2011 has been a bittersweet year for me. As I struggled to look for work, I was suddenly faced with something I had never had this much of before: time! Time to do many things I had been putting off doing but was always too busy to do before. Although the opportunities of the “paid” variety were lacking, I was also given opportunities to do other things that just may one day lead to a more fulfilling life.
And so, as another year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on some of the things and events that have impacted me in whatever capacity. Many have been happy but some, not so much. So here we go…
Retiring Swans Co-captain Craig Bolton takes a lap of honour around the SCG
The year in AFL has been a mixed one. My team, the Sydney Swans, spent most of their home games in Sydney playing in wet conditions, which means I spent a lot of time trying to stay dry in the stands. With the well-respected Paul Roos now retired after a very successful 8 years in the senior coach’s position, the reigns were handed down to his former assistant, John “Horse” Longmire. It had been six years since the Swans won a Premiership and with many of its Premiership players retired or retiring, many critics did not give the youngsters on the 2011 playlist much chance to make the finals series. As usual, the Swans showed their “Bloods” spirit and proved the naysayers wrong and we made it as far as the second week of the finals, finishing sixth on the ladder. Not a bad effort at all. Go Swans!
Less than two weeks ago, I wrote about a friend of mine, Mary, who married her long-time partner, Rodney, in a beautiful, yet simple, ceremony in Sydney (see “Picture of Love, Togetherness and Strength“). Last Friday, I was so proud of myself for using my new-found Windows Movie Maker skills when I made a short wedding video with the photos I had taken at their wedding and put it to music with a couple of Bruno Mars songs. It was my little gift to Mary for her 39th birthday. She had replied back, via Rodney, to say the video had put a smile on her face. Rodney was excited about being on YouTube.
Mary and Me in Adelaide, Nov 2009
Sadly, today, I awoke to the news that Mary had passed away this morning in Adelaide, having lost her brave battle with cancer. The news has greatly upset me all day for many reasons and I have been trying to find the right words to express this. The passing of a loved one is never easy to accept. The loss of one so young – a contemporary, well, actually younger than me by several months – with a young family and so much to live for, just adds to the craziness of how the world works. Perhaps the most frustrating (is that the right word?) part about this loss is that I feel like Mary and I only just “found” each other again 2 years ago after having only seen each other once or twice since we finished high school. When we caught up in November 2009 in Adelaide, we had even talked about meeting up in Melbourne one time when my football team, the Sydney Swans, played hers, Collingwood Magpies.
To be honest, I am not really sure what my earliest memory of my Grandmother was. To my sister, Stephanie, and I, she was “Po Po”, meaning “maternal grandmother” in Chinese. She, and our Grandfather (known as “Gung Gung” – maternal grandfather) used to babysit us before or after school, depending on what grades we were in, until our parents got home from work.
They were the typical grandparents – they spoilt us and they indulged us, or rather, I should say, mostly me, in my bad behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, I was not a bad child, just naughty. I will be the first to admit I was one of those naughty children who liked to push the boundaries of tolerance to see how much I could get away with. Everyone knows that my sister, just over 2 yrs my senior, was the poster child but as they say, if the first-born was a nightmare, there would never be a second one!