Anonymous, alone and loving it in Brisbane

I have left my boys in (unseasonably warm Melbourne) while I’m attending a course in (dependably) warm and sunny Brisbane. Four nights away from my little ones is a first. I was feeling a little unsure of how I would go…but…I can say that I am LOVING LIFE. It’s such a rare treat to have time to think, read, write, walk, sit, be in the present moment, indulge myself in whatever trivial pursuit takes my fancy…such as reading a newspaper article from start to finish. Just imagine that! I feel like I’m on ecstasy! Every little thing is absolutely amazingly fantastic.

Now that you have a feel for  the context of a very over excited mother of two kids under four having a bit of time to herself let me give you a bit of a travel bio of  Brisbane…

So lets start with my flight. Nath and the boys dropped me off at the airport and I covered all of them in kisses and thought how much I would miss them all. Normally the next step would be waiting in the interminably long line at the check-in counters with lots of luggage and bored kids. However this time I had only carry-on luggage and a ready-printed boarding pass.  It was such a deliciously light feeling to have just the few possessions on my back, anonymity and only myself to think of.

My first morning in Brisbane began with what I can joyfully report was an excellent latte at the Brown Dog Cafe in Woolloongabba. With that first sip I had my divine confirmation that this move was meant to be! 

My next day free. FREE! What an amazing concept. I was at liberty to do whatever I damn well felt like. Indulge any desire, any thought. I started with a walk to the train station past all the characteristic Queenslanders and tropical gardens that to a Victorian cry out ‘holiday’. I guess this is just normality to Brisvegans but to me everything is new, exciting and full of promise.

At the train station I met a Ugandan musician with a big friendly smile and a pile of musical instruments on his back. In Melbourne my normal mode would be blend and avoid eye contact. However I am a tourist here! I am anonymous and I am full of freedom, inspiration and enthusiasm. So we strike up a conversation after he tells me he is from Uganda and I tell him I’ve been there. He tells me that he was a World Vision sponsor child and that his sponsor family brought him out here a few years ago. Since then he’s parted ways with his sponsor family and has spent the last seven years trying to get a visa. I asked him how old he was because I was interested in his story. He was taken aback and told me he wouldn’t tell me but asked how old I was. I told him – 34! He asked what I do and I confidently told him that I am a writer. (This is a huge deal for me because up until this point I talk about liking to write but I never say that I am  a writer.) At the mention of this he was unlocked. His eyebrows shot up and he said, ‘ah I’m 31, I really want to write a book about my life, will you help me’. I said sure and we swapped contact details. He got off the train at the next station and we went our separate ways. That was all in the space of five minutes!

I then spent the day exploring South Bank. My goal was GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) however I didn’t quite get there. I just spent the day wandering, looking, reading, writing, talking to people, living in the moment and absolutely loving it. In a way this has been a meditative time for me. I’ve had the space and time to really get a hold on living in the present and a renewed energy and enthusiasm for incorporating this into my life as a mother.

Discovering lots of great resources in Brisbane. Firstly a very informative information centre at South Bank with cheap internet access, a great weekend market and an amazing pool/beach area for kids. The amazing Brisbane Arts precinct is also located on South Bank. This includes an impressive collection of acronyms – QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre), GoMA (Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art) and also Queensland Gallery of Art  presently showing an impressive anthology of  Hats. I also discovered The Edge and new multimedia arts centre which runs workshops and programs in support of media for (I think) young people. Sadly not sure if I still qualify as a young person at 34. I guess I may look back on this comment in 10 years and think how crazy i was not to appreciate being in my early 30’s instead of my early 40’s! At the moment I am enjoying FREE internet access on beautiful new Macs with lightning quick internet access surrounded by people in their early 20’s so I’m feeling a bit over the hill!

I’ve also discovered the Queensland Writers Centre (QWC) which has recently been relocated to the State Library. Today I went and had a chat and became a member.  I’m really excited about being proactive about this thing called ‘writing’ and surrounding myself with people who can inspire and help me. The QWC run lots of workshops, publish the Australian Writers Marketplace plus a monthly magazine – WQ, run writers festivals and put writers in touch with industry people such as editors and publishers. So I’m really going to make use of this great resource.

I finally made it to the Gallery of Modern Art (affectionately known as GoMA). They had a couple of interesting exhibits but unfortulately most of the place was closed as they’re in between exhibits and apparently about to open three more soon.

Right now it’s lunch time and maybe I’ll catch a bit of arthouse cinema before my course this evening. Ah what a luxury!

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