Beginnings in Sydney

It’s been a while now, I’ve been in Sydney for almost 3 weeks and while the adventures begin, sadness does still remain and I am quite surprises I haven’t drowned in my own tears some days. We have moved into our new Revthreads pad and our stuff is here, we have made it our own but it’s very different. I have wandered around our new surroundings, taking in the fresh air as I found a place within walking distance to do yoga – Egg of the Universe, pretty good I must say and it’s good to clear the mind and move the body in the warmth of a studio. I have visited some coffee places and of course the pubs. Its interesting that in a city with so many people you can still end up feeling lonely, leading me to really believe loneliness must be one of the most terrible poverties there is. I wandered through the city one day before catching up with a friend and I felt like I was in a scene from Lost in Translation. Surrounded by hundreds, probably thousands of people and yet I may have well being on another planet, everyone was simply hurrying along, so many people, so little time. I thought about how unfriendly our world had become and thought about how many times I would have walked through Brisbane and passed by the me in another form without acknowledging their presence. I only wandered for about an hour, but it was a long hour!

Relocating is such a huge thing, and the idea of allowing yourself to settle in a new place is a bit scary, the pain of leaving behind youngest revthreads and grandson rethreads, friends work is a hard thing to do, so in protection it seems a little better to perhaps keep yourself isolated, that way it never has to be repeated. It’s not all doom and gloom of course, I do know some people and we have had the opportunity to share over a few beers, begin to let roots touch the ground and perhaps just begin to settle. Hoping is some shape or form life will return to whatever we perceive as normal.

Our pad is in a great location, walking distance to pretty much everything we need including the water. I have to say for such a busy area I can’t believe how small the Woolworths car park is, so grocery shopping has even become a process of thinking will I get parked or will I have to pay for street parking – this did of course lead me to think I could make the Coles without the aid of my IPhone navigation via a road that I had never been down which included a very skilful drive the wrong way down a oneway street – thank God for Queensland number plates, a little support of my sorry I have no idea where I am or where I am going.

I am still waiting for work, so days are long and so there has been a need to cook lots, go to yoga often and get extremely frustrated with Optus over their complete inability to fulfil their contract with us and provide internet by the agreed date – another reason for it being a while since I blogged!

It has been great to spend more time with the eldest revthreads and the now 2, new grandpups, this has of course involved mum revthreads cooking dinners, but that’s OK. This weekend we have youngest Revthreads, her partner and grandson Revthreads visiting so that is exciting.

All I can really offer on relocating and leaving so much behind is it’s hard, it never gets easier, from past experience I am well aware that healing happens, but it’s important to name the grief, the loss because unless we do we can’t really claim the healing. If we fail to acknowledge the significant changes how can we begin to put down roots for new beginnings, new challenges, new adventures? If we are too guarded about how we feel how can we receive love and support from those who are willing to offer a hand of friendship? Every box I unpacked reminded me of what I have chosen to do, every box unpacked brought tears, but now I can face all our things and I can see them as being in their new place for now, their new place.

As time passes it gets a little easier, embrace the visits from loved ones, enjoy the moments with new ones and ultimately  book a holiday with a friend, I did, it’s just a little something extra to look forward to when the days are long.

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Last Night in Brisvagas

So the time has come, tonight is my last night in Brisvagas, obviously I’ll be visiting but that’s just it, I will be a visitor for the next how ever many years.

It’s been a wonderful, yet emotional day. I spent the morning with my beautiful daughter and grandson Revthreads, did some finalish packing and then the afternoon with my beautiful friend Tania, this evening I spent time visiting beautiful Omid, Nazanin and Fezzeh at BITA. Whilst it’s not good bye, just farewell until I visit there is no escape from the impact of this move. I have jumped on occasions between this is a great idea to I’ve just made the worst decision of my life, I can’t escape from the fact that I really love Mr Revthreads and so as he is in mid flight to Brisvagas to make the drive back with me tomorrow, I sit on the deck, with my red wine and ponder.

Almost 17 years ago now, we made the decision to move to Australia, a decision that ultimately was filled with broken hearts and tears, we have spent all of this time in Brisbane, it has become home and the idea that our new home together as a couple will be in Sydney seems strange to say the least. The journey of the last almost 17 years has taken turns that I would never have imagined, being a minister in the church for one! I had my final service on Sunday and the love was tangible, there is so much that will be missed, but the gratitude that is within me for all the people that I have had in my life so far runs deep.

I am trying hard to find the gratitude for this new adventure at the minute, but I am sure in time it will come. We have a new Revthreads pad, and new adventures to be had, it’s just going to be very different, so more blogging may be done as I find new places for fun and frivolity.

New friends, that’s a hard one, maybe I will be Nancy no mates and become a social recluse, the only issue with that of course is I talk to much, to anyone, even if they don’t talk back! Maybe I’ll write my book, just one of my dreams, I have an idea that I am toying with, so who knows! The world is your oyster, mmmm what does that mean? If we sit long enough it becomes a pearl, or add Worcester sauce and faken bacon it will disappear and be consumed? I don’t really like the idea of either! I can’t sit still for too long and I don’t want to be consumed! 

Anyhoo, last night in Queensland tomorrow New South Wales, I like the idea of new, but change is always scary, inevitable but scary. I have just loved being the Naniji that is on hand and now I will be on FaceTime, I have loved been a minister in a congregation but for the foreseeable I’m unemployed, I have loved been a friend to those close to me, but again it becomes a long distance thing, see it’s not looking so great is it? But I love been the life partner of Mr Revthreads and therein lies the reason for my decision, it is him who I will grow old with, it is him I will become incontinent with, it is him I will sit in front of TV eating dinner with, yep it’s his fault, but all jokes aside, it is him I married, him I love, him I have made this decision with and for, so soppy I know, but truth needs to be shared. When you find a life partner, life can be a challenge but when all is said and done, we will raise a glass to each other with love and have gratitude for the fact that actually we still really like each other.

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One week to go!

In my last blog I shared that the decision was made and I had decided I would be Sydney bound. Well I have only one week left here in Brisvagas before I hop in the car and make the journey south.

Packing, well what can I say? The straw that broke the camels back, moving requires stratergy, you don’t want to move empty space because you’re still charged for it, so I had a super thought tsunami, it was so much more than a brainwave. My bookshelves are cubes so a typical book box doesn’t fit, I woke and thought wine bottle boxes! Fill them with books and pop them on the shelves. I was thwarted by an older man who works in our local bottle shop when he told me I could only take six of the boxes that would eventually end up in the bin! I was absolutely gob smacked, like he paid for those boxes with his own money, did he realize the amount of wine I’d purchased over the last 8 years! Melt down number one, actually probably the only packing melt down but still. The next day I glanced casually to see who was working and it was they guy who was very friendly so I tried again, much to my relief he told me take what you want and so I was able to see through with my super thought tsunami, which I have to say is a great packing tip, even though I do say so myself!

My urges to pack have my attention for anywhere between 5 mins and an hour so, with one week to go, the house is a mess with some sealed boxes and a number of half packed boxes, but tomorrow is the pack up day, the boxes have to be finished with clothes that are needed handy and everything in one room, the reason, well Mr Revthreads is home for the weekend and then the next time he gets home is to drive to sydney the next day and the removal it’s don’t pick up our stuff until 3 days after we leave.

Of course the sadness of leaving the youngest Revthreads is real and always there, grandson Revthreads is now a beautiful, energetic 6 month old, who laughs and chuckles, rolls and shuffles. My heart is ever so much a little bit broken, but the decision has been made with them, it’s their time to be a family unit, baby Revthreads mum and dad, Naniji Revthreads will be the doting visitor on a regular basis. As the weeks have passed all has become more real, we now have a Revthreads pad in Sydney, a whole new area to explore and navigate, the older Revthreads get to spend some quality time with mum, which I have been informed involves Sunday dinner!  Here in Brisvagas the farewells have begun, it’s strange how it’s when huge decisions like this are made you really do realize how important people are. It’s not that I have ever considered the people in my life as insignificant or not important, but somehow the journey to get to where you are on the journey gets lost along the way. The people around me here have been so intergral in my making my life here in Australia, they have been the support, the fun and frivolity, the people that have laughed and cried with me. They have been the family for the little Revthreads as they have grown up into bigger Revthreads, they are our family here.

I still don’t have a job, but that’s less scary now, still a little concerned about the stepford wife thing, but hopefully I will resist the darkside. 

I have my final service at the church on Sunday, that’s gonna be hard, I love the people, the community and will miss all the connections I have built, not that they will all disappear, but I have had the honor and privilege to share in the lives of so many. I have joined people together in marriage, I have baptized children and I have celebrated the lives of people at funerals, if that’s not honor and privilege, I’m not sure what is. When I entered ministry I never really grasped what an amazing world it would be, of course there are challenges, there are people involved, but I have met some truly beautiful people and I will miss them all. I am also proud to say I still after 8 years in ministry have not dropped an “f” bomb from the pulpit, success right there, for me anyway. 

Anyhoo, enough for now, the next entry will probably be at the half way stop to the new pad!

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The move on the horizon

An adventure began in February as Mr Revthreads moved down to Sydney to begin his new job, little did we know then that our whole lives would change. After the hope that Mr Revthreads would be home every weekend was dashed by the incoming overtime the question arose, “why am I staying in Brisbane, when my life partner was in Sydney?” Now both the Revthreads children are adults, one lives in Sydney and one at home with me and her partner and yes of course, the beautiful little grand-revthreads! So while the question seems to have a clear cut answer of “get your backside down to Sydney,” this answer has been deep in the shadow of leaving a great placement, not having a placement to go to, leaving the beautiful family that I visit regularly in BITA, leaving my daughter which is absolutely intimately connected to the big one, leaving my grandson, who has melted my heart and for who I wanted to be the naniji that is just down the road.

After much soul searching, and of course what is a good drama without tears, lots of them, the decision has been made and I am preparing to head to Sydney for a new chapter in our lives in Australia. Now after 30 years together and 26 years of marriage I think it is pretty clear that Mr Revthreads and myself actually still really like each other and each others company, and that I think leads to the suggestion that the soul searching didn’t take too long, but while the answer was there, the journey through the shadows surrounding the answer has been and in many ways continue to leave me in moments of darkness. I can’t wait to be reunited with my man, to begin a whole new adventure, to actually live just as a couple for the first time in 24 years. But, there is no escape from the sadness that comes from leaving the city I have called home of the last 16 years, having limited visits to my daughter and grandson and the beautiful family in BITA (hopefully that will look very different soon) leaving my friends, leaving all the people I love – so that folks is what the shadows look like.

One of the horrors at this stage, (7 weeks and 2 days until I leave, not that I am counting) is that I have no job and there is a prospect of becoming a stepford wife with no job. What does Revthreads as housewife look like? God only knows, it’s not a role I have ever played, will I begin to iron underwear? Will I begin to paint my nails? Will I begin to colour coordinate or worse dress completely in beige????? Other horrors include packing, I have to think about it even though it is still a little early to do too much. Our daughter will remain in the house and we have the probability of living in an apartment – how does one decide the necessary requirements for apartment living? My food processor in it’s box took up the whole boot of my car, but it must come on the journey, how else does one whip up homemade veggie foods? My books, my books, the hard decision of which ones to take, books are important in ones life!

When we moved into our home here in Brisbane I never imagined for one minute I would be heading off again to another new home and definitely never saw the new State coming! But alas life throws up new and exciting opportunities when you least expect it and really doesn’t take into account the quandaries that one is hurled into. So to finish on a serious note, it’s been a hard decision but it’s made and there is an air of excitement in the life of the Revthreads family. I will head into the land of packing in the weeks to come (one I hope I am able to emerge from unharmed) I will prepare for the road trip south (complete with thermals) and I will prepare for the farewells but never good-byes (I will be back regularly)

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Mardi Gras – reflection time!

It just so happened that this weekend when I visited Mr Revthreads that the Mardi Gras was happening and we had the privilege and opportunity to march with Uniting Network with the message LGBTIQ Refugees are Welcome Here! So sat in the airport waiting to fly home, here is my reflection, or at least part of it!

We met at Pitt Street Uniting Church, to don our T-shirts and gather. We met at 4pm and we were due to begin the March at 9pm, so yep it was going to be a long night. We left the church, the first March was to walk to Hyde Park, the group had drummers, who I have to say we’re amazing and set a great pace. The walk to Hyde Park wasn’t huge, but it was a powerful action to walk together, each of us wearing the Uniting Church logo standing together in solidarity with the LGBTI community and highlighting the reality of the plight faced by people seeking asylum. The church for hundreds of years have been part of the systems and structures that oppress, the church has indeed been a place of hurt and pain for many, and this is a fact that we cannot and must not deny, for only in our acknowledgement of this can we ever hope to be part of and bring healing and reconciliation. With this in mind you never quite know what reception you wil get as you walk with a clerical collar on and the church logo at the forefront, but it was a reception that I will never forget. As we marched through Sydney to Hyde Park and the marshaling area, people thanked us, people cheered and clapped. As part of the church we really did carry a message of good news into the community and world and it was welcomed.

The action of marching with the Mardi Gras was for me an opportunity to stand with people who love, people who for many years have had to deny their love, I stood I solidarity with people who because of gender identity had faced pain and hurt, I was able to stand in a place where I was part of the “respect for the dignity of humanity” in a place where for perhaps just one day in a year people can be who they are, can express their gender identity and their sexuality in a safe place with no judgement from those who gathered with them, an opportunity to see the joy and celebration of liberation from oppression.

8:15 and time to gather at the start point of the March soon came around, it came around quickly because we gathered, we shared stories, we watched the fun and frivolity, it was time to prepare, but honestly, nothing could have really prepared me for what was waiting around the corner.

As we began to move forward we entered the main path and the thousands of people gathered and cheering was like something I have never experienced before. We marched among peace with a message of love, now that’s what I call church and proclaiming good news! Again people cheered, people called thank you from the side lines, people from all walks of life together in peace, in support, in love, in one place at one time.

The pain, hatred and oppression that has been experienced by our brothers and sisters of the LGBTIQ community is horrific, their love, their identity reduced to mental health and worse, that I cannot even bring myself to name, acts and attitudes of others born of fear and ignorance. Yet in their strength and courage, in their determination barriers begin to crumble. I think particularly of the 78’ers who marched, who were beaten, who marched with the Mardi Gras, who have never given in, have stood firm to journey with others to proudly call for their dignity, for their respect, for their humanity.

Of course throughout, the message was one to highlight the fact that there are people seeking asylum for whom their punishment could be prison or even death because of their sexuality or gender identity. People we are continuing to process claims in offshore detention camps, like Nauru, where homosexuality is illegal, people who have escaped persecution and trauma who are continuing to be traumatized by our governments decisions and actions – a lack of compassion. People are continuing to suffer because of fear generated by rhetoric, people who are denied the respect of their humanity, it must end! We must call for an end to dehumanizing and traumatizing treatment! We must make things right.

Because the  other thing that amazed me was the peace in which so many people gathered to stand together in solidarity, and how the world might actually look if this example were to be the example we lived by, which is a simple one when we break it down, because it is an example of love, respect for the dignity of humanity, an example of the barriers of fear been broken through, an example of inclusion. I believe we are all called by God to be vehicles of peace, healing and reconciliation not pain and hate – that is the call to all of us regardless of our faith, because we are all created equal, all created in the image of a God who loves – the task for each of us is to work towards this.

I could go on forever, this was a most humbling experience, one I will remember for ever, my first Mardi Gras, but it certainly won’t be my last. To all my Rainbow friends, much love and respect to all.

   
    
    
 

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Sydney Bound Again

Well the sadventure is underway, Mr Revthreads can’t make it home this weekend because the Sydney Revthreads bunch are moving to their new apartment, so this Revthreads has decided to hop on a plane and thinking to help them move would be a good thing to do, not to mention I get to see my man. Yep after almost 30 years as a couple and 26 years of marriage we actually still like each other and enjoy each other’s company, amazing I know!

Traveling alone is always an interesting time, when you are alone there is no one to chat to so you get to sit back and watch others going about their lives, watching people as they sit intensely with their hand held devices engaging with social media, emails, TV, oh how the world has changed, whatever did we do without them? Oh yes that’s right we used to engage with others! The only interaction I had was with one guy, because after I had gotten comfortable in my seat on the aircraft, he stood next to me, he was checking his boarding pass, I thought nothing of it, until he said “excuse me, you are in my seat,” yep I’d sat in the wrong row, oh well his seat was nice and warm by now.

The flight to Sydney is only an hour and 10 mins so it passes fairly quickly, as I looked around most people had their earphones in and attached to some sort of device, the young woman next to me watched a movie, the guy across the way worked busily on his spreadsheet – with earphones in, the woman across the way was watching something – with headphones in. The complimentary non-vegetarian cheese and biscuits were served with a drink, so as I ate the biscuits and left the cheese, I sipped my red wine and blogged about the baptism. I do remember flying as a kid and remembered there was no inflight entertainment (bit like today on short haul, it’s all iPads) I remember my parents speaking to people, how bizarre is that, actually talking to people and each other, otherworldly concept now! But even as I write this I recognize the “I,” IPhone, IPad, it really is an individualistic society that we are in.

Anyhoo, I arrived in Sydney, picked up my bag and headed off to see my man, who was waiting patiently in the pick up area, and what a great sight it was. It’s only been 4 nights and I get to see him for 2 nights, and this is the reality for so many people here in Australia and I suppose around the world. Personally I hate it and I don’t think Mr Revthreads is particularly a fan, but this is our lives for at least a year. I can’t help thinking about people with young families who have to do this, with rosters like four weeks on and one week off, at least I get to see him every week, I wonder how young couples who have only recently met get to know one another truly when they are part for long periods of time. There are many who make this journey and many who don’t, mental health problems and suicide of FIFO workers is a reality for many families. These big companies that offer opportunities for people to earn a good wage on projects that leave tradespeople feeling that their skills are important, which they are, without trades we’d be in a bit of a pickle, yet in the current employment market here in Australia working away is the way to get a position where the work brings some level of satisfaction and worth. I can’t help but question this, I accept the opportunities are great for people, they get an opportunity to work on major projects around Australia, companies talk about the care of their employees, they highlight stress indicators to raise awareness, so what I don’t get is why more companies don’t offer even time rosters? Now in theory Mr Revthreads is not FIFO, his point of hire is Sydney, but as the other half of the family, me included are not in a position to just move interstate, he has to Fly in and out to see us or vice versa. This is another move by many major companies, at least this way they don’t have to pay for flights or living away from home allowances, sneaky! Well there’ll be much more pondering on the FIFO epidemic over the coming months, I’m sure. But it is all of this that has helped me coin the phrase “sadventure.”

Today I will be packing boxes and doing what mums do for their children, tonight I think I get to go out for dinner with my man and we will actually chat, hand held devices will be banned!

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Baby Revthreads Baptism

So becoming a minister all those years ago was a bit left field, to say the least! With this role comes many honors and privileges, which includes, weddings, baptisms and funerals, being invited into people’s lives for various reasons and at various times, some happy some not so. The one thing I always remember is that it is, as I have said, an honour and a privilege. 

On Sunday 7th Feb, I was privileged to babptise Baby Revthreads, my beautiful grandson. It’s hard to explain how special that was but, I’ll give it a go, because you see any baptism is a privilege, but here I held this perfect little boy, whose mum I had nurtured and cared for, who I had cradled in my arms all those years ago, this perfect little boy that captured my heart from the moment he was born. I was privileged to cradle this little boy as I recited the baptism liturgy, to gaze upon him as he slept, my heart was soft, filled with so much love. The nerves were actually unbelievable, because I wanted to make this occasion extra special for his mum and his dad, not that this is never the case, baptisms are always special, but this was my grandson and my daughter and her partner, this was the future of my family right here! I wanted it to be something they and the rest of the families and friends would look back on and think, “yep, it was a celebration, it was a positive experience filled with joy.” As he laid, cradled in my arms asleep, I was desperate not to upset him as I poured the water over his perfect little head and made the sign of the cross upon his forehead. As I took the first handful of water, I almost held my breath, as it rested upon him, he flinched but received with no tears, as I continued, there was no more flinching, just receiving. My beautiful little grandson, baptized and proud Naniji was able to do that for him. If that’s not a great gift, I’m not sure what is!

   
A major highlight in my ministry

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