Wednesday, 3 August 2011
Stream of Consciousness
I miss my mum. She returned to Canada this week after spending 3 months with us. It was great and now I'm bummed. I'll get over it and life will return to the rhythm of just us but at the moment I'm sad. Having her around was like having a sidekick who permanently saw the sunny side of life; she is an eternal optimist and the best Grandma I could have hoped for J. He will miss her enormously. We are very blessed with a close family who actually take great joy from being with each other. Maybe if we didn't live so far apart we wouldn't. Maybe distances are a disguised blessing which allow us to live in the moment with each other and really cherish it. I'm sure there are many Grandmas who wouldn't spend the small fortune and 24+ hours on an airplane to come hang with us down under and sing "Would you like to swing on a star" every night to an 8-year old; we're really lucky.
A couple of days before her departure, we spent an afternoon walking on Brighton Beach, a Melbourne landmark because of its' charming multi-hued beach cabanas. It being winter, Murphy hadn't been on a beach in quite a while. She's paying the price of racing up and down the water's edge chasing balls, sticks, or anything that moved. In the bigger scheme of things, I think it was worth the sore legs.
Speaking of Murphy and winter, you have presumably heard of Paunxsutawney Phil, who every February 2 emerges to predict more winter or early Spring? Well, permit me to introduce you to Melbourne Murphy who in early August in Australia (more or less the equivalent of early February in the southern hemisphere) began to blow her coat to announce the imminent arrival of Spring. She is shedding on every carpet and soft surface in the house, all over my car, and on every piece of clothing we own. She even managed to shed on to C2's brand new suit while he was trying it on at the shop and she was at home - don't ask me how; she is talented that girl!
I walked her early Tuesday morning in the Hedgley Dean gardens adjacent to our house. Usually in the early morning, I am running with all ambient noise drowned out by my iPod; today, however, I stopped and listened to the amazing amount of birdsong. I've never really heard anything like the amount of birdsong we witness in Melbourne. The Lorikeets, Parakeets, Cockatoos, Wattlebirds, Turtledoves, and Australian Magpies joined in a choral cacophony, a symphony of song which soared and swooped all around me. It was a bewitching almost mystical moment.
J's French-side Grade 2 class had a school presentation this week. They had been reading and learning about New Zealand and Maori culture, so each kid presented a small section about something they had learned. They followed this up with a fair dinkum (old Aussie expression meaning 'genuine') demonstration of the Haka - how cool is that? Even cooler was watching him up on stage singing the Australian national anthem "Advance Australia Fair". Guess he's forgotten the words to "Cé qu'è l'ainô", the Genevois anthem whose haunting melody never failed to bring me to tears. I really love watching him be culturally curious and think the gift of insight and empathy into other cultures is and will continue to be one of the greatest benefits of this expat experience of ours.