WordPress tells me that it’s exactly two years since I started this blog. At the time, I was living near Copenhagen, contemplating a leap into the unknown as Mrs CBRbound and I planned a new life for our family in Canberra.
In the four months leading up to our move, I explained our reasoning, our hopes and our fears about the move. Since arriving, I’ve detailed the bumps and bruises as well as the celebrations that have punctuated our time in Australia’s capital.
At the heart of my posts has been the constant wrestle to know whether we were doing the right thing, whether things would have turned out better than if we had stayed where we were; whether our great leap had furnished our two sons with a sense of adventure that would serve them well, or whether the disruption had caused them irreparable harm in pursuit of their parents’ folly.
I think Donald Rumsfeld, in his uniquely opaque phraseology, would determine this to be ‘a known unknown’. The question is there to be asked, but it is impossible to ever know the answer.
In the year and half since we’ve lived in Canberra, we’ve been charmed by its many attractions, wowed by its liveability and identified shortcomings that we could never have anticipated from afar – chief amongst these, I think, is the poor build quality of the housing here.
In discovering all of these things, and comparing them to the life we left behind, commenters have occasionally suggested that I perhaps cannot let go of our old life, and that I should stop harking back.
It is possibly a fair criticism, and I’d respond by saying our old life is the only life we have with which to compare our new life, however irrelevant that may be.
There’s a kernel of an idea in those comments though, which perhaps has never been articulated, which is that, in continuing to compare our old life and our new, I am continuing to weigh the decision we made rather than fully embracing it: that through all these ruminations, I am possibly seeking to justify or find grounds to reverse our decision to move to Canberra.
All of which leaves aside an important point which I hope I have made clear throughout our story – that Australia had been calling us for a long time. That this was an itch we needed to scratch. That whether permanent or temporary, this was an adventure we needed to go on.
Having said that, after two years, there is now probably very little that I can add to the story of moving to, and beginning a new life in Canberra. We completed our preparations, we moved here, we lived in rented accommodation for a year, and eventually found a place to buy and call our own.
We made new friends, settled our kids into new schools, and wrestled with alien concepts such as top-loading washing machines, sunshine that can cause serious damage, and animals whose first instinct is to kill you—and I’d include Canberra drivers in that last category.
So, we’re not migrants any more. We are Canberrans.
All of which makes this second anniversary of the blog feel like the end of something. Perhaps, as Churchill once said, it is just the end of the beginning, but it feels like an appropriate place to stop writing about starting a new life and to actually just go and live it, before my objectivity becomes dulled by familiarity.
I may post occasionally in the future, and I will still respond to comments on the existing posts, but I’m going to wind things down now and turn my attention to a few other projects that have been demanding my attention.
I’d like to thank those of you who have been with me for the journey, who have offered advice, practical help, words of encouragement, or have challenged my logic from time to time. It’s true that these have largely been ramblings about my inner transition process, but externalising them and sharing them has helped me immensely. So, thank you.
I’d also like to acknowledge that, for some loved ones back in Europe, this blog has been a handy way of keeping up with our adventures. I’d like to say that we will continue to stay in touch via other means, but this particular story has reached its conclusion.
But mostly, I’d like to say something to anyone contemplating a new life in Canberra: You will be excited, I know. You will be scared too, as we were. You will have days when you wish you could stop everything, unravel all that you’ve done and go back to how things were. And you’ll have days when you stand atop a mountain, breathe this place in and congratulate yourself on being brave enough to do it.
I can’t tell you whether to do it or not. But I hope that, in places, this blog helps you in some way. Canberra is a wonderful place, and it might just be the place for you if you let it.
So, for now, from me: thank you once again, and goodnight.