On Hiatus: Six Months in Adelaide

Adelaide beach

In late December I spotted an ad for a communications job with a South Australian government agency. The job was three days a week so I could balance it with writing, and the description closely mirrored what I did in Newcastle.

Then I saw the length of the contract: it went until the end of June. Was it even worth applying for a position that would change our plans so drastically? We intended to stick around in Adelaide for three months, tops, then head west at the start of autumn. I liked that plan. I didn’t want to change that plan.

The night before the application was due, I mentioned to Jared that I had decided not to go for the job, even though a part of me still wanted to.

“Just apply,” he said. “What’s it going to hurt?”

I set down my glass of Shiraz and opened my laptop. Two hours later (why does applying for a job always take so much longer than you think it will?), my application was out in the wild and I wondered if the shape of our 2017 was about to shift.

The night before my interview I went back over the resume and cover letter I’d submitted, cringing when I saw that I’d used the phrase ‘frequently required’ twice and left a letter off of my email address. Life lesson: maybe avoid mixing job applications and South Australian reds.

Anyway, you can probably see where this is going. I got the job and just like that, we’re staying in Adelaide.

Red lighthouse adelaide
Pops of red in Port Adelaide

It’s been an unusual start to the year. Like many other Americans both at home and abroad, I’ve been fixated on the news out of my home country, waking up each morning in Australia wondering what the hell else happened over there while I was sleeping. Someone sprayed graffiti on the bench at my local tram stop that says ‘Trump 4 Australia,’ but someone else crossed it out and wrote ‘Fuck off Nazis.’

Facebook reminded me this week that it’s been three years since I became a permanent resident of Australia. In March I’ll be eligible to apply for citizenship. Even though I’ve been anticipating that second blue passport for years now, it still astounds me that I could be a dual citizen by the end of 2017.

Of course, one doesn’t cancel out the other. No matter where I go or what my passports say, I’ll always be an American at my core—even if I don’t respect the US president, even when I work for the South Australian government and live in Adelaide.

I have to say it out loud for it to be real: I live in Adelaide. (Wait, what?) We rented an apartment and locked the camper trailer in the garage. I ride a bike to work, go to the farmers market on Sundays, and joined the library. I even bought a hair dryer, though I can’t bring myself to buy an iron.

Glenelg water slide
Saving all my money for this rad water slide at Glenelg Beach.

If ever you were to land in Adelaide unexpectedly, the first quarter of the year is the time to do it. The Adelaide Fringe Festival kicked off last week and runs for a month; it also coincides with Adelaide Festival and the Clipsal 500, plus the wineries and breweries seem to be running their own bashes, so I’ve got plenty of excuses to replenish that wine stash.

I say I live in Adelaide, but in truth it’s temporary. By the time I get used to it we’ll be hitching up the trailer and getting back on the road, going north instead of west to take advantage of the dry season. Straight through the outback to Darwin, west through the Kimberleys to Broome, then south to Perth: approximately 4,500 miles of driving.

That is a crapload of driving.

It makes me appreciate being in one place for the first half of the year, because if this domino effect continues, I have absolutely no idea where we might be at the end.

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