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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in snibbets' LiveJournal:

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    Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
    9:12 am
    come on by!
    i wanted to extend an email inviation, but my time on the internet is running out. i fly out this afternoon, at 3:40pm to arrive la at 11am, then fly from there at 1 to land in boston around 10:30pm, take the 11:30pm bus to portland where it gets in at 1:25am friday morning and my generous friend will pick me up!

    i'm having an open house (apt) sunday, april 5th, from 2-5. its 49 second street, apt a in hallowell. i have no idea what state the place will be in, but i'll have a proper house-warming party at a later time when i'm situated! its more for the purpose to come see me anyway!

    please feel free to stop by, bring a friend, byob, and then at 5 i'm planning to head to the liberal cup for live music (roger samson and steve vellani)

    hope to see you there!

    my last hours will be spent going for a walk to stretch my legs, its hazy and looks like it could start downpouring any moment.

    thansk for following along. i'll be doing a closure blog i'm sure.

    toodles.....
    9:01 am
    final days down under
    4/1
    i wasnt sure what to do yesterday. there was an offer on the table from the hostel for a free shuttle into the city. i decided even if it was poor weather, it beat hanging out just passing time away. i lucked out as the rain held off. i walked around the city, had a map in my pocket but mostly wanted to just go with intuition. there's so many poeple walking around i never felt my safety was compromised. and there were plenty of things i'd wanted to see. i walked around chinatown, darling harbour, along popular city streets, back to the circular-quay and took a ferry to manley beach. which apparently the ferry was on the news last night for the dangerous ocean swells it was manipulating. my experience with my sea legs had me reeling and enjoying the bumpy ride, while others seemed a bit sick to their stomachs, and afraid for thier lives. i suppose if it was that dangerous, they wouldnt have been running, right? anyway, from the ferry you'll see i got views of the opera house and bridge. i took a ton (too many perhaps) of photos, but its an opportunity once in a lifetime. i also splerged and bought a cd of the aboriginal buskers in the city playing thier didgeridoo. i'm down to the wire dollar to dollar now, even down to the $3 i have to pay to store my luggage between th time i check out 10am, to the time my airport shuttle comes. its fun, in a way. i suppose there is plenty of atms, but i dont want to have to exchange money back.

    last nights dinner was great. negrin and her husband ktrytlan(sp?) are both from iran. negrin will turn 30 this year, and they have 2 young children. they have a superb place in the city, at bondi junction and i took some photos of the view they have. even she admitted its very posh. i didnt find out what he does for work, but she stays home with the kids. we talked some about the faith as that was our common denomenator, but it was quickly realized we had a lot else in common. she and i hit it off instantly. i had no idea what to expect when i accepted the invitation, i'd sort of assumed it was an older couple. it reinstilled my beliefs and was one of the many goals on my list that i accomplished while here; to reconnect with the bahai's. they are very accepting of other religions as well, so i can still study my buddhism. after all, the religions bascially teach the same core values, its just the social aspects that vary. again, down to the dollar, i couldnt show up empty handed, and bahai's dont drink alcohol, so wine was out of the question. i had a $4 budget and after two shops, finally found a plant for that price. so, its not flowers, but longer-lasting! thanks, mom and dad for raising me well. i felt good about presenting something at the door.
    8:50 am
    another mainah, ayuh!
    3/31
    because of the weather forecast i decided to tkae a bus tour which combined bondi beach area with sydney city stops. it was a hop on/ hop off type deal. it turned out to be a good call since it poured rain the majority of the day. i rode the beach part into the city, transferred to the city portion and rode all around, anticipating i'd return to the stops i wanted to explore, but i tried and i was so miserable and wet, i got back on the bus to head home. mind you, even the fact i was wet and freezing from the air conditioned bus, i was impressed with myself for keeping the words of eckhart tolle in mind, "right now, this is how it is. i can either accept it, or make myself miserable. the primary cause of unhappiness is never the situatin, but your thoughts about it." i was disappointed but had to overcome that and had to realize its my only chance to explore sydney. am i going to walk away, bitter at the circumstances, or happy for the opportunity? we create our own perspective. i gave it my full effort and then surrendered to the defeat. i came to the hostel, had a hot shower, and instantly felt better and the misery was soon forgotten. and get this... there's a guy here from newcastle, maine! as fate had it, someone told him the same time and there was knock on my door and it was ben. he's 19 and hoping to extend his stay until november as he's landed a job at the youth hostel. i'm sure if we talked enough, we'd discover we know the same people. he even dated a girl from winthrop, but the age difference didnt connect the last name for me. we both enjoyed talking "maine-ese" and connecting over the sox, celts and other local funnies like uncle henry's. and i feel grounded because now when i'm at the hostel i'm taken by surprise for someone to call out my name. i had gone almost two days without talking to anyone besides the ladies at reception. it felt strange to have a buddy.

    and tomorrow i have arranged to have dinner with a local bahai. i declared myself a bahai when living in tokyo but havent been thorough in my practice lately. i'm excited to meet them but hope they arent disappointed in my lack of knowledge or experience in the faith. they've invited me into their home which says a lot about the bahai faith. extending an invitation to a total stranger. my view of the faith is sharing in fellowship and living out the principles about the independent search for truth, (there is no clergy to tell you what is right and wrong with "god"), and the fact they see all mankind as one. when i was in new zealand and vanuatu i looked up the bahais and they were so loving, kind, and friendly, opening thier hearts to me. this continues that love....
    8:49 am
    3/30
    last nighth i'd planned out my time in sydney, but silly me didnt take into account inclement weather. i've been spoiled by the third sunniest city in the world (perth) that it hadnt crossed my mind to look at a forecast. i'd anticiptated two days touring the city, and two days at the beaches. after my forty minute bus ride to the city, upon arrival at the information center, i was informed its due to rain the rest of the week! i was stunned. the friendly gentleman guided me to some ideas but immediately thought of changing my plan for hte week. i hemmed/hawed about what to do. i spent lots of money and time getting to the city. and its what people expected to hear about, a report of sydney australia! i finally reached a conclusion, thati needed to do what i wanted, and so i hoppped back on the bus to hit the beach while it wasnt raining. later on in the day, i felt so good about myself. i'd questioned my choice of hostels and of how to spend my day monay, but they both felt right, and i revelled in thath self reliance of my intuition. this is the type of thing that builds confidence- experiential learning. i'd compromised that if i try to fit in both beach activities, so around 4pm i unloaded my belongings at the hostel and walked along the coastal trail, both for exercise and views. again, i was pleased with my decision making abilities. on of the best parts was seeing the locals enjoying the wonderful trails. it maade me wonder about what beauties at home i can take advantage of, like the rail trail, vaughn woods, and jamies pond. although not coastal, they still have a beauty of thier own. as darkness descended, i hit the main strip and went to the kebab house. i ordered it to go (takeaway as they call it here) and again ate beachside. it was such a large portion i broke hostel rules nad stored it in my locker in my room for breakfast. oh, i lacked to meantion the girl left the bottom bunk and so i took it over and already the top bunk has been filled. and i'm pleased to report that red sox nation has bridged the south pacific ocean as i've been seeing a bunch of people donning red sox paraphanalia.
    8:40 am
    red sox nation expanded
    3/30
    last nighth i'd planned out my time in sydney, but silly me didnt take into account inclement weather. i've been spoiled by the third sunniest city in the world (perth) that it hadnt crossed my mind to look at a forecast. i'd anticiptated two days touring the city, and two days at the beaches. after my forty minute bus ride to the city, upon arrival at the information center, i was informed its due to rain the rest of the week! i was stunned. the friendly gentleman guided me to some ideas but immediately thought of changing my plan for hte week. i hemmed/hawed about what to do. i spent lots of money and time getting to the city. and its what people expected to hear about, a report of sydney australia! i finally reached a conclusion, thati needed to do what i wanted, and so i hoppped back on the bus to hit the beach while it wasnt raining. later on in the day, i felt so good about myself. i'd questioned my choice of hostels and of how to spend my day monay, but they both felt right, and i revelled in thath self reliance of my intuition. this is the type of thing that builds confidence- experiential learning. i'd compromised that if i try to fit in both beach activities, so around 4pm i unloaded my belongings at the hostel and walked along the coastal trail, both for exercise and views. again, i was pleased with my decision making abilities. on of the best parts was seeing the locals enjoying the wonderful trails. it maade me wonder about what beauties at home i can take advantage of, like the rail trail, vaughn woods, and jamies pond. although not coastal, they still have a beauty of thier own. as darkness descended, i hit the main strip and went to the kebab house. i ordered it to go (takeaway as they call it here) and again ate beachside. it was such a large portion i broke hostel rules nad stored it in my locker in my room for breakfast. oh, i lacked to meantion the girl left the bottom bunk and so i took it over and already the top bunk has been filled. and i'm pleased to report that red sox nation has bridged the south pacific ocean as i've been seeing a bunch of people donning red sox paraphanalia.
    Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
    9:07 am
    bondi beach arrival
    3/29
    the goodbye was uneventful, simon drove me ten minutes to the airport, domestic terminal, and i must say how smooth and easy travelling the australian airlines and airports is. there was never any feeling of guilty before charged and it was through the non existent lines with no problems. i arrived sydney at around 4pm, because we are now three hours ahead of perth. it was a bit daunting to connect with my shuttle to the hostel, the directions were not clear and nothing was marked, but my body instantly reacted to the relief of heading to my destintaion for four nights. the hostel, although large, has a good feel to it even though i got a top bunk! i've always had an irrational fear of falling off and breaking my collar bone or breaking the top bunk and squishing an innocent sleeper below. i took advantage of the daylight and tried to get some bearings on bondi beach, east of the city (but still part of it i believe) i'd planned on grocery shopping but once i got a look at the state of the kitchen (have to pay for cutlery/dishes) i decided i'd budget one meal a day adn since i hadnt eaten yet, i went to the recommended thai place and ate it at the beach overlooking the sunset. not a bad way to end a day of travel. i made use of the few hours of the day i had. quality over quantity. it gets dark around 7, so i came back to the hostel to take comfort in my books, some internet time, and then off to bed, just hoping i could fall asleep.
    8:53 am
    last days in perth
    delinquency on my reports! i'll do best to catch you up to speed... in a nutshell, i'm trying my best fo enjoy my moments, but the harsh reality is that its raining terribly and i'm ready to come home. i'm more of a homebody than i'd like to admit and the romance of travel has worn thin.

    3/27
    i attempted to surprise simon at the pub he wanted me to join he and his friends at, but i was unable to locate it. i'd planned on staying on the island until the last ferry out, but hordes of kids and too strong sunshine drove me out early, plus wanting to meet another one of simons friends i've been hearing about. but the heat and my heavy pack once i got to perth kept me from feeling adventurous. it worked out in the end, as i headed home and had time to sort out my belongings for my journey east. simon got home and helped put finishing touches on the clock i am making (until i get home. its travel-savy now) he wasnt feeling up to buddhist speech, so in true friend fashion, he did his thing and i accompanined a friend of his to meditation.

    2/28
    my last day in perth was beautifully spent. i slept in, simon took me to brunch at the cafe by the beach, and we spent a couple of hours sunbathing before he dropped me home so he could get stuff for tonight's picnic. he didnt get in his afternoon nap,though. napping, by the way, is an acquired tast and takes a bit of a knack to accomplish. i occassionally "allow" mysselt on a weekend or a holiday, but he does it daily! its impressive. its so decadent, but if you feel the urge, do give in to it! you deserve it! after all,its free! arent you worth the indulgence? i think so. :) simon said it was my last night in town so i got to pick the activity and i chose picnicing in kings park like the locals do. come to find out, three people bailed (or as simon calls it piked) and so we had plenty of food for the 3 of us left. understandably he was disappointed. i know firsthand what its liek to organize things and have people decide not to show up. i didnt try to coddle him, i recognized his disappointment and then tried to focus on the positive. personally, the key friend id met was still showing so i wasnt bothered. jacquis presences made the night complete. we joined the other thousands (okay, maybe several hundreds?) of people and then at 8:30pm, the "hour of power" happened. we were expecting a dramatic show of the city turn to darkness, but its was a gradual outage,and only the skyline participated. it was supposedly a worldwide event. did it happen at home? i was thinking if it did, it would be aout 5:30 am your time so that wouldnt do much good to have an outage then! mabye it was saturday night wherever you are. afterwards we went to jacqui's for drinks and stimulating conversation (spiritual). there was no biking in the wee hours of the morning, and no fighting city dwellers for a spot on the dance floor. it was a great night, celebrated true to katy.
    Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
    9:52 pm
    rotto
    3/25
    now that my life is back to the routine in perth, i havent reported as often as when i was camping and touring western australia. days have been spent at the beach and monday night was the outdoor theater at teh somerville and tuesday was the book club meeting over thai food. and after that we went to jackie and colin's for drinks and euchre. i was so excited that they play euchre regularly. i think they had no choice but to greet my enthusiasm with a game. apparently not many know how to play cribbage but euchre is quite a popular card game.

    and today i'm headed to rottnest island what the locals call "rotto". there are no cars (except service vehicles and buses) allowed on the island so i've rented a bike as part of the two night package (hostel included) the ferry ride from perth is quite lovely until we stop at fremantle and hordes of schoolkids embark. they dont respect personal space and my view from the rear is now blocked by a teacher's midsection. she's standing between myself and the railing,which seems very rude to me and i would never see myself able to do the same to another. the kids keep bumping into me without apology and the reason for getting out of the city has followed me. there are too many people for a small space. all talking thier own conversations at shouting level. its apparent to me that i'm overtired and ready to come home. what i may have been in awe of before now has become annoyances. i've been noticing for the past couple of days i've had a short fuse, but i feel defeated now the claustrophobia is almost too much to handle. (and i think im planning to attend reggaefest in sugarloaf when i get home? i hear thats crowds of people as well) `

    7:12pm
    the day's activities are winding down as i sit on the beach near my hostel with my drink of wine. i'm not impressed with this place although i cant complain. the lady at the visitor center was kind enough to give me my sheets for free. what hostel charges for linens? i hadnt expected to pay and so she was going to cut me a deal, but i suppose my kind demeanor was well received because she eventually said "dont tell anyone but i'll just give them to you no charge". i was so grateful i must have thanked her five times before i left. i arrived on the island to find out check in wasnt until 2pm so i biked to the first destiantion, but i didnt have any water on me and my packe was quite heavy (i admit i brought too much stuff as i had high expectations of having a last hurrah being social and going to the local pub) the hostel is a dump and is out of town from the scene. thank goodness i landed a bottom bunk. there are ten beds in the room and one bathroom for the whole hostel. the place is unkempt and i cringe to think about living here more than two nights.
    9:41 pm
    3/22
    today begins my first two days of a true vacation weekend. simon works two 24 hour shifts for his second job, and i have his house to my use (sharing with the otherh 3 housemates but my schedule is my own). mind you, i'm not trying to get rid of simon, there's just freedom when you are on your own. i think most of you, if not all, can relate to that! i cooked myself a vacation breakfast- a huge meal of scrambled eggs w/ veggies, bacon, fried tomatoes, and baked beans. yummy! i did a load of simons laundry and put it on the line before heading to the beach.

    on my way home i stopped at the supermarket; woolworths. this is one of the main grocery stores here other than IGA and cole's. the place was unbelievably packed; you couldnt even get to teh produce section without pushing your way through the checkout lines. it was an unpleasant experience for a country girl who doesnt care for grocery shopping in the first place. it reminded me of the inconvenience in japan. we take for granted the ability to drive to the supermarket, load up our car with provisions, and then drive practically door-side to our destination. imagine having to balance on a bike or white-knuckle several heavy bags while on foot. as i stuffed my backpack i noticed all the city dwellers managing their purchases onto the train, noticebaly losing circulation in their hands.
    Sunday, March 22nd, 2009
    10:21 pm
    a friday night worth repeating
    3/21
    i think this is the first day that i didnt leave the house. although, there was the recent day that the trains werent running so i came back. even though i've been on vacation this whole time, it isnt exactly relaxing when your environment is unfamiliar, so this was welcome down time. the female housemates both had guests while simon napped. i spent my day doing laundry and reading. simon has a point that there is a soothing comfort to hear other voices in the house. especially laughter. and it was all in a different language, so i wasnt distracted from my own thoughts and concentration (although maybe that'd be a good idea at times)

    around 7pm we headed to the buddhist center for 30 minutes of meditation followed by an hour talk given by the monk whose spirit i've fallen in love with, ajram brahm. its evident he's not just speaking words, but that he truly agrees with his entire being what he says. he lives the words. i would love to have an iota of his loving kindness, implement it into my life, and help my loved ones discover it in themselves. i was riddled with joy from the moment he entered the room until the end of the address. just to be in his proximity has an uplifting effect. i found out that sitting in the chairs (few are available) allows me to concentrate better on the talk and my breathing. i know the tingling in the legs is part of meditation, but i'd rather get the message now and work on my technique later. the topic tonight was about buddhist customs explained with humorous anecdotes. i learned why they bow, why they chant, and what the meaning in the statues that represent buddha.

    if his presence wasnt highlight enough for one day, afterwards we went to a lebanese restaurant, recommended by jacqui's friend. none of us had been there and did not know what to expect. it was an instant heart-racing, sensory overload experience! its difficult to replicate that kind of atmosphere. there were mobs of young men (hard to tell if they were teens or in thier twenties) and the blaring noise of fast tempoed music clamored from the building, but the best welcome was the gorgeous belly dancer sounding her hand chimes and gyrating her tummy to the music. i think all of us were stunned by the ambiance. she took turns sharing her abilities around the establishment, and our table was no exception. her olive brown skin and toned body (she was no skinny mini) caught everyone's eyes, and all the while she kept the smile on her face throughout the arduous vocation. who knew that stimulationg aura was a precursor to the delectable food to come. i really thought the previous nights dinner of debbie's curry (she is burmese) would not be outdone, but the cuisine here was scrumptious. i ordered the mixed platter which came with a sampling of lamb, chicken, prawns and beef with a salad and condiments (hummus and horseradish type dish). i was so full and content at the end that i didnt partaek ein the baklava dessert simon, jacqui, and peter shared. i was glad for the restful day beforehand because i ws redy to crash after that high energy ordeal. i'm sorry i didnt have my camera to capture it, but it wont soon be forgotten in my memory.

    there was no fighting crowds to get a good spot on the dancefloor, i didnt worry about the anxiety of riding my bicycle through busy city streets, my feet werent blistered and swollen, and i didnt have to fight to stay awake until 2am at the club. this is my idea of a meritorious evening...
    9:52 pm
    a surge
    3/19
    though i'm on vacation, i was a bit perturbed at sleeping until 9:30am, but later when simon informed me that we were up until 3am, i felt much better. gosh, 3am? i cant remember the last time i made it up that late. going out to the clubs and biking home here in perth was almost that close, but friends at home can attest to the fact i'm first to bed, last one up usually!

    i got to the beach and attemtped to change into my bathers (adapting aussie phrase) when to my horror i discover they arentin my backpack. i play over in my head and i swear i put then in my bag earlier this morning. i laugh to myself and think "of course they're in there". (i have a tendency to panic unwarrantedly). but, they arent in there. its as if a tidal wave of emotion catches me by surprise as i walk in a daze out of the restrooms. on a "normal" day, (if one exists) i might laugh or shrug it off, but the lingering conflict between simon and i is clouding my judgement. what i learned in therapy (gasp) is that i hear things that arent said when people give me feedback/criticism. no, its not voices in my head, its the perfectionist in me placing expectations on myself. so last night i heard simon say "i dont like you" and "you're a bad person", neither of which is true. at least now i'm aware its happening (as silly as it is) and i can battle the tendency to take it to heart. so as i'm doing this,the tsunami of realization hits that i dont know where my bathers are, and why is this happening to me? why me? how could you do such a stupid thing? all this self doubt and deprecation lambastes me. but, instead of the billow crashing down and ruining me, i change the outcome and ride it. thats right. oh look, there's a big wave, here it comes, hold your breath, CRASH its here, open my eyes, im still alive, ha ha ha wasnt that fun. did you see that? and i think, "hey man, thats cool".and i laugh at myself. i went from the verge of a mini breakdown to a comical realization. as if i was going to get upset about something so trivial! i dont even know where my suit is. maybe its in my room. maybe its at the train station where i took some contents out of my pack to get to my books. but who cares? i'm in western australia. the sun is shining. i have my health. my loved ones have thier health. i'm not a bad person! i did a silly thing. so what, i misplaced my bathers. most importantly, i have my sanity (you're thinking not after reading this entry)

    i stay at the beach anyway. i dont have a swim. my day is not tarnished, and i enjoy the now. it didnt live up to my expectations of what i'd planned, but it was still special. how many of us can learn from this lesson! i start my walk back to the train station when i spot simon in his parked car. i suppose its not that much of a coincidence, but i found it a bit strange that i'd run into him in a city with more of a population than the state of maine! he's headed off to run errands and i accept his offer to accompany him. riding a bike around the city may not be my cup of tea, but being the passenger in a car for a tour of the outskirts of town is pleasureable for me. (although he thinks i'm crazy for wanting to) Ikea is a fun place to browse, after all we dont have that in maine, and i get all excited all over again about furnishing my new apartment. i'll save the purchases for when i get home. i find a shirt for AU$.50 at the GOOD SAMMY thrift store. and we get a chance to debrief about our conversation last night. at the conclusion, i'm not feeling like i'm overstaying my welcome anymore, and i think simon is pleased that his chat was well-received.

    we get home in time to quickly change and head to his brother Chris's. have i mentioned that simon has 5 siblings? because lisa lives in england and johno is MIA, this completes the mission of meeeting his family (his mum is a whole other story). chris and debbie are as welcoming as the rest of the family has been, and Debbie cooks the most delicious indian cuisine. thier 18 month old baby is the main event, but first simon and i have a dip in their pool to cool off. debbie's 3 children from a previous marraiage are a focus of my gaze. you'll see in the photos they are beautiful people (maine doesnt get enough diversity). i regretfully inform simon on the way home that i didnt feel i gave them the energy and attention that i had when i met the other members of his family and he admitted he as well was tired. we were glad we had a chance to spend some quality time with them. they really are such soft, genuine, welcoming people. they represent australians well!
    Friday, March 20th, 2009
    6:13 pm
    kings park
    3/18
    i admit i hadnt hurried to visit kings park because i consider myself more of a beach person. after all, most of maine seems like a park to me! boy was i wrong about this being a humdrum tourist destination. the locals are onto it, and seem to enjoy it fully. i loved seeing the businesspeople, tourists, teenagers, joggers, and retirees take advantage of the gorgeous 17 hectare botanic garden. it boasts 450 plant and 17 bird species. in the botanical garden section it is divided into regions of western australia, leading to a tree walk (similar to the prior one but not so elevated). the views of the city are amazing. looking over trees to see rivers surrounding the city. what a contrast for the towering buildings and traffic congestion mixed in with natural beauty. i realized i send a postcard of similar shots home during my first week in perth, not having set my eyes upon this very scene quite yet, and now standing here i feel things have somewhat come full circle. i can even gain my bearings as to where certain landmarks that i have been to are located. its a comforting feeling. the grounds are very well taken care of, and some of the grass is manicured similar to a golf putting green. i was in awe during every footstep along the park. i remember feeling that way about most everything when i arrived, and of course you cant keep that perspective of wonder for an extended time, but today it returned. i hope the photos give you a sense of how serene and stunning it was.

    to get there is quite a long walk, so i went on a mini adventure and hopped on a bus to get there. trying to find which bus stop had route 37 without the map the lady at teh visitor center provided wasnt successful (i wanted to be self sufficient), so to my chagrin i stopped to pull out the map (what a tourist, ick) and with that found it rather handily. there are a lot of bus stops and bus routes! while waiting at the bus stop, i watched a lady in a business suit carrying about ten boxes of personal sized pizza boxes across the street. it reminded me of some of the questions that were posed when i answer the popular question "what do you to for a living". until i saw that image of the balancing act, i'd forgotten: "do you make coffee" and "do you run errands for your boss" and i cant help but wonder if they are basing thier connotation on the book/movie "the devil wears prada". i hope i didnt come across as rude, but i couldnt stifle the laugh upon those inquiries.

    i'd cut my exploration a bit shorter than i would normally have, but this morning i was greeted with "can you cook dinner for mark and i tonight". it wasnt the task i minded so much as the delivery. i'm not much of a morning person and i didnt have my wits about me just yet. so i wasnt very enthusiastic about it then, but needed to get back. there were plenty of provisions leftover from mark's culinary prowess the night before so i pretty much duplicated the meal and had it ready for them when they got home. after dinner we rushed off to drop mark at the airport before simon and i headed to my last night of badmitton (going to rottnest island next week overnight 2 nites). i'm considering adding that to my trunk travelling goodies; a portable badmitton net so when i can find gluttons willing to play- bang! got a net right there/then, no getting out of it! its a problem being the youngest in the family, alwasy searching for someone to play with me. so sad, isnt it.

    after badmitton, we resumed our tradition of happy hour activities (although much later than when camping) and simon was able to get some things off his chest. as with any relationship, when you dont communicate, emotionscan build up and become resentment, bitterness, and frustration. he'd been able to gain perspective from a friend and thus willing to talk to me about what has been bothering him. as much as i try to avoid conflict, i was impressed and proud of him for communicating. and that allowed me to share my point of view and now misunderstandings have opened up a new dimension of our friendship. i'm just so thankful for the opportunity to learn so much about myself AND about relationships. having expectations of people without communicating them will only end in frustration, which eventually builds into other negative emotions. i do the same and so being on the other end of it is helpful to see its really not that bad to express your feelings, even if it causes momentary discomfort. here i am priding myself on emotional intelligence (as opposed to IQ) and yet i have so very much to learn, and its very understandable we'd experience "bumps". i did drop in on his life after six years of keeping in touch, after one year of being friends, not even housemates, in tokyo.

    after wine and conversation, we began working on making a seashell clock, which i'd be hard-pressed to pick a "best souvenier" between the clock and my tan. (the tan will fade but living in the moment its soulful). i was back to childhood development and fighting for my independence. i arranged the shells how i liked them but simon keeps badgering me about style and dorm and HIS IDEAS. hey man, its my creative expression! dont trammel my inspiration! ha ha. i do take his suggestions into mind and each day change some aspect of arrangement.
    6:04 pm
    kiss me i'm iris (not a typo, its my middle name)
    3/17
    happy st. patrick's day! if i hadnt seen a few people in the city dressed in celebratory garb, one wouldnt know its any day out of the ordinary. i like to have an excuse to don something wild and crazy so usually i'm all about this day. i'll just have to make up for it next year. coworkers beware!

    today was a rainy and perfect for doing errands. to keep up with the nickname my dad coined for me; amelda marcos, i bought a pair of footwear. i have to replace those terrible ones i brought with me anyway, and these are a fashion fad i picked up on immediately after arriving in perth. they're similar to a gladiator sandal and probably way out of style for central maine, but i'll just start a new trend. ha ha. they'll make a great conversation piece regardless. i am not a shopper (i consider frequenting goodwill to be treasure hunting), so i was exhausted by the end of four hours. and i went against my motto and looked for trinkets of gesture for people. its hard work finding that right souvenier. i didnt fair well, but i suppose the thought counts for something. when i got home it was decided that we'd have a night at home being marks last evening in town and he'd cook. unbeknownst to mark, simon left so when dinner was ready, we ate without him. as it turns out, understandably simon needed some alone time and to bounce some things off friends. i was content to let him be, but mark wanted to spend time with him, so a couple hours later mark called simon and request he come home. i wasnt feeling well anyway, so i retired early and let them catch up on thier own. i felt a bit uncomfortable with that feeling i'd overstayed my welcome and that my presence was no longer requested. i didnt don green, i didnt drink guinness, nor did i gorge on irish cuisine. sad.
    5:45 pm
    life is a beach
    3/16
    a fairly uneventful day to report much newsworthy. but it was just the type of way i like to spend my vacation; you guessed it- another day at the beach! i'm amused at myself, after the fact, at how protective i am of my space. i was a bit annoyed that mark accompanied me to the beach. how rude am i! i am not berating myself, but its quirky how i long for companionship of friends in maine, yet i want nothing to do with spending time with mark. is it the embarrassment of how little i know about politics, geography, or other countries' customs? i avoid those topics of conversation because i dont enjoy them, and as a result, i am not knowledgeable about them. i guess my strenghts and interests lie more in social and spiritual energies. sometimes i do feel a bit "stupid" and worry about what kind of representation i'm making for my country, and then i remember simon's point that we all have strengths and weaknesses. world politics is not my strength. ensuring others laught is. (of course i almost hurt myself doing the ELAINE dance, and creep some people out with my PAT impression) anyway, we got to cottesloe and he went to the cafe, and i to the sandy beach which meant life for unsociable katy was all good once again. there is a lovely sculpture presentation going called sculpture by the sea, an annual event. i took some photos that i'll post on webshots. there are 50 of them surrounding the lifeguarded area of the beach. i'd put off my errands for the next day since simon reported rain was in the forecast. definitely want to save the day in the city for that weather! so i loitered at the seaside until timing it to be home upon simon's arrival. monday is our night to enjoy international filmsat the outdoor theater at simon's alma mater- the university of WA. so, mark, simon and i trotted of to arrive early for a picnic before the feature began. mark is an IT junkie and wants to switch from teaching english to get into creating software for devices like apple itouch. he was showing simon his itouch and i let my mind wander to other things. dont worry, its not that i'm not living in the moment anymore, but my mind checks out fairly easily lately when topics of conversation dont suit me. its not a good habit to get into, but i do allow the anticipation of returning home play out in my mind once in awhile. anyway, it gave simon and mark a chance to catch up a bit uninterrrupted and shortly after dark the film began. it was my favorite flick yet. dutch. called "just another love story", and the debut for australiasia (i had to ask what that was but the name is pretty self explanatory".
    Sunday, March 15th, 2009
    9:57 pm
    ups and downs
    so, this morning, instead of an alcohol hangover, the lingering feeling of being out of place and very far from home last night left a bad taste in my mouth. simone has his 24 hour caring workshift today and i'd looked forward to a day exploring the city markets, but the train was closed for maintenance. there is a bus service available, but its not direct and rather inconvenient. instead, i hung out at "home", took a nap, nursed my sore feet, and when mark arrived i wasnt very warm and inviting. instead, i've been rather anti-social to he and the other 3 housemates living here. most of you'd wager i'm an extrovert, but i'm an introvert in that i need alone time to recharge. so, i'm doing what katy needs to do and not feeling guilty about it. i'm still living in the now, i'm present in my surroundings (was about 100 degrees today) but just going it in my own space. i love to sit on the veranda and watch. listen. sometimes read/journal and indulge my thoughts. but the changing color of the sky at dusk (my favorite time of night)the slight breeze, the distant train (restarted late afternoon), sight of peppermint trees (locals call them peppies), adn a flowering tree very reminiscent of vanuatu engage my attention. (good job being aware, katy) i'm totally slowed down, witnessing the day's end through many aspects. if you were here, you too would remain silent and soak up the ambience. its busy and peaceful at the same time. nature is busy, yet the stillness is eerie. the kind where you appreciate life so much it brings you to tears. i guess this is a glimpse of the inner peace i've been seeking all along. my senses are heightened and i'm basking in the glory of life.

    who'd have thought 24 hours ago i'd feel the way i do right now? its a strange sensation: i'm sure my beats per minute are almost at sleeping phase, yet the adrenalin (excitment at life) is pumping through my veins. how can those two opposing senses be felt at the same time? (oh, but i'm ruining the moment with thought) just be in the now.

    i suppose we need contrast, aka opposition to realize the highs. not that i'm healed and dont miss my comfort zone, but i'm in a much better place than i was last night, or even this morning. i'm not sure if its a case of being moody, or just the awareness of my emotions shows me how up and down (my) life is. although i bet most people feel that way any given day. its a frustrating feeling to not be happy where you are, and not necessarily because you want to be another place. i've felt that way so many times. hiking in snake territory, sweaty and itchy in a sleeping bag, sitting listening to gossipy conversation. i suppose i need to find the joy of being in that now, even if its not preferable. but thats all we have.

    phew, it feels good to be caught up with blogs and photos. like i said before, i know not if i'll have much to report from here on out. until i get to sydney of course, but who knows what internet access will be like at my hostel, which i booked today. decided (especially after last night) to stay near the beach instead of right in the city. i can easily get in to see the sights during the day, and i'm not much into going out to pubs at night. i'll be heading home soon after, so wont really be up for meeting new friends. i'd rather be in natural surroundings, wrapping up my tour and preparing to head back home.

    however, do stay tuned. one never knows what may arise in katy's thoughts! :)
    9:37 pm
    the city life
    3/14
    we cruised on the way home, and other than pulling over to switch drivers, we only stopped once. we welcomed the down time after arriving back to hotham street to unload and settle in. simon insisted, against my wishes, to give me his bedroom while he uses the garage as his room. he says because its his house, its okay for HIM to feel intruded on, but i need a space of my own. which, along those lines, checking my emails upon return i was informed that i have my very own space awaiting me in hallowell!

    i'm not sure i can express in words the prospect of having my own space in a town i love. perhaps, i dont need to, if you take time to recall that point in your own life you scored the abode that made you feel like your life was beginning. or maybe it wasnt a place, maybe it was a job, or a place, birth of a child, or even a wedding. if you can reflect on that time in your life, there's no need for my explanation. i'm sure most of you experienced it earlier than the age 33, but that doesnt matter. now is a time not to live vicariously, but instead relive through your own memory of that special time in your life. and revel in that wonder and hope. life gets stagnant, so take as much time as you possibly can to be soothed by that super energy you once felt.

    i owe it to a dear friend who upon my request contacted the landlady, scoped out the place, and fanagled a deal. it is the ultimate favor and trust to expect a friend to go out on a limb like that. i'm confident it will prove to be the setting for the inner peace i'm going to discover in myself. i am relying on my intuition about the first moment i heard about the apartment. either way, it will be a good fit. and what a wonderful vibe to create before i even see it in person, that it was arranged with love.

    gosh, i have been through so many emotions today. relief, excitement, satisfaction, gratitude, adn a strange sense of being "home" yet longing for "home". our three week trip commenced the same day i have a new aspect of life awaiting me. i'm sure you picked up on my growing pangs throughout the trip. i learned a lot about myself, about relationships, about compromise and making my needs known. but dont worry, simon and i have a stronger friendship because of it. i thanked him profusely for the special opportunity. most people dont visit WESTERN australia, much less if they do get out of perth to see the places and meet the people which exemplify the true life in western australia. i realize what a fantastic opportunity i've been given. even though the experience is fresh, i can still notice the clarity and love for the memories we created.

    of course simon was eager to get out and reunite with friends and take advantage of the city life. as it happens, his friend he knew in tokyo announced he was here in perth. it took me by surprise, usually things like that dont happen at home. someone comes in from another country and pops on your doorstep. he'd had some time off, found a cheap flight from tokyo, and came to australia for the first time. quite a gamble, and lucky timing that we were back after being gone so long! he's only in town 5 nights. we bicycled to marks hostel in the city and then walked to a pub and then off to jacqui's house for appetizers and drinks. when his friend claire showed up the night changed from casual conversation to party mode. clair is theatrical and dramatic, which can be good energy, but i was exhausted and preferred the quiet gathering. but i was stuck. i tried to pull it off with a smile, and hopefully i didnt ruin the groove of the evening (i didnt appear to). the shoes i brought only to wear to get into pubs will be thrown out after this. they gave me blisters and my feet were killing me. when you dont know where you are or where you are going, distances are hard to judge, but we walked quite a bit. at times, i walked barefoot, but it wasnt safe or gentle. then we went dancing where obviously i wasnt feeling it, and then had to bike home. finally arrived at 2:30am. i already know the city life isnt really for me, but it only reiterated that last night. i'm okay with that, and hopefully simon will be, too. i dont want to be a party pooper, but i know my limits. i am much more content to chill out at home, even if its by myself. i've done the scene twice now. i've got my fill. i'm such a homebody!
    9:20 pm
    closure to the 3 week trip
    3/13
    simon and his sister wanted some one on one time to catch up, so i got dropped off in the city again, but this time i practiced living in the moment (as opposed to being "attached" to home) and enjoyed the lovely weather while people-watching, reading, and journalling. simon had given me his phone to alert me when they were done adn ready to pick me up. its so strange to think i havent texted or talked on a cell phone in five weeks. imagine that in your lives at home! its quite freeing i admit. againe, we had time to kill before we were welcome at his brother's house, so we hung out at emu point. we went for lunch at a japanese restaurant and simon had sushi, but i suppose i've become a sushi snob because i hold out for the hallowell restaurant cafe de bangkok. in my mind, nothing compares to it, and it didnt appear this held a candle to it, either. i had a terrible gyu don (beef and rice dish)which is a bummer because i so look forward to eating. living on the same thing night after night while camping, and most days in the city munching for breakfast and lunch, its a treat to have a proper meal. made up for that later in the evening, though! simon found shade under a tree (see photo) and we did justice to our last day of the trip relaxing by the water's edge. i love watching others enjoy it as well. we headed to julians for a perfect closure of the trip, since we began our trek and ended it wiht them. however, tonight we stayed at thier house in town as opposed to the one in cheynes beach. julian was a star and helped simon wash/wax the car and check fluids/pressure for our five hour drive north the next day. after putting the kids to bed, the four adults got their play time. julian got out his guitar and we sang tunes for hours. its a wonderful feeling, both to have made new friends, and to feel part of the family.
    9:11 pm
    armchair travel
    3/12
    i didnt have a good sleep and dont feel rested at all. and for those of you who already know, i'm not a morning person to begin with anyway. during the night, my feet started burning and itching as if i'd stepped on a mound of biting insects. i woke up from a slumber to a great deal of pain and could hardly resist the urge to scratch. vehemently. the only relief was pouring water on the burning sensations. in the morning when i emerged from my tent, there were traces of bites on both feet as well as up my legs. it brought back terrible memories of having bed bugs when i backpacked around new zealand. the least of my problem was feeling dirty and unkempt, but the worst was the powerful urge to scratch obsessively. it seems the warmer the skin is, the worse the itchy sensation, which is bad news living in south pacific climate.

    i was up and at 'em; packed and ready to go early. but, first breakfast duty! using the common grill proved to be much easier than yesterday's debachle with the camp stove. i admit i was on the brink of a breakdown. i had all the food prepared, cooking, only for the flame to be blown out by a gust of wind. the spot was overlooking the beach which was great for the vista, but not for protection. so i lugged all the provisions over to our campsite and proceeded to clear away a safe spot on the ground, only to kick over the methaline spirits and empty the container, which meant i had to use the last of the ration. i was tired and frustrated, but managed to "keep it together" but was a sure sign of my love of living in the rough wearing thin. i'm just not one of those people who use cooking as a tool to show thier love and appreciation. i know men and women who are like that. i am not there. yet. perhaps when i get home and develop a routine, and after practice i'll gain the confidence to be able to express my love THROUGH food. until then, i'll express my love OF food. i'm very confident in that! :)

    simon put the dishes in a bag as fast as we bagged the campground. the weather was again crappy, and we would use the conveniences at his sister's house for cleaning and feeling "new". however, it turns out becky wouldnt be ready for us until afternoon, so simon dropped me off in teh city center of albany and he ran errands. i went straight to the internet cafe to blog and upload photos. there is supposedly a super souvenier shop called WOMBAT LODGE (many of you got a kick out of the wombat photos), but i must warn you i'm not a souvenier kind of person. have i already gone on about this? if so, i'm sorry for the repetition. i feel a need to explain. i may have offended loved ones in the past, but i dont like to give gifts for the sake of living up to commercialism expectations to give at holidays and birthdays. but, if i see something that catches my eye i know the person would enjoy, i'll pick it up for "no reason." so i'm having a hard time with the fact so many of you were crucial to my success in getting here, yet not wanting to get (what i consider to be) junk. i hope some of my photos could provide to be souveniers and i'll try to get tokens of appreciation, but i hoep you dont feel shunned or put off if you're expecting something.

    met up with simon to head to becky's where we immediately emptied the car for a major cleaning and did a couple of loads of washing. we enjoyed another lovely evening with their family and todd, (simons brother in law) shared the photo album of thier 7 month tour around the country before they were married. now, like you, it was my turn to live vicariously through photograpahs. there is some really gorgeous and varied landscape throughout the country. much like ours, but i cant speak through experience. they went up to the kimberly, the region the movie AUSTRALIA was filmed, all up the north coast, to the east coast, and then across the southern part. armchair travel. my kind of thing!
    8:18 pm
    finding enjoyment in the drab, dreary weather
    3/11
    i was a bit confused about why all the driving we'd done, as we'd already been through denmark to get to albany back to our campsite. simon explained that the weather was his factor and that hitting little beach in albany in prime weather was the priority. no argument here! it was a gloomy day so we went into town to get provisions and check our email for a few minutes. he had business to attend to, and i was hoping for word about my new potential living abode. no emails from the owner, but a friend gently reminded me to live in the present and stop worrying about things that were eons away. after all, i'm in australia! oh, yeah! i revelled in that notion for quite awhile. i'm actually here. funny how the anticipation and preparation was all-encompassing, but relatively soon after i arrived, routine was established once again and i found this to be comfortable. after all, "wherever you go, there you are". i've been bogged down with my thoughts and survival here (during our 3 week trip that i forgot the wonder and amazement of being in australia. it goes to prove; no one can live at that adrenalin pace for too long. its hard to believe when we return to perth, i only have two weeks left. and for awhile, time had come to a complete standstill! its all about perspective.

    we went to another beach we'd missed on the way through called madfish bay, but the balmy weather drove us away as quickly as we arrived. (good choice beaching it yesterday, simon) there's no disagreement from me to return to our tents where we can retire for reading and napping and escape the misty precipitation. but, only after we return to the meadery/ honey winery! our first stop there had me craving a healthy homemade snack, similar to a rice crispie treat, but honey instead of marshmallow with nuts and sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. oh yeah, and a non-dairy soy ice cream of honey and cocount flavor. we made it back to cozy corner- descrptive of the nooks set along side the road (beachside) with just enough space for tents. some enough for campers. around 1:30pm we exiled to our tents and i only got a few thoughts on paper before dozing off into a wonderful and deep nap. i awoke to simons announcement that it was raining and to put the flaps of my tent down, so we headed to shelly beach nearby. (drove) at the lookout was a platform for parasailers to jump off, but it was hardly visible with rain in the eyes. however, down at the beach was enough shelter (from those domes everywhere) and we walked the length of the beach collecting sea shells. i'm not convinced the reason for the namesake of the beach, as it was scarce pickin's, but we did find a few treasures with persistent searching. and, by the time we returned it was time for simon to cook dinner (i had brekkie duty). its not much fun camping when the weather's drab, but it was a good day overall.
    Thursday, March 12th, 2009
    12:39 pm
    cozy corner
    i asked to switch cooking duties so that i could cook while it was light out. cooking dinner when i'm scared of the dark and cant see was not enjoyable. although i do love the camp stove simon has. its fueled my methaline spirits and so much less scarier to use than gas. simon just got done slaving over a campfire to cook tonights cuisine. i've really come to enjoy when i'm not cooking or driving. my appreciation for many things has improved on this trip. its easy to take things for granted when you're in a comfort zone. routine. most of the day has been spent relaxing at the site. i've been moving spots to sit in the sun. simon and i went for a walk along the river and then later in the afternoon went up river to a small dam for a swim. it kinda creeped me out but at least there was moving water (less leech likeliness) and i had to get my daily swim in. time is endless and i love it! except when night falls and anxiety sets in. where does the time go, really? i arrived one month ago today, although i have done a lot, i dont expect my last two weeks here in western australia to be very eventful. i will visit a couple of places on my list of the city, and rottnest island, but other than that i'll probably be a beach bum and revel in my down time.

    i'm sensitive to the fact that many of you are reading this blog to merely follow along with daily events, perhaps even enjoying an anecdote here and there. i'm aware the reflection and personal disclosure may be more than you bargained for, but its my part of self-compassion regime. i'm attempting to be less of a caretaker for others, worrying less about what you like and dont like. we're all adults, we can take what we want and leave the rest. and, i'm going to be less shy about asking for things. so, be prepared to help me move my belongings when i get home! ha ha..

    3/10
    last nights experience campign much much less frightening. the sound of the kookuburra (birds), knowing what they were, didnt make me feel like i was in the middle of the jungle. and simon explaining how cold blooded reptiles (like snakes) dont like being out at night helped me. i was also accustomed to the falling brances and peeling bark of the karri trees. often times, bark landing in the bushes nearby can be mistaken for footsteps. see, GI JOE was right in his advertisement "knowing is half the battle" (or whatever that slogan came from) still sticks in my head and rather poignant now. i'm not saying i'm fearless, but certainly having some facts instead of letting my imagination roam wild is useful!

    we did about four hours driving to get east of albany to simon's favorite beach (besides esperance), little beach. and i can certainly see why. as usual, the domes, made of granite from molten lava way back (to answer your question) tower the white sand beach with a protected cove. we allowed ourselves about four hours here, which was totally in honor of me. i suupose thats one of the beauties of having so long here in Western australia is that i can be a beach bum and still see the sights! i'm loving this lifestyle! there's always oppportunity for exploring as i've mentioned before that simone likes to do. we went adventuring together and then he took an extended tour while i lay in the sun making use of my books/journals. but, soon enough, back to a strict schedule to get to gran's house to visit her before moving on to our new campsite. it was a smart move to cook and eat while at her house, and having a hot shower was lovely. by the time we left, it was already dark, and when we arrived at cozy corner (between albany and denmark) we had company while setting up camp. simon didnt know what it was and guessed it was a bush rat. oh my god! if so, this was the biggest rat i've ever seen, even new york city rats on tv. he supposed it could be a marsupial. i convinced myself it was that. you know me, scairdy cat of the dark. all i could think about was that thing riping through my tent in the middle of the night. it certainly wanst shy, but not aggressive, either. sure enough, when i awoke mere hours into my slumber, the first thing i thought about was that unidentified mammal lurking in the dark. but, the bladder overruled fear, and i went outside my safe haven just long enough to pee. (the next day in town at a store i looked it up and we think its a quodda but i have to google it. my memory isnt so keen)
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