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Posts Tagged ‘Sydney’

As the pilot circles above Canberra, I think he’s tricked us and flown instead to Boise.  I see round, brownish foothills, big blue skies, endless roads, wide-open space.  I step off the plane and it hits me – warm, dry air.  My throat fills with tears, and for a split second, I think I’m home.  But I’m in Australia, and just minutes away from a beloved friend.  I look up to see Tobie, holding Asha, waiting for me at the gate.  I step into their embrace, feel Asha’s hand on my hair.  It’s been a year, a really long year, since we’ve seen each other.  Asha pulls a stuffed rabbit from my backpack and cuddles it.  Aaron grabs my bag and we head out.  I’m leaving the airport in a car, with friends.  No taxis, no queues, no crowds.  This feels like home.           OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I delight nonstop in the ordinary bits of a day in Australia.  I am staying in a house!  The houseflies are huge!  It’s so quiet – no trains, buses, cars, honking, screeching!  It’s so dark – I can’t even see my hand in front of my face when the lights are out!  The birds – they’re huge!  The people – they’re huge too!  I get to drive a car!  It’s cool at night – I can sleep with the window open!  I get to drive a car!   They have a dishwasher!  A stove! They have real sausage here! I get to drive a car!  I get to see a kangaroo!

I really want to see a kangaroo.  Tobie promises me they’re everywhere.  She and Aaron chat about the best place to find them.  We sneak out at dusk, drive around, get out and stalk through neighborhoods.  But for the first five days, nothing.  Not a hint of a kangaroo, unless you count the dead one we pass on the highway.  We make a plan that if we haven’t seen one by the last day, we’ll go to the zoo.  A captive kangaroo is better than no kangaroo.

On the sixth day, we drive out to the bush.

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Geared up to hike, we pile out of the car and apply sunscreen.  Then Aaron points to something on the hill.  Sure enough, kangaroos!  They DO live here!

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We see heaps of them that day, hiding in the bush, sitting out on the open, hopping about where they please.

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We even see a koala bear and a platypus, and we’re not at the zoo.  We troop about for hours.

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Satisfied and hungry, we pack up.  As we drive away, we pause to see just one more mob.  And just like that, two of them bounce down the hill and head straight for our car.  They stop just short of us, lick their arms, stare for a minute, and then bound back up.  It is a perfect Aussie goodbye.

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I know then that it will be really hard to say goodbye.  And not just because of the kangaroos.

To my sweet friends Down Under,

Aaron – thank you for teaching me to drive on the wrong side of the car and the wrong side of the road.  I know I hit the wipers more than the turn signal, and occasionally went into the wrong lane, but you stayed cool.  I felt so alive, driving around with your hand-drawn map and no idea where I was going.  Thanks for my morning coffee deliveries, for everything, and most of all for letting me steal Tobie for two days all to myself.

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Asha – I had a wonderful time with you, little friend.  You’ve grown so big.  I can still hear you outside my bedroom door, asking if you could just take a peek at me.  I loved watching Dora and playing Swiper in the bush.  I’m glad we tried out all the stuff in my makeup bag, plus my shaving cream, hairspray, and mousse. You were great with your training chopsticks!  I remember you bravely carrying your little schoolbag on your shoulder, walking into your classroom.  Thanks for showing me your school.  And for sharing your books and hiking snacks.  I can still feel your hug as we stood at the window, waiting for the taxi to come.  You were still warm from sleep, wearing your jammies.  You kissed me and said that maybe I could come back tomorrow.  I wish I could, little one.  But we’ll see each other again soon, and until then, check behind all the trees, just in case Swiper is hiding….

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Tobie – thank you for the loveliest week in forever. It was amazing to be in your home, to know that you were just on the other side of my bedroom wall.  I’ve missed you terribly.  Our trip to Sydney!  We talked for almost 48 hours straight, only taking time off to sleep.  It was so luxurious, wandering the streets, trying on shoes and jewelry, eating those gingersnap-butterscotch whoopee pie things, stretching out in bed and talking the night away.  I can still feel the salty air on my skin, the Sydney sunshine all around us. And you – all dressed up in your lace top and heels.  Thanks for talking me into a nightcap at Palmer and Co, because without that drink, we might never have started dialing up the USA!  I loved every minute of it, even the bus ride home to Canberra in the dark, munching the last of our cookies.  It was great to be at the National Library, to see where you work.  To go all the places you go and imagine your life.  To ride bikes and play with Asha at the park.  Thanks for taking those days off work to spend with me, for relentlessly searching for kangaroos, for clearly explaining what a singlet is, for keeping my secrets.  I continue to be amazed by you, your ability to move all the way around the world, to make a new life, to flourish, to get more job offers than I ever have, and to still be your humble, brilliant self.  I picture you that last morning, climbing onto your bike for your commute to work. One more hug.  I’ll keep our memories safe in my heart and think them when I’m missing you.  You’re one in a million, Tobie.

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I love you.  And I’ll see you soon too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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