I'm Vlad to meet you
“See you tomorrow,” said my Romanian host as she walked out the front door, leaving me with the key to her house.
I was spending my homestay night in Bucharest alone; an Australian backpacker entrusted with a stranger’s home.
A reverse shock of culture
“A nap? But it’s the middle of the day!”
I adamantly refused my aunt’s suggestion for an afternoon respite.
“I’m going out for a walk.”
I trudged through the empty streets alone, past all the closed shops: A foolish tourist out walking in a 40-degree heat wave.
Topless in Lismore
“Excuse me, this ATM isn’t working.”
“There's another one in the public bar,” said the young bartender, pointing me towards a door.
“Oh, and I think I should warn you - it’s a topless bar.”
“Do you like to sing?”
“No,” I replied.
“Oh…well, there’s a great community choir in Coolum, if you’re interested. It’s a good way to make new friends.”
“Thanks, I’ll think about it.”
How my life fell apart
“Why are you still in your pyjamas?” I asked, horrified, “The movie starts in half an hour!”
I frantically got the kids dressed, brushed their hair and headed out the door.
“But we haven’t had breakfast yet.”
“What…” I spluttered, “have… you… been… doing all morning?”
New Zealand 2008
New Zealand 2006
United Kingdom 2004
Athens Olympics 2004
Beijing to Athens 1994
© 2023 HARI KOTROTSIOS
I acknowledge the traditional Custodians of the land on which I work and live, the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi and Joondoburri people, and recognise their continuing connection to land, the waters and sky. I pay my respect to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.