The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,— Robert Burns
In other words, things don’t always go as planned. I mentioned in this post that Jason and I would be returning to Canberra, Australia for the month of June. We were really excited about the opportunity and it built up in our minds into a fairly important, potentially life-altering trip. During our January sojourn health, happiness and suitability lined up so wonderfully that we were even considering a move to Canberra or a similar climate! Can you see the expectations mounting?
The flights over went as beautifully as 26 hours of travel could go (Dramamine, where have you been all my life?!). Setting down finally in Canberra, we disembarked into what seemed a remarkably mild winter . Came the first surprise: we were taken to an apartment we were sharing with two other guys! Yep. . .I’ve never had a roommate, other than my husband; I didn’t live in dorms at college, and I had no full time siblings growing up. I was feeling some trepidation about not knowing the rules of living with other people and how sharing space works (also fears of being loathed by Jason’s co-workers by month’s end). Luckily, I’m pretty sure it was the easiest introduction to roomies that anyone ever had; the guys were great and we bonded over rugby and the flu.
That’s right, surprise number two: all of us got the flu; in fact, it seemed like all of Canberra had the flu. Jason and I were able to hang on steadily through the first week and a half feeling a bit tired and run down, but completely able to function. We took in the Canberra University vs. Wales game at the Olympic training grounds, visited our favorite restaurants (hi, Tom!),found some new favorites (Brodburger– best burger in Canberra), and spent as much time as possible up in the hills.
Rain forced me inside several times this trip, allowing me to taking in an amazing exhibition of Antarctic photography , a stunning touring exhibition of von Guerard landscapes, and a really interesting series of paintings about the life and career of Ned Kelly at the NGA.
Finally, we both landed like a ton of bricks, oozing, hacking,wheezing and sneezing our second weekend away. My insistence that fresh air would be good for us, and exercise boost our immune systems earned me a secondary upper respiratory infection. After a successful trial run with the Australian health care system, antibiotics, and a few days of lying in bed with soup and P.G. Wodehouse, I convinced myself that I was well enough to spend my last full day up in the hills I love, watching kangaroos nap, kookaburras laugh, and myriad parrots, parakeets and cockatoos paint the sky with their dazzling plumage.
I’m glad that I got out that last day, even though I subsequently added a sinus infection to the list of woes. Being sick when we could have been well, cold when we could have been warm, and watching the sun go down at 4pm, knowing it was shining on well into the evening at home was making us both a bit dour while we were trapped in the apartment. Getting back up into the hills, being bathed in sunshine allowed for a return to balance and an important lesson. Since moving to the D.C. area I have been both continually ill and ill at ease. I’ve always wondered if I really dislike the area, or if it is merely a circumstantial prejudice. Knowing how much I loved Canberra in January, and seeing how close I had come to thinking it a miserable hole while sick, I’m inclined to try harder to see the sunny side of D.C. So, no, we are not moving to Canberra, the trip was a total bust for testing respiratory health in different climates and we were absolutely ready to come home. We would love to go back, eventually, and I miss the gum trees and birds every time I go outside, but for now we are quite content to ‘bide a wee here in D.C.