Thursday, August 27, 2009

"'re in the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort here..."

On Wednesday morning, my Mom called to tell me that her sister, my Aunt Ruby, had been found dead in her home. I felt like my chest had been punched. The air sucked from my lungs. My Aunt estranged herself from the family for reasons unknown to me a few years ago but she worked in a retail store and sometimes, I would be in the store and see her from the distance. I would wonder why she didn't want to talk to anyone anymore. Why she pushed away a unit of people who cared for her. I never would go up and speak to her because I was afraid that she would be rude or mean and that fear of rejection was greater than the chance of reconciliation. As the time went on, I didn't think of her often but I would dream about her. She would pop up in random dreams and I always thought that it was a sign to reach out to her. A part of me knows that in her self imposed isolation, she didn't find the happiness for which she longed. I can only hope that in death, she has found peace. Her memorial is on Sunday and I won't be home for it. So, to my Aunt Ruby, I remember that you made really bad sweet tea but I would drink it to be nice. I remember when you worked at the fabric store and my brother, your son, and I would run around and play in the aisles when my Mom visited you at work. I remember that you could sew and create and make anything. I remember that you were loved and I wish you had too. Aunt Ruby, your journey here on Earth is done and wherever you are, I hope that you are there with Papa and you are happy. Love, Edmund.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"...sittin' in the morning sun, I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come, watching the ships roll in, and then I'll watch 'em roll away again..."

This past weekend, I had a whirlwind trip to the far north of Queensland to the town of Cairns. Cairns is the jumping off point to the Great Barrier Reef and the town is beautiful. It is nestled between the mountains and the sea, with a climate much like that of Florida. I made my way up to Cairns because four years ago when I fulfilled my dream of visiting Australia, I went there and on my way to the Reef, I became seasick and ruined the experience. This time, I was determined to change that! On Saturday morning, I headed out to the Reef and took plenty of ginger tablets to avoid the seasickness and it appeared to be working. We make it out to the Reef and they give me my "I'm too sexy" wetsuit and apparently, I am in between wetsuit sizes, so a 5 is too big and a 4 is too small. However, when it comes to wetsuits, you go with the small because water seeping in can mess up the fun. Anyways, I jump in the water and the adventure begins. Tons of fish, coral, and deep, blue water. Because I am a genius, I decided to swim down to the sand and touch it. It was about 15 feet deep. So, I hold my breath and swim down. Right as I get down, I realize that my asthmatic, baby lungs can not handle the pressure but I was determined. So, I grab the sand like a champion and then swim up quick to avoid the on-set of a self inflicted seizure. I make it to the top and can barely breathe, so I unzip my "corset of pain" (aka wetsuit) and jump on the boat. The rocking boat, lack of oxygen, and rib crushing suit led to one thing...that's right, vomit. Ok, so I am two for two. Two trips, two sicks! Luckily though, as soon as I threw up, I was 100% ok. We took the boat to another spot on the Reef and I took a submarine tour and swam way too far away from the boat for my liking, in hindsight, of course and swam over the most amazing piece of Reef. It was full of so many random, colorful fish. It was a great day! I forgot to mention that I also caused a rip in the back of my wetsuit. Too many trips to McDonald's has done me in. On Saturday night, we went out on the town and I was too tired to pay too much attention but one crazy event did happen. Here is the short version. Went into McDonald's, crazy lady randomly comes out of nowhere and joins me at my table, crazy lady grabs one of my friends and tries to kiss her, crazy lady tells me that the government is after her, crazy lady makes weird references to body parts, I get up to leave, and crazy lady screams and pulls up her shirt for the whole of McDonald's to see. No lie. There are witnesses! Enough of that. On Sunday, I went to a place called Green Island which is closer to the land but still a part of the Reef system and did some snorkeling there. At points the water was so shallow that you had to carefully swim over the Reef or risked being cut by the coral. Also, as a side note, when putting on flippers in shallow water, if you go to fall try not to land on a set of underwater rocks or else your hand will get cut and then people will freak out because you are bleeding in water in Australia. All in all, this weekend was amazing. It was a nice break from the chilly weather in Sydney and a great opportunity for the rare chance to see somewhere like the Great Barrier Reef for a second time.

(The Reef from Green Island pier)

(Wally, the giant fish that let everyone pet him in the middle of the Ocean)

(Liverpool versus Florida - who will win?)

(An island view)

(Land Ho!)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"...sending positivity, crossed the globe and seven seas..."

This week I had a realization and it made me feel kind of weird. I have had to travel to the other side of the world and leave behind my "normal" life in order to feel some sort of happiness that I never allowed myself to feel before. I know that it sounds strange and I don't mean it in a bad way but I never relaxed at home. I worked two jobs and went to the gym six days a week and was busy and bored all at the same time. I stressed about money, I stressed about being responsible and doing what was right and I have let my guard down a little. When people ask me to go somewhere, I go. For "normal" people this may make no sense but for me, it is all a learning and growing experience. I came here for this and to push myself to a new level. I guess that I had to prove to me that I could go somewhere far from everything that I knew and make it and I have. I'm not being boastful, it is just how I feel at this moment. I have dreamed of coming and living in Australia since I can remember and to be in the midst of it is surreal, unreal, and everything in between. If I walk away from this experience with one thing, it is patience and the ability to take a look at a situation and realize that nothing is unattainable as long as you remain diligent and focused. Last year, at this time, was a low point in life for me and my entire family and to be here one year later seems amazing. I am trying to track this journey as much as possible because never in life do I want to be sitting down and feeling sorry for myself because I did this and I made this happen on my own. I read an interesting article today in a magazine and it said about how when life gets us down, we can focus on the negative or aim for the positive and the hope that comes with it. I never subscribed to that kind of logic but maybe that is what has kept me down. No more and I have to stick to it. It seems like so many people that I know or so many people in my family do not realize the potential that they have and that has been a huge fear of mine. Not realizing that there is more to life than just the hum drum of everyday. I remember in high school people were talking about what they wanted to be or do and I had two thoughts in my head 1.) to live and work in Australia and 2.) to not lead a mediocre life. I have #1 down. Let's see how the rest goes...

(Finally, I am the wierdo on the train for once!)

(Trains like to make me wait!)

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