Friday, October 12, 2012

In praise of excellent cousins:

My mum's sister's kids -- my cousins -- have always been hugely important to me. Growing up, we saw each other (at most) a few times a year. But no matter how long it'd been between hangs, it was always easy to jump right back into intense fun mode when we were together. We got up to the coolest shenanigans: floating down rivers, climbing trees, making art, going on bushwalks, building shelters, eating marshmallows around bonfires, and playing endless games in which some aspect of a latest favourite book would actually come to vivid, reenactable life.

We all have very different personalities, but we share some crazy family similarities, too. Yet somehow, neither what we have in common nor what we don't has managed to get in the way of our friendship. As we grew older, the girl cousins (my sisters, Andrea and Lauren, me, and cousins Fran and Elizabeth) exchanged letters, emails, and delirious LiveJournal comment wars (RIP, oh frenzied days of LiveJournal). These days, our lives are fuller and our correspondence skills aren't a speck on what they once were. We get to catch up in person only rarely. But Fran and Bette recently came to stay, bearing with them husbands and babies, and their time here proved that the bond of awesome is just as real as ever -- maybe even better than before, because now there are extra cousins-in-law to join the fun.

I was a terrible documenter of the action, and only managed to start taking pictures (other than instagram snaps) halfway through Bette and Brent's visit -- which was, sadly, after Fran and Josh had to head home. But these shots are from an evening Bette, Brent, baby Andrew and I spent in the city.

Except for my lack of directional skills and my bordering-on-miraculous inability to find the Southbank markets (stuff was rearranged for the Brisbane festival; I promise I'm not a total fruit loop), the whole evening was kind of perfect, really: the lightest Spring breeze, finding the best possible parking space, and then wandering through Brisbane loveliness. We bought delicious booky things at the State Library bookstore, then caught the Sculpture is Everything exhibit at GoMA (more pictures to come) and made our own paper birds as part of Fiona Hall's Fly Away Home installation.

Afterwards, we shared a plate of turkish bread and dips at The Library Cafe, where we found ourselves seated just in time for a delicious hour of Spanish song, poetry, and drama. Live performances in public spaces are very cool.

Once it was dark, we trundled through the Brisbane Festival's fairyland of paper lanterns. It was pretty magical; I felt about six years old. Then we discovered that we were just in time for the laser and light show on the river. Without realising it, we had stumbled into a pretty great spot for watching the show, and while we waited for the action, we took pictures. Bette and Brent make an adorable couple. I make... seemingly drunken air quotes.

After the light show, we quarterbacked our way through the hordes of people and trawled Little Stanley Street in search of the perfect dinner. We made it into a science and spent probably an hour perusing all the store-front menus for the most enticing meals. We finally settled on French cuisine only to discover that there was a forty-five minute wait for our table. So we moved to our second choice -- from glamorous provencal to hearty burgers -- and ate at Beastie Burgers instead. It was so good. The burgers were a fresh, gourmet take on the traditional, delicious and super-filling. Hand-cut wedges and creamy milkshakes (Bette had dark chocolate Lindt and I had -- get this -- tiramisu) were also amazing. I made a mental note to take my dad there, as he is definitely fond of a good burger.

It was the best no-fuss seven or eight hours I've spent in the city in a long while. Thank you, beautiful cousins, for enjoying this lovely place with me.


  1. It was a joy to relive the evening - and the whole visit - with you via these lovely words and photos!! Thanks! Mmmm... I can still taste that milk shake... I love your posts :-)

  2. Loved reading this - you write so well, and make me feel like I was there too... it sounds like you had a great time, and the Brisbane festival looks incredible... what fun, and so lovely when visits with family that could potentially be so-different-to-how-you-remember-them-and-thus-disappointing, turn out to be amazing! :) Poor Andrea missing out though... I feel for her... especially as I'm aware that you and Lauren will be living it up with my sister soon and having a bit of a Carey/Glen thing happening! Wishing I could be there won't stop me hoping that you all have a fantastic time though. :) xo

  3. Wow, what a beautiful post! So glad you special peeps had such a great time together. Lovely pics, especially of the adorable couple.
    I totally remember LJ days - ahhh the memories.
    And I love that you are responsible for introducing me to your beloved cousin - and one of my bestest friends :-D

  4. So lovely! I'm starting to look forward to December and hope our time together is as much fun and as chilled as this visit sounds. :)

  5. Oh, how fun!! Cousins are a sweet blessing in life. I'm really close to several of my cousins now and one is like an older brother to me in some ways. I'm glad you had a fun time with yours!

  6. Those lanterns look amazing! The people aren't too bad either ;)


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