“Why would you come to live here?”

gorillaI have been asked this question many times since arriving. It is asked with an incredulous tone as if I just gave a winning lottery ticket away. People can’t fathom why an Australian would come to live in England. Australia is commonly regarded as a sunny and friendly utopia.  Why would I leave that for dreary, cold England? But leave I did. With a  pocket lined with God’s call I made the long journey to a place I have never been. To be really honest I would much rather be in the back-end of the Arctic because of God’s call than anywhere else in the world without it.

There are a number of things I love about living here:

Almost everyday we leave our windows, door and sky light open with no fly screens. I have not encountered one single mozzie to date in England. I have seen two flies – neither of them in Halifax. If summer means one thing to me in Australia it means flies, flies and more flies. I also have sweet blood and that  means mosquito bites all Summer long. I hate it when I can hear them buzzing around my ear at night. Imagine for one moment being able to leave all your doors and windows open with no screens plus the lights on inside. Might as well hang out a neon sign ‘ALL WELCOME’ in Oz. Here it means just means fresh air and clear views.

Melbourne, Australia always seemed to be in drought and on heavy water restrictions – in the height of our glorious summer everything turns brown. It looks so ugly. We are coming to the end of a unusally warm summer here and the plant life and grass is still lush and vivid green. An almost unnatural hue to the Australian pallet of flora. It’s a colour that comes from being well watered year in and year out for centuries.  It’s a bit like how you can pick out a bad fake tan by the unmistakable hue of orange. It’s a shade of green that falls outside of normal but instead of being horrid it is beautiful. I keep touching it because I think it is fake.

When we lived in Australia John used to tease me because when I drove in rush hour traffic I would stick my elbows out to the side as if I was trying to knock the other cars out-of-the-way with them as I weaved in and out of traffic. Here there is usually just one lane and nobody – not even me is in a rush. There is minimal traffic and it is so pleasant to drive anywhere. People for go the car altogether and they walk everywhere as we are starting to do. They have a great culture of walking and riding public transport in the UK. Good for them…good for us!

I am especially happy that there is a ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ in Halifax. John and I love this  American style restaurant chain. Him for the sizzling Fajita’s and me for the buffalo wings. They make the best balloon animal hats with such flair that Poppy wants to have her birthday party there too. It is truly wrong on so many levels but for the Warrens it is one very big tick!

The thing I love most about England is the people. The accent is captivating and I love overhearing two English talk in the shops. The stronger and thicker the accent the better. I find the culture a mystery to be solved.  I want to peel back the skin of the English and discover what makes them tick and tock. They are not like Australian’s even though we share so much history and DNA.

I feel like Richard Attenborough discovering a new species except I don’t want to observe them from a far for the sake of science but I want live with them and do life alongside them. I want to pay frustrating premium’s on car insurance like they do. I want to feel the whip of wind on a cold winters day like they do. I want to have them in my home for a meal or go over to there’s for an afternoon cup of tea. I want to know their lives – every joy, every struggle and every heartache. I want them to know why I have come to England, to Halifax. I want them to know I came  (and it is my privilege)  to share with them the greatest news ever – that Jesus loves them.

Give me one good reason I shouldn’t stay.

Over and Out,

Catherine xoxox

13 Comments to ““Why would you come to live here?””

  1. I love a sunburnt country,
    A land of sweeping plains,
    Of ragged mountain ranges,
    Of droughts and flooding rains.
    I love her far horizons,
    I love her jewel-sea,
    Her beauty and her terror –
    The wide brown land for me!

  2. Just love reading your blogs Catherine it’s like chatting sharing a cuppa. Big hello to John and Poppy.xx.

  3. I live in Reno Nevada where we suffer from fires in the brush all summer long. Last summer over 60 houses burned in the south of town. I’ve never been to England but I would love to go – especially after reading this post.

    • Reno, Nevada – I would love to here more of your story. Did you grow up there? Do you work there? Are you able to message me. Here is my emial address blogsidebyside@gmail.com No pressure though. Catherine xo

      • I’ve only lived in Reno for 2 years. I grew up on the East Coast in New Jersey [USA]. Then moved to Massachusetts on Cape Cod. Then to Southern California, then to Santa Cruz [central California], then to Reno Nevada. I went to California to be with my twin sister Jackie who went with her boyfriend who was escaping the law [bounced checks]. I stayed in California for many years because I loved the people there. They were NICE!! Not at all like the people on the East Coast. I met my husband there but he had horrible allergies so he moved us to Santa Cruz, but it was pretty bad there too as there is a lot of greenery from all the rain. So we moved to Reno to be in the desert where there is not as much plant life. He’s doing pretty good here allergy-wise. And I like Reno pretty well. The people are nice here too.
        Me and my husband are retired. We’ve been retired several years. We both took early retirement from our jobs. It’s a good thing too, because the unemployment rate is off the charts.
        Is there anything else you were interested in?

  4. Just looking out my window. Green parklands, healthy gums being used as a meeting place for our local colourful lorikeets, cold morning and drizzling with a mist of rain…..its Melbourne, my home and i love it!!

  5. Oh, and if you’re ever missing the mozzies, travel north a few hours into the highlands of scotland. You’ll discover that special joy that they call midges. 🙂

  6. So what you’re basically saying is, “these poms are a bunch of apes” ?

  7. I love the line “I feel like Richard Attenborough discovering a new species except I don’t want to observe them from a far for the sake of science but I want live with them and do life alongside them.” We want you to come back because we miss you, but that is not a good reason to come. May you be a blessing to many xoxoxoxo

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