Monday, February 27, 2012

The Start of My New Adventure.

As Mum and Dad excitedly exclaimed, "welcome to your new adventure!" I kinda like that idea of this as my new adventure, and more so their enthusiasm :)

Monday Feb 20 - Ok, so I have arrived at Frankland Estate in seriously, the middle of nowhere Frankland, in Great Southern Australia. After a 4 hour bus ride from Perth, to Kojonup, I got off the bus and laid my bags on a bench beneath a tourist board displaying mostly Aboriginal historical sites and natural explorations of the area and looked around the car park to not knowing who would be picking me up to the realization that there was no one there waiting for me. The bus was surprisingly on time so I gave a little bit of leeway before panic set in and would have to make a phone call. Luckily, shortly after, a car pulled up with a smiling woman waving to me. 
Kojonup, from the one main street that drove through it, despite the fact that it actually had a bus stop from Perth was extremely quiet. We went to the “big” supermarket in town, an IGA, which was noticeably clean, orderly, and well stocked, but empty of mid-day shoppers. If Kojonup was considered one of the bigger towns in the area, I had little expectations of life in Frankland. “I forgot to mention to you in our emails how isolated we are out here,” Elizabeth commented. I smiled somewhat nervously. 
We drove for about 50 kilometers on pretty straight but hilly roads surrounding on either side by huge trees offering the road some shade and blocking the views of the expansive yellow fields behind them, until we suddenly arrived in Frankland. It all went by so quickly I’m not sure I really have a grasp for what Frankland is, or is not. We passed by the local store, which they call “the Bank” because it is overpriced, and I suppose being in the middle of nowhere you can get away with charging ridiculous amounts to desperate shoppers. A community center was pointed out but I am not sure I saw it, there were a couple houses or buildings along the road, but then we turned the corner, passed an agricultural supply store and a sign for the Frankland Golf Course, and then it was gone. We drove for another 5 or 10 minutes and as we came across the hill Elizabeth welcomed me to Frankland Estate as we could see the blocks of vineyards in front of us. I could feel a smile come across my face. I don’t know what it is about the magic of a vineyard: the neat rows of vines line the hills absorbing the soil and withstanding the heat of the sun and cool nights to be ultimately turned into something (hopefully) delicious for people to enjoy. And now I was going to be a part of this process.

The sign welcoming us said please call for appointments, as they do not get very many visitors stopping by for tastings. This is not Margaret River, which they call the Napa Valley of Western Australia, where vineyard after vineyard welcomes open cellar doors for free-for-all tastings. The road, their driveway, was cinnamon dusted dirt and I chuckled to myself at this introduction to a new life. As we drove up to the winery, Elizabeth pointed out all the different varietals on the vines and then as we approached she said, “I told you it was just a big tin shed.”

my new home!! 
We drove on through more rows of vines to the little house where I would be staying. Somewhere off a dirt road to the right was where Hunter and his family lived, and over the hills a barely visible house where Elizabeth and her family lived appeared quickly, and I couldn’t even see where the mother and father of the estate lived.
the house in the distance, a 5 min walk from the winery.
My new home is simple and basic, but perfect. The front door is led from the dirt road by sprouting purple lavender and a huge rosemary bush. Inside, there’s a fully equipped kitchen (fully-equipped with a mouse too), a dining room table, a TV with four channels and a DVD player with 1 DVD (Milk), another room with an old fashioned fire place and a couch, three bedrooms (one’s attached to the bathroom) and a wrap around veranda. We’ve already met our roomies: a black spider in the drain, a ginormous Huntsman spider lurking on the walls outside, the noisiest swarm of black flies, a mouse and apparently a rat, there’s a field of grazing sheep that will become our lunch, gawking guinea fowl I’m sure will be part of our dinner but, I have yet to see a snake. It’s perfect!
The view of our backyard from the porch. We moved the couch outside and many nights so far have been spent sitting on the couch until the sun goes down and then the stars come out. 
It’s still too new to know how I feel about the remoteness. Work will be consistent and nice to have a routine and responsibilities while at the same time hopefully learning. It’s really nice to have my own room and little home for once. I just have my backpack, so the simplicity of it is quite appropriate. I am feeling intimidated about the wine work, not knowing what I’m supposed to do, or what I’m supposed to know and what’s expected of me, but I am anticipating hard work, despite the magic the vineyards exude, work is never as glamorous as one might think. I’ll be up early cleaning casks and folding boxes to case dozens of wine bottles instead of sipping on the fruits of our labour and frolicking amongst the vines. Maybe because I have no obligation to stay here and initiated this experience on my own, I am looking forward to the change of pace, the new experiences, and the different lifestyle, despite how much I enjoyed the “city” life of Perth. It would be nice if we at least had a cell phone reception at the house (tin roofs apparently reflect the signal) but maybe it will be nice to not be so reliant on technological communication that become so easily dependent and time-consumingly distractive. It’s definitely an “author’s quiet” which mum and dad will like as they encourage me to write a book :) (as you can probably tell by the amount I write via Word then copy and paste onto the internet when I have the ability to – writing is like my social outreach into the black hole of cyber space where someone might be listening/reading with the possibility of a response/interaction)  

 The sunsets are Gorgeous!
The vines and vast sky.

Somehwere in me since I reached out and was invited to have this opportunity, I have felt good and right about this new move, this new direction, and this new adventure. 

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