Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cyclone Marcia

Thanks to a rather ferocious cyclone, my time in Surfer’s Paradise was dominated by rain.  I was blessed though to be a good distance away from the cyclone, it hit land near Yeppon & Rockhampton, so we only had to deal with some wind and rain.  It was a category 3 when I found out about it and it was eventually upgraded to a category 5, and judging from the news coverage I saw after it went through Yeppon, it was devastating to be sure.  I spent the morning of my only full day in Surfer’s Paradise walking around town with one of my roommates checking out the sandcastles from the 2015 Sand Safari, the Australian Sand Sculpture Championships and doing some shopping (well, it was window shopping for me, I already have too much luggage).
 It was drizzling rain off and on all morning and we got the shuttle back to our hostel around 2pm – there’s not much else to do in Surfers when they have the beaches closed down.  I then spent the rest of the afternoon reading my newest book and then watched some movies in the lounge with a bunch of other people.  Anyway, I made my bus trip down to Byron Bay – it was running late which turned out to be a blessing.  There are only 4 shuttle times that the shuttle bus goes to the bus station.  The last hostel had coordinated their shuttle times with the Greyhound and Premier bus times, so in my mind this hostel had done the same.  About 15 minutes before I was to get the shuttle I realized that I was quite likely to miss my bus!  The shuttle left the hostel at 2:10pm and I was to catch the bus at 2:20pm.  I honestly couldn’t remember if 2:20pm was the time the bus arrived at the station or the time it was to depart the station, but I desperately prayed it was the former.  In the end I sat around for another half an hour waiting for the bus to arrive, so I still don’t actually know the answer to that question.

Everyone told me I would love Byron Bay – I don’t think I’ve yet to meet a person who has said they didn’t like it.  I spent this morning wandering around town a bit since it was almost sunny and wasn’t raining quite yet.  Molly, one of the girls from Brisbane, had told me that I had to visit the 23 Hour Bakery and try their Triple Threat Muffins, so I found the place (Byron Bay is rather small so it wasn’t all that difficult) and after looking through the case of delightful looking pastries didn’t spot it.  I asked the gentleman behind the counter and found out that Molly had been lucky the night she stumbled upon this place and it’s amazing muffin.  The Triple Threat is not a muffin they regularly carry, it’s only made sporadically as the muffin of the day, or something similar.  I decided I’d have to console myself with a Double Chocolate Muffin, which was his suggestion for a replacement.  I did some more wandering around town and also finally got to shop at Aldi!  I knew that they have some in Australia, but so far had never been in a city or town that had one nearby.  While the brands and products are obviously different, the store looks pretty much exactly the same as the one back home.  Shortly after noon it had started to rain and continued to rain or drizzle for the rest of the afternoon.  I spent the rest of the day curled up in bed either napping (my two newest roommates had just come in after an overnight {13 hour} bus ride from Sydney so they were exhausted) or finishing “Committed”.  It really has been a rather fascinating read, the author, “delves into the subject of marriage and, debunking myths, unthreading fears, celebrating love, suggests that sometimes even the most romantic of souls must trade in amorous fantasies for the humbling responsibility of adulthood.”  While I’m not sure I agree with some of what she says it was interesting to learn about marriage in other cultures and even marriage throughout history, statistics on American marriages, and what psychologists and anthropologists have to say about marriage. There were a few sections of the book that struck me, but as you can imagine, this one was very apropos:
The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously.  So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice… Equally disquieting are the times that we do make a choice, only to later feel as though we have murdered some other aspect of our being by settling on one single concrete decision… The philosopher Odo Marquard has noted a correlation in the German language between the word “zwei”, which means “two” and the word “zweifel”, which means “doubt” – suggesting that two of anything brings the automatic possibility of uncertainty in our lives… In a world of such abundant possibility, many of us simply go limp from indecision.  Or we derail our life’s journey again and again, backing up to try the doors we neglected on the first round, desperate to get it right this time.  Or we become compulsive comparers – always measuring our lives against some other person’s life secretly wondering we should have taken her path instead.
Freedom Paradox, which my friend Rav introduced to me, is a very real problem for me; I have too many options!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily complaining about being a young woman with options, knowing that so many others today, even throughout most of history, have very few, if any, choices they can make for themselves.  But when you are told your whole life you can be anything you want, how do you decide what you want to be?  As most of you know, I never could decide – let me rephrase that, I still haven’t decided.  If I haven’t tried it how will I know if I want to do it for the next thirty-odd years of my life?  But as I’m learning over the years, maybe I don’t have to be defined by my  job, and maybe I don’t have to only have one career path (or any career path for that matter).  I know what kind of person I want to be, and isn’t that more important anyway?  I remember reading a blog post that a friend had shared on Facebook, asking that we stop introducing people by their job titles, but instead by their character or what they mean to us.  For some people their job is a calling, for other’s it is simply how they provide for themselves or their families.  I don’t surround myself with people who have impressive jobs or prestigious positions, I surround myself with people who are loving, generous, loyal, funny, wise, the list could go on and on.  It all reminds me of a quote from the movie “Something to Sing About”, “You have to care more about what drives the man, than what the man drives.”

As I prepare to come home I am once again faced with many options.  In some ways, now that I’ve quit my “career” I have even more options than I did before I came to Australia.  There are many jobs and options that I have contemplated over the last 3 or 4 years of my life, but was never brave enough to quit my job to pursue them; that is not an obstacle anymore.   So as I sit here in my hostel, on a rainy night thousands of miles from home, and contemplate my future plans, I just pray that I’ll have the wisdom and strength to choose a path, not just any old path, but a path with purpose and usefulness.  Ok, I’ll spare you the rest of my ramblings, I could probably write a few more paragraphs, but I’ve got to get up early for church.  I’ve been on tours or buses the last 3 Sundays or so, so I haven’t been able to get to church.  I found one here (thanks to Google) and message asking if someone could pick me up since there’s no public transportation that goes out their way.  I’m not entirely sure what kind of church it is, but I didn’t see anything too crazy on their church website and it’s only for one Sunday so I figured I’d give it a shot.  I got a phone call earlier this evening from a nice gentleman named Neville and his wife and daughter will be picking me up tomorrow morning around 8am….

Can’t believe I’ll be home in just over 2 weeks!

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