Finally I made it down to my brothers – Valentine evening with my niece and nephew! A very cool evening with fish & chip supper and a DVD with their Aunt. Actually I think it was more of a treat for me but don’t tell them that.
Whilst I was there I found my mystery box waiting for me in the spare room. I couldn’t wait to bring it downstairs after supper and explore the contents with my niece and nephew.
My anticipation as I carried it downstairs. It was heavier than it should have been. All I recall leaving in it was some paperwork so I could set things up quickly again when I returned from Australia and my journal. Surely that was all??
As I removed the lid of the box I realised there was so much more inside. But first things first I had to check that the journal was there… it was!
Within the box was an assortment of packets of photographs. I loved opening each packet and relishing the contents. Seriously, it’s amazing how little we actually look back at photos. Of course, we have a few dotted around in frames but how often do you get the photo albums down? Or come to that actually put your photos into an album of any sort? Sadly there were a few pictures where I could remember the event or the day but couldn’t name everyone in the picture. They clearly meant something to me at the time but now…
However there were also an extraordinary amount that took me back to different times. That held memories, stories and adventures. What a treat it was also to be sharing these with my nephew and niece.
My time in Sydney
Adventure to the Red Centre. I just loved Kings Canyon, the Olgas and of course Ayers Rock.
Darwin, Kakadu and Daintree. Crocodiles and frilled lizards. Sleeping out in Kakadu so near to snakes and creepy crawlies. How I nearly put my hand on a tarantula spider when climbing a waterfall. Ooh and the beauty of the Golden Orb spider.
Joe loved hearing the stories and seeing pictures of his Aunt being younger and slightly (ahem) irresponsible. So when I dug further into the box and found a video of me skydiving in Australia, neither of us could wait to plug the old VHS video in to the TV and watch it. I think I may have gained a few kudos points when he held his breath watching me jump from the plane. We might have had to play it more than once too! Great fun and I really must get it transferred onto DVD so that I can view it again (I don’t still have a video player!)
Lots of photos from my underwater diving too. I have always been nervous of the ocean since nearly drowning in 1990… sort of understandable! Anyway it had bugged me that I couldn’t get over it, so I had decided to face the fear head on and sign up to do an Open Water PADI diving qualification. I remember being so anxious and barely able to put my head under water in the first day of training in a pool. Thankfully the instructors were exceptionally patient with me and during the week, managed to get me focusing on what was possible not my fear. I qualified too!
I was so impressed that I’d managed to do it that at our final wash-up drinks with the divers, I mentioned a fear of being out of control…. within an hour or so later I was booked into do the skydive the following day. Well and if I was to do it then I really should do it from the highest height possible – 14,000ft!
A lot of adventures and milestones… not least that I’d finally traveled to the other side of the world on my own!
I’ve loved reading the Journal… in fact despite needing to decipher my bad handwriting, it’s managed to take me back to the times I had during that 5 week holiday.
One of the things I was looking forward to revisiting (and that I’d remembered was in the book) was the ‘face reading’ that Dan insisted I have done in Hong Kong. I don’t/didn’t believe in any form of predicting the future and have always believed that you’ll may be told something that you will then go and create, thereby making it come true! Also how can they possibly tell you your past from reading your palm, cards or face? Anyway, Dan, a friend’s friend who had been educated in the UK but had returned to Hong Kong, insisted that I should give it a go whilst in Hong Kong. I said No a lot.. until a man ran after Dan and insisted on reading my face. He could only speak Chinese and I could only speak English, so Dan interpreted for us. Dan knew me only briefly and knew very little about me. Some of what the face-reader was telling me (translated by Dan) was scarily absolutely spot-on. Dates, times and people that only I could have known that night in Hong Kong. But he kept insisting that I continue to ask him questions as I’d not managed to ask him what he needed to tell me yet. After 20 minutes we gave up. He thrust a piece of paper with Chinese writing on it into my hand and said if ever I was passing through Hong Kong again I should seek him out at the Hong Kong University, where he taught.
I’ve always wondered what it was that he felt he had to tell me, so much so he ran after Dan and insisted I sat down.
Revisiting my notes though as been interesting. The pieces I’ll tell you about are that I was to have 2 children (one of each sex), the first at the age of 34. I will be my own boss, successful and prosperous. I am always surrounded by a great many friends and am always a very kind and generous person although do get taken advantage of by some but should always remember that that is their problem not mine and not to try to change.
Lots more but none that I feel the need to divulge!
An ex-colleague of mine has kindly translated (as best he can) the Chinese characters.
Wow it looks like a mysterious script to me at the first glance. there are some uncommon words from the Chinese lunar calendar. after some detective works I found that it describes the date 30/11/1967 in Chinese calendar. It reads vertically, from right to left. the top-rightmost word 女 means girl. I can’t read the second word. I guess the first sentence probably means a girl was born on 30/11/1967 (and that was you?) the second sentence is the same date translated in Chinese calendar. 作丁未年十月廿九日戊戌. That’s it for the black words. those in red ink don’t seem to be meaningful or relevant. Where did you get it? was is some kind of fortune telling? I remember you did that when you first visited Hong Kong. Nowadays we seldom use the Chinese calendar except for traditional festivals or some superstitious things like Feng Shui, astrology, palm reading, fortune telling, etc. Usually when people marry, we tell the birth date and time of the bride and groom to the Feng Shui master and ask if they are a good match. And when a child is born we’ll ask the Fung Shui master how the child’s fate is like in the future, and also suggestions for name.
I just notice the left-most red word is 土 (earth), which is one of the 5 elements in Feng Shui theory. In theory everything is classified into these 5 elements including people’s life. So I guess it means your life belongs to 土. People who are 土 have some characters in common. Feng Shui master will use this information together with your date and time of birth to predict your future. that’s how it works
Oddly enough though, I’d always thought I’d return to Hong Kong to find him and find what it was he felt he had to tell me… I’m sure I can think of more questions to ask now.
Actually I don’t think I need to. Reading this journal in it’s entirety. The entries from London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Alice Springs, The Red Centre, Darwin, Kakadu, Cairns, Below the Ocean, Above the Skies, Daintree, Hong Kong again and back to London, have shown me a great deal about my past and about my future. Not in Chinese script but just perhaps an inner strength that I think I’ve forgotten is there or been able to draw upon. In the short times I had on this trip, brief periods with different travellers and of course times on my own, I think I learnt more about ‘Living’ than I have done since or before. Having re-read my inner most thoughts, fears, challenges and accomplishments, I know it’s up to me what happens next and how I’m going to achieve it.