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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, 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"... :)

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