Y’all, thanks so much for all the lovely and supportive and friendly comments and emails since I wrote that last sad entry. I am currently sitting with a cup of tea in the beautiful Melanie’s house in my boob tube since all my other clothes are in the wash, and getting ready for a bath and some DVDs before going to bed early. What a difference twenty-four hours makes.

When I was booted off the Rockhampton: Beef Capital Of Australia library computer yesterday I still had about twelve hours before my train, which I spent walking dazedly around Target and the supermarket and getting lost in a slightly sketchy area trying to find some botanical gardens. I ended up calling a cab and getting dropped off at the movie theater, where I proceeded to sneak in a bag full of snacks and watch Knocked Up (good) and License To Wed (horridly, expansively not good but I had four hours to kill and I sure as hell wasn’t going to watch that Transformers movie). I made it back to the station with about two hours to spare and just kind of wandered around, packing up my day pack and watching some sort of horrible reality dating show on the waiting room TV where, like, the guy is dating six women at a time and they all live together, and three of the women are in their forties, and three are in their twenties and OMG which will the dude pick?

The train finally arrived and I ended up having a berth to myself, which was the thing I wanted most in the world at that point. I slept in clean sheets on the funny fold-out shelf bed (if there had been two other people in there? Claustrophic.) and slept in until 7:15 this morning. I spent today reading, eating snacks, wondering why my camera is suddenly broken, attempting to wash what seems to be a permanent layer of dirt off my feet, and taking naps whenever I wanted. It was so good to be both by myself and alone, if that makes sense: solitary in the good sense, not in the bad sense where you’re surrounded by people but still feel horribly isolated.

Melanie was right there at the station to pick me up and…people, there is such good in the world…basically just gave me her beautiful house for the evening, with its awesome books and DVDs and its washer and dryer and bathtub and internet, while she and her husband and her sister and her baby go off to Kuranda to see a concert. She has never met me before but she has “Chiara!” written on today’s date on her kitchen calendar and she has all this homemade soup and her sister wrote me a little primer to the various remote controls. I’m taking her and the baby out for lunch tomorrow and to check out this part of Queensland and I feel very lucky to be here, as you can imagine. I’ve come to a good place, with good people. I am feeling a little more confident that the rest of the trip will be full of them–and if it’s not, well, I guess I’ve just had a little practice in leaving bad situations to find better ones.

I am still so tired that I’m basically cross-eyes at the moment, but I just have to tell you that in terms of the project, it’s really Calin’s email that I keep thinking about. “You’re not willing to put up with other peoples’ shit anymore,” she said. It’s true, I think. I might be fine dealing with wallaby poo, but the kind coming from human beings…not so much. It’s taken me such a long to decide not to just take it, you know, not to just bow my head and decide that it must be me that’s the problem. That’s how I’ve dealt with this sort of thing for most of my life. Part of me still can’t believe I’m not there right now, miserable, wondering what I’ve done wrong and why everyone hates me, instead of being here, safe and warm with good gracious generous people who seem to like me even though they don’t know me, feeling glad to be in the place I’ve arrived.


  1. Yay! A happy ending with multiple remote controls, homemade soup and (hopefully) less dirty feet…

    When are you off to do your diving? You have TOLD the octopus community that you ‘ll be vitising, right????

  2. Phew. So glad you landed some place wonderful.

  3. I’m so glad you’re feeling better! Got home from vacation just now, and read this post before the sad one. I hope you know by now that you are NOT a failure. You’re one of my role models, going on one adventure after another. I know you don’t always give yourself credit for that, and maybe you don’t even think about some of them as adventures, but they sure seem like it when I read about them.

  4. i read the horrible-no-good-very-bad experience of the previous blog entry just now…but then there was this one. And it was like a breath of fresh air or that moment when you get to curl up in a cozy comforter. that just…that “ah” moment.

    for what it’s worth, i’m a lurker. I read you all the time and never say a word. that’s my MO. but i love your blog to pieces and hope the rest of your trip is great.

  5. So much good!! So many good things. My heart has been heavy for you for the past two days; I’m so glad to hear all of this. Glad you found your way back to the Good.

    Please tell Melanie how much we, your friends both in- and out-of-the-computer, appreciate her opening her home and heart to you. I’m so glad you’re there!

  6. Just getting caught up, sweets, and then rolling off to bed. But I just wanted to say my first reaction to the prior entry is what my shrink often asks me: What would success have looked like to you? Obviously, fulfilling the (as noted, arbitrary) two week commitment. But what else? In particular, given the realities of the situation (the other personalities, and the fact that the family isn’t likely to grow attached to the volunteers who stay a relatively short time), what would you have needed to feel a success? And if you had needed to leave five days early for some external reason (a visa problem, or something), then what would have defined success, for you?

    I never know the answers to these questions, myself. That’s why I keep paying the shrink. But I’ll share the question because it’s always enlightening trying to answer (and also maybe I can get my co-pay’s worth even if I never do end up fully sane.)

  7. I’m happy that you’re somewhere happy and safe. A little regroup is a good thing on a long vacation, eh?

  8. Woo! Warm fuzzies!

  9. so glad you’re in a good place now. phew.

  10. You know what? I really miss you.

    Just sayin’.

  11. So glad there is a good ending to the crappy experience. Although the experience started sounding pretty bad to me at “flipping the spiders off the bed” OH MY GOD.