Rhian shields her eyes from the strong Australian sun as she steps out of the airport doors. It’s early morning, but it still feels so hot. What will it feel like at midday? she wonders. She looks down at her daughter Carys, who looks bleary-eyed and ruffled, with her blonde hair sticking out at funny angles. She is clutching her favourite doll. Behind her, Rhian’s husband gives her a gentle nudge, telling her to move out into the sun,
“Your keeping everyone up, love, there’s a queue of people behind us,” Matt bleats. “I’ve got Jack’s hand, hold onto Carys whilst I look for the car hire sign, and keep an eye on our luggage!”
Rhian takes the hint, and manoeuvres her children away from the passengers that have just spent over 24 hours stuck on a stifling noisy aeroplane, the same flight as their have just disembarked from. Each mile has led into their new life in Australia. She can’t help the thrill of excitement as she hurries Carys along in front of the boys. Australia, the Land Down Under. For over a year, she and Matt had been planning for this day and now it had arrived. She couldn’t help feeling a shiver of excitement…
They chose to fly to Brisbane from London, as Rhian had relatives further north. They liked the comfort of having people that they knew in Australia, it seemed to make the transition less daunting, even tho they planned on living a few hours away. Still, they would have to visit them once they were settled, it was common courtesy. As they waited for their luggage to appear onto the airport‘s luggage carousel, she was reminded of the excitement that they felt when looking at Queensland on the map. She thought of the thrill the children felt when watching the antics of Steve Irwin and the Australia Zoo, as she and Michael reminded them that they would visit there as it was so near to Brisbane on the map. And the Glasshouse Mountains, Rockhampton, and the beautiful Barrier Reef. She remembered so many freezing cold and rainy afternoons in Wales, in which Matt had put on the Kangaroo Jack video for Jack and Carys to watch and the excitement they felt. They were going to love it here!
Matt had organised a hire car for them until they bought one for themselves, and they all scrambled aboard, along with what seemed like heaps of luggage, but which was in fact all that they had brought with them from their old life. “Two suitcases and two kids, that’s all we’ll need” Matt had said determinedly when they had sold their house in Wales, “anything else we can buy out there.”
Jack squealed in the back of the car, “Look mam, there’s a sign up for Aussie Zoo!” Rhian grinned at him. At nine years of age, Jack had found the thought of moving to a new country, especially so far away, both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. On his last day at school in the small primary that he had attended since he was three years old, Jack’s teacher had given a leaving party in which all his young friends had left parting messages on a big leaving card. This was tucked up safely in the luggage, for Jack to look at when he wished. For now, the thrill of arriving was infectious, as they followed the signs to the Gold Coast. Gold-Coast