Tuesday, January 29, 2013
back from Australia
I wish I knew how the world works. Everything from big things like getting a day back by crossing the international date line, down to small things like why suddenly one day my dog becomes a farting dog, where as before she was just so freaking perfect. Those of you who know me know how hard it is for me to say that on the internet.
I can't say I'm really all that interested in traveling, though I seem to do it a bit... I love to be at home in my thermal underwear looking out the window and thinking about ... myself I guess. But a good adventure makes for better perspective - something those of us in this issolating business often need more of. I have a girl named Ruby to thank for it all. She gave me this book on Australian wild flowers and set the ball rolling on this whole crazy trip.
I never thought I'd go to Australia. There was a point in my life, after a particularly bad bought with anxiety and an unfortunate Ambien mishap on a flight to Tokyo that I vowed to never fly again. Concern for my carbon footprint was a clever foil for my fear. My trouble with airplanes is that you can't get off them when you want to. So on the way to Australia we stopped over in LA for a few days. Luxury problems.
I like LA a lot now, where as before I hated it like a good New Yorker would. At the bar in our hotel we sat next to a hollywood exec ... "I've just been communicating with Keanu..." he hammered into his phone.
In Sydney a few days later Nicolette and I hit the ground running, meeting some of Sydney's best florists, gathering supplies, visiting flower farms, getting a grasp on the Australian flower trade in general. What a whirlwind! We ran ourselves a little ragged those first few days. Maybe thats just the way we like to work I guess, the hustle. Fortunately for us every single person we encountered - everyone we asked for help or advise - was more than kind, patient and generous.
And I hope that in return we gave our beautiful Australian students something useful. Some flower knowledge they craved, some fun, or some encouragement. Everywhere we go we meet so many students who are looking to break out on their own... start their own floral design business, open their first shop. I want to tell them all to jump in! Say to them - You only live once! You can do it! It is of course more complicated than that. Because we're not just talking about playing with flowers, we're talking about livelihoods.
But when you do it, it's hard to imagine a better life. I feel pretty grateful that this flower thing has worked out for me, and for Nicolette. I feel lucky that we live in a community of great designers here in Brooklyn; all feeding from one another, inspiring one another. And humbled to have the opportunity to travel around the world to impart some of what I've learned along the way. I can't say that teaching is something that has come naturally to me, but I can say that seeing others succeed, witnessing that excitement is the most gratifying thing ever.
I need to shut this down before I get more sappy. I must be tired. To all my new Australian friends, I miss you. At night - freezing and huddled under the covers - I watch your sunny, tropical mornings unfold on instagram.
To all the students we met, I encourage you to reach out with any other questions you have via email: sarah[at]saipua.com
A full debriefing on our travels is coming soon on the Little Flower School blog, and Nicolette and I will see you back in Australia next year I sincerely hope!