Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fast life or Slow life?

Do you all remember back to the time when I lived in Palembang? I was a really diligent blogger - everyday except for Saturdays. (I probably had a lot more readers then too.) I also used to complain quite a bit about how routine our lives were over there with nothing much to do and nowhere to go. Life moved at a very slow and steady pace.

Its quite the opposite here in Brisbane, especially over the past six weeks. Ordinarily, there are already lots of outings that we plan and don't plan. Its easy to jump in the car and go out somewhere if things were a little slow at home.

Since the end of January, I've had an old friend staying here with us. We've known each other for close to 25 years so she's more like family than a friend. Before she got here, I asked her how long she was staying and her answer was always "Until you kick me out." My response to that was that the noise in this house would drive her away automatically. In any case, she lasted six fun weeks and I think got a good look at what day-to-day motherhood is about.

I had a good time with her around. An extra person in the house to talk to during the day makes a lot of difference. Unfortunately, I wasn't exactly the ideal host to show her a good night out on the town or anything like that. In fact, she only saw Brisbane by night on two occasions during her stay! Instead, we spent a lot of time cooking, sewing and driving Aaron back and forth from school.

It sounds like a very mundane time but it wasn't - not for me anyway. There was only a rough outline of routine to each day. In my mind, its sort of a fusion of her single lifestyle where things can be done on a whim and my life where the aim is usually to stick to the same routine each and every day. All that fun and laughter has just made the past six weeks disappear. Even with her gone, I know that the next few weeks are going to fly by - with or without a solid routine.

So, this is our first Sunday at home in a long time. I've been thinking of how much I hated the routine in Palembang but how tiring it can sometimes get when you don't have a routine to lean on. Life was slow in Palembang but here in Brisbane, time is moving at warp speed. I know that one place isn't better than the other place but I can't help comparing. And I like wondering which one would be the more ideal lifestyle. Slow and steady so you can enjoy each and every second. Or fast moving and unpredictable with the excitement and momentum that makes weeks disappear in seconds?

I don't think there is really a balance to be achieved either because its a little like fast forwarding, then jerking to a pause and then fast forwarding again. I'm also starting to think that I can't slow it down even if I wanted to because there is just so much to do each day. All I can do is make it a little more organized so that its not all crazy, fire fighting madness every day. So, I'm going to do some cooking for the week now.


Mike said...

It took me years to stop thinking of Palembang as Palemberg and then you moved.

Bilbo said...

I have a hard time with the fast-slow concept. Here in Disneyland-on-the-Potomac there is always something to see and do, always something going on, always grandchildren to visit or work to be done or shopping or ... whatever. I cherish the only real free time I have, which is that one magical hour five days a week between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning when I write my blog. And now, even that is in danger because it appears to be the best time to use the new elliptical exercise machine. I think I need a vacation.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

We all seem to live at different speeds.

Amanda said...

Mike - My parents were calling it Palumbung the whole time!

Bilbo - The problem with a vacation is that they go the FASTEST!

JLP - Thats true. If I were to ask my grandmothers, they'd probably wish there was more happening in their days so that it didn't seem so slow.

Emily said...

Believe it or not, your old friend here thinks that time in Brisbane was more productive than being back in Shanghai. I've been such a slacker since coming back (and even before I left). I need peeps to keep me on my toes!