A gentleman named Chaffy once told me, “you’ll never find a better place than Yallunda Flat.” Coming from Canada, I thought he was out of his mind, but once I immersed myself into this amazing community, I knew exactly what Chaffy meant. Yallunda Flat is a pretty special home away from home.
My hometown is Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. I was raised in a Russian community by my mother and grew up with my two brothers. I remember being eager to leave for the big city and as soon as I graduated I moved to North Vancouver, where I lived the last 10 years of my Canadian life. I studied fashion illustration and design - designing and wholesaling clothing, producing fashion shows and wardrobe consulting. On weekends I often lost myself in the forests on my mountain bike, nothing beat the smell of pine trees and the damp forest floor.
After several years, I began bartending and managing Seymour’s Pub, while studying child and youth care counselling and psychology and joining a support group that opened a Youth Drop-in centre for suicide prevention. After my university placement fell through, I decided to visit my older brother and his partner who lived in Adelaide, with the intention of continuing my Australian travels. A month after arriving in 2006 I met EP local Julian Wait, near the end of his football career with the Port Maggies. Here is where I fell in love…and not only with Aussie rules.
I began working for Ramsey Investigation Services and Julian and I married in Canada in June, 2007. Our first child, Kade, arrived eight weeks early in 2009 and what a ride that was! In 2011, we welcomed our daughter Evie into our world. In December 2012, Julian and I decided to embrace our country roots and moved back to the EP, settling in Tumby Bay.
In 2013 I faced some incredibly testing moments. I joined the Port Lincoln Volleyball Association and, after five weeks, snapped both bones in my right leg. Thirteen weeks of rehabilitation and learning to walk again was a challenge with very active children. Shortly after this, we lost my husband’s father, Chaffy, in a farm accident at Cockaleechie. In April 2015, we moved to the family farm at Yallunda Flat and for the last three years, Julian and I have successfully increased our beautiful Black Angus numbers, while still cropping a bit. I have learned to drive a tractor and, on the odd occasion, experienced the wonderful anxiety that comes with pulling a spray unit out from being bogged!
As a stay-at-home-mum, I found myself on numerous committees, where last year the Yallunda Flat A&H Society believed in me enough to hand over the site coordination position. Helping to pull the 2017 Yallunda Flat Show together was one of my prouder achievements. Nothing beats seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces, it was just as I imagined. In November 2017, I became an SSO at Tumby Bay Area School, where I could once again embrace my passion of working with children and youth. I have taken up volleyball again and, at 41-years-old, have never been happier.
Do I miss home? Of course! I have been able to return to Canada about every two years and each time I am mesmerized by its beauty and grandness. But I’m proud to say, “you’ll never find a better place than Yallunda Flat.” This land I now call home.