Wednesday, 12 January 2011

First Day back to Uni...

It’s my first day back at uni and the thought of the amount of work to do this term is quite scary!
We finished last year with extreme weather in London and I am starting this year concerned about my family experiencing the extreme weather in Australia.  I have an uncle in Brisbane that no one can contact as all power has been cut so I am waiting to hear how he is and a sister living a  little further south who is on higher ground and quite safe.  I come from Melbourne, 2000m miles south in the state of Victoria, where most of my family still live.  Three hundred mls of torrential rain has fallen already and the much of the state is in flood.
I remember many years ago walking through flood waters up to my neck in North Melbourne.  Over the years when I have told people, many have looked at with great scepticism and I began to doubt whether my memory was correct. I now realise that I am not dreaming - it must have been the 1974 floods that are being recalled by the newscasters commenting on the current crisis.  That day I went to play netball after work.  After catching a tram with water up to the running board (about a foot deep), I had to disembark in the centre of town when the tram could get no further.  I remember taking the hand of a woman much shorter than me to help her cross a road while the water ran swiftly past us.  I vividly seeing cars and motorbikes swept into buildings with great thuds.

At the time it didn't bother me. I really was not fully aware of the danger I was in. I was young and it seemed like an exciting adventure.  I feel differently very differently now. Two years ago, another of my sisters almost lost her house to bushfires on three separate occasions, only saved by a change in the wind direction.
This week the situation in Australia is expected to get even worse as the flood waters continue to rise.  I feel so far away from my beloved Australia and grateful to be safe. Somehow my apprehension about the coming academic term pales into insignificance!

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