Hillsborough Cemetery

Don't forget I've been away for nearly 2 weeks so could really do with a few emails from home. Just hit the "Send Molly an email" tab on the right and drop me a line!
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Duke Homestead Tobacco Factory

This place looks a little different from its contemporary equivalent!
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Looking around Durham

Today I went exploring in Durham and Orange county I was again luck with a lovely cab driver today, Ezana from Ethiopia. He was very generous driving me all over the place and waiting for me to finish immersing myself in the vibe of each place before heading off to wherever else I wanted to go. I visited Bennett Place, where Generals Johnston and Sherman met to negotiate the largest surrender of the American Civil War. The timber on the buildings was amazing, but better still, they were doing an information session for some school kids so I tagged along and listened to the "pretend" Confederate and Union soldiers talk about how it was for the soldiers "on the ground". Then both guys loaded their "old school" guns and fired them......the noise was deafening! The soldiers were expected to be able to fire three times a minute and given they had to prime, ram and cock their guns before firing...this was a pretty big ask! I then headed off to "Duke Homestead and Tobacco Farm" the first tobacco farm in this area (which made the Duke family a lot of money). The homestead is now owned by state of North Carolina and I must say the site is beautifully maintained. It's incredibly quiet (apart from the birds singing in the trees) and as there weren't many people around I felt like I was walking around in the 1860's, a lovely gentle feeling about the place that was augmented by the undulating landscape, green pasture and surrounding forest. I'd sort of forgotten what green grass is like (given it's been so dry at home), so I took off my shoes and walked around in the paddock (I guess I should say field) in my bare feel, which was a real treat. Finally I headed to the Orange County Museum, which was quite a drive from where I'm staying. The museum itself was pretty small, but out the back was an amazing cemetery filled with gravestones from the American Revolution and beyond (it was established in 1757). Those of you who know me well, know how much I love spending time wandering around cemeteries immersing myself in the stories that lie there, just beneath the ground. Some of these headstones were huge and some tiny. Some remembered people who died as elders, others as wee children (one little fellow was only nine hours old), but the wonderous thing about the place was it's peace and tranquility, though just behind the main street of Hillsborough, it was quiet, green and had a gentle energy about it. The thing that impressed me the most........there was a children's playground (belonging to the Presbyterian Church) in amongst the graves. Wow.........an organisation on my wavelength! It was a shame that the kids weren't there today, but I've attached a photo so you can see how inspired the idea is! That's it for now, I'm off to Duke University tomorrow and sure I'll have heaps to relay in my next entry!
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Mr. Moe , Christian and Margret the Aussie

I've been so lucky with the people I've met so far! The folk at the Society for Arts in Healthcare were wonderful! I met up with a fellow Aussie, Margret Meagher who is organising an Arts in Health conference in Australia for November this year in Port Macquarie at the Glasshouse. Margret has managed to "snaffle" a number of 'movers and shakers" in arts and health to present at the conference including Naj Wikoff, Mike White and others. I'm hoping Sandra Bertman will also come (and maybe we can find her an appletini!) Of course "Four Funerals in One Day" is also playing at the Australian conference so people who attend will get a chance to meet my gorgeous friend and playwright Alan Hopgood and the wonderful cast (who are always so giving of their time)!
In addition to meeting the board of SAH, I met the Chair, Jill Sonke (who I will spend some time with in Florida next week) and Betty Haskin who I am meeting with at Duke University in Durham later this week). I don't want you to think it was all work and no fun, cause those arts people sure know how to party. I saw a wonderful performance from Julia Sweeny titled, "God said Ha" (Julia used to be on Saturday Night Live here in the U.S). The one woman show was at the University of Buffalo.I also met an expat French artist (he's actually from Brittany) who lives in New York, loves fine food and has a real taste for cognac, Christian Le Gars. I must say, as all good Frenchmen, Christian was a bad influence........."there's always room for one more cognac"! His work is amazing......intericate prints and watercolours. He uses copper plates to engrave his prints that are so detailed, it takes him weeks to just prepare the plate before he can start the printing. I must say it inspired me to start painting again (in my spare time!!!!)

Now to Mr Moe. When I wanted to go up to the falls, the guy at the hotel said he'd get me a set price taxifare (otherwise you can get to the other end and be up for heaps!). So I said "great" and half an hour later "Mr Moe" arrived. A happy, jovial, extremely informative man who couldn't do enough to help me. He drove me around Buffalo and showed me the sights en-route to the Falls, found out how I could get over to Canada and left me at the entrance with his number to call when I was ready to come back to town. So I did my thing at the falls and gave him a call on his mobile when I was heading back over the bridge. I waited in the appointed spot and he was there in no time. On the way back to the hotel we talked as he drove me past places he thought I'd be interested in (of course he asked me if I was in a hurry first). He was happy to stop outside old buildings so I could take photo's and filled me in on the history of Buffalo. I think I learned more from Mr. Moe than anyone else I met (about Buffalo, I mean). Then the next day he picked me up to go to the airport to fly here to Durham. I told him I had plenty of time, so he took me to the War Memorial and past some of the churches I'd missed the day before. He was happy to sit and wait while I looked around and then filled me in on all the details when I hopped back into the car. What a nice man! It can be a scary thought travelling in countries you don't know, but when you meet up with a genuine man like Moe who just wants to chat, show you his town and make your stay a good one, it makes you feel really grateful for the goodness in human nature. So anyone heading to Buffalo..........hail Moe and he'll look after you (email me and I'll give you his number). All round to date I've been lucky, Moe, Christian, Bonnie, Meg, Margret, Sandra, Naj, Stuart, Killie, Betty, Joan et al you made my stay on Buffalo extremely memorable! Now for the next step.........on to Durham. Over and out (oh by the way, missing home and family and all the gang at NWMRPCC.........and my state wide palliative care pals, but will have lots of info to bring home). Carpe diem!

Photo of Moe "the guy in Buffalo who knows where to go!'

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Niagara Falls and Molly goes to Canada!

Even though Canada wasn't on my itinerary, I crossed the bridge! It was actually very easy to cross over from the U.S into Canada. I'd always seen Niagara Falls on telly and thought it looked pretty good, but had some reservations. I'm so glad I went! It was truly amazing and the sculptured gardens and walkways on the Canada side were beautiful! The metaphysician in me really connected to the movement of the water, the foam and froth and the water spirits who you could see quite clearly if you looked hard enough. I was astounded when the boarder immigration man told me that only 25% of the water now goes over the falls as 75% is diverted to the hydro plant. I tell you, you wouldn't want to fall into that water......apart from it being FREEZING, it's so rough........all white water and there are memorials everywhere to people who have drowned trying to save others who have fallen in! Needless to say I hung onto the rails and NEVER got too close to the edge (my beloved would never forgive me if I ended up on the U.S news for being dragged from the falls as a water-soaked, irresponsible Aussie!)On my way back to wait for the wonderful Mr. Moe (more about him later) to pick me up, I heard a rustle in the bushes and looking closer saw my very first squirrel! I spent ages sitting on the grass with them running around me, stopping, looking and then chasing each other up and down trees..........it was truely wonderful! So if you get a chance, go and see the Niagara Falls and spend some time in the nature reserve on the U.S side and you too may be able to play with a bunch of squirrels!
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Me engrossed in my meditative artwork!

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Society for Arts in Healthcare Conference

So it wasn't all dry research at the conference, we had fun too!. There were some amazing presentations and keynotes on everything from healing architecture to managing the "silo's" in health care, role delineation and creation of true interdisciplinary approaches. It seems that world wide we are still struggling with the issues around silos of disciplines, whether they be health or arts disciplines. In my view, we just need to get over ourselves and start working together for the good of our patients.........it doesn't matter if it's the doctor, nurse, music therapist or artist in residence that the patient chooses to talk to, so long as all our patients have an opportunity to talk to SOMEBODY on the team and have their fears and concerns addressed. I always thought that was what interdisciplinary care was all about.......looking after the WHOLE person, and working together as a team, supporting each other...........but maybe that's just me being niave? I hope not!

On a different note, I have met some wonderful people over the past few days. People from a range of backgrounds doing wonderful, innovative things to improve the lives of their patients. Programs incorporating residential artists working in dementia units, arts programs in paediatrics, creating healing spaces........buildings that actually encourage health and relaxation, use of gardening programs, the arts in psychiatry, spirituality and the arts, poetry and storytelling. WOW, it has really been exhillirating! There was so much wonderful stuff, but I must say, the process of creating my own mask (picture attached) was fantastic, however it left me with a problem.......how could I get it home (as plaster is just a little delicate), so I wasa talking to a lovely girl who worked at the hotel who did voluntary art support in her daughters school, so I gave her my mask and so I'll leave a little of myself in Buffalo!
Before I sign off I must add that I did two amazing workshops, one on storytelling with Fran Yardley which for me (with my counselling hat on) challenged some of the focused story interventions that have been past practice and gave me an insight into not only the capacity of us to change the impact of our personal stories but the facts attached to them, and that was really liberating. I also did a marvellous workshop with Lisa Horlien from Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Centre, that involved a guided meditation followed by a practical art expression exercise. Given that there were about thirty people in the workshop, once the meditation was complete and people began to work on their art pieces, you could hear a pin drop! Noone spoke for the remaining hour plus of the workshop as they were all so focused on representing their meditative experience thru their art. I must say I was oblivious to what was going on around me.......a truly cathartic experience!
The conference finished with a lunch and concert. A classical performance by Len Horovitz followed by an amazing band called Babik who played sort of gypsy swing music. Half way through the set, the guitarist and vocalist (Stuart Fuchs) pulled out a didge, and I must say my hackles went up a little (never been real keen on non Aboriginal men playing the didge, especially if they don't "get" the sacred nature of the experience for all)..........but I must say, my apprehension was soon soothed as Stuart performed a wonderful piece and was extremely respectful of the process. Even though I'd only been away from home for a week and a bit I actually got a bit teary!!! It drew me back home........it still is the "wide brown land for me". Stuart hopes to visit Australia in the near future, so I'd love to hook him up with my friend Jeremy Donovan so he can get a real feel for the Aboriginal culture. But that's another long story, for now I'll sign off. Tomorrow I'm off to North Carolina.

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Society for Arts in Healthcare Conference starts

Well I'm into day two of the SAH conference here in Buffalo. Had a great day yesterday hearing about how people have created partnerships to get their arts projects and hospital programs up and running. Had a great evening with the grief and loss guru, Sandra Bertman on Tuesday night and we both indulged in our first "appletini" which for those of you who watch "Scrubs" will know is "J.D"'s favourite drink, but BOY it packs a punch! It was fantastic to have Sandra to myself for the evening and we talked a lot about the similarities and differences in provision of bereavement services and grief and loss education between Australia and the U.S. Today's presentations have been many and varied, but was inspired by Shaun McNiff who spoke about mainstreaming arts programs and education and I had a chat to him about "Four Funerals". I'm very impressed with the range and scope of projects and programs running here in the U.S. Some health services have artists in residence working with both adults and kids, which is something I'd love to explore further with my palliative care pals when I get home. I had lunch today with the "Spirituality Special Interest Group" and was able to boast about the work we have done in the North and West via our "Who Am I?" resource (well I didn't really boast, but people were very interested). I'm off tonight to a reception and theatre performance, so will have heaps to add to the next entry. In the meantime the temperature has started to warm up, today it was about 7 celcius, but is supposed to get up to the high teens by the end of the week. Photo is of Sandra Bertman and I with our "appletini's"!
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The M & T Bank building, Buffalo

The M & T Bank in Buffalo.
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Arrived in Buffalo

After 24 hours in a plane I finally have my feet back on the ground! Well it's been a long and arduous journey to go from one side of the world to the other! I left Melbourne at 10 am and arrived in Buffalo New York at 1230 am the same day, even though I'd been travelling for over 24 hours.........how bizzare! No wonder I got into bed and slept for a solid sixteen hours, in fact the only reason I woke then was because the phone rang! The weather has been a bit of a shock too. I thought it was cold at home as the temperature in Melbourne had dropped to 16-18 degrees C, well here it is about 2 degrees celcius, pouring rain and a howling wind that cuts a hole in you as you walk don the street! The people however are very friendly and I met a number of fellas who are here on a seminar who filled me in on some of the local history and we had a great chat about the importance of personal stories, so its great to know that other people are as interested as I am in people's stories. I hope to head off to Niagara Falls tomorrow so will have some photos to upload next time round. In the meantime, here's a photo of the M & T Bank building that has a dome of guilded 23-27 carat gold leaf, that cost $500,000 to restore in 1998, more than the cost of the original building!
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The count down is ON!

Finally the countdown is on to my departure on my Churchill Fellowship. The last few weeks have been incredibly hectic, what with finalising things at work and handing over what needs to be done for the North and West Metro Region Palliative Care Consortium to the incredibly efficient Kerrie Chambers (who will be picking up a load of work in my absence), in addition to packing, planning and quaffing in preparation for my departure! This last week has been particularly busy as we had a wonderfully successful performance of our play "Four Footprints (otherwise known as "Four Funerals in One Day") yesterday at the Hume Global Learning Centre in Broadmeadows, attended by around 100 local community members and last Sunday a wonderful "going away" party at our place in Inverloch. The party was rowdy and creative with all in attendance dressing in theme with the countries I am visiting on my Fellowship. We had ( among others) lots of cowboys, a Super Trouper, a porn star, the Statue of Liberty, Pamela Anderson (most impressive!), French painters and eccentrics, Moulon Rouge dancers, Dame Edna, Indiana Jones, a four month old prisoner from Alcatraz, a very attractive Druid priest and of course the Queen was in attendance (I must say, she was so convincing half of the attendees didn't realise it was me!)! But now I'm at the "pointy end" and sitting here typing away after making last minute alterations to newly acquired "cold weather" gear, with only the packing and the instructions about how to upload photos, skype and navigate international airports to go! So for now to you all it's au revoir and please keep in touch while I'm away. I hope to get a post up here every couple of days so you will all know what I'm up to, in the mean time, look after each other! Carpe Diem!, Molly
(The attached photo is of Queen Molly and my good friend Suzie (The gorgeous French woman)

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Four Funerals thrills Mildura!

“Four Funerals in One Day” played to an audience of over 200 people on March 6th 2009 on the opening night of the Mildura Arts Festival The performance organised by Bertilla Campbell and the team at Sunraysia Community Health Services Inc. and was generously supported by a number of service clubs and local businesses. Alan Hopgood and Molly Carlile facilitated a spirited Forum after the performance and the audience were then treated to a sumptuous supper accompanied by local wine and lots of community conversations. The cast mingled with the audience members well into the night, sharing laughs, experiences and anecdotes. A wonderful night was had by all and Bertilla and her team are to be congratulated on the success of the event. Amazing what an enthusiastic, passionate palliative care team can do with the support of their community!

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