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Friday, 21 March 2014

Lost in Translation

So I made it through another week unscathed; although this was almost ruined by a very close call with a lamppost at 6am when I was reading emails on my phone this morning.

This week in Melbourne it was hard rubbish tipping time. To those unfamiliar with this, this means that you can leave whatever crap you have in your house/apartment that you've been meaning to get rid of (rotting table, broken chairs, old hoover etc) outside your place on the pavement, and the council come and collect it for you! An amazing idea that avoids the disgusting people at home who dump their mattresses in rivers, or those who leave their waste at a random roadside in the ditch. When I was in St. Kilda, the rubbish left out was exactly that; rubbish. It was old and grubby, broken, smashed up or mouldy. In South Yarra, however, this was not quite the case... 
I left my apartment at 6am to go to Pilates and saw a "Ute" ("Jeep" to anyone in Ireland or "4 by 4" perhaps to others) parked opposite our apartment and 2 men picking up bits from the side of the road and putting them into the vehicle. I didn't think anything of it til I noticed that 20 metres further down the road was another vehicle with a couple doing the same thing. And then again in another 50m a group of young lads were bundling a number of items into a trailer.
Paying more attention now I noticed that it would appear that all these people were helping themselves to the "rubbish" of the wealthy inhabitants of South Yarra. And this "rubbish" consisted of flat-screen TVs, solid oak tables and bicycles and I even saw a laptop and an aquarium! The items at the side of the road were far from being classed as "rubbish", but were simply unwanted. The roads were lined full of free stuff and there were people everywhere renovating their homes with the street gifts! I'll have to get my balaclava, bag and torch ready for the next time - if anyone has any special requests, let me know :)

Called over to Máire's house to sort out some hockey social dates with her (and eat chocolate cake and icecream) and decided to get the tram home as it was late. Waiting at the tram stop, which is in the middle of a main road and right beneath some traffic lights, I was alone. I was going through my new Facebook page for this blog (plug plug plug https://www.facebook.com/alifeturnedupsidedown), when I noticed that when the filter light is red, the cars are very close to me waiting to turn right. and their passengers are in the mood to talk. I was at the tram stop for 30 mins and had about 12 different "How you going?" conversation starters thrown at me. One guy tried to reach for me when they were driving by and hit me so hard it spun me around! The funniest though was when a car full of boys pulled up and the driver went to tug on my bag to get my attention, but failed to notice the police van behind them. Once contact was made with the bag, a very loud "whoop whoop" of the siren, bright flash of the blue and red lights and wag of the "don't even think about it" finger made him reconsider his actions. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor guy who, pale as a ghost, he sat with his two hands on the steering wheel (10 and 2) til the light went green. 

Deciding to be healthy early in the week; whist also trying to save money, I decided to go to the shop and get my groceries for the week. I thought I'd be good and make quinoa with some chicken, peppers, mushrooms and onions etc. so I put the quinoa in the microwave and put the other food in the pan. When the quinoa was done I put it on the counter beside the pan and turned to get a wooden spoon. Somehow, in the simple process of turning to face the opposite way, I clipped the pan and in the process of trying to grab it, I flipped the microwaveable tub. Quinoa, chicken and veg rained all over the kitchen and left me ducking for cover as I screamed. I was left in a confused mess on the ground and with nothing to eat! Time for beans on toast then.
Later on, I went to Reformer Pilates class, where we have usually about 20 - 25 people in a class. I generally go about 5 times a week and most of the staff would recognise me now. About half-way through the class, when I had one foot in the air, the other on a bar while my arms held my body up in a "Plank" position, the instructor stopped at my Reformer bed. "Breathe in ladies" he was saying, "you have 6 more to go". The staff help move you into the correct positions if you are out of alignment, and he was beside me; so I presumed I was doing something wrong. The talking stopped and from my inverted position all I could see were his legs and feet standing at the top of my bed. After what seemed like forever I strained my shaking body to look up only to see the instructor standing with a piece of chicken in his hand; just after removing it from my hair.
Would there be a lower point in my life than this moment right now?!
There were no words. 

Speaking of words...
In work today one of the Asian girls was speaking Mandarin on the phone. I obviously don't speak Chinese, but kept hearing her say the "N-word". I mean dropping it into the conversation left, right and centre! "N****r" this and "N****r" that. I couldn't help turning around a few times to stare at her and was looking around to see if anyone else was hearing that this girl was either a massive racist or thought she was black. Nobody else was listening, so I sent a message to one of the girls sitting beside her asking her what was with our new KKK member? Turns out there's a perfectly good explanation:


Chinese word (那个) meaning "that one" but used as a common place-holder/filler in conversations, much like "Err..." or "Um...". Its pronunciation is uncomfortably close to the English word "nigger". Has the capacity to create very awkward situations. 


My mission in life is now to get her to say "That one please"... :)

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Random laughter

So, it's now mid-March and we're in Autumn here in Melbourne. Weird to think that way, but the cooler weather has started to arrive along with the clocks going back at the end of the month. How the time has flown in since the year began - hard to believe it's almost St. Patrick's Day already!

As I listen to the Formula 1 cars race around the Albert Park track in preparation for competing at the weekend I can't believe it was 2 years ago already since I went to it myself! Weird to think that the sound of these cars screaming around the roads 4km away from my work is "normal" enough for me to think "Oh that's the F1 cars practicing" and bypass the appreciation of the fact of where I am and how much this place has given me.

Some funny moments and highlights from the last couple of moments spring to mind as I try to focus on the laughter.

Tinder (dating app for SmartPhones) has taken Melbourne by storm, with everyone and anyone who is single (or not quite) on it looking for the perfect match. Many a time I have come across the girls sitting in groups of 4 or 5 in the sitting room of someone's house; in complete silence staring at their phones, only to intermittently say "Helllllooooo Mark" or "HA - have you seen Dave?!" or "I DON'T think so Chris!" etc. Girls have also appear to have more of a selection process; as opposed to the guys that I've seen use it - where they just hit "Yes" to every single female on the screen in the hope that one of them will also have hit "Yes" and they'll get a match!! So what if she's 90-years-old, with 3 legs and obsessed with cats...everyone needs loving...

Also, when going to "The Big Day Out" (http://www.bigdayout.com/) I was approached by Kylie the Crack-Whore on the train, who was travelling with her apparent-partner. She asked me "What's your name doll?" and followed this by introducing her name as "Kylie" (she left the "Crack-Whore" bit out) and promptly went on to ask me where I was going, told me that I looked nice and then asked for my number! Her fella then started abusing her for trying to pick me up right in front of him; and I tried to slink away as a scene was created on the platform for all to see. I was just getting over the shock of this as I waited for a friend at the entrance to the station when I was greeted with a quick whistle. I looked up and saw this man staring at me and twitching his head to the side as an invitation to join him. IN THE PUBLIC TOILETS!!!!!
Funnily enough I declined his most generous and tempting offer (vom), and my friend arrived just in time before Kylie and Bog-Boy started fighting over me. I don't even think I can take a silver lining from that situation?! "I still got it" doesn't quite fit when you're talking about a heroine addict and a raving lunatic.

Whilst in Townsville my sister Bhany asked me to take the 6-month-old puppy with me when I was going for a jog. "Take the dog" she said, "It'll be grand" she said. 
And it was grand. 
That is til 2kms in when Max, the puppy, tripped me up and I landed on him; tearing my shorts, scraping all up my leg and twisting my ankle. What a sight to be seen; an Irish girl in a sweaty heap on top of a yelping dog who promptly acted like his leg was broken to make the scene a little more realistic for those viewing. I'm not sure who got the bigger fright; the dog or the people driving by who had to witness my a*s hanging out of my shorts! I had to scrape myself and my bruised limbs from the ground and attempt to carry said-lame dog some distance before he forgot he was injured and happily ran ahead of my limping remains as I dragged myself home. 
Lesson learnt; exercise is bad for you.

And finally; on a recent trip to "Future Music Festival" (http://www.futuremusicfestival.com.au/) I had one of the MANY thousand people who were out of their minds on drugs come up to me to ask me where I got my bag. After replying to her, she noticed I had an accent and asked where I was from. I politely told her I was from Ireland and she appeared shocked for a second before telling me how she had met loads of people from there and they were usually big and angry. She said that she had only met aggressive people from there and she was very pleased to have met me to prove that there were nice and friendly people there too! I had to admit I was confused and was finding it very hard to believe; as we may be seen as drunks or stupid, but I had never heard us as being described as "big" and "angry" people. So she went off happy as Larry and promptly told her friend behind me that she had met a lovely Islander. ISLANDER.
Now; bearing in mind that I'm pasty white, with blonde hair, blue eyes and freckles...and Islanders traditionally look like this:


I want some of what she's taken.



Brick by Brick

Life is hard.
Granted, it's harder for some than others; and it's all relative depending on what cross you've been given to bear... but it's hard. It might be that you have a life-threatening disease, that you lost someone you love, that you have a secret you can't reveal or even just that you have no money; but life isn't easy.

It throws you curve balls too.
When you think you're getting on top of things, or that you're making sense of a situation, it'll slam something down on you like a ton of bricks and get you to deal with that also. You think you're sorted? You think you have things under control? You think you know what you're doing or where you're going? You think you have plans? I don't think so.

Some people have several crosses to bear and manage to do so in such a positive manner, helping others along the way as they go. How some of these people manage to get out of bed, let alone smiling, is beyond me; but they are an inspiration to me and how to live my life.
Do what makes you happy and live your life to the full, as you only get one shot. Your headstone is going to say born one year and died another with a dash in between. You get to decide what the dash means.

So, for those of you who don't know, I'm going through some tough personal times at the moment and had decided to take some time out from social media to get my head and thoughts together. Some of the hardest decisions of my life and toughest, heart-breaking times that I've experienced to date; but I am grateful for the strength and support I am getting from friends and family who continue to help me take one day at a time.
Back on it again now to take one day at a time and strive for the stars, the light and happiness. Bear with me while I get there! :) Baby steps!