The Journey Home

Well, I'm in Alice again, looking out at one of the Sleeping Caterpillars of the McDonnell Ranges.
Last night was open mike and art show night at Ningke Nungue in Tennant Creek...with a whole host of women showing and selling their paintings from neighboring communities, and a concert of yukeleles of all things, which are suffering from a strange revival in The middle of the Red Centre...
Today a 5 hour drive, broken up by a delightful breakfast in the pub in Wauchope, which has the most delightful garden full of gnomes and rustic wooden tables hidden behind it's typical outback colourbond fence.
Peta, one of the other RAHC nurses and I took it in turns driving along the pretty close to dead straight Stuart Highway, past the one and only Mango and Vege farm back to Alice Springs.
It was quieter here this afternoon than on my way up....its cold and windy, so there wee only a few locals out sitting on the grass of the Todd Mall, and much less of an underlying feeling of agro and resentment.
Its also the eve of the annual Finke motorbike races...if I wasn't so exhausted Id wander down to hang out at the startup party....
Mind you I think I'm feeling a tad to much " on my own in a strange place" to really enjoy hanging around Alice Springs at night solo anyway....
Im looking forward to getting home. To cuddling kids and dog, the comforts of my own bed, a change from the few clothes I've had with me in my suitcase...
The dry air of the dessert and the ever cloudless sky and bright burning sun have left my skin feeling like sandpaper...
Im not usually one to bother with potions and lotions, but I've been pouring on the moisturizer by the bucketful, in an attempt to soothe my dry itchy skin.
The skin on my face is beginning to remind me of old parchment, and i swear, I've suddenly developed a whole landscape of tiny wrinkles across the bags under my eyes...suddenly i am seeing clearly where the aging wrinkles will be settling in for good...its almost as if Im aging in front of my own eyes!
Daahlings, the first thing I'm doing when i get home is head to the hairdresser and beautician, to get everything tinted, primped and waxed! (stop laughing, i know this must found funny to those that know me well.)
But being out in the dusty dry desert has made me feel tired, grimey and ancient.
Its a bit daunting heading back into western civilization. For weeks I've been surrounded by people who often don't wash, change their clothes, let alone brush their hair, which made me look pretty good by comparison....but tomorrow I'll be in Sydney again.
And on top of that, next week I'm going on a Date.
My second in 30 years.
You see being away on my own in the desert was really cool. But it also got me thinking....
The remote area nurses I have met are all middle aged and older, and they fall roughly into two categories:
Those that are married and go off on their own as an adventure from time to time, or even travel and work with their partners
And those that are solo, and have been for some time. They are often strong, self sufficient women, opinionated and interesting....
But as i sat listening to Molly ( the 75 yr old nurse) and Sue talking about the joys of their long long marriages, i got to admit to myself that i dont really like being solo.
Ive spent the last year listening to my sister and friends telling me I need to spend time on my own, "nurturing my relationship with myself" and learning to be a happy independent entity etc etc....
Its almost the catch cry of my generation: the idea that we have to become totally self feeding one person universes, who are only supposed to venture out into the world of relationships, when they have no actual need of one.
Hmmmm....I dunno....sure, being comfortable in your own skin and knowing who u are makes you a much easier person to be in a relationship with....and being an emotionally needy basket case isn't a good foundation for anything....
But I personally think that this idea of total independence is a bit of an illusion.

Anyway, i had this sudden "Aha!" moment listening to the two older ladies, and decided that I rather liked the idea of companionship again and that if that was what i wanted, maybe I should do something about it.
And it being the computer age and all, i joined an online dating site, and ended up talking to one guy in particular...and i sent him a link to this blog as a form of intro, grin.
Well, either it worked to convince him of the interesting depth of my character, or he was charmed by the cultured prettiness of the photo of me in my boots and nightie swilling a tinnie at the Tennant races, but he's been charming and interesting and managed to convince me it might be worth meeting each other in person.
Hence the date next week!

But for now, I'm curled up on the sofa of my room for the night, looking out at the setting sun in Alice Springs....and tomorrow I'm flying back to the coast to go back to my now so mundane seeming life in the suburbs and the local hospital...

The adventure continues


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