Thursday 15 August 2013

No such thing as a free lunch

Byron Bay is a beautiful place - green rolling hills that cascade down to the sparkling ocean. It has a certain magic to it. 

Because of this it attracts all sorts of people. Many people move here to find themselves, run away from themselves or reinvent themselves. It's that kind of place.

It makes for great people watching, which is one of my favourite Byron pastimes.

Last night Skip and I went out for dinner at the local Japanese and overhead a conversation that could only happen in Byron.

Hippie 1: I'd like to order the sizzling tuna but I'd like it raw.

Waitress: umm. (long pause) well I don't think that's possible...

Hippie 1: why not? Just don't cook it! I don't like cooked tuna.

Waitress: well, it comes on a sizzling plate and a bit hard to serve raw. The flavours wouldn't work. 

Hippe 2: we live in a tent. We don't care about that stuff.

Waitress: oh I get you, I really do, but it's the only cooked tuna on the menu, why don't you try one of the other raw sashimi tuna dishes? 

Hippie 1: I really want that one. The vegetables sound nice and there's rice.

The conversation went on like this for another few minutes, the hippie determined to get his sizzling raw dish. I guess we all want a bit of sizzle in our lives, even if you're on a raw diet. 

In the end I couldn't listen any more as I was laughing a little too hard. I know I couldn't be a waitress here - the nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, all natural, organic, vegan, raw, with a sprinkle of quinoa dishes would drive me nuts. And then it wouldn't be nut-free...

Saturday 10 August 2013

Heaven sent

I first came to Byron Bay when I was 18. I fell in love with the place. It was sunshine and beach. It was freedom and adulthood. I drank kaluha and milk and got my nose pierced. I chatted to hippies in the park and danced to the band at the pub. It was the most exciting place I'd ever been.

I've been back countless times since then, but Byron still holds a certain magic for me. 

After a crazy year of new adventures there's a certain comfort coming to a place you know so well. A place that holds so many memories from so many different stages of my life. 

This morning we got up early and had a coffee at our favourite cafe. We drove up through the green hills and looked back down at the sparkling Pacific Ocean. We did a little "What if we lived here..." dreaming as you always do. 

The kids were as excited as were to check out old haunts and there were cries of "I remember this place" from the back seat. 

Over the next week I plan on soaking in every moment and burn every memory on my brain as soon those green hills will be replaced by soaring towers and shifting sand dunes.

Thursday 8 August 2013

What's it like being back?

I have been asked this question many, many, many times over the past couple of weeks.

The answer is it's the same.

There have been things that have dismayed me:
- Sydney traffic and the woeful parking
- driver's who would rather run into than let you in
- the general rudeness of Sydney. (I'm looking at the guy who desperately tried to shut the doors of the lift before I got in)
- the racism and narrow-mindedness that seems more amplified
- the Australian pessimism (the sky really isn't falling)
- some relationships and expectations

There have been things that have overwhelmed me:
- people's kindness
- bottle shops (oh my, the choice)
- the prices of everyday groceries

There have been things that have warmed my heart:
- effortless friendships and shared histories
- laughing over things that have been misplaced in my memory
- being around good friends and family and realising that time apart really doesn't change those relationships that are rock solid
- seeing my kids re-ignite friendships

Most of all, being home has made me realise that I'm right where I'm meant to be at this moment in time. It's made me realise how lucky I am to be having the incredible opportunities being presented, and that in itself is a gift because sometimes when you're in the middle of them you don't realise they are opportunities or golden moments.

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