Well. What an amazing few weeks it's been so far. I've only been on two WWOOF assignments, but I am absolutely loving everything about it - the change of pace, the change of scenery, the new experiences and people, the scratches on my arms and the dirt under my fingernails.
I've planted Bok Choy seedlings, heaved a barrow, laid down a big area of wet newspapers and mulch ready for planting, washed dogs, baked bread and cleared weeds up to my waist. I've taken a V-Line train. I've squashed wolf spiders and eyeballed a croc (leering from behind a thick pane of glass, mind you).
I've met some great characters - young Sam, the inspiration for my first written piece for the creative writing class I'm doing. Elvis the growling rooster. Nettie, the woman with a thousand lives and a heart of gold; and her two grown boys who brought me flowers from the roadside (sweethearts, both of them). Marshmallow the newborn calf with the cutest pink nose you've ever seen. Brucey the overenthusiastic border collie. And Screech the cockatoo who thought he was a cat, sidling up to you and resting his head on your leg until you stroked the downy feathers under his crest.
The warmth and generosity of the people I've stayed with has been a pleasant surprise, but the beauty of the Victorian countryside has left me open-mouthed. Where have I been all these years? After heavy rainfalls all over the state last night, on the train journey home I looked out of the window and actually caught my breath at the sight of the trees rising out of the vast pools of still, muddy water.
I have seen some beautiful sights on my travels, but this was something else entirely, something that pulled at my heart and said you belong here. It only took 7.5 years away for me to realise it.