I had a great weekend away. I flew down to Brisbane and joined a group of women I have known for over 12 years through my links with Australian Breastfeeding Association. This is an association that supports women who breastfeed and promotes it within the community. It is a marvelous organisation that is celebrating is golden anniversary this year.
I was a counselor for almost 20 years and these women were current or former counselors too. We "met" on line via an email group for ABA counselors who wanted to talk "off Topic". We were all on the official ABA email group but we were the ones who were most often off topic- discussing things not related to our work as ABA counselors. So our list mum set up this other email list for us to chat about our lives, husbands, kids, lovers, food, craft, gardening or what ever took our fancy.
Many of us had never met in person when we joined "Buddies" although various state and national conferences run by the association in the time since we formed have enabled many of us to meet up. Sometimes when we travel on holidays we have arranged to catch up for coffee or lunch and have even stayed with each other.
We have become very close over the years and supported each other through a number of terrible crisis and tragedy. 2 women in the group have lost young adult children in car accidents in the time we have been a group and a couple have been widowed. Some of the women have been divorced. Others have had babies and many more have become grandmas. We've built houses, changed jobs, experienced depression, had children marry and and divorce... the whole gamut of human experiences. This group of women have sustained and supported each other.
There are about 50 of us on the list although some are more active than others. Some are completely inactive, others come and go depending on the busyness of our lives. Some comment prolifically, others just read. Me... I dip in and out. Its an amazing group of women. We come from such a variety of different backgrounds. Our commonality is just that we were or are ABA counselors or community educators. Our ages range from early 30s through to mid 60s. We have a range of educational background, professions, financial status, religious faiths. It is interesting to share. Some of them even quilt! Several are my pals on fitbit
Our get together this weekend was facilitated by one of our group who is in the process of setting up a business to run women's retreats and we were her "guinea pigs". It is the first time we have travelled just to get together as a group. 9 of us were in the gathering and we met up in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. We didn't have formal activities most of the time and it was very flexible depending on what people wanted to do. We went shopping, had coffee out, visited a cheese factory, went out for dinner, did some beading, did a session on mindfulness, went in the spa, went for walks and generally just hung out and had fun together. 6 if us were from Queensland, 2 from NSW and one woman flew up from Melbourne
We went out for dinner to a lovely restaurant in Mapleton. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The host (and proprietor) was a real delight. He was very cheerful and helpful and kept us amused all evening and nothing seemed too much trouble. The restaurant doesn't have its own web page but gets lots of mentions on websites reviewing restaurants so the link will take you to them. They do have a facebook page but not much information on it.
|The Retreat Group out for morning coffee at Poets Cafe in Montville. The setting was amazing but we did find it rather pricey ($7.20 for my skinny decaf cap.) and the staff didn't seem impressed that we were just having coffee and no breakfast or morning tea|
|Chatting over coffee|
|Rikki, our facilitator on left with a member of our party|
|Beading workshop. We made a very simple necklace which was lots of fun. We all wore them that night when we went out to dinner|
|My necklace in progress|
|Rainforest walk. Just beautiful|
Rikki is planning a retreat in NZ at the end of the year. I would love to go but initial discussions with my husband aren't looking too promising but we can but wait and see. It looks so good. Sigh. Guess I can put it on my "Dreaming" list. Doesn't it look great? I would love to do it