Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Today - for the last five years...

This time last year, I was reminiscing on where I was five years previously...

So, on this day, five years ago, we had a new Prime Minister. Julia Gillard, our first female Prime Minister. And regardless of how you feel about the politics of the time, it was nevertheless a momentous occasion. I was working in a high school at the time, and was with a Year 9 field trip to Canberra, where we tried to expose a busload of 15-year olds to the wonders of Australia's capital city. We picked the right weekend for it! We got to see Kevin Rudd in Parliament the day before, and the next day, we had a new PM.

On this day, four years ago, I was in Hobart for Devil City Swing - a weekend of swing dancing in Hobart. We also discovered this new place there called MONA. I almost didn't make it to Tasmania, because of a volcanic ash cloud from Peru. I'd already quit my job, re-enrolled into my masters degree and was preparing to move to live in Japan, only months after the 2011 tsunami disaster.

On this day, three years ago, I was in Hobart again. Made new friends, visited the snow, and generally recovering from the reverse culture shock of having recently returned from Japan. Here's a photo of me dancing with an Adelaide dancer, Sarah, who I hadn't met before, and wouldn't meet again...
Devil City Swing 2012 (Photo by Mary Awesömesauce)
...that is, until less than two months ago when she happened to be travelling through Kosovo! Whaaat? Also, here, I'm clearly still clinging to my Japanese fashion sense. Who ever thought that orange jeans were ever a good idea?

On this day, two years ago, I returned to Melbourne after spending two months working on an International Development project in Papua New Guinea, working with teaching and library staff at at training school for nurses in Alotau, Milne Bay. It was an eye-opening experience, and I had an amazing time, though not without its fair share of challenging moments. I was sad to leave, but that's okay, because I returned to PNG less than a week later, this time to the volcanic wasteland of Rabaul, working with their museum collections and exhibitions.

On this day, last year, it was my final week working at what should have been my dream job, managing a library in a modern inner-city high school. I can't quite explain why it wasn't right for me - more than that, it was very much the wrong job for me. I left to pursue another opportunity to work in international development, returning to Vietnam - a country where I had worked for three months at the end of the previous year. The decision to leave wasn't an easy one either - here, I had the opportunity to finally settle in Melbourne, with a permanent job that, whilst not without its fair share of challenges, didn't entirely suck either. It was a life-changing decision - one that set me on the path that would lead me to where I am now in Kosovo.

It's been an exciting, adventurous year, full of amazing experiences and new friends. It's also been a frustrating, challenging and, often, lonely year, as as much as I enjoy the thrill of new cultural, culinary and geographic wonders, I also often crave familiar comfort and company, and have been terribly homesick these last couple of days in particular.

I'd like to think I'll be somewhere more exciting on this day, a year from now, but being almost the end of the fiscal year, I imagine I'll be frantically getting reports written.

That, and/or blogging again for a month!