"I've seen fire and I've seen rain.....but I always thought I'd see you again" was the song running through my head as we made our way over the Pacific and down under the northern hemisphere to Sydney, Australia in 2002.
A gift from my husband to finally visit my oldest brother in his adopted country; the place he's called home for years.
|My brother greeting me in 2002|
My brother came to the US every few years to visit our parents; they in turn visited him several times, accepting the fact he was an Aussie citizen and embracing his new homeland. But I haven't seen him since 2010 when Mom passed away.
So off I go. Solo. I'm packed and have taken care of last minute details...spray tanned, nails done, bills paid, love notes written to my kids and grandkids. I made copies of my passport, visa, insurance card and driver license for my brother and son...just in case.
|21in. luggage/carry-on bag|
My cross body-bag fits nicely too. I like being hands free when walking through airports and taking taxis for minimum schlepping!
I've got scrapbooks and journals from my last visit to Straya or Strain (Australia)...Aussies abbreviate or rework every word they can. I'm a Stickybeak...nosy and always asking questions!
|Three Sisters; Blue Mountains of NSW|
|Katoomba train station, Blue Mts.|
After spending two nights in the Blue Mountains with my brother and sister-in-law, Jim and I took the train to Sydney Airport and caught a flight to Coffs Harbour to visit dear friends we met at the 96 Olympics in Atlanta. In addition to touring a banana plantation in this equatorial rain forest region; we pet koalas at the zoo and wandered an animal preserve feeding wallabies and roos. An interesting fact we learned back then was that Australia is a big exporter of sand and camels! I'll have a chance to ride a camel during an Ayers Rock sunrise this trip!
I was teaching fourth grade in 2002; so I hooked up with the lead teacher taking students on a tour of the Opera House one afternoon. Another day I spent in a fourth grade classroom of the Brisbania Primary School; engaging with lessons and securing pen pals for my students back home.
|Brisbane Water, Central Coast NSW|
They've also a studio on the grounds where my sister-in-law paints. An accomplished artist, she's written and illustrated several books, written articles and teaches community art classes. She is conducting an artist's retreat on Norfolk Island this first week in March, 2016.
|April, 2002 my 58th Birthday|
Butterflies flutter a bit as the countdown to departure begins. I fly alone often and I've made this long journey before....but there's a sense of emptiness; that something is missing. Grief in disguise? My husband held my hand as we sat on the steps overlooking Sydney Harbor on our last night; the Opera House over his shoulder, the Harbor Bridge over mine. "We're coming back someday, " he promised. I know I'm also going for him. He'll be in my heart, smiling at my brother's jokes and Aussie slang.
In addition to a three night stay at the Desert Gardens Resort and the camel ride; I'm looking forward to meeting blogging friends in real life who've offered to meet me in Sydney for coffee or wine. And how cool will it be to meet my sweet and sunny girlfriend from high school days as she and her husband disembark from their Singapore to Sydney cruise and spend a day with me! But mostly this trip is about family; about catching up on our lives, about sharing childhood memories and making new ones as the end of our third quarter looms.
Another verse I like from the Crosby, Stills and Nash's song goes like this; "the truth you might be running from is so small. But it's as big as the promise...the promise of a coming day." I think this fluttering is anticipation in disguise!