#1957 Remembering him, and the memories

A part of me feels like I’m not allowed to write about my uncle, because I had only spent two periods of my life with him.

But today, having learned of his passing, I feel a tremendous amount of sadness for my Mum’s family, while also realising that I am more than qualified to speak about him, because he inhabited some of the most meaningful and memorable parts of my life.

When I was 13 I travelled with my parents overseas. Being a fresh teenager, the thought of meeting family that I hadn’t met before was not exactly thrilling stuff.

And yet those 3 months ended up being the best of my life.

Our home base was at my uncle and aunty’s house, and so we would return there often for days at a time, sometimes weeks, in between our travels around Croatia and the neighbouring countries where our relatives lived.

I remember how much he and my Dad seemed to click. Both fond of drinking the hard stuff at 40%, they loved their grapes, their gardens, and their gadgets. Both natural handymen. It was never too early to ‘cheers,’ and they were often caught having a good ol’ chat.

I remember the garden, the vines above providing ample cover as good as a ceiling. I remember the swing there too, and the kittens that crawled along the roof of these vines, and how I looked up at them.

I remember the ‘bunker’ at the bottom of the house, and I remember the random spa-type apparatus that sat on top of the garage! Me and one of my cousins sat in the empty pool as it were, on a hot Summer’s day.

I remember them taking us out to ice cream in the main centre. I remember us walking the streets, and them telling us where the bombs had fallen, showing us the concrete scars they had left on the road. They showed us where their son had gone to high school and proudly pointed out the court he played basketball in.

I remember more vividly the second time I visited my uncle and aunty, because it was more recent… it was when Hubbie and I were on our honeymoon.

Although it wasn’t yesterday, the memories are far fresher. I had the opportunity to spend time with them, now as an adult, out of the wings of my parents, 12 years on. Hubbie and I sat with them. There was still the bunker, the 40% alcohol, and the cherished garden. And of course, the cats.

I think he had a soft spot for cats.

On the few days we were in town, he kindly played tourist guide, driving us around to see other family members. We saw his favourite fishing hole, and he spoke fondly of his own family, and of his memories with them.

I often found myself staring at him and being amazed at the likeness between him and his son.

But what I remember most, is the day he took us to the train station, as we set to depart from Croatia.

We waved goodbye, and I said we would see him again one day. I watched as he turned, his head bobbing down in a sign of resignation as he walked away.

But that day never came.

I think of all of this, and I send so much love out to my family tonight.

I hope they too hold their own special memories of him that they’re replaying in their minds.

It’s just another sombre reminder that we must grasp each and every day with all our might and all our love.

Photo by Rahul on Pexels.com

RIP, M.G.

#1796 A kind fellow

Ahh, it’s good to be back.

We are HOME. Finally. And in no small part is it due to a kind person we had only ever met over the phone up ’til this morning, who quite literally saved the day for us.

Our car had actually been fixed, lo and behold, late yesterday afternoon. But both last night, and this morning, when I tried repeatedly for almost 2 hours, Hubbie couldn’t get an uber to pick up his car from a mechanic’s only 15 minutes away.

It was so frustrating. I called taxi services that didn’t answer, and then uber just kept saying –

“Sorry, we couldn’t find a ride for you.”

🤦‍♀️

A word of caution for us and anyone else when booking a holiday: regional trips can come with its share of issues if shit hits the fan. Just sayin’.

Anyway, we were due out of the apartment at 10am. Hubbie called the mechanic in desperation to explain the situation, and this guy that we’d never met, that we’d been hassling for a day and a half to get our car fixed in time, so very kindly offered to drop the car off to us.

OMG. Praise the Lord. Can you hear the angels sing?

AHHHHH!

We lugged bags and bags and bags worth of stuff to the foyer, checked out, and then some time later, our car pulled up to the reception!

What a sight!

This mechanic was the nicest guy… he had gone out of his way to help us, and we couldn’t say thank you enough.

But once we did, pedal hit the metal, and we zoomed home for an hour and 10 minutes.

We’re all going to sleep soooo well tonight.

Home sweet home. 💖💖💖💖

#1792 Island time

Ahhh.

This is the sound one makes when they get away from it all.

Sigh.

This is the breath one makes when they can start to let go.

SPLASH!

This is the sound one makes when you want to dive head-first into the fun!

We are having fun in a different place, and we can’t wait to keep breathing deeply, keep exhaling fully, and jumping into every new experience with vigour and excitement.

It’s great to be back, to island time. 😉

#1522 Day 24 of getting there: Take a walk on the simple side

One of the great things that will come out of this coronavirus isolation period (and I guarantee there will be many things that people will come to really appreciate) is that people will be much more connected to nature.

It’s all there is really. Walking, exercising. It’s the one saving grace.

And it’s become ours too.

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I think we’ll all realise just how simple and beautiful our lives can be, by just going outside. By going back to nature, enjoying the free and natural parts of life, that are all accessible just by stepping out the front door.

I’ve come to really rely on our end of day walks. And the photo I snapped above?

That part of the walk is my favourite.

WHY?

Because there’s a house off the path there somewhere, with a real fireplace. And the smell of firewood burning as we walk past…

MMMM.

It smells amazing.

It makes me feel like we’re on holiday.

It makes me feel the way we used to feel, back when we lived on the other side of town, and would travel down here, to our now sea change house, back then our getaway sea change destination of choice… (PHEW).

And I love it. I love feeling like we’re away, if only a moment, especially when we can’t go further than out our front door, or at the very most, around the block.

And isn’t that amazing? How nature can make us feel? ♥♥♥

 

 

 

#1422 ‘Twas the ‘second’ night before Christmas…

What? She must have her dates wrong you say.

No siree.

It really is the night before Christmas… for those of Orthodox faith.

It’s an interesting thing to celebrate two Christmases throughout your life. It’s a privilege now awarded to baby girl as she joins in the doubled up of festivities.

Growing up, although the primary Christmas we celebrated was on the traditional Westernised date of December 25th, due to my Mum’s background and heritage we were always aware of at the very least, if we weren’t helping our relatives celebrate the Orthodox Christmas day of January 7th.

Seeing as Hubbie’s family is also of Orthodox faith, this acknowledgement and acceptance has grown and continued. All of my life, family and friends around me have celebrated this day… I have been to countless Christmas parties and participated in token Orthodox traditions, drank and ate and been merry on this holiest of days.

Which nationalities celebrate this day you might ask? Well there are Macedonians, Serbians, Polish, Russian, and Greek, to name a few…

I think it’s important to respect and value other traditions, even those that we may not be privy to or understand in the fullest.

Just as living in Australia, I believe that Australian customs should be respected and appreciated by all those who choose to call this country their home, so too do I believe the reverse should be norm: Aussies should respect the traditions and heritage of those with customs and holidays from far off our shores.

Including a different Christmas.

Sometimes I hear a bit of ignorance. One side might discount the other, calling theirs the ‘real Christmas.’

I think this is a bit sad. I don’t think we should be arguing over religion and politics and trying to up our own stance by discounting the other.

Why can’t we all respect each other’s traditions while still enjoying our own?

THIS GOES BOTH WAYS.

Baby girl went to bed tonight excited. She was asking if Santa would come again… I told her he only makes one stop a year, but that there would still be PRESENTS.

We did the majority of presents on the Westernised Christmas day, but I have an inkling she will get something. 😉

A second Christmas for a kid? That’s like a second birthday!

She, and we, are fortunate to have double the Christmases, every year. ♥

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

#1418 Holidaying at home

We have wanted to do it for so long.

But finally, we really feel like we are holidaying where we live.

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It’s the best. Circumstances beyond our control (me no job?!?!) have meant that we were definitely NOT going anywhere far this summer… but to be honest, last time we went away for a few nights, all we wanted to do was go home to our neck of the woods, and explore.

With Hubbie on holiday lately we’ve been able to do that. Look around our side of the world. Admire beaches and take long walks, eat yummy food and drink even more coffee, head off to other towns and kinda be a tourist, but then…

Drive home and feed the cat and sleep in our beds.

And there is NOTHING like sleeping in your own bed.

And it truly did feel like we were away… after some time at home in the late afternoon, we then went out locally for dinner… something we always do when we go away.

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They say taking a holiday makes you appreciate your home more.

I think we’ve been there, done that.

Now we are just holidaying here and appreciating here MORE. ♥♥♥♥

 

#1373 What side of the sunset do they see?

You know, I still call them my work colleagues.

I realised it some weeks ago while out with friends. In conversation I went “oh yeah, my work friend so and so…”

And it was here that it occurred to me what I’d said.

‘Work’ – present tense… ‘Friend’ – present tense.

Perhaps it feels like that because it’s still all so new.

Perhaps it feels like that because I haven’t actually moved on to another form of paid work yet.

Perhaps it feels like that, because they will always be my friends.

Either way, this time of year has had me thinking about the crew a whole lot.

Because I knew, one of them would have started Christmas shopping already.

One of them would have a couple of holidays/getaways planned for the Summer .

One was going to visit the parents and pot around the garden.

A couple were going to spend time with the kids and do a whole lot of beachside activities.

And even a few more were looking forward to an extended holiday break to sleep in and watch the cricket.

I knew this, because I know them so well.

But yet, I was still not content. It’s been 3 months now, so long between catch ups, between drinks, between coffee walks.

So I messaged them ALL.

Well let’s be serious, not all of them. I messaged those who I had a connection with. Those I missed the most. Those who when I said, “let’s catch up soon” back in September, I had meant it.

Because I only say it if I mean it.

So during baby girl’s swim lesson this afternoon I took out my phone and started sending out messages.

In the hours that followed everyone responded. I returned text after text as baby girl and I got home, as she showered, as I prepared dinner and then as I cleaned up… I was grinning from ear to ear and going “awwww!”

Hubbie was smiling at me, crouched over the kitchen island, saying “that’s good.”

It was good.

I went to shower, but then got another message, so sat on my bed to respond. And it was here that I looked outside and saw the view.

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Such a beautiful sky, dotted with those rippled clouds.

How did the sky look to my work friends? How did it look to them all? We were certainly scattered all over the city, that there was no doubt of, from coastal towns to country regions, and every where in between…

Did they see the same colours? The same sky? Were the clouds peppered in their view as it was in mine?

I thought about this for a moment and how we were now, as I always said we would be… strewn all over the place, far from each other, and away from our former place of work.

But we were still bound. We still are. By the memories. ♥

#1330 I’m okay for the change

What timing, for daylight savings to begin the day before kids go back to school.

I usually LOVE daylight savings time. Increased sunshine means warmer weather, getting out and about and having fun…

But the timing, sucks.

Right when we are wrapping up our end of week holidays. Right when we are having late nights.

THE DAY BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS AGAIN.

Who decided this?

Today, we woke late, but yet, it was even later. We had a kids birthday party to attend out of all things, and so ended our holiday tired, weary-eyed and sucked out of sleep as we watched baby girl expend energy we didn’t know she had, going nuts on a jumping castle.

Everything that is great, must come to an end.

And I’m okay with that.

Sure the timing is crap. It never is the right time to lose an hour of your day, is it? But having a week off with both baby girl and Hubbie, means I have had a lot of fun, SURE…

But I am soooo behind in everything else.

Which is why I am so relieved for things to go back to some kind of normal. Tomorrow I am keen to get on board with my writing course. I am terribly behind on that. I am keen to buy groceries and re-stock the fridge. Things that I can stop to grab that is just too hard with baby girl in tow, become terrifically convenient when she is at school and I can dash in and out of places.

I can water plants. I can make phone calls.

I can write in peace! PEACE!

I know that routine is good for me, and it is good for baby girl too. She was only telling me the other day, after days of fun and adventure, that she missed her friends, and staying at home was “boring.”

This from the girl who met Andy Day the dinosaur-in-time explorer during her holidays. But hey, she has high expectations, right? 😉

And then, after some routine, some writing and schooling and working, in no time at all it will be –

‘Jingle bells, jingle bells…’

Christmas folks! And that means MORE holidays.

I am okay with change. I am okay with routine. Because I know, as is life, I will come around to this happy and free holiday place, again… ♥♥♥♥

 

#1326 The ferry adventure

Sometimes the stars just align.

Or should I say, the sun does.

This week has been beyond awesome in the sunshine factor. We wanted to head across the Port Phillip Bay via ferry today, even before we found out it was meant to be in the mid-20s… (mid 20s, woooooh!)

And it was a bloody ripper.

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From the outset of departure from Sorrento pier, everything just flowed… like the water beneath us.

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We ate and drank, walked and soaked up the sunshine, went to a park and observed the grand old trees of Queenscliff town…

All on feet. Leisurely. With no care or thought of routine in the world.

But the best image of all? The one I found once we were at home.

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Ahh.

#1323 Finding joy in Dora

Official day 1 of our holidays together.

We watched a movie. Granted it was a kids movie… but as we do when we go out, we try to make the damn most of it.

Coffee, followed by shopping, followed by movie… in the Vjunior theatre. We love it because for baby girl, sure she is 6, but she is that restless 6. That restless 6 that would rather jump and dance around than sit for hours at a time watching something. Even when she prompts it at home and chooses a DVD to watch, an hour in and she’ll be walking off, without a care in the world as to seeing it through. Meanwhile the OCD switch in me is turned on and flashing a warning red – “YOU CAN’T NOT HAVE CLOSURE!”

Of course she knows what happens in all her animated films. But still, how does she do it???

The Vjunior cinema is great because before entering kids have access to a whole lot of drawing, lego building and racing car facilities, and that’s before they’ve stepped into the theatre. Then inside, before the movie begins, and then at the forced intermission, they can go down a long slide that run downs the length of the theatre, and also jump around on a light-up mat at the bottom of the cinema floor. All this running and jumping we noted, is A GREAT IDEA… before the movie started baby girl was pooped, truly ready for resting and watching a movie.

High Five guys. High Five.

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And then again, I like movies. I love stories… adventure, escaping into another world. Whether that world is in the form of a book or a movie, same same. I love going to another place, and even if it is a kids movie, you can be sure I will be reflecting with my inner child and laughing along, in conjunction with that other side of me that is always analysing ‘why does this work?’

Anyway, we watched Dora and the Lost City of Gold. It was great. I enjoyed it, and the references to the cartoon were funny and clever. It did feel a bit long, even though it was a mere 100 minutes, and baby girl, though she had the best time making friends as she ran up and then slid down the slide, and jumping along on the light-up mat, she sighed exaggeratedly to me at the end as she turned and said “please can we not go to another movie again… it was too long.”

Oh God that girl. I’ll have to wait a few more years until we can go off together and do Mummy-daughter movie dates. She still has ants in her pants.

We followed our movie sesh with a great TGIs dinner, and then a smashing round of games at Totally Games…

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I love when we pick games that we can all participate in, and we’re there throwing discs wildly at some bunch of scary clown faces that we want to belt into oblivion all for the sake of some tickets… ahh bliss.

It was a long day and a fun one at that, and I just can’t wait for more 🙂