Tag Archives: anniversary

IMG_20140416_103452On Monday, April 15th, 2013, a couple of brothers set off a bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three and wounded hundreds of others. Just as I remembered exactly where I was and what I was doing when the tragedy of 9/11 happened, I still remember clearly where I was when I heard the news of this latest tragedy.

I had been spending the day with two friends who had travelled from Atlanta, GA, to Charleston, SC, to meet me on my long-overdue return to the USA.  We’d spent the day at Drayton Hall, a former plantation that is now owned and managed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It had been a rainy day but an enjoyable one hanging out with friends.

When I got back “home” to where I had been staying with my university friend (and the reason for my visit to Charleston) in the early evening, she’d had the television on while preparing dinner. The coverage of the bombing was all over the news. First reactions always include: Who would do such a thing? Why? How many innocent lives have been lost or are injured? Where are those responsible? The manhunt commenced immediately, of course, and  security was heightened everywhere.

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A Life Thirty Years In the Making, And May There Be Many Many More

I love meeting new people whenever I travel. As soon as I open my mouth, they recognise an “interesting” accent and the question inevitably follows: “Where do you come from?” I refrain from breaking out my Men At Work impression and I reply “I come from Australia.”  That is the answer I have been giving for the past thirty years. Yes, it hardly seems real that it has already been thirty years since my parents packed up the family and moved us halfway across the world from Hong Kong to a city in a country we had never been to.

 

I never fully grasped the enormity of such a move back in 1982. At the time, I knew nothing about Australia – not even about the koalas and kangaroos that people ask me about nowadays when I travel abroad.  The only people I knew who had even been to Australia were friends of my parents who had come here on a family holiday.  I remember going to their house for a slide night but taking very little interest in what was on screen.

 

The only thing I remember thinking was that they spoke English in Australia.  Having attended an English private school since kindergarten, I was not afraid of the language barrier, though if anyone had warned me about the accent, things might have been a little different!  If only I had read Nino Culotta’s They’re A Weird Mob back then, I may have had a better understanding of the Australian slang!

 

The prospect of leaving behind all my friends and my grandparents, who I was extremely close to, never truly hit me until we were at the airport on August 15th, 1982, when I saw my grandfather cry for the first time in my life as we bade our farewells at the departure gate.  Having always been an extremely sensitive and sentimental child, the sight of my grandparents and my parents in tears was the first sign that my life was about to change in a major way.

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12 Months On: For Mary

Dear Mary,

I can’t believe 12 months have passed now since your wedding day.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was a glorious, sunny day in Sydney.  It was also the last time I saw you, Mary, before you were taken away from us a month later.

For days before your much-anticipated big day, it had rained in Sydney, threatening to turn your garden wedding into a muddy affair, but even if the weather had stayed bad, I’m sure you would have started a mud-fight, because that’s the kind of mischief you could have got us started.  But of course, God was looking out for you (and for the sake of us girls wearing heels on the grass), the sun shone brightly on your wedding day.

It was a long drive to the park but we made it without getting lost (as I am prone to do – no, I still have no SatNav!).  A small crowd had already arrived and gathered around.  Rodney was looking very dashing in his suit, and yes, very relaxed too.  It didn’t take long before your car arrived.  You were waving at the crowds like the Queen, and yes, you were definitely our Queen that day.

Your girls, Mia and Kylan, looked absolutely adorable in their pretty fairy princess dresses.  And then you walked across the grass, escorted by your Dad.  Even from afar, I could tell you looked frail, but there was no doubt you were happy.  You were downright glowing and basking in the sunshine, your golden wig reflecting the sunshine as you squinted a little in the sunlight.  You looked around, surprised by the number of people who had turned up to see you get hitched and finally make an honest man of Rodney 🙂

Remember the music video montage I made from the photos I took at your wedding?  I’m proud to say I introduced Rodney and the girls to Bruno Mars, and every time I listen to that album, I think of you.

Today, 12 months on, your wedding anniversary has fallen on Easter Monday.  The weather is not unlike that of your wedding day here in Sydney – sunshine on a beautiful autumn day – and it reminds me so much of your wedding day.  Rodney and I had a long chat on the phone a few weeks ago and we talked about your wedding.  Your girls are getting bigger and they’re taking care of Daddy, just as he is taking good care of them.  You’d be proud of your family.

You are missed always but will never be forgotten.

With love,

Valerie

Author’s note: Mary was a school friend of mine who lost her battle with cancer in May, 2011.  I had previously blogged about her wedding day and later reflected on her life and our friendship.  

Happy Bloggerversary!

Twelve months ago this week, I dared to annoy and bore my friends and family by starting a blog and then making them read it.  It all began because I had always wanted to write and, quite frankly, I was not about to be outdone by my then-seven-year-old nephew who had started his own blog, Kids’ Movie Guide.  This is now my 44th post on this site, not counting the two travelogues I wrote for my photo blog Thursday Has A View which I created in March 2011.

It has been a long time since I read my earlier posts but when I look back at the titles of the earliest writings, there is no doubt they were all about how I could put a funny and positive spin on my work life which was pretty much making me miserable.  A friend of mine said she liked that my posts were always so positive.  The reality was that by writing, I was forcing myself to focus on the positives rather than the negative things that were motivating me to vent in public.

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