I’m following up with a new post so soon because I have a good news to share at the end of this post (nope, I’m not moving to my dream Walden but a good news nonetheless). However, before I get to that, let’s continue with the game of what was I doing this time last week…
Monday, August 21, 2017
09:00 Back in Melbourne, its the last day of our Australia trip before we head back on Tuesday. During breakfast at a busy downtown cafe, I picked up a small pack of vegemite that was on the table and pondering if I should give it a second chance. The first time I tried vegemite (or marmite) was in the UK (although my mum claimed she used to mix marmite into my baby food). I remembered the advert and the tagline, “you either love it or hate it.” I hated it. But maybe I will change my mind after all these years? I gave it another try. The verdict? I’m still a hater.
After a weekend of sunshine, it was another rainy day. My original plan was to walk sections of the trail that follows the Yarra River that winds through the city to inner suburbs. However, I thought my mum has probably had enough of walking under the rain (we were in Australia for 9 days of which 5 days were raining), so I decided to make it easier for us and change my plan to visiting the Melbourne Museum instead. On the way to the museum, we did some shopping and walked past some of Melbourne’s famous street art lanes.
13:00 By the time we reached Melbourne Museum, it was nearly one in the afternoon. The Carlton Garden (picture below) is just next to the museum. We saw posters of the latest exhibition taking place at the Melbourne Museum on the railway station at Kyneton and it was something to do with bugs and critters. I don’t have a special interest in bugs, rather, I am terrified of bugs (especially cockroaches). But perhaps I might be less terrified if I come across them in their motionless state, in a museum? That was my ‘interest’ in visiting the exhibition – to find out if looking at displays of bugs would ‘cure’ my fear of them. The outcome? I’m still grossed out by their images, in fact, I skipped the section that featured cockroaches. But there was also some interesting display that attracted our attention, we learn of bugs we’ve never heard and there was so much else to see other than bugs. It was the perfect place to hang out on a rainy day.
Of all the displays, we were enthralled with this beautiful but deadly orchid mantis.
There is an outdoor Forest Gallery in the museum and I was excited to see the satin bowerbird because this species is known to collect brightly coloured (blue) objects to decorate his bower to attract females. I was fascinated by their unique courtship behaviour and have been wanting to see one in their natural surrounding, albeit in an outdoor museum gallery.
16:30 After our visit to the museum, we walked towards the Fitzroy suburb, a neighbourhood known for its hipster culture. Melbourne’s street art culture is also visible in the laneways of Fitzroy. Here, I got my refill of catnip herbs from the herb store (yes, I drink catnip, it makes me feel catty lol).
19:00 After dinner, we walked past Carlton Gardens again on our way back to the hotel. It was dark by then which is the best time to spot the nocturnal marsupials, brushtail possums in action. Our first encounter with a possum was in 2011. At that time, we thought it was a cat from afar.
20:00 A sweet treat to end the day and marks the end of our Australia trip 2017.
Having said earlier that I changed my original plan and decided to take it easier today, we still did a lot of walking. In fact, we explore the city entirely by foot. While it is free to travel by tram within the city free tram zone, I avoid taking the tram where possible as the city area can be very packed.
21:00 Back in the hotel where there is wifi, I checked my emails. I was worried about missing work emails while away (but it turns out I’m back without my employers knowing I had been away). On this night however, one email caught my eye. It was from the job interview I had on July 3, which was the only one that responded and invited me for an interview, out of the 20+ job applications I sent. I thought I blew up my chance but destiny has its own plans and it turns out that the job is waiting for me. I was stunned. I was feeling a bit down that night about my impending departure but suddenly, there was this good news, I didn’t quite know how to react or feel. I am sad and happy at the same time. Actually, it is more of a relief than happy, knowing that there is a job awaiting me when I return.
Life is a pile of good things and bad things
Back to the present, I’m due to start work on Friday, September 1 and might follow up again with another post on this new full-time job.
As I was saying, it is possible to feel sad and happy at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive. The fact that a job awaits me in Hong Kong is not going to make me happier about leaving Australia. Similarly, when I wrote the post about excess baggage, I was feeling down and stressed although on that very same day, I was delighted to receive a belated (and humorous) birthday card from my brother in the mail. Does this mean nothing anyone says or does matter? That your words of encouragement makes no difference at all to how I feel? That your act of kindness is a complete waste on me? I mean, what’s the point of caring if the person is going to feel miserable anyhow?
I am going to answer my own question by quoting a scene from an episode of Doctor Who (Vincent and the Doctor). In this episode, the Doctor and his companion travelled back in time to meet Vincent Van Gogh. After fighting and defeating demons together, the Doctor brought Van Gogh to visit the present Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The scene featured still bring tears to my eyes.
After sending Van Gogh back to his time, Amy, the Doctor’s companion was eager to return to the museum as she was confident that the visit to the museum and the knowledge that he would become the greatest artist of all time would make a difference to Van Gogh’s life but was soon disappointed to learn that it didn’t stop Van Gogh from taking his own life. In reply, the Doctor said,
“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things.”
With that wisdom, I’m grateful for everyone’s encouragement, if you ever liked my post, left a comment or simply took the time to read my posts. You are the pile of good things in my life and this makes you important. And I can tell you here that you have made changes in my life, not necessarily life-changing, but still important little changes. Thank you so much, your prayers have worked!!!