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First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy* #1

*The definition I intend most for the term soliloquy is: a speech in which a character reveals his thoughts to the audience but not to other characters in the play.  The play being, of course, life.  It seems rather appropriate given that I have such a difficult time actually speaking my stories... so I can tell them here... to my audience.  And I'm pretty well aware that my audience is very few (if any?) of the actual characters with whom I interact on a daily/regular basis!  So... it's totally appropriate, to me.  And since this is my little place, my opinion counts most.  ;)

PART 1: Australia

My girls, Ria especially, regularly ask me to tell them stories about my life.  I rarely feel any desire to revisit the past.  But I realize how valuable stories are.  I do not feel adept at telling them verbally, though.  That is Jessie’s forte.  So, I’m going to begin remember-telling the stories from my youth and young-adulthood.  I’ve told some of these stories in my journals and other places, but this is especially for my children because I love them more than anything or anyone else (except their Daddy).


I made the plan to travel as an exchange student to Australia at the same time I made the plan to go to Japan in the same capacity.  I was twenty-two or twenty-three years old, or so, and felt just so very old to be single.  (I expected and rather hoped to be married at 19, like my Mom was.  So, given that misguided expectation, 23 was pretty old.  As I write this now, at 36, I scoff at my silliness!  How YOUNG I was!!)  So, because of my agedness in unmarried-ness, I decided to map out my life.  Surely, I figured, if I wasn’t married by now, who would want me!?  (This attitude was impacted greatly by the misadventures in dating I’d experienced.)

The first order of business was to determine what I should do to earn money for the rest of my old-maidenhood.  (I think the experience I’m about to describe actually happened when I was a little bit younger, but I didn’t get back to my secondary education for a while after it.)  I had no clue where to begin.  So, I turned to a college catalog.  The index, to be exact.  I started at ‘A’ and went through ‘Z’ and highlighted all the things that were interesting to me.  I have to tell you, there were lots of markings.  However, they did sort of congregate together.  Once I made it through the first to the last, I went back through, but started at the last and went back toward the first.  I didn’t make it all the way back to the beginning because I had an experience.

As I came to the highlighted term ‘teaching.’ I felt something remarkable.  I felt like it was something I simply MUST do.  I was excited and happy and felt I’d accomplished my purpose.  As I sat there, rather exultantly, I realized that I didn’t know WHAT I should teach.  I had a thought to go back toward ‘Z,’ but felt the answer was in the direction I’d already been going… so I continued.  The feeling I’d felt when I read ‘teacher’ occurred again, but with completion when I came to ‘English.’  It was more than I’m describing.  I felt euphoric, finished, yet only at the beginning.  I felt like I KNEW what I needed to do.  I’d been feeling rather flopsy and unsure about what my life would/should hold, so this feeling… this was a NEW feeling!  I knew WHAT I should study in University.  What a great feeling! 

I developed my ten-year plan when I had about 2 years of College left.  Since I was still a student, I figured I should do something interesting AS a student.  So, I decided that I should study abroad.  I chose Japan and Australia because my Dad had been there as an enlisted NAVY man while on cruises when I was a child.  I’d loved the stories he told and the experiences he conveyed.  He rarely told the stories… yet another way we are alike, I suppose… but when he did… WOW.  I was transported! 

I went to Japan first.  I’ll tell you about that in another story.  This one is all about trying to get to Australia!  It was rather difficult just getting there, I tell ya!  You see, I met a guy when I got back to Virginia from Japan.  Within a month of returning from Japan, he found me on matchmaker.com, actually.  He IS your Daddy!  How did you guess?  J 

So, even though he departed for a six-month cruise the May after we met (January 2001), I felt like I should just stay in the U.S.A. and finish school.  But he and I talked about it and figured the time would pass more quickly for both of us if we were both doing something great.  So, I worked and prepared, planned and eventually went to Australia. 

I left VA at the end of June or beginning of July 2001.  I was a nervous nelly and packed WAY too much.  I mean, seriously way too much.  I mean, I could barely carry all the stuff I packed.  I had two huge backpacking backpacks and another smaller daypack style backpack.  The weight… well, I was able to use the buses on the way TO school, but not without unpacking lots on the way home from school!  Seriously.  (That has a LOT to do with my food storage obsession and the trauma I experienced as a result of September 11, 2001.  I digress.) 

Departure was seriously nerve wracking for me.  I dislike change, even exciting positive change is difficult for me.  On one hand I kept trying to convince myself that I should stay and continue school as I’d been doing it, but on the other hand I argued myself into keeping with the portion of the 10-year plan that I COULD complete since I wasn’t actually married yet.  The arguing side won out.

I got to Sydney without too much difficulty.  Flying that long is exhausting, but I didn’t have any serious hurdles to jump or problems to overcome.  I was able to make my way to the hostel I’d previously booked.  It all went very smoothly, for which I was very grateful because I was seriously scared of this lone travel thing.  Thankfully, at least, English is the primary language in Australia, so I didn’t have to worry about communication, for the most part.

Sydney was great.  I remember loving my hostel and feeling at ease there.  I mostly wandered around pretty aimlessly while I was there.  I did take a tour bus up to the Blue Mountains, but I can’t remember if that was my first time there, or whether that was my last week in Australia.  *sigh* Regardless, that was a pretty great trip.  And I do think it was at the beginning (this part of the story).

It was during one of my first few days in Australia, and definitely there in Sydney, that I was wandering around and sat myself down on a park bench.  I was just enjoying the scenery and the breeze, when I happened to see Mormon Missionaries.  I was so surprised and pleased (note: I wasn’t active at all in the Church at that time in my life) that I called out to them.  I think they were both American guys and we enjoyed a few exchanges.  This is a pretty big deal.  Here we have a tangent.

1 comment:

vicki said...

I like and appreciate your soliloquy. I/ve always liked that word, too!
Has Ria read your piece here? it seems like a good thing to send her to when she asks for a story.
I vaguely recall your delight in coming to the decisions you write about here. I know you were pleased, even happy, but don't recall you conveying the deepth of emotion that you express here.
When preparing for your travels, even the trip to Utah, I knew that you were nervous and even anxious, but, again, not to the degree that you express here.
Now, I forget. Edith Cowin University....was it in Sydney?
love, mom

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