Thursday, 29 March 2007

Friday Feasting

What are you proud of?

In 2001, I wrote a thesis challenging Australian refugee laws against those dubbed "illegal entrants". I interviewed male Iraqi refugees about their lives; particularly the conditions they endured while detained in Australian detention centres, and the impact visa restrictions were having upon their lives.

I was happy with the way the thesis turned out. I was relieved that I got a good mark, but I am proudest that I respected those men; won and retained their trust. I am proud that I was able to give them a voice and their story was able to be told. I am proud that I kept my word to them and never let them down in honouring their truths, and their pain. To me, that was the most important thing - conducting myself with integrity.

What is the best thing you’ve ever won as a prize?

Ironically, in my last post I had mentioned that I had never won anything worthy boasting about, in my life.... sad but true. I wish I had something...anything...that would allow me a more in depth answer, but this tank is empty. Perhaps read the previous post, if you are desperate ;)

Name something you do that is a waste of time.

Like a lot of people, I surf the net. The time goes in a flash - it is almost criminal.

Main Course
In what year of your life did you change the most?

I can actually think of several.
2002, when I had my first child, but really it was a process that took several years for change to fully take over.
Then perhaps 1996, the year I started university. I started university late - aged twenty-two. That year spelt the beginning of an intellectual explosion for me, which lasted eight years.

But I think 1991, was perhaps the most pronounced year of change. I had just turned seventeen when I left home. I went to the city and lived in a "boarding house". This was a place where your rent covered all your household expenses; meals, however basic, were also provided. I lived in that place with 18 men and one other woman, with whom I shared a room with for the first 3 months, before she lost her job and moved out, leaving me with a handful of bizarre woman as room mates - women, who thankfully, only stayed for a week or two. I was there for 10 months in total.

The men in that place were interesting to say the least. The majority were releases from one of the city's psychiatric hospitals. The others were lonely old men who had no one in their lives who cared for them - which was so sad. There were a couple were ex-cons, drug addicts, and one mysterious guy who had fled from another state, riding his motor bike during the night and sleeping under overpass bridges. Upon arrival, he quickly changed his legal name - he wouldn't discuss why.

I saw some troubling things while there, namely various examples of the troubled human. I remember a friend visited me while I lived there. She thought the place and the people were amusing, and in a way, she was right. I remember, we laughed about the everyday scene presented before us on that day; it was like, can you believe what you are seeing, and can you believe I actually live here? But then I also remember she, who still lived with her parents, worked full-time, and was saving all her money while her family took care of her, began talking about a party she went to the weekend before, and how she had gotten drunk and spent $50 on alcohol. This was apparently, a normal occurrence. I remember feeling shocked at that, and a little disgusted. $50 would have been a big chunk out of my "after board" pay packet. I couldn't afford to fritter my earnings away like that - I had to live. And I remember sitting there listening to her, feeling envious of her lack of responsibilities and also a sense of loss, because I suddenly realised that I no longer had a single thing in common with my very good friend. We had been separated for perhaps three months, but as we sat side by side, I became aware that I was not a kid anymore.

Where is a place you consider to be very tranquil?

I love nature, and I love to wander in treed areas at every possible opportunity.
In Australia, we lived in an area that backed onto a Gorge - it was literally a street away, and I loved to sit on a grassy hill top and watch the birds fly in an out of an old gum at the bottom of the hill - it was my spot, and it was pretty much a secret place, since I rarely saw another person down there, and I lived in that area nine years.

Over here in Canada, I love Deep Cove, with its snow capped mountains sinking into water, "The Arms Reach Bistro" over looking the sleepy cove; sipping a latte beside the water- beautiful.
Horseshoe Bay: watching the ferries gliding in and out of the bay, mist caressing the cliff side and hovering about the nearby isles - a gorgeous spot.
Boundary Bay dyke walk - the bird life is amazing, and the Bay is delightful, a natural coastline, not at all commercial - never fails to inspire. I just love it there.


Gattina said...

I liked reading your feast it was very interesting.

Raggedy said...

Your feast was very interesting.
Congratulations on your thesis!
It is your turn to win something with your Soup.
Computer time does fly by.
Your main course is fascinating and you dessert is wonderful!
Mine is up too

Selena Kitt said...

Ahhh those "troubled" humans... :( The world is an amazingly varied and strange place, isn't it?

Congrats on your thesis.


~Amber~ said...

Very interesting feast - thanks for visiting my site!

Titania Starlight said...

Great feast and very filling. Cheers! :o)

Joseph C. Harris said...

Great Feast. Your thesis sounds very interesting. My feast is served if you would like to join.

Susan Abraham said...

Hi Strauss,
What a delectably-written feast!
I like to think though that my correspondece with you may one day turn out to be a real friendship and is not seen as a waste of time. :-)

Rob Carr said...

The appetizer was wonderful! Good job, and indeed something to be proud of!

Rob of UnSpace

Tracey said...

So much for you to be proud of! I am so impressed with your thesis.. you know what - with stuff like that, you are a real winner. Winning something by chance is nothing compared to that sort of achievement in your life.

Indeed a delectably written feast.