Helloooo....! And apologies for the absence.
Looking back I realise just how long it's been since I was here. I don't really have any excuses, I just let life get in the way. But so much has changed since I was here last, so I better fill you in.
Around the time of my last post, I was pondering my career, my future, and where I wanted to go next. I decided that going back to Uni was what I needed, and started down the path of applying for an MBA place. GMATs, applications & interviews, took over my life for a while there, but I was lucky enough to get a sponsorship to study at UWA as part of their first ever Full Time MBA program. I was keen as mustard to go back to study (not something I thought I'd ever say!), and my focus was on moving out of engineering and into operations management, hopefully in a food manufacturing or related field, where I could actually effect the kinds of change I write about here. But, like everything, life sometimes has different plans for us. Not long after I accepted the MBA place, I was asked to apply for a new role at work, strangely enough, in the operations management space (funny how these things happen). It was really to good an opportunity to pass up, so I accepted the role, and deferred the MBA place.
But... the job was not in Perth. It was in Port Hedland. By another twist of fate, after 4-odd years of FIFO into Port Hedland, The Husband's work had been pushing us to make the move north for a while. So, we packed up the (new to us) house, talked my sister, and a friend of ours into renting it off us, and moved 1,600km north to Western Australia's Pilbara region.
What a learning curve the last 6 months have been. Port Hedland is at once exactly what I expected, and also so much more. It is hot and humid, dry and dusty, but at times lush, and green, and bursting with life. The sunrises and sunsets are some of the most gorgeous I have ever seen, and always different. It's a small town, similar to the size of the town I grew up in, but missing many of the services that I now realise I took for granted growing up, but the community spirit is just something else. I'm not sure if I've not noticed it elsewhere, but the number of community organisations and small businesses that step in to fill the gaps in services and facilities is amazing. The local environment group runs a monthly recycling morning where you can drop of glass, paper/cardboard & some plastics, as the council rubbish collection doesn't have a recycling service; a community theatre shows blockbuster movies a few times a week and hosts comedy and theatre tours; we have a 'fish truck' that comes through once a week, a mobile butcher once a month, and a mobile stockfeed and garden supplies guy (Farmer Andy - an absolute savior if you're trying to get a vegie garden up and running here!) once a month, and then a whole host of people running small retail businesses from their homes selling everything from gym wear to health foods to stand up paddle boards! All things you need to dig a bit to find out about, but the 'locals' are always keen to help you out, and facebook has been a lifesaver in that regard. Add to that the significant job change, and it's been a big 6 months!
Now that we've settled in a bit, we're trying to make the most of our time here, and explore the barren beauty of the Pilbara, a region we'd have been unlikely to see otherwise. We've day tripped to the Millstream-Chichester National Park, the first time I'd seen hills since the move north; Burrup Peninsula, in search of Australia's largest collection of petroglyphs; Marble Bar, to the infamous Iron Clad Hotel and to the jasper lined waterways that give the town its name; and to the De Gray River, desperate for some greenery & shade. And even a camping trip, our first non-festival camping experience, to Cape Keraudren, on the southern tip of 80 Mile Beach.
So that's me up to date, and hopefully you'll all hear more from me now on.