Friday, March 06, 2015

What Did I Do?

What did I do during my Fortnight of G'Days?

I first have to describe what I packed for my trip.  I planned to take a daypack/backpack and a small "carry-on" suitcase for the trip.  Yes: That Spouse o' Mine and I did have a larger suitcase which he checked through both ways.  But for the most part, my things were in my two carry-ons.  I had one black dress (think TravelSmith), two pairs of linen pants (which could be rolled up to kicky- capris), one pair of linen shorts, three black t-shirts, two long-sleeved linen blouses (I hate sunscreen), a swimsuit, and some jammies.  Oh!  And a favorite turquoise sweater.  More on that, later.  A pair of running shoes, a pair of Sperry Topsiders, and some ballet house slippers.  In terms of fun stuff, I had a myriad of unread magazines in my backpack: that which I read, I saved for folks Down Under to enjoy.  This was heavy reading material in the lbs-sense, but I hope it was enjoyable to those concerned.  I also had a few crochet hooks, two spools of crochet thread, and a tatting shuttle.  Ha ha!  I intended to learn how to tat on my way down to Australia.  (And I did!)  I took my camera, and I had a smallish Chromebook, and with that I enjoyed WiFI internet across the oceans.  Yes! Can you believe it?!   I still cannot believe the miracle of technology.  Let it be known that I played many, too many, games of chess on that thing, to and from Australia. 

I had already decided that I was going to leave all driving, travel plans, and most of my financial transactions to others on this trip.  Simply thought out, I am capable of doing all the above, but why, if there are a multitude of others around me who can do the same, should I expend my energy?  If I am traveling by myself, I have no trouble driving, finding a cab, the metro, the money exchange, blah, blah, blah.  This time?  I decided to be a Queen.  I did not exchange any cash.  I only used my credit card three times.  All else, I asked someone to take care of it for me.  (I later shifted money here & there for the kind family.)  I never drove.  I did walk a lot, and run a lot, but that was my choice and I did not have to rely on anyone. 

We stayed at various family homes during our visit.  My Mother- and Father-in-law live in a gorgeous home surrounded by acres of gorgeous gardens.  I have a difficult time describing how beautiful their property is.  They have jasmine trees.  Orchids growing in the wild.  Avocado trees.  Gum trees (as in, kookaburra sitting in them...)  Lemon trees.  When my MIL and FIL still lived on their farm about 30 miles from their current home, they had orange, lemon, almond trees.  Plus corn, wheat, cotton, and cattle.  Wallabies and kangaroos, and koalas.  Geckos.  People ask why they left their South Dakota farm, loaded their possessions onto a ship, and sailed to Australia. 

Huh.  That Spouse o' Mine was a kid back then.  He remembers that his job in the South Dakota winters was to break the ice for the cattle, in -25* temperatures. 

OK, I am meandering.  What did I do for two weeks in Queensland?   I spent lovely time with my inlaws, my SILs, my BILs.  And the nieces and nephews.  I saw many beautiful gardens (Brisbane Botanical, etc), did some antiquing during the cyclone (what else is there to do during a deluge of water???), and that Spouse o' mine and I caught up with some of his high school and college buddies.  I found that very enjoyable.

Oh - the cyclone? We had planned to go to "the Coast" for a weekend with lots of the extended family.  Somehow, the numbers dwindled, but we were happy to go on.  We spent the night before with my BIL and his wife, Janette.  She mentioned, "Ah, yeah, you might be getting a lot of rain up there.  The cyclones."

We kind of poo-pooed that.  In the end, we DID go up to "the Coast",  stuck our toes in the water while the swells rose and the rain began in earnest.  I think we two would have stayed, just to experience a cyclone, but for the thought that if it did indeed flood...I had a flight out to home not days later, and that might be problematic.  So we moved back inland and enjoyed two straight days of deluge.  My FIL has a 20,000 gallon underground tank which was nearly empty, and it was full before noon of the first day of the cyclone.  I guess I should insert here that folks in the Highfields area where my inlaws live do not DO NOT water with city water.  That's a big no-no.  BIG taboo on that.  As I walked and ran every morning through neighborhoods, I would see signs in yards stating "Bore water in use" (well water) , and "Rain Water in use", etc.  They conserve their rainwater, the likes of which we must adopt in our own neighborhoods.

Ok, now to the "Tea".  Tea, in Australia Speak is both the beverage, but also the meal: whatever meal you are faced with.  Tea can be a brunch tea, or lunch.  It can be evening dinner.  High tea, tea, a cuppa, whatever. 

Tea!  We all awoke to coffee (Saints be praised), but from then on, the noun was tea.  For whatever.  We enjoyed so many family gatherings of tea, and they all involved lots of food, tea, hours, and more tea and food.  And I forgot: laughter.  We had so many hours of fun, laughter, recollections, and silliness.  Such a fun time. 

And so: what did I do for a fortnight?  Laugh, and love, and dine, and drink tea.


I forgot to return to my favorite turquoise sweater!! 

I have a traveling rule that says, "Don't pack your favorite 'anything', because by the end of your trip, you will HATE IT. Pack only things that you could live without."

You know what?  I LOVED that turquoise sweater.  It fit me.  It was colorful.  It was warm without being HOT.

Why, oh, why, did I pack it?!

I hate it now.  People germs.  Blech....


Louise Plummer said...

Oh thank you for writing the word "tatting." How long has it been since I've heard that word? Tom's grandmother tatted. Is that the right verb. Such an old fashioned word.

This is my theory of travel clothes: if you don't look good in the photos, you haven't had a good time.
Shallow, I know, but I am what I am.

twebsterarmstrong said...

I have always loved lace, and tatting, and nice handiwork. Tatting seemed to be such a daunting activity, until I learned that the basics entail two half-hitches, back-to-back. If you were ever a Girl Scout, you probably learned half-hitches.

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