You know it all and you will never forget.
Yet when you settle down, you feel totally and uterly... RETARDED.
Travelling teaches you about LIFE. But LIFE does not mean EVERYDAY DOWN TO EARTH LIFE.
It can lead to jokes like that : Annabelle, 33 years old : French au pair in the UK.
It's even worse in French. '' Jeune fille au pair'' Jeune fille : young girl, still in the process of growing.
Oh yes , my mum and dad were proud. Yes , I did tell my new family about my age ( after telling them I was 23. They laughed. I did not insist)
Yes, there are still people who are willing to give a chance to oldies in this world . Exceptional people really.
That's how I moved in with a fantastic family of Brits with 3 great boys ( and 3 great guinea pigs) Everything is brilliant.
Then came my darkest hour of shame.
My everyday life skills review.
- I can say that I would enjoy cooking if only cooking could enjoy me.
- I can take advice from a 7 year old on how to make mashed potato
- I can google '' How to iron a shirt'' or '' how long to boil an egg for''
- I can teach kids how to bake ( if I do not participate actively in the baking)
- I can do magic . I make men disapear only by saying those 4 magic words : '' I like you too''
You see your Life flashing before your eyes and you see it on people's faces . The look. '' the where have you been the past 33 years'' sort of look. I faced the Ugly truth : I have Everyday Life skills of a 12 year old.
You forget why you did not commit to this sort of everyday Life earlier so you don t have to suffer the shame of feeling like a pre teenager at cooking class. You suddenly see that EVERYONE your age seems so grown up. You forget what travelling brought you.
You can't bloody use it now , can you? Wisdom does not feed starving kids . D'oh.
That's what I thought until I baked cookies the other day.
Those cookies were NOT normal cookies from your Jamie Oliver cook book .
They have A STORY. I was lovingly looking at them baking in the oven and I remembered.....
Canterbury , England , 2005
'' Want some cookies? '' says that guy I just met at the hostel. He's got a weird accent. He must be from America or something '' They're ANZAC cookies mate '' What a weird brand name. Never heard that before. Yeah , they were all right. Cookies are just... cookies.
I look up this weird ANZAC word , just to not look stupid It said :
ANZAC The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was a World War 1 army corps of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force that was formed in Egypt in 1915 and operated during the Battle of Gallipoli. The corps was disbanded in 1916 following the evacuation of Gallipoli. The corps is best remembered today as the source of the acronym ANZAC which has since become a term, "Anzac", for a person from Australia or New Zealand.
Villiers Bretonneux , France March 2009
I'm reading names and ages. Lots of them.
My Australian friend JP is standing next to me . I can't say a word. Neither can he. We were both living in the UK at the time and decided to go on a short trip to Europe ( as they say , like England is NOT Europe ) so I can show him MY country.
I had no idea that, on that day he was also going to show me HIS.
We were standing in the Australian national war memorial cemetery. My eyes caught a name . It said : died at the age of 30 years old. Lest we forget.
This was on the day I turned 30. This was the day I really understood the real meaning of ANZAC.
Uki , New South Wales Australia, 25 April 2011
'' Annabelle, it's 3.30 am , we are taking you to to a boring dawn service memorial. Why are you so excited?'' my Australian hosts ( later called ''Aussie parents'' ) ask me.
'' It's History captain. Exciting for me. I'm from the other side of the world and I can witness THIS !''
Plus I knew that , given the length of Australian History we were not going to sit there listening to boring non sense for hours like in Europe. I was right. 1 hour later I was i drinking the transitional 4.am beer with the older generation of Australians. . They showed me pictures, authentic documents from the War, telling me stories about their friends or themselves at that time. Everyone was there. Ex soldiers, men , women , kids... Everyone.
This was the day I took all their memories travelling with me. I never gave them back.
Brighton , United Kingdom April 2012
I finally took my cookies out of the oven and shared them between ''my'' 3 little Brits telling them the story of ANZAC day and how important it was for Australia, New Zealand and for themselves too.
I remembered the whole point of travelling when the 7 year old ran to his mum with one of my cookies saying '' Mum , this is a special day for Australia today''
No , I haven't done all that for nothing. THAT sentence IS the whole point. I would swap any everyday Life skills for it. Any time.
My cookies? They were the best I ever had. ( not even burnt) Experience has this special taste that you can't explain with words. You can only taste it for yourself.
Everyday Life skills can be learnt in books with a little patience . Passion can only be passed on from generation to generation , and from country to country.
That is what Life is for.
Lest we forget.