After arriving very late last night, I slept well on the couch at Alex and Chris's place. I had been here just a couple of weeks ago, so I felt quite at home. Last time, it was very busy and with the jet lag, I can hardly remember some of the details.
Today has been interesting.
I am very conscious of the noise of the city... traffic, people, children crying and just the very closeness of the people living nearby... one hears their voices, sometimes laughter and disagreements... often parts of their lives that I'd rather avoid.
After taking Chris shopping for groceries, I went to the shopping mall. In fact, I went to the one that I had been used to when I lived in Brisbane for a number of years. I was looking for a couple of particular items, credit card in hand and ready to spend money! Everything is on sale, it seems... all marked down to "new low prices"... apparently a symptom of the times. So, credit card at the ready, I looked in vain for anything worthwhile... I was disappointed, and returned with credit card unscathed. As I walked back to the car past shoppers and merchandise, I felt like an alien... so much stuff, all the same and troubled faces all around... and no one making any eye contact.
Later, Chris and I took his washing to the laundromat in the rental car... easier than walking with a bag of clothing up and down hills to the machines. We sat outside eating pizza and drinking soft drinks and watching the traffic while the machines did their work. I didn't keep the drink containers... they are redeemable for 10c each at home, but not here... and no recycling bin to be seen.
I drove home and as the sun sets I am listening to the complaints of a child being fed in the next building. He/she doesn't want that food despite the coaxing of at least two people. Another older child, in another home has just arrived nome (from daycare?) and is bouncing a ball on the landing between the floors of our building. With the setting sun, there are cicadas too, at least one koel still calling, and a crow.
Wafting through the open door is frangipanni perfumed air, mixed with cigarette smoke... from someone in a backyard across the way... no doubt outside to avoid contaminating the house.
The sun sets quickly here... no long twilight for sitting on verandahs.
I am so glad to be able to spend time with my family. Most of my life has been spent in caring for them as they grew in size, knowledge and independence.
Even a long weekend seems short.
The ball-bouncer has been called to eat. The babbling baby is no longer arguing about food, and the parents are shouting to each other... quite friendly by all accounts, just loud. Their dinner smells good.
It's a different world in the city.