Thursday, April 17, 2008

See Ya Later, Australia

The last few days in Sydney were surreal. Both of us felt a little unnerved leaving Gypsy in a Newcastle van dealership. Homeless and in limbo. The salesman put us on the train and we shot down to the northern suburbs of Sydney where Ally picked us up. Wahroonga with Ally and the kids felt familiar and homely after our previous visit to organise my visa. Their house is fantastic, backing on to bush land and frequented by lorikeets, rosellas, cockatoos and possums.

This time Enzo made an appearance too. Kelly was just about ready to start digging up the back yard in search of his remnants when he showed up, freeing Ally of our suspicions (husbandacide). Between work, business trips and training for a corporate triathlon he had plenty of valid explanations.

We also managed to catch up with Kellie and Macka, both doing amazing creative things. Kellie is directing her first production since graduating from NIDA, called Bumming with Jane at Belvoir Theatre (that’s in addition to running the youth program at NIDA). Macka is about to graduate from AFTARS, and then goes to Beijing to work on his first payed film production gig. I wish I could see Kellie’s play and I can’t wait to see Macka’s animation ‘The Red Kite’. Both of them and Sally totally spoilt us with a slap up dinner and the big, fat love of old friends.

Major bummer – we went to Darling Harbour for a wonderful lunch and ferry cruise, but my hand bag was stolen from the ground between us at a nice cafĂ©. The police were not surprised. We lost my money, cards etc, but worst of all the video camera and five weeks of magical holiday footage.

The other catch up we had was with my Sydney rellies for Sunday lunch. David treated us all, and Ree was there from Sydney as well as (the original) Glenda, Jim and the kids and of course, Uncle Merv. Who should crash the party but my Mum! She flew from Adelaide to surprise us, which would have been more surprising had she not established a pattern of similar surprises over the years. It was so lovely to see her, and she stayed in the same hotel as us for our last evening.

So with huge love in my heart, a series of farewell phone calls, text messages and more teary hugs from Mum we boarded our flight to San Francisco with connections to Seattle and Billings. About 24 hours later we were greeted by little sister Lori and her husband George who delayed their return to Belgium to hook up with us. Tera also made it up to the airport to join the welcoming committee.

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