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Holiday in Australia

While I was in Australia, I kept a notebook with me all the time and wrote in it each day. It's transcribed below. (Photos have been placed in here to help accentuate the description – 10th Dec.)

26 November, 2:35pm
After a relaxed morning of chatting with Kylie and a few final emails with friends, I'm now sitting here at the Wellington airport. I've got an hour and a half to wait for my flight. I bought myself a CD walkman, but I can't pick that up until I board the plane. I think I'll have to just read a book or take some photos of people to keep myself from being bored…

28 November, 12:40am
My watch broke. I just noticed it as I went to check the date and time for this entry; the day doesn't want to move. I hope it doesn't cost too much to fix.

Last night was fun! After having dinner with Peter and his wife, we role-played (without his wife) for the night. A friend of his, Ken, joined us for the game and it was a really good night. We played Star Trek, the roleplaying game, and I played an old character of mine who I last played some years ago. He had started out as a lowly shuttle pilot (a Lieutenant, junior grade), and in the years since I've played him, he's still been active as an NPC (Non Player Character) in the game, getting into a number of different missions and experiences. He's gone up in rank and is now a Lt. Commander, in command of a scouting/reconnaissance ship. I had a great time…

Today Peter and I had a huge lunch at a Chinese restaurant, and then played a computer game together until the evening. He's been watching TV while I was phoning up my friends. I don't get to speak to them too much on the phone over in NZ, so it was a nice experience to do so tonight.

28 November, 11:30pm
Today has been pretty exciting… I got a plane this afternoon to Canberra. I picked up a hire car that
I had booked, and they upgraded it for free (from a Toyota Camry to a Mitsubishi Magna)! Awesome. I then drove to Darlene's, and it was great to see her again. We chatted for a while over a drink and then I went to have dinner with Mel. That was great too, catching up with her. It looks as if she's got Friday and Monday off work, so we're going to try and do lots of stuff in the time that we've got.

I feel as if it's just not enough time.

Tomorrow's going to be full. I'm renewing my Aussie driver's licence – which expires tomorrow! I'm having lunch with Darlene and then another lunch with James. Then I'm going to go see a movie (Training Day), then I'm taking Darlene out for dinner tomorrow night.

Those are the plans. I wonder if that's how it'll be though…

29 November, 11:50pm
Happy birthday to me! This has been one of the best birthdays I've had, and I didn't even do anything 'birthdayey'!!

I renewed my licence for another year instead of for five years, 'cause a NZ licence is valid in Oz as well, so I'll get one of those for a while after I get back.

Had coffee with Darlene mid-morning, and then lunch with James. I gave him some CD's to copy. Then I had lunch (again) with Darlene. Then I bummed around town for a while, having a really relaxing time drinking cold drinks and watching the people, and enjoying just sitting back and actually being in Canberra again. I soaked in the energy of the place, which was really nice and relaxing. Then I had a fantastic massage at my favourite aromatherapy massage place, and went 'home' after that to have a shower. Darlene and I went out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, and after dropping her off home, I went to pick up David and we saw Training Day. Then I came home and wrote in this…

Over lunch today I had the opportunity to talk about the past with Darlene. I've known that this holiday will allow me to get the closure that I thought I needed, and so we spoke about that. For the first time, I found out why she ended the relationship. This didn't affect me as much as I thought it might, probably 'cause closure has already happened somehow, somewhere. I looked at photos yesterday of her and her husband Jeff, and felt no remorse, unhappiness, jealousy, etc. I was only happy that she was happy. This has been good for me, 'cause now I KNOW how I feel, whereas before I was curious and didn't know.

30 November, 12pm
I went to see Tiga this morning, and had a Tarot reading. It was very interesting and enlightening. One of the things that came up was that something will happen in 8-10 months that will cause me to return to Australia. Cool! Tiga told me before Michelle came onto the scene last year that I'd be travelling overseas. At the time I laughed, but it happened. So I don't laugh any more…

2 December, 11:50am
Ok, the rest of Friday went something like this. I had lunch with Mel and her family. Her dad's birthday is the day after mine (his name is Alan too), and they were having a birthday lunch at a Chinese restaurant which Mel invited me to. Nice stuff, but I stayed away from the chicken feet!

After lunch, Mel and I went for a drive out into the country and sat behind an old church and looked at the countryside, which was really relaxing and enjoyable.

All photo thumbnails on this page will open a new browser window when you click on them.

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Mel behind the church
with the binoculars

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A tree behind the church

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Me behind the church
not wanting a photo taken!

That night we went and had dinner at a restaurant – all my friends were there. Peter C, David G, David N, James, Jason, Shannon, plus a few others, which was nicely surprising. After a bit of trial and error I worked out how to use the camera with the flash, and I hope I got some good shots.

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L-to-R: Shannon, David N, David G, Peter, Simon, James, Me
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Peter and his jug of margarita
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Shannon, David N and David G
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David N
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David G

I got drunk that night and ended up getting to Darlene's at about 3:30am, after visiting a number of different clubs and pubs. Because I didn't have a key and the door was locked at 2am (due to a pre-determined curfew), I slept in the car for 4 hours.

So that brings us into Saturday. I visited Bec, a friend from before I left Canberra. We haven't been keeping in touch and the friendship we had has died away, but it was still good to see her again.

Mel and I went out again. We went to Cotter Dam and then went to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and had a picnic while watching kangaroos. Very relaxing, but we were short on time so had to go after being there for only an hour or so.

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Cotter Dam through some trees

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Mel in front of the dam
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Me on the dam
We returned to civilisation and visited Estera. It was great to see her and her son Michael. Man, he's growing so fast!!

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Estera and me

After taking Mel back home, I drove to the coast and caught up with Kath and her son Drew. On the way there, I had an interesting journey… Because of my lack of sleep the night before, the trip to the coast was done while very tired. I realised that I was almost 'drifting' off to sleep at one point, so I pulled over and just sat there and relaxed briefly, getting myself out of the bored mode that I was in, which was causing the drowsiness. It worked alright, but was only temporary, 'cause it began again shortly after. Then I was passed by a car going faster than me, so I used it as a shield against speed radars and followed it at the same speed. Because of the fact I was going faster than normal, the concentration was much higher, and from that point on, I wasn't tired at all! Hehehe.

Anyway, I ended up at Kath's place safely, which is just around the corner from where Darlene used to live. Lots of memories… Kath and I spent most of the night talking, and then we went for a walk by the ocean. It was so good to catch up with her. It's been over a year since I last saw her, so there was lots to catch up on and so little time to do so. Near midnight, a couple of friends of hers came over and wanted us all to go out, but since I was knackered, I declined. It was fun having them there, as they were half drunk and in party mode, but I just couldn't be bothered going out partying again.

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Nick and I

I came back the next day and after having lunch with my friend Nick, I went over to pick up Mel again. We went out driving and saw some sights of Canberra from Black Mountain Tower (lots of photos of Canberra from there), and then had dinner and saw Training Day (second time for me, but it's a great movie).

Shots of Canberra taken from Black Mountain Tower

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Tomorrow is my last day here. My last opportunity to tell Mel how I feel about her.

3 December, 6:15pm
After having another aromatherapy massage in the morning, I went to pick Mel up and we went to the Botanical Gardens, where we wandered around the tropical rainforest area.

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Rainforest Gully
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After that, we went into town and had a coffee with Darlene, which was nice. It was the last time I'll see her again for a while. I thanked her for letting me stay at her place, and how great it was to see her and her kids again. We hugged and said goodbye.

Then Mel and I went to Lake Burley Griffin. We were going to go for a paddleboat ride on the lake, but they were closed, so we just sat by the side of the lake and relaxed, before going to the airport, where I was to fly out of Canberra. I was getting sad.

Nearly two years ago, I met Mel for the first time. I was attracted to her from the very beginning, but she was only interested in friendship, so nothing ever eventuated. This past week, however, has been really intense. I've spent so much time with her and gotten to know her better than ever. Events on Friday night helped me realise that I was interested in more than just being friends. Trying to sort through my feelings since then has just made me realise that I've fallen in love with her. There's a number of problems though.

1) We live in different countries
2) Signs from her of being interested in more than friendship have been ambiguous
3) When I expressed an interest in her when I first was getting to know her, she said she only wanted friendship, so I'm assuming the same is true today.

All of this has been going through my head since Friday. I felt I couldn't tell her because of those issues, and I never wanted to do anything that might spoil a friendship.

When I saw Kath, I tried to get some advice from her through talking to her about this, but there was no resolution.

Today, as the afternoon progressed while in Mel's company, I was becoming more and more conflicted about what to do. Leave without saying anything, or risk her resentment by letting her know how I felt?

"It's better to attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed."

So I told her – unfortunately it was 10 minutes before I boarded the plane out of Canberra. I know it wasn't very fair on her, but it took me that long to realise that I just needed to say how I felt, and find the courage to say it. I certainly felt a lot better afterwards for having said it.

Now, because I've had 3 days to think about this (since Friday night), she's going to think about it as well, over the next 3 days.

Interesting… I don't know what to expect, but I do know nothing's going to happen between us for some time, if ever.

I'm sitting here in the departure lounge at Canberra airport. Looking out the window, I'm extremely sad that I'm leaving again. As I was looking out the window at Canberra a few minutes ago, I almost started crying. Maybe I still will….

4 December, 10am
I'm on the plane back to Wellington. I've just left Melbourne, where I met Sally for the first time (my very good friend from ICQ who I'd never met until last night), and caught up with Tricia, who drove me to the airport this morning. She was the last of my friends that I saw during my visit to Australia. Interestingly enough, I came into Australia and stayed with Peter, who I first became friends with in 1992. I left Australia after staying with Tricia, who I also met in 1992. Apart from Dan (who is in Brisbane and who I last saw in March), those are my two longest serving friends.

And now it's today, and the transcribing is finished.

Out of all the times that I've been back to Canberra since I moved to NZ last year, this was the first time that I felt like staying. It was the first time that I thought about having to come back to my home, to all my friends. Canberra is my home, and it's where I need to be. Maybe Tiga was right, that I'll be back there in 8 – 10 months. We'll just have to see…

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