21/09/2013 11:30 am

This blog entry is written by a lovely teacher who has made the move from mainstream teaching in the UK and Sydney to Outback Queensland.  This is from her 'Outback Journal' describing her year in the bush.

So after 3 months teaching my lovely girls, one of their birthdays came around and it was time to experience a 9 year old birthday party, bush style.

First a venue had to be decided…

Laser Quest, Magic Castle, Bowling, Swimming?  Of course not!  All of those over extravagant venues are around 3 hours away!  Instead we would be having the district over for afternoon tea.  This you may think sounds boring but with so many families around with at least 3 children per family, this was going to be one big event!  And why go anywhere else when we have a house on the hill with a view, a trampoline, extensive wheeled vehicles, tennis courts?!  The list could go on!

Next the Invites…

In my class at home it was an extremely exciting time.  A child would arrive with their pack of envelopes and had them out; usually a child would feel left out!  Not here in the outback!  How to deliver invites to 30 children that live kilometres apart?  Create personalised invites that are emailed out to families and hope that they can all make it…fingers crossed that there isn’t a big muster on that day or that harvesting is going to plan!  The theme for the afternoon will be ‘best dresses and jewellery’, and we all laugh about what the girls 4 boy cousins will choose to wear!

And the day arrives…

After opening all of her presents, we have one very grateful and excited 9 year old!  That is one thing that I love about Bush Kids, they are so much more polite, independent and grateful than city kids!  No, it is not because they are sheltered from the world and never leave the cattle station (they have a better social life than me!!!)  but because they are brought up in an environment where helping out is just something they have to do…dad might need help driving the tractor, a ute might have been bogged.  Moaning is just not an option!

So the preparations begin…

Everyone chips in (including dad) making sure that the house is ready for the day and as I am giving baking a go, mum is icing the extravagant homemade jewellery box cake and the girls are scooting around, Nan arrives!  What a super surprise, Nan lives 2 and half hours away!  Driving this far for a day would have shocked me 3 months back, but not anymore!  Travelling is no problem out here, especially for the close knit family and friends that I have met who are passionate about socialising to give their children a wide variety of experiences!  Living in the bush you really do become part of the family and experience loving relationships that will last a lifetime.

       

People start to arrive…

Soooo, I have got dressed in my best dress and made myself look beautiful only to find that come the end of the party I will probably be popping out of it and be  a stone heavier!  Every guest so far has brought       homemade treats of every variety and the table is exploding…time for me to get my recipe book out and add to it!  Something I started shortly after I arrived as take away and frozen food are a rarity!  Nigella           Lawson better watch out upon my return to the UK :)

After all of the guests arrive by car, truck, even a plane and helicopter, the party begins!

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Party Games…

I am in charge of these and begin them outside with the sun shining…what else in Central Queensland and being Bush kids they had to be outdoors!  We did the usual, pass the parcel, freeze and as I was about to begin the game of musical bumps a drama begins!

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“SNAKE!” yells one of the dads from the veranda above.  Whilst I freeze in shock, the less than phased children retreat away from the snake and onto the concrete…apparently it will disappear in a minute and no one else seems worried.  Still on edge, I blast out a bit of One Direction but it appears snakey enjoys this and wants to come closer!  Not to worry, dad is at the ready with his stick and with oblivious children zooming about on rip sticks and bouncing on the trampoline whilst ‘You don’t know you’re beautiful’ blares out, I look on as dad sends Mr Python to snake heaven!

“Have parties like this in England do you Bec?’ is yelled from above.  My reply is of course “no”, but you know what?!  I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

The snake is soon forgotten about and I am roped into a game of cricket with excitable children and realise that wearing my ‘posh dress’ will not get me out of it! The game goes until dark and I am barefoot in Topshops finest with my once beautifully straightened hair all over my face, covered in dust and not the slight bit worried that everyone has probably seen my pants as I dived about on the lawn for the ball!  A while back, this would have sent me into a panic but with the gorgeous sunset to watch and many homemade treats still to enjoy I realised that material things and urban living really aren’t what life is about.

As the sun set, the 4Wheel Drives  descended down the dusty path on their journeys home and the millions of stars began to fill the sky, I reflected on my Birthday Bash in the Bush and began to look forward to the next one in 3 weeks’ time!  This time it would be an 11th party…what adventures would it bring?!

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