Finding a Light in the Darkness

a-light-in-the-darkness-1-of-1As the misty, morning light edged into my consciousness, the waking nightmare seeped in beside it. I reached immediately for my phone, for a connection to the outside world, comfort. My husband is off in New Zealand on business. Squinting at the phone through sleep and tear crusted eyes, I found first a letter of condolence from a dear friend in Scotland. His dry wit even in the face of this tragedy allowed me to start the day with a smile and a chortle before the tears returned.

I was uplifted when I opened Facebook and saw hopeful messages there. People are mourning, as I am, and they are asking, “how can I help to make this better?” This is a frightening turn of events; a hate mongering, racist, misogynist, xenophobe is actually president of our United States, and a whole lot of hate mongering, racist, misogynist, xenophobes put him there. That’s the real scary part, that there are that many out there. I think of my friends of color, my Muslim friends, and those in the LGBTQ community, and imagine how much more compounded their fear must be.

And yet, we have to keep going. We don’t have to sit back and accept this, watch our world crumble, and give over to the despair and hate. The question is, “how do we make a difference?” I want some kind of concrete plan, a to-do list of tasks I can complete and when the list is all checked off the world will be a brighter place. My in-box is so full of emails exhorting me to take action, sign the petition for this cause, donate money for that one. I find it all so overwhelming.

As I read those thoughtful posts in my Facebook feed, I’m reminded that it is love and compassion for others that will pull us through this and create a better world for us all. Just as humans are soft, malleable creatures, so too is our path forward. Yes, we need to sign petitions and donate money, services, time as we can, but we need to spread love too. The way forward is in each individual interaction with our fellow creatures. Just as hate and enmity spreads, so too does love. I have to believe that today. Isn’t that the American can-do spirit? The attitude that made our country great? We can do this. For fuck’s sake let us do this.

Save

A Change of Season

nature - autumn (1 of 1)Peeking through the bank of native trees outside my study window, I see splotches of the red and orange of a deciduous immigrant. The sun sparkle dances off the leaves creating tongues of flame licking at the blue above. The ground beneath the trees is wet with puddles reflecting leaves and sky, remnants of the rain that pelted us over the last few days.

nature - autumn (2 of 6)According to the calendar, we’ve passed from autumn to winter here down under. The Aussies count their seasons from the first day of the month in which the equinox or solstice occurs. Yet, there are not actually only four seasons here. That’s an idea the Europeans brought with them. In fact, season is not so much a matter of calendar or even temperature as it is of other natural indicators. A couple days ago, we were bundled in wool sweaters and socks with the heater on, and yesterday I had the window open, and the scene from that window looks like autumn.

stitched wheel of the year (1 of 1)I’ve been stitching an embroidered wheel of the year, one meant to represent the seasons of both the northern and southern hemispheres. This awareness and marking of the seasons is a primary tenet of my personal spiritual practice. As I tried to force the Australian seasons to match up with the northern hemisphere round, it became clear that the seasons aren’t just flipped.

Even in the northern hemisphere, “spring” may arrive before or after the Vernal Equinox. As I chose symbols to embroider for each season, I could see how the seasons meld one into the next, and the date of the equinox or solstice wasn’t necessarily an indicator. What is spring in Texas is still winter in Utah. Of course, others will tell me that “spring” in Utah means snow. And in Colorado the locals refer to second and third winter, those heavy, wet snowfalls that cover the land then melt the next day with the return of the sun.

nature - autumn (4 of 6)As I enter my second winter here, I continue to try to wrap my mind around the idea of Australian seasons, to take my brain out of the four season European paradigm, to take a more intuitive approach. I’m learning about the seasons by marking the daily weather conditions in my calendar, and by being aware of which native trees are blooming around me as I go on my walks.

nature - autumn (6 of 6)These kind of natural indicators are how Australia’s Indigenous people have been counting the seasons for the last 50,000 years. The Aboriginal idea of seasons has traditionally been connected to food supply, need for shelter, animal behavior, and the land itself.

seasons of the year D'harawal PeopleI went on an internet search wanting to understand Australia’s seasons from the perspective of the Traditional Land Owners. I found this chart that shows we’re now in the time when the Burringoa, or Red Gum, is flowering. I’ll remember now that when the wind blows drifts of pollen into my living room it’s Tugarah Tuli.

I find nature’s cycles comforting; they ground me in place and time. Now nature tells me it’s time for cuddling on the sofa with afghans, and for baking bread and simmering pots of soup. As I watch the seasons change again and compare this June to last, I’m feeling a growing sense of familiarity in this still new-to-me land; I feel my roots reaching a bit deeper into the Australian soil.

Catching Up

Brisbane (1 of 30)I’ve become a lousy blogger. It’s true; I’ve gone from posting most every day, back in the crafty beginnings of my blog, to posting three times a week, which I thought was really slacking. Now it seems I’ve dwindled down to a few times a year.

I wrote awhile back about deciding what I want my blog to be, and I keep coming back to wanting it to be a documentation of what this journey has been. In years to come, I want to be able to look back on this and remember this crazy thing we did. I also hope it can be of help to other people who are thinking of making such a move. I haven’t been documenting very well!

Yes and no. I mean I keep a handwritten journal, and that of course has all the nitty gritty details that I don’t want to put out in cyberspace for public consumption. And that public consumption would be why I’ve not been posting. I know when we blog, we are making a choice to put ourselves out there. And we choose how much to put out there. Anyone who reads a blog and thinks that now they know a person is mistaken. There are those bloggers who over-disclose. I choose very carefully what I share; sometimes I share personal information, for example in speaking about my depression. I choose to share that because there are so many people out there who struggle with depression and who feel alone. If I can reach one person and let them know they are not alone, then that’s a good thing. I found myself in a situation though, where I felt too exposed, and the thought of blogging made me squeamish.

But you know what? I have a hard drive full of photos of beaches, kangaroos, rivers, gardens, art, historical sites, and other images of adventures we’ve been on here that I need to write about before I completely forget what they are.  So, I’m going to make a concerted effort to get back in the blogging groove.  I’ll be back with some stories of places we visited last year, and I’ll work my way up to the present. I promise. For real this time.

 

Hiding from the Heat and Dreaming of the Sea

A heat wave has hit, and I’m cowering in the shadows with the shades drawn, grateful that our home tends toward the cool.  I dislike hot weather, although I do handle it better than I did back when I had actual hormones coursing through my body, heating things up. I have to go start closing windows here, shortly, to hold back the heat. Air-conditioning is something we left behind in the U.S. Mostly it’s unnecessary. Perhaps even more than heat, I hate being closed up, so I don’t miss the A.C. too much. Yet.

After reading about how we just had the hottest October on record, worldwide, and 2015 looking to be the hottest year, I’m actually quite frightened. I lean more toward The Day After Tomorrow version of the end. You can always put on another sweater, but there are only so many clothes you can take off in public before getting arrested. Besides, I hear that hypothermia is one of the more pleasant ways to expire.

Even without the excess heat, it’s odd to see Christmas decorations and hear Frosty the Snowman playing in the Queen Victoria Building. We’re joining some other American immigrants next week for Thanksgiving dinner. I really hope it’s not too hot to bake the pies I’m in charge of. In a “we’re not in Kansas anymore” moment, it finally occurred to me that my husband doesn’t automatically get next Thursday off.

~

I’ve fallen behind on beach photos, so here ya go!

Collins Flats (1 of 1)

Several weeks ago, we visited Collins Flat beach, over on the harbor side of Manly. I have to say, that while we did manage to have a relaxing afternoon, I wasn’t impressed. The beach was somewhat littered, and the water smelled like fuel from the boats. Hmmm.  Not what I want on my skin, thank you. There are also no restrooms here. I think that only encourages people to pee in the water, something else I don’t want on my skin.

Manly (6 of 56)It was fun to watch the ice cream boat come in! Perhaps it would have been even more fun to eat ice cream, but I think we were attempting to be healthy that day. It didn’t last long, if I remember right; I think we stopped for burgers and beer on our way back to the ferry.

Manly (5 of 56)It’s always fun to watch the little ones! They don’t have to worry about catastrophic climate change yet.

Manly (4 of 56)I couldn’t watch these guys, though. I was sure someone was going to break their neck.

Manly (3 of 56)Don’t you wonder what people’s stories are? I hope those bruises came from learning to surf or extreme tango.

Manly (1 of 56)I like rocks. Massive rocks that say, “I am the Earth! I am your mother! Why do you kids have to cause so much trouble? I brought you into this world and I’ll take you out.”

 

On Finding One’s Strength and a Quick Trip to Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach (3 of 7)I have a dream of learning to surf.  On our very first beach visit here, I formed an image in my head of a woman, about 60-65 years old, walking along the beach in her wetsuit, carrying her surf board, with her long, sea-water-soaked, grey hair flying.  That woman is future me.

I was thinking about this dream the other day.  Thinking about the practicality of this dream, and coming to the conclusion that given my age, fitness level, and the time we’ll have here by the ocean, maybe this is more of a fantasy.

At that moment, I felt future me’s heart break in two.  How could I just dash her dreams like that?  I felt her reach back through time, pleading with me.  I was being so unfair.  I continued to ponder all this, weighing reality against wishful thinking, and reminding myself that just because today I have one reality doesn’t mean that can’t change.

Now I don’t know if I’ll ever really get to learn to surf.  I do know that I have lots of ocean waves I can play in while I’m here.  AND, and this is the most important truth I came to, even if I don’t learn to surf, that image of the strong woman with her grey hair and surf board can be a power symbol I can use to focus on in visualizing success in attaining my goals.  She can be my guide.

I’m not going to let go of the dream of surfing.  I’ll start by taking this course next summer, then move on to this one, and build from there.

I’m curious, what kinds of symbols, imagery, or positive self talk do others use to help spur them on in their goals?  Please share; don’t be shy.

Here are some quick pics of our visit to Bondi Beach:)

Bondi Beach (1 of 7)

Bondi Beach (7 of 7)

Bondi Beach (6 of 7)

Bondi Beach (4 of 7)

Top Ten Things I Miss (that are still in a port in California)

These are the objects I find myself missing the most:

1. My cookbooks
2. My salad spinner
3. My bed

Oh! Wait! No, bed is #1.

Start over.

1. My bed
2. Salad spinner
3. Cookbooks

Oh, no. Hold on. I miss my cookbooks more than I miss the salad spinner, but I NEED the salad spinner more than the cookbooks.

I’ll try again.

bed1. A really comfortable bed

cookbooks12. All my cookbooks, even the ones I left at my son’s house, and the ones I gave away or sold in the yard sale. I want to sit and look at pictures of pretty pastries and cakes and other things I shouldn’t be eating.

3. My salad spinner. Wow, I just realized that I was imagining in my head my old red and white salad spinner instead of my newer, bright green, and better salad spinner. It’s been so long, I am forgetting what I own.

4. The rest of my knitting needles so I can start more WIPs. I brought my best yarn with me.

bowls5. Pretty bowls, so I can make giant salads, mix bread, and even set one on the counter with fruit in it. Oh yes! That really pretty blue pottery bowl that Craig bought for me at the SLC farmers market!  I miss that one!

6. All the books I was in the middle of reading, since I am incapable of reading one book at a time or actually finishing a book before I start another.

linens7. Kitchen, bath, and bed linens. I really need more than one hand towel, and some placemats would be fabulous. Here they have a store called Bed, Bath, and Table. They forgot the Beyond.

vase

typewriter8. umm…. well…. oh I know! That pretty turquoise vase, and my Underwood typewriter, because I like to look at it. The ribbon needs re-inked, then I could use it.

9. I guess that’s it. Eight things.

The top eight things I miss, that are still in a port in California (and tentatively scheduled to sail on March 14. Of this year.  I hope. God, I hope they meant this year!)

****

This blog post was a bad idea.  As I was searching through my photo archives for appropriate pics, I realized that what I miss isn’t these things, (well sorta) but what I really miss is my home and my family and my friends, my friends who are my family, and Utah, yes, I even miss Utah.

This act of giving up so much to get some other thing you really want is hard.  The conflicting emotions stretch me across the world.  I want to be here in Sydney; I love it here.  AND I miss everything and everybody I left behind.  AND I love the new people we’ve found here.  And the sea, and the shops, and the coffee, and the birds, and the cafes.

Hello March!

townhouse (2 of 4)Last month was a roller coaster of emotion as we went from the highs of just arriving and making new discoveries, to the mid-month lows when it all started to go to shit.  February ended on a nice, even keel as life started to settle into a new kind of normal.

We’re getting settled into our new home, and it’s beginning to feel more and more like a home.  Since the contents of my old kitchen are still in California, I’ve been doing my best to source those items I absolutely need, or at least think I do.

I try not to get too woo-woo very often, and I can tend towards the skeptic, but I am struck again and again with how the Universe will provide.  This last weekend was neighborhood clean up here in Balmain.  People put the items they no longer want out on the curb, and then people pick through it until the trash pick-up comes along.  Salt Lake City has this same thing, but here people throw away perfectly good stuff!  We were on our way out the door to go to IKEA, and we found an entire box of kitchen stuff on the curb.  Coffee cups, a big stainless steel bowl, a nice wok, and a chess set – everyone needs a chess set!

townhouse (1 of 4)This is what I like to call my easy-bake-oven.  It’s about the same size.  I thought all the stoves here were like this until I caught a glimpse of our neighbor’s from her front door.  It’s magnificent.  I am envious.  It’s one of those big fancy ranges you see on Pinterest in big, fancy European kitchens.

townhouse (3 of 4)This is our ‘lounge’ so far.  I have some mad decorating skills!  The furniture we ordered should be here in about five weeks.  We couldn’t justify paying $200 for a foot stool, so decided to wait on that.  Then Sunday, after we took our curb haul into the house, we came back out and found this blue foot stool across the street.  It’s in perfectly good condition; I’ll swap out that fabric for something that matches our new furniture, and it’ll all be good!

townhouse (4 of 4)This is the same room from the other direction.  Do you love that fancy red plastic chandelier?  As I was googling how to spell “bordello” I discovered that they are legal here in Sydney.  I did not know this.

We received word today that our shipment should commence sailing on the 14th.  It’s going to be like Christmas when it all gets here, and we see all the stuff we forgot we had.   We’ll be asking ourselves, “why did we ship this?”

I know there will be a comfort in getting our belongings back again.  Still, I have to wonder about this attachment to stuff.  We’ve gotten along just fine without all of it.  Sure, we’ve had to replace some things that we needed right away, but I’m thinking we don’t really need that 300 cubic feet of whatever it is we shipped to ourselves.  I know there is a mattress in there, my kitchen, and some books.  Cookbooks!  But we could have saved money and headaches by selling it all and starting from complete scratch.  As I packed, I tried to ask myself, “how much will it cost to ship this item vs. replace it when I get there?”  That question helped me let go of a lot of things, and I still kept a lot of things that wouldn’t really need to be replaced; I just like them.

As I look at this mostly empty space here, I think about stuff, and about wanting to decorate, nest, make it a home.  And then I think about what do I do with that stuff when it comes time to leave here?  I don’t want to go through the letting go of stuff again, so I’m half tempted to not put anything in here!  But I will, because I like stuff.  I want to accumulate.  I’m a crow who wants to fill her nest with shiny baubles.

Remedial Shopping

produce (1 of 1)In most of the U.S., everything is vast. Houses are big; kitchens are big; refrigerators are big; and grocery shopping trips fill a mini van.

I like to cook and having a fully stocked pantry and fridge gives me a feeling of security. I think this is an inheritance from Depression era parents. No longer having a vehicle in which to carry home loads of fully laden grocery bags, I’ve had to learn some new techniques.

The first adjustment was the acquisition of a wheelie cart. Not just any wheelie cart, but an insulated wheelie cart. It’s a shopping bag on wheels. I always considered these to be the dominion of old ladies, but, no matter that my children consider me an old lady, I’ve seen young men here pulling a cart behind them. This invention allows you to purchase more than you could comfortably juggle in bags slung over your shoulder, on the bus or hiking up and down the hilly streets.

In the U.S., I found myself purchasing most of the week’s comestibles from the Saturday farmers market, then making many side trips to various stores to fill in the gaps. I went to the health food store for raw milk and a particular brand of coconut oil with no guar gum. Whole Foods sold the laundry soap and peanut butter I liked, and Smith’s had cat food and toilet paper. Again, with a car that’s all easy. My only concern was with combining trips to reduce the burning of fossil fuels and the spewing into the air of more exhaust fumes.

Here in Sydney, I also find that foodstuffs I’m in search of are spread out across the map. I can get milk just up the street a couple blocks, at the quaint and diminutive Italian market run by sweet old Joe.  He has a nice selection of olive oils, delicious dried beans, and an assortment of imported pastas and semolina flour.

Another kilometer up the road is the butcher who specializes in organic, free range meats, and the fish market with fresh daily catch. A thirty minute bus ride will take me to the big shopping center and a market where I can find reasonably priced organic produce and most anything I might need to cook dinner. There are some things like raw milk, and almond meal that costs less than $8 a quarter cup, I have yet to locate.

While most everything I need is here in the city, getting it to my kitchen requires some puzzle piecing. To completely stock an empty kitchen can’t be done with a single wheelie bag or one trip to the market.

As I plan menus and shopping excursions I try to think through all the variables. This is not always one of my strong suits. I’ve mostly had to limit my purchases to no more than a couple of days worth at a time, as a good portion of the wheelie bag gets filled with staples and those kitchen tools I am having to replace. The thinking it through part means planning shopping lists that include the staples I need to replace, things like olive oil, red wine vinegar, flour – mostly things in heavy bags and glass bottles – and meals that require only those few staples I can get in one trip. Invariably, I get part way through dinner preparations and realize I don’t have a necessary ingredient, like salt, or a bowl to mix it in. Or a spoon to stir it with.

Another element of planning centers on the excursion itself: where am I going and how will I get there? While I am trying my best to get my walking legs in shape, I admit that too often I jump on the bus across the street and ride to the top of the hill. From there I work my way down. If I’m really organized and still have room in the wheelie cart, I can take the bus to the shopping center, and on the way back get off at the top of the hill and continue shopping on the walk down. OK, I haven’t really done that yet. I’ve just thought about it.

As I write this, I’m considering this afternoon’s shopping trip and trying to convince my tired feet that a walk up the hill would be good for them. I haven’t thought any of it through, farther than I need milk to make kefir, and I already have eggs and bits of this and that, that will become dinner. I haven’t made a shopping list or taken any of my own advice. I don’t think I’ll even take the wheelie cart. Just for today, I’ll live on the edge.

So Much Depends Upon a Three Piece Bistro Set

bistro set (1 of 2)I have these ideas of what elements are necessary to create a good life. Coffee on the patio, in the morning, with pen and paper in hand, is an absolute.

I only began this practice five years ago when we bought our house in Salt Lake City. Prior to that, coffee on the patio was only a fantasy that I pasted pictures of in my manifestation journal. As I think of it now, even after we bought the patio set, this practice remained more of an ideal than an actual reality. In the first warm days of spring I would sit out there, through June and the profusion of iris and poppies. Then July would find me hiding indoors again, away from the heat, until the end of August when I would go out again to dream about the approaching autumn. Then winter would return and I’d go back indoors to sit in a window, an acceptable alternative when it’s snowing.

This last year, I sat on the patio every opportunity I could find, knowing that at any moment I might be giving up that garden seat. Rose the six-toed cat would sit there with me each morning. (Gardens need a black and white cat to make them complete.) She died one day in September, and the next day we sold the patio set. I remember that morning, feeling I couldn’t bear to sit out there without her. Then as I watched the furniture being hauled away I regretted not spending one last morning there.

Winter came again and sitting on the patio was no longer an option, with or without a cat and a chair. The cold days of the northern hemisphere soon gave way to summer in the southern half of the world and I found myself on a balcony overlooking the streets of a Sydney suburb.

For thirty days I drank my coffee watching cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets, and a very vocal and territorial Australian Raven. As we spent the last month searching for a more permanent antipodean home, a proper patio was a required feature. We found this place, with not one, but two patios. I could choose which one I wanted to occupy on any given morning!

Except that I didn’t have a table or even a chair for the patio. Oh sure, I could have hauled a dining room chair out every day, but instead I sat in the dark corner, where I sit now because it’s raining, and pined for a seat in the open air. My mornings were just not quite satisfying.

Then last night, our two overly generous Kiwi friends came over for housewarming drinks, to break in the space with friendship and laughter. With them they brought a three piece bistro set: our housewarming gift. Once again, my life is complete.

That may come off as hyperbole and it’s not. The enormity of this gift goes far beyond the physicality of a small round table and two accompanying chairs. That bistro set is a front row seat to the day. It is a place to greet the morning, under the open sky where my thoughts and imagination can expand ever upward. It is a meditation retreat, a sacred shrine surrounded by flowers and vines. From that seat I can place my feet flat on the ground, feel my sit bones, and my connection to Earth.

That seat is where I plan to spend the next three years writing. It will be the birthing grounds of blog posts, short stories, essays, and articles I hope to publish. So yes, it is much more than a place to sit. This gift returned to me one of the things I miss most from my life in Salt Lake, one of the most important elements of my day and of my home. That bistro set and the friends that gave it to us transformed this place, a place I was feeling questionable about, into a home. Even if it’s raining and I can’t go outside to drink my coffee and write, I can think about doing it, and know that as soon as it stops raining I can go out there. And when I’m there, I will always be reminded of the loving and generous nature of the friends that made it possible.

~ for Merrolee and Lindsay

Stone the Flamin’ Crows, Mate!

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (11 of 18)
They say never say, “it can’t get any worse,” because it certainly can. This week has continued on its downward spiral. I was wrong; it’s not ok. Yet.

On Wednesday, I just couldn’t face the antipodean world, so I holed up in the air conditioned temporary lodgings instead of going to the new place, and never even bothered to get dressed until Craig came home from work and insisted (he didn’t have to try too hard) on taking me out to eat and filling my gullet with beer. I woke up Thursday in a brighter mood, believing all would be well.

I was determined that if I just pushed forth and made that place into a home, all would be well. To start, we needed to stock the larders. I headed to the market with my insulated wheelie cart and filled it up with milk, butter, cheese, and assorted other items that really like to be kept cold. I jumped on the bus (quite a feat with the wheelie cart) and traveled the thirty minutes to Balmain. Just as I was walking up the hill to our new home, I realized the keys were in the other apartment.

I stood there in the sun, my clothes clinging to my hot, damp self, and the tears started to fill my eyes. Then I cussed a little and stamped my foot, and rummaged through my bag begging any god that might care to listen. But I knew they weren’t there. After sending hysterical text messages to the spouse about what an absent minded twit I’ve become, I took a breath, cussed some more because that just feels good, hid the groceries in a shady bush, and got back on the bus. Luckily, the property management wasn’t too far up the road and they let me borrow keys.

I got back to the townhouse, unloaded the groceries, still naively believing it was all going to be fine. I had brought an old dress to change into while I cleaned, so I didn’t get any dirt on my sweat soaked clothes I had worn over. It was on the bottom of the wheelie cart; the ice pack I put in there leaked. No problem, I thought. I’ll just toss it into our brand new washer/dryer contraption that we bought last Saturday and I haven’t used yet.

The machine didn’t work.

I think this is when I started to cry for real. There was a lot more cussing and yelling, “I want to go HOME!!!!!” More breathing, and I decided to give up for the day. Because we thought we would be moving in last night, I had left Craig’s dry cleaning at the local cleaners. I hiked back up the road (it’s uphill both ways) to the cleaners. I stepped into the hot, steamy establishment, surprised that anything could be steamier than it was outside on the sidewalk. I had a nice chat with Gabby and Carol about accessing internet in Balmain. Gabby shook her head and said, “Awwww, you’re not from Australia, are you?” (Craig pointed out later that we had better internet when we were in Uganda.) After chatting with the ladies, I was able to see the humor in this whole business, and headed back to the air-conditioned apartment to start drinking.

Is it clear that I’m traveling back and forth between two properties in two different suburbs every day, sometimes a couple times a day?

The sun came up this morning and with it a positive attitude for me. I smiled at my husband and at the sun and the birds outside carrying on. I stretched my road-weary feet and stood up on them. I can do this. It’s going to be a good day.

I checked my email. I’ve been emailing the moving company for days trying to get the status of our shipment. The agent I’ve been working with from the beginning, wasn’t responding, so yesterday I tried another name. He responded promptly, albeit obliquely. We went back and forth for quite awhile, with him never answering the question, “where’s my stuff?”. I did, later, at the end of their day, get an email from their accounting department that our payment had been received. It costs a small fortune to ship your belongings overseas.

What I found in my inbox this morning was a message saying that our stuff has never actually left California. Now I understand why they were avoiding me.  They wanted the dollars before they gave me the news.

I’m still trying to believe it’s all going to be ok. I found a knitting group in our new neighborhood (or is that neighbourhood?). They meet on the first and third Friday of every month. I knew that if I just go hang out with some locals, especially locals who knit, my faith would be restored.

Well, no. I had it in my head that they met at noon. At 10:30, me still in Chippendale, a good 30 minute bus ride from Balmain and that doesn’t account for the ten minute walk to the bus stop or the 15-30 minute wait for the bus that’s always late, I realized that they met at 10:00 until noon.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

I still believe it’s going to be ok. Isn’t that the definition of insanity???

On the way back to the air-conditioned apartment today, I stopped at a little market just a couple blocks from our new place. It’s run by Joe, a darling upper middle aged Italian man. We chatted. Chatting with the locals does renew my faith, and reminds me that it doesn’t all suck.

I took the bus up the road to the property management and dropped off the condition report, with “no” written on almost every box that questions, “tenant agrees?” as to whether or not that item was clean and in working order. At the next bus stop there is a young man, probably 11 or 12. He looked up at me and promptly scooted over to make room. He politely informed me that if I wanted the 445, it had just passed, but the 433 hadn’t arrived though it should have done. Then his phone rang and he was all, “Hello Mum!” “Yes please” “No thank you” “I love you, Mum!”

If there are 12 year old boys in the world that are that polite and sweet to their mums, then, yes, it’s going to be ok.