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Rarity – by Karen

19 Aug

This week I’ve found myself embroiled in conflicts twice. One, a very mild conflict that I willingly went into because I needed to sort something out, and the other a completely bewildering and more serious conflict that has been thrust upon me. I don’t think of myself as particularly conflict-avoiding, but I very rarely find myself embroiled in conflicts over anything more serious than who should turn the light out. Usually there’s a way of just calmly sorting things out.

But sometimes there’s not. And my mind just tends to perseverate, every thought is hijacked, and there is absolutely no help in saying to myself, “there’s nothing you can do now”, or “all water under the bridge”, or other such sensible statements. I really hate conflict. Did I mention that I hate conflict? Hate it.

Rarity – by Tabitha

19 Aug

I have spent the last couple of months in Thailand relishing the rarity of so much time and mental space, conscientiously and assiduously enjoying it while it lasted, like everyone kept saying I should. That is something that a pregnant person seems to hear a lot: “Sleep? Enjoy that while it lasts!” “Dinner with your husband? Enjoy that while it lasts!” “An intact perineum? Enjoy that while it lasts!” Etcetera.

Then we came home, and our plane into Sydney tooled around the cliffs of the Royal National Park before landing, just to make sure we all saw exactly how much the sea glistens here, and exactly how blue the crisp winter dawn is, and exactly how startling the smogless resolution of the horizon is. I felt my eyes manually adjust, like a camera focusing, on the distance and the clarity before them. The ever-present haze of the past three years had been rubbed off the lens.

And I realised, no, this is the real rarity, getting to come home to this. Anyone can take a nice, relaxing holiday, but not everyone gets such a homecoming at the end of it.

Living in Hanoi, we met a lot of foreigners who were there kind of because they had nowhere better to be, or just couldn’t face going back home. Their homes were grey and cold, jobless, difficult. An English friend, bemoaning the weather and the monotony of England, mentioned to me that Australians didn’t know how lucky they had it, and I replied immediately that we did, or at least I did.

I’m sure there are many similarly beautiful and liveable cities in the world, and I would never even attempt to argue that Sydney is a better city than Copenhagen or Paris or Portland or wherever. But to have – to own, to possess, to be thoroughly entitled to – such a place as your home is a rare and lucky thing. No matter where I go, this (this!) is where I’ll always be coming back to. Score.

I’m currently on a rail bus between to Moss Vale, hardly the most likely place to be overcome with the kind of misty-eyed patriotism which I appear to be suffering from, but the freeway is lined with wattle trees, some sulphur-crested cockatoos just flew right past our window, and the bus driver kindly offered to hold the bus while I used the toilet at Liverpool Station. It’s a pretty great place. Australia, that is – not the toilet at Liverpool Station. Although the latter is not too bad at all, either.

Rarity – By Beth

13 Aug

Thinking to myself, what’s rare? What’s a rarity in my life? In the world? I am tempted to write about how rare time to myself to do whatever I want is (bit exhausted by the whole parenting thing at the moment). Actually I will do just that.

Here’s a list of all the things I would like to do:

  • Read/knit for a whole day
  • Have a massage
  • Spend a day taking photos and working on creative stuff
  • Eat dinner without L sitting/squirming on my lap, and then asking me to run around the house after him.

It’s nice to know that list isn’t so long, actually. I have a burning desire to read at the moment – so many good books on the go. Thank you to Suzy for the hot tip about ‘Love and Hunger‘ – I devoured that in double-quick time. Very enjoyable! And Leo is loving ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’. I’m reading a book by the vulnerability TED woman – Brene Brown, called ‘I Thought it Was Just Me (But it isn’t): Telling the Truth about Perfectionism, Inadequacy and Power’, and also ‘Bird By Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life’ by Anne Lamott.

After writing about how important friendships are to me as an only child last week, I read this article about the challenge of making friends in your 30s and 40s, and how new friendships are a rarity in adult life. I liked how it talked about having different friends for different purposes: your exercise friend, your work friend, your parenting friend. It’s very different to the high school days of BFFs that you do everything with, but rather than it being a sad thing, it also shows how many more dimensions there are to you as you get older. The day that I read that article I went out to dinner with a *new* friend, and we talked non-stop for almost three hours. I was enlivened by that feeling of having so much to say to someone and being interested in all that they have to say. That feeling is certainly rarer after high school/uni days, but that makes it all the more precious.