Thursday, 16 May 2013

Resistance is useless

Image: BBC

When I was young, Doctor Who was on the ABC every weeknight before the news. I loved it, but like so many other children, it scared the bejesus out of me. I probably saw more of the palms of my hands than the television screen and, yes, I did resort to the cliché of hiding behind the couch. Looking at the hyper-realistic costumes above it is clear why I would have been so terrified!

My segue here is fear. Fear and the bizarre effect it can have on us.

This week has been enormous. On the weekend I realised that a recent Australian interest rate cut meant that renting my house was a viable Plan B if it didn't sell in the near future. Ergo: I no longer have to wait for the house to sell before moving to Canada. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I booked my flights. Today I resigned from my job. The really fun part was finding a flight that allows for a stopover in Tokyo. The hardest part was pressing the button to commit to buying the first flight; I must have sat there for nearly ten minutes, aware that that one action would push me past the point of no return. On the flipside I know from bitter experience that an international flight can increase by hundreds of dollars in the course of a couple of hours, so I was also nervous that if I didn't commit this week - that day - I'd lose the one reasonably priced combination I'd been able to find for the month-long window of departure dates I'd been searching. Up until then all the one way flight connections I'd seen were more than my entire return ticket to Montréal in February.

Yet there I was, a woman with a fully formed, timed and costed-out plan and a husband to get to, hesitating. A whole new, exciting world of experiences and opportunities lies before me, with a gorgeous man to lie beside me, and yet the chatter in my brain, the resistance to letting go of my current life, the sheer physical difficulty in pressing-the-goddam-button-already, was astounding. I was paralysed with fear in the face of enormous change, despite the fact that the change is something I want so very badly. In the end, obviously, I gave myself a mental slap across the face, came to, and just pressed the bloody button!

Today I drove into work knowing that, again, an irrevocable action was about to take place. I feel a deep sense of loyalty to my organisation and I love my co-workers dearly, I feel bad about leaving them at a difficult time in the face of sector funding cuts and a tough art market. Telling my boss, in fact, was nowhere near as bad as telling my co-workers, even though we've all known this day would come for quite a while. Still, I had heart palpitations when I made an office-wide announcement.

But why? Why, with the prospect of moving to a major international city full of art and culture and good food, and where they speak both French and English, to be with the man you love, could there ever be a hesitation? I get to reboot my life completely, transferring across only those files I choose (though no doubt there'll be a few lurking Trojans!) Every time I get a heart pang at the thought of leaving my house, every time I fear that I'll be unemployed for the rest of my life, every time I see a Ulysses butterfly and wonder if that will be the last one I ever see, should and will be a time to get excited about all the new things that are to come and that could never happen here, will never happen if I stay. I won't be too hard on myself if I catch myself grieving, but I will reprimand myself if I find I am getting resentful of the reasons Charles can't come back here, or if I am clinging too hard to things that are ultimately of lesser importance – tin foil and pipe cleaners all of it, just like the costumes in the image above. Because resistance to change, fear of change, can make you hide behind the couch even when you are a grown up.

P.S. Unlike a number of my friends, I haven't been able to get into the latest incarnations of Doctor Who and its offshoots. I haven't watched a full episode since the fifth Doctor.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Just because it's called Rainbow, doesn't mean it's a hippy commune!

Is there such a place as Paradise On Earth? I suspect one's options on this expand considerably in line with one's tolerance to mould. I love Cairns. No, I's just that the first third of the year always brings with it a constant battle against the forces of evil. I mean, mould. Ahem.

As pre-empted a while ago, I just went to Northern New South Wales to visit some beloved friends and their munchkins as part of my grand Farewell to Oz Tour. I've only been to Northern New South Wales once before as an adult, in the mid-'90s, and I have a very Romantic view of it as one of the most beautiful places to live in Australia. It is also the hippy 'capital' of the country. I think I had been there less than 24 hours this time when Jane drew my attention to a jacket that she'd just pulled out of the wardrobe that was fluffy with subtropical mould. Cue needle dragging across a record...

But if you can get over that (or yourself, and Lord knows I need to do a bit more of that of late!), then gee willikers it's pretty. My friends live near The Channon. There's a creek at the bottom of their driveway and a waterfall at the end of their road. They live on a multiple occupancy intentional community, on which the husband grew up. And yes, it's called Rainbow. No social profiling, please! They are building their own solar-powered, composting toileted, hempcrete-lined, passive solar, recycled or reclaimed when possible, totally awesome home that looks straight out into rainforest. It's truly beautiful and very contemporary in design.

Chedy's mum still lives on the community. She's a ceramicist and a fanatical collector of vintage objects and textiles. I was lucky enough to sleep in an alcove of her studio and woke up each morning to total eye candy of old kitchenalia and a ceramicist's tools of the trade. Heaven for me! She had a very established orchard and veggie patch, and here's what's so great about this region: rosemary grew next to pineapples, roses grew next to pawpaws, Brazilian cherries grew alongside grapefruit, and both strawberries and bananas looked happy. For a gardener like me that's a pretty impressive interzone of domestic food crops! It wasn't long before I was emailing Charles to suggest that maybe Northern New South Wales could be a good  spot for us eventually, if we find our way back to Australia. The big, fat kookaburras and the mix of rainforest and eucalypts were giving me a pre-emptive strike of homesickness, too.

That's about it for the blabbing. I mostly wanted to get back in the writing saddle today, and I'll leave you with more pictures than words. Please find here some images of a very extended Anzac Day long weekend holiday: the 'Goldie' from Coolangatta; views from the Pinnacle looking out to Mt Warning; happy snaps from Rainbow; and the mandatory trip to Byron Bay, at the Tallow Beach end.

 The End