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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Tabytha Towe Diaries
"Writing, like life itself, is a voyage to discovery." -Henry Miller

A Long Farewell to Oz
Tabytha Towe

Landing in Australia I knew immediately there was a special voyage ahead of me. I didn't expect myself wanting to be there longer than nine months, maximum. I already had my flight booked for home by a specific date! But that was back then..... 
Pic: Tab & Gil

Today I get to write about my precious time spent in that wonderful world downunder, for what now seems such a short encounter, even 15 months down the road. I learned quite a few things that I never contemplated ever needing to know before. Unbeknownst to myself (or him) I got a lovely boy that's a year strong and cannot wait for when we shall meet again on the same waters. I witnessed stunning scenery, forestry and oceans that mesmerized my eager eyes. I get to hold on to Australia with fond memories, at the things I may have leapt at, the places I may have wept over, and the friends I have kept in my heart.

There is always this heavy feeling left weighing in your gut when you leave a place you love, you always wish you could have stayed and explored more. I have learned important points in traveling, as such in life: that you cannot have regrets, appreciate what you have done, never think leaving or saying good bye is ever the last time, and don't plan everything in advance as plans tend to change quite frequently. I have probably said a thousand good byes since I left my home country 20 months ago and sure it fucking stings on each occasion, and there were so many points of no return when I had planned too far ahead when I changed my mind about something. 

Back in Europe and Asia, everytime I left somewhere, regardless of how much I totally enjoyed it, I knew it was happening and was therefore prepared for it, as well as going on to another exciting place. It was less of a blow to the stomach when you had somewhere new to look forward to. However, leaving Australia which became my beloved home I could never have been ready to leave, especially saying bye to the person I love. It just never occurred to me that I had to go, it never really hit me till I got off the plane in Canada. Once more, it was sad, as always, but this time recovering took more than just the aftershock.

Two weeks after my departure and having embraced this arrival to familiar land that now seems so foreign to me, the weight in my gut had at least subsided, for the most bit. Every once in a while though I still get that wrenching gut rock, (and no, it isn't gas, just a little emptiness.) It's not so much sadness anymore, for I know I will go back one day and that I will see my bub again, all in due time. I mean luckily I have trained myself to adapt easily and I'm fortunate to have this opportunity to live in another fantastic, destination. Although that weighing sensation of the 'missing' part makes my tummy grumble sometimes, I know I will succumb to feeling relief too and everything will sort itself out and turn out great, eventually.

I missed a lot of important events in my friends and families lives back home in Vancouver whilst I was away - 5 babies, 2 more pregnancies (in the making,) Four marriages, a divorce, my mother and brother moving, my sister's becoming of age and her debut production, a whack load of artists' openings and shows, all of this stuff that's a BIG deal to them and to me. - So of course I felt like a selfish traitor who wasn't there for them as support, help, or to celebrate their joy and success. I acknowledge that one can't be everywhere at once, but it sure does make me feel shit. Sorry guys! 

Guiltily I already miss so many things about Melbourne and Aussie culture now, is that so wrong? I definitely notice the little things, like a rendezvous after work even at 3am when bars stay open late, my boyfriends scent on the nape, the brands of beer on tap, seeing possums squirrel up trees instead of actual squirrels. lLstening to Cold Chisel and thinking the lyrics are wicked, and in the evenings seeing the mystique of bats whispering overhead (which to me was kind of romantic!)

Being in Canada again and it seems so surreal, even the accent I grew up with my entire existence now sounds bizarre to me, like, do I really sound like this too?  I was obviously biased before and today I am more used to Australian accents than my own voice. In Aus I loved it that people thought I had unique pronunciation. For instance people often asked if I was Irish!? What, with my boring and nasal voice? Thanks for flattering me (stupid,) but it was nice to think that others thought my accent was exotic, as if a novelty at times. Now I'm bloody ordinary again.

Actually, I am in Canada but not yet even home. Allow me to explain; Due to my guilt and lust for change I decided to come to Toronto, Ontario, first, about three provinces away from my hometown. *In editing this article, I later confirm that I have been away so long that I surprisingly know more of Australia's states and capitols and even where the Great Dividing Range is and between what sea the North lyes on and whom founded New South Wales when; yet I forgot that Ontario is in fact 5 provinces over, east of British Columbia, the ground where I damned well lived for 24 years. Oooppss!

* Reason for coming here when people were asking me to come back to Vancouver, B.C. Hmmmm, pretty easy. I still have a hefty debt on my credit cards from Europe back in 2007. Unfortunately they can catch me here as well, so I'll have to face that music sooner or later, (more like a violin at that stage.) Low and behold, the main event was that one of the weddings I was away for was of a close friend (no offense to the others I missed) and she had moved here with her husband. Thus, I decided I should stop by on my way to Vancouver and surprise her. Her husband and I had sneakily started this operation behind her back a while ago and gratefully with absolute success. I was impressed he kept his end of the bargain, holding a secret such as the likes of myself showing up on your doorstep can cause dangerous reactions...hers was magical. 

Admittedly I wasn't so ecstatic the first few days, I was lethargic, emotional, had flown for over 36 hours from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi to Canada and hadn't had any fresh air for the duration. I was pretty miserable and tired and I wanted my boyfriend with me. But to see an old friends happy face was worth while the trip. It's nice to be re-united. One week in I had alas dried my eyes and seen potential. Hence, I have officially taken upon decision to stay here for more than just a short visit. I'm going to make the effort to make Toronto another, new home.....for now.

Toronto is quite different to Vancouver in many aspects, ie: the wind here is atrocious. You have to watch your skirts ladies! Everything here still seems so nostalgic to me. This sensation is hard to determine, often between thrilling and confusion one could say. (Forgive me I'm still in a head space of being somewhere else across the continent.) Both being huge cities means they have much multi-culture and business, they are busy and bustling with life, but here has a bigger night life (thank goodness!) and Vancouver has more water and mountains, I find. For instance, Vancouver has overhead "sky trains" and Toronto has "street cars", which is annoying because every car is on the street so that kind of seems like the same thing (would prefer to call them "street trains", makes more sense.) In Melbourne, as fore- mentioned in previous pieces, they are called "trams". I don't know who came up up with all of their titles but "sky train" sounds self explanatory at least.

Toronto doesn't seem to be affected as badly by our recent battle with recession as Vancouver apparently does this moment. I know it will be hard for me to recognize aspects of it when I finally do return home -for however long and whenever that will be. The economy will be high and low with the roller coaster affect, the infrastructure will have drastically changed, there will be new transport systems and more expensive condos in development and renewed lanes added to the relinquishing "Sea to Sky" highway for the goddamned Winter Olympics coming up! (I know the renovations and changes will make some things safer and better our real estate eventually, but I preferred it when it seemed like the place I grew up in.) 

Also, my social, domestic and work life will be unfathomable. I was into working hard at my jobs every single day, riding my bike, going to yoga, staying up late, walking my family dog at the lake, having tea at friends houses, going to shows, paying rent for my own room; all this stuff that will now be all about playing with wee babies, trying to get work, a home, basically finding my feet again, just to reacquaint myself and start over. I will need to work my bastard arse off in order to prepare for leaving again within the year...soon after I have settled back in to a comfortable life again no doubt. Ironically, I seem to have grown accustomed to moving by now, I can't seem to be in one place for too long and rather enjoy the challenge and pressure of re-establishing. Strange how I managed being contempt in Melbourne that whole time, it must have got to me.

I really do want to go to Vancouver and see everyone and give them big hugs and sloppy kisses! Nonetheless I can't wait to browse through my beloved treasures that I have yearned for and earned over the years, like massive boxes full of music and books and films, old photo albums, the art work I had collected, hot boots and gorgeous coats! I cannot hesitate to re-train my legs and balance to skate again, to walk down my favorite streets and bump into people randomly then have coffee and a chat. I know it will be amazing to be home, but I reckon Toronto is a good place for me to be at right now, it suits me. And so far I already have a job lined up at an iconic establishment with 6 venues all very popular and pretty, damned cool! (Thanks fake hubby!)

Regardless of missing Melbourne and Vancouver, friends and family, sleeping on a couch that hurts my back and remaining utterly broke till I gather more shifts, my time here will be absolutely rockin' soon! It only took me 10 days to finally realize it.

So enough of me blabbing about my being in Toronto, there will be more stories for that in future. I am supposed to write about the prior to coming here. Re-cap from the recent, past travels: Sept-Nov 2007 London, Bordeaux, San Sebastian, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Dublin; Nov 2007- Jan 2008 Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand; Jan 2008- April 2009 Australia.

Brief montage of life in Oz:: 

Toured out of a special van appropriately named "Shelby" with an old companion of mine - hung out in Sydney -  drove to Narooma and Maruya eerily adjusting to driving on the other side of the road - from there drove through little towns and beautiful forestry in between - went to Tamworth and begrudgingly lost my drivers license at their annual, country music festival - couldn't find job in Byron Bay and realized I sucked at surfing anyway.

So moved to the city of Melbourne touring back down through the whispering coast - continued to live out of the van around town then at last bedded at mates' houses - went to a couple more crazy, fun music festivals - got a job, lost it after 2 months because season was slow - said bye to fellow companion who was going to Turkey - couch surfed more - suddenly found 2 jobs and worked everyday between 4 venues.Moved into house and even got my very own bed after 8 months of travel without a proper one - finally made some new friends - thought I had cancer and stressed out about near death - met and very shortly after said bye to another companion who was also going to Turkey (common theme it appeared).

Fell in love with him and with Melbourne so ripped up the plane ticket back home - partied and worked a lot of the time - went to more music festivals - went on a few holidays with the beau- stayed in Melbourne for an extra 5 and a half months - somewhere in there went to New Zealand with my brother who visited over Christmas and had an absolute blast with him - cried when I realized my time was once more expiring and couldn't afford another visa to ensure staying - made a list of things to do before I left - gave my farewells to friends over last cheers - kissed my boyfriend farewell crying my face off heart broken - then came to Toronto.

I lived around for a bit,  then finally settled in a suburb called Northcote for a while that was really cute, basically in the middle of High St and Brunswick St that were pretty happening with cool cafes, shops and bars, big music scene too. I had great jobs with great people and had some great flat mates to share my quaint house with. Except that all turned out differently when I met my lover whom I hadn't yet figured out would turn out to be more than a short term fling. I began staying at his house more and more for we slept together almost every night.

Since my place was farther away it cost $25 in cab fare, seeing as how we worked at a late night bar and public transport was over by 12 or 1 am, (when taxi companies charge 20% more,) so eventually I just never went home. Soon enough I got asked politely to move out of the Northcote hub since I wasn't there enough, which in retrospect was totally fair. I was only meant to temporarily live with my boyfriend back in North Melbourne (a suburb very close to the city that I used to live in at one point before.) It was supposed to be just until I found another room up for grabs. Apparently neither of us really had any intention of living without each other, so I made myself at home with him, and yes....his father. Shock, horror.

Now I haven't lived with a parent in six years, so you can imagine it was not what I had anticipated my fate to be in the end, moving my suitcase and surfboard in to a parents house, (the poor surfboard I never got to use much anyhow.) Although I do have to say living with a father and son wasn't so bad. The dad became a friend and he accepted me as part of the family and I am still so flattered and grateful for him letting me stay there. I wish I could have done more for him in return other than a cleaning a few dishes, sweeping the floor once in a while and offering the odd wine here and there, although I did keep his son happy.

There's a bonus for the dads' career which meant he got to go overseas for work 6 months out of the year, which was a bonus for my boyfriend and I to practice having our own space with each other. We do make a good domesticated team, I would live with him anywhere again. And when we weren't playing house, making elaborate dinners, snuggling together watching "Californication" or "The Simpsons" or "The Sopranos" whilst drinking gorgeous wine from the cellar at my work, we would have some outrageous gatherings that included mandatory, drunken debauchery. The games we played were some fan-fucking-tastic times I tell ya! I finally learned the rules of Texas Holdem and am now a huge fan of poker nights. We'd make up card games with stupid rules with harsh consequences and hilarious debate, or even make up games on the spot just for an excuse to hurt each other and guzzle alcohol rapidly, all for a good laugh (remember 'slap/drink', anyone!?) For a while there I don't think I slept before sunset, regardless of work in three hours. I probably shouldn't admit that but I still managed to wing it because I am a professional, even as a tired, hangover case. I certainly devoured a small villages' weight-worth in beer, demolished an entire grape vine of all the wine I swindled, and consumed countless amounts of copious shots! But, I still remember all of the shenanigans quite vividly, and I'll have you know I only fell down on maybe three occasions (that I know of) - Australia turned me into a graceful drunk, ha!

Needless to say living in North Melbourne was a lot of fun and it was also extremely cosy, you wouldn't often want to leave it. The neighborhood, the houses, it's just a good place to be. I even sort of miss in-a-distorted-sick-way, catching the #57 tram into the city. It wasn't great when you had to do it, but now I appreciate it was there. The tram system was exceptionally convenient. Having taken the #57 at least once or up to four times a day I got to see a lot of characters on that route. You don't see nearly half as many homeless or junkies in Australia as you tend to do so in Canada, but maybe that's because we are closer to the border of the USA, so have more street drugs and cheaper drugs and the bums are usually in a closer vicinity together, whereas in Aus they are probably more spread out.Oh yes back to the trusty old tram, where you had to keep your eyes peeled if you didn't want to pay and had to look out for officers inspecting tickets and listen to the junkies coughing or yelling at themselves. Those were the days. Although there were plenty of party nights adrift into the morning, I won't go in to detail of them. Lets just put it that some places became somewhat second homes, these local watering holes were. They became a big aspect of my life in Melbourne in fact, and each place had it's own glory and unique, bar-stool tale to tell. I have raved before how you can go from busy, modern, old, classic, roof top, outdoor, recycled milk crates, hidden lane way, patio, intimate, popular, music, dancing, art; and with famous cocktails, winning wine lists and 20 beer on tap; any thing or any vibe or any drink or any food you want, can all be found in Melbourne's' booming and brilliant industry. I am fortunate I got to eat and drink so lavishly, especially having the opportunity to work in some fantastic venues that taught me a lot in wine and food culture and service etiquette ethics I didn't use in the past. I liked my jobs.Thanks to 'The Deanery Wine Cellar and Restaurant', 'La Vita Buona Wine Delicatessan and Cafe', 'Caboose Restaurant' and 'Three Below Bar'.

One of my highlights in Oz was definitely up North on holiday with my boyfriend. One of a few many trips we made, sooooo glad we did! On our way we dropped by Sydney for a few days and walked along Bondi beach for the annual 'sculptures on the shore' which was an awesome display of artists' sculptures surrounding the sea cliffs. We hopped a ferry and went to Manley beach which is a really sweet island to visit, a good place to live if you love to surf (aint that right my friend). After all that we flew into Cairns and bussed up to Port Douglas where we stayed in an amazing hostel that seemed like heaven, with our own, quaint bedroom, hammocks by the pool, a cheap bar equipped with a sexy Scotsman bartender, we had all we needed to be happy.

In Queensland the weather is always hot, even during the wet season. Due to it's climate this state hosts a lot of agriculture and farming, such as tobacco, coffee and hundreds of variations of tropical fruit. Many Italian families over generations have taken over farming year in and out. We lucked out in the hot season, because right before we left when the more humid temperatures come in, jelly fish and all sorts of stingers come out closer to shore, so the beaches would have been blocked off. Our timing must have been impecable.                                                                                                                                                                      
It was astonishingly beautiful every day we either rode bikes, went to the near by beach that was 4 miles long, sipped daiquiris, slurped oysters, went on hikes, and fulfilled my fantasy to horse back ride on the glistening sand and shore! It was romantic as hell and it was all ours.

We did the Daintree rainforest tour which was absolutely replenishing in every sense. We got to kayak on clear, torquise and yellow rainbowed water, we caught turtles then picniced with old trees silhouetting us with funny dragon lizards running around. With much dismay didn't get to spot a wild Emu or Cassowary (both very large and elegant, ancient birds that gorge on these big, blue berries that eventually make them sick so that they obtain leaving some food for other wildlife, and then they shit out the seeds so that they plant and grow in other areas of the rainforest! Man, nature is so cool.) We did however get to see a couple crocodiles, but they were lazy in the heat so there was no real action, but the boat ride on the river with the mangroves was worthwhile and I was happy the crocs were protected in their habitat. Within a few months three people in Queensland had been eaten however, but that was their own fault really for treading dangerous rivers knowing that crocodiles reside there. Now people are hunting these historic creatures, which sadly is not going to bring their friend back. Mangroves are essentially special, people should never cut them down as they live on the nutrients in the water and help rebuild life, plus they are quite something to look at (despite their smell.)

On another adventure we went on a huge submarine expedition to go out to the wondrous Great Barrier Reef!!!! I was beside myself with anticipation because I am a big fan of coral life documentaries and protecting fish. I was like a fat kid in the candy shop wanting to chase fishys around with a camera in awe. Unfortunately though, my boyfriend and I were a bit too sea sick to scuba dive so we weren't actually allowed to, so we snorkeled on the surface instead. When we got to our first spot my heart kind of sunk (along with my sinking bottom as I am not the best swimmer.) To my shock and dissapointment, there didn't seem to be that much fish around and I hoped it would be much more colorful, swarming with eels and octopi and all sorts of aquatic life forms everywhere.

If that is the largest barrier reef left in the world than I wish we could exploit more of the problems to help heal them and the importance of thousands of specimens survival. The reef tours are good for educating us at least, there is a benefit, but we are also intruding, and how about over fishing, oil spills and pollution, these affect our seas drastically. But it's also global warming and other natural causes that contribute to many creatures getting nearer to extinction.

It was fascinating snorkeling close to a shark, but there was only one, and a small one at that, so it was somewhat alarming to witness this absent coral life I had pictured to be flourishing in abundance. I swallowed a lot of salt water that day and had to fight-swim my way through opposing currents in the sea, I should perhaps take swimming lessons again since the captain was watching me from the boat cautiously, wondering if someone might have to save this silly ducky paddling back through the violent waves.                                                                                                             

*Please don't eat sharks or other, near extinct fish and mammals, there is a thing called 'Oceanwise' where you can still eat sustainable fish for future. And don't litter your oceans, pay more respect as we already dump (pun intended) enough of our waste in there as is! That's all I will say* 

Obviously Queensland I hold in high regard. Noosa, another sea side town on another holiday I went on with my boyfriend and his lovely mother and sister, was also a hot and beautiful and brilliant high light. I recommend both Port Douglas and Noosa for a visit. I could go back 3 times a year, if I could.

Another fond memory was doing a long, awaited wine tour, especially as how I find Australian wines the best thing in the world ever, even especially some of my favorite regions were from Victoria state where I was happy to live in. (Barossa valley still my true love, although it's South West.)

My boyfriend and I pooled money together at Christmas for a gift of wine country together. Eventually the surprise acquainted itself with us after four months of excitement and we were off on a beautiful, sunny morning going through the Yarra Valley. We were very tired and most likely a wee bit hungover from drinking the previous night, but we were in no hurry to shut our eyes or close our mouths to the tastings we got offered from Domaine Chandon of it's famous sparkling wines, where I had let down my stubborn guard of insisting I didn't "do" bubbleys and got convinced to appreciate the divineness of it after so much proclaiming how it just didn't tickle my fancy. Then I opened up my pallet to more fruits of labour like people use in the white grape varietals and I learned that they also weren't poison and enjoyed a glass of viognier and sauvignon blanc (but French chablis is still the only one I can drink three full glasses of, I find whites too sweet for my liking otherwise.) We got spoiled tasting that award winning, sweet riesling all so rewarding, the spicy hint of black currants in my idol of wines' shiraz, from Heathcote, and of course we sampled that yummy, toffee nut flavor of port. We were in glory with the tour all to ourselves and got fed three meals in one day between slowly but surley getting tipsier (we didn't like to spit, it would be a waste you see.) 

However there was a down point during the day that was heart wrenching. Whilst I was in Victoria Australia suffered the biggest bush fires in history that lasted so long due to spreading winds and harsh heat that it killed over 300 people and over a million animals. All because of a few fucking assholes that were pyromaniacs that started the whole thing on one house, not knowing they'd create a complete massacre across the countryside! Ironically after the fires were completely out, soon later there were a few big floods. Where was the rain during the time it was needed most? Mother nature must be mad.  

Driving past some of the devastated areas where the fires hit, on one side out of the window you could see farm cattle and sheep grazing, green grass and barnyards; on the other side out of the window though, as if the flames went in a straight, determined line, there were remnants of trees half burnt and stained black, with no life to speak of roaming around, only smoky scents of soot and silent ash on the once, lively forest or meadow or valley or home. This was one month after the painful tragedy and you could see the horrific aftermath in a wink, but on a positive note, Australian people pulled together for the bush fire relief fund and gathered a lot of volunteers, help and charity money to re-build already, to shelter, feed and clothe victims, to bandage burnt koalas, wallabies and pet dogs running from the flames. Hopefully, over the next few years, people and animals can have their lives back in those areas scorned, be able to re-plant their vineyards or gardens, but it will never be the same.

In the evening we stayed at a historical small town that was the bridging road for gold miners, and we slept at a Bed and Breakfast where seven Priest had died in that house; it was spooky and a dream and I wanted to live in that old character house. When we woke for another wine filled day, this time in the Macedon Ranges, we no longer had it to ourselves but shared the experience with some lovely guests who also shared a passion for "nectar of the gods". Again we lucked out with pure sunshine and splendid wines, and in the evening after a few more tastings and meals, we went home and managed to polish off a full bottle of port in one go.

Before I left I planned to do some very typical Aussie things, like lawn bowling. I combined the fine game with a final, appropriate barbie no less, so we had beers and snags and bowls all in one day, it was glorious. The bar and the strippers was required to end the the evening in great style and poor taste! Thanks guys for the lovely send off!            

I also was frantic to get in some arts culture and was able to view a few galleries and art openings days before I flew off. Of course I had to see another footy game too. It was fun though cold out and the beer kegs were turned off too early so all that was available was Bundi - the most disgusting rum in the world that tastes like chemical cleaner - and no doubt my team lost to a close score in the last minute, (the North Melbourne Kangaroos, whom may or may have not made a private, practical joke, sex tape/music video of a rubber chicken fucking a chicken breast to "Ludacris" lyrics, which may or may not have been leaked to press and made the team look like perverts and gave them a bad reputation. Poor, silly fellas!) Needless to say, Aussie rules is a highly energetic, entertaining sport and like all others is very patriotic. Don't get me wrong I still like hockey and all...

I also had to see a live wombat. That was priority. Considering I'd only seen one as road kill from traveling through woodlands in NSW, I always wanted to see one alive in the wild. If not in the wild then at least at Healsville Sanctuary. I nearly peed myself with excitement and was ready to hop the fence and kidnap the cute, fat little bastard, rather adopt it as my own pet and feed it like mad and scratch it's belly! But I didn't think stealing a precious marsupial, one that has the smartest brain of the bunch, would be too kosher after all, I'd probably get killed for it. Platypuses' and Echidnas' are ancient mammals, the only ones to still lay eggs and have strange web-like, backwards claws. I mustn't really explain my joy for seeing these incredible creatures that  one doesn't get to see in any where else in the world and learn of their survival techniques. Australia certainly does host the most wonderful, bizarre, dangerous and yet cuddly animals, mammals, fish, insects, amphibians, marsupials, birds, you name it, on earth.

My life was really good. I had great work I was rather proud of. I have amazing friends who were always the nicest and craziest bunch to be around! I was in a loving and crazy relationship with a handsome young man who loved me and I him and it was so incredible to live with each other. We had a great thing going and I miss it. Just to kiss his cheek or hold hands, it was sincerely warming. Sleep is not the same without him by my side, and I feel terrible waking without him.                                                                                             
I look forward to all of the experiences I'll have on my own in Toronto, if even lonely without my boyfriend. My new job is brilliant, and already I have gotten to know some of the cities culture by going to an art show, a documentary film festival, a talent show, some really awesome bars, met some rad ass people, what more could I want, this place is full of fun shit to do and see. When I get a bike at last I can ride this city without a helmet, one of the few, different obscurities I will realm in. I am quite excited now to get this ball rolling, except that right now it feels a little like a ball and chain because I am limited financially and still adjusting to crossing the other side of the street, but whatever, money and direction isn't everything and I got it good. 

It's nice to be here, and home is where the heart is, if even in spread out pieces.
Go Kangaroos, Canucks and Blue Jays!
Love and kisses, hugs and misses to all of you in Australia, especially to Gil, with ever patience and arms darling. Cheers for the fun everyone else, you know who you you too.
Cheers mates! xox
Till next time then 

© Tabytha Towe May 2009
tabythat at
Toronto - Desperate Times November 2009
Tabytha Towe
Time flies – like it’s invisible. You can’t catch it, save it, or see it, not until it’s behind you. But at least you can remember it, cherish it and hopefully learn from it.

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