David and I have split up — albeit temporarily. I’m now back in Brisbane, and he’s still down on the South Coast of NSW with the girls (1000 km away).

After leaving Canberra, we drove to the coast, where we met up with Tim (David’s youngest brother) in a small town called Broulee. We explored the area with the girls, returning to a lovely park on the beach at Moruya Heads.

Tim and David took Tim’s (single-person) canoe out on the waves. With the two men in it, it was precariously riding each swell, and they worked really hard to keep it balanced. After rounding the head, David decided it was safer to walk back along the beach, and poor Tim ended up in the water when he attempted to land the canoe through the breakers.

On another day, David took Aïcha and me canoeing on a very calm river. Initially hesitant: “Aïcha no like ‘noo”, Aïcha decided it was a fun activity and even later went for rides with Tim.

At one camp spot in a National Park, the local wildlife came right up to our picnic table, even onto it. We had several possums trying to steal food, and a big kangaroo came and ate out of David’s hand. (The camera is still with David, so I’ll show the pics later.)

On Friday we spent a wonderful day bushwalking around Governor Head in Jervis Bay. We started out on the cliffs, but David spied a track that led to the rock pools below. David and I both tried a (very quick) dip in the sea, and Aïcha loved playing with the beads of seaweed in the rockpools. It was our last day together, and we spent it nicely as a family — outdoors and having fun.

On Saturday I caught the train from Nowra to Newcastle, where I was able to see my Mum who was en route to Tamworth to stay with the Croakers. I had a nice evening at my aunt’s house in Newcastle (Mum and I stayed up chatting until 11) before catching the very early flight to Brisbane.

When I got home, I was amazed at how big and spacious the house was! After living first in the small Leeton house, then in the even smaller Freedom Truck, I had forgotten what it was like at home.

My only hiccup at home was a flat battery in the car, but my very kind neighbours (who looked after the house nicely while we were away for 2 1/2 months) lent me a charger. But as the house was sooooooo quiet and empty, I finally ended up at Ben & Cheryl’s house, where I’ve been sleeping.

It’s been fun to commute with Ben into town, and it’s a much shorter commute — 20 minutes instead of 40. Cheryl has been advising me on my hair and clothes, and they’ve been a real encouragement to me at this time.

I’m working full time in our communications unit, primarily as the media liaison officer, but also on major marketing projects. It’s an exciting role, and it’s only possible because David agreed to stay home with the girls.

I’ve had two days back at work, and I’ve been welcomed back very warmly. I’m very excited and enthusiastic to be back at work, although it’s exhausting. Tomorrow is a public holiday (fantastic!), and then there’ll be two more days of work before the weekend.

David has been playing around with the girls and Tim, stopping where there are nice places to be, and continuing on with no set agenda. He’ll slowly make his way home, and he’s assured it me it won’t take longer than six months.

We’re talking several times a day, and it’s so fun to hear his reports about the girls. Aïcha’s vocabulary is expanding at an astonishing rate, delighting and surprising Tim and David. She’s even starting to talk to me properly on the phone.

I have work to do at the house tomorrow and on the weekend — shopping and cleaning and fetching our dog from her babysitters, but perhaps I’ll keep sleeping at the Fishers’… it’s nice to still be part of a family.