I have been having a different kind of holiday as I home host one of the people who home hosts me in England, she and I are third cousins and she is with a cousin from her mother's side of the family. They are here for an extended holiday, five weeks in all and they will be going home in the middle of this month. I have been showing them the beauty of the area in which I live, a coastal area of beautiful beaches, spectacular views, little cafes and endless eateries so a spot of sightseeing and a stop at a coffee shop is the order of most days.
When I go to England I see England filtered through the life I have in Australia, so I probably see it as smaller, crowded with people of many nationalities, and much slower to drive through as they can't build new roads etc as they are short of space. I see the people as probably more worried about life than the general public in Australia, a little more pessimistic, more cautious, certainly not as adventurous. I guess the shorter summer, colder winter is an influence on how they feel about life too. And living closer to neighbours in a smaller house may make a difference to how you feel about community and privacy issues.
Now the chance has come to see how the cousins I am hosting feel about Australia. They are shocked by the "lawlessness" of Aussies, I guess in a way we choose the laws we obey, or rather the ordinances, like where you can walk a dog off a lead. We witnessed that today as we went to a beauty spot with a lighthouse and lovely view along the coast and helped a man trying to corner three Labrador dogs he had foolishly let off their leads. He was chasing them up and down the steep steps to the beach. A lot of us tried to herd them but to no avail so in the end we left him to the task. What I got out of this is that we are all victims to our own whims. A lead on each of the three dogs would have saved him all that angst. I hope the day had a happy ending for him.
On the whole they love Australia and the beautiful area I live in, like I do when I go to England they miss the food (coming from winter foods to cold meat and salads) their families and friends, the routines of their lives and probably the way you do on holidays the familiar faces and places that are a part of their accustomed lives. .They have met a few of my friends and tomorrow will meet more as we are going to a BBQ with some of my friends from the stroke recovery group WAGS that Ray and I attended for many years. I love the survivors and caregivers in that group, they gave my life meaning when it had none. They nurtured and cared for me, and I for them, and so as I still value those friendships I have remained a member of that group. I think I still have something to give, as I do here.
Today we called in to see some friends of mine, I didn't ring we just appeared on the doorstep, or I did anyway. Etiquette differs from friend to friend but with this couple it is a courtesy to call when I am in their area. They were pleased to see us but I could see my cousins were uncomfortable with the visit. We are all different, I could tell we were welcome, but there was that sense of the cousins being ill at ease so I left after about half an hour. I am so glad I have those kind of friends, those that accept me for who I am regardless of circumstances and welcome me whenever I call. i welcome my friends the same way. Maybe it is part of being an Aussie or maybe it is simply part of being me.
I planned to have a week off from church activities but tonight had two more emails about meetings I have to attend. I love the pastoral work, my visits to the older ladies in the nursing homes, the phone calls to the shut-ins, the conversations in the shopping centres and other places where I encounter people pastorally. But sometimes I need a rest from it all.This Friday I hosted the World Day of Prayer meeting at our church for Australian Churchwomen. It is always nerve wracking as I am sure it will all go wrong and then on the day it is fine. The ladies and a handful of men enjoyed the speaker and the afternoon tea afterwards. It is great to get together with others who are like minded. There is always a lot of laughter too as old friends meet across the room. I love those opportunities to see people i would rarely see otherwise.
So life is interesting right now. There is plenty to do fitting housework etc in between the excursions. I have to do the Lions Club BBQ on Monday at Bunnings , a large hardware store. It's a good fundraiser so I like to be there, you can never tell who you will meet from your past. It is hard, hot work in this heat but at the end we have more money to pass on to a good cause. And that's what being a part of a service club is all about, raising money to give a helping hand to others. And that is what my life is all about - giving a helping hand to others.
So it's back planning more trips out to the local beauty spots, My cousins may only see a tiny part of the Australian continent but what they have seen they will have enjoyed to the full.