|Susan lands her second catch of the day.|
RETIREMENT has been the farthest thing in her mind, but when she received the news about the coming of her first grandson on August 19, 2011, she thought of reconsidering.
Excited over her becoming a grandma finally -- Susan Hernandez-Ratcliffe (JPHS Batch '70) and Steve, her Aussie husband of 30 years, set off for a 10-hour drive to Cairns, in Queensland, Australia, where their only son Kurt, his wife Hayley and their first baby, Eli James, live.
Sue and Steve reside in Mackay, a bustling resort city, also in northern Queensland. However, because of their distance from Cairns, they could not just see their children pronto unless they decided to embark on a long holiday.
The reunion of the Ratcliffe family was quite a big party - minus the guests - as the hollers and guffaws over the pinkish bundle that was their grandson and first baby, who was just three-day old, had filled up the entire house.
Would she really want to retire so she could be with her grandson 24 hours a day?
Thinking about it, she thought otherwise, knowing that she could be giving her daughter-in-law the competition in trying to get Eli James favor.
Now back in Mackay, nestled in a caravan which they call home, Sue and Steve are back into the grind of things -- she working as part-time cook at GoodShepherd Lodge - a home for the elderly (she works four days a week, which is convenient for her lifestyle) - and Steve in a mining camp nearby.
|At the JPHS Pista Sa Nayon ... dancing the Palayok Dance|
Until five years back, they were living in the bustling city of Brisbane - their home for 25 years.
But when Steve finally decided that he'd become tired of the city and needed real fresh air, they sold their sprawling property with a six-bedroom house and moved up to Mackay City, tagging along with them a weekend fishing boat and a mobile home.
But before they finally set off for Mackay, they bought a new six-bedroom house in Cairns and had it rented. "It's for investment," says Sue.
"I've grown tired cleaning a big house," Sue said. "But living in a caravan is cool ... because I don't have to spend great time cleaning it ..."
They live in a caravan park along other campers where the amenities are complete and efficiently working, and which is just a short distance from her workplace, supermarkets and malls.
And happily, the caravan park is just a stone's throw away from the marina where their fishing boat is parked, waiting for them to sail it for a weekend fishing.
Sue holidays in Manila once a year and would spend a few days in her childhood community of Parang, in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, to see old friends and schoolmates.
Did she miss the Pista sa Nayon - a yearly affair those days -- at JPHS?
"Oo naman ... ang galling-galing ko atang sumayaw ng 'Los bailes de ayer' [Dances of Yesterday] at tinikling....!" - AP HERNANDEZ
|Susan and hubby Steve shoot the breeze at the Mackay marina while relaxing in their weekend fishing boat|