I had plans today to write a post about my daily walk in Darling Harbor (so many postings yet to write!). Good intentions and all that…but I found myself stuck, writer’s block, too many emotions too close to the surface. At first, I couldn’t figure out what my problem was (really, I had things to do!) but here I sat, for most of the morning, trying to decide why I was so unmotivated. I finally pulled the things out of the hall closet here in the apartment so we could get a good idea of how much ‘extra’ we’ve collected on this trip, and it hit me- I’m really a mess of emotions about leaving…. so I decided to put it on paper. This is how I write, truly, the things that are in my heart and on my mind.
This has been, undoubtedly (with the only exception that of becoming a mother) the most incredible experience of my life. I am halfway around the world, on a different continent, in a different time zone, on a different day, in a different season. You know how you say you always want to go to (fill in the blank)? Australia was one of my “someday” places. Who knew? I had never been out of the USA except to British Columbia for literally one day!
Four months. January through May. A third of 2013. Hundreds of photos. There are so many ways to count the days that we’ve spent here. There were days when I was so ready to be back in my little house in Southern California. There were days when I was so struck by the beauty of this continent that I couldn’t believe my good fortune in being here. I knew I would be misty-eyed leaving (I am a nostalgic wimp), but I didn’t think it would hurt my heart like it has today. It’s like fostering an animal, I guess; you meet it, you get to know it, and then it’s time to give it up (I can’t foster for this reason- any animal I’d foster would become mine). I do know if for some reason I have to move here, I could do it. Australia is wonderful; the part of the country I have seen is breathtaking. The people are wonderful; I just wish they would give up smoking! (Side note: Apparently, my wishes have been heard as they are running ‘no smoking’ campaigns on television!)
There are so many things we did, so many things we wanted to do but couldn’t. Work was the primary focus. It’s what brought us here and paid our way, so it could not be ignored. In spite of long hours, we made the best of it. We got to see Sydney in a way that I’d always said I wanted to do anywhere that I traveled- I wanted to get to know the people, not just a 3-day tourist visit. We made friends through work; we made friends in the restaurants and shops that we frequented. There are some friends who will stay in touch; some I will most likely never see again.
I will miss those friendly faces. I will miss Darling Harbor, so close to us here. I love the harbor. I will miss seeing the koala on my morning walk (you will meet her in another post soon, I promise!), seeing Leo in the doorway of the wax museum, lol. I will miss the parrots! I love, absolutely love, hearing the parrots on my walks. I know some of the locals get tired of them day after day, but I never do. They’re hard to spot, which I always find amazing because they are so brightly colored, but they just blend right into those palm trees. The big ibis are interesting walking around with their curved beaks, too. I will miss the Saturday night fireworks. And the food! Oh… the glorious food here… I am bringing some of that back with me in pounds, although the plan is to get rid of them!
I won’t miss the cigarettes and the smoke that comes with them. I won’t miss trying to thread my way through throngs of people who seem to have no idea where they are going. I won’t really miss the sirens that seem to go hourly here; the police leave from the station nearby but never bother to let me know if the situation was resolved!
We’ve managed to pick up some of the lingo. Now my Texas/American accent has a bit of Aussie mixed in. G’day is common; ‘no worries’ is a part of our everyday speak. We tend to say ‘chips’ instead of French fries. We can pretty much add ‘ie’ to any word and have it be the Australian version. We say hall like ‘hole’ with a bit of an accent.
Going home though… what a feeling! We have so much to look forward to and so much we’ve missed! Our grandson… 4 months in the life of a busy 5-year-old can mean so many changes! Our house, our friends, our favorite places! Yard work! Dusty house! Projects! J
One of the best parts of all of this? Us. We found out after 27 years of marriage, we still have it! We are best friends, after all. Marriage is work, no doubt, but when you work with someone you really, really like, it’s mostly (ha) fun. We had to depend on each other here, and that’s a good feeling. We supported each other; when one of us was down or cranky, the other one helped them through. We laughed and we shared the adventures.
The other ‘best’ part? ME. I met ‘me’, really me, after almost 60 years of being on this earth. I found out that you can be your own best friend. I kept myself entertained and busy. I ate too much. I didn’t drink enough, ha! I read. I did whatever I wanted, pretty much when I wanted. I had fun! And isn’t that what life is about?