‘’ ‘there is a magic place in the world. I won’t tell you where it is but I can tell you all about it’. That’s how you should start your book Annabelle. ’’ said Captain ( my Aussie dad) last Friday after a bottle of red.
This is such a good way to start a book. Because him saying that in his French beret was already magic. It’s true that magic was all around this place.
It’s magic . That somewhere in the world ,Every single Friday night, some people religiously gather with their neighbors in the café down the road and have a real chat outside , in 8 degrees. And loads of wine mate. Loads of wine.
I lived with these people for my first 3 months in Australia before I moved ‘’down town’’ … 37km away. So going back to see them feels like going to visit mum and dad on a Sunday , you know right after you moved away from Home, proud of your newly gained independence but with an immense joy and a secret sense of security to be around them again. Like Mum and Dad. With loads of wine.
‘’ Don’t worry if you go to jail for drug trafficking in Thailand, we’ll bail you out’’ my Aussie mum said.
What a relief, mate, what a relief.
The magic was also when I stood up with my glass of wine to tell the neighbors how much I loved them. And I was not even drunk. Wow.
It’s true that these people became a full part of me .
This one is an artist and does amazing stuff. That one cycled to England 18 years ago. I’m not kidding. He CYCLED to England. And ended up marrying a French woman.
The story of his life in France is just hilarious mate. And he still remembers swear words. That other one went through a war. That’s how I ended up having a beer with him at 5 am on Anzac Day. That one is from Switzerland and married an Aussie guy all these years go and never looked back. But still has the accent.
And you’ve got my mum and dad. Who built their own 5 star Bed and Breakfast .Yes mate by themselves. No they are not even builders. He was a pilot (as in driving big huge planes) and she was everything and anything. She had about 10 different jobs. ‘’ did I tell you I was a ballet teacher once?’’ Hang on a minute how many lives have you had? You had a restaurant , your own cleaning company in the UK she also was a secretary at some point. Lived in Asia and brought up 3 sons too.
To the question ‘’ how do you do this?’’ they usually answer ‘’ you just make it up as you go’’
Yes, some people just go for it. And these 2 really do. They even take time to look after international woofers in exchange of 3 hour wokd they offer them a house of their own. And loads of wine. The house is so luxurious that it was named ‘’ the Hilton’’ ( yes mate with a flat screen TV). I was lucky enough to stay there for 3 months.
So yes. John and Sue, you do deserve the credit of having your name mentioned here. THANKS
And they always have cool stories to share on the Friday. It usually involves customers or snakes. Did we tell you that story when we had to put an engagement ring in a chocolate bunny for a customer ? And we were so drunk we were hardly hiding when spying on them as the guy was proposing to his wife. Freaks.
Yes, this café is a magic place. Even now that I’ve moved out , I go every Wednesday morning for meditation in the garden with my friend Karen ( freezing mate, freezing) and then talk about chakras, unconditional love and inner wisdom having a gluten free banana cake and loads of coffee. Talking about the weather with the British owner was now a religion. At around 10 o’clock the neighbors usually come and we have another cuppa in the Sun.
That’s where I learnt the pleasure of doing nothing. Me. The workaholic, working 6 to 7 days a week. I now find it painful to work for 3 hours straight and can’t wait to sign off to go to the beach or for coffee with friends. But I still wake up at 6am to go to the gym for 3 hours or to write for 5 hours straight.
This place ‘’just’’ changed my priorities in Life.
And sometimes you forget about the magic and start worrying. S*** I’m leaving in a week. I’ve got nothing booked in Thailand , no plans, except seeing my best friend from Uni for 3 days, 900km away from where I’m actually landing and no money in the bank to pay for a ticket out of the country. Oh and no travel insurance either.
That’s when I take a deep breath and go for a random drive to forget about it all.
How I got to the bottom of that mountain I have no idea but all I know is that my car Chouchou does not like mountains. So I kindly parked her on the side of the road and started walking up.
That’s when I felt it. The feeling that I was back home to France and was on a hiking trip in Switzerland. The landscape was exactly the same. It even smelt the same. But at the top of the mountain there was a sign.
‘’ Queensland border’’
Oh shit I don’t have my passport ( seriously they DO check you sometimes)
Then I realised : I WALKED to Queensland, Australia thinking I was in Switzerland. Can you get any more magic than that? Hell Yeah. Because you can also have a 5 minute chat about volcanoes with Jeff, a random Aussie biker who just happened to be there too.
One minute, it’s 22 degrees you’re at the beach and it feels like California, then you drive 45km South , it’s 10 degrees and you fancy a soy hot chocolate and the next day you walk to Switzerland across the Queensland border.
It’s not about the place, it’s HOW you see it . How YOU see it…
There is a magic place in the world , I can’t tell you where yours is but I will tell you all about mine …