Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our 2013 Australia Trip (Part 11)

Our 2013 Australia Trip (Part 10)

Our 2013 Australia Trip (Part 9)

Different States and Norman Reedus

I'm done making the videos.

I shall post the rest soon.....

In the meantime, I want to thank everyone who helped make our trip so wonderful.



I wanted to blab a bit about the music.

I had chosen several of the songs before we even left for Australia.  I even knew what days of the trip would have which songs. I kept the particular songs in the back of my mind; and I think I even listened to some of them on the appropriate days.

There were some days that had no predetermined songs.  I had a long list of possibilities and had to narrow it down.

For the last video, I was torn between two songs. It was still up in the air as we were experiencing our last day in Australia.

Then we were driving to Ballarat and I had a private emotional (maybe sort of spiritual) moment that involved thoughts of Australian Prime Ministers.  Just as that happened, one of the two songs started to play on my Spotify.  I took it as a sign that I should choose that song. Then I started crying.  It was just one of those....things. I'm not sure if anyone in the car noticed. I was sniffling a lot, but they probably thought it was allergies. Then I couldn't find a tissue, and I was wiping my snot on my sleeve.


The spirits of Spotify helped me make my decision.  I'm not sure I support it fully.

I love the song Spotify chose, but I love the other song as well.

It's called Rivers and Roads...if anyone is interested in hearing it. I learned about it from How I Met Your Mother.  (The other song came from How I Met Your Mother as well  And two other Australia-trip videos have songs that came to my attention via that brilliant TV show. I'm kind of pathetic.   Sorry. But they do have really amazing music on that show)

My favorite line of "Rivers and Roads" is:

And my family lives in a different state
If you don't know what to make of this
Then we will not relate

I think that's such a beautiful understatement of our situation.   

It's wonderful to have friends from a different country.

But it's also kind of sad.    


I wanted to say sorry to the not-so-huge number of people who wanted me to write out another detailed trip diary.  I don't think I'm going to do it. I did the videos instead.

I was watching Norman Reedus on the season finale of The Talking Dead. They asked him how he prepared for a scene, and he said he listened to a Willie Nelson song that reminded of his dad. They asked which song and he answered simply, I don't want to tell you.

I absolutely loved that, because it reminded me of how I feel about the trip.

There are too many things about our trip to Australia that I want to keep private.

There are too many things I can't properly capture with the letters on my keyboard.    


Well, that is that.

Thanks for listening.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for watching.     

P.S-Our friends say they might visit us in America.   I'm planning to make a video of that.  

I've already chosen one of the songs.   


Our 2013 Australia Trip (Part 8)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wake Up!

There's a Kookaburra in our house!

No.  Wait. It's just my phone alerting me that I have a message. My sister has sent a video of my niece in dance class.

A month or so before we went to Australia, Jack helped me download a ringtone for my phone. I chose a Kookaburra call.

The only problem is, I don't get many phone calls...which is really not a problem since I don't like chatting on the phone.  But I regretted not getting to hear my Kookaburra ringtone.

Then in Australia, I got to know my phone a bit more. We bonded.  I learned to do some stuff without Jack's help.  I learned I could use the Kookaburra ringtone for other things...such as incoming messages and email.  I do get THOSE things sometimes.  

Also, there were a  couple of mornings in which we had to wake up earlier than we might have without artificial assistance. We needed to set the alarm. I used the Kookaburra as my alarm sound.

It's a pretty cool alarm sound, actually.

In Halls Gap.....

Well, in Halls Gap it turns out there are a lot of Kookaburras.

My ringtone and alarm sound comes naturally out of their mouth.

Every morning at six-something, they'd be making lots of noise.

I would wake up.

I was always the first one up and out of bed.

I would go on the porch, watch the sunrise, and I'd wait for kangaroos and birds to visit.

I think maybe part of the reason, I was up first, is I was the most eager to be there. I mean all of us were happy and excited to be there. But I think I was overly extremely happy to be there. I didn't want to waste any daylight minutes in bed.

I also think, though, that it might have been impossible for me to go back to sleep with the Kookaburra's call. I think by using them as my alarm clock, I had conditioned myself to get out of bed when hearing the call.  

OR maybe I'm reaching here. It's not like I used the alarm several times before.  There probably wasn't enough incidents for my brain to form a strong association.

Maybe it was more about the excited-to-be-there thing.

Our 2013 Australia Trip (Part 7)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Our 2013 Australia Trip (Part 6)

Here's the link in case the embedding thing doesn't work.  

Something though is up with YouTube.   If the video cuts off, try reloading it.   That sometimes works.


I'm about 95% over my desire to move to Australia.   I was previously 99.9% over it, but Halls Gap gave me a tiny bit of a set-back.  

I'm fine being American now.  I like living here. To be honest, I was a bit homesick in Australia.  It might have been mainly about the price difference in ice-cream, but I think there are other things I missed as well.  

I thought I had evolved even further.  I thought I was over the need to travel to Australia.  I figured we'd come back in a decade or so. No big deal.  In the meantime, we'd explore other corners of the globe.  There's Canada...Sweden...Costa Rica.  Ireland!  Maybe even Iceland.  The world is full of so many places.  Why keep returning to the same damn country?

But then we got home, and I started to rethink things.  

I thought of going to places that have no kangaroos, Jaffas or meat pies. How sad to turn on the television and not see ABC or SBS.  Yeah, I was usually bored by what's on SBS. But I like knowing it's there.

I like walking by a restaurant with a TV playing and seeing Bill Shorten on the screen.

I like seeing Julia Gillard on the front page of the newspaper.

Yes, Costa Rica has parrots. But they're not Aussie parrots. Could I still love them?  I want to say yes, but I'm not quite sure.

I thought about recent previous trips that were not Australia. The whole time I was trying to make it as Aussie as possible.

In San Francisco, I was obsessed with walking to this Australian store.

Did I buy any San Francisco souvenirs when in San Francisco?  No, I bought Aussie chocolate bars and some Aussie coffee table books.

At the San Francisco zoo, I rushed off on my own to see their Aussie animal collection. 

In Washington D.C, my main goal was to get to the Australian embassy. Then I also obsessed about getting to the used bookstores, so I could see what Australian books they had.

When we talk about going to a city, one of the first things I do is google to see if they have Aussie restaurants.

I thought about going to Costa Rica.  Can I make it interesting for myself if it's not Australia?   Should I go to the bookstores and try to find Australian travel books in Spanish?  I guess that might be a nice thing to add to my collection.  

It's not completely hopeless. I do have interests outside Australia. For example, I want to go to Georgia and see The Walking dead sets.  That's something.

One day, a few months ago, I was obsessed with Finland.  Key words, though: One day. Or maybe it was two days.

On the bright side, I'm better than I was a few years ago.

There was a time that I was desperate to move to Australia.

There was a time that I read only Australian books.  Now I read other stuff. My horizons are expanded.

It's not ALL Australia for me.  But it's kind of sort of close to that.  

I am so mystified by my Australian obsession. Sometimes I'm annoyed by it...or at least bewildered. But I don't wish for it to go away.   I guess in some ways it makes me feel grounded.  It makes me feel safe.  It's kind of like the walks in Halls Gap. It feels better to stay on the path. At least for me, it does.

I think Australia is my path or at least one of them—a very important one. If I left that path, I'm afraid I'd feel horribly lost.  

Oh well.   No big deal.  I'm sure if I dig deep enough, I can find ways to satisfy my Australia-desires in travel destinations that are not within Australia.  

My Opinion of Melbourne

One of the big questions of our trip:  How would we feel about Melbourne?  Would I like it as much as Sydney?  Would I like it less?  More?

By the time we got to Melbourne, I was tired of big cities. I had minimal interest in going to the CBD.   It's not Sydney's fault.  In the past few years, I've felt my love for big cities decreasing.  I saw it happening in London, in New York City, and in Washington D.C.

Months ago, I had seriously considered decreasing our city time in Australia and increasing our small-town time, but I didn't get around to doing it.  Also, I had brought it up to Tim and Jack one day. Neither of them had seemed eager to subtract Sydney or Melbourne time.  

So...we had seven nights in Sydney and ten nights in Melbourne.

Fortunately we weren't staying in the Melbourne CBD.  We stayed in St. Kilda. St. Kilda is loud and wild with drunk party people at night, but it's peaceful during the day.  Plus there are a ton of Rainbow Lorikeets. I was absolutely delighted with that.  

I liked St. Kilda.

I didn't like leaving it behind to go to the CBD.

The CBD was crowded and overwhelming, though I won't say I disliked it.  On our first day there, we went to Federation Square.  There was a public dance class that we watched for a few minutes.   The whole thing had a really good vibe to it. I felt very happy to be there. I think that was my favorite CBD moment.

On our last Melbourne day, we went to the Victoria Market and I went on a souvenir shopping spree.   I bought an I Love Melbourne t-shirt.  And I felt the love. I truly did.

Now I don't. 


Halls Gap.

My love for Halls Gap blew it all away.

I thought the Melbourne CBD was fairly great, even though I'm no longer a fan of such things.

I thought St. Kilda was awesome—a place I'd definitely want to return to.

But the love greatly diminished after I met Halls Gap.

St. Kilda might have a few Rainbow Lorikeets. Yeah.

Halls Gap has Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Gang Gang Cockatoos, Crimson Rosellas, Emus, kangaroos....all kinds of things.  

Halls Gap was definitely my favorite leg of the trip.  Melbourne was second best. But when I think about it, my favorite days of the Melbourne section of our trip, was when we went on day trips to Healesville and Daylesford.  

Unless my feelings change, I'm thinking if we're blessed enough to return to Australia someday, I'd like to spend most of our time in small towns.  We'll see if Tim and Jack feel the same way.   If not, I'm sure we can figure out some sort of compromise.  

Gay People Don't Belong in the Closet But Rude People Do

In Halls Gap, I rudely claimed the master bedroom for Tim and myself.

If I was polite, I would have had a prior conversation with my friend.

I would have said,  Which bedroom do you want?

My friend would have probably said, I don't know. Which one do you want?

We would have danced the dance of niceness and decency.

But no.  I didn't even ask.

I don't think I'm usually that rude. It's just I really wanted that room. I wanted the ensuite toilet. I pee a lot at night. I wanted a toilet that belonged to my family only. I'm weird like that.   

I rationalized my behavior with the fact that for two nights my friend was going to be alone—no husband.  Why should a single occupant get the fancy room?

Then I realized that maybe the fancy master bedroom wasn't so great.

It was a loft.

There was no wall separating it from downstairs—the kitchen and the den.

I felt a lack of privacy.

Worse, there was no protection from the noise of the TV and conversation.

I thought of asking my friend to trade.  But Tim had seemed pleased about having the room.  I was too lazy to unpack. AND I'd feel like such a loser. Yeah, Tracey. I know I rudely took the room without even asking you if you want it.  But hey, I changed my mind now. You take it.

So no. We stayed.

But I moved into the closet.

There was a mattress in there against the wall.

Upon my request, Tim took it down for me.

I slept there during our four nights in Halls Gap.

It wasn't fancy, but it was actually quite nice.

It was cozy and I was comfortable.   

I felt like Harry Potter, which is kind of funny because my behavior had been more like Dudley Dursley's.  

Watch Where You're Going!

After we checked into our apartment at 44 Bridge Street, we left to go get our phones Australia-ready.

We stood near the building doorway for a moment. I can't remember why.  I guess we were just trying to pull ourselves together.

A woman rushed past and said in a very bitchy voice, Watch where you're going!

It wasn't a nice way to begin our Australia trip.

I felt pathetic. I felt like a failure.

Was she just an awful person?  Or is it something about me?

Is it my lot in life to make people so annoyed? So angry?

Did the encounter symbolize what was now my relationship to Sydney?

No, it probably did not.

It probably meant nothing.

But in my little brain and heart, it DID mean something. It meant a lot.  

Sydney and I were already on shaky ground (for various reasons), and this encounter didn't help to soften things.  

On the day we were leaving Sydney, we stood with our luggage in the lobby waiting for Tim to hear back about something he had left in the apartment. It was kind of a problem, because we had already returned the keys.

A woman from the Australia Post came in looking stressed and annoyed.

I politely asked if we (meaning our bags) were in her way.

I expected her to say something nice like, No. You're fine.

She didn't. She answered that yes we WERE in her way.

I quickly moved the bags.

She thrust the mails into the slots. I watched and came to the conclusion that we really hadn't been in her least not in a significant way.

She was just a grouch.

I had encountered a grouch on the first day in Sydney.  Now I was encountering another one on the last day.

What was the deal?

What's the message, Universe?

Was Sydney trying to tell me that I was no longer welcome here?  

Then we talked about it in the cab.  Tim said he thought it was the same woman we had encountered on the first day. I hadn't realized it, but Tim had. The first mean woman had worked for the Australian post too.  

For some reason, the information made me feel better.

If I had been a waste of space to two people, it might be something wrong with me. But now it seemed more likely that the problem was with this Australia Post employee.  

It wasn't a Dina-is-a-worthless-piece-of-shit thing.

It wasn't a Sydney-is-mean-thing.

It was just a case of an unhappy and unfriendly employee of the Australia Post.

Missing in Australia

A day or so ago, I thought about Sayid from Lost. Why?  I don't know.  But he got into my brain.

Then I suddenly felt this horrible feeling of dread.


I don't know.

It happens to me...not too often.  But fairly often.

I'll get these random brief moments of dread and depression sometimes over things that have no rational reason to bring about dread and depression.

A dark cloud passes over me. Fortunately, it passes quite quickly. Usually. Sometimes the bad feelings will slightly linger but not enough to be debilitating.

Okay, but when I had that Sayid bad feeling? I realized something.

I don't remember ever having that weird bad feeling while in Australia.

When I was in Australia I didn't realize it was missing.I didn't feel gratitude for its absence.  

I didn't notice it had been gone until it came back.

It's not that I wasn't ever afraid in Australia. On one of my long solo walks in Halls Gap, I made eye contact with a man and got a bit creeped out. I started thinking of serial killers and missing tourists.   I picked up a handful of pebbles as a weapon. Just in case....

That feeling was different, though.

I was afraid of something that was unlikely to be a threat but possibly could be one.  That's different than feeling an awfulness that makes absolutely no sense.  

Do You Still Love Australia?

When we were in line at the Mexican restaurant at the food court, my friend asked me whether I still loved Australia.

An answer popped out of my mouth without me thinking much about it.  I think I said, Yes, but differently.

She didn't ask me to elaborate...which was fortunate.   I wouldn't have been able to give an answer that made sense. The truth is, I was confused about the whole thing.

But I thought about it throughout the whole trip.  I did still love Australia. I still was obsessed. But something was definitely missing. Something had changed.

Later I finally figured it out.

During the past trips, I was so attracted to Australians—the people.  It's like every Aussie was a celebrity, and each time they gave me attention or talked to me, I felt so fantastic.   Just being in a room with Australians was a thrill. I was like an Australian groupie.  

That's gone.  

On this trip, I'd be among a crowd of Australians and couldn't get myself to care. I'd try. I really would.  

Now I feel about Australians as I do other humans. Sometimes I feel like. Sometimes I feel love.   Sometimes I feel really annoyed.

Then there are moments where I'd like to glue one of their photos to a dart board and totally go at it.   

I'm not sure if this change is good or bad.

Well, it probably is good. I'm more normal now. It's probably best not to have a prejudice like that.

Still. I kind of miss the feeling. I'm a bit sad that it's gone.

Sometimes being irrational and delusional can make us feel more comfortable.   

But's okay.

I have the birds now.

I was really into the birds on this trip.  

I think now I'm more of an Aussie-bird groupie than an Aussie-human groupie.

I also like the Tasmanian Devil a lot.  I don't know why. But I was a bit obsessed with seeing them.  

Our 2013 Australia Trip (Part 5)

Hopefully this will work.   Something is up with YouTube.   If you can't watch the video on here; maybe try watching it on YouTube?   Here's the link.

If it cuts off in the middle of the video, it sometimes helps to reload it.