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Flying on the Wings of a Giant Swan

Updated: Apr 9, 2018

Originally Written 17/5/16

When I was a little girl I always knew there was a bigger world out there. When I was very little my aunt Jill and her friend Gerry went away overseas - I can't remember knowing where that was except it wasn't here. When they came back they brought me a present, again I can't remember what it was just that it was special and from some far away place.

Then a little while later (no concept of time for a child) they went away again and my nanny went with them. Mum tells me that I was upset because I thought that they were flying on a giant swan and I was scared that they would fall off. I am pretty sure that I inherently knew I wanted to be going as well.

Again I was enthralled that you could go so far away. Then when I was about 5 my Oma and Opa - my dads parents - came for a visit from Austria. I can remember being at Tullamarine airport and mum sitting with my brother and I while dad waited. I can't imagine what that was like as he had not seen them for 25 years as he had come out here as a young man, now he was married and they were meeting his wife and his children for the first time. To top it all off I was the only golden granddaughter so was ready to be quite spoilt.

I can remember sitting in the back of the old Holden station wagon and my Oma gave me a doll that had a little record in the back which played something. While they stayed with us I don't have a lot of memories I do remember going for walks with Oma and taking them to Phillip Island and seeing the penguins.

I can also recall the different cooking smells in the home while Oma cooked food for my dad. Mum tells me now that they were quite horrified that dad took an active roll in the parenting and would come home each night from work and bath me and my brother because in Austria the women's place in in the home parenting, cooking and cleaning and the fathers roll is to bring in the money.

And then they went home, to a far away place that meant letters came occasionally, expensive telephone calls on special occasions, and me being made to talk into a cassette player to make tapes for dad to send back home.

As the years went on my parents decided that that they wanted to take me and my younger brother to Austria. So for ever and ever and ever they delivered catalogues. Painstakingly they pulled together the money and after years of what felt like torture for me we set of for the airport, and I was a little but sad as we wouldn't be going to the Royal Melbourne Show that year. At the airport it used to be that you could go outside on a platform and watch the planes, aunt Jill came out and told me it was time to go and I knew that second, at the age of 10, that it was something very special to be going overseas, soon I would be on my own big swan flying into the clouds and trying not to fall off.

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