Surprises aren’t for everyone. Almost everyone has that one friend whom you know would hate the idea of a surprise party for them, or doesn’t want surprise visitors to show up unannounced. But when a surprise is orchestrated perfectly, it can be the best gift someone can give. When the effort to surprise a loved one takes you to the most isolated place in the world, disbelief and shock might be a natural reaction.
Such was the case for Jocelyn and Richard Murray’s two grandsons, who received a surprise visit from Jocelyn in Perth, Australia. Jocelyn took a much-deserved break from the winter fog in January to surprise her grandkids, who recently moved from Seattle to Perth with their parents.
Perth is considered the most isolated city on Earth, separated from the rest of Australia by the Outback and from any other major city by thousands of miles of ocean. Therefore, it was with sincere shock when the couple showed up unannounced to their grandkids. Jocelyn shared with me her grandson’s reaction: “‘Oh Nana, you came! When I heard I was getting a surprise I thought it was a big screen TV, but you are even better!’ Seven-year-old Will, looking behind my back, ‘Is Grampie here too? Did you move here when we did? Where have you been staying?’”
Jocelyn spent three weeks in Perth, soaking up the sun and visiting with her grandkids, daughter Heather, and son in-law Craig Taplin. The family moved to Perth from Seattle four months ago. Craig, a pediatric endocrinologist, took a position with a new children’s hospital in Perth. Heather, a school teacher, was raised in Twisp and gearing up for the school year as it’s summer vacation in Australia right now.
In 2001 Heather set off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on a journey that would take her took far beyond the Cascades and end in a surprising twist. Along the way, she met Craig, an Australian, and in 2003 they were married in Sydney. The couple has been in living in Seattle as Craig pursued his medical career, and the opportunity to direct a new pediatric division at a brand-new hospital in Perth was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.
Jocelyn, a retired nurse, and Richard, an orchardist, live up Twisp River where they grow organic apples. You can find them at the Methow Valley Farmers Market once the apples start ripening. Now that their grandkids are on the other end of the Earth, they intend to spend more extended winter visits to Perth.