Actually, I DID get very inspired reading Mr Flinthart's chronicles of his trip to Borneo.... particularly the stuff about food. So inspired and nostalgic in fact, that I decided to do something a little different and blog about some of my own experiences and memories growing up in that part of the world.
Unfortunately, halfway through I DID get somewhat unwell. After that I DID get quite happy (Thanks to some friends who shall remain nameless). Sadly the Happy DID make me somewhat woozy, and I consequently DID fail to gather enough momentum to continue....
So this post is not the one I had originally planned, but Meh! It will have to do.
Yesterday was my Birthday. Not one of those significant number birthdays, but a birthday nonetheless. Now the thing about my birthday is, given I was born on Father's Day way back when, my birthday is usually only a few days either side, and thus tends to end up a shared celebration. Even my 40th, which fell on a Monday was celebrated in fine style at a beautiful restaurant, with my family, on Father's Day with every other diner there to celebrate Father's Day. It just didn't feel special.... and to cap it off, thank you Crocodile Hunter for dying on my actual 40th birthday. Now how the hell did this turn into a rant about my birthday??? It wasn't meant to, so rant over!
Back to yesterday.... and actually it ties in kinda neatly with the original post I had planned. You see, since my diagnosis, some of the people I have reconnected with are people who have been in my life as long as I remember. RAAF people, whose families have shared many experiences with mine, and particularly the Malaysian experiences. It occurred to me that we have all become so terribly busy that we almost never see each other. None of us live all that far apart, yet we never get together. One of the boys has been back in Brisbane more than 5 years, and I haven't seen him, or met his wife of 15 years, or his kids, in fact I haven't seen A in about 20 years. Similar situation with his brother, though in our defense, he and his family do live in Canberra. Anyhoo, I was determined that the phrase "we really need to get together" was no longer going to be just a throwaway line. I was going to make it happen!
The opportunity presented itself when my older sister decided that she would visit for my birthday. It was as much a matter of this being a "good" weekend for me, just prior to scheduled chemo, as anything else. So I made the calls. First to Mum, to see if she would mind hosting a little shindig. She was all in favour, so I called A, while Mum called his parents. Then I rang K, and she was enthusiastic, and fortuitously her Mum would be here that weekend from her home up north. I then had a call from A's brother P, the one who lives in Canberra. He was keen as well, and decided to try and arrange a shift swap, so he could make a flying visit. Sadly that didn't happen, but the rest of it did!
So for about 6 hours, we sat and ate, and drank and talked. And talked and talked. There are children who now know more about their grandparents than they ever wanted to! There are older children who now know more about their PARENTS, than they ever wanted to.... I had NO idea of some of the things my folks got up to over in the tropics! We reminisced about everything, the food, the locals, the RAAF School and the Swimming Pool. We remembered old friends, some of whom are gone, some of whom we have recently reconnected with, some of whom we would love to have back in our lives. We remembered the care packages we all received when my Grandma came to vist.... fresh Aussie beef, milk, cream, vegemite, and most importantly the LOLLIES! Minties, Bananas, lots of lollies that tasted nothing like Durian. For more info about Durian and other exotic food pop over here: http://dirkflinthart.blogspot.com/2010/08/extreme-food-tourism.html Dirk did it so much better than I could have anyway!
All in all, a brilliant day.... not because it was my birthday, (that was a happy coincidence - I can tell you now, if my birthday was the weekend AFTER chemo it wouldn't have happened this way), but because it was amazing to be with these people again. It makes me wonder why we wait until a life changing event occurs, before we reconnect with the people who have been special in our lives. Life's short, anything can happen, and we need to be mindful of that. Three of the people who were at that table yesterday have had cancer battles (2 of us from my generation). I am SO glad we had yesterday, and we are determined that it WON'T be another 5 years, or 20, we will be in each others lives again, SOON!
And the best thing? I have a new friend, A's wife is fantastic!