A tale of two cities

It’s not London and Paris during the French Revolution but Melbourne and Sydney going through a very different kind of sudden and great change with the COVID-19 Delta variant unleashed in our communities. While I am hopeful Melbourne can get on top of this latest incursion, I fear it may take Sydney a while longer given the number of cases in their community. No one wins either way while borders remain closed and citizens locked down. I can only look forward to the time when Australia is once again open internally and externally.

Melbourne Connect – womin-djerring (come together) open air oculus garden

Prior to lockdown 5.0 I had been busy. I didn’t post last weekend but I was so proud to see Ash Barty win at Wimbledon to cap off NAIDOC week – she is an absolute star. I also watched Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra during that week – the incredibly moving story of the three Page brothers who created Bangarra Dance Theatre (now in its fourth decade). While I have posted about Indigenous Art Centres before, the Design Files have published a great list if you’re interested in supporting local communities and artists. With so much time spent at home this past 18 months, many of us are seeking inspiration in our home environments and a connection to our country and First Nations people.

Melbourne rooftop views from my office

The latest outbreak has indeed struck close to home with the Banyule City Council office and other locations in Greensborough now Tier 1 sites so it will be incredibly important to support our local community once we’re out of lockdown. I’ve been pleased to see Asian grocer In Plenty on Lower Plenty Road and had been interested in attending the Fable exhibition at Sanctum Studio in Greensborough featuring the work of artist Jessica Page (I have one of her original artworks from my time as publicist for The Light Factory Gallery) and photographer Melanie Faith Dove. It’s quite Alice in Wonderland and I hope they extend the show – it’s been inspiring to see such imagination at play.

Image credit: Banyule City Council (supplied)

There is a follow up Rediscover Banyule survey being run by my friends at council if you have time (don’t we all at the moment?) to complete by this Sunday – there are 10 hampers worth $100 to be won so a good incentive and you might just discover somewhere new in the ‘hood to visit. I hope this time passes quickly for you given how fast this lockdown came on – I don’t think any of us have had time to process it, which is probably a good thing – we just find ourselves here in all too familiar territory.

Mr Rosanna setting up at home

As for me I’m not taking the past few weeks since lockdown 4.0 for granted, we were able to go on a regional trip and some how, some way I was able to hold a private dinner party at home last weekend to celebrate my birthday after my actual day was a non-event due to family illness. Yes, that’s right – I had 10 of my closest friends and family over to our house where I had food by Luckman Catering who did an amazing job (although I did feel for the chef Brad who cooked everything outside under our carport in not-so-balmy less than 10 degree weather).

Me with some of my besties – Nik and Mylinh

Mr Rosanna and I spent last Saturday madly rushing around to Dan Murphy’s Alphington to buy drinks (staff provided excellent suggestions/advice), I picked up some beautiful flowers last minute from French Blue in Heidelberg and had ordered a cannoli cake earlier from Pelligra Cakes in Greensborough. Mr R was also on music duty helping me compile ‘Dinner’ and ‘Dance’ Spotify playlists in the 48 hours prior to my event which was well worth the effort in terms of atmosphere and given my girlfriends and I danced until after midnight. It all seems like a dream now and I feel incredibly grateful for having been able to sneak it in, especially given the amount of birthdays, weddings and other celebrations that many people I know had planned for this weekend.

Jules and I still dancing all these years later

I am a glutton for punishment as I had my second vaccination booked last Sunday morning which I couldn’t shift (and didn’t want to despite having a party the night before). I am now in the words of my Dean and CEO Professor Ken Smith AO ‘older and Pfizer’ and while my side effects were minimal with the first jab, I was not so lucky with the second. I went down on Sunday night with a headache, aches and pains and general wipe out spending two days home unwell in bed. I did make it into our new office at Melbourne Connect on Wednesday where I got to marvel at the views from my desk, grab coffee from Wild Timor cafe (who also have an outpost in Heidelberg West) and ramen from Raku ZEN Simple Japanese for lunch before we went into our fifth lockdown.

We may be in lockdown but it’s important to exercise and socialise (virtually) if you can and try to keep your spirits up or immerse yourself in something creative/relaxing. My friend Nik who is a yoga teacher has sent me links to Tara Talks – some online guided reflection by Buddhist teacher Tara Brach. You may enjoy this one on ‘Savoring as a Gateway to Happiness‘. This time will pass (and hopefully quickly) – we are stronger and more resilient for it and I hope in future, we can look back on this extraordinary period and know we were part of history, including writing our own as people. We can’t change the who, the what, the when or the why, but we can definitely control the how and it’s the how that defines who you are as an individual and your character. All of us have been affected in some way by the pandemic – it’s how we deal with it that counts. Keep going my friends, keep going.