I woke today to terribly sad news from home. My sister’s brother-in-law passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. Larry was like an older brother who always had time for a laugh and a joke. His last words to me when I saw him in January were “Have fun in Australia!” Larry – I am having a blast, as instructed. I feel bad I cannot be with friends and family who are grieving at home. But he would want me to make the most of this experience.
We had some rain overnight and the day has been humid. I have enjoyed being in a skirt for the first time since last November. There were showers on and off through the afternoon but as the old saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather in Tasmania, wait five minutes and it will change.”
Thankfully today was not a washout because tonight Malcolm and Rae hosted approximately twenty people for a barbecue in my honor. It was wonderful to see so many friends. I was especially excited to see my former host brother Mike ( I wrote about him last November). When I was here as an exchange student, the idea of throwing together a quick party and inviting all your friends to come around was not a new concept to me. My family does this well. The other exchange students were amazed at the efficiency with which the Rotarians would activate their phone network and all volunteer to bring various dishes to an impromtu gathering. More than once, I would arrive home from an outing with friends to find a message telling me someone was hosting a barbecue and I should plan to arrive around 6:30 with a dish to pass. Tonight was no exception to the wonderful fellowship and humor I found on my prior visits.
Tassie has always been like a second home to me. The friends I made during my year as an exchange student are some of the kindest, warmest people you’ll ever meet. Although time has passed, seeing them tonight felt like a walk down memory lane. We laughed together and I was reminded once again how blessed I have been by my experience with this Rotary Club.
For me, this trip is all about seeing people, not places. I am well aware this may be my last opportunity to see some of my friends in person. I have enjoyed reconnecting with them and I’m looking forward to more visits in the coming days.
**Today’s post is brought to you by my friend Tony. Last year when I was brainstorming fundraising ideas, Tony suggested I offer a “thank you gift” of blog sponsorship in return for a specific donation amount. I think it may just have been his way of trying to get his name mentioned on my blog. Either way, I am grateful for his assistance and the support which made this trip possible!