Yesterday we made a day of going to Sydney. We left at 6am, dropped David at work and then went to Macquarie Centre to do some food shopping for our picnic. I had asked David only one question before we made our way to the shops. Would there be a place to park the bus? Of course there was, otherwise that would be the end of this traumatic tale of the (once city savvy) now country hick, who had a panic attack because the centre, that she once knew like the back of her hand, had grown to an enormous, mind boggling size. Oh the shame!
We parked in the minibus area and I unloaded the seven children, one of whom had the world’s most disgusting poo smell radiating from her lower half and another who had decided the car trip down would be a grand time to do the biggest wee of his life and soak through his nappy AND through his shorts. (I should have seen this as some sort of omen right then and there). Of course I had not packed any spares because that is just the way it goes… you never think to and that is when you need them the most.
On a little side note, I’ve proven this many times. For example the time we went to the paediatrician and Noah got car sick… you’d think a mother of seven would learn, wouldn’t you?
Anyway, we enter the shops after the standard "We already get alot of stares because we are a big family so please don’t do anything to draw more attention to yourselves with bad/odd/scary behaviour or we will never go out again" lecture. Our first stop is to the baby change room. It is modern and sparkly,with top of the range changing areas. To my left a fenced play area called to the kids while I cleaned up masses of… stuff you really don’t want to know about. Really. We were the only family in there. I mean, for about 30 seconds another child and her father came in but when he saw my gaggle he grabbed his daughter and ran for the hills. It was then I started to sweat. A feeling of inadequacy swept over me.
As we stepped out from the relative safety of the parents room, I tried to remember where the supermarket was. It was 8:30 in the morning, so it was still pretty quiet.
We wandered up and down levels and half an hour later we happened upon Woolworths. I see myself as a seasoned shopper, pride myself on it, even but this Woolies was confusing. I swear we only needed some BBQ chooks and some rolls and salad but an hour later we were at the checkout, ringing up our goods. It could have had something to do with the fact that five of the seven children were running all over the shop, overcome with it’s size and variety, or the fact that I spent a large part of the time telling kids that, "No, they couldn’t have garlic pickled peanuts/caramel flavoured chips/bacon topped donuts and to please go and put them back where they found them".
More likely, it was that one isle of this store was as big as half of my local supermarket!
My heart was palpating now, the shops crawling with hundreds of shoppers and I just wanted to go to the bus and be on our way. I couldn’t find our exit though. We went from level to level searching for our original point of entry.
As we walked around and around…and around, dodging cranky, abrupt, city dwellers and trying to find our car park, I realised two things. Firstly, that I had gotten used to the country lifestyle, the slower pace and secondly, that I was very lost… in a shopping centre of all places! Me! Queen of retail therapy!
I had to call David, who directed us to our level, between his chuckles. The sunlight was wonderful, the sight of the bus better. We all piled in, a little stressed from our (my) ordeal but with nourishment(and a new pair of shorts for Noah) in hand for our picnic.
We met up with Trish and her boys and had a lovely day. The big kids played hard, the little ones harder. We ate and talked and had a wonderful day at Rouse Hill Recreational Park. The day went so fast and soon it was time to say goodbye to our friends.
On the way home the girls twittered about how cool the Sydney area was and were full of wishes to move. Not me though. I think I’m a country girl at heart.