Flying North for the Winter: Half Empty

1338463_59722516I usually don’t travel during the school year because my health is too fragile to risk anything that could interfere with work. But this year, seeing photos of friends travelling through sunny Europe as I was sitting in South Australia feeling cold, I was itching to find somewhere warm to relax.

So I booked my trip to Cairns, imagining posting my own enviable facebook pics of blue skies, sun and ocean.

When we arrived it was raining and it hardly stopped. I think I got more rain in three days of Cairns’ ‘dry season’, than I’ve had all year in SA. We didn’t see a single beach and thoughts of going out to the Great Barrier Reef were squelched due to ‘unseasonably bad weather.’ On top of that, my body reminded me continually that I’m exhausted from the end of term and that CFS has stolen my right to be a good traveler.

I felt like a fool having bragged that I’d be posting photos of a gloriously enviable summer, and to rub salt in the wound, SA had unseasonably warm weather this week. While I was sitting in a wet cloud, they were having days of sunshine and blue skies, and some of my facebook friends actually posted pictures of themselves at the beach! In July!

As I sat on my bed on our final night, listening to the thunderous pelting of the rain on the tin roof, my phone chimed. I looked at the weather notification. “Warning: Cairns. Chance of showers.”

Because there are always two sides to a story, stay tuned for ‘Flying North for the Winter: Half Full.’

Night Rain is Colourful

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Have you ever noticed how colourful it is when you’re driving at night, and it’s raining?

I have distinct memories of driving home from my Grandparents’ house as a child; sitting sleepily in the backseat, looking out the windows to see colour streaked across the road in oily rivulets.

The cynic will tell you that it’s just the traffic lights, car lights, and street lights reflecting in the water, but what it creates is a vibrant kaleidoscope of night-time colour.

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The other night, sitting at the intersection I was found myself smiling at its beauty. The colours were reflected in the droplets on the windscreen like a million fairy lights lighting up the road.

Have you noticed it? If you haven’t, look for it.

Octopus, rain and a kitchen table (Or: the work dinner that will happen again)

532035_534912026540235_1661749161_nI admit I was sceptical about my work dinner.  We were from different generations; different walks of life. Outside the teacher-prep room would we have much to talk about?

Our small office group met at a rustic-meets-modern restaurant, just outside town. It was already dark and after a drink at the beautiful redwood bar, we took our seats around a large wooden table, reminiscent of that in a farm kitchen.

The restaurant specialised in tapas, and we gave the chef his head to bring out whatever he chose.

The food was divine. As the night meandered on we feasted on fresh bread, olives, pesto and chorizo, complimented by the most exquisite duck and shitake spring rolls. Our plates were cleared and they brought out squid and lightly crumbed octopus with huge char-grilled prawns, followed by sticky beef ribs and piri piri chicken. We ate slowly, savouring the delicacy of the flavours; the perfection of the combinations.

We laughed and talked about life, and travel and film; and we ate.

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Gradually the restaurant cleared and we sat back contented as they brought coffee. The open door brought the fresh smell of new rain from the darkened street. We were the last ones there and chatted to the owner and chef as they stood at the bar.

After four hours we left, knowing that we had been a part of something special: the harmonious meeting of work and life.