It was, really, truly, no hyperbole or artificial enthusiasm, one of the best times of my life. I don't think there's anything more valuable to me than having a few days with nothing to do but spend time with people I love, people standing at different stations in life who enrich me just by being themselves.
I'm now back and plunged right back into the deep end, complete with a missed deadline through forgetfulness. What can a missed deadline teach one, you ask? Well, first of all, to always make a list of all known deadlines and CHECK IT TWICE! NO, THREE TIMES! ONCE MORE FOR GOOD MEASURE!
Sorry, I'm just trying to make sure I don't make the same infantile mistake again. But no, the lesson it taught me was that good friends are to be found everywhere (call it more of a revision than a lesson). The ones in Sydney? One lent me her car to drive home and grab my laptop so that I could finish the assignment during classes and submit it before Anzac Day. Another went out and bought my lunch to save me time away from the machine. Others gave me sympathetic encouragement (though not without a touch of relief that they're not the ones with the impaired ability to read dates properly).
I am so thankful that it's the weekend, and although other papers now scream to be written, I am going to ignore them until Monday and just enjoy this moment, and the next, and the next, until I hear the MIDI ambient music of my phone's alarm function and another week begins.
Some of the moments already enjoyed this long weekend:
- High praise from my Counselling Foundations lecturer, who thinks I've improved from my session of "checklist counselling" a few weeks ago.
- A knockout dinner prepared by my eldest paternal aunt, and seeing that aunt and her daughter again for the first time in years.
- Being next to my cousin during his near-death experience. We didn't enjoy it right then, but now that things have turned out this way we can laugh. It had to do with drying plates in our aunt's kitchen, and a 34-year-old Villeroy & Boch Granada ceramic plate that my aunt bought new with one of her first paychecks oh-so-nearly crashing to the floor and smashing into a million pieces that all the king's horses and all the king's men wouldn't have a hope of re-assembling. Fortunately, he caught it, momentarily after his life flashed before his eyes.
- The simplicity of eating Breadtop buns in Hyde Park with my cousin as a fine drizzle fell. Only when the fine drizzle reached the intensity of a fine heavy rain did he turn to me and ask, "Do you think we're overdoing it?"
- Watching the Anzac Day parade in the city for the first time in my life and suddenly, unexpectedly, tearing up because I missed Ah Koong and the stories he used to tell of wartime.
- Applauding my friend when he went up to receive his MA from Southern Cross College. What, universities don't do scrolls anymore?
- Trying not to ogle like a hick at the detailed interior of Sydney U's Great Hall.
- Lunch followed by churros (and the rest of the tapas plate at San Churro's Glebe branch) with my friend and his wife, one of the most beautiful couples I know in my age group.
- A shortish, but very sweet, afternoon nap.