Last night saw 83.3% of us (That being my immediate family minus Emily) at an 18th. Philip and the rest of the Coombes have been family friends since before I think Laura and I were even born. They eventually somehow ended up in the same country as we did, which is fairly strange considering the great appeal *sarcasm* and size of the Solomon Islands in the vast map of all the places Wycliffe sends people.
I knew it would be a different 18th. Firstly, it’s a missionary family which immediately drops a bomb the size of difference from 30 feet up, secondly – it’s the Coombes. They aren’t exactly typical.
Phillip Mellow aptly put it thus, “Philip was born in the wrong era”. Somehow he managed to say it kindly and I’d thank him for it if he ever read this because I was thinking somewhat along the same lines but couldn’t find a way to word it nicely, so didn’t.
A bushdance. It was very spread out. Lots of little kids running around, young families. And most wearing some form of red as indicated by the invite. It was a bit awkward and funny and lovely all at once. Kanagroo Ground (where the Wycliffe centre is) is my second home. Many furloughs have been spent there. We’ve pretty much stayed in every kind of residence on property, which is no mean feat. I am always glad to take opportunities to go back and re-explore.
I had this keen sense of how we change and we grow and get older and we ever so slowly move on and don’t realise until we return to somewhere that was once common ground.
It got vastly more comfortable when the Mellows arrived. Which meant company that wasn’t run off their feet organising things. Wow I love those boys to bits. I had a good chat to Heather then Greg about uni and ‘new stuff’. Then got to catching up with Kevin, Leon and Phil.
I avoided the first bit of bushdancing. It’s a funny thing to do. It’s so utterly daggy, but if you get something good and fast it’s a fair bit of fun. Laura and I did the heel and toe, which is probably the easiest and known by almost everyone.
Fingerfood. I grabed enough to keep me going, ate it and decided to desert the festivities in order to catch the sun going down (with my camera) and a walk alone.
Wandered down Graham Rd. The place has changed a little, as it has every time I come back. I watched the sun go down over the reserve, it was beautiful. Came back around the outside road (in the centre) and found the kangaroos. There are far less of them now. I didn’t see the albino one.
I timed things to perfection, which means I arrived back roughly just as the last speech was concluding. Shoot me if I ever have to suffer long speeches at a 21st. My parents wouldn’t be so cruel or so eager. Time for cake. More bush dancing – Leon obliged me (or I him :P) so we had a bit of fun.
Had a brief chat with Rachel at the end of the evening and met a girl from Chad (well MK) who’s just come back ‘for good’ and having to do the settle into a real school. I was fairly surprised to hear that Philip had finished school (I shouldn’t be really) and doing preapprenticeship for building at Box Hill, her last year also. Looking at going into childcare or similar. They’ve done things so differently to the way Mum and Dad helped us slide back into Australian culture. I am grateful for the way things are. Naomi has grown up heaps. I envy TJ, as he gets to head back to the Solomons for a while.
The Pijin dedication should be happening (hopefully) in 2008. It will see each of us B’s girls scrimping every dollar for a flight over there. I think Dad will take a team (missions trip) over and I’m sorely tempted to get some friends coming along, so they can see where I grew up – 🙂 bit selfish. It’s a big ask, because it’s not cheap. I don’t know how easy going back would be but I’m going to do it.