We are currently in Western Australia, visiting family and friends for a month before we head to Bali, our first international stop on our year-long sabbatical. Although we’re still in Australia, we are getting into sabbatical mode, which means that each day we work a little (I write, Ben works for a client), we play and little, and we do both while soaking up as much of our location as possible.
Essentially, we’re aiming to treat each new location as our home for the time that we’re there.
This week, we are staying at my aunt and uncle’s avocado farm, which is also where my mum lives. Living at the farm means that the office is the back veranda of my mum’s house, with a kangaroo and the cat keeping us company.
It means picking figs off the tree and stewing them in a large pot with brown sugar and cinnamon to pour over ice-cream. It means helping mum reorganise the fruit shop, including trips to Bunnings and Spotlight for supplies.
It means spending time with my family doing what they normally do, day to day. And I’m loving it.
Last night, my uncle invited us up to the big house, for an Italian feast! I talked it up a lot to Ben, because my uncle is Sicilian and he and my aunt learned to cook from his mother. I grew up eating this incredible food, and was super excited about the promised spaghetti bolognese and veal cutlet. Yum.
We were not disappointed. In fact, the meal was superb, and not just because the food was incredible and the wine was delicious. It was the company that made it so special. There’s something wonderful about spending time with family, hearing some of the old stories again and somehow there are always new ones to hear.
As the coffee and liqueur were poured, my uncle offered this toast – both in English and on request, in Italian:
“Good wine. Good food. Good friends. And the time to enjoy them all.”
This toast perfectly sums up the most important part of our year-long sabbatical. It’s about enjoying time with the people in our lives – old friends, new friends, and family.
Additional photos by Ben Reierson.