The very first move was to Perth. G went ahead, he found a house for us to live in and began his new job. I continued on with my life in Adelaide while having conversations about the wedding, the dress, the flowers, and the food. There were a lot dinners with friends, catch ups and coffees. I may be the only bride who had to have her dress let out rather than let in, before the big day. I was trying to squeeze everything in before I left (literally). One last visit to the favourite Thai restaurant, one last coffee at the cafe. G sent flowers to the office on a regular basis, we wrote letters and talked on the phone until two in the morning.
I had to ask G for the details again this morning because when I thought back to the logistics, I realized how crazy we must have looked to our friends and family.
No-one said a thing. Not one person asked "are you sure?"
Three weeks after we began seeing each other, we were engaged. Twelve weeks later, we were married and moving city. I left it all behind, my job, my house, my family, my friends. Twelve weeks earlier I had no plans of moving anywhere, none.
"So, we'd been together for about eight weeks and you moved to Perth?" I needed to double check the facts.
"I think so, I came back a few times before we got married though - I think we were only apart for about four weeks"
We spent our first night in Perth, in the spare room of a friend of G's. While G and I were newly married, G's mate was newly single - and bitter. He and his wife had broken up, she'd met a guy online. She didn't tell him she was leaving, she just went on a holiday and never came back. He found all of the details after she'd left, the hours of online chat that she'd saved. He told us he'd read through it all, piecing it together. She'd pretended to go to the office when she was actually going to a hotel room to meet her lover who had flown in from London. "I'll never trust another woman again". I decided to go to bed.
I opened the wardrobe in our room to hang something - she'd left her wedding dress behind. It was just left hanging in amongst some faded jeans and unwanted shirts. It had no use, no value, it had become a symbol of something that was broken and discarded. Our first night of our new adventure and we were smacked in the face with the reality of how badly a marriage can end.
G drove me to our first home the next day. It was stinking hot, the house didn't have air-conditioning and there was a multitude of dead cockroaches laying belly up all over the floor. There was no door between the bedroom and bathroom. I am girl that needs a door between the toilet and her husband.
The honeymoon was over.
We lived in that house for a year. I have the same memories and visions each time I think of that house. The prostitutes who lived next door, the naked woman who appeared in the middle of a dinner party, the break-ins, the very first pregnancy test. We sat up late discussing budgets, trying to work out how to have a baby and buy a house. We made the decision to move to Indonesia. We saved like crazy in that first year of marriage, one wage went straight in the bank and we lived on the other. We barely went out but once a week we'd do a really fancy dinner at home. G perfected his seafood risotto. Every time I eat seafood risotto I think of that house. It remains to be my favourite G meal.
It's been a busy weekend. Actually, it's been a really busy week. G's been heading to the office at 5.30 each morning and falling asleep with his laptop open each night. We've been doing the morning routine without him and we've all missed him. We've emailed and sent texts, we've barely talked. He made up for it all by making his seafood risotto. Yes, it's that good.
Last night we sat together with a glass of wine and a plate of risotto and talked. We talked about plans, about ideas, about schools, about how we're okay. Lots of talking, lots of catching up. A conversation that was overdue.
"So the risotto?" he asked looking down at my empty plate.
Yep, it's still a get your knickers off meal.
I need to show the little travelers my wedding dress. It's wrapped in tissue and tucked away safely in a box at my mothers. I didn't love the dress, I'm not a wedding dress person; but I love the memory of the dress, the fact that it was there on the day and the day was good. It was the beginning of a conversation.
For the history of the "Get your knickers off" meal. Look here.
And here's the recipe.
3 tablespoons of dry white wine
1 cup aborio rice
250 gram piece of salmon, 4 scallops and 250 grams of prawns
olive oil and butter
3 tablespoons of sour cream
1 litre of chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
1/2 cup dill
parmesan cheese - to taste
black pepper - to taste
arugula lettuce - good hand-full
Finely slice spring onions and garlic.
Prepare a pot of chicken stock in a saucepan - maintain at a hot but not simmering temperature.
Add a slug of olive oil to a heavy pan.
Slowly cook the spring onions and garlic, mashing them lightly as the cook.
Do not brown the onions and garlic, they should remain translucent and shiny as you cook them.
Add aborio rice to the pan,mix the rice, garlic and spring onions until the rice is shiny and all coated.
Add dry white wine and reduce.
Add 1-2 ladles of warm (but not simmering) chicken stock to the rice.
Stir as the stock is absorbed, add white pepper.
Continue to add 1-2 ladles of stock until the rice is cooked.
When the rice is close to ready add the salmon and prawns.
When the salmon and prawns are cooked, add the dill and two heaped tablespoons of sour cream.
Fold the mix of the rice, sour cream, seafood and dill together.
In a separate pan melt the butter.
When the salmon and prawns are a nice pink color, start cooking the scallops in the pan with the melted butter.
When the salmon and prawns are pink and the scallops have a golden colour, you are ready to plate up.
Place the risotto mix off center on the plate, dress with two two scallops.
Add a small handfull of the argula lettuce.
Parmasean and black pepper to taste.