Nicholas Quirke was pulled into the day by an alarm for the first time in over a month. He was so tired from the previous day, week, month, that he felt he needed to have a back up to make sure that he was awake early enough to get to Venice Beach for 8am where he was volunteering to feed the homeless. It had always been his intention to help out but the organisations he reached out to weren’t doing anything Christmas day. So he was delighted and surprised when he discovered his wonderful hosts from the previous evening, were doing just that on Christmas morning. He did get lost trying to find the location but managed to get there for 8. What an amazing, heartwarming and joyous experience. It was really uplifting to see such a tremendous amount of people turn out to help and support the less fortunate. Nicholas worked as a buddy and was taking individuals from food station to clothes and shoe station, learning a little about their lives, Kinner who has lived in a tent on Venice Beach for 3 years articulate, intelligent and unable to get out of his situation, Patrick, Johnny and Bill, fiercely adamant that he was not homeless. Despite the Name badge Nicholas was twice mistaken for one of the homeless. “Do I really look like I haven’t slept in a bed for years!” he exclaimed. It was a humbling morning and he was particularly impressed to see Rene Zellweger volunteering. Nate and Josh kindly organised an invite to the home of another ex-pat Australian, Julie. This was another lovely gathering and Nicholas, once he had FaceTimed the family, enjoyed the company and conversation. He was introduced to Bindi, Julies 93 year old Mother and when they all left she insisted that they come to her apartment and hear her Big Ben Doorbell, this wasn’t before another diversion, when an artist neighbour beckoned them into his apartment to show off his groovy and stylish pad. Nicholas took a stroll on the beach and decided that before eating he would go to the Hollywood sign. He got terribly lost and found himself in Bel Air. The failure of this expedition led him to return to his hotel and get some food. He ate at a 24 hour restaurant off Hollywood Boulevard and had an unconventional Vegan Chilli and quinoa salad for Christmas Dinner. He came back to the hotel, opened the Christmas card from his Mother and Bruce, how nice it was to have something from home,packed his bags ready for tomorrows flight, getting rid of lots of unnecessary paperwork he had accumulated en route. He considered getting rid of his maps but still felt emotionally attached to them and watched several episodes of The Crown. He tried to get his head around the timings of his flight to Melbourne, he would arrive on the 29th but would be losing a day as the time zone was a day ahead of LA, he thought. It was too confusing and he would have to just let it happen. He did think that he wouldn’t be in a position to post anything until he arrived in Melbourne.
“Do I really look like I haven’t slept in a bed for years!” … Obviously yes.
Joking aside, Merry Christmas my dear friend. You are a wonderful person and storyteller and under your grumpy homeless exterior one of the kindest people I have the privilege of knowing
Ahh, thank you Phoebe. And as I once said to Dustin Hofman, ‘You’re not so bad yourself’. XX
What a wonderful day you had, mixing with celebs whilst being mistaken for one of the homeless, this could only happen to you my friend!
So lovely to speak to you yesterday, stay safe on your journey and I look forward to hearing what the Odyssey will bring next xxx
Marvellous day Nick! I so loved that card when I saw it, it had to be you! Safe journey on your next part of the great adventure. Xx