Australia for Beginners

Posted on
Jun 18, 2013
Posted in: Random Musings

I recently saw a movie on the flight back from Paris called Beginners. I really loved the style of the film, which played out in a series of flashbacks. You can see what I mean in the movie trailer. I decided to emulate it in this post. It gets a little weird. I promise: tomorrow I’ll go back to being normal. Or, more accurately, I’ll go back to being the same abnormal that you’ve grown accustomed to.


This is 2008. We are in Sydney.

This is what Rand and I look like.

And the Opera House.

And the harbor.

This is what Ciaran looks like in 2008. He lives in London, but is in Sydney for the same conference that Rand is attending.

2 months prior, I was laid off from my job. I remember the news as coming in via text message, but it was actually an email.

In four months, Rand and I will get married in the shade of a white house on a day that will reach 98 degrees.

This is one of the first of Rand’s business trips that I’ve accompanied him on. I intend to sit around the conference center, waiting until he’s free. I don’t even entertain exploring the city on my own until Ciaran says the following:

“You are not going to spend your day at the conference. This is my favorite city in the world. You have to go out and see it.”

It will be the first time I’ve ever wandered a city on my own. This is the self-portrait I take in front of the Opera House.

And on the bridge.

And at Luna Park.

In 2008, Jane is living in Seattle. She has come to Sydney with us, and I take this photo of her and Rand and Ciaran.

And here is one I take over my shoulder, without looking.

The four of us will walk through the Botanical Garden, and Ciaran will point out the bats in hanging in the trees.

We will have a conversation that I don’t remember, except for this one exchange …

Me: I have good news!

Ciaran: You do have a sister?

I have no reply to this, and Rand teases me for blushing.

Later, I will take this photo of Rand and Ciaran as they talk. I can’t hear what they say, but I think that one of them laughs.


This is 2013. We are in Sydney.

This is what Rand and I look like.

And the Opera House.

And the Harbor.

This is what Ciaran looks like in 2013. Several months ago, he moved to Sydney with his wife. Last September, we went to their wedding in Ireland.

I’ve lost track of how many of Rand’s business trips I’ve been on. We have been to Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Ireland, England, Peru, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, San Marino, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden. And once, we drove through Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.

I have explored countless cities on my own. But Sydney was the first. I wander around it again.

This is the self-portrait I take in front of the Opera House.

In 2013, Jane is living in London, and does not come for the conference. But Ciaran’s parents are in town. This is the photo I take of the four of them.

We walk through the Botanical Garden, and look for the bats in the trees. Ciaran tells us that they are gone.

Later, I will take this photo of Rand and Ciaran as they talk. I can’t hear what they say.

But Ciaran makes me laugh.

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