Monday, June 27, 2011

Wow. Just Wow.

Arriving in Melbourne was bittersweet, but once the weekend was over, I felt more alive than I have ever had in a while. Catching up with some of my friends, and hanging out with Ash for a morning made me fall in love with Melbourne all over again.

It isn't hard to be in love with Melbourne all over again, and I even made an unconscious decision to not date unless I meet someone who truly aligns with my values and likes me as much as I like him. That wasn't hard - it's Melbourne, its filled with opportunities and things to do, plus, I have Ash as a distraction although he doesn't hang out with me enough.

A week in, and I have to present at a conference. And there he was, staring at me and me him. Let's call him Tay. We talked nerdy stuff over the weekend at the conference and get to learn about each other's work a lot more, but not of each other. It wasn't until a workshop on Monday that I decided to take the jump and asked him out for dinner.

We had dinner, we chatted and we got to know each other. We walked along the Yarra River and outside the casino, as the fire display comes on, we stood beneath the fire in awe and slowly, held hands. It felt right. We kissed and we hugged and we held hands and walked all around the city for the rest of the night - there were no judgmental stares nor were there any harassment. We said good-night and good-bye.

On his final night in Melbourne, we took a stroll along Federation Square and held hands. People walked past us and smiled, some nodded with approval but for all we care, we were in our own worlds. As we spoke of our past and our passions, we discovered our similarities - lots of them - our strange pet peeves and our interests. We also discovered we're both adrenaline and travel addict. But all good things must come to and end so after two beautiful nights, we bid good-bye and hugged for the last time before we both caught different trams home. He was to head to back to Sydney the day after.

I am not sure if being able to openly date someone of the same sex in public was actually more beautiful or was it the beautiful relationship we both have developed even though there was no formal relationship.

We didn't keep in touch.

About a week later, I had to fly to Canberra for a day, but was stuck there due to the ash cloud grounding all planes. I could stay the extra few nights in Canberra or I could take a bus to Sydney, a mere 3 hours away with a lot more things to do. So, at the very last minute, I booked a bus ticket and took the trip to Sydney. On the way, I arranged several meetings during the day with my friends and work colleagues. At night, we hung out. We'd hold hands, we'd share stories at the foyer of Sydney Opera House overlooking the harbour, Sydney skyline and the Harbour Bridge. We'd hug and we'd kiss and we'd laugh like there was no tomorrow. And then we'd talk nerdy stuff.

After two beautiful nights, we bid each other good night, not knowing what is going to happen between us nor have ever discussed it. But perhaps, this is all part of the adventure - it could work or it might not. All I know is, I don't think I had met anyone as caring and compassionate as him. And we haven't slept with each other either.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Good-bye, Brisbane. Hello, Melbourne.

As the sun quietly set right outside the window painting the sky a beautiful spectrum of orange and blue, the only thing that goes through my exhausted brain is an overwhelming sense of gratefulness.

Thankfully this flight is less than half filled, giving me enough space to be in my own thoughts and reflections without the intrusion of a stranger’s judgmental stare.

I don’t know how I did it sometimes, but in the last 2 years, I have started a registered organization, a venture and built several partnerships with the various sectors. I’ve been invited and have dined with the State Premier, Lord Mayor and even had a private lunch with the CEO of Qantas and Kerry O’Brien, one of Australia’s most respected news reporter. In the last 2 years, I have managed to build such a reputation that I get invited to be on the Board of the Online Engagement Department for a national Bank, and get flown all around Australia and half way across the world to share my experience, knowledge and wisdom – all of these is both difficult to comprehend but at the same time, humbling.

Brisbane is, in so many ways, the beginning of the rest of my life. I’ve made friends who love me unconditionally, accept me for who I am and who I am not, and friends who would quite literally give me all that they possibly can. More importantly, I have made friends who have trusted me, believed in me and supported me especially at times when I have doubted myself. It’s here that I met a mentor, one of Australia’s most respected social entrepreneur, who gave me the confidence to be extraordinary when I feared of being judged as being a show off.

Last night, I read one of the many messages and emails that flooded my Facebook and email inbox and I reflect on all the things that I haven’t done, I should have done and have done and I let out a sigh of relief, knowing that I personally, think that I have given all of myself to as many people and as much as I could have. I think I have been the best and most honest that I can be to most, if not all of my friends.

“I was doubtful of your well-intentions and your friendliness was difficult to accept initially, but over the year, your trust in me have allow me to be an honest person, your belief in me has given me confidence to be who I am and accept who I am not, and your open ears and compassionate heart has given me the comfort that there is still humanity and inspire me to love and to respect all humans for who they are and respect our individual differences... I can safely and whole-heartedly say that you have changed my life in ways unimaginable that I can never ever repay you. My only wish is that I can live everyday like you in honour of you and what you have done to me, my life and my family’s lives.”

I leave behind a group of trusted friends, a brother, a love one and a whole lot of memories.

To find love in someone and indulge in a beautiful, natural, loving and respectful relationship in my last 2 months in Brisbane tops it all off. As I bid goodbye to the boy that I have had the honour of sharing 2 months of a beautiful relationship with, I find comfort in knowing that we have both brought up the best in each other and gave each other what to many are memories to be envy of and for us, memories to keep close.

As Mr Crush and I squeezed each other until we were both out of breath and continued to hug for the next 10 mins in the middle of the street, we both stared into each other and thought the same, “Gee, what a ride it has been!” I thanked him for being himself, for believing in me, bringing the best out of me and for giving me the space to be honest with him and most importantly myself. He has been the only person who has stuck with me through thick and thin while I discover and find a comfortable place to fit in my sexuality. And in return, he thanked me for keeping him firmly on his feet, comfortable with who he is and a pillar of strength for him and his family. We both shared memories – and we both hugged until it became slightly awkward with strangers walking past.

The moon shines through the dark blue sky outside the window and half these strangers on the plane sleep their worry away.

I thought about what could have been, but I am thankful for what have been.

Melbourne, I am ready. Bring it on.
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