Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Thirty Three years and Counting …

In our first humble dwelling in West Ryde – a one bedroom rented apartment.

We notched 33 years together on the 19th of Jan 2020. Time and tide waits for no one. The same way Cough, cold and the plague like flu doesn’t hold back either just because it’s your special day. I lost everything. I lost my voice and my room. I was banished to the guest room as no one wanted what I had.

We sipped a glass of Cognac sitting far apart. There were no candles or flowers. No caviar or lobster. Take away (take out) soup and dumplings adorned the table. I quietly watched my hubby through my “Vicks” laced eyes. He looked tired. He has lost most of his thick mop of hair. The pot belly has taken a permanent place and expanding gradually. That man who polished his shoes and waltzed in with dashing looks is not there anymore. He has been replaced with a tired old man. I know he needs a break. But he will stubbornly refuse.

I look down at my self. Once the non existent belly has found a few companions. They are fondly called the muffin tops. With our looks gone astray, all we have left is the love for each other.

Our 2nd dwelling in Sydney – our first purchase – a two bedroom apartment

It feels like recently we have been hit by seismic waves one after another. We need a reprieve. Each time we come to the surface it feels like some one is waiting outside to hammer us down back in again. My life partner takes the brunt of it all, without much ado.

The New year dawned for us with another uncertainty. I was determined to go through with my New Year’s eve annual party. As we get old I am becoming more aware of the fact that we are only temporary residents of this world. Life is to be lived was my motto on that day. It was hard at times to concentrate on the preparations and cooking. Still it was a good distraction. Family and friends gathered and we had a good night.

Six days later we drove to Sydney. In the height of the Bush fires we didn’t take this trip lightly. Hubby’s sister and bro-in-law were very concerned about us driving. For many reasons driving was a better option for us. However, safety comes first and we didn’t want to add to the ill fortunes that was following us.

I rang the Bush fire info authorities. These organisations mostly run by volunteers do an amazing job. They checked our route and gave us the thumbs up, also armed us with a few apps, that would indicate any fires near us, road closures etc. We also packed a few essentials in case we got blocked in. Quilt, Pillows, Water, food etc.

The weather was on our side. So on that Monday the 6th we started our two day trip to Sydney. I am glad we drove rather than fly to Sydney. It gave us time to talk, hold hands and just enjoy the presence of each other. In our busy lives this was such a luxury. And to enjoy the nature, the bare Australian out-back has it’s own charm. The iron fist grip of the drought was very evident.

Pink Lake – But not a drop of water in this lake any more.

In places we drove through thick fog of smoke. Smoke from the bush fires that were burning at least 100 Kms away. Makes you wonder what it would have been like at ground zero. We did meet a couple of fire fighters at one of our coffee stops. They looked tired and worn out. They still managed a smile for us.

It is only fitting that I write about this today on Australia day. This is a beautiful country. Sure we have bush fires, year after year. Maybe each year worse than the last. But it has not broken us yet. Sure we have the worst Prime Minister in the world (maybe that’s a bit harsh but among the one’s we’ve had, have to say he tops as the worst), but we definitely have some of the best humans in this part of the world. We are one big family. We have our differences, amongst them some quirky relatives too, but all in all we are an amazing family. We are there for each other.

When the American, Canadian and New Zealand fire fighters rocked up on our shores, I felt proud to be a human. Although we are responsible for so many vile atrocities, we are also capable of being extraordinarily amazing. Some of my friends from overseas who had snapped a picture with our local Koala posted this on facebook. All the concerned messages from friends and relatives from overseas confirmed that we were not alone in this battle.

This was not exactly a joy ride to Sydney, I do not wish divulge too much into that as it is not my story to tell. While we were there we visited a couple of friends of ours. One of whom is now on remission from bowl cancer. Another example of mistaken identity by the Kharma god. I am pretty sure he has not hurt a soul in his past 10 lives nor will he in next hundred. However, he has so far put a grand fight and at present is still the victor. The other is the carer of his wife with Dementia. She is not that much older than I am. This is the first time I have come across a younger person with this horrible decease. She was a stylish, assertive, tough career woman. Seeing her like that was very upsetting. This has made me question everything. Her hubby is doing an amazing job taking care of her. But how do you really come to terms with all this. It would be no difference to living with a stranger. There is no telling if I could become the victim as a carer or as the patient.

Life is precious. Live it today is my message.

Talking about the road trip I had veered off the track about us – hubby and me. But not exactly. This trip to Sydney, the life lessons learned has confirmed more than anything is that I love this man very much.

What we have right now is what we really have. We have to hold on tight to that. Our hopes and dreams for the future are just that. A Dream. It will only eventuate if you wake up from that dream. So realise your reality today was your dream yesterday. Enjoy it and treasure it.

After a week in Sydney we drove back to Adelaide with much lighter heart. Even when things are not great we need to be positive and be thankful that the situation is not that grave either.

Work related dramas started to evolve for hubby as we were driving back. After driving for nearly 10-11 hrs on the 2nd day of the drive we get home around 7.00pm. He unpacks the car and leaves immediately to work. Returns late and then leaves early next morning to Port Pirie – 230 kms drive. His cadet day training comes to fruition I think. We returned from Sydney on the 13th. Since then he has been to Port Pirie, Mackay and Western Australia.

How do I thank a man who tirelessly works not just for his family but also for the family of his employee. He knows as a family we are ready for him to retire. I would rather buy a few less shoes than see my man work so hard. But he is a complex man with very strong ethics. Very hard not to be proud of this man.

Since Christmas we have been eating out a lot. I could see he was so tired that all he wanted was to get two minutes of sleep. Not get dressed up to go out. So for this anniversary celebrations I wanted to make a special meal and have a quiet night at home.

But then I got attacked by something similar to the Bubonic plague. It is not a secret that my husband doesn’t posses any of the skills of Jamie Oliver. So he brings me soup each day from “Shanghai Tea House”. He will bring me enough for the next day lunch as well, then a fresh one for dinner. On the Saturday he had been working since early, he rings me around 4.30pm asking if I wanted more soup. I was feeling a bit better and I was going to help my son make the soup that night. So I said no for the soup but I was craving for a fresh Juice with a lot of ginger from Boost Juice. He asked what my son would like, if we wanted sushi (my sons and I love sushi, it’s our go to food when we are sick, hubby is not a fan of sushi). My son too gave an order for the Boost Juice but said no for the sushi as we knew the juice would be rather filling. Few hours pass by and no hubby on sight. I feel rather guilty, because I know he would be so tired after working non stop for so many days.

My hubby returns with a collection of stuff from the shops. Boost Juice at the shopping centre had closed by the time he had got there. Hence the delay. He had gone all over the place looking for another Boost juice. He had found a drive through Boost Juice. Didn’t know such a thing existed until now. Along with that he had also bought Sushi enough to feed the neighborhood, Chocolate Drumstics of two kinds and not to leave the dog out some chicken jerky for the dog as well.

I know it was not the 33.1 carat diamond ring Elizabeth Taylor received. Not even a 100 Roses Bouquet. But this man makes me tear up with just a Boost Juice. I am in love with this man today. I have been for the last 33 years. His love gestures are pretty unique. But that’s what makes him special. If I have one wish for our future, I wish we continue our lives the same way as today, with all the laughs, squabbles and simple love.

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Happy Australia Day

Australia-Day

Happy Australia Day to all my fellow Aussie mates.  Hope you are toasting somewhere by the beach or the pool with a stubby in one hand and a sausage sanga (Sausage Sandwich) on the other watching over your mates playing backyard or beach cricket.

For most Australians (Australia Day) simply represents a public holiday which gives them an excuse to fire up the Barbie (BBQ), sausages, beers a game of cricket, pavlova and pretty much talk “shit”as Aussies would refer it.  Most Australians at most times are pretty chilled people.  This has been noted by most tourists who come to this country.  We are a nation of genuinely nice people.  We may not have the polish to cover up and talk politely and be politically correct but even the guy who sounds racist is usually a pretty nice guy.

A friend of mine who came over from North America was amazed how random people just opened up to her in the bus or the plane and were super helpful.  I recollect a time when I went to Canada with then my two very young children, I went via Hawai.  My youngest was a runner/escape artist.  So I had  to hang on to him on one hand other with all the luggage.  Had three passports and all other documents to hold as well.  Unlike in Australia there were too many check points.  And each time I think that’s the last of it and put the passports back in the handbag and then come across another check point.  Ughh! They had no sympathy for a mother with two young kids, instead they would get irritated that I didn’t have the papers ready. Same treatment when coming back, I was on this constant stress mode when I arrived at the Sydney Airport.  Waiting for my bags to arrive and keep the young one on check, a middle aged man standing next to me said to me “love just stand here and point me to your luggage and I will get it for you” and he just did that, packed all my luggage carefully on the trolley and put my boys in it too.  I got to the counter and as there was no queue in front of me I didn’t get a chance to get the documents out.  I was again on panic mode trying to get them out.  The lady at the counter “love take your time, it’s ok” and she started to chat to my kids.  I thought “I’m home”.

I am a migrant from Sri Lanka, I arrived here twenty eight years ago and became an Australian Citizen 26 years ago exactly today.  Hubby and I were expecting our first child and the Citizenship ceremony took place in Hornsby, NSW.  It was really an awesome day.  It felt like the beginning of many great things to come by.  And it sure did.  A conscious effort was made to make us feel welcomed and a new chapter was opened in our lives.  Even so, I think within me for a long time I felt like a guest.  I was happy where I was staying but didn’t feel it was my place.  When ever I mentioned “back home” it meant Sri Lanka.  I think the first time I referred to Australia as my home was on this return journey from Canada.

Hear me out completely before you cast that stone “ungrateful”. I wasn’t ungrateful, far from it.  As each year notched I became more relaxed in my new environment and I could feel a shift in my mannerisms and way of thinking.  I was becoming used to the Aussie Larrikin and was starting like him/her.  I am still a mixed bag in terms of my identity.  When I am asked “where are you from” at times I would say “from Sri Lanka” but there are times I have caught my self saying, we are originally from Sydney, then we moved to Adelaide…”  I have no shame or issue of my ethnicity.  Do I ooze with so much pride that I refuse to call myself Australian? On the contrary, I feel so much pride in saying I am an Australian.

So much so, I am comfortable calling out on the mistakes, errors and simply things we should rectify.  I am no more a guest, I am now a family member.  I will support, I will stand up for, I will protect but I will also call you out when you are wrong.

The great debate at present – should we change the date of  Australia Day? 

For the first Australians the Aborigines this seems to be very important, as this day represents something very dark in their history.  It wasn’t the day that English really landed in Australia however throughout history, on the 26th of January the English set up or did horrible things to Aborigines. There was even once a Beach umbrella type thing set up called the ‘Aboriginal Embassy’ as to represent ‘Aliens on our land’  They kept reminding them with their actions that they stole this land from them and now they are foreigners in their own country.

The aborigines lost their land, their identity, their language, their families and eventually their self worth.

I do not believe in punishing or blaming the current generation for the mistakes of the old.  We all need to move on.  But for the victim it is easier said than done.

I know many fair minded White Australians despise the way some Aborigines behave.  Using the past issues as excuses for their drinking, gambling and unemployment.  As a fellow tax payer I can understand their frustrations.  The only way forward is education, empathy and mutual respect.  All these actions has to be two way.  We need to educate ourselves about them and them about us and same goes for empathy and mutual respect.  It goes well past not calling each other “white fellas” and “Black fellas”

For me 26th of January is an important day as that was the day I became an Australian legally.  However, happy to move the celebrations to another day so everyone in this country can celebrate it.

I even have a day for that.  February 13th.  It was the day we said “sorry” to the aborigines.  It was day that moved the first Australians and descendants of the first fleet Australians. “Sorry” is a simple word but a damn powerful word.

After the big riots in 1983 in Sri Lanka when the whole country went on a rampage of killing innocent Tamils no one said “sorry” not even close.  The country’s then President J.R Jaywardene went on T.V for his first press conference and explained that the “Sinhela people reacted to the 13 Army soldiers being killed by the militants in the north” not one word to say that this was in fact something wrong. pointless, mindless act.  Not one single word, the whole speech almost condoning the actions of the masses.  Months later my friend Lalith sent me a letter, it was not a long letter, it simply said “I’m sorry, I am ashamed” he went on to ask if I was okay, etc.  But none of that mattered.  The only words that keep ringing in my ears were “I am sorry”.  He was just a young teenager at that time.  But he was sincere, he was courageous, He was respectful.

If we are serious about reconciliation we need to start with respect.  Even if you do not care about reconciliation and simply want them to get off their back sides and do a days work and get off the dole, this is the only way – RESPECT.

The day we said sorry to them was a great starting point.  Let’s start there.  Let’s remind ourselves each year, what we did on the 13th Feb 2008.  Let it be a day that we are all proud of.

Time for another piece of Pav.

 

 

https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2017/01/18/10-things-you-should-know-about-january-26