Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A lot of Passion (fruit) in my Life!

Long distances between writing and in my mind I have had many a time that I wanted to write but to actually go the distance hasn't been my forte. I have moved back to Australia after having lived away for 10 years. I packed  up my life of four years in Cape Town and have now been here for 3 months. Here is the Sunshine Coast Hinterland where rather than the sound of traffic, the sound of Kookaburras tickles my ears. There are also some whip birds that whip my ears into action when ever they cry their cry to action. Trees are all around the house so my eyes are ever satisfied to see my favourite shades of green so often.

Life is a bit slower here than in The Mother City - things are a lot calmer too. My mind is calmer and I've had more opportunity to lose myself in books books beautiful books. I've fallen in love with Tom Robins and have re-established my deep relationship with Haruki Marukami. Tom takes me to a wild tangled head of hair filled with word-play and wildness. Haruki-San just wraps me up in his arms and transports me to a liminal dream state where upon the ordinary becomes extraordinary. He is gifted! I was unemployed for a while so reading really helped me give me a sense of purpose in this purpose driven world. I was struggling initially because I felt as if I no longer had any use - I felt as if being in the classroom at EF and on the stage with Bonfire was my one and only calling and to be unemployed doing nothing but swimming and playing tennis was the lowest I could fall on the meaning of life. It was but a short period of nothingness - eventually I realised this was a grand opportunity to enjoy my abundance of free time and I dove in with all enthusiasm and started doing things I love - like reading.

I now have a job! I am a Farm Labourer according to my superannuation form and my field of expertise is Agriculture more specifically Picking Passionfruit. I toyed with planting garlic for a couple of days which was the beginning of my Agricultural labouring - I couldn't walk properly for a week cause about a million new muscles had been brought to life no longer dormant they cried and cried like a new born baby shocked at the disaster that life outside the womb is. They made toilet sitting a chore and to have to pick something off the ground was a real faux pas in my physical vocabulary. Then I was poor and needed more of a purpose than reading Dance Dance Dance and the opportunity arose - To Pick Passion Fruit or NOT to Pick Passion Fruit. Arnold and I debated the pros and cons of having an income again and agreed the answer was to inject some Passion Fruit into our daily existence.

Every morning at 5.15am the alarm sings a sweat harmony luring me into the tangible world. The kookaburras and whip  bird then like a Greek Chorus support the lead Phone and I like a victim of fate rise to the call of adventure. Firstly though breakfast of champions then twenty minutes of Triple J listening to my frien Matt Okine making the world a funnier place. Gloves on, Hat balanced on my head the journey up and down the rows of Passion fruit then becomes my world for 3-5 hours. We are usually 5 - 7 pickers all armed with a bucket and lust for adventure. Up and down the rows we go bending down to save the fallen fruit from the sun which will shrivel it up into a passion prune. We fill the buckets up with which we use to then fill the crates which then get sent to shed which then get sorted and packed - the pretty fruit go to the stores where they're sold to customers wanting a bit of passion in their lives - the less attractive ones which might have had a touch of sun or just blemished from lack of nutrients get sent to the Juice Factory where they make sweet sweet passion punch! I have officially been a picker for 3 weeks. There are pros and cons as with everything in life! Pros being that my bank has become useful for storing the money that I make and I can buy coffee without crying that life was so much cheaper in Cape Town. Pros being that I can squat for 5 hours and not be as damaged as I was when I did two day of garlic planting. Pros being that when it's bed time my head hits the pillow and boy is sleep heavenly! More pros - I'm stronger, the nature is so beautiful, I appreciate food pickers more, I have time to job hunt for the rest of the day, I can eat at least two passion fruit a day, I'm picking with Arnold, I'm going to learn to drive, I'm getting really far in Candy Crush. Cons - it's HARD WORK!!!!!! My body is sore every day, my joints ache, my back aches, my shoulders ache, my fingernails are dry and brittle, I wear the same outfit every morning, we pick even when it rains, the fruit look like eggs and I feel like I'm on an eternal easter egg hunt, I'm not the fastest and sometimes get competitive even though its unnecessary,  I smell like hay, I'm buggered for the rest of the day. I'll be picking until July as thats when I have my first teaching job coming in - I'm told the cons get easier and the pros can only get better and better.

Having this time has offered me reflection time too - My time at EF was like no other I'd ever had and I'm sure it impacted my being on multiple levels. I had the opportunity to meet so many incredible humans with whom I had the honour of learning from and assisting them in developing their English. I was constantly inspired by the students both in and out of class and I know that I can walk the Earth knowing that there are a lot of really beautiful souls out there. I've taught students from all over the world and from different backgrounds religiously, culturally and of course physically. I always boasted that I no longer needed to go and see the world because the world came to me in my classroom - and I attest that that was such a gift. I was daily able to expand my world view by just walking 7 minutes from my home to the classroom and BAM - expansion! I was of course teaching the creme de la creme of society but non the less there were some good folk. And the team I worked with was pretty cool too!

Cape Town is a really stunning city in terms of the nature - one can never tire of gazing at the mountain in all of her glory - the shifting clouds, the range in colours depending on the time of the day, the constant presence that she emits on the city is inescapable. And from the top of the mountain one is mesmerised by the endless views that span out each way. After that climb to be able to rest your eyes and savour the view is tatilizing gift she graces you with. The beaches are gorgeous, the water is cold, the forests are accessible and there's always something beautiful to see. Always a place to watch the sunset or if you're up for it the sunrise. Then there's the buzzling city - long street and it's craziness/dirtiness, kloof street and its hipsters, Observatory and its avant garde international crowd, Camps Bay and its pompousness yet charm, Bo Kaap and its colourful culture, De Waterkant and its oh so fabulousness, Sea Point and it's promenade where Arnold and I ran many a fine 10km journeys - the wonders are endless. 

Things I miss are the energy, the diversity and the school. The energy in the city is something different to anywhere in Australia or the parts of Europe I have traveled...there is something always cooking - something always sizzling - someone always plotting and planning the next heist or party! There's an aliveness in Cape Town that keeps the blood flowing - there's art, music, theatre, fetivals, movies, cafes, restaurants, bars, dancing, romancing, prancing and just good old vibrant energy. The diversity is also something that dispite being confronting at times is something that makes Cape Town special - there are the Dirty Rich and the Dirt Poor. There are all religions represented, there are 500 shades of brown skinned people and then 500 shades of white. There are open minded, eccentric, trance party goers and then conservative, calorie counting cyclists who bant and paleo daily. There are Jah Rastafaris living on the Mountain and picking the herbs of health from the earth our mother and there are scavenging drunk bergies beating up bins (thanks for that story Nicole). There are those who can't wait to get out and those who will stay forever and those who would give an arm to stay and soak up the sun for just a little bit longer! Diversity in Cape Town is endless - and it's captivating! And the school - because it was my cultural hub.

I changed in Cape Town - I became stronger and more independent. I got my heart broken a few times but then I fell in love with Arnold whom I hope to grow old with. I had some really lonely moments but there were more times where I felt like the luckiest human on earth - to be surrounded by so many phenomenal humans with just joy and lust for living. I got robbed and had my home completely cleared out - all my important material objects gone with no goodbye - And yet not once did I encounter danger and I learnt first hand that material objects don't make me happy - love, laughter and friendship are far superior. I danced, danced and danced a little bit more which is one of my loves. I got drunk and embarrassed myself but learnt that forgiveness and growth from errors are far more important than carrying shame. I had quarrels with loved ones that at the time I felt were irreversable but again I learnt that time does heal and to get on with life is far more fun than dwelling on the negative aspects that cannot be changed. I got to know my family better and that was the plan - I now have a relationship with members that were distant family before.

And now I'm here in Aus! Life is good. Until next time!!!

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