This is my daily diary explicating a rather complicated itinerary Carole Anne and I set up during three-weeks in May when I took off work to go to America and back. This trip, necessitated by some personal needs and the desire - after nearly a year apart - to connect to family members scattered in various parts of the country, felt like a "whirlwind" for me because the schedule got even more complex than originally anticipated. (CA's experience was a bit more relaxed, as she stayed on for three extra weeks with family and friends in Massachusetts through mid-June, since she says she is now "retired!" 'Twas a pity indeed that I couldn't stay longer, but someone has to work and I'm the designated earner in our household!) So here they are - the highlights, the "low lights" and all!
(By the way, when you see green, those are hyperlinks leading to photos and other "illustrations.")
Carole Anne was actually gone three months from Canberra, all told, because she spent six weeks beginning the last week in March on an extended visit with her sister Linda and brother-in-law "Guna" Foward. They live in Noosa, Queensland - one of the most desirable vacation spots in all of Australia - quite an advantage to us because now she can go hang out with them at the best times of the year, weather-wise. (Carole Anne can't handle sticky, humid weather very well, which is partly why we live in Canberra!)
Meanwhile I stayed back in Canberra to finish the move out of the manse in Duffy which we were able to rent by special arrangement with Westin Uniting Church over the previous several months. Now, they needed to do some remodeling before their next interim pastor and family came to live in it.
During this process, I also moved myself and a minimal assortment of possessions into a small "granny flat" that Keith and Ruth Blackburn graciously made available to me beside their home in Chifley - conveniently only about 5 minutes by car (15 minutes by bike) from The Canberra Hospital.
Serendipitously for us, Liz Saunders and her husband took initiative to offer their "rumpus room" in the lower level of their home for the storage of some of our "permanent" Australian stuff that isn't necessary to keep with us while we take up a stretch of house-sitting again for the foreseeable future. Thank-you, Liz!
Throughout this whole endeavor I realized how much "stuff" Carole Anne and I had managed to accumulated around us in just nine months of living in Australia! How does this happen? I had a deadline of April 1 to get all this done - but I made it!
CA actually had her own space in Noosa those entire six weeks, taking on house-sitting with a Maltese-Shitzu dog named Emma, about a five minute walk down the same street where Linda and Guna lived in the Sunrise Beach neighborhood. This whole arrangement was ideal, and a wonderful way for these sisters to get together frequently during those weeks. They haven't spent much time together over the last 40 years; this sort of visit was one of the main motivations for our move to Australia in the first place!
Now to describe the saga and reflect on MY experience of this so-called "holiday!"
I had arranged for a rendezvous with Carole Anne in Sydney Saturday evening, May 2, and we then left Sydney together the next day (Sunday) on a 13 hr flight, arriving in San Francisco 3 hours before we left Oz (according to the watch I hadn't changed yet!) However, I was during this whole flight still recovering from a tough case of food poisoning from bad prawns I injested during my Saturday evening meal.
Here's that story: Carole Anne and I went out Saturday evening to a well-recommended sea food restaurant with two other American chaplain friends whom I had recently discovered were working at the same hospital in Sydney - so of course, we had to meet! One was Muslim and one was Christian, and both have been living in Oz for at least 8 or 10 years, so they had invaluable insights to offer and we all enjoyed a wonderful evening together, getting acquainted.
But I also really "paid" heavily for that meal: I had to "heave-ho" at about 3:00 am Sunday morning, out beside the bushes outside the hotel after writhing around in agony for an hour. I finally got some relief and back to sleep at 4 am after mixing some baking soda with Club Soda down at the hotel's bar/restaurant (Carole Anne's suggested "recipe"!)
and some art galleries.