Monday, December 02, 2013

Last week in Freo - Monday

Today marked the last Monday that we be living in Fremantle for a bit.  I felt perfectly fine pushing Gia in the jogger up to school while the kids rode their bikes, then a sweet mom in Caden's class named Lucy gave me a big hug and commented about how sorry she was that this was my last week that she would have loved to have more time together.  I have felt the same way about Lucy.  Then the crying started.  And not the pretty, dab your eyes crying, but the 'I'm too choked up to talk crying' where your sniveling with a running nose.  I attempted to make an exit, but then was getting hugged by another mom (mum), then another.  I was cracking!  I hid behind my camera (as so many of us artists do -joking) and made it out with Gia trailing behind.

Gia and Teo

Dara and Caden

Once outside I tried to capture that 'drop off' moment so that I can stare at pictures once home, remembering the laid back drop off style and the cast of characters in my life's play here.  Even the ones that I don't know their names.  They all have a certain place where they usually are on the stage with the habitual routine unique to them and their little pre-primary child.  Funny how quickly our own patters emerge.

A couple more hugs and comments that people were worried we had left already when out at Margaret River the week before.  Sweet Nancy didn’t help when she hugged me and said, ‘We had our trial run last week without the Angsts and we didn’t like it.’  The Angsts didn’t like it either!  More tears. And then Trenna.  So sweet and calm with little Teo, who Gia just adores, and little Kip who was out of school as he was feeling too under the weather to go into pre-primary this day.  We decided to get a quick a cuppa before I needed to be at ND for Corey's farewell tea at 10:30.

We strolled to the Fremantle Arts Center, Gia in her white sun dress, making her Australian bronzed skin look brown as a berry, pink hat pulled haphazardly on her head with her little girls poking out this way and that, and no shoes.  Never any shoes.  She skipped happily with Kip, returning to give Teo hugs and kisses in his stroller every 10 feet or so.  The sky is the Perth blue that Corey and I will continue to say, on the odd occasion that we are lucky enough to spot a glimpse of one once back in the U.S., as we have for the past 16 years since we were last, "That's almost a Perth blue sky".  

 The breeze that is an indescribable temperature cannot go unmentioned.  The sun is already getting hot at this 9:30am time, and then you feel this cool breeze that brushes against your cheeks.  It feels a bit like silk.  Trenna commented how this type of day is so representative of the start of the summer days that she loves - warm, then downright hot, with an ocean breeze that comes in the evening, referred to as the Fremantle doctor for curing the ailing heat at that time of day, and the feeling of a day that stretches on endlessly.  I did not do it justice, but her description of the endless summer days sounded straight from a novel, or maybe the childhood novel we each have where summer days did feel like that, before we are ladened with the responsibilities of things we must do and we spend our days looking for things to do. 

The kids skipped about the idyllic grassy grounds of the Art Centre, walled in by tall and thick limestone walls.  We noticed for our first time a little limestone fairy house, to which Trenna said what I was thinking about how lovely it is to continually discover new things despite how often you visit.

Trenna and Teo

I had a chance to show Trenna a lamp shade I am coveting from a local artist, and she, being the artist she is, told me about them and their style.  She talked about her love of art and how she enjoys just taking a painting in, deconstructing the way it was created, the life story behind the artist, and the time period of the work.  So beautiful.  This enriching discussion (for me) was paused often as we would help Gia and Kipp chase little Teo as he found a way to open a door and make a dash through the quaint gallery listening to his voice echo.  Just a perfect morning.  

We had a lovely morning tea at ND, where I shed more tears, at least twice.  Corey's colleagues presented him with a beautiful book on the history of Fremantle.  A great coffee table book!  We hung out at Corey's office for a bit until our farewell lunch with Peta at 1.  Gia was continually doted on and enjoyed a consistent offering of Tim Tams from the colleagues that passed by.  

Lunch with Peta was lovely at a little cafe specializing in Asian food.  I intend to walk back by the store to properly record the name of the dish that I ate, as it was phenomenal.  We had a great chat with Peta, thanking her immensely for insistence that we live in East Freo instead of South Beach.  What a game changer to our experience that would have been!

Corey and I grabbed a quick coffee and said farewell to a wonderful and philsophical coffee shop owner/barrista - Sergio.  Actually shop may be too strong a word for the 6 foot deep and 5 foot wide shop with wooden cartons out front to sit a bit.  

Gia and I then rushed up to EFP to pick up the kids.  More tears.  Then some more.  A lot of hugs.  More tears.  So a lot more pictures of the magical pick up where the world stops as all of the parents conjure about chatting about the day.  Lily says - "Mommy, are you crying?"  To which I nod and sniffle.  Then she says in her little Aussie up-talk way, "About leaving?"  And I nod.  And then I say, "Mommy is just being silly and sentimental about leaving.  Do you have any words of advice for me?"  And her response - "Just stop crying."  Perfect.  Big smile.  And I stopped.  And then we left so I could stop.

The kids were so tired from their 2 weeks of guests and being back at school the full day, they didn't even want to swim!  So they relaxed on the couch for a bit.  

I was exhausted from a full day, which I forgot to mention started with one of the many 'last runs' I am doing this week of each route I have come to favor - wearing my cross-trainers as my tennis shoes have completely ripped through - which is the first time ever this has happened to my beloved Saucony Triumph shoe that I have worn for all running over the past decade, going through 2 to 3 pairs each year.  So now I am running without my orthotics and keeping my fingers crossed that I don't get injured.  Why not buy a replacement pair of Saucony's here?  Too heavy.  But I digress.  To combat my tiredness I cracked, or rather hacked open one of the young coconuts I have come to expect to be in my fridge and worked on packing until my evening date and send off with my dear friend Penelope.  Oh and one last morning digression.  The kids and I ventured out in the morning to marvel at the beautiful feathers of a lorikeet that met an untimely death, likely by windshield as there were no apparent injuries, on the grass next door.

I took the bus and then the train into Subiaco, arriving about a half hour early, which afforded me the time to leisurely stroll the adorable town and take in the Christmas decor.  I then had a lovely coffee at Cafe 1982 and people watched until Penny picked me up for our reminiscent outdoor movie at the International Film Festival UWA's Sommerville Theater, which offers a series of films over the next 5 months.

I realize I am at risk of over-using the word magical, but there is no better word I can use to describe the outdoor cinema experience at Sommerville.  The ground of UWA are similar to university in the U.S. with many building nestled together, separated by open grassy spaces, big tall trees, yet set alongside the Swan River.  The theater area is in a cover of tall pines, wrapped with clear glass light bulbs in an understated fashion.  The area was filled with deck chairs, paired up in long rows, and grassy picnic area at the front directly underneath the large screen where you sit on picnic blanket with wine and your picnic from home, or your choice of Aussie nibbles including gourmet pizzas, curry, or sushi. I mistakenly convinced Penny that we should do the Pumpkin, walnut, blue cheese and rocket (arugula) pizza - served to us on a beautiful Jarrah board - explaining that pumpkin pizza, sandwiches, burgers, skewers, etc. are not the norm once home.  We did still manage to eat every bit of though.

You can tell I've been crying '_'

The evening was perfect!  Just like the one we shared here together 16 years ago.  I managed to not cry again - perhaps out of sheer exhaustion - but I will think back on sitting out with Penny in the deck chairs, tucked under our picnic blanket, laughing about the sheer volume of horse jumping races in the subtitled French film Joondalup, and enjoying the breeze off the water, the stars, the wonderful feeling of being outdoors, and smile :)  Penny and I promised to meet up again soon - sooner than last time - and perhaps in Ireland where her husband is from?  

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