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Lost and found! by Cassie Beattie
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Lost and found! by Cassie Beattie
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Synopsis

For a city girl with a sense of adventure, the rough desert countryside of Australia can be a brutal reality, on the other hand, teh experience can bring a bonus. obooko.

Also by Cassie Beattie on obooko:

Elise
Summer Camp
Claire

Excerpt:

This story starts a few years ago now, When I was 15 I was offered a full scholarship at NIDA (national institute of dramatic arts), For me it would mean that I would have to leave my home, my family and everything I knew to pursue my dream of becoming a great ballet dancer. My parents didn’t want me to go but I whinged them into submission and eventually they let
me go.

Fast forward…

5 years later

I find myself broke, with 1 year still to complete of my NIDA degree, my grades sliding in the wrong direction and the man I had expected to spend the rest of my life with running off with a boy he met at school. So I did the only thing I could think of, I asked the school for a leave of absence and went home to my parent’s house. After living in Sydney for just over 5 years, Adelaide seems so sleepy and boring, I found the money to fly home by selling my car and all of the things I wouldn’t need to take home. It was awful, I love my parents but I always imaged I would be returning for a visit as a star, not as a poor, lost and hurt student. My parents were funny they seemed more concerned about my weight. I guess the hours of training and work had taken their toll on me physically and mentally, I spent the first few days with my folks sleeping or lounging around. After a few days I knew I needed to get out and do something, so I borrowed my mum’s car for the day and went for a drive to see my Nan, she was in a nursing home and was so excited to see me. I was so glad some one was proud of me; I sat at her feet and poured out everything in my heart, she understood and listened then she slapped me in the back and said “welcome to the real world”, I laughed and laughed until it hurt. I really needed the reality check. When I got home my parents were out the back cleaning their caravan, I stuck my head in the door to let them know I was back!

At about this point I should introduce myself my name is Isabella Burton, I am the youngest of 5 children all girls. My mum is a nursery teacher and my dad is a policeman, my nearest sister is 14 yrs older than me, so I really don’t have much of a relationship with any of them. I was born and raised in Tusmore, a sleepy suburb of Adelaide, it was a nice house but when my parents bought it all of us kids were living at home, now we are gone it seems stupidly big for 2 adults and 3 or 4 dogs depending on what my dad is doing.

The night after visiting my Nan I sat at my mum’s computer and applied for jobs all over the country, not having a lot of real world experience was a bit of a problem. There are not a lot of jobs out there for ballet dancers, musicians and actors. One of the jobs I applied for was in a place called Daly Waters, I had no idea where it was, but they were looking for a governess for 4 children, only prerequisite was that you had finished high school and you were happy to relocate. I was looking for a new challenge and I had nothing keeping me where I was.

A couple of days later I received a phone call from the job in Daly Waters, the man I spoke to seemed really nice, he explained that there were 4 children aged between 4 and 7, they attended the school of the air but required some one to keep an eye on them and to make sure everything was done. It sounded pretty easy, we chatted easily for about 15 minutes before I was offered the job on a 3-month trial. He told me the location was very harsh and he didn’t expect me to commit until I had really experienced it. It sounded fair, so I agreed; the man (Barry) said he would send me an email confirming the terms of employment. The job paid about $30,000 per year but it included a furnished 3-bedroom home, all my meals and all other living expenses except petrol. Sounded like a sweet deal, he also said I would only work 4-5 hours a day with the kids but may be asked too watch them at other times. It was a job and I wasn’t going to complain.

I got the email that afternoon, I read through it, it was exactly as I expected, I did call Barry to ask if I would be allowed to bring a dog with me. I should also explain my dad works for the police Dog squad and I had become very attached to a retired dog that was living with them while waiting for a new home. Barry said it was fine but I would be expected to look after it and pay for its food. Not an issue, now I had to convince my dad that the dog would be all right with me.

That night I asked my parents if I could borrow some money, I had taken a job in the sticks and needed to buy a reliable car. They were excited about the job, I told them all about it, they were dubious as to if I would be able to cope in the bush but they also agreed it would be a good experience for me. My darling parents didn’t loan me the money, they gave me my dads old ford station wagon. It was lemon yellow in colour and it was perfect, my dad was looking at getting rid of it any way. I think my parents were also looking forward to getting rid of me as well; it had been a few years since we had all left home and I guess it was a bit unsettling for all of us.

I signed the employment agreement and asked when they wanted me there. The response was as soon as I got there, I was to learn that time is different in the sticks but at this point I was so excited to have a job and be doing something. I had dad’s old car serviced, everything checked over and even had the tyres checked of course everything was fine, but it made me feel better. My Nan had given me a few thousand dollars to get me through, I was so grateful for the money; I didn’t want to have to ask my parents for money to get me through, since they had given me the car. With a few days until I planned to leave I made sure I had everything I thought I would need, I even bought new sheets and towels for my new home, my mum packed me a box of long life foods and crockery and cutlery. I also broached the topic of taking the dog with my dad, he was happy for him to come with him on the condition that I looked after him.