Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Aussie Adventures, Part 4: The Final Countdown

I’m here because when I said rhetorically to Mac “Do you know where we should go?” we both answered in perfect unison “Sydney, Australia.” It was the first time either of us had uttered the name in that context.

I’m here because he was willing to be away from his busy life and do the heavy lifting involved with traveling with me.

I’m here because Lisa gave up 2 weeks of her life, contributed a significant (HUGE for her) chunk of money for her part of the travel, showered and dressed me every morning and got me ready for and into bed every night. She also was integral to the wheelchair assembly/disassembly, got me a soy chai latte every day and reported in vivid detail on all her adventures that I missed. She’s such a wordsmith, it’s like I was there.

I’m here because while I’m here, my friends are packing up my apartment, painting my new house, installing a wheelchair friendly sink and pulling out the old one, buying a sofa, moving me in and unpacking me. Don’t bother re-reading that paragraph again – your eyes were not playing tricks on you. They really did do all that! I am coming home to a brand new home I have never seen with my stuff in it.

Finally and most importantly, I’m here because my Dad wanted to give me the trip of a lifetime. He spent a ton of money on the three of us, effortlessly welcomed Lisa into our family ( easy to do), went along with everything we wanted including sitting through some of the WORST theater ever, arranging to get me on the stage of the Opera House to sing for Allison’s challenge, letting me take risks I needed to take (leaving the hospital against doctor’s orders and taking a crazy ride) all while coping with missing his wife and dog and worrying about me and Allison. He put up with me yelling at him when he broke traffic rules and responded to me like a perfect gentleman. He and Mac hauled and lifted my increasingly weakened body and occasionally my wheelchair with me in it.

In short, he was a hero.

Here’s what I didn’t get to do:

All the sights with stairs.
Didn’t meet Bruce or Sheila.
Didn’t take Nat King Cole records to Newcastle (Coles to Newcastle – get it?)
Didn’t (couldn’t) challenge an Aussie to a drinking game.

I was often too tired to do much of anything. When I sang at the Opera House, I was so weak from being carried onto the stage over a precarious ( probably deadly fall) pit and so moved to be singing that my voice shook and I couldn’t tune it to save my life. My last night included theater that was an insult to actors everywhere and a fight with my precious son ( great make up talk though). I could easily tell you the story of a disappointing trip.

But then I would have to leave out the birds – lorikeets, ibis’, conures, pink cockatoos, emus. I would have to leave out holding a baby Wallaby in my arms, seeing a Joey peek out from its mom’s pouch, seeing a koala close up, have more people call me “darling” in two weeks than I’ve had the rest of my life. I would have to leave out how people in wheelchairs nod or say “hi” or even want to talk, much to the bemusement of Mac, and the laughs and the sunsets and the feeling you get when you’re in a new place for the first time. It cost a lot to be here (not just money) and I don’t know if I have another “far away” trip in me, so this is the story I want to tell.


Anonymous said...

This is so beautiful Carla. Every word of it. Thank you Lisa, Dad, Mac for giving us all this wonderful trip. Thank you Carla for taking us along.

Love to you all,


Anonymous said...

Safe travels home to your loving and remarkable family. Thank you for sharing your keen wisdom and making the rest of us recognize the value of simple things. And great new wishes for the wonderful feelings in your new home. We are all blessed to know you, Carla. You are beauty incarnate. Love, Joanna

Anonymous said...

Wow. Can't wait to see you home though! Love, E

Anonymous said...

your far away trip brought us all closer to you and that was such a blessing. thanks for sharing the details of this incredible journey! you are always close to home in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

Dear Carla, reading you makes me feel more grateful, more alive, more at peace, more willing. Hope the rest of your trip is as lovely as can be, Darling!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being you. I am so tempted to sign this but I will remain anonymous.

You live life the way most of the rest of us SHOULD.

Your son, father and Alison are Earthly angels to the most beautiful angel of

I wish I could capture the appreciation I have of you and your band of angels in words.

You show us a moment of life can last forever.
A memory told is a story captured.
A word written is powerful medicine.

Love from me to all of you.

Anonymous said...

Bless your heart Darling!

Anonymous said...

Here's to your heroic and eloquent travelmates!! The trip they made possible may not have been perfect, but you so clearly and lovingly describe its beauty and magic as well -- I admire and love you for offering us all of it.

Can't wait to see all of you again,

Anonymous said...

At least a DINGO didn't eat your baby Mac!

Anonymous said...

you must write a book about your life, diagnosis, medical experiences, travels, outlook, etc. do it! it will be a best seller and make you a lot of moolah (if you want that!). and you will be invited to go on oprah!

go for it. find a publisher. now.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me this blog already is the book.
It's all here.


Anonymous said...

many writers HAVE used their blogs as a starting point for books...both to get ideas and stories down PLUS getting input from readers. A friend of mine is Robert Scoble...he did that with NAKED CONVERSATIONS. If you want an introduction let his ANONYMOUS person know.

Anonymous said...

Carla I've thought of you so often over the last two weeks and wondered how you were doing. Whenever I checked the blog, it still came up with the December 26posting and nothing beyond. Not being able to read your blog made me feel like something important in my life was missing!

Today I logged on from work and lo and behold found all the Sydney postings. I don't know why they didn't come up at home, but it was wonderful --- though sometimes hard ---- to hear about your trip both the highs and the lows, the bitter and the sweet mixed together with your keen insights, spirit, sense of humor and above all the gratitude that always radiates out from all your posts.

I don't think there's really a way to know how many people you're touching and teaching with your blog. It's truly a gift to all of us!

Singing this song for you & all your traveling companions (wish I could send it as an audio file : -)

Safe journey
Pilgrim of the spirit
Peace be with you
On your way back home...

Much Love from one of your many faithful muselings, KK

Anonymous said...

Hi Sweet Girl,

What a journey, thank you for taking your Muselings with you. Your Dad is truly a hero and I am proud to have known him for over 50years. Can't wait to hear about the new house.

Love, Pat

Anonymous said...

you and your muselings now and always will have made humanity better for being who you all are.

i hope you will have a place to post some of your new home photos. it would be nice to visualize where you are living.

finally, is there a little video or audio of you singing at the Opera House!!!!! I hopa hopa hopa...

perhaps on your YouTube channel as a series of video tours of your new home...narrated by YOU of course!

Carlagroupie and Muselingroupie

Anonymous said...

Okay, you always get to me but the part about your Dad arranging your singing at the Opera house was really big. I am deeply touched by what you shared and my heart is always with you.

Anonymous said...

I have been lurking reading your travel posts, what amazing things families/friends do for those they love. you are blessed.

safe travels home.

Unknown said...

Welcome home, Carla! I’ve followed your Aussie Adventures – trembled and cheered you on. I think you’ve experienced more in a year than I (and 99% of everyone else in the world) will in a lifetime. No one is a greater observer of nature or chronicler of humanity than you. You’ve given everyone you know – and, by extension, everyone we know – a most amazing gift. I’m anxious to hear about your new digs that your amazing Bay Area angels have prepared and warmed up for you. Sending love to you – and to Lisa, Mac, your lovely dad and all the DMC angels, Jeannine

Unknown said...

Welcome home, Carla! And welcome home to Mac, Lisa, and your Dad--they are amazing! You're all amazing! Thank you for sharing details from your trip and your experiences. It doesn't sound easy, yet, you make it sound effortless. Your gratitude shines through. I don't know how you do that, but you do. You help me appreciate the obvious.
Love and hugs, Terre