People always ask me about my time in South America. Some are genuinely interested, while for others it’s the polite and logical thing to ask. In either case, the truth is that these conversations have started to get a bit repetitive and I’m often left wishing I could say more than: that Latinos are warmer; that Andean dishes contain too many carbs; that working with survivors of child sexual abuse was hard as you’d imagine but so rewarding; that I’m not sure how to answer your question about how good my Spanish is.
The worst thing is that I can’t seem to do Bolivia and Ecuador justice – not in a brief conversation that could turn to a different topic at any given moment.
So below are a few noteworthy things I don’t generally get to share about the impact that my time in South America has had on me as a person and who I am now. Continue reading How South America messed me up good
Tomorrow will be my first day in Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, paid employment in Sydney. There is so much “normal” in that one sentence it’s not even funny. Don’t pretend you’re not disappointed. I’m trying not to be. “So when are you going back to South America?” “What are you doing here? Just here for a break?” These are things people have actually, literally, … Continue reading Next stop: Sydney
October 3 She is lovely. Creamy vintage lace, delicate buttons all down her back, descending into a sweeping fishtail. I fumble through the chapel, out of time with the music, but whatever. She floats down the aisle after me. Dad is smart in his officer’s white dress suit although he only reluctantly links arms with her. The day is lovely. Agreeable sun, genuine smiles. People we haven’t seen in years. A photo here, … Continue reading Reconfiguring Home: Weddings and Earthquakes
“You’re not 25 anymore, y’know,” my sister says. She’s being gracious. After another year abroad, I re-enter my bedroom where the posters, postcards and photos plastered against the back wall are peeling off, the Blu-Tack tired of supporting them. This is interior decoration befitting a 16-year-old, and I am now (sigh) an almost-no-longer-twentysomething. But what does the bedroom of an almost-no-longer-twentysomething look like? Probably a … Continue reading Almost-no-longer-twentysomething
Thanks to the infamous Canberra winter, I think I have cold feet both physically and metaphorically. I’ve just come off the back of a week of talking quite a lot about my upcoming Bolivia trip (not to mention Russia next week). I did some planning and made reservations for accommodation. I had my first farewell (work) and have been discussing several other ‘last catch-ups’. It’s really … Continue reading Cold feet?
This time last year I … … said goodbye to a lot of people. Too many for one 24-hour period. This time last year I was coming home. It was my second last day in town, last night in town. It was a bit of a whirlwind day, and yet the image preserved in my mind is clearer than the photo you see above. This … Continue reading 365 days ago today
I’ve finally gotten around to the task of going through the 12,000+ photos I took in my two years in South America to select which ones to delete, which ones to keep, and which ones to develop and stick in my photo album. It’s a helluva task. Lesson learned: stop taking so many photos. You don’t need 20 pictures – over split second intervals – of someone … Continue reading The photos you delete anyway
So it’s 2014. I’ve only just realised that spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Canberra, my hometown, is quite a novelty for me. NYE was a quiet one – after seeing the 9pm local fireworks with my sister, we went to hang out with a few church friends. We watched the ABC telecast of the Sydney show, played board games, ate and shared a … Continue reading The “novelty” of a Christmas and NYE at home
About time for a new post, isn’t it? The last couple of months, I’ve wanted and not wanted to write. I haven’t posted because, well, I guess I’ve tended to write about observations and conclusions that I’ve come to, things that I can build a narrative around. Things that are neat. I haven’t really had any nice epiphanies lately, but I’ll give you some snapshots … Continue reading The end of the honeymoon period?
It was exactly two months ago that I left Loja. I shed some tears on the plane to Guayaquil, just thinking about how two years in a place is an awful long time, a lot of love given and received. And now that I’m home, I can say I miss some things, my closer friends, things we used to do, the smell of the place … Continue reading After the mission field: two months on