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A lot has happened during the 5 years since we relocated back to Melbourne so that Joe could start and finish his final four years of high schooling at Melbourne High.

Moving down at the end of 2015 after the great news of Joe’s acceptance into Melbourne High, we experienced the highs of Joe’s achievements along with some low points related to family health events.

As I write this, freshly returned to Melbourne after a 6 month separation from my family as a result of the scourge that is COVID-19 and the resulting necessary border closures, I marvel at the good fortune which has followed Joe through his time here in Melbourne.

Sport, music, leadership, interaction through social gatherings are all part of your school years and even more so as school captain and captain of boats at Melbourne High. Joe was fortunate to be able to be present, compete, engage, lead and socialise during his last year as a high school student.

The state and national rowing medals, the first place achieved by the orchestra and countless leadership events and gatherings Joe was part of are grateful memories, not because of what he achieved, but because he was simply able to participate – unlike the cohort of 2020.

Joe’s 2020 has been more than being about adjusting to a world new normal, but embarking on new challenges that extend beyond the natural transition into his university course.

Joining university clubs as a committee member with a view to actively participating in the leadership growth opportunities while establishing himself as a good, engaging and reliable tutor has meant rapid and fruitful adjustment to young adulthood in an age of terrible uncertainty.

This recent time off has given me a chance to pour over the thousands of photographs captured of not just the last five years, but even earlier when a two year old was living and learning on the mountain slopes of West Papua – providing us with a glimpse of what was to come.

Mark Christie July 2020