government stimulus packages for businesses and welfare support for those now unemployed. Our hearts break seeing the thousands line up outside Centrelink offices for those who have no income or jobs. Can this really be happening?
I’m now just over 31 weeks pregnant and our move to Broken Hill could not have been better timed. We are away from Sydney and Canberra (where we both used to live) where the risk of contracting COVID-19 would be much greater. Most of our time is spent at home unpacking boxes and setting up house but any small activity planned to connect into the community and building friendships is on hold indefinitely: attending church, going to pilates, my husband joining a soccer team, attending birth and pregnancy classes and generally meeting people. We had friends and family plan to come visit us over the next couple of months which we’ve cancelled. It may be months before friends and family would visit us and our new baby.
Despite all this, this is such a happy time in our lives. We have a beautiful house and it exudes peace and calm. The light streams through the family room next to the kitchen each morning which is one of my favourite parts of the house. I’ve got a little desk near the kitchen which looks out across the side yard which is green and lush! The dogs are happy and settled and make us laugh: Rosie has been on new arthritis medication the last month and we have seen a huge improvement in her mobility and energy. We love watching them swim in the pool too. We have also set up the pram and co-sleeper for our unborn child. We’ve been reaquainted with all our items which were in storage for a year: our bed, kitchen items and books.
Twenty-twenty has been a hard year for so many. It began with bushfires and continues with a panedemic and economic downturn… and it’s only March. Will life get back to the ‘normal’ before all these events? No. How best to help and love family and friends and our community in this time? Stay home and practice social distancing when you’re at the grocery shops is the obvious answer. But individually it’s to also offer our gifts, skills and loves/passions to one another. Here, I offer my love for writing and cooking. I’ll post a few recipes I’ve been making the last couple of days and in time hope to introduce you to Broken Hill, the outback and this house we’re now calling home! I’m also about to birth a child into this ‘new world’ and that fills me with hope and anxiety.