An adventure in inland town 1 – Stopping at Newcastle

There are storms in inner cities as well. Just happens very rare.
Train station – as I have been told, this is an old one, but pretty nice. Seems a few hundred years of history already.
Being in Australia for nearly 7 years. How time flies! Where did my 7 years go? Can’t really understand. So many things are missed. So many plans are pushed off to the future. But there’s one plan I should not delay any longer. That is to visit some inner-land towns in Australia. I have been living in big crowded cities during the last 20 years of my life. Now the small towns in countryside are the most appealing areas for me. I was a bit scared doing this by myself. I haven’t travelled by myself before. I decided to take train there. Cheaper, easier to book and a good chance to see the countryside through the train window.  I quickly checked the map and found a city called Waga Waga which is between sydney and melbourne. I also booked accommodation through airbnb for those two cities. Was told by the lovely hostess in waga waga that it is the biggest inner land city in australia with up to 70,000 population. If you are from China, you will laugh. Was excited and frightened at the same time. This will be the first time of my life travel to a place all by myself. Even when I came to Australia, I had someone coming to the airport to pick me up to the place, so even back then it wasn’t as scaring as this one. I decided to take train from Brisbane to Newcastle, stay for two nights. Then travel from Newcastle to Waga Waga (there’s a dramatic story during this journey, you will read from below). Unfortunately, the interstate train only leaves Brisbane at 4am in the morning. So i had to pack everything the night before. It wasn’t a pleasant experience to get up at 3am in the morning and sitting at the train station waiting. When the train starts off, I smelled the fuel burning. It really smelled like a 50 year old car, but the smell disappeared a while later after the train left. After I got on the train, i went to sleep straight forward. I was lucky. The seat next to me was empty. And with a height of 5″2′, i could lay most of my body on the seat and slept like a baby. Of course this is just a metaphor compared with sitting.  I woke up a few times on the train. It was freezing cold on the train. If you are thinking taking some interstate rail way journey, make sure you bring a jacket!! No kidding. It’s like freezing cold on the train. As it was 4am in the morning, you could still see the stars on the sky through the window. I was shocked by how big and bright the stars look like while you are in country side. At first i thought it was the light from the lamps next to the rail way. My camera was not good enough to capture the beautiful scene. So i’ll leave it to your imagination. Also in order to save the battery, I put both my Samsung and iphone in battery saving mode. There are meals served on the train as well. During the cold weather on the train, you will naturally want to buy the hot meals they serve. Those hot meals are similar as the meals served on the airplane. It’s quite simple really.  But I enjoyed it. Mostly because it warms you up. There are other cold fresh food like raps, cake etc like small cafes. But i wasn’t into those food. It took around 12 hours from Brisane to Newcastle. While i was about to get off the train, i realized my iphone was dying out. Because I forgot to turn the wifi off. I guess while the train was moving, it was trying to connect any new wifi it signalled. Luckily i brought two phones with me.

It’s almost 5pm when i got off the train. There are taxis right in front of the train station. I took the taxi to the airbnb house. Newcastle was larger and busier than i expected. It’s a bit like a city full of historical factories. I was very tired after got to the house. I took a shower, then went to sleep very quickly. I woke up around 8pm. The place was dark, but it couldn’t stop me from going outside because i was very hungry. The hotel I booked was actually near the CBD, but I was shocked by how quiet the street was. Very few cars were running, not even mention pedestrians. The road lamps are a bit deem and the air looks dusty. It gave me a feeling of those cities in mid 50s. I walked towards CBD, hoping there will be some place I can eat something. Most of the shops and restaurants were closed that time. My hope became more and more skinny. The streets were quiet as well in CBD. Luckily, i saw an indian restaurant was still open. I nearly ran into the shop in case the waitress hold her hand in front of me and telling me’Sorry Miss, we are closing’ like those woollies staff. Turns out there are quite many customers coming to this restaurant. Most of them are shift workers. A few locals according to my observation. I was perhaps the only visitor and sitting alone by myself. I don’t think many people would choose to spend their long holiday like me. Food wasn’t what I liked the most, but I was quite happy that could find food around that time. After the dinner, I walked very relaxed back to the hotel. The moon looked bright and smooth. So beautiful and peaceful. My sleep was good except a few musketeers bite me on my hands, but not too seriously. Luckily I got some repellent.

Got up around 9 the second morning and started preparing my visit in the town. As I had to leave away from this town 4am the second morning, I only had one day left for Newcastle. I decided to visit the city and the beach.  The famous visitors’ place in Newcastle is Hunter Valley, which is also near the beach. I took a walk since I haven’t moved much since got on the train. Sun shine in Newcastle was bright, but somehow wasn’t as strong as in Brisbane. To me, I felt more acceptable walking under this sun. Street view wasn’t much difference from Brisbane and other cities. All similar suburbs, but the houses are more Victoria feature. Here you can see a few nice houses.

The beach was beautiful. But you won’t be too impressed if you have lived in sunshine state for 7 years. Those one to two hours driving distance beaches away from Brisbane city with graceful beaches and fresh air can satisfy your eyes and nose without intentional effort.

If there’s one thing I find different, is the history of this town. From the feature of the building you can tell, modern civilisation started earlier here than in Brisbane. Buildings have a feature of the older industrial background. As if you could imagine there was how the people lived a century ago with farm goods, mining and industrial product exchange in the city. While I was wandering around the city without a particular purpose, a corner of a brick building suddenly appeared in front of me. It’s a stunning historical church at the top of the hill. It’s as if you found a glowing pearl in a pile of gravel. The church locates at the top of the hill, which gives you a feeling you are achieving some thing while you are climbing. The view is a bit inspiring while you get to the top of the hill. Everything that used to be tall and grand suddenly becomes so clear and smaller in front of you. What’s lying under neath you now are the hotels, the old industrial manufactures, the cruise, the bridge, the everything. 

There’s a small clock tower standing in front of the church. I believe was used as a clock long time ago. Right now, it is standing there humbly. The well preserved bell and hanger still indicates the grace and elegance while during victoria stage what was famous for. It is as if it’s quietly reminding its future generations not to forget the history that so many ancestors and pioneers explored this uncivilised land from scratch and started building the beautiful and colourful city for us to enjoy today. Not sure how many young people nowadays will pay attention to these precious memories their ancestors had build. Young kids are playing in front of the beach, swimming, getting sun tan and having fun. Hope someday they will start to realise it’s a bless for them having history like so.

Every paving brick is crafted with contributors’ names on it.

 It is called Chris church cathedral. All the churches in Australia seem to be built for the glory of god. Started around 1800, it took the ancestors exact 100 years to finish the construction of this building. People who started the design, may not be able to see the completion of the project. By looking at the elegantly and fine made artwork, you won’t be surprised that it took so long. Each evenly laid brick, each delicately crafted wall, each piece of colourfully painted picture, all seems telling people the architects, the engineers, the builders, were all trying to pursue a perfect finished project for future generations.

The reception lady was very hospitalised. She gave me a brochure to read, which contains the events all that day in the church even though i told her I was just visiting.

After passed the hall, i was stunned by how beautiful and elegant inside of the church is. Every window is sophisticatedly decorated with colorful painting, providing an artistic feature and piratically allowing natural light coming in. 

Music always seems a big important part of the worship. The music instruments here is 5,6 meters tall and some of them, in order to operate them, you have to climb above through a narrow stairs. You can tell what’s the importance of the music in those events.

It’s nearly 2pm after I got out the church. I decided to have a look at the other tourist’s attraction that afternoon – the Memorial Walk. There weren’t many restaurants around the walk, either many shops. So if you want to go there as well, remember to bring some water and energy supply if you can carry. It took a while of walk to arrive at the memorial walk. I was a bit tired and hungry honestly. But as long as I stand on the walking bridge, it’s worth it. The view was great. Standing on the bridge, you can almost see the whole view of the city. Interestingly, since I would see everything happening in the city, I observed a fire happening near the hunter vale. No wonder I felt the air was a bit dusty and dry. It’s the fire mist! If you look carefully, you will be able to tell where the fire occurred as well. Is it often fire occurs in a city or just it’s my bad luck?  But the view of the city is really incredible. 

It’s very tempting to walk through the bridge. I stood next to the iron statue for nearly 15 minutes but finally gave up. Exhausted and not confident with my left energy to accomplish this big exercise. Besides, it’s 3pm and it’s quite hot since it’s the hottest season in australia. But I was still quite happy for what I accomplished this day. The cathedra church, the memorial church both surprised me in a good way. 

I walked towards home starts around 3pm. I found a little small park on the way home. I sit in the park for nearly one hour. Waiting for the sun to set a little bit. While it’s 4pm, i stood up and decided to walk again. On the way home, i found several other churches. All of them are decently beautiful. I believe in Newcastle, christian religion played a vital important role in older generations’ life.

After I got home, I was very exhausted. For a long time, haven’t I did exercise as intense as this day. As I need to get up around 3am the second morning to catch the train to Waga Waga, I got to sleep early. I took a shower, had some dinner. Packed everything. Setup the alarm at 3am and went to bed. It wasn’t easy to get up at 3am after you had an earlier intense day. What you can do if your train leaves at 5am? I knew I couldn’t afford to miss the train. Everything was arranged in a schedule. If I miss the train, I won’t be able to get Wagawaga untill the second day, that means I would miss my hotel in airbnb as well. I didn’t hesitate much while the alarm woke me up. Jumped out of bed, had some breakfast and packed my last bit. It was still dark outside. I checked the time on my samsung, it was 4am. Good, plenty of time. I called uber around 4am and left the airbnb hostess still in bed sleeping. It’s quite on the street, but it’s a bit brighter now. It seems a bit strange being that bright at 4am. The sky looks like 5am in Brisbane. I peeked at the time on the clock in unber car. It shows 5:30am. Oh my god!! I missed the train. It’s 5:30 already! I shouted. “I missed the train”. The driver looked a bit stunned. I realized the time on my samsung was still in Brsibane timezone! As last time I visited Melbourne, I set to adjust my timezone manually, not automatically. That means while I got to Newcastle, all the time I read was still Brisbane time, which was about one hour and a half ahead Newcastle. I missed the train, which means I’ll miss the airbnb hotel I booked in Wagawaga tonight as well. Which means I won’t be able to get there untill tomorrow. My plan to explore Wagawaga is crashed. All the effort I have made, all the waiting, will be just a waste of time and money. I was disappointed and frustrated and embarrassed by myself at the same time. How could this have happened? I have told myself so many times not to miss the train. This is the first time I am trying a journey by myself and I messed up. The uber driver asked me if I still want to go to the train station or go back to the hotel. I already checked out from the hotel. What’s the point going back there again? Besides, we are already on the way to the train station. So I told him:”Yes. We still go to the train station please.” I’ll figure out what to do when get to the train station. Also I had a slight hope that the train may be delayed. That happens all the time, right? I got off the train station and found the train already left. However, the next train to sydney will leave in one hour. Sydney is the transferring city from Newcastle to Wagawaga. I’ll go to Sydney first, then get a train from Sydney to Wagawaga. I got on the train. Still feeling sleeping, and didn’t know what to do exactly next. All I could hope was there will be a train the same day to wagawaga and it won’t arrive at mid night. I’ll open a separate post for my journey to Sydney since this post is been so long. Please go to my next page. Stopping at Sydney.

Main road is so quiet and  
A very nice house near the train station. A bit old, but you can tell it still keeps its elegance.
Train station from outside
Normal street view. The trees are very green. Maybe due to the long hours day time.
Normal street view. Quiet and very peaceful.
Walked around 15 minutes away from the CBD, already see this bush land for caravan park.
Next to caravan park. Bush land?
Caravan Park
A nice small river running across the town.
Normal street view
Walking along the street near the river. You can see a big catholic church behind us.
Library square in the town
Park – this is actually how it looks like at 9 clock at night. very long day time.
Park – 8:30pm
Park – 8:30pm
People swimming in the river. They actually call it waga waga beach.
We build a sand castle on the river beach. It turned out looks like an elephant.
River bank

New Life

I had one of the most embarrassing day the other Saturday. When I say the most, it means the most. Here is the story.

I have been in Brisbane for more than two years. A short while ago, my life had a bit change. My boyfriend and I separated. My two house mates, who have been my closest friends, as well as few other friends were all in relationships. I felt left alone, so i decided to go out and meet some new people. I went to a local website where people can join different groups and meet new people. I was depressed coz I just finished a two year long relationship and felt quite left alone in this new country. I was so eager to meet some new people and have some new thing happen in my life. On Wednesday, i couldn’t wait to start. So i went to the website to search events nearby. It’s not as easy as i thought. Popular events are always fully taken. I searched for several hours and haven’t found any suitable one. Finally, there’s one dinner meeting at 6pm on Saturday night and it’s just down the street. It’s a Thai restaurant and 13 people would come. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen. I joined the group and clicked come. Later i booked another event for the second day.

At the period of transition, i didn’t have much mood doing anything else. When you are alone, you have hips of time need to kill. I found shopping online was quite fascinating. Then the left week i was just intoxicated in online shopping, thinking how wonderful i would look when i put those new shoes and clothes on.

Weekend came, when you are alone, weekend is not that lovely and enjoyable as before any more. I got up very late and wandered around the house. Didn’t have mood to do anything actively really. My house mate was with her sweet heart watching tv in the living room, going biking along the river, cooking lovely means at home… While i was crazily shopping online.

In the late afternoon, I did some cooking to kill my afternoon. Then started preparing my meetup group. I was a bit nervous. What would happen in this group? what if everyone think i’m boring? what if no body likes me? While times goes fast, I was nearly late for the meeting and I still haven’t calm down. It’s raining out side. I couldn’t drive, so I got to walk there, which probably would take 15 min. I quickly locked the door and stepped into the dark street. It’s a very familiar street, fairly busy at the end with lots of shops, bars and restaurants. Lots of cars were passing by me. While I was walking, I started thinking about my life in Australia. How could I have lived like this for two years? With not many friends, no family, not much entertainment, what kind of life is that? No answer really. While almost to the end of the street, I suddenly realized I forgot something. Yeah. I didn’t write down the name of the restaurant. I tried to google maps. Too many restaurants here. I got more nervous. I tried to find the notice email from my phone, but as not very familiar with the website, it’s so hard to find it. Damn it. I gonna be late. I found a restaurant looks similar and stopped in front of it, trying to find big group of people. Also I tried again to find the emails. Luckily, found the email. From the email I realized the restaurant I was standing by was the wrong restaurant. What the hell? I got late already. I walked very fast and tried to hurry to the dinner in the right restaurant. Finally, i found the restaurant.

If you think that’s the most embarrassing part, then you are wrong. After I went into the restaurant, then i realized i didn’t record the name of the organizer. The waitressing girl was a nice Thai girl. She asked me who i was with. I couldn’t tell. I looked around the restaurant, there’s no big group table with more than 10 sitters. I tried to remember the name of the organizer. I said: ‘it’s Ca—-ther——rine.’ I elongated the tone and Prayed it’s the right name. She paused. In order to help her to find the right table, i added: 13 people. She checked with her notes and said: “Yes. Catherine, 13 people, starts at 6pm.” I relieved my breath and started thinking how lucky I was. The waitressing girl took me to the table. Surprisingly, there’s no one at the table. I was the first one arrived. I smiled to the waitressing girl and said: “that’s ok. I’ll just wait.”

I sit there for around ten minutes, thinking what those people would look like? Then suddenly, a long troops of nicely dressed girls came in. I sit there and tried to make eye contact with them. Surprisingly they didn’t look me at all. they were talking to each and waiting for the counter to lead them to the table. ‘why they don’t just come to the table directly?’ I was talking to myself.

After they finished talking with the counter for around 15 minutes, they finally walked towards the table. I prepared some simple self introduction, ready to use it. I stood up while they came to the table. Introduced me to the girl:’ Hi, I’m Fey.’ The girl looked at me, seemed a bit confused and said:”Hi, I am Catherine.” All the other girls just walked to their seats and sit down, kept on talking to each other. I was wondering ‘How rude is that? Just because you are nicely dressed pretty girls, then you could treat people like invisible?’ I felt quit upset by their reaction. Then Catherine and four girls got up and said that they got to go to the rest room. I have never met people so rude in Australia. So i tried to have conversation with the other girl named Keily to find out the reason. I said to her:”This is my first time doing this, so i am not sure how you girls usually organize it?” Keily was quite friendly. She stopped playing her phone. Smiled and said that she would have me introduced later when everyone came back. But she then went back to her mobile phone again soon.

Then Catherine and other girls came back from bathroom. They started opening the drink. They poured drinks for each other, but not including me. I felt so neglected. Then I just put my head down and looked at the menu. I felt something was not right. I asked the tall blond girl who sit beside me:” Do you guys know each other for a long time already?” This tall blond girl said:” Yeah, we have been knowing for about ten years.” I was shocked and wondered how come they were still in this meetup if they already knew each other for ten years? That’s not normal for people going to that website. “If they come out to meet new people, why they act like they don’t want to know me then?”I was questioning myself. Then I kept talking to the blond:”I just saw that meetup group, so i just clicked Come.” She looked confused”Sorry. What meetup?” She asked. Then the other girl sit beside added:”Oh, did you find us from the facebook event?” It’s my turn to be confused. Thinking wat facebook? Is that website connected with facebook? I told her:”No, i just clicked come in that website, so I came. You know, that website” They all looked confused. I screamed out:”oh, my god. I’m in the wrong table.” They all smiled and kept saying it’s ok. What nice people. But what’s the possibility with such coincident: Catherine, 6pm in xxxx restaurant with 13 guests. Besides, there were no other big table with such big group of people. I took my phone out and showed the girl the group information. I asked her:”Do you know any one of these?” She said:”Oh. No. Don’t know any one of them.” I screamed out again:” oh my god. I’m sorry. I am at the wrong table.” They were polite and kept saying I could stay. Some one even used her hand nicely to stop me from leaving. Catherine explained that it’s her birthday and all the girls were her friends that she knew for a long time, but she welcomed me to sit there joining them and they could add one more set. I would stay if i wanted to ruin her birthday party. I thanked everyone and ran out of the restaurant as fast as i could.

It was like a joke happened in my life. How could this be possible? Catherine, 13 guests, xxxx restaurant at 6pm! How could it be wrong? I checked my phone again carefully. Then I found the date for the dinner meeting was NEXT Saturday, not this one! I started to remember those girls’ reaction about my presence. Poor Catherine… I started smile while i was remembering her innocent face trying to explain to me that i may be in the wrong table. And how surprised while they saw me sitting at the table at their first sight. How this coincident thing could have happened. I suddenly started laughing.

Just a short moment later, I realized, that was actually such a good moment in my life. I felt so alive. Before i was just living in the regular life frame that never had mistake, never had real change. Even moving to Australia, I didn’t change my life pattern, and it finally became boring. Before some one asked me what’s the most embarrassing moment in my life, i actually couldn’t think of any. Because I didn’t have any. Coz i always lived in my regular comfy zone and never stepped out to the wild life. Now i find it’s so good to have such an awkward moment like that in my life.

Asian Women in Australia

Never thought I would write an article about this topic. Coz what I was thinking was – why care? We are all women. We are same women as all australia women. What I could find out in this topic?

I was born in China in mid 1980s. Moved to australia at my 27. After I worked for one year and met my basic material need here, I started to pay attention to all everything, around and inside me. I was taught to study for financial statement since I was in middle school. I was told to learn for better jobs, to earn more money, to be better. I am working as an engineer in a local company. I could have a smooth and safe life if I just follow all the same roads every engineer does here. I will be able to buy a big house. Marry a good looking nice man and give birth to several lovely kids. This was the perfect life style I was dreaming while I was in China. I bet all my friends in china would envy my life here then. Now I don’t have much to worry about. Everything seems is within the track.

But when I sit down and think for my life. I feel I am not myself. All my life, I lead my life according to what the society or my family expected me to live. I have never thought living for my own interest. I even don’t know what is my interest.

In western countries, kids are generally encouraged to do what they are interested to do. They follow their natural characters. If a kid likes photos, he’ll learn photograph as a hobby at least. If a kid likes animals, he’ll work or learn courses about animals in the university. While in China, you are not supposed to follow your interest. You are arranged. My courses in my university in china was arranged by the school. Now I am working as an engineer, which I still don’t know why.

Life Is all about choices

Years ago while i was in china, i was taught the most important thing of my life was to find a charming prince to get married, having kids then be happy forever. After failure of searching for such a charming prince for nearly 15 years, i finally decided to pause this searching but focusing in my own life. However, there the problem comes. What I want for my life? Since i started thinking this question, i often get lost. There are tons of moments that i seriously didn’t know what i wanted in my life.

I don’t care about travelling that much. I don’t find it’s that fascinating to spend a week in the 5 star hotel on an island. I don’t wear jeweller coz i found them heavy and not necessary. I don’t need a porsche car or a yacht. I don’t care about glorying clothes. For me, it seems easy to be satisfied. But maybe it’s the spiritual inspiration of myself that I am lack of.

Today, i am thinking. i want to find a good model for me to learn. Then i won’t get lost. So i searched in my head. who this model can it be? I had a long list of famous and great people that i may be able to learn or copy. However, those are them. They are not me. and even somehow i found i don’t really want to be someone else but myself. And the biggest problem is i actually didn’t spend much time thinking who i am.

After living in this colorful world for 30 years, i have liked and loved lots of activities. Almost every activity i did before however, was driven by a clear aim. I watched American movies mostly because i wanted to learn English and western cultural. I learned English because i wanted to come to Australia. I went hiking because i liked the clear fresh air in the mountain. Same as camping. I dance mostly because it keeps me fit. Good thing about driving by aim is that you won’t like alcohol or drugs because you won’t find any purpose or aim from those two expensive hobbies.

That’s the life style i have learned in China. We came to this earth for living. The purpose of life is to survive till the day you pass away and your next generation will keep going. While after i came to Australia and start to settling down a little bit, i start to realize i am running out of purpose and aims. You don’t really need to worry too much about surviving in this country as long as you go get education and go to work. What i should do if i don’t have a purpose or aim then? It’s like a sail-boat in the ocean. the worst thing could happen is you don’t know where to go. You would float on the oscean and let the wind blow you here and there. you might go further and further from where you like to go, but you wouldn’t know coz you can’t see the light house. and I definitely don’t want to live like that.

And the hardest part of your life comes, you got to make decisions about your life now. i keep telling myself this.

To be continued.


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