Saturday, July 19, 2003

Breakfast with Scientist

Joshua and I had a great time in Sydney. He enjoyed his origami workshops and came home with undiminished enthusiasm along with a samurai helmet, a family of pigs, the obligatory crane and plenty of new Japanese words. I had a relaxing break from work, lounging in campus coffee shops enjoying cheap coffee and food, then browsing in the bookshop while Joshua creased and folded.

The workshops were in the morning, giving us the rest of the day to explore. On Monday we returned to the Powerhouse Museum, as there was not time to see the space exploration display when we went on Sunday. Tuesday afternoon was spent at Coogee Beach. Josh took shorts and a T-shirt and I said he should only go in up to his knees, but of course he couldn't resist getting soaked (I had a change of clothes in the car - I know my son). Don't forget it is winter here, the water was not warm. Besides, I was raised in sub-tropical Brisbane, the beach, to me, was the Gold Coast (think Florida if that helps). The only people that went swimming in July were poor Victorians heading north to avoid their winter. We'll avoid mentioning that I now live in one of those cold-in-winter places and my kids would happily swim with icebergs.

The most unexpected event occurred during breakfast at the Motel where we were staying. It is a comfortable, modest place, directly opposite one of the entry gates to UNSW. I was expecting to see a few other families there because we received a discount on the room when they found we were attending the workshops at the Uni. Instead of other families, there were scientists! At the table next to us people from the US, Germany and Uzbekistan were discussing Organic Chemistry - using a magnetic bottle to contain a reaction. Others were astronomers. When we woke up they were sitting on the balcony opposite our room enthusiastically peering into a telescope (at their age too!).

I went to University with the aim of a degree in Chemistry, but was distracted by Computer Science. I did first year Chem and a bit of second year, but CompSci promised just as much interesting stuff and the money was better (Oh, and Amanda was doing CompSci). Over the morning I found myself trying to imagine what my life would have been like if I had pursued Chemistry, Organic of course, instead. It was pleasant to imagine a different life whilst relaxing in the sun, but it was hard to imagine it much better than now (unless that lottery win arrives, and for that I'd need a ticket).

But most of all I enjoyed the time I spent with Joshua. Whether it was sitting and talking over a meal, reading together or seeing and experiencing new things, it was all deeply satisfying.

Amanda and Anneke left for Brisbane a few days before we tripped to Sydney and arrived home a few minutes before we did on Tuesday evening. They enjoyed visting family and a few friends too.

Life is good.

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