For Caitlin Lemish and Al Mawer, the city is vital for keeping up old habits and staying connected while adjusting to their new lives as parents.
Caitlin Lemish and Al Mawer have been living in a quiet backstreet in the south-eastern corner of the city for the last two years.
Moving into their one-bedroom cottage wasn’t much of a change for Al, who’s lived in the city for six years.
Al ran independent fashion store Twenty Fifty-Two up until April this year. Living in the city, for him, is about convenience and connection.
“It was [important] for me, just because it was less time, especially when you’re working for yourself, just less time commuting, less time having to worry about all of that sort of stuff,” he says.
“[And] I feel like the biggest thing in Australia, with cities versus suburbs, is that contact with culture all the time.
“You recognise what’s going on in town, you see more, you do more, and then you end up just growing a little bit. Whereas in the suburbs, I think you’re just sort of stuck in your little space.”
Caitlin had a happily suburban housing history up until the city move. She appreciates the new perspective she’s gained on Adelaide.
“There’s definitely a lot more nooks and crannies that I didn’t realise existed,” she says. “I love the ability for us to just go to the park lands, Japanese gardens, utilise that greenery. That’s been lovely.”
The house is in one of the city’s more suburban neighbourhoods, which made the transition easier.
“It’s tucked away around here. It’s safe, friendly, quiet,” Caitlin says.
A much more significant lifestyle adjustment came in 2021, with the birth of the couple’s first child, George. Suddenly, their block seemed a lot less quiet.
“We’re putting him to sleep at midday, and those guys [next door] are just hammering into concrete six hours a day,” Al says. “It’s like, this white noise will only go so loud for this kid.”
The city’s convenience and ease of connection is just as important to Al and Caitlin as new parents.
They live only a short walk to Sibling, where Caitlin works, and though Al now works from home, he enjoys how easily he can be among people or nature.
“Caitlin works a couple of days a week now, and I’ve started taking George for those days, full days,” Al says.
“Kind of about one o’clock in the afternoon, you get pretty on edge. You need to go and talk to another human being.
“I can just walk to Sibling in five minutes. They get to see him, people can hold him, you’ve got people around you. I think that lack of feeling isolated is a massive positive thing with a family.
“To know that you can just walk 500 metres, if that, and you’re in the south park lands, Himeji Garden, is a massive thing.”
The couple is currently considering a move to the suburbs, though Al is hesitant. They’re keen to find George a proper bedroom (he’s currently occupying the living room, alongside the record player) and a bigger backyard for him to play in.
If they do leave the city, Al is intent on bringing its conveniences with him.
“I’ll be counting out the steps to the nearest coffee shop,” he laughs. “What kind of coffee shop is it? Is the coffee any good?
“You can find some really nice areas, but then it’s like, what do you do on a Sunday morning or if you just want to go to the pub? You have to pack the car up, you’ve got to drive 10 minutes or whatever.
“Now, we can kind of just be like, ‘Fuck it, let’s go to the pub’, and we can go to the Steed and have a beer, and then come home. And it’s not even a big outing, but at least you’ve got that.”
There’s only one opinion that matters to Caitlin and Al, though. Both their eyes fall on George, who’s spent the entire conversation bouncing between his parents’ cradled arms.
“What do you reckon, king?” Al asks. “You don’t care, do you? You don’t care.”
“Not at all,” Caitlin says.