Yep there’s a good reason I haven’t been writing lately: too many Dad jokes and awful puns bouncing around in my brain.
I’ll quietly get them out of the way while I check out a coffee shop Oana recommended – OVRIDE coffee in the Timişoara City Centre. It’s buzzing here, almost as much as my caffeine high – their La Encanta Peruvian blend is making my brain sparkle.
I like this spot. Great coffee and super friendly. The boss is passionate about his coffee – if only the owners wife would let him buy a coffee roaster (no, it will take up too much of his time from his other job) 🙂
Wait what? Romania? …I’d better bring you up to date.
Anyhoo, I hadn’t been traveling all that much since March – well, at least compared to usual, anyway. Some time in Canberra and Melbourne, a few weeks in Thailand – barely enough to feed the ravenous travel beast that howls within.
Waiting on the next contract to go down South again for the 2018/2019 summer had me frustrated and spinning my wheels back in Dubbo (ugh) – medicals done, and no psych testing required this year I was just waiting waiting waiting and walking walking walking.
*Selling my car a few years back may not have been the best move as it kinda screws you when you live in regional Australia.
It also meant that I had nothing but time on my hands – a luxury that I hadn’t placed much value in until only recently. SO…what to do with this time?
Well cleaning out the family storage shed was something that needed to be done, so my sister arranged for a garbage skip, and I set to work over the course of a week or so going over the poorly boxed contents of our parents house – the result of 60 years of marriage and a lifetime together – and figuring out what to keep and what to discard.
Every book, box, envelope and slip of paper had to be examined to determine worth, and then either kept or chucked out. It was surprisingly tough to revisit the memory of my parents, especially all the photographs and hand written notes, personal letters and cards that they kept.
Some of the small things stirred powerful emotions. Dad’ s old California crutches – the ‘clickey clack’ sound they make evokes memories of him. His 4 pairs of hearing aids, his 3 pairs of glasses, his pocket knife and the other little things he kept on his person at all time in his bulging shirt pockets. I gave them all to the Salvos (except his pocket knife – I kept that)
All the little items that they’d scrimped and planned and saved for, the minutiae of their everyday life that was mostly only valuable now as a historical reference and a curiosity for later generations. What wasn’t thrown out was all neatly boxed and packed up – an entire lifetime in a dozen boxes.
The whole ‘clean up the shed’ exercise showed exactly how much I’d been avoiding their deaths however and was a chance to acknowledge that. To linger with their memory and say goodbye.
What about my own crap! I started on my own stuff. The remaining physical baggage , boxes and reminders of things from my past best cut away and left far behind. Hoarded for almost 30 years. I could be more ruthless with this.
Keeping photographs and some old primary school books (covered with comic book covers, full of mopey teenage letters, short stories and self indulgent writings from when I was a little kid right through to High School), it was fun to read through them all, get a glimpse myself before: a good kid but a little too serious. Most everything else went in the bin.
In hindsight this ‘cleansing’ was important though, decluttering and simplifying my life even further than I had before.
And then it was done. Shed cleaned, decluttering complete.
I was a little bit empowered.
Training? Sure! There was a Data Cabling certification that I needed to get for this summer to be considered for the Antarctica role – easy peasy! A week in Canberra (thanks Lou) , a 2 week vacay in Chiang Mai that I’ve told you about already, then another week in Melbourne (thanks Steve) and the certification was done.
Qualified Data Cabler? Check.
I scored another day as an extra on a TV show over in Mudgee, which was great fun as usual and I got to see the crew that I’d gotten to know of the last year or so.
**On a side note, the series is Doctor Doctor – its actually a decent show! I finally watched a few seasons on the flight here.
Shit. It’s winter. Even the kangaroos were wondering why I was still here.
The prospect of spending a few more months in a wintry Dubbo was not filling me with boundless joy, and due to my general uselessness I’d stuffed up the dates for attending a friend’s birthday in Spain by almost a whole month (Sorry CB).
All was not lost!
Chatting to another yoga buddy from a Svastha course last year, I’d been promising to come visit in her home city of Timisoara, Romania for a while.
So I thought, why not? I’ve never been to Romania and it would be only my second time in Europe. Another glass of wine, and ticket booked! I’d arrive the week after my friends birthday (see, told you – shitty timing) and right in the middle of their summer.
So I hit the airways again…
Travelling lighter and lighter these days and am getting a little too used to this lifestyle I think. 7.1kg of carry-on luggage for 3 months travel. Who does that. Jeez.
Dubbo>Sydney>>Hong Kong>Frankfurt>Timisoara – just on 30 hours with short layovers.
So here I am – enjoying sunny 30+ degree days in Timisoara Romania – an elegant, modern and vibrant city: a restoration ‘work in progress’ in parts but with such beautiful bones.
The old Roman era and later versions of Timisoara are still here once you dig deeper or get outside the city centre, but the new?
It’s a University city and a Tech hub, with a healthy Cafe and budding Coffee scene, a decent Theatre and Arts community and a politically engaged younger population – not so long removed from the stifling effects of Communism – angry at the corruption issues plaguing the country today.
I’ve been here for about 10 days now and have spent the bulk of it roaming around the city exploring every nook and alley, meeting some lovely people, failing a lot at Romanian, but generally trying to immerse myself in the day to day of life here – yes, largely just an observer but I’m so very keen to learn more.
It’s absolutely fascinating here – my first experience in an ex-communist country and I’m loving at least this part of Romania so far…
So with the roaming come the words apparently!
All this walking is shaking something loose and I’ll be telling you all about it very soon.
Stay tuned…I’m reinstating my rule of once a week posts again.
This writing thing is good for the soul.