Rhian parked up in the last available space in the tiny school car park. Just one space left! Quickly, she manoeuvred the car into the spot.
Looking down at the brand-new dashboard, she switched off the engine, still coming to terms with driving the large jeep-like people carrier that they had bought the previous week. Matt’s enthusiasm as they left the car sales showroom the previous week was entrancing, and they’d taken advantage of the powerful engine as they drove down the Pacific highway,
‘What would they think of this back home?’ he’d laughed, ‘We can drive onto the beach and allsorts, it’s awesome!’
Jack and Carys had giggled at his enthusiasm, strapped in the back of the humungous vehicle, Carys looking small in the large car seat.
They’d been living in Australia for just over a month now, and were loving it. The lifestyle was laid back, the weather fabulous, the scenery breathtaking. The route to the border to New South Wales had taken them past eucalyptus trees, glimpses of azure blue ocean, and the smell of frangipani overwhelming the senses. They were lapping up the sights and sounds of this new landscape. Just last weekend they had picnicked up beautiful Mount Tamborine with its gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, and the high-rise apartments that made-up Surfers Paradise. From this height the apartments looked like little Lego pieces arranged along the coastline.
‘Mam, hurry up or I’ll be late. I can see Ryan over there, waiting for me!’ Jack’s voice broke into her thoughts.
She glanced at his eager face and smiled. He had settled beautifully into his new school with the minimum fuss and bother, enjoying the Australian school environment. Any nerves that she had felt were diminished the very first day when Jack had skipped out of school, chatting away to a group of other boys. At nine years old, he was young enough to adapt quickly to his new life. Carys on the other hand, was not so keen on the crèche that they’d enrolled her into. Rhian thought that she was still cranky from the long plane journey and the heat. She was not sleeping as soundly as she had in Wales. Rhian made a mental note to buy a free-standing fan to help cool the evenings.
Unbuckling the car seat, she held onto their hands whilst they crossed the road to the school gates. The sun was already a golden globe in the sky, promising another day of hot sunshine. She smiled to herself as she remembered the first week that she had stood at the school gates waiting for Jack to appear. She had been chattering away to Carys when they were surrounded by a group of nine-year-old boys, Jack included.
‘Hi mam, this is Ryan, and Tyler, and Blake. I told them we are from Wales.’
‘Hello boys, how did school go?’ Rhian replied, looking at the faces gazing up at her with what can only be described as utter confusion.
Jack giggled as he looked at their puzzled faces.
‘You must speak slower, mam,’ he giggled. ‘They are just getting used to your Welsh accent. Either that, or they think you are from Middle Earth!’
‘Don’t be cheeky, Jack!’ she replied, adjusting Carys t-shirt, Across the front were the words: I Heart Australia in bold gold and green letters.