Leaving Dangar is not an easy choice to make. We have a beautiful life here on this island in the Hawkesbury. The children here accept a freedom that many Australian kids can only dream of. A wonderful beach for swimming or wallowing depending on the tide, riding their bikes safely around without a worry of traffic (except on bin day and the occasional other), jumping off wharves, and travelling by ferry to school. We will miss all of these things.
Most of all we will miss YOU, our community, who rallied around us when we were in our darkest moments (and we have had a few). We will never forget your kindness and charity. We are moving away from family as well. My parents, Ken and Jean Johnston, are quasi-locals and they will miss their island getaway.
I know many of you were surprised to hear of our decision to move away. To Adelaide of all places. Yes, we know it’s HOT! Power outages at the whim of the government. And those big sharks. We know.
I’m not sure how to put it into words so you get our perspective. Some of you are intuitive and ‘get it’ without me saying a word. That word is RESET. Our family has survived years of extreme stress and worry, and you might wonder what sane person would up and shift when things are just settling down? Andy and I have always been adventurous, we have travelled extensively together, we are a great team and we have made great choices in the past. We believe this is another one. We could not have made this choice 12 months ago (James still on treatment, we didn't know if it had worked). We are in a different head space now. We are not willing to have regrets and wonder what it might have been like. We have been given another (is this our second?) chance and when the opportunity came up to consider Adelaide as a place to live we decided to look into it.
Adelaide, if you haven’t been, is a planned city. It’s neat and tidy and appeals to my sense of orderliness. Its family friendly. It has great schools. Amazing places to explore. Food. Wine. And if you ask my kids they will go on about the parkour playground a ten minute bike ride from our new home, and the massive sting ray we saw in the crystal clear waters beneath Glenelg jetty.
This move is a big lifestyle change for us. Andy will be travelling less, a lot less. No more international trips every 2nd month and a much shorter commute. The difference in daily commute time alone buys us ten hours a week of family time.
I didn't mean for it to happen but having a sick child defines you. While James was sick, and then recovering we needed to withdraw from most of our responsibilities and social invitations, mostly to keep James safe and healthy. I didn't see people as much. People didn't understand and friendships have fallen away. People don't know what to say. We are forever grateful to those of you who stuck by us and supported us in this period and beyond, you know who you are – we love you.
Andy is going to miss his Sunday social bowls. Even more he is going to miss the bowlers. Such an important part of his life this last 9 years or so.
I hope we have contributed a little to this incredible community. I know our presence has fallen away over the last few years, out of necessity and self-preservation.
The Payne Family