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Saturday, 10 January 2015

One Day at a Time...

So how is it that I look back on the last month and think that I haven’t really done anything, but when I sit down to blog about the nothingness, it turns into an essay? Is it cos I don’t stop talking and will fill silence with nothing? Or maybe because I’m so used to being busy that “not really doing much” isn’t quite the same as when others don’t? Either way, it’s time for the monthly blog, so this space is – yet again – to be filled with crap! :)
So it’s a year down the line from my having started my blog and it’s been viewed by over 16,000 people/IP addresses. My mind is blown by the positive comments I’ve received from people and by the way in which the blog has helped me through this year. Head down and aim for a better 2015…

Anyway, at the time I was writing this I was a week from going home. This time next week I’ll be at home in my Mam and Dad’s house, probably freezing and let’s face it; most likely eating.
How is it that 3 years have passed already? How has my life has changed so much in such a relatively short space of time too? It seems like the Ciara that left Ireland Jan 8th 2012 is light-years away from the Ciara returning on 2nd Dec 2014. You expect that the people and things at home have remained the same in one way but will be so different when you return, in another. I forget that children grow up, that people grow old, I forget that although you move away and adapt, some attitudes at home don’t.

So this last month was filled with 12-14 hour working days due to Harvest, leaving me not having any time to think or prepare for going home. It’s now only 5 days before I do the long 27 hour flight, but I’m still only thinking about work and what I have to finish etc. It’s good I guess, as the time didn’t drag in from being kept busy. Downside is the stress has been messing with my meds, not allowing me to sleep and making my stomach feel sick/sore again. The countdown is on, but so much for the “going home looking like a sun-kissed Aussie model’ idea I spoke about some months ago! I’ll be going home exactly the same as when I left – BMI Obese, pasty white and tired! Lol!

The other day on my way home from resigning from my Club Secretary role at the Hockey AGM, I popped into the Petrol Station to get a bottle of water and a muesli bar, which I opened and started eating. I was waiting for a while in the queue when I noticed that the man at the front of it was panicking because he had put petrol in his car and yet had forgotten his wallet. He was embarrassed and holding everyone up and was flustering about the place checking his pockets and running in and out of the car. I stepped forward and asked him how much he owed. He only put $19.20 in the car, so I took the $20 in my wallet and gave it to him. He tried politely to refuse a few times, but I insisted and said that I’d get good Karma coming my way for it. He thanked me profusely and tried to get my address, but I wouldn’t tell him. I paid for his petrol and he went on his way. I had a smile on my face in the queue, thinking about my good deed and how surely something good was going to happen to me. I was day-dreaming about it right up until it came for me to pay for my items. Only then did  I notice I had left my bank card in my other wallet and had just paid for his petrol with my only remaining money… And I was still munching on the remains of the muesli bar.
I had to fill out two A4 pages of a form giving all of my details while the guy behind the counter took a copy of my ID. I felt like I was about to be arrested -  and all for a $3.50 muesli bar. So I then had to run home, get my bank card and come back to settle my debts. Thank you Karma, I appreciate the b*tch-slap!

For the Hallowe’en weekend, I went up to Townsville to babysit Izzy on the Friday night. For a country that is so Americanised in its look and in so much that it does, it doesn’t do Hallowe’en. I flew Jetstar up and had a row to myself – the only two empty seats on the plane were beside me! Maybe this was the petrol karma I had been waiting for?? No such luck – as soon as the plane took off the air hostess moved the two people behind me to sit beside me to leave the row at the back free for herself; leaving me stuck on the inside of a very horny elderly couple. Not exactly one of the most pleasant 3 hour experiences of my life I have to say!

Arriving by taxi to Bhany's house, I relieve her mate from minding Izzy and take over on babysitting duties. Izzy was in bed and asleep within an hour or so, so I myself locked the front door and headed to bed. An hour later I'm woken by the sound of Luke ringing my phone to ask me to open the door. Obviously their "big night out" had been cut short for some reason?? Opening the door I see exactly why. Teetering in towards me, heels in hand and grass in her hair, was my little sister...hammered drunk. Mumbling something about being sorry and leaning against me in a way that I can only imagine was her way of giving me a hug, she runs sideways into her room and collapses on the bed. Ever the lady our Bhany! Luke shakes his head and follows her in, and I go off to bed.

Next day she isn't fit for much else other than the sofa, so we just chill indoors laughing about her antics the night before while I think of how similar we actually are! We spent the following day at a 2-year-old's birthday party in a Sanctuary, where Bhany was asked if I was her younger sister and took offence since I'm 5 years older than her. She felt better when I pointed out that, whilst I was 5 years older than her, I was also the one running around with the kids petting the animals and asking to hold them, splashing in the pool and eating cake while she looked after her child. Easy mistake to make I think?!

The rest of the month consisted of activities such as a trip to Dandenong with Tilly and JD to do The Treetop Adventure for JD's birthday, a trip to the Pensinsula Hot Springs with the girls for Panda's 21st birthday treat, watching the International Rules practice game and going to see Neil and Jo Jo box.

The Treetop Adventure seemed like such a good idea when I looked online at first. Arriving about midday, I started to regret the idea; where you're strapped into a harness, given gloves and a helmet and sent up the top of some really high trees and given obstacles to cross. You can't fall and hurt yourself as you're strapped in, but it feels like you can and it requires a lot of upper body strength or coordination - both of which this scaredy cat is lacking! It was really good fun, but there were a lot of times where I was crapping myself! Having JD shaking the rope behind me wasn't inspiring me full of confidence either!

The day at the Hot Springs was a surprise for Panda after her 21st birthday week. We had a lovely relaxing day, although poor Maire spent the time thinking she was going to either get sick or pass out as she was so hungover from the night before!

Loads of outdoor pools which were heated - some of which were 42 degrees or hotter and that's actually quite hot to sit in. We just chilled there for most of the day and had some food afterwards before heading home. I want to go again as it was just so relaxing! I'd say it would be better to go in the winter though, being cold outside and hot in the water. Plus it might keep all the weirdos indoors...

My friend Eamonn O'Muircheartaigh was the physio for the Irish International Rules team that came over to play the Aussies in Perth. He called over to my house when he got in and we had a great chat over tea for a few hours before he went back to his hotel. We met up another time to have some more chats over chocolate dessert and then I went to watch the team play the practice match in Sandringham with Maire, Trickles, Neil and Oke. We trashed the VFL team, but unfortunately the Irish lost against the Aussie AFL Team put together for the match in Perth. Considering this was the Aussie's job, their country and most of the rules favoured them, we did very well!

Finally the time came to watch Neil and Jo Jo box in their fights. I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it again...big crowds and very professionally run, great atmosphere and an amazing achievement to even get in the ring, but I don't like watching randomers try beat the heads off each other on TV, never mind watching ringside with people I care about! So proud of the two of them, both of which had wins - boxing champions! I can't imagine the courage it takes to get into a ring in front of hundreds of people and cameras and then have to fight another person. The strength it must take to slog it out with another person - trying to hit them and not get hit yourself; all in the limelight and surrounded by people screaming at you. I was physically shaking only standing at the ringside, so I can safely say there is no way on earth you could get me to do it! Maire, on the other hand, was completely sold on the idea and after a few vodkas was trying to convince me how it would be a good idea to do. She dropped it once she sobered up the next day :)

Clara had the idea to ask me to do the City To Sea run 6 days before the event, and I somehow thought it sounded like a good one. So, with zero training and in the lashing rain, we set off to "Mummy-Shuffle" the 15kms from the city to St. Kilda. We made it and how very proud of us I was, until the next day when I thought I was going to need a motorised wheelchair to get about or when I had to put off coming downstairs unless I absolutely had to! I might try and jog a few times beforehand next time...

I decided that we needed to have more team-building exercises in work and that participating in the Corporate Games would be a good idea. We tried to choose a sport most people could take part in, one which didn't need much fitness and consisted of a big team. Finding softball as the best option, our motley crew rocked up at 7am on Sunday to have a bit of fun. I have never laughed so much at a sporting event! I know that's not the idea, but we had no training, less idea of the rules and were such a bunch of clueless misfits on the pitch (field?) that you couldn't help but laugh! We lost our first game, drew our second and then got our asses nicely handed to us in the third - losing something like 27 - 0. Oh how we laughed though. 
"Play of the day" went to me, of course, and not for my Softball Skills. So, to set the scene we're losing massively to ANZ and have no chance in hell in recovering. I'm marking (or whatever it is you call it in Softball) second base, asking the guy who is standing there ready to run to give me a chance. The batter hits the ball straight in the air and Mr. Nice Guy on second base, instead of running to third base, encourages me to go catch the ball saying "This is yours, go on!". Now; a 2-year-old could have probably caught this ball, but at the very last minute I manage to somehow miss the catch; much to my amazement and that of the rest of the two teams. Nobody, however, was more shocked than Mr. Nice Guy on second base who ended up getting the ball in his...well, balls. I'm so focused on the ball that, without thinking, I turn and dive towards the ball(s) with my hand, flashing the "crowd" and everyone else the orange underskirt of my skort. The scene is one of my orange ass in the air and my catching glove thingy grabbing at Mr. Nice Guy's privates as he scrambled to get away from me and to third base. He's half way across when I grab the ball and throw towards his general direction. How I didn't knock the guy out with a ball to the back of the head is beyond me, as I have no aim and my "teammates" say I throw the ball like I'm doing "shot put". (Cheers guys by the way). Anyway, by some miracle the ball sails by Mr. Nice Guy's head and straight to Adam on third base who gets him out. I don't think anyone on my team has ever looked at me the same again...

The work Christmas party came around and we had it at The Secret Garden in St. Kilda. Somehow, although everyone from work left at 11pm, I managed to fall in the door at 5am. Just when everyone was making their own way home about 10:30pm/11pm, I asked jetlagged Jess what she was doing. Next thing we're dancing with a group of married men (who were "let out" for the night according to their gay friend) at The Emerson til 5am, when I finally couldn't take the pain of my heels anymore and decided to split. I crawl into a taxi and give him my address before I realise that I actually live about 300m from the bar itself. I still made him drive me though - my feet were killing me!! Men will never understand the pain of this. EVER.

So, as the days grow closer to coming home I'm asking myself some questions. Am I excited? No, probably not. Am I nervous? Yes, most definitely. Am I happy? Not yet, but I'm getting there.
I would never have considered myself as a strong person; I'm someone who cries when someone else cries, who cries when someone criticises her or when someone is especially nice to her. I'm someone who is scared of thunder, of loud noises or bugs and spiders - all of which will also make me cry too. But as I get closer to going home I think to myself; if I managed to get through the last year and I'm still alive, I'm still taking steps forward and I haven't fallen apart or lost it, then I am much stronger than I ever imagined I could be. Just get there and deal with the rest as it comes, just as I have the last year; one day at a time.