The other day, I went to Australia on business, as one does. (Now, this is only my third time outside Europe, and I have never been so far away, or on the southern hemisphere at all, so I was reasonably excited about it.)

Through a concatenation of planning failures on the part of various parties, I ended up in Canberra with three more days to stay and no plans of what to do. The current Plan B (or C) had suddenly come to nought due to my guidebook cheerfully asserting that German driving licences were valid in Australia – true – but omitting the fact that you need an official translation into English to go with them (or else an International Driving Licence, in English). I could have got one easily, earlier on, if any of the many Germans experienced in travelling, and driving, in Australia, and to whom I talked about my rather spontaneous plan of hiring a car, had mentioned this interesting fact. As it was, I had just spent several hours well into the night planning the details of my trip for the next day when I became aware of the complication. Having spent another hour or so trying to find ways around it, and failing, I was quite distraught: There I was, in Australia, maybe for the only time in my life, and for the want of a nail, as it were, I was condemned to spend my time in probably the least exciting city of Australia.

Now, I was probably somewhat unfair on Canberra. They are really quite good at monumental official architecture, even though the German in me has to stifle some internal trauma stirring inside to properly appreciate it. (And this photograph of the War Memorial does not capture the whole thing at its best.)

Now, I was probably somewhat unfair on Canberra. They are really quite good at monumental official architecture, even though the German in me has to stifle some internal trauma stirring inside to properly appreciate it. (And this photograph of the War Memorial does not capture the whole thing at its best.)

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They also have one of the tallest fountains in the world there (147 meters). All the more impressive in such a dry place. (Do not be fooled by the green you see: apperently this lushness is unusual even for spring.)

Aelianus, who, unluckily for him, was on Skype at that time, had the questionable privilege of having the situation explained to him, with all concomitant complications and complexities and interspersed with exclamations of utter despair and frustration, via Skype messaging (I had left my headset at home). After making a number of constructive suggestions (such as sending me the link of the Canberra TLM people’s blog, and telling me to visit Mr. Abbot and convince him that what he needs most is to hire me), Aelianus finally said that I just had to focus on the fact that, for some reason, God wanted me to be in Canberra on Sunday – maybe I would meet really interesting people to talk to at church. “I never meet people at church”, I protested, “and how utterly boring would it be to spend my time talking to people when there is so much Australia around to explore!”

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So much exciting Australia all around!

However, the thought gradually sunk into me that, actually, it should be possible to trust in Providence in what was, if you really looked at it objectively, not the single most important and dramatic thing ever happening to me in this life. With some internal grumbling I finally achieved some sort of resignation – most likely, I thought, I would have died in a terrible accident after hitting a kangaroo if I had made the scheduled trip with the hired car. As it turned out, however, Aelianus had spoken in an eerily prophetic way…

To be continued tomorrow.

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