Before moving here, I would have answered no. No bloody way. In fact I did discount ever living in a mining town in a handful of particularly heated conversations with my husband. But now I find myself living here so I can't quite say that anymore.
March marks nine months of living in Newman for us. And it has gone surprisingly quick. I won't lie, living here has been an adjustment. There are some BIG things I really miss about the outside world. And occasionally, you might just find me suffering a case of the Newman Blues. A slump that seems to infiltrate slowly into your psyche, leaving you feeling down and questioning what the hell you're doing living in such a place.
But ultimately, you have to make the most of your situation. And while perhaps sounding a little too similar to some older members of my family, ultimately, you just have to get on with things and make the most of what you have and where you find yourself.
Source Pinterest ie. I have no idea. Apologies if it's yours.
So where am I attempting to bloom? Newman, a place where there isn't nearly enough rain for most of the year (which can sometimes make blooming difficult). A 12 hour drive from Perth, and just over 4 hours drive from the coast. We're not near anything really (if you don't count some lovely national parks). We're in mining country. It's ridiculously hot for too long a part of the year, and it's a little red dirt dusty.
So what changed my adamant I never want to live in a mining town mind, and brought us to living in such a place, far from home? Family. My exhausted self who was tired of looking after two children on her own every second week while her husband was away working. And the fact that financially we needed me to be back at work, at least part-time, and I simply wasn't ready or willing to go back there just yet and leave our girls in daycare.
So this was the compromise. Two years in a mining town. Our rent paid for us. Utilities paid for us. A huge change in our lifestyle that allows me to continue being a stay at home Mum. While also having my husband home every night to help out with the night waking and 5pm cooking tea everybody is tired and messy hour.
It was a big choice, and one which we've chosen to look on as an adventure. We've had our down moments, but have never truly regretted moving here. While the day to day of living in such an isolated place can be difficult at times, the different experiences we've had, and the chance to bond as a family unit on an everyday basis, and for the first time, have all made this decision to move here the right one.
So what is here? Well there isn't too much in the way of shopping, eating out or any of those sorts of things in Newman. It is certainly expensive to get out of town as often as you might want to or need to for your own sanity, (if you thought Perth was expensive then you should accommodate yourself with Pilbara prices). And in all honesty there's not much to really occupy yourself with as an adult here (you either occupy yourself with your children, the gym or the pub after work hours, unless you're doing distance study or have a blog!)
But what has kept me sane, and made my days both bearable and enjoyable has been the friends I've made since moving here. The Mum's and children who we catch up with for playdates, run into at Kindermusik, at our dancing lessons and playgroup. Who help fill the hours in our day. While some might talk of cliqueness, I've personally experienced nothing but friendliness and support since living here.
Mostly we're all in the same boat. Missing family. Missing civilisation. Sometimes not at all. Sometimes a lot. There are times you just need to have a big whinge to get over it and move on already. I'm lucky enough to be able to say that I have people I can whinge to openly, and not be judged for it. That's a good friend right there.
I know that there will be a part of me relieved to leave this town. But the longer I am here the more I realise how much I might just miss living here too. It will leave an indelible imprint on me as a person. An enjoyment of being in the outdoors (by that I don't mean our backyard or the park), and a taste for 4WD'ing and the simpler things that come with that, which weren't ever a part of who I was before moving here.
The red dirt really does start seeping it's way into your blood. It is a different land up here to the Australia that I knew previously. You can't describe it until you've been here and travelled it's gorges, rockpools and stunning coastlines. It's undeniable, living here can be harsh and brings with it some difficulties, but it is a beautiful part of our country. In some ways, the true spirit of Australia can be felt here, more than it can in any other place I've lived or visited. While some cities might have buzz and energy, travelling this part of Australia shows you it's true heart.
I know that when we do come to leave here, that I will take many fond memories of our time here with me. Of the experiences that we shared as a family. The adventures that we had, the places we explored and the friends that we have met.
If you move here, don't spend your time sitting on the couch, in your backyard or driving around town. Get yourself a 4WD and get out there and enjoy it (never thought I'd find myself writing that in a sentence!)
We definitely won't regret our time spent living and exploring this part of the world.
Think you could live here?