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Report Card Part Two

May 15, 2012

Yesterday it was all about the good things. Today I’m tackling the not-so-good.

Shopping and other services:

Holiday Town is a fairly large centre. We do have access to quite a few shops and services. There are two supermarkets (Coles and Woolworths) and a number of smaller shops including a bakery, a shoe store, a bookshop, hairdressers (several!) and a few cafes and restaurants. I know as far as rural towns go we are lucky, but… (you knew there was going to be a “but” didn’t you?) There’s really not a lot of variety. Both supermarkets only carry a small range of most items. There are many things we simply can’t get. As for the smaller businesses, some of them are great. There’s a homeware store in town that I simply love. However, many of these businesses run very reduced hours during the winter and some close down altogether. There’s Big Regional Town (BRT) half an hour away, which has most things so I really shouldn’t complain, but on a day to day basis I miss not having the particular yoghurt I like and hate that when the kids put a hole in their school pants it’s a big trip to BRT to get new ones. I’m also a bit disappointed in the lack of non supermarket options to buy food. I was hoping to find a great green grocer to buy fresh fruit and vegies, but there isn’t one. There’s very small fruit/health food store but their stock is very limited.

As far as services go I’m yet to find a dentist/doctor/hairdresser/beautician that I’m satisfied with. The trouble is that there’s not much choice. I’ve stuck with the first doctor I went to see and she’s pleasant enough but I have no real confidence in her. The dentist turned out to be a complete dud! I had the most painful experience ever when he tried to crown a tooth (and failed!) Back to the drawing board there I’m afraid. The beautician was OK,  just not professional, so I’m still looking. The hairdresser was good but I haven’t been able to get another appointment at a time that suits me.

I know these are trivial problems, but sometimes little things can make a big difference.

Square Peg Syndrome (Cultural and Political Differences)

I’ll start this section with a caveat: what I’m about to say reflects how I feel not necessarily how things actually are. I’m about to make some generalisations and I know that these generalisations are not true of this entire community.

I’ve talked before on this blog about the lack of diversity in Holiday Town. Everyone here seems* the same. Most people seem to be white, middle class and for most part politically conservative. Just so you know, I’m white and middle class and I look just like everyone else here (except that I’m not skinny – but that’s a whole other post!) People assume that because I look and sound a certain way (I’ve been told I speak like one of the stars of Kath and Kim, and no, it’s not on purpose!) that I will have certain views. Australian* views, views just like theirs. When I tell people where we’ve moved from they invariably comment on how relieved we must be to have “gotten out”. I’ve had people comment that it was a smart move to get my kids away from all those “darkies” that have “taken over” my former town. The words “illegals” and “scum of the earth” have also been used when discussing my former place of residence. I’m very ashamed to admit that I have not once taken anyone to task over these prejudiced comments. I’ve mumbled something about missing my friends there and then changed the subject or moved on.

And it’s not just racial prejudice that’s a problem. Last night BK was talking about IDAHO  (International Day Against Homophobia) this Thursday. His school is planning to celebrate the day with several activities. BK says that the majority of the students he knows are anti the celebrations. He was saddened to discover even people in his friendship group are among the “haters”. Sigh…

I know that not every person in this community is like this.  Possibly there are people who feel just like me but (like me) they are flying under-the-radar, not comfortable with making their dissenting views known. Eventually I will get up the courage to challenge people when these things are said in my presence. I can’t tell my kids that doing nothing is the same as participating if I’m not prepared to lead by example. It’s just hard when you feel like the only apple in a bowl full of oranges.

*See caveat at beginning of section.

Social issues

I have no friends. (See Section on Square Pegs!)

This is partially my own fault. I have not put myself “out there” very much. I haven’t joined any groups or forced myself to talk to strangers at school functions. I could be a lot more pro-active. So far though I haven’t found anything that I want to join. I haven’t found a writer’s group or even a book club that’s open to new members. I know I need to make more effort in this department.

So there you have it – my honest assessment of how we’re doing here. Looks like I have some work to do in the second half of the year!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. aright2behappy permalink
    May 16, 2012 11:30 am

    So there’s good and bad all laid out which means you’re thinking about it. And you’ll work it all out eventually. I would be frustrated by the same things. Exactly the same things. Regarding the square peg syndrome – I no longer feel a need to always defend my point of view or position. I now think – do I need to expend energy on this person? (with the bigotted view etc). However I do like your point about the example I am setting for my kids. I must try harder.

  2. July 3, 2012 4:22 pm

    Hi there
    I tried posting on your blog ages ago after following a link from something you wrote on Mamamia. I was just going to say that I think it takes at least a year until you feel fully settled in a new locale. In the meantime, try and have fun playing tourist and doing things you wouldn’t normally do. i started bushwalking when I moved to the part of Sydney where we now live. I also took up aquarobics and joined a bookclub. Sure, a lot of my new pals were in their 70s but it was still company. 3.5 years on, we are all really settled and I am just now facing the prospect of starting a job in another part of Sydney that I don’t really know at all. I am quite excited about it – even though this will mean that I too will be in the market for a new hairdresser, dentist, gym etc (as mine are all close to where I work now).
    All the best and feel free to drop by my blog. (It is a bit of a ghost town at the moment since I moved over from another blogging site).

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