Whether you're relocating to salt water at your back door step or resizing to a simpler life, the exciting thing about starting a new chapter is the new beginnings; your new home, new friends and exploring new interests. Nina originally fell in love with Cape Paterson as a teenager and after a career overseas in fashion she returned home to Australia, and then to the beach town she loved. We talked to Nina about how she moved to Cape Paterson in her 60’s and Nina shared her hidden gems on Cape and how you too, can make your new adventure your 'own'.
1. Nina, when did you first discover Cape Paterson?
I was born in Malta and then our family migrated to Morwell, Victoria Australia when I was 6 years old, it was there that I attended Primary and Secondary School and made many lifelong friends. As a teenager my friend Lorraine Smith’s family had a beach house at Cape Paterson and they invited me to spend the summer time with them.
I loved the variety of beaches; the surf beaches and the ocean rock pool, not to mention the beautiful Bunurong Coastline. I have always loved being active, and as a teenager I enjoyed sports, the beach and the idea of travel. After a career abroad I returned to Melbourne with my work and children and I knew Cape Paterson would be a place I would return to live one day as the fond memories never faded.
2. For people moving to Cape Paterson and wanting to connect to the community what would you recommend?
When I first moved to Cape Paterson from Melbourne, I was working in education and going back and forth from Melbourne to Cape. My profession was always a great way to connect and make like minded friends. I connected with Wonthaggi Neighbourhood Centre at Mitchell House (WNC) . It is a non-profit, charitable organisation, based on community development principles, their purpose is to: Provide an environment where people can meet to learn and share ideas, friendship, skills and information.
I came up with an idea to run a 12-week Fashion Program, people came from everywhere, Leongatha, Inverloch, Wonthaggi, Korumburra and beyond. They learnt how to make a pattern and then they used it to sew their own clothing. It was a lot of fun and a really nice way to make new friends. My love of Mindfulness has been another great way to meet like minded friends. I have run courses on The Mindful Practice at the Mitchell House, this then led to conducting Mindful Retreats at my home which was extra special for me, as I got to share my Meditation Circle that I developed in my garden.
3. Nina, you have a designer's eye, what makes a house a home?
The kitchen is the heart of my home, I love to bake for friends and invite people over for dinner or afternoon tea, there is always something freshly baked for my guests, so I love the kitchen, doesn't everyone?
But I think when it comes to making your house a home 'break the rules' and fill your walls with memories and art that you love. My home in Cape Paterson is filled with the treasures that I have captured along the way, beautiful pictures, treasured artwork from artists, photographs and more. Every piece tells a story and holds a memory. I believe in the philosophy of mindfulness, it's easy to cast your eye to a corner of my home and see one of my many Buddha's - sitting peacefully, reminding me to breathe.
One of the highlights in my home would be my garden, I developed a meditation circle in my garden and I am so proud of it, I treasure the gatherings of togetherness I have experienced with special friends in this space. For people moving and working out where their new furniture goes in their new home, I would suggest that everyone finds a space in their home or garden where they feel that they can relax and recharge.
4. What advice do you have for those who are moving to Cape Paterson?
5. How did a girl from Morwell end up working in fashion in New York City?
I left Morwell High School in Year 10 to study Typing at Newton Business School, incidentally these studies led to working back at my former High School as the Secretary to the Principal. In accepting this role I had one condition, I could coach the basketball team, the school agreed and I enjoyed it until I left for my trip overseas. My friend Loraine and I had our sights set on New York, we found a German ship ‘The Seven Seas’ that left from Sydney, via the Panama Canal to New York. We set a plan, saved our money and left for the big smoke, upon our arrival in New York we stayed with family and then we went to Montreal Canada, where we stayed at the 'Y' (YMCA).
We then both got work as we continued to save for our travels. We travelled through Western Europe, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, then back to London. I took the opportunity to return to Malta and meet my family and experience the culture first hand of my birth place and family heritage. I then met up with Lorraine and her parents again in Sicily and together we travelled to London where we worked and saved with the goal to go skiing in Austria.
Upon my return back to Montreal I continued my work as a secretary and then fell in love, and it was then after marrying my husband that I moved to New York to live. In New York I made a fellow Australian friend Virginia, one day I was helping her at her work in fashion and I couldn't believe she got paid to do something that was so much fun. So I enrolled at the Mayer School of Fashion Design in New York and studied a Diploma in Fashion Design. I loved it and knew it was my destiny, and from the moment I graduated I always got work and never looked back.
6: Nina, can you list your Gems for those who have newly moved to Cape Paterson?
7. Nina, any final advice for new residents to Cape Paterson?
The one thing that I have learned from my travels is that it's quite normal for it to take some time to find your stride in your new town and home. There are always groups that you can join in the region such as the sea salt walkers walking groups, art-n-craft groups, and social groups. When seeking new friends, I believe it is important to pursue an interest that brings you joy, my friendships and passions always coincided, and as I gained life experiences and I trusted what I loved more friendships followed.
Your tribe may not be found at a community group, it may be a tribe that you make on your own. This year we started bread making classes at my home OMINA with a friend who was a chef, it was a great celebration of friends getting together to bake bread, chat and have some fun. OMNIA - my home has always instilled its meaning of “love conquers all” and has always greeted my friends with this spirit at the door.
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