“À la prochaine” is French for “Until next time” – the phrase I’m sure many of us would prefer to use when it comes to saying farewell to a dear family who left Perth last night, to return to South Africa. Nic, Edith, Joshua, and Jesse; this is a brief tribute to you that I hope will carry you through this time until God brings you back to Australia. At the very least, I hope it makes you all aware of the void that’s been left behind in your absence.
I (Tim) don’t mean to make you feel guilty, because I know the circumstances were outside of your control. I just thought it would be appropriate to have a written record of the difference you’ve made in our lives in such a short time in Perth. I guess I’m writing this partly for my own memory (like every post I write), but mostly for your encouragement.
When we left Canada to come to Perth, we knew only one family in the entire state of WA (which, practically speaking, is the entire country). We were excited for an adventure and all the changes it would bring, but – like everyone who relocates internationally – we were concerned about whether we’d fit into whatever new community we found ourselves a part of. Knowing you’ll have a church family wherever you go is always great, but people are people, and you just never know.
Edith: from the first Sunday we attended Citylight Church, you stood out – amongst a group of very welcoming and warm-hearted people – as a friend who Kathryn could immediately connect with. It’s actually kind of crazy, how you both (Nic and Edith) welcomed us into your lives as if we’d been friends all along; it’s quite rare and wonderful to have that kind of instant connection.
After we enjoyed our first meal together at Salt on the Beach, Kathryn and I knew we’d found a family we could connect with in many ways. You’ve brought us meals and provided us with date nights, given us new perspectives on matters of theology and living, and inspired us in lots of ways. Nic, I’m disappointed that you’ve left just as we started getting more into our discussions on beliefs about Creation and Evolution!
Edith, I don’t know what you’re made of, but I think it’s part cyborg. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone as practical and tireless as you when it comes to serving. Most people think about things that have to be done, groan and moan a little bit, and then maybe get onto it, if they can muster the energy. Many people come up with ideas for activities that would be fun or interesting, but then get disillusioned when it comes to organising and executing; you are not one of those people! It seems like you have an immunity to the laziness and complacency that affects the masses, and it really is inspirational. It feels like we’d need 3 more people to accomplish as much as you have in the church, in mom’s group, and in all of our personal lives.
Nic, I admire you for standing up to your employer for the sake of family time. If you compromise with an employer when it comes to time with your kids, your employer and kids will both soon realize where your priorities lie. Even though it’s resulted in having to leave the country this time around, I support your decision and I pray (and know) that God will open the door to a new opportunity for you to provide for and be with your kids.
When I think of Australia these days – what it means to me after almost one year – I pictures the red, rusty rocks of the Pilbara; the beaches, beautiful blue skies, and gum trees; brick paving and Terracotta roofs; spacious, decked-out public gardens and parks; and a handful of families that have helped make this country home. You guys were the first of our family away from home, and without you Australia will not be the same place – I’m serious. We look forward with great anticipation to the day you return, unless of course life takes you elsewhere, and if that’s the case we will always remember our time together fondly.
Thank you for the good times. We wish you all the very best during this stage of your lives, however long it may last.