Dishonesty

This week, I was starkly reminded how much I hate dishonesty, especially when I’m forced into a position of feeling like I’m being dishonest.  Although I suppose technically I wasn’t lying, I was just omitting a few very pertinent truths.  I suppose I should start at the beginning.  It’s just as well I got into medical school beginning next year as my position at work will no longer exist next year.  Well, not in it’s current guise at any rate.  The business is streamlining and as a result the job I currently do will involve looking after three locations, as opposed to the one it currently is.

This of course encompasses further responsibility while negating a lot of the administrative tasks which seem to constantly bog me down.  It is definitely a good thing.  Of course the downside is that three qualified and competent people will now be competing for that one role.  If I hadn’t of gotten into medical school I would have thrown my hat in the ring and taken my chances as in all honesty it is a fabulous opportunity.  I can see how you’d be asking where does the dishonesty come in? Well, I’ve known now for a couple of months or so of these changes.  However I have been asked by my big boss to keep it quite, and currently only my direct supervisor, the big boss and I are aware of the impending changes.

The plan was to tell all the important players at once, in a meeting the next week.  However, since then many meetings have come and gone and no one is the wiser.  I’ve been in the dubious position of having to skirt around the truth with these players a few times over the last couple of months and have found doing so quite dishonest and a position I hate being in.  However, what I find most reprehensible is having to skirt around the truth with a particular colleague.

You see, this colleague was the one I competed against, and I use the term loosely, when I originally was given my position.  He has not hidden the fact that he really wants my job, and over the last year or so I have groomed him to take on my job if and when I got into medical school or move on to my next promotion.  Luckily for me, he went away on a five week holiday overseas, and only returned to work late this week.  Meaning, he didn’t know I’d gotten into medical school and as such I had hoped that the big boss would tell all the other players before he got back to work allowing me to let him know the change in my position, and my acceptance into med school.

Of course, this wasn’t to be, and he came back before this has occurred.  So when I saw him, I asked him about his trip and what not but didn’t tell him my news. Not long after this conversation as I was walking by he congratulated me on getting into medical school and my heart plummeted.  I’m not sure who told him, but I could see from the look on his face and his excitement that clearly he thinks he’ll soon be taking over my role.  Which won’t be the case at all.  The job will go to one of the two other qualified people, and he doesn’t have a chance.  And I couldn’t tell him.  I felt like the biggest, most dishonest person and I absolutely hated it.

I don’t know how long it’ll be until the big boss decides to tell the other important people, but until then I can only imagine his happiness and excitement will grow only to be quickly deflated when he finds out the truth.  I wanted to avoid this, and now I feel partially responsible.  Logically I know that I am not responsible for what he things, and  that there are no guarantees things will stay the same, or that he would indeed get my position, but emotionally I feel a bit like I’m giving him a long wanted gift only to snatch it away. And it disgusts me.  I abhor being put in this position, and I’d love to take him quietly aside and inform him of the facts, but I also know he is a pretty big gossip and that it won’t stay confidential for long.  Urgh pretty much sums up how I feel about the situation nicely.

Week whatever: I’m back!

Hello online world, it’s been quite a while. I’m not sure that I missed you though, if I’m being honest. Or if you’ve even missed me for that matter! Oh there have been twinges of nostalgia, of course, but nothing substantial enough to require action.

For anyone wondering, I did indeed survive the drama that was GAMSAT, and in all honesty I haven’t thought too much about the release of results. I’m actually not hanging out for them as such this time. I figure they’ll arrive when they are ready to arrive.

They will definitely be the deciding factor for any med school application I am considering making, and yet I’ve done all my research and am happy where I currently stand. The future will be what it will be and I’m happy with my life as it is at the moment, well mostly.

However, there have been rumblings and thoughts that I’d fallen off the side of the Earth so I thought it best to return, in a somewhat limited capacity. I have a ‘woman of mystery’ reputation to uphold after all 😉 so perhaps I shall tell you a story.

You see, part of the reason I “abandoned” you all was so that I could find me. That girl I wrote about, the one full of promise and charisma who was enchanted by the world. The one I thought dead and buried for so long, and unreachable.

Turns out, she wasn’t completely gone. But to find her, difficult realities had to be faced. One of those was that she was swallowed up by the insidious beast that was the online world. She became so entrenched in things that had enchanted her, the fascinating realm of possibility offered by virtual realities that she lost touch with her reality.

Consequently, little by little she was changed and consumed, the endless curiosity leading her further and further down that path, to someone unrecognisable. A shell of her former self. After being reminded of that girl she once was, and longing to see her again she did the only thing she could.

She cut her ties with the digital world and went searching. After a long difficult battle, she found what she was looking for but realized that girl was no longer there. For she had grown through the years without even realizing it.

She found in place of the girl a confident woman with a reignited zest for life who was stronger and more resilient than that girl could have ever imagined she would be. Those old traits were still there, the kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity and of course tendency to mother those she loved.

But there was also the recognition of more shades of grey, that life is not simple or fair. And she was ok with that. She realized that she was strong enough, and possessed enough courage to emerge from whatever thrown her way with a modicum of grace, a smile on her face and the wisdom to realize that this was all part of the adventure that is life.

She also discovered that if she were to let it overwhelm her, the waves would bury her and she would be lost, and that would be such a shame. So she made her peace, and took her first steps towards her future, saying goodbye to her past.

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Week 11: 6 days until Freedom (but who’s counting)

With the GAMSAT just around the corner, and since I’m feeling woefully unprepared, today I’m going to cheat just a little on my post for the week.  I do want to wish a massive good luck to all my fellow GAMSATers out there.

And for those chasing some last minute advice, please check out the boards over at  Paging Dr, there is far more valuable information there then I could ever impart here.  It’s an amazing community full of a wealth of information and ideas shared by people just like you.  I urge you to get involved while you learn something new.  You may just be surprised at what you get out of it.

Today, I want to share a TED video I watched recently that I quite enjoyed.  The video is entitled “The Opportunity of Adversity” by Aimee Mullins.  I particularly liked the line – “Adversity is the change we haven’t adapted to yet”.  If you want to read Aimee’s bio, click here, otherwise, enjoy.

 

Week 21: Epiphany

It’s currently 2am, and I can’t sleep.  The following is stuck in my head, and if I don’t get it down now and out in the open, I’m not sure I ever will.  It’s funny how the early hours of the morning bring a certain confidence.  So here is my story.

As some of you know, recently I have considered having another go and applying to medicine again this year.  I had thought it was behind me, and I really am enjoying law, but some little devil at the back of my mind says “what if”.  I do have a valid GAMSAT score after all, so why not?  Yes, the rejection is crushing, but as a wise person pointed out tonight, so are regrets.  Following this line of thought, I have started researching the new system, while looking at what I’d need for supplementary forms and portfolios.  My undergrad grades and GAMSAT scores were never the best you see, and I’d need something that could give me a bit of a boost. As part of this research, I watched a presentation from one of the schools that requires this information and have chatted with a couple of current students.

The wise person mentioned above (who is a current student), was kind enough to send me their portfolio from last year and it, along with the information from the presentation got me thinking.   I don’t have a lot of extra-curricular activities so to speak (most of the stuff I have is from work).  I have never really achieved anything outstanding.  On paper I am outstandingly ordinary.  Seeing another person’s portfolio in black and white, along with the audio from an information night really brought this home to me.

One of the take home messages from the presentation that sticks with me was that the of program this particular school is unique in it’s own way.  As such, the portfolio is useful for selecting students that will be successful in this program.  Not only is this program not for everybody, but not everybody is right for it.  For a large part of the degree, you’ll be thrust into a community for a long period of time, and you might not know anyone there.  The school, quite rightly in my opinion, wants to ensure that you have the necessary skills to get involved in the community and form your own support networks.

So upon seeing the portfolio above, this message really clicked into place in my head and I could see how the writer of this portfolio, through their achievements and  experiences would not flounder in such a scenario, but already have the skills to not only succeed, but thrive.  I’m not sure I would have made the link without the presentation fresh in my mind and this person’s portfolio open on my computer screen.

Naturally it got me thinking about my own achievements and what I would look like on paper.  And as I already mentioned, currently I am nothing outstanding.  I kind of knew this in the back of my mind, but had never acknowledged it. But once upon a time I was the sort of person this school desires.  For one third of my life, before some hard lessons learned, I was involved.  I played multiple sports. I was in the choir.  I played in the school band and went on camps.  I was part of a dance troupe (despite my limited co-ordination).  I was involved with ATSI in numerous ways.  I was academically at the top of my class.  I was a girl guide, with numerous merit badges.  I was outspoken and the chosen emcee for a number of events. I was somewhat of an extrovert, secure and content in my place in the world.

Then, my parents divorced, and my mother re-married.  That sentence on its own seems innocuous, and would make me wonder how a simple thing like a divorce and re-marriage could cause such a big personality shift.  Because gradually, it did cause my personality to change and I am now quite introverted.  All of my activities gradually petered off once I hit high school, and reached puberty, and I guess I’ve always kind of blamed that.  But looking back now, while I’m sure they played a part, I now realise the part was probably pretty small.   The real reason, has a lot to do with the man my mother married.

This man, over time, whittled away my self confidence through a number of taunts and controlling behaviors.  Emotional abuse is subtle, and sneaks up on you.  It’s not as evident as physical abuse, and can be so damn insidious and hard to pick.  Especially to outsiders.  Very similar to physical abuse, one day everything is fine, the next it’s like a bomb has been dropped on you and shattered you to pieces.  The following day things are back to normal and you force yourself to forget, as what good will dwelling on it do? This pattern carries on.  You know, if you get told your dumb, and stupid, unworthy, whatever enough you start to believe it.  Even if you had a decent amount of self confidence to start with.  Throw in a teenager going through puberty and you’re bound to have a disaster on your hands.

I think I’ve mentioned it before,  but to survive, I retreated into myself.  I look back on my teenage years, and think that these are the years I should have been out socialising with friends, making mistakes and learning lessons.  The only lessons I really learned was how to shut myself off from the world, how to ignore the pain.  Shutting people out.  Looking myself in my room for days on end, listening to music and reading trashy stories that always had a happy ending.  Only emerging to eat.  Part of this came from necessity and self preservation – if I wasn’t in eye sight I wasn’t in the firing line.  Spend enough time hiding out, and avoiding people and life and it becomes a habit.  On the other hand, spend enough time being emotionally assaulted and you’re bound to have major trust issues.  But I digress.

At the end of the day, it meant my grades dropped. Because I didn’t care. I didn’t study.  I skipped so many days of school I’m surprised they let me graduate.  I cruised through school hoping to be ignored, to be invisible.  I had enough going on at home, and an early encounter with infamy at the start of my high school career convinced me that this was best.  Of course, the only way to be invisible was to not get involved, I made a few “friends” although looking back now I’d say more acquaintances.  I had people to sit with at lunch, chat with a bit, but at the end of the day, I didn’t see them outside of school.  Occasionally I longed for the sort of friendships and experiences portrayed on t.v. and was somewhat lonely, but I of course decided the risk was not worth the return.

By some twist of fate I got into uni, but, because of my previous experiences and habits I didn’t commit. I missed uni.  I got bad grades.  I failed. I didn’t make many friends.  I didn’t get involved.  Again I was invisible.  In some small part of my mind I didn’t feel worthy – I should point out the school I went to was partly responsible for these thoughts however that is a story for another day.  I cruised along. Eventually graduated.  And have continued along this path of just cruising.  Part of the reason I haven’t been able to challenge myself along the way is because all of my energy has gone to surviving. To getting through life, and doubting the motivations of others and pushing them away when they get too close.

I haven’t gotten involved, because what do I have to give? How can I open myself up when even lifting my shell a little bit brings with it the fear that I will crack wide open and not be able to put the pieces back together again.  In the past, I have been admired for my resilience when things have not gone my way.  But it is not resilience.  It is cowardice.  A cowardice in not facing up to reality and confronting my problems.  A cowardice that lets me dream, but takes away the ability to actually believe I have any chance of achieving those dreams.  A cowardice in not being able to admit it.  I could go on, but shall leave it there.

What I will say is that I am now prepared to stand up and recognise it.  To say that yes, I have been emotionally abused over many many years.  That is has dented me and changed me, for the worse in a number of ways.  It is something I will continually struggle with for a long time, but I am now ready to reclaim that girl I once was.  I am now ready to get involved. To care. To try to let people in and not push them away.  To not hide things, or omit them.  It will be slow and arduous, but I hope to get there some day.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be ready to stand on my own, on paper, as a person worthy of admittance to that school I mentioned above.

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Week 7: Answers

C* asked some very interesting questions in regards to this post and I thought I would answer them in a whole new post instead of replying to the post.

Do you want to enjoy your studies, give them the time and attention they need, and foster new friendships?

Yes absolutely I want to enjoy my studies. I know for myself, and would imagine for many others, enjoying your studies makes actually studying that much easier.  So yes, I’d like to give them the time and attention they need but I guess it depends on what exactly your definition of time and attention is? For me, that means making sure I have read everything that needs to be read, and understood it all. And although I haven’t started the course yet, I don’t really anticipate this being such a struggle. Perhaps that is arrogant of me, and I may soon change my tune, but I really think I’ll be able to handle it.

In regards to friendships, I’m not sure what I expect there. I’m a bit antisocial actually, and I’m not going to law school to make new friends. I’m happy with my small circle of friends.  That said, I’m happy to foster working relationships, and if I “click” with anyone to perhaps make room in my circle of friends, but I don’t have plans for this to be a big part of my uni life.  Perhaps that is a bit naive and short sighted of me. I know that for a lot of people fostering these relationships helps them through the tough times, and helps with study groups etc. I’ve yet to find a study group that works for me unfortunately. 

Or would you prefer to be torn between two worlds and competing demands?

No I don’t want to be torn between two worlds and competing demands, but I’m not sure that this is an apt description.  For the most part, my work is incredibly flexible, with a wide range of times and shifts I can work.  In my current role, as long as I’m doing what is necessary I can pretty much do it when I want. Sure there are times that I need to be there, like the meeting and the training session that conflicts, but for most of it they are happy to accommodate my schedule.  Sure, there is someone else who can attend THAT meeting in my place, but I do actually want to attend it.  

Where is your future heading? Retail or beyond?

I can’t say that I know where my future is heading, whether it is in retail or beyond.  I have been offered a number of opportunities at my workplace, positions and promotions that are offered to few.  I’ve got so far from hard work, dedication and showing an aptitude for my current role. I’m not quite ready to throw that all away. Yes I’m starting law school. Yes I’m excited about it. I’m also committed to trying it out and giving it a go with an idea of where I want to end up when I finish. But the thing is, it was never my first choice. Medicine always was. Whether I had the right reasons or not (which I have discussed in many blog posts) it is still hard in some ways to forget that.  While I’m working to put that behind me, and focus on the future the one constant throughout this has been my work, which I would have given up a long time ago if I didn’t like it (well, mostly).  I guess I’m trying to say, in a somewhat convoluted way, that work is my back up.    If for whatever reasons law school doesn’t work out, I’m still doing something I like. Something that has opportunities for growth, development and a career.  Which leads me nicely to your next question.

Why do you need to work 30 hours per week? People get by on the smell of an oily rag, pay their rent and their bills, have a social life AND study… Just saying.

I don’t need to work 30 hours per week to survive. I want to work 30 hours per week.  There are current things in my lifestyle I enjoy. Luxuries I’m not ready to give up which is not at all the whole point.  If I drop back to less then 30 hours per week, I will no longer keep my current job and position. My job is supposed to be a minimum 38 hours per week job, and I’m stretching the friendship a little dropping back to 30 hours per week. I have someone ready to step in and pick up the slack so I’m not trying to cram 38 hours of work into 30 hours, however that is as much as they can cover.

I’ve also worked too hard, for too long to just throw it all away. If I cut back to less then 30 hours per week, I’m not only throwing my work away, no matter how I do it, I’d loose all the opportunities and potential for further growth.  And if by some chance I didn’t loose all the future potential, I’d have to work ten times harder to make up the lost ground.  Frankly, I’m not prepared to do that just yet. I hope to love law, and I hope that it is right for me, but I’m not yet ready to give up my work in case I don’t love it.

Not only that, but I made a commitment when I accepted my current promotion a few months ago. A commitment and a promise to try and achieve something.  Something I have not yet achieved.  I’m not ready to concede defeat and I want to deliver what I have promised.  I have a lot of loyalty for the company I work for, and I want to achieve what I’ve said I would. Yes it means I’ll have conflicts with uni, but I’m happy to deal with them (and vent on here as needed) in order to do this.  Sure it means I’ll be torn in different directions, and will have to make choices and prioritise, but I’ve accepted this is something I need to do.  I’m not sure I could live with it any other way.

When you look back on your degree, will you be happy with the time you gave to your course and what you achieved in that field – or be pleased you fitted in that extra shift and made it to that meeting?

I think I’ve already covered it, but to me it’s not about putting in an extra shift or attending an extra meeting. It’s about meeting the commitments I’ve already made, and fulfilling the goals I’ve set.  It may seem strange, that I am wanting to move away from this, from the job I currently hold which I do enjoy, something that is more then an extra shift or an extra meeting. For me it is the challenge. I need something more challenging, something that will help me grow further and exploit my talents more.  For what I currently have in mind, I need the additional qualification of a law degree. And I’ve decided to try working towards that.  However there is still so much more I want to achieve, and so much more I want to do in my current job before I’m ready to move on.

Sure I want to do the law degree, and that is where I want to go in the future, but  right now I want to meet the challenges I’ve set.  Part of the reason for starting the law degree now, is so that when I have met my current set of challenges, and when I am ready to move on, I’ll have the qualification and hopefully the experience to take on that new adventure, yet having fulfilled all my work goals that I currently have.   

Have you thought that you’re paying for those tutes or whatever that you miss? Maybe not immediately, but you will!

You know, I don’t see missing the occasional tute as the end of the world. Yes I know I’m paying for them, and I know that I’ll have a lot of ground to make up (particularly if I don’t make friends who are willing to help out with notes and such 😉 ) but I’m happy with the compromise I’ve made.  I like to think I put a little bit of thought into which choice I prioritise. Whether it be work over uni or vice versa.  I consider what I’ll miss and which is worth it to me. Sure it may cause unnecessary stress, and result in venting on here, but the choices I make are considered and based on what I have to gain or loose.  Your thoughts and comments have made me see that perhaps I haven’t explained this very well in the past.  I have been accused of skimming over the surface of many a topic in the past! 😉

I read in the closing paragraphs of your last post about how good it was to hang out with people you care for and how grateful you are for the reminder friends bring of what really matters. Maybe you’ll take that idea and run with it, because I don’t know how juggling so many competing demands might effect what really matters. I’ll look forward to reading about the priorities you settle on. Just don’t make it too difficult a process! Why make life more difficult and complicated than it needs to be?!

Yeah absolutely. Who doesn’t love spending time with the people they care about? And I have factored this into my timetable plan for the week.  In fact, that is what most of Sunday will be for.  It is very convenient that most of the people I care about, also care about each other. Hence allowing for group catch ups.  Sure there will probably be Sundays where I need to spend the time on assignments or whatever, but in that case I’ll make the time to stop in for coffee on the way home from uni.  I’m lucky to have very understanding and supportive friends who have busy schedules themselves. And yet we still make time for each other and I can’t see that changing.  Sure my priorities and choices are likely to change as I start and get into law school but this is where I stand right now and I hope that I’ve managed to answer your questions!

Oh except to say, I’m not sure I’m making it more complicated, well yes technically I suppose I am. But I don’t want a simple life. Simple for me is boring. Routine is boring. I thrive on challenges and solving problems, and while I like my time out as much as the next person I get in to much of a rut if my life is to simple.  This makes me sound a bit type A I think, and I’m not.  It’s odd, and I’m not sure how to explain it properly but I do tend to cruise through life, while thriving on various stimulus.  Completing challenges and achieving goals – the more improbable the better –  is exhilarating.   Ok, so perhaps I am a little type A.  

Week 5: Conflicts & Priorities

Wow, I haven’t even started law school yet, and already I’m having to make hard decisions. Decisions about my priorities and what comes first.  I thought I was doing pretty well getting most of my classes and tutes squished into Wednesdays, so that I could still work 30 hours per week, and keep my current job (which I actually don’t mind at all).  Yeah, perhaps not such a smart idea after all.  So I have to attend a meeting for all the other people who do the same job as I throughout the state, and it’s the first one of the year. The first I have attended. When is it?  You guessed it, a Wednesday. My fourth Wednesday of uni of course.  Compulsory training session for new technology we are getting that I have to roll out… yep, also on a Wednesday.  This one happens to be at the same time I’m supposed to be at a compulsory “O” week welcome.

There are other similar clashes and I fear it is only going to get worse from here.  It is harder then I thought it would be. I don’t want to give up my job, I just wanted a challenge.  Scheduling it seems, is destined to be my challenge.  I’ve already committed to attending both the Wednesday activities for work, so I guess I’ll be missing O week, and a day of uni.  The thing is, it is quickly coming to my attention that I may have to choose between the two, and I’m not sure I’m ready to do that.

Week 2: 2011 Floods

Gosh. What a crazy few days! It all started with that insane inland wall of water, likened to a tsunami, that devastated Toowomba on Monday.   The destruction and ferocity is mind blowing.  The loss of life, absolutely heartbreaking.  The images and video of that event, still have the power to take my breath away, and will stay with me for a very long time. Although I had seen the footage, and knew the water was headed my way, I headed into work as usual on Tuesday morning at 8am, with the water having caused more devastation as it made it’s way down the mountain, leaving whole towns buried in it’s wake.

I met a colleague in the car park, and as we made our way inside she told me of the difficulty she had experienced getting to work  after dropping her child at day care.  A round-a-bout was no longer a round-a-bout, the only way through was over, and the water was lapping at her car doors.  Not long after we made it inside, she received a phone call to collect her son as the childcare center was closing down.  A few other employees left at the same time, to go and get family members as roads were being closed left, right and center in our local area. As I was leaving, I was advised that if I couldn’t get home, and the water was too deep, not to risk it but to come back to work.

At this point, everyone left began sandbagging and trying to protect the property the best we could.  It was hectic, with decisions needing to be made quickly.  A girl that lives in the same suburb as I, was advised by her mother that numerous road closures were in place, and to leave if she wanted to make it home.  I remember seeing her after she spoke to her mother, and this girl was in tears with red puffy eyes.  The drama had just began, and already people were falling apart. I decided to follow her lead and head home (this was about 10am), and just as I was leaving the big boss told us all that another road home had closed.  The sandbagging efforts furiously continued for another hour before they all that remained packed up shop and headed home.  The air of urgency while I was making the decision to leave was so palpable, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like it.

After many detours I finally made it home, with a 10 minute drive home taking close to half an hour.  I was lucky though, as I know people who worked in the CBD, and it took some of them 7 hours to get home, as the gridlock out of the city was massive, with thousands of people trying to leave at the same time.  I got home to find my sister preparing to go to work, and was adamant she needed to go.  After much convincing, she finally came to realise that if she left home, she wouldn’t be getting back anytime soon. Convinced to stay, we turned our attention to our mother. She had not arrived home, and like me, also works in an area flood prone, with streets closed, and no way of getting home.  For a while, we worried that she wouldn’t get home, but somehow she made it just in time, around lunchtime.  If she had left it any longer she would not have made it.

All home, safe and sound we looked up the flood maps on the council site, and were relieved to see that our house was not expected to flood.  I mean, I knew that we weren’t anywhere near any creeks or rivers, but there was still that worry.  The thoughts of whether we should pack up and move to higher ground.  After determining the risk was low, we settled in to watch what was happening, and see if we needed to reassess.  Throughout this all, the rain continued to flow, and the pictures we were seeing of the rising rivers and creeks was staggering.  I have a lowered garden bed, that runs the length of the house, which quickly filled with water providing us with a mini moat and a bit of humor in the ever darkening day.

Waking up on Wednesday morning, the news was worse. The pictures more horrifying as each hour passed, and with the peak not expected until early Thursday morning I wondered how much worse it could get.  And it got worse. Much worse.  My family and friends were safe,  and I was thankful for this.  A number live in areas that have been hit hard (and I’m sure some have lost nearly everything material), yet they all heeded the warnings and evacuated pretty early on.  I spoke to my father on the other side of town, and I cannot tell you how relieved I was to hear the family was safe.  My aunts live in areas that have been effected by the flood waters for weeks.  Both live pretty high up, and the only problems they have experienced is being flooded in.  They are all safe and well I am very happy to report.

I was lucky, safe and dry in my home yet the photos I was seeing of places close by, that were slowly disappearing as the day went on seems incomprehensible to me.  The whole thing has a somewhat surreal feel, my suburb unaffected, and the sun shining merrily in the sky.  While roads I travel every day/ week, gone under a sea of water.  Highways engulfed, and turned into very expensive walkways.  Skate parks/ stadiums turned into swimming pools.  Restaurants and theaters I frequent gone.  Whole suburbs disappeared, with only rooftops visible. My workplace  (10 minutes drive, and three suburbs away) 2m under water Wednesday around 5pm, could only have gotten worse as the river peeked.  The image of it, absolutely incredible, and completely heartbreaking.  The clean up will be massive, and you can be assured I’ll be there cleaning up with everyone else as soon as deemed safe.

Over the last couple of days, as the amount of devastation increased, the sun has shone.  I would think it somewhat ironic, but I think it perfectly highlights Queensland, and the people who inhabit her.  For, every person that has lost all material possessions, another ten stand up willing and able to do everything they can to help.  There are so many people willing and able to help, that unless they have registered to volunteer they are being turned away from the sandbagging depots, the evacuation centers,  the RSPCA, and elsewhere.  So people are helping in anyway they can. Bakery’s are giving away bread.  Storage places are offering free storage (including removal to that storage) for a month.  Strangers helped moved items out of places expected to go under.  Free sausage sizzles.   Everywhere you look,  throughout this whole tragedy you see the spirit of the people shining through.

The despondency and despair you’d expect are not prevalent.  Instead, those effected have been heard saying things like, “yeah, but my neighbor’s place is worse”, and offering to help where they can.  The general attitude is, that “she’ll be right, mate”, the loss of life much more of a concern then the loss of material possessions.  I guess, this sums up what I’ve always thought to be the culture of Australia.  The attitude of getting on with life, and lending a hand where you can.  While the devastation, unnecessary loss of life, and chaos caused is heartbreaking, the humanity and willingness to help each other out is amazing.  Showing that the sun continues to shine and we will survive.

The longest city train ever – stretches from one train station to the next

Under all this water is one of the roads I take to work.

Hard to believe this was once a highway.

Somewhere over the rainbow…

Phew! Wally Lewis outside Suncorp stadium was prepared.

Photo taken by Jack Tran of baby Montana being carried from a helicopter by a member of the Devence Force, after she was evacuated from Forest Hill. I think this image will stay with me for a very long time.