I can’t believe it. It felt like today, with all it’s sun and hills and wide open spaces, would never come. But it’s here, and suddenly there’s a little more completeness than there ever was in the city this past year.
Funnily enough I couldn’t care less abut the place I left behind, even if I do miss some of the people. Sydney could be a light year away from this place, and it’s with some…I don’t know, joy I guess, that I’ve realised how easy it is to put away the concrete, 24hr service stations and neon signs as soon as I step inside this house and see our old dog wagging her tail at the back door.
I woke up this morning, and my whole family – mum, dad, my sister & brother in law – were together in the same house, sitting up at the table having breakfast. It’s been months since the last time its happened. My heart feels warmer now. Like it’s been snowing in my soul for months, and I’ve woken up to find it’s spring again. It feels…good.
I saw my grandparents for the first time last night as well, something I’ve been desperate to do ever since the fire. Some things just aren’t real to you, not until you’ve seen them with your own eyes and heard it with your own ears. It wasn’t until I reached out and held my grandmother’s hand, heard her say hello that I realised everything would be okay.
They moved in to my other auntie’s house, away from the ruins of their old flat and into new, plush digs where my aunty and uncle have converted one half of their house into another flat. There are big bags in different corners, full of towels and sheets and all the things you take for granted when you have them. People have been so generous, but then she is who she is.
It’s not hard to be generous to my grandmother.
My grandad, though a little disorientated still, seems to be doing fine as well. I don’t know how to take him as much as I used to. Sometimes he’s cantankerous as ever, while other times he seems completely vulnerable. I know what I said in my last post, how a lot of my anger at him has dissipated after what happened. And it’s true – it was easier telling him I loved him before we left last night.
But he reminds me quickly, with little barbed comments now and then, that for all my forgiving, the scars are all still there, and even the old ones remain as tender as they ever did.
But it’s what I do with them now, I suppose.
Scars, I’ve learned, are a choice – ones you make every day.
You either choose to see them as a reminder of your having been damaged.
Or you choose to see them as reminders that yes, you were damaged, but you survived.
I’ve learned that as long as you feel something, you are still here.
What was it Rocky said…something about ‘it’s not how hard you hit, but how hard you can get hit, but get up and keep moving forward’.
Though my dad uses it on occasion, I certainly never thought I’d quote Rocky in a blog, but there you are. A most unexpected source of life lessons, lol.
It’s the nature of my family, I guess.
For a lot to happen emotionally in such a few short hours – I’ve only been here for less than 24 of them (we work fast, our lot ;)). But it was fantastic this morning – to wake up to the to clear light in my big oak bed, and listen to the random bird calls that so often accompany an Australian sunrise. I’ll be honest and say the damn birds used to drive me crazy once, especially kookaburras who seem to think it’s freakin’ hysterical to laugh like a bunch of hyenas who’ve been smoking joints all night, at 5am.
But it was nice today, to wake up with only quiet birds outside, and therefore no desire to pitch a brick out the window with an accompanying mild profanity in the hopes they’d fly away and let me get one more half hour of shut eye.
Indeed, one of the joys of being Australian is hearing other peoples perceptions of what Australia is like on a day to day basis. You’d be amazed at the number of people who think we ride kangaroos to school in the country, and that koalas (which are NOT bears, for the record) are cute, cuddly and rather like a toy.
Indeed I was once in a bar in Chicago late one night, when a guy who’d had an absolute skinful proceeded to try and make a move on me (why, I have NO idea) with the collective grace and tact of a garbage truck. My mistake had been to utter a rough ‘rack off, mate’, which immediately gave away my nationality – a mistake I regretted for a moment until I realised the bounty of retorts it provided me.
After he told me he would give me his number if he could remember it (truly, I was devastated), he proceeded to ask if he could make an appointment to perhaps call on me sometime in my dear southern land.
I said he could.
So long as he got past the bevy of venomous snakes swarming on the tarmac of Sydney Airport (we have 9 out of the 10 most poisonous ones in the world and the desert gets boring if you spend too much time there so naturally they relocate constantly), and past the spiders which randomly turn up everywhere, particularly those ones that have a penchant for biting foreigners. These babies, of course, pay the common courtesy of rearing up and spitting at you before they kill you, so as to let you know in no uncertain terms that yes, you are going to die, and yes, it is positively going to hurt more than getting hit by a flying chainsaw prior to a 24hr nonstop flight via Iraq with only Gigli as the in-flight movie.
Needless to say he quickly determined that Idaho would be a much better holiday destination, and left me alone.
But despite all this, there are some beautiful people I’d love to visit my native shores here, so let me dispel some myths about my dear Australia for them. Lest they think I have to wade through a pit of death adders to catch the bus to work in the morning.
- That we only got electricity this year – Rubbish. We’ve had it for decades. It’s the running water we’re still waiting on.
- That we ride kangaroos to school in the country – Snowballs chance. They’re terrifying. An angry kangaroo makes Muhammad Ali look like a featherweight and Ike Turner’s anger management issues look positively mild.
- That Mel Gibson is our fault – there is NO way you are laying that on us, America. He’s only Australian when he wins Oscars and Golden Globes. Rest of the time, he is just another Yankee actor with enough kids to make the Jolie-Pitts look like the poster family for China’s One-Child policy.
- We eat both animals on our national emblem – Subsequently, we don’t envy Canada.
- We have a Prime Minister called Kevin – And he’s on Twitter, and writes his own tweets, and signs off as KRudd. Got a bit more of a ring than BOba, which sounds like the twitter signoff of a Jewish grandmother.
- We live three quarters of a mile from the sun – according to Dylan Moran. And what Dylan Moran says, goes. Regardless of whether or not it’s technically true.
Oh dear. I’ve nattered on far too long I suspect.
But in any case if I don’t blog again before the big day, have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic New Year. Thankyou so much for taking the time to read if you have.
See you on the flip side, and do yourself a favour if you can. Make 2010 the year you don’t waste the chance to tell people you love them. Please? It’s worth it, trust me.
But now, must dash.
So in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening & goodnight. xo