So much more to Laws of order and compliance.(Auto-biography)

Of course the idea of shifting home and hearth to a different continent because of a disallowance to eat peanut and cheese sandwiches while sitting down in a State protected nature-reserve is perhaps a bit too flighty to take serious.  It is just too silly for words. Holland is a small country and just ‘imagine’ if we all went around eating sandwiches willy-nilly in nature reserves; not a blade of grass would survive the onslaught of peanut butter and cheese sandwiches being flung about in the bushes by rebellious kids for whom nothing short of a Big MacDonald’s with a Coke would suffice. Even if we did not sit down with the sandwiches, nature would not cope with the millions of feet trampling all over the place. The acidity of Coke vapours would kill the few remaining forests. Holland is wise to tell its citizens; you can look at the growing grasses but stay off it!

No, there were other reasons for this sudden decision to leave when all seemed to go so well. It might well have to do with something that makes a country appreciated when living away from it. The very things that I disliked about our previous abode in Australia were the very things I now missed. I missed them sorely!  It could well be the total contrast of the environment. Holland is neat, tidy and so well organised. Nothing out of place. Nothing allowed to be out of place.

Australia can be chaotic. It has the freedom to be so. Weeds are growing between the cracks on bitumen roads. Some footpaths lifted and sticking up from battle hardened  paper-bark tree roots, rampantly and disobediently growing upwards, without a diploma, permission or license. Sheets of rusted corrugation flapping merrily in the wind in a contemptuous dereliction. Car sales yards with yawning bonnets neck on neck and in between suburban houses. The rickety verandas  enclosed with crinkle- glassed louvre windows, some open like missing teeth, giving the inhabitant the opportunity to wind-dry unashamedly orange singlets with holes it or to look at the belching diesel fumes of a passing truck.

After three years in Holland our re-entry visas to Australia had run out. We had to go through the rigmarole of applying for migration. Our three children had Australian citizenship allowing a speedy permission to re-migrate to Australia. Again, the buff coloured letter-heads came in handy once again. Australia was still in dire needs of painting. The ‘good’ kind of painting for houses and industry. The jovial consular official of the Australia embassy cracked a couple of jokes. We were almost back in Australia within those The Hague embassy walls. His top three or four buttons of his shirt were undone. He made us a coffee.

One of the more fortuitous events that we were totally unaware off while in Holland, were the tumultuous political shenanigans that had occurred in Australia during our absence. There were scandals of unscrupulous money borrowings from shady Middle Eastern money merchants. There were love intrigues between married politicians. The world lapped it all up. Sensational exposure to scandal after scandal. Governments resigned and the Australian dollar collapsed. After flying back and landing in Sydney, my brother picked us up from the airport. We were to live in their house while he and his three children were going to travel to Europe. In exchange we gave them our trusted VW Kombi parked at my parents place in Holland.

As we again scoured around to find a place to live there was no question we would again find our feet back in old trusted Balmain.  Our kids were enrolled in the school that our eldest daughter had been going to before we went to Holland in search of the artist salary. The very house that we used to admire before our departure to Holland was for sale. Can you believe it? A five bedroom house made of sandstone with a large garden. We were told Germaine Greer had lived in it during her wild student days. We were totally but very pleasantly knocked off our socks when we converted our Dutch guilders into Australian dollars. The devaluation meant we came back with more than what we had left with. Much more. How could Australia be any friendlier? We bought the house with a small mortgage.

It all had turned out well.

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20 Responses to “So much more to Laws of order and compliance.(Auto-biography)”

  1. berlioz1935 Says:

    Despite all that is going on in Australia, it is a liveable place to be in.

    It grows on you, even the “bad language” of some of its people.

    This was quite apparent when we saw the movie “Last Cab to Darwin”. Those rougue characters in it, are lovable in their own rights.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Yvonne Says:

    I haven’t heard of that movie, berlioz, I must look for it!

    Gerard, you got the timing just right for your return to Australia. I hate to think what that house would be worth in today’s market.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    You must have felt the same way as I did when I moved from the small Austrian village to California🙂

    Like

  4. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Life seems to be about change doesn’t it, and we aren’t made to like it very much. I’m happy you were able to come back to Balmain though hard to leave family in Holland I’m sure. It is always “loss and gain”—push and pull. We make our “happy”.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. bkpyett Says:

    Wonderful descriptions, Gerard. I think you belong in Australia! 🙂

    Like

  6. elizabeth2560 Says:

    I am so glad you found your way back and hope that you have been happy here.

    Like

  7. auntyuta Says:

    We did have some German friends who, after having lived in Australia for some time, longed to go back to Germany where everything was so clean and orderly! Some of them actually made it back to Germany and stayed there for good. Others found they could not get used to the German way of life anymore and came back to Australia as soon as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Forestwoodfolkart Says:

    This is so interesting to me. The immigration, return, emigration thing and your motivation behind it. We make our own “happy” – this is so indeed the case and the young and restless still have to understand that. You have been fortunate to have effected these transitions reasonably seamlessly. I so enjoyed your descriptions of street life in Australia. The visual imagery is SO accurate!!!
    And the Buddhist temple is a new one on me. Wasn’t aware of it at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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