The END of Perth
I should have posed this ages ago, and written it even longer ago, but such is life and busy I have been.
I sit here on a Queensland veranda enjoying a beer before midday, because I can, listening to the occasional kookaburra or gecko and Pumpkin the dog for company.
I left Perth just shy of two weeks ago, to begin my East coast jaunt stopping off at the all the relatives I can manage, and a coupele of friends too – some fit into both categories.
This was going to be a post based on my last few days in Perth, with some photos of Kings Park, then I was going to write about the joys of having family in different parts of the world. I had a muse in my head too about the merits of travelling alone, and whether I will be able to settle down when I arrive back in the UK. And then there were a few photographic adventures to post too…
It seems that every minute has been filled from about 3 weeks ago where I was fitting all the things in that I wanted to do in Perth: seeing as many people as I could and frantically weighing items of clothes, giving away things and throwing away as much as I could to fit everything back into 23 little kgs – 5 of which were the bloody suitcase. There were coffees, dinners, goodbyes, see you laters and more. Then I arrived on the East coast, to the open arms of family I didn’t know I had until a few months ago. I have been fed ridiculously, entertained, cooked for, driven around and just been having possibly the most pleasant, albeit stressful two weeks in Australia so far.
There is something to be said about leaving a place – of course It’s when you start to realise how much you like it. And let’s not forget the drama and the stress of fitting everyone in – giving everyone an equal allotment of your time – not wanting to overstay a welcome, nor offend by not staying long enough. Then there are the joys of getting to all these places – long bus journeys, early trains, pick-ups in unknown locations and better still the sheer ridiculousness of lugging a suitcase, backpack and computer around and not getting more than 4 nights in one bed!
There have been a few moments when I have thought about just rolling up to the airport and waiting there, or flying directly home and skipping my upcoming Balinese adventure… but then I wouldn’t have all these lovely things to write about as I make my slow, heavy-hearted departure from Australia…
Here are a couple of drafts that never made it onto my blog, so I’ve put them together here…
Happy New Year everyone!
As I sit in bed on January 1st, looking at the glorious sunshine out of my bedroom window, it’s hard to imagine the torrential rain yesterday that caused rivers to swell, roads to becomes rivers and puddles to become ponds. Just driving out of my village was like driving upstream yesterday which is something I don’t remember ever having to do before…
It’s nice to have a moment to contemplate where you have been and what you have achieved over the past year, and to feel inspired about how you will continue this year.
* * *
I write this as I sit on the train making my way from Taunton to Bristol, where I will meet my sister-in-law who will have a late lunch with me, drive me to Reading, where I will take the Airbus to Heathrow and later on tonight, be on my merry way to Singapore for the next phase of my journey.
2012 was a wonderful year. I decided to Live Loving and Love Living and that I did.
It was a full calendar year in Australia where my friends became my family, my adventures became my stories and my challenges became my strengths.
I fell back in love with my career: teaching English thanks to the ever-changing 18 or so students who I spent 4 hours a day with. Apart from a few personality clashes in the classroom I honestly never felt like I was going to work. Getting up every morning and knowing I was going to spend time with a group of wonderful adults never felt like work at all. In turn for improving their English, they shared their cultures, their music, their dreams and their trust in me and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I experiences Colombia, Korea, Thailand, Japan, China and Brazil all from inside my windowless classroom in Melbourne.
I had a number of opportunities to see Victoria and more from behind the wheel, from hire cars, to mini buses to motor-homes. I have driven along the Great Ocean Road, through the Grampians, down to Lakes Entrance, over to Philip Island, raced into Adelaide, got lost in Canberra, traversed a steep mountain road and driven around Queensland chasing waterfalls.
I’ve also lived the city life, lived the bush life, Lived the country life. I have taught and been taught and learnt so many lifelong lessons as I have continued to Live Loving and Love Living throughout the year.
I had the opportunity to meet family I didn’t know I had, to reconnect with friends from the past simply have a few moments to just enjoy being.
This year, I have decided will be the year to Make it Happen. I no longer have any time for useless aspirations to lose a few pounds, get a bit fitter or eat less chocolate and feel that the one goal we should all strive to achieve is to be happy. That’s all it needs to ever be.
So this is the year to Make it Happen. I achieved so much my myself last year, that I shall continue to do so and to go for the things I want. So If I want to go and lie on a white sandy beach, I will make it happen. If I want to visit a far away friend – I will make it happen. If I want to learn something new, I will make it happen. I am starting to believe that the power we have to do what we want is just endless.
So… 2013 will be the year to continue to Live Loving and Love Living, as that proved to be one of the best years I’ve and also to be the year that I Make it Happen – whatever it is!
So, who’s in? What are you going to Make happen this year? And did you have a go at Living Loving so you could Love Living? I would love to hear feedback from my readers!
Sitting through a cyclone
New Italy, Northern Rivers, NSW
Two weeks have passed since I arrived back in Australia and though I seem to have plenty to say in my head none of it is making its way out of fingers and into this blog.
I had 4 interesting days in Singapore with a good set of photos I have yet to type about, I have met up with the Maltese/Australian connection of my family and I have reinstated myself on the little farm belonging to my mum’s cousin, whilst I look for a new job and a new challenge.
All of that is a little stilted at the moment as ex tropical cyclone Oswold is traversing down the East coast of Australia and here on the little farm my second cousin, the cows, horses, dogs and the cat are waiting to see how bad it will get and what it will do when it hits us.
It’s already caused tornados up in Bundaberg and the Sunshine Coast, widespread flooding throughout the East and South-East of Queensland and winds of up to 144km are pushing down into New South Wales as I type. The rain is lashing on the windows, the wind is whipping round the house, the trees are bowing and Sky news is informing us of its route and what it’s done so far.
It doesn’t make for a very good night’s sleep when you wonder if a tornado will come, or a tree might fall on the house. Or you worry that the horses are distressed, as dear Kasimir didn’t know what to do with himself yesterday – galloping from one side of his paddock to another, bucking, rearing and farting wildly – which did make it quite amusing.
I feel thankful that we are not on the coast itself, seeing the terrible devastation this cyclone has left in its wake, knowing there are people waiting to be rescued from their roofs and seeing people whose houses are submerged up to the bedroom windows. But instead we play a waiting game. We wait and see what will happen, when the news tell us it’s “not arrived here yet”.
Maybe I will at least get some writing done, as sitting here, in the safety of a one storey, brick house, on a hill, all I can do is sit and wait to see what happens.
Monday 30th July
Weather: Beautiful sunshine!
I woke up at 6am to catch a 7.30am train express from Brisbane to Sydney. I was getting off at Casino, NSW.
My taxi driver arrived early, and I think started the meter as soon as he arrived, as I felt the charge was rather steep considering the fact that we met no traffic and sailed through all the lights.
I tried not to let that bother me, and was pleased to have time to buy breakfast and a coffee on my way to the platform. I wasn’t pleased to walk up the broken escalator, with all my luggage, and find no café on the platform and have to retrace my steps back to the entrance to buy said coffee and toast. But I tried not to let that bother me either.
In fact, my spirits were high indeed. I was getting an apparently very scenic train to stay with a relative who I had never met to spend 5 days on her small cattle stud in the heart of New South Wales north coast.
I found my seat next to a boy with headphones. Let a man much older than suitable help put my bag above and settled in for the ride. The boy with headphones didn’t seem to mind me sitting there, although he was in my window seat. Again, I let that go over my head and started on my spilt coffee and soggy toast.
As the train sidled out of Brisbane announcements were made regarding our arrival times at each destination. This seemed a bit futile since we were departing later than scheduled.
Tickets were checked, and people moved seats to make themselves more comfortable. For some reason I didn’t bother to do this and I still can’t really understand why.
The countryside was beautiful once we had got out of suburbia and into NSW. The hills were rolling in almost mountainous shapes as we swung through valleys, past farms with horses and cows grazing on the lush green pastures. This is a novelty to me, since despite the bush being relatively “green” at the moment; it is incredibly dry in comparison with where I was racing through.
The journey went relatively quickly and pleasant though it was, I was quite pleased I wasn’t going all the way to Sydney, which was another 11 hours!
On this visit I met a family member I didn’t know I had and enjoyed an afternoon and evening chilling out at her West End gaff enjoying the simple pleasures of good wine and good company which is something one seldom gets the opportunity to do in the bush!
The following day I enjoyed the Aussie life I have been waiting to have. I got picked up by a friend, and we jumped in the car, surfboard in the back and headed down to the waves on the Gold Coast. This is what I want: freedom to just jump in a car and ride off to wherever I like.
I didn’t surf, I watched. Despite having lived in Australia now for almost 10 months, I have not yet been in sea with good surf (Port Phillip Bay doesn’t have waves!), let alone got onto a surfboard. So I stayed watching fish jump out of the water, surfers catching waves and sun sparkling on the turquoise ocean. It was a wonderful moment to be in Australia.
Note to the world and to myself, I cannot, I repeat absolutely cannot, leave Australia until I have lived on the beach and at least had a surfing lesson. If I went home lean, fit and good at surfing, that would be awesome, but one day at a time….
I didn’t blog about Brisbane on my previous jaunt over here, as I spent two days in my post-Melbourne-pre-bush life haze. I wandered around the West End and South bank area, as well as venturing to the city centre following the Lonely Planet walking tour. Not connecting or in the mood to make friends with any backpackers in my noisy hostel, I spent hours out of it, visiting the art gallery, treating myself to a haircut, eating out and generally sucking in the city before heading out to the bush.
I was never able to post any pictures about it, as once arriving in the bush, I soon realised how hard it would be to get the internet to do things I wanted it to. However, this time,hopefully I retrospectively post some images of the city.
Here we go. A little trip back to civilisation.
Brisbane is the arrival and departure city and over the course of 10 days I will be making memories with various family members I have never met before!
First of all though I have to survive a night in a caravan with the family, and share a bed with E, whilst C sulks on the floor. I can’t say I am looking forward to this part of the adventure and would sooner wake up at silly o’clock to get there in the morning than have an uncomfortable and awkward night sharing a room with mum, dad and the kids…
Watch this space!