It’s Father’s Day today.
Last night over dinner I was asked if I missed my Dad.
Yes I do… but, though it’s weird to say it, I wish I missed him more.
Admittedly I was never really close to my father; we kids were mostly taken care of by Mum and our closest relatives. He wasn’t the ideal father figure for many reasons, but in any case, he was still our father. He was a lot closer to his friends and boy scouts whom he taught for a period of time, had a lot of respect for him, a relationship I’m proud yet envious of.
I went for a walk this afternoon around Balls Head; it was a cold but sunny Winter’s day. On the way back I took a different route that the usual road, and came to this little hidden circular lookout point that had a pretty good view of the Harbour Bridge.
As I was standing there a sudden thought entered my mind and I said out loud, “Happy Father’s Day, Dad”. I couldn’t help but break into a sob.
I wish I could have sent him a card he’d receive in his hands and read.
I wish he could have paid his taxes, renewed his passport and visited me here.
I wish when I was younger, I had made a better attempt at getting to know him.
I wish I had the kind of close relationship he had with his peers and students.
I wish I was a better daughter who knew who her father really was.
I wish I didn’t feel so bad not missing him more than I should.
I wish I was closer to him.
I wish for so many things, most of all I wish he was still alive, even though we don’t speak to each other much, or have lengthy conversations about anything, I just wish he was there for me to call and say to him, Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
And so I thought I should start writing about my little adventures, no matter how short or long they are.
I’ve visited many places in the last couple of years which I haven’t kept track of, and I’m starting to forget what we did. Might as well put down a few thoughts on them before I can’t recall them completely.
The trip to Phuket was a bit of a spontaneous one - an invitation and 4 weeks later I was on a plane heading north to the island Southwest of Thailand.
Phuket was as I had remembered it to be since my last visit about 6 years ago - busy, a little dusty, humid, lots of ‘farangs’ (foreigners) including myself, and mopeds, mopeds and more mopeds everywhere. Food was abundant in almost every street corner, as were souvenirs and ladies calling out, “Welcome! Massage?”
It was amusing how the locals couldn’t guess where I’d come from. “Philippino? Indonesian? Thai?” My darker-than-average skin didn’t let on that I was none of the above; explaining how I was a Chinese born in Malaysia and living in Australia seemed to confuse them even more. Eventually I answered, “a little bit Australian” and they’ll disbelievingly say, “Australia? No-o-o! You Asian!”
Instead of taking tuk-tuks, bikes were the way to go around town and the island. Renting one is THB200 per day, which came up to less than AUD8. There were bigger bikes to choose from but having just passed my MOST test for an auto, I thought it better to stick to what I was familiar with. The Honda Scoopy was a pretty light and fast one, the pickup was quick and at times I wondered if my own Sachs Amici was too heavy to ride around.
Riding on the roads could be unnerving at times, with big trucks zooming past, and other times with mopeds crowding around the traffic lights trying to be the first one to break away. Somehow or other, everyone finds their rhythm and expertly navigates through traffic without skipping a beat.
What I found amusing was that fuel was sold by the bottles - similar to the size of a tall beer bottle - by roadsides for THB40 a pop. I suppose with the thousands of mopeds cruising around town with really small tanks, anyone could run out of gas at any time so a pitstop in the middle of nowhere is quite handy.
I must make a special mention of Mr. Udi and his wife who cooked a delicious lunch on afternoon, along one of the beaches. Yum!
Two days in Phuket and it was time to take the boat to Tonsai, what enthusiasts would call the “climbing capital of Thailand”. Again, it’s been a good few years since I’ve done my pilgrimage to scale the many beautiful limestone walls, and as the boat took us past Tonsai, West Railay and finally resting at East Railay, memories started trickling back to mind.
The fantastic thing about this trip was the people - eager climbers and adventurers, young and old, gathered around the walls for a hard day’s climb, and came together on beaches and a the pubs for a merry time. They made a real difference to the trip in injecting fun and laughter, and a sense of belonging even though each person came from different corners of the world. It was the best “campfire” of all time, sitting in a circle singing “it’s a good, good day”.
It wasn’t all just climbing; the sea kayaking was just as fun, paddling out to islands of rocks where one could do deep water soloing. Stalactites, overhangs and smooth, coloured limestone faces beckon to climbers, luring them with hidden pockets of positive holds and the hope to get as high as possible before jumping into the warm, inviting waters.
We even took time to do yoga every morning before hitting the walls. It started out with a guy offering to do a class for free to a couple of newly-met friends, and from 2 people it grew to a crowd of 7. Funnily enough, there were paid classes being offered in one of the lodgings but stretching out on the deck with a few good mates seemed like a better idea!
All too soon in was time to say goodbye, and it was one of those holidays where you wished it would go on for just a few more days… or weeks. Riding on the back of a tuk-tuk and later in a taxi van, speeding as fast as it could towards the airport via Thalang province, was a bit of a nervous experience (I thought I was getting kidnapped when we took a detour through villages instead of the main road). Thanks to the skilled taxi driver I made it just in time for the flight home.
Many thanks to all of you whom I’ve met on this trip - Oliver, Luca, Lisa, Elan, Al, Ryan, Anna, Wibke, Victor, and those whom I’ve spoken to briefly but didn’t get a chance to know you better - it was unforgettable, and you have made it so much more memorable with your smiles, laughter and friendship.
And thank you Mat, for letting me share a part of your holiday. Happy birthday.
Thankful to have a wonderful, loving family.
Thankful to have friends whom I care about very much, and who care the same for me.
Thankful to have had many wonderful adventures, meet lovely people, make long-lasting friendships.
Thankful to have a roof over my head, a peaceful place to live in, a roomful of luxuries, clean water to drink, good food to eat.
Thankful to be able to watch the fireworks and share those moments with millions of others.
Thankful that I did not receive any bad or sad news, that my loved ones are well, that I am well.
There’s so much to be thankful for, that this just post just doesn’t do enough justice. I read about lives lost, disasters around the world, senseless killings… it breaks my heart.
And so I’m thankful that I am here alive, here now.
A little narcissism and self promotion is good for the self-esteem every now and then.
On a cool, Autumn afternoon some friends talked me into going for a swing on the trapeze.
At first I thought it’d be a hard trick to do, but I quickly realised that 1) gravity and momentum helps, 2) don’t think, just listen and follow instructions, and 3) have fun!
And so I present to you… the “knee hang”…
Now if only I didn’t ache so much after all that swinging… ow…
It’s been ages and ages and… ages.
So much had happened in the last 6 months, let alone the year. Time certainly has gone on its own momentum and raced to the finished line for 2009 in a matter of rolling moments. Every hour, minute, second, nanosecond… they’re all made up of moments, just one rolling into another like a gentle, continuous wave.
I can’t quite begin to reiterate the past months’ events, there are too many but this I certainly can say - I am very thankful, eternally grateful for my family, and the friends I have, past, present and future.
Still… no harm giving a quick rundown… Maybe in reverse order?
I bought my scooter today, the Sachs Amici, glossy black. Truly fun-looking. Getting delivered tomorrow. I actually haven’t got the hang of riding a scooter yet but I’m sure I’ll get used to it in no time and zipping around town in a couple of months, perhaps… After I’ve plucked up enough courage to share the roads with the big boys, that is.
It’s not all good news at home, my Dad is ill and in a heartbeat I went home to visit for a couple of days over the Christmas hols. It’s so heartbreaking… heart wrenching. If there was one wish I could make, it would be for the cancer to be non-existent in the first place. I thank my family and friends for all the support they’ve given and shown. And utmost gratitude to my family for taking care of him when I’m unable to be there in person. Time for another trip home soon.
Thank God for little angels like this one. Baby Brandon’s been a blessing to the family. Lovable, adorable, smoochable.
Work-wise it’s been a hard day’s night. And a few. Many few, but I’m positive there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. If there’s one thing I learnt, is that work will always be there, so don’t stress it, keep calm and in the words of William Hung, “I already gave my best, and I have no regrets at all”.
On the yoga front, I finished the theoretical exam, the anatomy and physiology test, senior first aid and still have a couple more assignments and the practical to go. Probably won’t “graduate” until March by the looks of things, as I still have quite a lot of practice hours to go. I’m taking my time quite a bit on this one, also because of my preoccupation with other things (re: all of the above). I’m sure I’ll teach a couple of classes before the end of 2010. Of course!
That was some good regurgitation, even if it’s only a few things…
And how have you been, dear reader? Having a good 2010 so far?