Maybe it was tripping over our luggage in the postage-size hotel room at the Tune Hotel just outside Kuala Lumpur’s low cost carrier airport. Maybe it was scouring said airport for a food outlet that would accept credit cards so we wouldn’t have to convert currencies twice more in the same day (No luck; we did). Maybe it was back-to-back days of flying with tired kids. Or maybe it was the reverse culture shock of arriving in a developed country after 100 days in South East Asia (the Aussie streets are eerily quiet and serene; it’s so cold!)

Whatever the trigger, last week I hit the proverbial wall. I even have the nasty head cold to show for it.

blah blah

Not actually annoyed; just demonstrating the Italian “I’ve had enough” gesture.

When we arrived at my friend Mel’s lovely Melbourne home, all I wanted to do was sleep in, putter about, cook meals and do laundry. That’s right – all the mundane, mind-numbing activities that people leave home on vacation to escape. If this blog had audio, you would now be listening to the furtive vocals of Alanis Morissette (“Isn’t it ironic… yah, I really do think… It’s like raaaaiiiiinnnn… “)

So I puttered. I shopped for groceries. I cooked meals. I did laundry. I even went out of my way to clean bathrooms. ‘Cause that’s the thing about visiting a life-long friend. It’s like going home. And it’s exactly what I needed this week.

Of course Mel poked fun at me for being a stick-in-the-mud – and she made sure I dragged my sorry butt out into the Melbourne daylight to take in the sights, sounds and fabulous food. She even provided the Sudafed. That’s the other thing about life-long friends. They don’t pull any punches, and they can get you to do things you would otherwise refuse.


With the exception of my brother, no one has been in my life longer than Mel. That’s a lot of years. And a lot of shared memories. Like the awkward teen years and the ill-advised crushes (not to mention the equally ill-advised wardrobe and hair style choices). The new-found freedom and growth of the university years and early adulthood. First loves. Inevitable heart breaks. The loss of family members and dear friends.  Career successes. Marriage. Kids. The big stuff and the little stuff of life.

Though we haven’t lived in the same city for over two decades, there is a shared thread woven into the tapestry of our lives. The other night Mel’s 9-year old son Hannes said to her, “Well it’s kind of like we’re related to Auntie Goya and her family.”

Yup, it’s kind of like that.


So this Saturday, we’ll pack our bags… again. On Sunday, we’ll go through the airport routine… again (though no currency exchange required for a few more weeks), and we’ll arrive at our next destination. Batteries recharged.

“Friendship is the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.” – John Evelyn

And speaking of friendships, the six kids under this roof have had a fabulous time getting to know each other during our stay. It’s been fun to watch.











Categories: Australia | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Oasis

  1. Ester

    Loved this blog!!!!! I am so happy you guys made the visit to Melbourne.

    • Gloria

      Thanks, Ester… we’ve had such a great time here! Hope all is well back home. Cheers, G

  2. Annika ;D

    It’s interesting to hear of what you think of Melbourne… It’s also interesting that we have 10 people in our mini house! Hope you have a great time in Tazzie! (Even colder!) -Annika

    • Gloria

      Hi, Annika… thanks for reading our blog. We love getting comments too! It’s been fabulous staying at your place!

  3. Annika ;D

    (This Mel using Annika’s ipad).

    Oh I love this piece!!! Beautifully written. Very much enjoying the visit. Even more so watching our kids make their own connections. Weather’s been more like Vancouver than sunny Australia. Wind, rain, cloudy skies. But this weekend should be sunny and Dave has booked a van for us all. Road trip with the two families!!

  4. glad you made it! Hi Mel! Sorry to hear that you finally succumbed to a cold, although at least it was in a comfortable location (if you can’t be sick at home, “just like” home is the next best thing). I recognize the Luna park entrance (am I right?)

    • Gloria

      Hi, Sandra! Yup, that was Luna Park. But we didn’t go in; just walked by (not in the budget!)
      I have lots of Melbourne memories from our trip here back in 1995 (oh my, so long ago!) Hope you had a great summer!

  5. laurent jorio

    Hello !
    I got the address of your blog through Mum who got it from Jennifer…
    I’m Laurent, Karl’s “french cousin”.
    You realy look like you’re having a fantastic trip around the world and, furthermor, you seem to be a very very happy family 🙂
    I live in Lille (north of France) with Laurence (my wife) and Maïlys (our 17 years old daughter). If you decide to go through Europe at the end of your journey, please pay us a visit : We have a big house in the center of Lille with plenty of room to accomodate all of you and I would really be thrilled to see Karl again and meet the rest of his family…
    I hope you make the most of the last couple of months of your trip.
    Lots of love
    (ps: sorry if this is not too well written but my english is growing poorer with years, as I don’t have many opportunities to practise it)

    • Hi Laurent

      Great to hear from you. It has been a long time but I remember fondly those days hanging with you in Paris when we were both much younger…

      A wonderful invitation and would love to see you and your family. I will see what we can do but if we are not able this time around maybe in the future.

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