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Published: January 8th 2019
Robin in Perth
Earth has made another complete rotation of the sun, its 2019th since a bearded dude was born in the Middle East according to Christian tradition, or its 4,543 billionth, give or take a few (million) rotations, since it was formed, according to all-knowing Google. To celebrate this non-event, and the birth of the bearded dude, I went to Perth. I could have stayed in Indonesia, but my best friend lives in Perth and my other best friend was also coming over. All the way from Holland. Quite a trip. For me it was almost equally as long. Internal flights in Indonesia from remote corners of the country take a long, long time, with plenty of stops along the way. From Merauke to Denpasar took me a full 12 hours, the flight to Perth on the other hand was only 4 hours.
It was worth the effort thought. The three of us haven't been together for years. I see Robin in Holland regularly, Eelko in Perth less regularly, but at the same time? Hardly ever. We are all high-school friends. I've known Robin for around 32 years, Eelko for 29, that's a long time, and lots of things have happened since
then. We have grown up, gone our own ways, but always kept in contact. Eelko has a family now, two beautiful kids and a wonderful wife, and he has his own consultancy firm. Robin has been playing in several bands, become a popular math teacher, been in and out of relationships and is currently single, like me. And I have a failed student career to show for things, plus what feel's like a life-time of travelling, and a few relationships which have been wrecked by never ending desire to see the world. Together I think we have had quite an interesting life.
Back to the here and now. It was busy at Eelko's house, the man had failed to inform Robin and me, that his parents were also over. That's a lot of people to entertain. Luckily Eelko's parents are very nice people, and I think we aren't that nasty either. The kids found it all very exciting, except maybe the fact that Robin and I had taken over their bedroom and they were relegated to the TV room. We went to various beaches, a few islands, on a camping trip down south, visited some wineries and breweries, ate
A mock English style street in Perth
well, drank better, laughed, exchanged gifts, drank a bit more, nursed a few hangovers, talked and reminisced, and watched The Big Lebowski, our favourite film. The dudes abided.
Christmas was warm and windy, so was New Year. It's summer on the southern hemisphere of course, so you will be hard pressed to find your white Christmas, except maybe if you wander on some of the white sandy beaches that abound here. But to be honest it wasn't about Christmas or New Year to me. I don't really care whether or not a bearded man was born a couple of thousand years ago, even if I understand the significance of this event on world history and the importance to it for Christians, for me however, it was about seeing my friends. To spend time with them. Friendships only last through the years if you put in the effort, otherwise they slowly fade away. It's not that we are great at keeping contact, or that we see each other often, but we do the best we can. Perth was one of those events in which we all put in the effort because we think our friendship is worth it. Plus Eelko
View from King's Park
makes really good coffee too, and his wife makes some awesome gin and tonics. And the beaches and scenery around Albany were also quite good. So was Rottnest Island, too bad about the rain though.
Robin's gone back to teaching math in Utrecht, Eelko is working on his consultancy business in Perth again, and I have returned to Indonesia to start the second and longer leg of this trip. It is likely we won't see each other (at the same time) for years to come. The friendship will last though, as it has for the past 30 odd years.
To the rest of you, a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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