Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia—July 10, 2015—I’ve just come back from the pool. The sky was creamy blue, the birds noisy, and the sun warm on my back. Laps have never felt so good as they do here, especially on this otherwise typical day in . . . winter.
Swimming in an outdoor Olympic-size pool has been one of many perks since my husband and I relocated from Boston’s North Shore in March. It’s July now—summer back in Massachusetts, but “winter” down under—and I’ll be honest: the move to Oz surprised me when we first felt the pull, and it surprises me still each day I walk out the door. Or jump in the pool on “chilly” 60-degree days.
On the way to the aquatic center, for instance, I ride my bicycle past white-barked gum trees where koalas have been spotted and kookaburras laugh on the branches. Pink galahs and green parrots sing and swoop over blooming poinsettias and banksia trees. And like the uncanny creatures and locale, I have learned that even passion—and its many forms I first explored in Woman Overboard—looks different here.
It’s slower, for one. Daily life, that is, and that affects each subheading of living well. Vocation, for instance, is happily less frantic—but odd when you’re writing while most editors you know are sound asleep on the other side of the world and the sun is shining through your office window. Art here has more browns and greens and ocean blues that you can barely find language for.
Romance, too, is kinder, and even, well, older, as I see in my elderly in-laws, who celebrate 51 years of marriage next week and who are the primary reason we came. How can their last chapter be filled with less suffering and more joy? How can we help? A meatloaf or key lime pie with limes my sister-in-law grew in her backyard? A drive to the hospital?
It’s all the messy and marvelous stuff of passion relocated.
And Jesus. Yes, of course, he’s here too, evident in the worship of the local Anglican church we attend, alive in the faces of its members who’ve also jumped overboard, diving in fully to live out their faith and their callings in their own unique ways. With Aussie accents and fish and chips. With offers of friendship and “G’day!” With hospitality and sacrifice that point me back to the passion of our Lord, making the move easier, softer, warmer.
Even on “winter” days.
Jo Kadlecek, author and adventurer
Jo Kadlecek is the author of Woman Overboard: How Passion Saved My Life. She and her husband, Chris Gilbert, moved from Massachusetts to Noosa Heads, in Queensland, Australia, in March 2015, where they continue to pursue a passionate life. For more information on Jo, visit her website at www.lampostmedia.com or follow her new journey in Australia through her blog “A Sun Burnt Faith,” asunburntfaith.wordpress.com.