Slowly embracing Shepp life

February 09, 2018

‘‘Every experience is a learning opportunity’’ was an important philosophy for Ash Witoslawski in her decision to make the ‘‘moove’’ to Shepparton.

It has been just more than a year since I left the comfort of my Melbourne life and headed to Shepparton for work.

I was definitely apprehensive, but I looked forward to embracing this new challenge and drastic change.

Growing up in the north-east Melbourne suburbs, I never thought of myself as much of a ‘‘city gal’’.

The train came every 45 minutes and the local pub was the only place you could grab a drink late at night.

No-one from inner-city Melbourne would consider you to be one of them.

It was not until I made my way into Shepparton, past the flat, dry paddocks adorned with pivot irrigators and headers that I realised there would be some real lessons I needed to learn — including what the heck pivot irrigators and headers were!

One of the biggest things I have noticed about moving to Shepparton is you need to learn quickly when abbreviating Shepparton that it is Shepp with two Ps, rather than one.

When I receive messages from loved ones back home, the lack of a second P on the end stands out like a sore thumb and quickly makes me feel like a Shepp local.

Any credit I feel I have gained from mastering the extra P on the end of Shepp is slowly taken away though when somebody asks for my last name and I lack any relation to others in the Goulburn Valley.

It is probably not something many Goulburn Valley people would notice from one another, but barely an exchange with a stranger goes by when someone does not ask: ‘‘What’s your last name?’’

Some days I think it would be lovely for people to know my aunt or uncle or second cousin who they used to play footy with, but then again, I feel popularity can sometimes be a curse.

I have never had the last name experience in Melbourne, which makes me sure it is a country thing.

As much as using the word ‘‘town’’ over ‘‘suburb’’.

This one continues messing me up until this day, as I often find myself calling Camberwell a town and Tatura a suburb.

It’s like the extra P situation again.

It makes you an outsider and labels you instantaneously ‘‘city’’ or ‘‘country’’, depending on your location.

All I can say is I am enjoying the steep learning curve and when I am feeling out of place, I think of one of my favourite quotes — ‘‘Every experience is a learning opportunity’’.

I am hoping one day soon I will comfortably fit in both places, but for now, thank you to the Goulburn Valley for embracing me.

Ash Witoslawski is a News journalist.

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