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And now for something completely different

An update!

Oh wait, that’s not completely different…. Oh well, you’ll just have to accept it anyway. It’s taken me this long to recover from our holiday, so I hope you can forgive me for not writing. I haven’t really been ‘recovering’ as such, I just haven’t felt like writing anything, but that changes today.

The holiday was great.

The actual reality of the holiday didn’t change much from what I expected, and since I’ve already detailed those expectations, I’ll just summarise a few things I didn’t detail.

My family xmas went better than I expected it would, with no arguing or bickering. It was as if everyone knew the enormity of it all, with the whole family gathered together for the first time in 16 years, and everyone wanted to remember it well. It was great having Deidre as part of it, as part of the family.

Mom surprised us all (except my dad, of course) with a gift of $500 each, which was tightly rolled up and placed within the bon-bons. When we pulled them to break them open with a loud crack, out fell a small gift wrapped up in a paper xmas hat. Just what we were expecting. However, what we weren’t expecting was that the small gifts were a rolled up wad of ten $50 notes.

It was very well done, and I credit my mom for going to the effort of making them look just like bon-bons bought in a shop. My first thought was that they were monopoly money, but when I unrolled the wad, they certainly seemed real. My second thought was that some strange person in the bon-bon factory was overcome with generosity, and I was the fortunate recipient. But then while Deidre was holding one of the $50 notes up against the light to see if it was real, I noticed that both my younger brothers had the same thing, while Deidre had a small bottle of perfume, and dad just had the paper xmas hat. That’s when I realised what mum had done.

So that was a xmas to remember. On my part, I gave her a small album of photos of her budgie which she’d accidentally stepped on (read the 3rd paragraph here). She’s still a blubbering mess about it, but that’s her choice.

Port Augusta was significant for me, but in a way that was completely different to how I expected. After being there for a day, I realised I didn’t need to be there!

It had changed too much for it to have any meaning for me. What it used to be, is no more. What was important to me exists only in my mind now, in my memories, and that’s where they will remain.

I was saddened by one of the changes. Aboriginal drunkenness had apparently resulted in widespread vandalism across the city, especially the public schools. My old high school entry points were blocked by tall, barred fences, preventing access.

My high school years were extremely significant for me, and while I got a few photos through the bars, it was not enough. The areas I wanted to take photos of were unavailable to me. Since the high school was supposed to be a major point for me, I was sorely disappointed by how the changes had impacted upon my ability to ‘stroll down memory lane’. There were gates on that lane which I couldn’t get through.

While I was in Port Augusta, I didn’t see a single person that I might have known. In fact, for the entire first day I was there, I saw only 5 white people, and 3 of them were counter chicks at the supermarket we visited near our motel. Two others were customers. Every other soul we saw in the streets and on the beaches were Aboriginals.

I’d heard that ‘the Aboriginals had taken over the town’, but I didn’t believe it was true. Amazing.

We went west and north, into ‘outback South Australia’ and the Flinders Ranges. This is the real outback, where the sand is red, and the conditions are close to being desert-like. Very hot (43 degrees Celsius at the time we were there, or 109 degrees Fahrenheit), very dry, and absolutely no animal life to be seen. It was far too arid for anything more than snakes or lizards.

We visited some old ruins of a community that once tried to exist there in the 1800’s. They failed. A lot of people died. All that remains are ruins.

I’m glad I got a lot of photos, and I’ll be posting sideshows of them soon. If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you’ll have already had the opportunity to see them. My Facebook friends will always get to see them before I post them to this blog.

Returning to Canberra was a welcome end to the travelling, but it wasn’t an end to the ‘holiday’. Our friends from NZ, Garry and Monique had joined us from Adelaide, travelling with us to Pt Augusta and back to Canberra. We arrived safely back in Canberra on the 30th, and they were with us until the 3rd, so we had a good time showing them around the place. I think they enjoyed it, which was good.

New Year’s Eve was a great time.

We had a bunch of friends who joined us for the celebration, and while some stayed and went early, we were happy that they came at all. The rest that stayed for the whole night helped us have a fantastic time. It was one of the best new year’s eve celebrations of my entire life.

I drank a lot. I hadn’t done that since the same night in 1999, when I was celebrating Millennium Eve.

It was an honour for me that the friends who joined us chose to be with us on such a night, to celebrate with us. Out of all the parties and friends they could have joined, they chose to be with us, and I’m grateful to have such friends.

After Garry and Monique left on the 3rd, things have been returning to a semblance of routine. Deidre has been working, and I’ve been looking for work. It’s a little slow right now, being the holiday period, but I’m hoping to find a new contract soon.

I feel that 2008 is going to be like 2007 – full of exciting new changes that will propel us forward.

There’s a lot we want to do, and it’s going to be interesting to see which of our plans reach fruition this year.

Some of the things I want to do this year could be considered as ‘new year’s resolutions’, and include:

  • lose 10 kg and get fitter
  • take up pistol shooting
  • join a car club with my XR6 Turbo and go on country cruises with others
  • invest in at least one property
  • sell a number of ebooks

None of these are particularly difficult, I feel. One of the best ways to achieve resolutions is to make sure they’re what you actually want to do, rather than what you think is best but don’t want to do. If you don’t want to do it, you won’t. I want to do all of the above.

Facebook Friends

I also want to finish off 2008 with at least 200 Facebook friends, just for the fun of it. So if you’d like to add me as a friend, please do so (and please send me a message to let me know why you’re adding me!), and you’ll not only be helping me achieve a goal, but helping yourself stay up to date with my blog posts, and get to see my photo albums before they’re posted to the blog. I’m sure it’s something you can’t wait to do! 🙂

Have a great 2008, and I hope you achieve your own goals and find more happiness than what you currently have. Cheers!

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