Host: Country Downs Station
Written by Nikki Elezovich – Owner and Jenna – Governess, Country Downs Station.
Yesterday, you got to meet Josh, our newest member of the team. Today, you all get to meet our current Governess, Jenna. Now, Jenna is from Finland and started out with us undertaking her rural work in order to obtain her second year working visa. Pretty much from the 3rd or 4th day (yes . . . I did say day), I knew that Jenna was great with (and for), the kids. The boys loved her and more importantly to a Mum, I trusted her with my children! I am sure that most mothers would agree, but when an opportunity like this comes around (which doesn’t happen often), you grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and just make it happen!
Thus, this is the story of Jenna, our Finnish governess, who as you can well imagine, now has a very good understanding of, not only Aussie humour, but the whole art-form of ‘taking the mickey’, particularly of one’s self! It’s not over, but it is definitely Finnish! Ciao, Nikki
About six months ago I arrived in Broome with no idea what my next three months would bring with them. It was my time to do my three months rural work as I’m originally from Finland and came to Australia with a working holiday visa. It’s possible to extend it for another year by working three months in regional area and there was no doubt that I wouldn’t have done that, as during my eight first months in Australia I had totally fell in love with this wonderland.
I was born in a small farm, my family had a dairy farm with 10 milking cows and that’s how they earned their living. My parents divorced when I was three years old which meant that it was my time to move to town with my mum and my two brothers. I still didn’t leave the country life totally behind me as I visited my dad regularly (even though he no longer had any cattle) and my cousin’s farm where I spent several weekends and holidays. Their farm is bigger than the average dairy farm in Finland; they have around 50 milking cows which is about double the average size of a dairy farm in Finland. So even though I didn’t know what to expect of station-life (as we don’t have stations in Finland), I thought that I would be fine as I’m not a total city chick because of my background.
But once I had arrived to Broome and we started driving to the station I was already astonished. How is it possible that the red dirt was called a real road? There is no way that I could have driven my car on that kind of road in Finland. The first couple of nights were terrible; so many noises and insects were just about to drive me crazy. I really thought that I would cope with this kind of lifestyle, but after two nights I wasn’t far from packing my bags and ask Nikki to drive me back to the airport. My friends and family have always told me how capable and strong a person I am, where ever in my life I was, I would always be fine.
But moving from Perth to the middle of nowhere with no phone reception, slow internet connection, not many people to talk to, dealing with all the weird animals, insects and the terrible, hot weather which made me feel tired 24 hours a day, I really started doubting my capability. I remember sending emails to my friends and telling them how the three months will never be over but they kept telling me that soon I would realize how time just flies by (but of course I didn’t believe that).
But after about three weeks things started to change and I noticed that I was no longer counting how many days I had left. The tiredness disappeared and I started seeing lots of good things about living on a station. When I got up in the morning I could smell and see the beautiful nature which was just starting to wake up with all those birds singing and sun rising between the trees. It was amazing to see how the animals here are living a wonderful life; they have lots of room to walk and wander around, do their own natural things and socialise with each other. I have never been so happy than what I’m now when I have a steak or a goat curry in front of me as I can be sure that I exactly know what I’m going to eat and that the animals have had such a good life. Also the feeling in the morning when you get up and instead of one hour it takes only five minutes to get ready, as in this kind environment you don’t even need to think about your make-up or doing your hair. It was so good to see how grateful my skin was because I stopped wearing make-up. And because I don’t have all the media, phone, internet etc around me all the time, I finally had time for dreaming and my own thoughts. Every night after dinner when I was walking to my room I stopped, had a look at the sky, and thanked God for the brightest and most beautiful sky with all the twinkling stars in it. It is also the first time for a long time when I have had time to have good 8-9 hours sleep every night.
At the end of May my three months were just about to come to an end and I asked Nikki and Kurt if I could stay for a bit longer as I was planning to go home for July so there was no point of going back to Perth just for a month. They said yes and surprised me with a question if I would be interested in coming back here after being in Finland and start officially working for them as a governess. As I get along with the family so well and love the peacefulness, my own space and the life style in general, it took me one night to make my decision and soon I told them that I would be back at the end of July. So I had my big holiday back home which I really enjoyed, but after being away from Australia for over a month I could feel the calling of Australia deep inside me; it was great to see all my loved ones but at the same time I was more than happy to come back.
I promised to Nikki and Kurt that I could stay three months after getting back here but after that I needed to leave as I have a visa only for one year and if I still want to stay in Australia (which I sure do), I need time to find a sponsorship to stay here. Now it is already the beginning of September which makes me a bit sad as it means that I have already been here for a month, which means that I only have two more to go, how is it possible as I feel that I just got back here a week ago?! I don’t want to think about it too much yet, better to enjoy the moment and all the good things I have around me here at this moment.
In less than six months I can already say that I have really got into this kind of life. In addition to what I have already told, I love my job! Those two gorgeous boys I’m looking after make me laugh every single day. You can’t find more honest colleagues than two and five year old boys. I’m not saying that it’s always easy, but most of the time I can’t even think of any better and more enjoyable job. I enjoy going jogging in the stunning nature. When people in cities say that exercise is time for themselves they should come here and experience the feeling when there is literally no one around and you can get the feeling that you get it all; the time and the space just for yourself. It always brings smile on my face when I’m running and I can see curious heads in the bush looking at me sometimes mooing or when I see a wallaby crossing the road just in front of me.
And there is no better place for a real foodie like me than a station with all of its beautiful fresh food; such as eggs, meat, and veggies. They are always so fresh and tasty and what a pleasure it is for your mind and body when you can go, collect your own eggs and veggies and eat them knowing what you’re putting in your mouth and where the food has come from. I love the nights when we are all having dinner together with a couple of drinks; sometimes talking about serious issues and sometimes telling the silliest jokes. Even though these people here are my employers, they feel more like family to me. It doesn’t matter what’s going on here, we all are always “playing the game as a team”.
Everyone can be who they are and get accepted exactly the way they are. It’s great to share your life and be surrounded by real people. It is what I think that most of the people who live in the country are like.
As nothing is only black and white, I also have had my hard times here. Sometimes I just feel like calling my friends, asking them for a cup of coffee or hitting the gym or going shopping and doing the “girly stuff”. Those feelings don’t come up very often or last long though. It’s also hard to see a sick animal, especially in cases when there is nothing you can do and in the end someone needs to “let the animal go”.
One of the hardest memories is when we had a baby goat whose mum didn’t want to accept him as her baby, so we needed to start bottle-feeding him. He became my own little baby as he was the first animal who I had ever looked after and took care of. For a few months he was all good and then one day we saw that he wasn’t feeling well. On the next day he laid under a car looking very sick. I went to get him out of there and in a few minutes after that he died in my lap. It took me time to realise what had happened but once I understood that he wouldn’t be out there anymore it really made me feel crushed, as he was my very own ‘baby-goat’. Even though those kinds of things happen and it always makes you feel sad, here I have learned about all kinds of happy and sad things, that birth and death are just a part of life and at some point you just need to get over them and move on.
I could still keep writing about all the thoughts which come to my mind one after another but instead of just a blog post this would turn into a book so I better start to finish as I’m Finnish (in case you might not get it, I better tell you that the fact that I’m from Finland and Finnish has become an everyday joke here which never seems to die!).
I could write about the beautiful blue sky, red dirt, stunning nature, cute little chicks and chooks who make me smile everyday by waiting for us at the gate at 4pm when we go to do chores and so many other things. I don’t know where life is going to take me when this journey comes to it’s end but at least I can tell that when I leave, I leave as a much stronger person who has grown up as a person so much more than I could have ever thought that anyone could grow in such a short time. My way of thinking and seeing things and the world has changed in so many ways and I look at life with a totally new perspective.
I feel so thankful for these people who have taught me so much and for God who has blessed the direction I have been walking in. Where ever I end up living in my life, I can be sure that I wouldn’t be there if I had missed even one single day on Country Downs Station. I have always thought that I’m a city girl and I still think that city-life is the life I want to live next, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one day I found myself living on a farm! I’ll take my life as it comes but at the same time I’ll live by my favourite saying; “don’t dream your life, live your dreams” and that’s is exactly what I’m doing right now!