Been horribly sick for the first time in years, busy bee trying to have quality time with as many beautiful friends as possible (and getting spoilt rotten with birthday treats!), doing more photography and writing, and working hard!
I was so touched by the many messages and Facebook posts for my birthday, and I’d love nothing more than to spend even an hour with you all! Especially you who are overseas in America, Korea, and Japan, or interstate. Really felt the birthday love, thank you for being in my life – your presence is my present!~
On the born-day:
I prefer photo-essays but cameras weren’t really allowed due to the sensitive issue of privacy, so I’ll write instead!
On my birthday and precious day off work yesterday I woke up early as usual (NOOOO) to be part of a massive event catered by Sydney Homeless Connect (YAAAAY!). This incredibly dedicated and passionate non-profit group lead by founder Andrew Everingham connects government and non-government organisation bodies as well as non-essential services with Sydney-siders who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. He was inspired by the original outreach model Project Homeless Connect in San Fran, and took up the giant baton of replicating it here – with overwhelming success!
As soon as I walked into Town Hall and had a quick look around both floors before doors opened, I was gobsmacked at how far-reaching and well-networked this event actually was. Inspirational, in every sense of the word. Everything from official NSW identification registries, housing, and indigenous groups, to health such as dentistry, medical and nursing help, and mental health, to legal aid, counselling support services, and well-known NGO groups targeting homelessness available. Literally dozens and dozens of booths with volunteer representatives at the ready to tackle the growing issue of homelessness!
At the frontline on the ground level were an array of other service providers – photographers (my crew for the day), story-scribers, clothing and shoe givers, hair dressers, chiropractors, masseuses! There was even a table with stationery for people to write letters and reconnect with family/others, a separate rest lounge for women, and outside on the huge balcony there were an abundance of food and beverage providers (Rapid Relief Team, Bunnings, Mocopan Coffee, Oak milk, and individually organised groups who were serving packaged pastries, fresh fruit and hot drinks). There were even musicians (utterly first class and I got a birthday song!) who were singing and playing us into happiness. The strong sunlight and deep blue sky with the skyline was just the perfect backdrop for this humble yet almost majestic day. I received so many birthday well wishes too because Felicity (one of the main event board organisers) very kindly wrote me a “BIRTHDAY GIRL” sticker.
The nurse side of me was thoroughly impressed and glad in seeing that all spheres of wellbeing were addressed – not only physical but mental, emotional, social, spiritual.. we were all encouraged to socialise and share each other’s company as we had breaks, and I’m so happy that I did.
I had so many thoughts and emotions as I volunteered and connected with various people that day.. but I’ll save that for another post. Main thing is: I have regained faith in Sydney-siders.
And: No matter what you do for a living or who you are as a person, literally, no matter what, you can make a difference.
And (lol): For the first time in my life I felt.. the ANZAC spirit? Not sure if I can use that term here but it’s the closest thing I can think of naming it. All I know is I felt awe and imagined this is what it may have been in those wartimes. A strong sense of community, mateship, humour, humility, compassion, dedication, patriotism… the way the Rapid Relief Team volunteers cooked and served with sweaty and smiling faces while jostling and joking, the Mocopan baristas also standing for hours non-stop in the raging sun creating such beautiful brews, how the hairdressers would have eagle-eyes and cut with such care as they may for VIP clients, and of course, how I was able to see how mere faces transformed into humans with a past and a present and a hope for the future in front of the all-baring camera in the photography booths.
Too many things to say.
When I bounced out of there giddy with hope and love I can genuinely say I wasn’t the same person as I was when I’d walked in. It’s been a while since the last time I felt glowingly happy like that! I’m so grateful for the opportunity. The icing on the cake would’ve been to meet Mr. Everingham but what with all the great media attention that wasn’t likely.
I visited a couple of places with mum and spent some quieter quality time with her then headed home before going out again for a luxurious dinner. I’d been gleefully eyeing this place for a few months and had a booking ready, but the traffic out to that place was horrific and we ended up giving up and going to a nice Italian place near the Italian Forum on Norton Street, a new favourite! Will write a review soon. I’m glad it didn’t work out though, because I couldn’t have spent so much there after my morning at SHC and decided to donate the leftover money and happily save it for another special occasion.
I had a really fantastic day, and thank you again beautiful friends! My life would be so colourless without you.
Much love from yours truly.