Nine days in Melbourne

I’m writing this in Darwin Airport, awaiting my flight back to Dili. I’ve had a whirlwind few days in Melbourne. Here are some of the things I’ve done:

  • Planned and created parts for a Jam with MSO
  • Led two of these MSO Jams, incorporating some ideas from Ethiopian Mulatu Astatke blended with the Fataluku work chant I learned in Lospalos
  • Finished article for the International Journal of Community Music, and sent off a description of my community music practice with young new arrivals for a forthcoming book publication;
  • Met with the directors of my Australian/Timorese host organisation Many Hands International to talk through my experiences so far, and to flesh out the project outcome ideas in more detail;
  • Several dinners with friends – this was a week of over-eating I’m afraid
  • Attended an excellent one-day conference on Ethical Issues in Research with Refugees and Asylum Seekers
  • Uploaded the final pieces of text and recordings to my new website, and launched it (as of yesterday – hurrah! http://www.gillianhowell.com.au);
  • Stocked up on Timor essentials – DEET-flavoured insect repellent supplies, tuna in freshwater, spices like fenugreek seeds, etc.
  • Attended Tony’s house recital where he performed alongside his chief collaborators for this year. Extraordinary music, excellent company.

It’s been non-stop. It is in fact a relief to get on the plane. I’m looking forward to my return to Timor. I had a slight sense of distraction that I carried around in my head the whole time I was in Melbourne and I think this was a subconscious attempt not to separate myself to strongly from Timor just yet.

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