Sleepless in the Sydney Suburbs

It’s a good sleepless.The rainbow lorikeets, sulphur crested cockatoos, and king parrots get an early start. Why do I tolerate these colourful birds over the roosters of French Polynesia? Well, these are birds that I have only seen it zoos – and they are right outside my window.

While in Australia, I am doing home-stays as a helper using the website Essentially, you work a few hours each day in exchange for a place to lay your head and home cooked meals. It really is a wonderful thing and nice to live with a family who can tell you about life in another country. It is a great way to learn the history, customs and day-to-day routine in Australia. In addition to my gardening, vacuuming and dishwashing duties, I escort Mathew – who has Down’s Syndrome – to where he needs to get to each day. I seem to be somewhat surplus to these requirements. Indeed, it is Mathew who keeps me from getting lost or on the wrong train.

Case in Point: Two days a week Mat works at McDonald’s, a forty minute train commute away with a change of trains in Epping. I’ve learned to trust Mat. He’s been right 100% of the time and I have been wrong 100% of the time on a variety of matters, trains being the prime example. Yesterday, as we boarded our first train, I noticed that this one (a different one from the day before as his work schedule was different) had a stop down the line in North Ryde. Great, we don’t need to change trains. As Mat got up to get off, I pointed out the future destination.

“Terry, that’s North Ryde, we are going to West Ryde. Just follow me and I will get us there,” Maty informs me.

And so, I just follow Mat without question or hesitation. He works the TV/DVD for me. He shows me where the household items and supplies are stored. He helps me with yet another recycling system in another country. Mat and his mom Jacqueline are what HelpX is all about. I will be sad to leave them, but look forward to meeting my next HelpX family, the Connells, in Brisbane.

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. — Martin Buber

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Amazing, Terry. I just looked at Helpx – fantastic! We looked into volunteering as a family through the more well known networks and it was going to cost us about ten grand! This would be the way to go. Loved your Bora Bora post, by the way. Beautifully written!

  2. Olive says:

    The Loikeets are so beautiful do they come and go at specific times during the day? I remember being somewhere in Australia and all of a sudden the lorikeets came in and the tree became instantly green there were so many of them

    1. Dolcie Graham says:

      The birds and flowers and beautiful and it sounds like you are experiencing something very special with your Australian family

  3. peiterry says:

    The lorikeets are around all day…the sulphur crested cockatoos are not as pretty and their song is not as nice…quite annoying, actually. Then there is this bird that sounds like a crying baby which is quite disturbing. hugs to all

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