Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 29....in which I have one of the best days of my whole life

I had about four hours of sleep that night.Link
I had really wanted to go to the Harbour Swimming Race.

It was important to me.

I thought of skipping it and trying to fall back asleep. But I felt I'd have huge regrets if I didn't go to the race. I hadn't arranged for us to be in Sydney during the race, but it ended up that way. I felt I had some kind of weird spiritual connection to this race, and here we were in Sydney while it was happening. Really? How could I seriously consider not going?

Like Annie promises, the morning sun did chase some of my sorrow and cobwebs away. I felt a tiny bit better.

By the time I got to the harbour, I felt a lot better. I think long walks are one of the best cures for depression and drama...especially when you're walking through somewhere beautiful. I walked through the Royal Botanical Gardens. I had left early and could take my time. There was hardly anyone else there. Oh! It was so peaceful. At one point, I sat alone among rose bushes and read my book.

When I reached the Harbour, I at first mistook one of the Mardi Gras events for the race. I don't think the event was happening yet. I think they were just setting up. Anyway, I realized my mistake and found the race. It was where it should be: near the Opera House.

There were a lot of people sitting on the grass. I took a seat among them. I felt a bit lonely and misplaced. I saw other people sitting with their family and friends. I'm a loner at times, but there are also times where I don't want to be alone. There are times when I prefer to be with a group.

I read my book. I listened to the race announcements and waited for it to start. I watched children sell raffle tickets. The prizes seemed to be ones that would work only for people who actually live in Australia. I wondered, if asked, whether I should buy tickets anyway. I figured I probably should and would. But if they didn't come over to me, I'd just consider myself off the hook. Lucky for me....they never came over.

Ronald McDonald was there. People were getting their pictures taken with him. I found it all incredibly creepy. That clown scares me. I did take one or two photos of him myself though. From far away!!!! There's no way I'd purposely go near that thing. It's all way too Pennywise for me.

The first race was for charity and featured celebrity swimmers. I don't watch any sports. I don't pay attention to the Olympics. I had no idea who any of these people were. Yet I was excited. I had my spiritual reasons. And then a very dark sick part of myself hoped to see some shark action. No, I didn't want anyone to die. But I figured a lost foot or two wouldn't be so awful. Look how awesome Adam Hills is. The shark thing would benefit all of us. I'd have great stories to share on my blog. The shark would have a yummy meal. And the victim would be an instant celebrity. Yeah, so they're missing a limb. Really? Is that so horrible. Think of the book deals they'd get!

No such luck though.....

Truth be told. I couldn't even see the swimmers. I got my ass off the grass and walked over to the water. I still couldn't see. I figured I'd be able to see as they got closer to the Opera House. But then my phone rang. It was Jack. He was crying for me to come home. I think he was still sad about the night before. I told him I'd be home as soon as possible. I left immediately because as much as I wanted to watch the race, I wanted to hug my child more.

I took the train home. As I walked to Goulburn, I saw blood on the sidewalk. At least, it looked like blood. No shark attacks, but at least I get this. Seriously though.... hopefully, nothing horrible happened to anyone.

I gave Jack love and attention. Then we made plans with Tracey and her family. We decided to start off at the Rocks Market. Jack wanted to see the food and wine festival in Hyde Park, so the two of us left a little early. At first we were disappointed because all we could see was wine. It seemed to be more of a wine festival than food one. But finally we found the big row of food stands. I let Jack get some ice-cream. Yeah. I'm a bad mom.

Tim, Tracey, Tyrone, and Tara met us in the park. Molly and Alex were going to shop and meet us at The Rocks later.

The six of us took the train to Circular Quay. Before we went to the market, Tracey showed us this awesome puppet shop. She remembered it from her own childhood. It's one of the best toy stores I've ever been to. Their stuff is beautiful, and the prices actually seem fairly reasonable.

A few years back, Jack had wanted a Russian nesting doll. I had wanted to buy one for him but never did. I decided here was my chance. I asked if he still wanted one, and I said I'd buy it. He wouldn't have to use his allowance. He graciously took me up on the offer.

We then went to the market.

It was fun. We bought more calories and had some free sample calories.

Tracey was a bit stressed about certain things. No, I don't like seeing my friends unhappy. But in a way, it made me feel even more comfortable around her. It made me feel better about my own problems. I felt more normal...less of a freak. She told me how she was feeling and I confessed that I had a horrible night. I told her how Tim and I had fought. She was very understanding and sympathetic. It was a huge relief to be able to tell her that. I felt the bond between us was growing even stronger.

There was a lot of fun stuff to see at the markets and in the stores around there. We spent time in an Irish store. Jack and I went to this psychic store called Argyle Oracle. My friend Jamie talks about going to these types of shops a lot. I'm a bit envious sometimes, because I don't run into them much. But here was my chance. I looked around the shop, but I didn't buy anything. In all honesty, I hadn't been feeling all that spiritual lately. Well, I DID rush to a swimming race because it reminded me of a past dream. But besides that....I was just living my life and having fun. I wasn't putting much thought and effort into the metaphysical.

I liked the store though. And maybe in some ways, it pulled me back into the spiritual. I hope so. I like all that. I don't want to lose that part of myself.

We split up with Tracey's family for a little while, because they needed more time at the Rocks.

We decided to meet them at Hyde Park. We'd all have lunch at the food and wine festival. I talked to Gina. She was going to meet us there too.

Tim, Jack, and I waited for all of them.

At one point, things got a bit crazy. Gina was trying to text me so she could find me in the park. Tracey was trying to call to tell us they were coming. And at the same time, my phone was giving me warnings that my balance was too low. I was trying to do many things at once and failing miserably.

It all worked out though. Soon my phone had more money on it. And I sat on a hill with my family and friends. It's one of the best moments of my life. Honestly. I had so much fun. I don't know what it was about those few hours. Tara and Jack played so beautifully together. They ran. They rolled down the hill. They played with their Russian dolls. I think someone said they overheard them saying their dolls were getting married.

We ate yummy food.
We talked.
We laughed.

Everyone seemed happy and peaceful.

The world can never be perfect.

But there ARE perfect moments.

This is mine.

At one point, Gina and Tracey said something about my blog. It was very sweet. I forgot exactly what they said. I think it was along the lines of it being weird not being able to read my blog everyday. Maybe they said they missed it. Maybe they didn't and I'm having delusional compliments. But anyway.... I sat there thinking that although I love my blog, I'd trade it in for this in a second. I thought wouldn't it be awesome if we all lived here? What if we did this every weekend? No, Hyde Park doesn't have a food and wine festivals every Sunday But we could have weekly picnics in the park.

Could life ever be that great?

I don't know.

And I do love this blog. I love my internet friends. I love how we email each other. I love how we comment on each other's blogs. But I think I love being with them in person more. I like seeing them. I like hearing them laugh.

On the bright side though....the best thing about this blog is it brings new friends into my life. And maybe these new internet friends will also become real life friends. That's the beauty of it.

At the park, we tried to figure out what we wanted to do next. Tim and I had shared a crazy plan together earlier that day. We wanted to go to the Outback Steakhouse. This is one of America's awful chain restaurants. The Outback Steakhouses I had been to really had nothing to do with real Australia. They're silly and full of ridiculous stereotypes.

Last year, Tim and I found out they actually have Ouback Steakhouses in Australia. We learned this from Michelle. Her husband had his birthday dinner there. We though that was absolutely hilarious. Tim and I joked that one day we should go there. Then we decided...wouldn't it be hilarious if we went with Australians? That would make it even funnier.

We asked Tracey and her family if they'd be interested in going. We tried to explain how ridiculous and stereotyped it was. We didn't want them to be shocked.

I think they share our crazy sense of humor. They wanted to go.

With only four hours of sleep and my belly full with food fair stuff, I can't say I was too excited to go to dinner. I kind of felt we should skip dinner and have an early night. But really? How could we pass up the chance to take our Australian friends to an Outback Steakhouse. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Getting there was a pain. We had to walk to Central Station which wasn't that close. Then we had to wait thirty minutes for a train.

When we got there, the joke was on me and Tim. The damn place wasn't that ridiculous. It ended up being fairly nice. The decor was much more subtle then I remember. There wasn't really Aussie food on the menu, but the food was pretty okay. At least the others seemed to like it. I think I just had a salad....not much for vegetarians there. Or maybe I had steamed veggies? I don't know. It was fine.

We all shared a Bloomin Onion. Tim took a classic photo of us all reaching in to grab a piece.

We had such a great time. Tim and I had fun talking to Molly and Alex about various things; mostly accents and music. Alex did a great job imitating American accents. Tim did an awful job at imitating the Australian accent. I loved the expression on Alex's and Molly's face. They looked traumatized, asking. Do we really sound like that?
I assured them that they definitely did not.

I was too shy to do my own imitation. I rarely can do it on demand anyway.

On the walk to the train station, I had a great conversation with Alex. He introduced me to theLink world of showbags. I had never heard of such a thing, but now I'm enlightened.

Alex was absolutely shocked that Americans didn't have these things. It turns out Americans have very deprived childhoods. Hey! But maybe not anymore. I just found this website.

Alex rushed to tell Molly about how we didn't have showbags. She was as shocked as Alex.

We had another thirty minute wait at the train station.

I hate waiting at train stations.

I hate waiting at airports.

But....

An important life lesson was brought home to me in that time period.

You can go to the most beautiful beach in the world. You can sit there with the sun setting. But if you're with someone you don't like, it's not all that great.

Then....

You can be in an ugly place where there's no where to sit and it looks dirty; the type of place that makes you want to rush home and take a shower. But if you're with people you love.....

Oh. I had so much fun at the train station.

Tara and Jack were being silly. Tara was imitating Janice from Friends and saying purple with an American accent. Then she and Jack did an inappropriate dance that embarrassed us all. Someone noticed Jack's nesting doll had a weird cherry scent. We sat there passing around a doll; taking turns sniffing it.

Jack impressed Alex by knowing some of the Aussie National Anthem. Alex was a bit confused though on why this American child knows the Aussie Anthem and not the American one. I don't think he realized how weird our family is, and how I'm totally obsessed with Australia.

It all sounds pretty dumb when I write about it, but I had so much fun.

On the train, Tyrone disappeared. He was there and the next thing I know he wasn't. There were rumors he had hopped off the train to use the toilet. He reappeared again so I guess that hadn't happened. I asked him where he had gone and he told me. But now I forgot what he said.

Oh, here's something bad. I still feel awful when I remember this. At one point, we were running to a train. The train was there and we had to get to the bottom of the steps. Tim was ahead and already on the train. I rushed to get on with him. Jack was behind me with Tracey. I got on the train without my child. I can't believe I did that.

Tracey had him with her. He was safe. But I still feel I should never have stepped on that train without having my child with me.

I don't know.

I try seeing it in a positive way. It must mean that deep inside I have full faith in Tracey, and I trust her enough to help me take care of my child.

Still though. I kept having images in my mind....us all getting on the train and the doors closing before Jack could get on. That scares the shit out of me.

Oh well.

It takes a village, right?

Besides that little trauma and my lack of sleep, I had a day I never want to forget.

I wish I had photographs but I really don't need them.

I have pictures in my mind.

And this song. A cliche by now, but I still love it.