Tag Archives: Canberra

There’s a poem at the end, in case this one bores ya. Skip ahead three spaces.

I deleted my tumblr, there’s way too many things going on, on that website for a person who has ridiculous internet A.D.D, like me.  There was really no hope for me to have a life outside of tumblr, or come up with that many interesting things to say in an afternoon.  I think I’ll stick to my fortnightly+ blog postings.  (Three cheers on my succeeding to use the world “fortnightly” in a blog, yes)!

So, today is the day I realize I only have 1.5 more days in Canberra and when crying becomes an activity I frequent on a daily basis.  I haven’t cried today, don’t worry, but I almost always cry when I leave a place I’ve lived for a while (even if that plays smells like cat pee like my old apartment apparently did, says my land lady.  But I do have a cat, and he does like to pee so she’s probably not far off).  This place has been a lot of fun.  There’s a heater that clicks (like a timer) when you turn it on and you have to shove your shoe in it, in order to make it stop with that horrible clicking noise so you can’t focus on anything else.  BAH!  My books are are nicely piled next to the bed, sometime tomorrow they will placed somewhere random on campus with a sign that says “free to good home” because there’s a really terrifying, Asian woman who runs the local library and I’m afraid to ask her if I can donate books.  It says nothing on their website, and to be fair I’m really bad at asking anyone..anything and so her terrifyingness, just helps to give me an excuse.  I returned my last two books (Larry Levis and Flannery, actually found a spelling mistake in the Levis book which was CRAZY since it was published by a pretty big publisher, AND all the first words of each line were capitalized because word automatically does that when you press enter, if you don’t write much poetry, you probably wouldn’t know that one, don’t feel bad, but it does.  And so they did Larry, not one, but two disservices with that one).   I have all my pictures and photos on my computer, I like to call it my virtual wall photos (since anyone who has been to my apartment knows I surround myself with the people I love…or don’t so much love, but they still look funny).  So, no need to take any pictures down.

It’s just a sad day.  There’s not much else to say about it.  I wish I could find a quote online about the sadness of moving houses or moving places but Chris’ internet is running out, and it literally will be non-existent tomorrow at 130pm, so don’t expect to talk to me for about four days since we’ll be in Kiama sunbathing, swimming in the bitter cold Pacific Ocean, playing tennis and sitting beneath a man-made waterfall.  Oh, and did I mention it’ll be my first time sleeping in a caravan – I’m excited! (and most of the time people will be like, oh it’s okay, there’s bright things ahead, well those people are wrong.  I already know Raleigh, I’ve lived there pretty much my entire life, I’m pretty positive there won’t be anything TOO exciting waiting for me on my return.  Other then my sweet nephew, the rest of my adorable family and my cat).

There have been a lot of memories tied to this little room.  Jono egging the window and me thinking it was gun shots.  Chris coming in to tell me about her boy crush who turned out to be useless like the rest of them.  Trying on every bathing suit in hopes that they will illicit a happy facial expression.  Listening to the ravens annoying call, and the bird fights in the Avatar tree.  Watching all the baby bunnies hopping around because it’s spring, and it’s mating season and this is the animal kingdom.  Watching Seinfeld before bed and singing the song to catdog.  Listening, as I’m read the sports column by the sportsguy, Bill Simmons, and laughing at all his wife’s tweets (sportsgal) about her takes on The Bachelor.  Trying desperately to find Teen Mom online anywhere but MTV, which doesn’t show online videos in this region. (lame, MTV, very lame).  Piling my library books next to the bed and waking up to them scattered all over the floor from me reading and throwing the night before.  Starting and finishing every major graduate school application I’m sending this year – praying and crying about getting in … or not.  The amount of hair that falls from my head in a six month period – seriously you don’t want to know, I’m like a hair ball – times 200 million for a cat.

And Canberra has been nice to me as well.  Other than the week it rained, the weather has been glorious, I even got a taste of Australian snow (it didn’t stick) but there’s a mountain right near me so I at least got to stick my tongue out and taste it all.  I got to see and hear the most amazing birds on the planet probably.  I met my favorite bird, well I have two.  First bird I ever attempted to write a poem about; purple swamphen, that nestles along the lake with it’s mate.  Bird that’s actually my favorite; Masked Lapwing.

Photo:

Masked Lapwing and baby

Masked Lapwing and baby

Masked Lapwing

I promise I didn’t know it was called a “Masked Lapwing” until I looked it up for this blog.  But I like this bird for many reasons.  One, it looks like a real life version of the villian/dad in Despicable Me.  Two, it has a body like a normal bird, feathers and all that, and then it has this plastic, yellow face.  Three, it has super long legs and sucks water out of the ground like an ant eater and therefore it’s both strange, and thrilling and I love it.  It also interacts with bunnies that are everywhere.

I saw a group of baby ducks while living in Canberra.  I got a taste of the Australian Sun, if you live in Australia your whole life and then you go to the US, I don’t even think you’d get burnt in the sun because the sun is like 29347 times stronger here.  And I know, I know, they have a chunk of ozone layer missing, but it’s seriously insane.   I can sit outside for ten minutes and I’m a roasted tomato.  I think I made a list of everything else I love about Canberra in my notebook when I was picnic-ing outside one day (without the food, but totally with shade, sun and blankets).

Okay, what I’ll miss about Canberra (from the vantage point of the park), written in brown marker and written during a no food picnic.

  1. The giant ant hills.  When you’re walking through the asphalt path just after the under-road tunnel (with its leaves stuck at the edges from being blown in all winter) and you come across a cluster of ants, maybe more than a cluster, more like a herd and they’re all working together to carry  a dead, giant insect, and then there’s the one lagging at the back who has his own luggage and is probably, in some dumb voice saying “Hey guys, look what I got, harhar,” but it’s a leaf and thus why he’s a big dumb one.  Let’s see if I can google a photo of how huge these ant hills really are.

So, the ones I see aren't THIS intense, but I'm sure that's just because people are walking by them everyday, killing off its tenants.2.

  1. (not one, but wordpress won’t let me put two here so blame them). All the trees in Australia are different.  It’s like living in the land the Lorax created after he moved from trufflelumps and wanted to open his own tree retirement village.  Obviously, there’s gum trees (for the koala’s, which I have never seen in the wild, so believe it when they say that they are a protected species), and there’s these really interesting looking burnt trees (which may just be young gum trees, I’m really not a tree expert).  Chris likes to say that these are the trees that disguised themselves as already burned, just encase there’s a forest fire, so it doesn’t hit them.  Gosh, we have some of the weirdest conversations, where’s Smokey when you need him?  I won’t look for a picture of this because I might be able to just go outside and take one at some point and post it later.  I just like the trees in Australia because when I’m home in Raleigh, everything is so anal.  It’s like every neighborhood decided on one specific tree, and one specific flower and that’s the only tree allowed in that neighborhood and if you try to plant some strange, giant bush with hair sprouting from it, Neighborhood Watch WILL get rid of you.  In Australia, they just plant a random assortment of trees, that grow fluff, that house rabbits, that grow prickles, that grow pink cucumber looking flowers, that are spikey, that are soft, that animals can eat.  And there all in like a three-foot radius just hanging out together.  It’s like Australia had no plan they just let the vegetation grow.  WILD AND FREE PEOPLE.  The US should get a lesson on this since we’re like the most manicured country in the world (or at least the world I’ve seen).
  2. How close you come to birds.  Now, Australia does have a problem with swooping birds (who will take a piece of your face with them if they think you’re too close to their babies) but most of the birds just flap right by you.  And if you haven’t heard the flap of a large bird wing, you’re missing out.
  3. There are these trees by the lake, that because of the breeze on the lake, all lean a certain way.  And not only that, but they literally shed fluff.  At first I thought there was a major bird fight, but no there’s trees that almost produce a cotton-like substance and it gets all in your hair and looks like snow and I love it.
  4. The one missing plank in the bridge, it’s not actually missing, it just sticks up and isn’t nailed in tight and I always manage to get it even if I’m searching it out not to step on it and it reminds you that you’re human and the whole worlds a little messed up too.
  5. The small, crappy, overheated library where I rent books.  Not only do they not have air conditioning, but it’s cramped in there and so the people are all in there using the libraries’ free wireless and everyone’s breathing through the heat and really heaving sometimes and so it gets stuffy and breath smelly. But, I’ve found some pretty stellar books in there, so I can’t really complain about it.
  6. Along with that, the stains that I love on all the books, that most often look like ear wax but I assume are coffee or chocolate or something really delicious they enjoyed while reading.  Never going to get that with an e-reader.
  7. The old men work out groups in the park, on the way to the grocery story and the library who are still wearing spandex after all these years.  I guess there comes a certain point in old age where you can wear whatever you please and no one is judging you.  I like it when they lay in the dirt and bicycle their legs in the air and pump their arms.  It’s like the equivalent of old women neighborhood walkers who super pump their arms while they speed walk.
  8. The awkward starfishness of my friend Holly just talking to people on the street by the shirts they wear and her grandma’s sweater that she always wears, I love that sweater, and I love her too : )
  9. Trivia Tuesday with Paige and Chris.  Even though we don’t ever win, we draw darn good pictures, get free juice boxes and donuts during the eat off and can come up with some pretty ridiculous answers when all else fails.  Plus, Chris useless knowledge always leads to a good time.  I swear she reads Encyclopedia’s in her free time.
  10. Obviously, the love I’ve felt in Canberra from both friends and, well I guess now, new family.  Water family, my blood family is in Raleigh, mostly.
  11. The way I feel after I’m productive on pushing the cart all the way back from the grocery store to my flat.  YES! Exercise from grocery shopping, who knew?
  12. The amount of Cadbury chocolate bars in the grocery store and the Darrel Lea – Rocky Road Chocolate, BAHH to die for. Australia might not have the amount of junk food that America has, but it makes up for it in chocolate levels.
  13. Again I’m sure I’ll write a blog of a million more things I’m missing when I get home to Raleigh, but these are mostly my favorite outdoor things about Canberra.

Just a teaser I guess?

It isn’t a news story that I have been dreading leaving for a while.  When I first arrived, I literally got off the plane,  got in the car and balled my eyes out about being in Australia.  (To be fair, I had been standing in the airport, by myself for 10 minutes worrying that they forgot about me and I was over tired and obviously stressed out).  I wanted to leave a few days later.  I was ready to go the second I got off the plane (I’ve been a homebody much of my life, this is why).  But I happen to love a real smooth talker who made my stay here and made everything totally worth the while, and made me realize that while you can call places home, people are home too.  People that you love and you feel safe with and that encompass everything good you feel in the world (even if they eat too much glutten and fart as soon as they wake up in the morning, and clean around you while you sit there typing up your obsessive blogs) they’re home.  And I will be at home anywhere in the world with this one. (Was that corny?  Because I meant every word.  I will move to Hong Kong and starve on rice and rice paddies, but I will be happy as long as the person/people I love are with me).

I thought I’d share something personal to send this one off before we leave for Kiama and you don’t hear from me for about four days.  I’ve been working my way through a series of this one poem about the Purple Swamphen in the lake near my house and it isn’t particularly good, honestly it’s not good at all.   And I’m not sure I’ll ever try and perfect it or turn it into a poem that it’s not.  I’ll probably never submit it anywhere and it will just be a sweet memory of some bad revising I did while I was here, and how I felt in the evenings and when I couldn’t sleep because the birds were still awake and so on.  This is the latest revision (it’s gone through about six…some typed, some splotched on whatever paper material I can find).

Purple Swamphen in Canberra (I should probably dedicate it to my sweet nephew).

This morning I lay awake thinking

of a Swamphen in Canberra.  His bamboo

toes spread about the muck and sewage.

The silent hum of a wall heater in my ears.  I watch

seconds puff from my chest and wonder if the

gawking noise of humans keeps him alert.

His songs bloom from the banks, burble like wind

chimes on an old-back deck, like my brothers.  Somewhere,

wood whines at the tread of my nephew.

He hides in the corners near the

cigarettes veiled by a grill lid.  His shoelaces untied,

slipping between the cracks of the porch slabs.

A female Swamphen slips down

stones to the water, pulsing her feet.

Her mate will caress her after collecting scraps.

The sensual feathers of his wings and neck,

and the blue of his arched throat.

My nephew waits behind the lawn chairs for his dad.

He hears the creak of the door in their historical

house, and blinks.  The only sound

he makes, at three, is the counting of his ten toes.


So, that’s that.  Don’t judge my poetry on this poem. It’s not one of my best, clearly, but it’s just one I wrote quickly down when I saw two things that reminded me of each other.  As you can see I’ve been missing my family something fierce and as soon as I return I’ll be missing my loved ones in Australia, and just the land, & trees and soft sounds of birds outside my window.  I hope everyone in the world can have something to miss tonight (yep, it’s going there, I don’t care, whip my hair).


Jewelry, Bus Drivers & Signage; What’s not to love

I’ve been thinking about this blog and all its possibilities for a while now….since ya know, I’ve been actually just living life, working at the tea place, eating lots of schnitzel and playing a bit of trivia (there was a question in Trivia this week, which me and Christina lost horribly at by the way, about what college Michael Jordan went to and although I despise the actual school it’s inevitably a question about North Carolina so YAY for that.  I got extra points for drawing the MC on the side of my paper, but when I drew his super hot girlfriend…no points for that even though she had amazing boobs).  There’s not many really exciting Australian things I can talk about right now, how depressing am I?.  But, I’ve come up with a few.  Thanks goodness right?

I know I posted a facebook status about this, but it still really excites me because we all know in America, signage really isn’t our number one priority.  There’s that awesome sign at the edge of Wilmington telling you how far California is, but other then that, I’ve been lost and misdirected every which way all over North Carolina because our lack of amazing signage.  There’s also that giant store of everything and nothingness at the same time, it’s a pity I can’t really remember the name of it now.  JR’s I think it’s called and all the signs talk about having fireworks, dolls, brassieres, even a collection of fine cigars from what I remember.  Now those signs are awesome, but in Canberra there’s a few signs that I’ve completely fallen in love with, and I think they get the message across much better.

First is “No seatbelt, No brains” and “No Brains” is in deep red on a white background.  So, they’re pretty much telling you to buckle up or die.  I love the bluntness of the whole thing.  Thanks government, when I’m floating around in the abyss of ghost land I’ll be sure to remember you told me so.  The other one is “Drink, Drive, DIE” and it’s just classy as well for that future spirit in me when I remember oh..maybe shouldn’t have had that fifth vodka straight, it’s amazing how much Australians can drink to begin with.  So, I love the signage – thanks Australia.

Other mysteries of the road, bus drivers.  I’ve had every bus driver under the sun I think.  Today when I got off the bus at work, the bus driver said “hey chick, next time bring your friends…”  Is it just me or was he totally hitting on me, plus my group of unusually hot, yet invisible friends.  One will never know.  He also told the Asian girl before me with her ticket to “chip up and flirt with an old bugger.”  What it takes to get a bus ticket these days, I’ll never know…

Then I’ve had the old angry man who is just grumpy and happens to look familiar to a seven dwarf.  He wears overalls, or a button-up shirt and gets angrier with each step you take towards the front to make his job easier.  Usually when I know there’s not a bus pole near me, I don’t walk further because I know he’ll stop short and fly me onto the windshield like a mushed bug.  I’m already clutsy, I really don’t need the help of a bus driver who clearly missed any side of the bed this morning.

Then there’s the boy who just broke out of juvie, has a mad skull tattoo to prove it and changes his ipod heavy metal while he drives.  Not only on straight roads, oh no, this kid…he lives on the edge – he changes it on round-a-bouts as well,which are everywhere in Australia (it’s a regular Hillsborough Street over here).

And then there’s just the nice middle aged man who always lets me ride as a student even though I have an NCSU ID and not an Australian University one.  He’s easily my favorite for saving me four dollars daily that I can spend later on these really cute Aussie pumps I saw in Civic. Ouuuu, they’re hot.

Unfortunately, this post might not be too appealing because graduate school applications are eating my soul.  So much so, one of the stories I’m submitting is about an old mans suicide.  I may have referenced one of the bus drivers above.  Oh muse of the bus driver union!

I did finish my 39th book (it was REALLY rather strange) and so… unsettling feelings there.  And I guess I can post more about work and about what a lazy butt I can be sometimes.  Like for instance, I slept until 11:30 today and then pretty much laid in bed and cuddled all day while it rained.  I mean that sounds pretty perfection to me, but when I have to have a full time job I guess laying in bed with full comforters and sweat pants all day isn’t really an option.  (Thus why I plan to write the next Great American Novel and therefore get paid to do the above).  If only I had a television with old school Nickelodeon, then maybe I’d be set for life.  (By old school I mean: Clarissa Explains it All, Hey Arnold, Doug, Rocko’s Modern Life, Keenan and Kel, Ren & Stimpy, and The Amanda Show preferably the bathroom scene because I love the girl who keeps repeating “I like eggs,” whatever happened to her?

The tea place pretty much took over my life for the last four days.  I learned how to make a complete cheese platter filled with bread and assorted olives and assorted cheeses, very savory.  I’ve learned how to make a Christmas tree out of any type of flavored syrup and probably the best milkshake I’ve ever had (butterscotch). And no one really trained me on any of this so when my boss went on a hissy feet on Sunday about not having prepared the whip cream appropriately I went off inside of my own head and progressed to do dishes for the last hour of my shift.  If you’ve ever worked with me in any capacity, you KNOW that I’m going to have to own my own business because I can’t stand managers or bosses or just ignorant people in general.

I guess that’s all of the work talk I can handle right now.  Tea drinking is a leisurely and relaxing activity and I will not allow one bad sticky date pudding whip cream incident to come in the way of that (or will I, well see Wednesday when I get formerly trained on how to shoot whip cream, aka my future job for the rest of my life…who needs graduate school really…DUMB).

UPDATE: I definitely had a great time at tonight’s training.  I got to make my own teashake – yum, strawberries and cream tea syrup in a milkshake, can’t get any better.  Then, I got to pretend I was in college again and take notes for my boss who was ridiculously funny in talking about us “giving a shit” about tea and customers.  He also decided it would be hilarious to invade everyone’s personal space at the table to prove to us not to lean over customers.  He has huge arms, side note.  His wife, Nat is my favorite boss and it was her birthday so we all got to blow horns and wear unicorn point hats (sparkles included).  And I’m beginning to be the best dish washer in town….so, now I definitely have goals in life.

I also started making necklaces this week.  I’ve been making funky, unsellable earrings for a while and so I decided to try my hand at making necklaces.  Everything I make is pretty much for myself, but I bought this inspirational, handmade Tibetan pendant while I was in Cairns that meant a sort of rebirth, a somewhat phoenix notion for my friend Jess and so I made her this really interesting, organic and earthy necklace with it.  I really love it and I believe she does too so that’s exciting.  I’m becoming more of a hippie kangaroo in Aussie because I’ve been wearing my Aladdin pants a lot and I’m making all the accessories I wear. (Not to mention, unfortunately for my father and mother, I have pierced my nose).  If you want to see some, and purchase them…I will love you forever, you know like…for real, not just what best friends say when they want to be blood brothers – this is the real love forever.  (And now I’m selling myself on my own blog so the bus driver probably wasn’t far off).

I’m no cleaner in Australia than I was in the US.  I’m still pretty lousy at doing dishes, my clothes are piled in a corner of the room, I take my shoes off wherever I please and progress to leave them there until I wear them again, I pick my hair, I leave jewelry everywhere and hair clips and medicine and I according to SOME PEOPLE I don’t know how to hang towels properly so they’ll dry, but I’m pretty sure he just rehangs them after me now instead of even discussing it (victory!)

Okay, so with all that randomness…I’m going to update about the Canberra Raiders soon, and the quotes we found on the dock near the lake behind our flat.  So, don’t be hindered from reading about my silly life just from this abso-boring-lutely blog.  Here’s a few photos of my jewelry.

Full first necklace! YAY!

Top half of the first necklace, it says "made with love" at the top

Bottom half of my first necklace with the cool Tibetan pendant

Shiny Chandy, I love wearing them out.

My fall leave earrings.

Bird nest earrings, love them. Totally organic.

It's spring, I felt like being festive. Wood and rocks on these :)

My "Going Steady Pin" necklace (2nd one eee)

Bottom of the necklace, with love dial and going steady pendant

Middle of the necklace, a few beads.

Amazing hook piece on my NC flag, YES. There's also a locket at the top if you missed that. YAY JEWELRY MAKING FOR A HOBBY!


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