A year signifies a pretty big milestone for a lot of events. We celebrate certain things every year, the day we were born, the day nations signed significant documents, even the day the ski season starts! In our own little family, we are about to commemorate the day we left Australia to start a new life in the United States and it, of course, has made me want to reflect.
When I set out on a big adventure, there are always expectations, even when I try really hard to not have any and just roll with it. This adventure was no different from any others. I have a tendency to visualize what things are going to be like and it can be conscious and subconscious, and it’s usually a combination of worst and best-case scenarios.
When we left Australia, I was in a surprisingly good place physically and mentally, despite the stress of the move. I felt calm and strong. Things slowly started to change the further we got away. I cried a lot, I was sad and lost. I tried lots of things to kick-start my mood back to health and relied on how things would be OK once we actually got to our new home and settled in. My posts from that time mention some of what I felt and it’s strange to look back because there were no major catastrophes and the move itself went pretty smoothly, except for some flight delays and long days. It felt a lot harder when we were in it.
When we did arrive in Crested Butte, the first six weeks were pretty isolating. I tried to make connections with others with small children, I forced myself to go out and meet people but in the middle of winter, it was easier to stay home and contend with the kids. It was the first time I had spent days alone with them for a very long time and, every morning I was waking with a sense of dread of the day ahead. You can see how the prospect of leaving it all and going back to the places I knew was enticing.
The six weeks I spent in Melbourne whilst my family was still in Crested Butte was a mix of emotions. The guilt of being away from them, the joy of being with my close friends, the feeling of freedom of not having the day to day responsibilities of a young family, the stress of finalizing my visa. It was all wrapped in together. The most interesting feeling was that Melbourne didn’t feel like home anymore and it had happened pretty fast.
Coming back to Crested Butte was interesting. I was here “forever” now and it was time to find my new normal which included work. Bouncing back and forward with the possibility of remote work from Australia made decisions pretty difficult but when it finally fell through, I took the leap and applied for a bunch of jobs. There were a lot of lessons learned in that process, including for the first time ever walking into a place to ask for a job and accepting the fact that I would be earning nearly a quarter of what I did in Melbourne.
Being an Experience Manager at a luxury adventure travel company opened me up to the hospitality world. They were long days and a big challenge for me to be a guest-facing team member. I also took on a role at a local small business, Eagle Sales of CB, that provide doors and windows to the Gunnison Valley, helping Adrienne and Allen out with office support. With these two jobs, I was working 50+ hour weeks, 5-6 days a week. Needless to say, the whole family suffered and this was not how we wanted to live or why we moved here. I pretty much gave up all exercise, I ate poorly, we only had one family day a week and I was exhausted. Then I was offered the opportunity to take on new roles with both companies with more reasonable hours. I took the role at Eagle and now I work Monday to Friday, 9-5 and I get a lot more time with my family and have the ability to have more extracurricular activities like pottery, dance, running and writing. Things are looking up!
Grace and Monty have changed a lot in the last year. Grace is a real kid, she is independent, smart and one of the things I love the most is that she is friends with everyone, young and old. Monty has gone from being a baby to a little boy. He adores fire engines, Halloween, and The Lion King. He speaks in long sentences and gives the best hugs. Eliot is doing great things at this job, taken up Improv Comedy again and itching to start the house.
Many people have asked us how our house build is progressing. Slowly is the answer. We plan to break ground next summer but still have a lot of hoops to jump through. We need to attain an easement agreement with our neighbors to allow us to share their driveway, we need to finalize our design and run it past an architect, we need to get approved for a construction loan and then go for all the permitting. There is a lot to do but I know we will get there.
But here we are 12 months on from our departure from Melbourne, Crested Butte definitely feels like home and we are where we are meant to be. I’m excited about all the adventures still to come, watching our children grow, moving into our h
ouse and lots of exploring around our stunning valley and beyond.