8 December 12
Although we’re in Melbourne, we’re not out and about in the manner that we’ve approached other capital cities that we’ve visited in the past. I’m tired after all this driving, and I’m using this time to relax a bit in anticipation of the last leg of our mammoth trip from the Top End of Australia — the ferry ride to Tasmania.
An online friend offered to let us park at her house while we were waiting for the ferry, and Karina has gone to great lengths to prepare her house for our visit. She’s bought special food for the girls, gotten out a range of age-appropriate toys and has cleared away some of her stuff to make room for five extra bodies.
Karina also has a marvellous collection of children’s toys. During her work as a counsellor, she has amassed a very specific set of plastic figurines — animals, people, props — and when she brought them out, the girls entered into creative play for hours! Another interesting toy that Karina tracked down is one she remembers from her own childhood — Minibrix. Minibrix is the rubber precursor to Lego, and the bricks’ unusual textures and slight flexibility make it interesting and fun to construct with.
We have particularly enjoyed our time with Karina in Melbourne. Her hospitality was so warm and complete, and she was so gracious to our family. She made fast friends with the girls, talking to them about their games, the dogs and about cooking. I was able to finish off the bus repairs — we now have a new headlight assembly replacing the one damaged by a guerilla roo — and we’re leaving for Tasmania with a warm feeling in our hearts.
Karina has been a good friend to me in the months after Elijah’s death. She has supported me online and commented positively when I have embarked on new projects. During this visit, I’ve discovered that I’m not the only one she has been helping. She is constantly volunteering to assist in missing-person cases and has travelled around the country looking for people on behalf of their family.
It’s inspiring to meet a person like Karina who gives so much to others — to strangers, even — without necessarily receiving anything in return. Karina devotes her life to serving others — and her dogs — and I would love to grow into that unselfish role if/when the girls no longer need me in their daily lives!
Melbourne is a very welcoming city, and we haven’t explored it at all. But we know we have a friend here, a good friend who will welcome us back in a couple of months time. Thanks, Karina. It’s been good to get to know you, and it’ll be even better to see you again soon!