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
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
River bank

Deal With Stress

Contributed By Doctor Harmony, Psychiatrist

Modern society seems to be faster paced, with more demands on us and extra pressures compared to earlier generations. Many of us are time-pressured, financially-stretched or feel socially disconnected and alone. Finding work or maintaining job satisfaction in a competitive market may be added pressures. This could be in addition to family conflict, relationship issues, concerns about our children or health problems. The list of external or life pressures is endless.

harmonyWhat is often overlooked is the pressure that we have placed on ourselves, or the internal stress. This can include expectations we have about our achievements, how people treat us, how life should be, how we should look, and standards that others should reach.

If we are struggling to cope with the stress we are under, then this can have further negative effects on our lives, such as arguments, job loss, health problems, sleep disturbance and weight gain from comfort-eating. Also our children may sense our stress and react by withdrawing from us or acting out with behavioural changes. These effects then cause further stress in our lives.

Stress can lead to depression, anxiety or eating disorders. It is also associated with physical illness or medically-unexplainable symptoms despite numerous investigations. Stress can either trigger illnesses, increase severity of existing illnesses or cause recurrence of illnesses. Stress-related illnesses include irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines and headaches, particular sexual problems, polymyalgia rheumatica, chronic pain conditions, eczema,  asthma, cancer, heartburn, ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes...The list goes on.

Have I convinced you enough about the importance of addressing stress in our lives? Mind you,  I am not advocating that all stress needs to be eliminated in our lives. In fact, we all need a bit of stress to keep us going. Can you imagine going for a job interview or exam without preparing for it, as we do not feel nervous? A small amount of anxiety and stress is necessary to make us perform at our best. Problems only arise when we are struggling to cope with the stress or if the amount of stress is excessive. Remember, we all have a breaking point once a certain amount of pressure and stress are experienced. Each one of us has different breaking points though, as we have individual coping styles, personalities and backgrounds.

We may not be able to control what happens to us, such as illness or death but we can change the way we deal with it or minimise the internal pressure. So, if we change the way we think or learn to deal with the internal and external pressures, we can feel less burdened, more at peace and become physically healthier. It is about changing our habits in the way we act and think long-term. This could mean being kinder to ourselves and others (with our expectations), learning to forgive and accepting situations that we cannot change rather than getting resentful, frustrated and angry. It might mean delegating more to others, being honest with people when we cannot oblige them and living within our limitations (such as if we have pain or illness). Accept that some days will be better than others.

If you would like to find out more ways of dealing with stress, check out series one of my Building Resilience books series by Click go to Doctor Harmony's Website. Although it is marketed as children’s picture books, it has great tips for children and adults alike.

Make it better

I'm actually not very confident how this will go. I come from China and immigrated to Australia permanently two years ago. My life experience urges me to build this group. I believe I will be happy for what I have done. This group aims at discussions about cultural, politics, governing, history, humanity and such. We are not here to propagandize how we should open the door for refugees, but to discuss topics like Different development histories of British Civilization, North and South Korea, Chinese 2000 years of dictatorship feudal History, Communist and etc. Helping making a better world sounds like a far away mission impossible for you or for me. However, if we, the lucky group of people in the world, today staying in a beautiful country, don't need to fight for water or bread, or even just basic human rights, we then probably could do something to at least make more people know what can be done to help those deeply suffered nations. Also in the modern and civilized Australia, a large amount of people haven't realized the importance of democracy and human rights. People that were born here can very easily take those precious political systems as granted. Please forgive me if I offended you, what i think is: Without the democracy policies, Australia might be no difference from North Korea today. Knowing politics and sociality, is not a choice, but an obligation. For you, for me, and the entire human beings.

If you have any comment or suggestion, please feel free to contact me.

Multicultural

I'm not a society specialist. Not yet. Won't be able to give specific data or analyze for the multicultural situation in Australia now.

So I'll just give my personal humble opinion.

Multicultural is a good and hot topic. Not only in australia, but international. We all know multicultural has brought a lot of disputes and some conflicts in many countries. Even the preserved and traditional China nowadays starts to face this issue. There are thousands of fights or even wars, just for figuring out which cultural is right. Not only today, but from the start of human civilization.

Religion, has long history and has very fundamental effect in human behavior and cultural. I'd like to give religion a small talk. Some people believe that religion is the incentives of wars and conflict. True fact is any beautiful slogan can be used by dictators to manipulate citizens to encroach and plunder other nations. Any thing could be propagated as the reason when conspirators want the citizens to join the war. Religion, peace, wealth, equality, stronger, better and etc, which give those dictators more leniency in hyping the atmosphere, unfortunately often been used. To judge it wisely, we need to learn more about the issues behind the wars.

Back to monocultural, from the positive side, it won't bring conflict. Every one will be the same, then no point to fight for who is right, who is wrong. but, this is too idealistic. First, there's no real monocultural. Let's say west Europe cultural is the main stream and we make all Australians become completely western Europeans. As main cultural and religion in west Europe at present, as well as in Australia, would be be Christian and Atheism. Then other problem comes. In order to be monoculturalism, should we choose Atheism or Christian? If we follow the majority Christian, then all different christian branches will have a new debate. Which one is the pure orthodox Christian religion branch? Then we may need to choose Catholic. How many of us would want to become pure Catholic? Would the whole society become peaceful from then on? Of course not, have a look at the historical Britain in dark ages.

So, in my opinion, monoculturalism is a history back forward. Multicultural is a big symbol of human civilization. Yes. It brings problem. But what we really need to figure out how to implement multicultural better rather than push the history wheel back forward.

Keeping Younger

When we wash our cosmetics off the face, or take off the beautiful glamorous dress from our body, what we see is our true self. What we see, however, most of the time, is not the perfect ourselves we expect. Many girls keep their looks perfect from outside when they start to realize how much benefit they can get from this perfectly decorated face and body. However, when we face ourselves infront of the mirror, all we can do is try our best to accept, this is the true yourself.

Being as an asain woman, i have heard many people told me that they can not tell my age from my looks. Some people would thought younger, some people however, thought twice older than my real age. I however, feel lucky that no one can guess out my age. Few days ago, i realized there are dark circles arround my eyes, and something bump up under the eyes. I think it's wrinkles. I couldn't believe my eyes. It's bloody wrinkles - the last thing you want to see on your face. I felt so down. I realized I am getting 30, and this is a natural thing that happens to everyone. No matter how young or pretty or fabulous you are or how much money you spend on your make up, you won't be able to escape. I told my boyfriend. He seems quite calm. He said: it's ok. you got the brain too. I suddenly realized a father told his daughter that: Beauty and youth will fade away as you age, it will disappear in the end. While education accumulate. My boy friend always encouraged me to study. He said, health and education are the most tow important things for a person. And education is the thing that once you get, no one can take it away. It will be with you all your life. Honestly, that's the only thing I find my ex boyfriend said actually makes good sense. Girls, if you are trying hard to look for a loyalty boyfriend, I would suggest you rather give yourself some education which will be completely loyalty to you all your life.