03 December 2013

Rolling down the hill

It's been a while since my last post, it appears. Not that I haven't been writing... I write all the time really, but I guess I didn't want any of it to be seen by anyone else. I don't really have a purpose or a point in this post, I just wanted to... post something, anything really, simply to prove to myself (and I guess to any readers) that I am still around, alive, still living.

I think I've said this line far too many times on this blog, but I feel that I have to say it yet again: "My mind is a swirl of thoughts and emotions right now". I don't know what is going on... it is a struggle to keep up, to stay relevant, to be at the very least 'on top of things'.

My work is slipping... I am a freelancer, who works insanely slow, and who doesn't have the energy to put into obtaining more clients to keep the work flowing in... which sums up a lot of things in my life really. I don't care about money... I've got enough to get me by comfortably... but, you know, I worry about the future, my future, where I guess I'll need to settle down eventually.

If that will ever happen.

I'm injured at the moment... well, two injuries really. Amazingly in the one week I've managed to tear a muscle in my left bicep, and then roll my left ankle only a few days later as well. I hobble around like I am in my 70's... which is depressing since I am only currently 25.

Ha... 25. Am I meant to be 'an adult' by now? Yeah, forget that. I am so far behind where I think I should be by now. You know when you think back to when you were younger, say your teenage years and possibly early 20's, and you physically cringe at some of the memories that you have? The memories of some of the downright stupid, awkward, and ridiculous things that you did back then, and you just have to ask yourself  "oh god, what was a thinking"? Well, at 25, I am still doing those really weird, awkward, regretful things that make me cringe.

And... that's about it really. I don't know what else to type. Everything I want to type, I've already said before.

I've been this way for... an extremely long time now. Constantly I am looking towards the 'future', and think to myself "one day, everything will work out". You know, like it is in the movies, or when you voice your concerns to your friends. "It'll all work out" is the message they always pass on. I guess, after so long, I am starting to question their wisdom. After all this time, I basically start to think "if it hasn't happened by now, after all this time, then it is increasingly unlikely that it will ever happen". Which I apologize if it is a too depressing thing to say!

A lot of my issues come down to my lonliness. Sure I have friends... quite a lot of them in fact, but I don't truly connect with any of them. Even my longest kept friends whom I have known for literally 13 years now do I truly feel in sync with them. I've always been somewhat the 'outsider' in the group. So time and time again have I wished to truly connect with someone... anyone, and my optimism tells me that it will happen, eventually, at any moment, and the stories I read and the movies I watch also tell me the same thing... and while I do know 25 years of age is still somewhat young, I truly worry that at 35 years old... I will still be wondering and wishing about the same thing.

14 October 2013

My relationship promise

I've been single for... numerous years now since my last proper relationship, and as much as I hate to admit it, and as much as I try to rebel against it... it does get to me quite at bit at times. I am not in so deep to say that "I can't truly enjoy my life until I am in a relationship", not at all, my life is actually way exciting and enjoyable, but I guess I could define it as... "it would be quite nice to have someone to share it with"...

Yes, I think that sums it up nicely.

There are times where I'll see another couple when I am out, perhaps at the supermarket, or at the park, and I'd think to myself "man... if I had a girl, I'd definitely like to surprise her by paying for her groceries, or organizing a surprise picnic" or something to that affect. Basically, I know that if I ever do get lucky enough to be in a good relationship, that I'd try to be the most thoughtful, surprising, generous partner that I could be. Partly to show how much I appreciate them, and partly because I truly enjoy seeing the joy on their faces.

(Sounds cheezy I know, but I swear I am legit...)

However... a thought occurred to me: perhaps many of these other people whom are currently in a relationship also promised similiar things before they were in a relationship, and after months, or years, of being in one, they have kind of forgotten about such a promise, and have let things lapse?

In other words: You start a relationship full of thoughfullness and effort, but over the months or years, the thoughtfullness and effort starts to dwindle off a little as you fall into a bit of a routine with your partner.

With all this in mind, I wanted to write down some 'promises' that I can look back on from time to time in the future, to remind myself to do all these things to make them feel... as appreciateded as I am sure they are meant to be.

I promise to:
- Make her breakfast in bed, just for the fun of it
- Send random flowers/chocolates/presents
- Support her with her dreams/passions/ideas
- Send her random texts just to say that I am thinking about her
- Tickle her
- Think of super awesome, unexpected gifts for her birthday

And most of all, I want to:
- Take her to my favourite spot in the hills near my home town for a picnic, where you can see the city down below
- Travel with her!
- Make her laugh, all the time, sometimes just because I am bored and want to hear her laugh
- Hugs. Early in the morning, late at night, when she is looking completely the other way
- Take her to my favourite restaurants (there are a lot of them)
- Cheer her up on her tough days
- Introduce her to my best mates in the world (and know that they'll love her, and she'll love them in return)
- Be introduced to her world of interests, hobbies, and events
- To make her smile... just to improve her life in the smallest of ways

And probably many more. I never want to take someone special for granted... for I know how bad it can be at times before they arrived.

This is my promise.

05 October 2013

Me, the Vegetarian...ish

As of August 13th, I have started taking my first steps to become a semi-vegetarian... yay?

I say 'semi' because I don't think I can entirely cut out meat, as some white meat in your diet (chicken, turkey) I think will be quite beneficial to me still (I am quite slim), as are the oils from fish, so I think I will still stick with those for the time being. But I do at least vow to attempt to cut out red meat entirely, and drastically cut back on my intake of dairy as well.

It's been nearly 2 months now actually, and I have had practically no red meat at all. My only lapses have been for a few chicken parmigiana meals that had ham on them, and one time I was given a free pizza that had meat on it, but I certainly wasn't going to throw away perfectly good food. Other than that, it has been 2 months without steaks, lamb, cheese burgers... any red meat really :D

So, why the choice?

I have always been very into nutrition and healthy eating, and lately I've been doing a lot of reading, and watched a few great documentaries, and have found that there is evidence to support a correlation between the consumption of red meats and certain diseases. This is particularly apparent when you look at a Western diet, and then the amount of deaths each year from diseases such as diabetes, prostate cancer, health diseases, colon cancer (and so on) in the Western world, compared to that of an Eastern diet and the rates of deaths from similar diseases in the Eastern world.

The amount of deaths in the Western world for certain diseases far outweight any from a less red meat based diet.

Now, I am by no means saying that the evidence is 'fact'... I am merely saying that there is a suggestion of sorts. Regardless, health is only one reason for this choice. The second reason relates to the environment, and the third relates to the treatment of agricultural animals (cows especially), with these two reasons being of my primary concern.

For instance; it takes approximately 10 times the fossil fuels to produce a tonne of red meat than it does to produce plant based food, livestock is a major contributor to the amount of greenhouse damaging gases released every year, and to raise them all takes huge expanses of land as well. I am quite fond of the environment... I would like my future kids to have the chance to be fond of it also.

And the treatment of animals argument? Well... it isn't to much of a secret on how poorly they are kept. Sigh.

Anyways, it isn't hurting anyone by me making a choice like this, so it is a win-win all round! Eventually I hope to cut out pretty much all meat, but it will be a slow process while I prepare myself with the knowledge to still have a nutritious diet. Meat does have a lot of great nutrients for you, and while you can get everything you need from a plant-based diet, it can be dangerous to attempt if you don't do it correctly.

Two great documentaries I've watched recently, if anyone was interested, were:
- Forks over Knives
- King Corn

Are any of my readers vegetarian? I've love to hear on how you got started, and of any tips that are worth sharing too.

21 September 2013

Bon voyage beginner French lessons!

10 weeks ago I started a weekly French class just for the fun of it, with tonight being the last class :(

Until the next term starts at least!.. but that isn't until February.

The classes were such a blast. The teacher was amazing (oh man am I a sucker for a French accent), the other classmates were really cool, and seeing as how the last few months have been so chaotic and challenging (with work and injuries) it is indescribable how good it was to have at least one constant in my life. To every Wednesday night drive to the French class where I had two hours of just 'me' time. No outside worries what so ever, just the simple joy you get from learning something new in life, and having fun people to do it with.

Awesome.

For our last class tonight our teacher amazingly organized for us to have a French wine and cheese tasting, sweet. It was initially meant to be a way for us to playfully practice a bunch of new words and phrases we had just learned, but we got side tracked and just drank wine and ate cheese and chatted for an hour instead. No complaints there!

Every year I try about one or two completely new activities (eg swing dancing, indoor soccer, yoga), but I think the French classes have been one of my favourite yet :)

Oh and better yet, we got a certificate to top it all off! I know it is just the very beginners course (A1 level), but... you know, it is kind of nice to get something official to remember it by.


Here's for A2 level beginner class next year!

Au bientot!

11 September 2013

On behalf of Australia, we're deeply sorry

On behalf of Australia, I just wanted to apologize for what an idiot our new Prime Minister is... the whole world will suffer as a result.
  • A huge step-backwards in Australia's plan to reduce their carbon footprint and thus reduce its affects on Global Warming. It is one thing for an idiot Prime Minister to affect their own country... but they had to punish the whole World for their stupidity too?

  • A massive cut to the already-in-development new National Broadband Network, reducing its theoretical 100Mb connection speed once fully implemented nation-wide down to only 25Mb, in an effort to 'be more affordable'. Yeah, there is a reason the new planned network would be more affordable... because it is vastly inferior, and will cost drastically more in the future when it will inevitably need to be upgraded yet again. Do we not want international collaborations in the future?

  • Massive cuts in many research projects around the country... because, like above, why would we want our scientists and researchers to contribute on a global scale? 
The list goes on. His name is Tony Abbott by the way. If you Google him you'll find some hilarious memes and jokes about him. There's that at least.

I apologize everybody. Please join us while we hang in there over these next few years of hardship...


Update: It just keeps getting worse I'm afraid. The new government have just appointed who is to be the ministers for their parliament cabinet. Here is a list of what positions NO LONGER EXIST:
  • No Youth Ministry
  • No Early Childhood Ministry
  • No Science Ministry
  • No Climate Change Ministry
  • No Disability Ministry
  • No Aged Care Ministry
  • No Workplace Relations Ministry 
Come on! NO SCIENCE MINISTRY? What the hell? Not to mention Climate Change! It doesn't matter if he personally doesn't believe in it, he shouldn't be eliminating even the choice for debate. Here is a quote that just depressed me further:

"Minister for Science was formed in 1928 in Australia and except for a few weeks during WWII has been in effect ever since. Until now."

This new Prime Minister is an absolute idiot... he has his own personal beliefs (climate change skeptic, religious beliefs etc) and is pressing them onto the rest of the country.

Sigh... 

03 September 2013

The return of Garden Man!

You may recall the story I posted a little while ago of the slightly mentally challenged middle aged man whom feels the need to come to my house and chop down our trees and/or dissemble our gates for one reason or another (it is often due to the apparent 'danger' that our trees present to the powerlines... in his mind at least).

Well after the last time he was by, he came over once more, where this time my other housemate got mad at him and told him to go away. That was quite some time ago, and silently optimistically my housemates and I had hoped he was gone for good.

He wasn't...

My housemates and I woke up one frosty morning to spy this from our front window...

Garden Man strikes again! This time with some impressive yet disturbing axe work on a tree in our front yard...
An entire tree!

He did it super early in the morning, and all of our bedrooms are at the back of the house thus we didn't hear anything. I informed the police, but seeing as we didn't know Garden Man's surname, where he lives, or have any way to get into contact with him really, there wasn't much they could do understandably.

Now, I'd like to take a quick moment to clarify that Garden Man isn't dangerous, or a complete psyhco, he is just slightly mentally challenged to the point that he seems to struggle to process the fact that this isn't his house, and that he doesn't in fact have some obligation to look after the garden. In fact, the times I have chatted with him, he's actually made me laugh a few times!

Anyways, the housemates and I needed to get this sorted once and for all. Who knows what else Gardan Man had in store for us.

That, however, would be a challenge. Garden Man is quite illusive! It is very rare for one of us to actually catch him in the act, as he often works super early in the morning when we are asleep, or when we are out of the house. Oh, and this is at random days too! He could disappear for months, or he could return twice in one week.

The only even slightly predictable thing that he does every now and again is that he puts the bins out onto the road for collecting on bin collection day (for some reason). In a few days time the bins were due to be collected.

A plan was born!

My Garden Man trap!
I designed a trap!

My trap consisted of having a bunch of soda cans tied together with fishing line that will sit in my room, while the other end of the fishing line will lead out my bedroom window and out to the backyard, hidden along the ground, and then be tied to the bin! If Garden Man comes and moves the bin in the morning, it'll move the cans in my room, ill wake up from the rattle of the cans and BAM! Got him!..

... well, that was the plan anyhow.

My housemates and I went to bed that night not overly hopeful that he would even show up, but optimistic nonetheless.

I awoke the next morning to find my trap of soda cans and fishing line still sitting unmoved on my desk chair. Either Garden Man hadn't come during the night like I'd hoped, or the trap hadn't worked. Sigh. The trap did still look intact however, but he rarely comes during daylight hours, so I figured we must have missed our chance... bummer!

I removed my collection of ragdoll soda cans and milk bottle filled with rocks from my desk chair and onto the floor, and got straight to work (I had a meeting with a client on Skype at 10am). It was halfway through my meeting when, through the chatter from the headphones I was wearing on my ears, I thought I heard a disturbance. I looked over at the trap sitting on the floor... hmm, am I imagining things, or is it now slightly closer to the window?

A few tense seconds passed... nothing.

Hmm, must have imagined it. I turn back to my computer screen to resume talking to my client, when suddenly 'WHOOSH!' the milk bottle and soda cans rattle and zoom across my bedroom floor, crash into the window, then crash again as it came back down to the floor as the fishing line snapped!

"AH!!! WOW! WAIT! GARDEN MAN IS HERE!" I screamed involuntarily into my headphones, freaking the hell out of my client. "UMM, I'LL BE RIGHT BACK!"

Throwing my headphones off I ran down the hallway, banging wildly on Liz's (my housemates) door "Liz! Liz! HE'S HEREEEEEE!!!"

Like we had planned, I'd go outside and chat to him to keep him busy, while Liz would stay inside and call the police. I rush outside and sure enough, he's coming down the drive way wheeling the bin.

"Garden Man! What the hell did you do to our tree!?"

We chatted for ages as I tried to keep him busy and to stay put, while through the front windows I could see Liz dialing the police from our loungeroom. We chat about trees... and power lines... and how the trees are apparently in danger of disrupting said power lines (which is the reason why the tree had to be cut down... of course... apparently...).

10 minutes later, the police arrived. We did it!!! Garden Man (aka Anthony, as we soon found out), has finally been caught!

Although, we are already well aware that it won't be the last we have seen of him. But at least for the next time I know a great way on how to catch him!


Victory!

26 August 2013

It might be time to move house

Not to be a downer guys, but this year just does not like me very much at all. Upon returning home from my 1 year backpacking trip in March, I had a few basic goals in mind for how I would like to spend this year:

- Work hard so I can remain a freelancer full-time
- Get more classes to teach for this semester at the University I sometimes teach at
- Travel again
- Get a girlfriend
- Move out of my parents house again
- Improve on my French and swing dance skills

Reading a previous post that I wrote back in May, it appears that all these dreams were coming along extremely well. Clients wanting my freelance services were flying in, I had classes to teach at the University (something I love doing), I was getting close with one of my old crushes... whom I was planning on confessing my feelings to, and I had just moved out of my parents house within a month of returning to Australia to a house that seemed fantastic.

Oh, and I started French lessons, so that was fun too.

All in all, things were looking up.

Fast forward a few months, and... well things are a little different. I haven't had paying work from any freelance clients for over a month now, and I missed out on any teaching opportunities at the University for this semester, so with a lack of cash flow I doubt I'll be traveling anytime soon either. The girl I had a crush on declined my advances, and now we aren't even speaking anymore. I've injured my knee quite badly, so I can no longer swing dance. And now... to top it all off, I am starting to really despise the house and the housemates that I live with, and am thinking I want to move out.

My housemates boyfriend stays at our house literally 6 days a week... sigh. Doesn't pay rent, hardly pays bills, or for any of the house needs really, nor even does some household chores... it's driving me insane. Then the other housemate is basically an ass, so that's fun. Sigh.

So, that's where I am currently at. At least the French lessons are still fun...

I really need some freelance work to pick up again. I'm not giving up hope on these dreams just yet... but I am starting to feel like just the tiny bit a failure of late. Am I planning too much, and need to go with the flow more? Perhaps. But, you know, I thought there was nothing wrong with setting yourself goals and working to achieve them, no?

It just feels that for every one step of progress I make, I'm stumbling backwards 3 steps more.

Either way, I'd really enjoy a win right about now...

20 August 2013

Do you play games?

Fellow bloggers, I suck at attracting the opposite sex. Well, in a romantic way anyway. For casual friendships and acquaintances, I'm awesome, no worries really. I can be casual and funny, but as soon as I am interested in a girl... something just breaks in my brain.

I bring this up because I often find myself analyzing or 'critiquing' my interactions with people to see if I could improve in any way. Perhaps I am too withdrawn? Likely. Maybe I'm just not good at engaging funny conversations on first meets? Well, that is definitely true, although I am great once I get to know them. Whatever it is, I haven't stumbled across the answer yet!

Sometimes I wonder if I should try the 'player' tricks. You know what I mean, those 'rules' of what 'apparently' works to get a girl interested, the cliche' ones such as "don't call for at least 3 days after you get her number", and "playfully make fun of her" and so on. And, I think I have tried those at times (although rather mildly), but they just feel so fake and forced that I know it is probably seen right through for the ruse that they are.

I really feel the most comfortable just being 100% myself, which I guess includes my cool, and not so cool qualities.

My best friend for example is able to send awesome text messages to people. Somehow he just knows the right thing to say to keep a conversation interesting and funny, where I am sure the girl on the other end is smiling as she reads it. I on the other hand, when texting, manage to make it sound like we are closing on a business deal haha.

But, I guess that's alright?

I've been single for quite some time now. I've gone over it many times in my head, analyzing my approaches and interactions, and I can't see that I am doing something 'wrong' per se. I've got plenty of female friends, some I am quite close with, so I assume that I can indeed be quite cool.

As I sit here about to email this girl (for work purposes) whom I am interested in, I can see both approaches clearly in front of me. Do I purposely try and be funny and interesting, to write it in a way to keep the conversation going? Or, do I just be completely myself, write the email as I need it to be written, and simply hope for the best?

Ed Sheeran, the singer, said this great quote I heard once. He was asked the question "What would you plan for a first date with a girl?" He laughed, and mentioned his love of the tv show the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, eating popcorn (or something), and sitting on the couch all night in a onesie. He then laughed again and said "Well, that probably won't make for a great first date for a girl, but then again, if the girl doesn't like a date like that, then she probably isn't right for me then now is she?"

I think I'll continue to just be completely myself with all my interactions, and simply hope for the best. Well, for a little while longer at least. If another year goes by... well, then it may be time to opt for some entirely new approach!

How about you guys?

16 August 2013

The story of Garden Man

I moved out of my parents house and into a share house a few months ago (something that was on my 2013 goal list), and I am pleased to say that it is going pretty great. My house mates Liz and Greg are awesome, the house is nice enough, and I am in close proximity to some of my best friends.

And best of all? I am lucky fortunate enough to have a completely new adventure saga unfold, for soon after moving in is when I first got to meet who we know only as 'Tony the Garden Man'. Let me begin.

So a few days after moving in I was home alone in the morning doing some work, when I heard a small commotion happening outside. Best to investigate! I grabbed my phone and headed outside, opting to invesitgate the backyard first. I turn the corner of our large shed to find a middle aged man wheeling our garbage bin out of the shed.

"Umm... who are you?" I said.

He jumped, obviously startled, which to me indicated he was under the assumption that no one was home.

"Oh! Hi... why is the bin now kept in the shed?" the middle aged man replied, while holding the rim of my bin, standing in the door frame of my shed door.

"What? I don't know. That's where we keep it I suppose. Hang on, why does it matter? Who are you?"

"Well I need the bin." He replied, completely ignoring my 'who are you?' question. Which was fine actually, because I just thought of a much more pressing question. It had just clicked to me that we usually have a padlock on the shed door... so... how is he now walking out of our shed?

"Umm... how did you get into the shed?"

"Oh, I cut the padlock off"

"What!?"

"I needed the bin, why did you lock the shed if I needed the bin?"

It was at this stage that things started to piece together, for I suddenly realized that this man is slightly mentally challenged, thus probably doesn't quite know what he is doing. I was certainly not going to get angry at a mentally challenged person, as I strongly doubted he was purposely trying to be melicious or troublesome, so I decided to play along and see if I can get some answers. Or better yet, for him to go away.

"Alright, come show me why you need the bin" I suggest.

He wheels the bin along the driveway and out into the front yard... I saw immediately what he wanted the bin for.

"Why is there a large pile of tree branches in my front yard!? Actually, better yet... where did all these tree branches in my front yard come from!?" This is not what I expected to find.


"Don't worry I'll pick all these branches up and put them in the bin for you" he replies in a rather nonchalant kind of way...

Sigh.

I press a little further. "Ok, good... but where did they come from?"

He points over to a large tree along our fence. I can see it is now missing a considerable amount of limbs.


"Whyyyy are you cutting my tree down?"

"It's not your tree. This isn't your house."

"Well, no it isn't my house, but I am renting to be here. Besides, I still have a lot more claim to the tree then you do, you don't even live here! Why don't you do gardening at your own house?" I suggest optimistically, as if suddenly it would click to him that this was an option and he would go home immediately.

"I can't do my garden, I am only renting"

"Well you can't do stuff to my garden either"

"Oh, no, this tree needs to go. It is too close to your power lines"

I look above. The tree is a safe distance from the powerlines.

"I think the powerlines will be ok. What's your name?"

"Tony"

"Good. Ok, Tony, can I have your phone number please?"

"I don't have a phone"

"Not even at your house?"

"Nope"

... ok.

"Ok. So why are you coming to my house and cutting my trees down?"

I then got a 10 minute explanation about all the dangers within my garden. There are tree branches that are apparently too close to the powerlines, which by the way he was explaning it, are about to spontaneously combust at any moment. Also, the gutters are apparently rusting, which may trigger an earthquake if they fall of course, and let's not forget the overhanging branches along our driveway, that could be used to house nuclear weapons!

"Tony. Tony... Tony! Tony, stop. Tony, look at me. Look at me. Tony, here, look!" Eventually my reptitions snap him out of his speech. He stops and looks at me.

"Ok. Good. Now, Tony. Promise me, you are not going to come and chop the rest of this tree down"

"Oh, I can't make that promise"

I cracked up laughing at that response.

"Haha! What do you mean!? No, Tony, come on. Promise me, you are not going to cut down this tree."

He sighs. "Alright".

"Good. Now come back tomorrow and pick up the rest of these branches."

"Fine. Right. I'll see you tomorrow"

And just like that, he walks off down the street, his grey hat on tight and his little backpack on. It wasn't until later that it dawned on me that he must have had the bolt-cutters he had used to cut the padlock off the shed in his bag!

I reenact the story to my housemates when they came home, whom then inform me that he has been coming around for the last 6 months!

"Yeah he has been coming around for ages! You know that tree stump in the front yard? That used to be a giant tree that we just found in pieces one day. And our gate to get to the backyard that is now in pieces... that was him too, he did it while we were sleeping." My housemate Liz informs me.


The lovely secure gate, as curteousy of Garden Man
"No way! Why didn't you call the police or something?"

"Because he always comes either at night, or when we are not home, and we have never met him in person before" says Greg, my other housemate.

"Wow... umm... ok. Well I talked to him today, so hopefully that is the end of it."

It most certainly wasn't the end of it...

27 July 2013

French class

Every year I like to try completely new activities than what I did the previous year. Chances are that I never stick with the activity for more than a year, where I never really master the new skill, but it is the variety and experience that I am really after.

Last year I was traveling, the year before that was swing dance and yoga, and the year before that was indoor soccer and... whatever else. This year I've decided to take French lessons!

I've done a fair amount of travel so far, and one thing that always strikes me the most is when I meet foreigners whom are bilingual, whom often times have a native language such as French, German or whatever, but then are also able to communicate with me, an English only speaker, in good enough (or sometimes even absolutely perfect) English. It is one thing I really envied of them.

So, why French? No idea really. I don't really have any desire to live in France anytime soon, nor is it likely I will make it to Europe anytime soon for that matter. The language I would most like to learn is Mandarin as I have a strong desire (and possibly plans) to live in Taiwan or China sometime soon... but I am just not disciplined enough to master a language as hard as that to be honest. My second choice for a language to learn would be Japanese, as that is another country that I would love to spend some time in some day... but again, I just don't think I could put my mind to it as much as I would need to.

So, French was my top choice of the 'easier' languages to learn.

I had my first class last week, and it was actually really great. There is only like 5 of us in the class so that's cool, and the teacher seemed great. It is a 10 week course so... will see how we go!

This probably made for a boring post, but I have a backlog of things to write about, as I do like to use this blog as a bit of a diary as to what I've been up to. And who knows, perhaps in a year or two I've actually stuck with learning the language and I have gotten quite far with it all, and I will be able to look back at this very post and reminisce on the exact point in time where it all began =)

Or perhaps I'll make it to France much sooner than I think!

18 July 2013

Regaining my footing

I've been floating of late. First there was the mess that was the girl, that had me quite rattled I must admit. Then my freelance projects kind of finished up...  all at the exact same time, meaning I went from insanely-busy-but-in-a-good-way to I-literally-have-no-commitments in the space of a few days. Yikes!

Then I injured my knee, preventing me from my swing dance classes for at least a month, as well as exercise (something that keeps me sane). And... then a lot of other stuff too. So, it wasn't a great time.

Usually during times of hardship I relish at having work, exercise, or other commitments to keep me occupied. Whether it be while I do my bi-daily jog along the beach, or swing dance class, or computer programming for a client, I find its a way to temporarily escape from the worries of my day, to be able to be doing something that is both enjoyable and productive.

Then, all of a sudden, with no clients and injuries, my escapes all disappeared.

It's been a good two weeks of not doing much really. I find that I am trying to force myself to be productive, in an effort to use this sudden 'unemployment' opportunity to my advantage but this just leads me to jump from one project to the next hourly, resulting in... well not much getting done at all!

I was mid way through another project where I out of no where got the urge to start writing this post...

But alas, two weeks is long enough, and it is time to get back on my feet. You can recall that back in April I outlined what I hope to achieve in 2013, which I then further defined again in May.

To summarize: becoming a Freelance Software Developer is my ultimate dream. To take in clients, work on my own solutions, build my own networks, and most importantly to be able to be my own boss and set my own hours.

But, this isn't going to happen if I just laze around most days!

There may be a lull in clients at the moment (I currently only have 1) which means hardly any work at the moment (to be honest it's practically none), but, that doesn't mean it should be a wasted opportunity! I have a website to build, a logo to design, and business cards to order if I really want to get this freelance off the ground.

Not to mention that my personal non-work related To-Do list is far too long as well (my friend has been waiting 10 days for me to fix his laptop for him haha). I know that I am meant to be blogging for both myself and you readers, to hopefully share and learn from each other, but sometimes I just need to blog... basically to myself. And this is one of those posts.

It's time to rally! =)

05 July 2013

I'm out of sync

I shouldn't have agreed to see her the other night. I had a bad feeling from the start, as soon as I agreed to go.

She seems to have forgiven me already after what I did, but to be honest, that just annoys me even more the fact that she has forgiven me. I want her to know that what she did just isn't cool. I want her to know that what I said a month ago I did not say lightly nor did I only half mean it. I want her to think that I am annoyed at her, hell, I want her to be annoyed at me in return! At least it would make the situation more real, instead of her sending me a text message tonight (which is Wednesday, only 3 days after the incident that happened on Sunday) all as if it meant nothing?

Does she really think I was a douche to her for the fun of it, and really has no idea I did it for a reason? How blind can she be?

Sigh.

Her housemate (one of my best mates) invited me over for dinner tonight, but I declined. She sent a messaging saying "You can come over if you like! =)", to signify that I guess things were cool between us once more?

In honesty, what I really wanted to text back was "I don't feel like seeing you right now". Or even better, I could have said "What you said actually hurt, and I wished you realized that".

But... I couldn't. I couldn't because her and I are in the same friendship group, and if we aren't friends, then there will be a gap in the group, and people will have to take sides, and... that just won't end well. Besides, there is a good chance I'd loose that battle, as I am definitely the noobie in the group having been inducted only 2 years ago (where as they have all known each other for much longer).

Instead I replied some lame text back to her, something like "It's fine, I didn't choose not to come over because of you. I've already eaten dinner, and am in the middle of some work". Once more my hiding true thoughts.

Sigh. I don't know. It'd just be nice to know that... she took my confession seriously, you know? That she understands where I am coming from. Instead I have to hold my tongue, pretend everything is okay, and just play along like nothing ever happened.

Last night I couldn't sleep, so I spent a few hours researching foreign countries. Sometimes... all I wish to do is plan another holiday, and just take off for a few months like I did for my backpacking around America. Sometimes I wonder if friends are meant to be like this?

Well, actually. I don't have any drama what so ever with any of my other friends. Out of all of them, she really is the only one that causes me grief. Is it time to let her go? For good?

When did everything get so complicated...

01 July 2013

Am I the crazy one, or is she?

It's been a month since I asked the girl out. The one that I have been pretty into for over a year now (but I left and backpacked around America for 1 year in the mean time, only to return to Australia to find that I was still into her).

After months of deliberation, I got the courage to finally confess how I felt. It took courage, some crazyness, and just that little bit of 'putting-yourself-out-there' that is always tough to do when leading up to it is (but it isn't quite so bad once it is over and done with).

Fine, sure, it didn't quite work out how I had hoped. She shut me down, claiming that she counted me as a great male friend whom she did not want to lose due to us dating. Sure, I can get that. In that case, let's stay friends, shall we?

If only.

The following week after my... confession, things were fine. She texted me some funny stuff as we reminisced about our weekend away getaway together to Adelaide. Things seemed fine.

A week later, I was at the university where she studies, so I stopped by to say hi. In return, I got barely anything out of her, and I found that I was holding up the conversation considerably. Alright, maybe she was just tired.

Another week went by, and again I was at her University so I decided to stop by. This time I got even less out of her. Fine, something must be up. I tried to be nice and cool, but clearly she did not want anything to do with me for the time being.

But you know what happened? I didn't care anymore! I didn't do anything wrong by saying that I liked her a month ago, and I certainly wasn't anything but a complete gentlemen about the entire thing, so if she wished to act like that, or even treat me like that, then I truly believed that it was her loss and I was not going to put up with it.

And that, my friends, was it.

For 2 weeks I didn't go visit her, text her, call her or see her. And you know what? It was fantastic! There was no more over-analyzing what every move she made meant, or the endless debates whether to text her or not, and even the wondering what she was up to. In a way, I felt somewhat free, and relieved, as if lifted from some sort of spell. I realized that I didn't need, nor deserved, that kind of treatment from anyone.

And for a little while, I thought that this was perhaps what growing up is all about.

This worked well for two whole weeks until suddenly, on the Thursday just gone by, I got a text from the person I least expected to hear from. It was here.

"Hey what's on tonight? Want to come and drink some wine??"

'Why the hell is she texting me for?' Was my initial reaction.

At the time of receiving the message I was already out, so I replied back that I was busy but perhaps another time, and that was that. I was hoping I wouldn't hear from her again for a while.

Two days later, on Saturday night, I get another text... "What ya up to??" it said.

She is messaging again!? Sigh. I was already busy with friends, so I replied that the offer to drink with her sounded fun, but that I am already busy so another night could work better.

I know it is only a text message, but you have to understand my anguish here. I asked this girl out, she says no, she then seems cool for the following week, then pretty much ignores me when I tried to talk to her the following two weeks, and then I don't talk or speak to her for another following two weeks, to now all of a sudden for her to be texting me twice in three days asking to come round for drinks?

Is she playing a game, or am I reading too much into it?

The next day, Sunday, arrives. This time, she calls me!

"Hey! What you doing tonight? Want to come to the pub for a drink with me and Brendan? (Brendan is one of my best mates, who happens to be her roommate also).

"Errr... alright, I can come" was my put-on-the-spot reply. To be honest I was more eager to see my best mate Brendan, as he had just gotten back from a two week trip to Hawaii. Frankly I was not looking forward to seeing her, our last few encounters had not gone well, and I was suspicious about all this attention she was throwing my way all of a sudden.

Three attempts to get me over for drinks in four days? Fine, whatever, I'll go anyway and see what happens.

The meet-up goes fine. The three of us chatted like old buddies. After the pub I invited them back to my house to continue with the drinking (as they live only 5 minutes walk from my house). Things were well... for a while...

Talks lead onto Brendan's recent trip to Hawaii, where he commented on the pretty girls he saw on the beach. This lead onto Brendan's last romantic chase, where apparently whilst I was backpacking through America last year he met a girl and they went out for a little while. It was a cool story.

Then... while sitting next to me, despite me confessing to her how into her I was, and that we'd make a great couple together only a month ago, she starts telling stories of some of the guys she got with, or pursued, last year.

What. The. Hell!?

I know without a doubt that if a girl confessed to me that she liked me, that I would not be talking in front of her so casually of my previous romantic chases or conquests!!!! How awful would it make that girl feel!? To basically be saying "Hey, I know you asked me out, but I rejected you. Instead, I went for these other, more attractive and cooler people".

Come on!!!

There was a girl who was interested in me a little while back, whom I rejected (in a nice way), and I know that if I were to say right in front of her about the girls I've been interested in or have pursued, that it would make her feel so little and worthless.

Surely it works the other way round!?

Is she the crazy one, or is it me?
 
And at that point, I lost it, and to be honest I acted like a bit of a douche. We were sitting in my lounge room and she wanted more wine, so instead I ignored her and sat down, telling her that she can get it herself. She replied that she can't be bothered arguing against me, and will instead just finish her current wine glass and go home if I wasn't going to get her one. I said that that is fine by me, and that I am not going to get up and get her a wine when she can get it herself. And that was that. She finished her current glass and went home soon after, and I stayed up the rest of the night chatting to my mate Brendan.

Sure, I am not proud of it. Normally, I'd never, ever be a such a douche on purpose like that. In earnest I try to be a very nice, considerate guy to my friends always, treating them like absolute family (as I do cherish them greatly). It truly is very rare that I loose my cool, but I just couldn't take what she was saying, or how much she completely disregarded my feelings. It is completely fine that she rejected me, but to parade her previous romances in my face, with absolutely no concern on how it may affect me as I was sitting right next to her at the time? Come on... that is just not on.

Again, am I the crazy one, or is she?

To be honest, that two weeks while not speaking to her, I was so much more relaxed. To be her friend is... in a word, exhausting. She plays far too many games, you have to tip-toe around her to not offend her, and she thinks far too highly of her herself while judging those around her.

I am not sure it is worth the effort in remaining friends really. Regardless of my feelings for her.

I talked to my best mate about all this. It is pretty rare for me to call him out of the blue to ask for advice about girls (cause, you know, that's not what bro's do too often), but this circumstance was different. He was pretty much on my side, and said that he had been in a similar situation where a girl basically paraded this new guy in front of him despite knowing that he was really into her. So, he could get where I was coming from.

All the above happened only 1 hour ago, and I am typing this at 1am as I am finishing off the bottles of wine that her, Brendan, and I had started for the night.

I'm still raging, and am honestly more furious than I have been in a very long time indeed. I don't often get this worked up, but surely this is just not on? Surely the human race has far more decency? As mentioned already (but I feel I must repeat this) I know I for one rejected a girl recently who was very much into me, but I made sure we remained good friends, and I sure as hell do not speak in front of her about the good looking girls that I have been interested in, for I know that if I did it wouldn't make her feel good about herself at all.

Am I the crazy one?

(Side note: I have drunk a lot of wine before, and during, the typing of this post haha)

21 June 2013

I'm back

Apologies for the absence from the blog, it has been quite a hectic few weeks, with so much to sort through and figure out that I couldn't even attempt to sit down and write out my thoughts.

It is currently 3.51am. I'm winding down from a night of drinking with my housemates, and suddenly thought that now, while my mind is somewhat quieter than normal, would be a good time to write a quick 'update' post.

So I guess I should follow up on my last post. The one where I was about to head interstate for a few days on an impromptu trip to an interstate city with the girl I have been into for... a very long time. She was the one who asked me to come in fact, and ever since my return from my backpacking trip around America she has been one of my biggest fans, having seemingly missed me quite a lot.

I will cut to the chase.

We had an absolutely awesome time. The first night we went into the city (Adelaide, South Australia) for dinner, which was nice. The second day was wine tours (which was absolutely hilarious) and then out for dinner and a show at the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (where we seen Beethoven's 5th! It was fantastic). I had been debating with myself the entire trip whether I should say something to her or not... fearing that if things didn't go well I obviously was stuck with her regardless until we returned home to Melbourne.

But... at the same time, the optimism was there too, for what if things went well, and played out as I hoped, it could have been quite memorable to say the least.

Anyways, moving on. So after the orchestra I figured the time was right. We were walking around the city, having just finished dinner, and we'd just had a few drinks. I took about 20 deep breaths before finally just throwing the words out there... far out it is a scary moment!

Finally, I got the courage to say basically what I thought (and felt). That I thought her and I would be awesome together, and that I had been thinking about it all for quite some time, and that it is hard to mention out loud but I will say it anyway. A very long story short, well, she basically said that she counts me as one of her best male friends, and that friends dating just never works and is never a good idea, and that she would hate to lose me as a friend...

I said that I totally agree, and that friends dating is a terrible idea (based on passed personal experiences as well). But to counter that, I expressed how much I agreed that it is a terrible idea, but the fact that I was to still bring it up should show how much I believed in it. In the... possibilities.

She could see where I was coming from, and agreed that we get along great, and that she wouldn't have invited just anyone along with her for the trip, and that she only invited someone she both trusted and enjoyed spending time with... but still, she stood by her initial statement. That friends dating is a bad idea, and that nothing I could say would change her mind.

So... that's that I guess.

It has been a really strange few weeks since that day. Keeping in mind that this all happened 3 weeks ago from the time I am writing this post. At first, I was pretty... low in mood. And was not a big fan of myself in the slightest. I spent a lot of time wishing that... I don't know, I was... cooler, or simply better looking, or something. I don't know, just something where it could have changed the outcome.

Then at the same time, I felt infinitely relieved. To have spent months having the thought of asking her out, and what her answer may be, spinning over and over in my head, to finally have an answer where I didn't have to guess anymore was... a very free feeling. On one hand, it absolutely sucked... yet I guess, to be fair, on the other hand it was almost like closure to a very long chapter of a story.

Not to mention that... perhaps... I should be proud of myself? I don't know.

I am not sure if my asking her out affected our friendship. I made a huge conscious effort to make sure that things wouldn't get weird between us... especially because when I asked her initially while still in Adelaide, we still had another full day, a flight home, then an hours drive home together still ahead of us ha. Everything seemed pretty cool the next day, on the way home, and then even the few days after that... but... I don't know, the last week or two I have barely seen her. And when I do, she seems pretty distant, so... who knows. To be honest I have kind of just given up putting in the effort, and that if I am 'one of her closest male friends' that she claims I am, then I guess she can come to me instead.

Sigh... who knows.

Lately I have been a whirl of emotions. I've had a cold. I've hurt my knee quite badly. A few of my close friends are away overseas. And most of all... I am starting to realize that my life in Australia isn't quite as awesome as I remember it was before my backpacking trip around America (back in early 2012). I don't seem to have as many friends as I remember having, nor am I feeling as welcomed as I remember either. I am not sure if it is a result of me being away for an entire year, where perhaps I have drifted from some people (which is fair enough), or perhaps the image of how home was like in my mind was blown out of proportion to the reality?

Either way... I am beginning to wonder if it is time to start preparing for my next long-term overseas adventure (teaching English in Taiwan perhaps) where this time, I don't think I have plans to return to Australia.

Thanks for listening.

31 May 2013

The girl and I go on holiday

Before I left for my America trip, I talked about this girl I was into a few times on this blog, all the way back in late 2011 actually. At the time I guess I was pretty invested emotionally, as depicted by this post here, but with my year-long trip looming I figured it was pointless to make any moves. Besides, I'd be away for a year, surely it would blow over by the time I returned?

You would think so. For some reason, she never really left my mind the entire time, despite the great length of time I was away from her.

Upon my return I found myself falling back into the exact same pattern as before I left. What was going on?

We've had some awesome times in the few months since my return to Australia, everyone was clearly happy to see me again, and it was nice to see how much she had genuinely missed me, and since then our friendship has grown quite well. We've gone camping (as a group of friends), walked her dog together (exactly how we used to back in 2011!), and many more fun nights for dinner and drinks too.

It isn't easy, you know. Being friends with someone you can't get off your mind, while keeping a straight face and hiding it from everyone (and them) on a weekly basis. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself, and wonder if it is all worth it. Other times I admit I get disheartened, and doubt my chances... or worse, just doubt myself.

We have an up and down friendship. But I think it is just her personality. One day she'll promise to get back to me about my invite for her to come over to mine for dinner, and I'll never hear from her, so I start to think their is nothing between us. Then the very next day I'll get a text from her inviting me out for lunch... no idea.

I bring all this up because today, this girl is flying interstate (to Adelaide, in fact) to visit her aunty and to explore for the next 2 nights.

She invited me along. I said yes. She seemed very enthusiastic about my agreeing to come too, I might add. So in a few hours off I go to catch a flight to meet her in Adelaide, where it will be just us for the next two nights.

It is hard what to make of it all. It is very likely that I am reading into it far too much, but that is just who I am, and I can't help it, so moving on!

What does that mean!?

Is this a perfect opportunity to get closer with her? Well, closer than we already are that is. Or is it completely platonic and I am over-thinking it all?

Perhaps it is both? Regardless, it is a very strange situation to be in!

I am nervous, of course, because you can never been yourself when around the person you secretly like. You analysis every move you make, and berrate yourself for the ones you didn't (or about the stupid ones that you did). You can never quite relax. Not to mention the reality never matches your built up fantasies of the 'what ifs' and the 'could be'.

I have not the slightest clue on how it will turn out, all I know is that I am rather nervous, and am not at all excited because of my nerves. I'd like to think it'll turn out great, perhaps all my desires will come true, or perhaps it will be terrible.

Either way I have the next 3 days of just us, to figure it all out. Wish me luck =)

16 May 2013

Winter blues

Why don't I just give up?

To go week after week of dreaming, of hoping, to continue going forward despite the setbacks, it is getting harder to answer that question.

It's winter at the moment, here in Australia. I hate winter. I hate how early it gets dark, how tough it is to get out of bed, how grueling a shower can be when stepping out into the freezing air. I dislike the grey cloud days when all you want to do is go outside, the wet footpaths that make you slip, the windows of your car that are frosted over in the morning.

Yet, at the same time, this is also all the things that I love about winter. Cozening up under a rug with a movie playing, the excuse to stay inside when outside is so grim, the nights spent having dinner with friends in the warmth of your home instead of the cold of a local bar.

I hate so much that she doesn't realize her influence on me. That when I ask her over for dinner on a whim, and she replies with "I have to do some work tonight, but I will let you know", and never gets back to me... that it really does affect me greatly. She has no idea, no idea what so ever the power she has. I've now spent my entire Thursday night drinking wine and cooking dinner on my own, all with the hope that any minute now she would suddenly appear at my door. I knew she wouldn't... but... that's where the never ending hope comes in. The hope that says "Don't worry, it'll all work out in the end".

The problem is that I have had the voice of hope on repeat for literally years now. And after all this time, it is still yet to fulfill its promise.

10 May 2013

The dream

Get more classes to teach for next semester at my University.

Reach the point with my freelance programming where I have enough clients to support myself full time.

Never work a 9 - 5 job, or a job that I hate, for the entire year.

Build a website for myself, highlighting my work portfolio and travel adventures.

Travel again.

Get that girl.


07 May 2013

Off to a surprisingly great start

It was only a month ago where I took the time to lay out my goals for 2013, with moving out of my parents house after my return from America, and to gain sufficient employment, being foremost on my list.

Well I am glad to announce that as of yesterday... well, a week ago now (it feels like only yesterday!) I have moved out of my parents house (again) and am back in my favourite town to be close to where I work and more importantly to be close to my favourite people in the world.

And wow is it great to be back! To be only 1km from two of my greatest friends is awesome.

To top it all off, my secondary goal of adding to my freelance programming client list (for at the time I only had one) is also flying along, for I now have three clients! So now there's demonstrating classes at my old University on Fridays, and three client projects to work on during the week, amazing!

My goal to go the entire year without working a 9 - 5 job (or just a job that I hate) is on track!

I also just got back from a swing dance lesson only moments ago (with improving my swing dance skills also on the list), and I have signed up for a French course starting in July (also an item on the list)... so, things are in motion!

I am excited but terribly nervous at the same time to be honest... I constantly battle hard to squash that inner voice, the one that worries that things won't last, that it is all an illusion that will drift away at any moment. There's the fear that the freelance clients will suddenly dry up, or that I won't get more classes to teach come next semester, or even the fear that I am dreaming too high, or unrealistically, and that the little world I keep in my head is simply a fantasy and I should 'get real' and look for proper employment like normal people.

But, hey, I figure I can ride it as long as it lasts at the very least!

I don't know how my luck works, I have such crazy highs like where employment just finds me, where things all fall together and I find a great house to move into on a complete whim... yet on the flip side my lows are also just as devastating. In the last month I've broken my little toe very badly (accidentally kicked the door frame of the pantry), and then two weeks later was dreadfully close to damaging my knee (fell on wet concrete, luckily it is just severely bruised).

In the end, I guess it balances.

Now! All that was left on the list was to release some iPhone apps onto the AppStore... which should happen by the years end, and then more importantly was to find a girlfriend, something I am working on that's for sure! Although more on that in another post shortly.

Yes, I think I really enjoy this new approach in life. To set goals, and work towards them. It worked immensely for my trip to America, I think it can work again! And by blogging it all I can look back to where it all began with fondness that I was brave enough to take the first step that (hopefully) made it all a reality!

29 April 2013

Documenting the fun times

I cannot express how much of an emotional rollercoaster it is to be back home in Australia again, with no end in sight. It's been a constant flux from anxiety about the fact that I have nothing figured out with no job or house to call my own, not to mention the challenge of adjusting to not being on the travel road anymore... to pure and uninterrupted joyous elation at being taken care of by my parents (I am staying with them for the time being), the amazingly fun time with my friends, and being able to enjoy the simple joys in life that I missed whilst traveling such as staying up late on your on computer and blogging.

The last 2 months have been a blur, a whirlwind, a fairytale and a nightmare. But regardless of the emotion I am feeling on any given day (or in any given hour really), it is one that will forever shape me, alas I want to write it down here.

First there was a camping trip with one of my very best friends. It was an absolute blast, just 3 simple and laid back days of fishing, chilling by the fire, beers, and chatting. It was the first time I have gotten away from home since my return, and it was the perfect way to leave all my stress behind.




Enjoying the blue skies and open fields!
I now get to spend time again with one of my favourite females in the world... Tessa! I try and see her every week, and with the weather still great of late, the beach is our favourite hang out.


My package containing some mosaic art works I did whilst in New York City that I have been expecting finally arrived, very cool! And I am glad they made it all this way in one piece. Wow... I still can't believe only two months ago I was living and working in Manhattan.


There has also been some amazing parties and drinking nights with my very best friends, one of which I am tempted to post some pictures of because of how ridiculously I was dressed! (It was a colourful dress-up themed party... yeah, things got wild!).

There was a second camping trip, this time with the same best friend that I went with the previous time, but also with two other friends as well (one being that girl that I am secretly crazy about...). It was... far out, it really was an amazing time really, one in which I think I need to dedicate a post to. Alas, another day perhaps.

And... well, just too much stuff really. I don't know, I am never writing on this blog to brag, or to try and convince you readers that 'my life is amazing' or something like that... far from it. In fact, my life is indeed far from amazing, I just choose not to write too much about the bad stuff, that's all. The reason I do write all this down however is for my own personal collection and archive, for I fear that, I don't know, like I will forget all these amazing times or something, and it scares me that I might forget about them. This of course makes little sense, because if they really were that amazing then I am sure my brain would remember them anyway, true?

I guess I just like being able to go back and read about times like this when I might be having a bad day, or feeling lonely, or lost, or anxious, or the myriad of other low points that come and go, as they do to everyone.

I hope you all are having your own memorable moments too, sincerely.

27 April 2013

Guest Post from Ashley Riordan

Today I am proud to present an awesome guest post written by one of my favourite bloggers, Ashley from Ashley Riordan! She has been having quite the adventurous year or two, and recently embarked on her first solo overseas trip last year to Germany. I was very interested in hearing on how she overcame her fears, dealt with the challenges, and traversed the unknowns that is travel, especially when done on ones own.

Enjoy!



Traveling Alone in Germany

My name is Ashley and I blog at Ashley Riordan.  I recently traveled to Germany, which was my first trip outside of North America, and Aaron asked me to write about the fears I conquered, experiencing a different culture, traveling alone, and how this experience has changed me.  It hardly makes sense to me now, but I was really scared before I left.  I couldn’t even really place my fear.  It was ambiguous.  I just had no idea what to expect.  It was so bad that I was having trouble taking deep breaths.  That is, until the minute that I landed in Germany and felt completely fine.

I think the fear was just a natural part of doing something for the first time and doing it alone.  I didn’t conquer it in any magnificent way.  I just kept taking these small steps toward going until the only step left was to get on a plane. I’ve boarded a plane tons of times, so I knew how to take that last step, and then after a long and uncomfortable flight, I was there.  Once I was in Germany, I managed my fear and uncertainty by focusing only on one step at a time.  Things as simple as: find a place to stay, figure out how to get there from the airport, find something to eat, and figure out where you’re going next.

I arrived in Germany with only a vague geographical plan.  I had never traveled like this before, and I’m from the west coast of the United States where getting from one major city to another is no easy thing, so I didn’t know how realistic I was being in thinking that I could see so much in only a week.  This ended up being a great way to see the country.  I would love to go back and spend more time in each city, but I was able to see way more than I expected.

I told myself before I left that I shouldn’t fear looking like an idiot, because there was no reason to expect myself to know what I was doing in a foreign country traveling alone for the first time.  I was sitting in a restaurant in Seattle with my Dad just before I left when a Japanese girl approached us to ask about how she should tip, and after she walked away my dad said, “That’s going to be you in a week.”  As it turned out, for the first time in my life, I naturally felt that it was okay if I made mistakes.  I recently heard travel writer Andrew McCarthy say that when he’s at home, he would never think to ask for help from anyone, but when he’s traveling, he doesn’t hesitate.  I was far enough out of my element that I didn’t mind asking for help or admitting that I didn’t know things.  It didn’t even bother me when a German man yelled at me for not opening the train door fast enough.

I have done most of my traveling with friends, but it was really important for me to take this trip alone.  I had been thinking about it and working up the courage and saving the money for a long time, and this was something that I wanted to do on my own.  I’m a person who really likes to be alone a lot of the time, but I didn’t know how well that would translate into traveling alone for a week, and I worried that I would be lonely.  I never was.  I was traveling so much and seeing so many things that I was never sorry to be alone.  I did meet and talk to new people, but I’m not a particularly social person, so that really wasn’t the point of traveling alone for me.  Most of my down time I spent reading and writing, which was perfect for me.

I felt very safe in Germany, but there are some precautions to take when you’re traveling alone.  I gave my parents and close friends an itinerary of where I expected to be each day.  I also gave my friends the contact information of my parents in case they ever thought something might be wrong.  I tried to get in contact as often as I could, though my internet and phone access were somewhat limited.  I would just say where I was and where I was planning to go next.  I sent an email to a friend when I was in Munich saying that I was in the train station talking to a boy, and just joked that if she didn’t hear from me again then I had probably been kidnapped, and then I caught an early train toward the mountains where I had no internet access for more than 24 hours. I learned my lesson with that: no jokes about kidnapping unless you’re sure you will have internet access in the immediate future.

A week wasn’t really long enough to absorb much of the culture.  I spent less than 24 hours in each city, which just meant getting a glimpse of what each place had to offer.  But that was okay with me, because I have every intention of going back to Germany more than once in my life, and I would really love to live there for a while.  The most profound way this experience changed me was that it made me realize I could actually get on a plane and go experience a new place by myself.  Once you start traveling, that seems like the easiest thing in the world, but I had a lot of doubts before taking my first trip.  Now I am so impatient to travel internationally again that I am having a hard time being satisfied with my lovely but quiet life here in California.

23 April 2013

Midnight in Paris

I am far from being a Francophone at any stretch of the imagination, although I am slowly teaching myself to speak French. I live in Australia, perhaps one of the most geographically distant places from France as you could possibly be, although we do love our wines and fine dining here too. And despite myself I find myself quite moved as I sit here watching Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.

I love Owen Wilson's character, he reminds me of myself; full of passion, rants, ideologies, all of which seem to fall on deaf ears when expressed to his friends and family. He is, of course, with the wrong woman, one who not only does not support these... eccentricities of his, but even shuns them! This to me is unacceptable, and depressing, for my biggest joy in life is the chance to just be myself, completely myself, and being able to do this with other people around me, ones who accept it all, or even support it.

I, of course, have not a woman of my own, but much like the character in the movie I like to live in a different time era, and dream of what my future might hold and how I wish to shape it. At 24 years old I have yet been lucky enough to find 'the one', but I guess I am still young, and there is still much learning to be done and adventurous to be had. Despite all the cities I have visited before, and the countless people I have already met, I still don't feel quite at home yet nor have I found the place where I feel I truly belong.

I do not think France is that place, but the idea of it does fill me with hope and inspiration to at the very least keep searching. To find that special place, and that special someone.

I like to think that I am destined for somewhat greatness. Not to become famous or a celebrity of course, as that is something I have no interest in, but greatness more in the sense of what greatness to me feels like. At peace, happy, productive, full of life accomplishments and adventures.

After recently returning from my 11 month solo trip around America I feel that it was just a test, a stepping stone, with the real challenges still ahead of me just waiting to be thought up, planned for, and then embarked upon. I want to live in a foreign country that speaks a foreign language, whether that be France, Taiwan, Japan or China. I want that challenge of learning the new language and culture, of starting a brand new life, to see the world through different eyes and customs.

And most importantly, well, there are two things that are most important to me, and they are this; to first and foremost find what my passion is, my calling, where my true skills and desires lie in life. In Midnight In Paris the protagonist called himself a writer. I do not have a title to call myself when someone asks me 'And what do you do?'. I do too many things, which is an answer yet not an answer to the question at the same time.

And secondly, of equal importance, and I fear I am repeating myself here but alas I want to state it clearly again; I want to find someone to do all this with, to share all these ideas with, and to learn from theirs as well. Life is too complicated and boring to traverse on ones own, and much like the movie where the main character realizes that he is with the wrong person who does not enhance his life, I too know that finding the right person to enhance your life is worth the risks, wait, and the courage.

Peut'etre, une jour bientot, je vais le trouver.

16 April 2013

2013 direction and goals

Every year I like to have a set goal, challenge or direction to work towards, it helps me plan my days and months better and is it always nice to accomplish something you set out for. Since returning from my trip away just over a month ago, my year is completely wide open with absolutely no commitments what so ever, meaning that I am free to shape this year (and my life at that) absolutely any way that I'd like!

In 2010 it was all about the challenge of completing my Honours thesis. 2011 was the year dedicated to planning and organizing for my big America trip, and to save money. And of course 2012 was when I embarked on said big America trip, and continued doing so before returning in February 2013.

Despite returning back to Australia 6 weeks ago I am only just now getting used to life again, and to the point where I feel ready to start planning for the next challenge of my life.

Oh, side topic: so it turns out, as I had suspected all along, that travel is indeed one of my biggest and main passions in life! So with that declared, I guess I should start revolving my life around that endeavor in some way shouldn't I, with travel requiring equal parts money, free time, and a thirst for adventure to achieve. At the moment I have a huge surplus of the latter two and am only lacking in the former, thus this year is all about saving money.

Well, to save money, but also to reconnect with my friends again. Being away from everyone while traveling was by far the worst experience of it all, to miss out on so many celebratory events such as birthdays, graduations and promotions, was terribly disheartening. But alas, moving on.

So, my first short term goals for the foreseeable future are:
- Gain sufficient employment
- Earn enough money to move out of my parents house and back to my favourite town as quickly as possible
- Have as much fun with my friends as I can

I am already off to a great start, having gained a permanent Friday employment last week, as well as some freelance programming work, I am certainly on the right track. I might even be ready to move out by the end of the month! And the having fun with friends part is easy.

Once the above are gaining motion and I am in a much better position, there are few personal directions I would like to start working towards, with the end of this year being my deadline:
- To finally get some iPhone apps onto the AppStore
- Get better at swing dancing, and my French (both of which are currently at a beginner level at best)
-  To improve upon my freelance programming portfolio and to gain more clients (currently I only have 1, although he does pay well at least)

This year really is all about just staying put, building my foundations again (with money, friendships, work portfolio), before embarking on more adventures in the near future. After the year I've just had, a slower, more evenly paced year is much welcomed.

And lastly... well, this one has been on my mind for quite some time, so I think it is time to... I don't know, put some effort into? In short, this is the year that I think I'd really like to get a nice girlfriend, to share my life with and be able to be involved in theirs as well. The timing feels right, and I know that I have mentioned this numerous times over the lifetime of this blog, especially in regards to how I'd love to travel with someone for a change instead of mostly solo like I currently do. I am turning 25 this year, and my last serious girlfriend was quite some time ago now... so, yeah, that'd be a nice additional goal to work on as well.

Hmm, so I guess that's it. I am quite excited about this year in fact. Being able to move house to be near my friends again will be a blast, and I do find the challenge of gaining employment quite exhilarating to be honest, to slowly bit by bit climb the ladder to where you hope to end up.

So now all that is left is to work towards it!

14 April 2013

Having fun rebuilding

After enjoying my unemployment immensely with days at the beach, golf, and catching up with all my friends again once more (wow I missed them while I was away!) I figured it was time to get serious with life once more. After getting some affairs in order (renewing my driver's license, reopening my bank account), the next thing to tackle of course was to find some employment, as disappointingly I can't continue on this holiday life-style forever haha.

My first attempt for employment was at my old University where I still have many great friends and contacts. I talked to a couple of my old lecturers to see if they had any work they'd be happy to pass on to me, and as my luck would have it they did!

Every Friday I am now teaching the Project Management class for 3rd year and Masters students, awesome! I absolutely love teaching the practical classes at my University, as I've conducted a class before whilst I was doing my Honours degree back in 2010, so to have the chance to do so again is fantastic. Not to mention that the income is most highly welcomed seeing as I've just spent the last 11 months traveling America off my savings account.

To add even further to my employment success I also got hired by one of the lecturers to do some computer programming for a project he is working on (I am a computer programmer if you were unaware), which means more income, yay!

Despite this win I still have a long way to go however, for the teaching is only on Fridays, and the programming is only a couple of days a week also, thus I will need some more solid employment soon if I am to get back on my feet. For now there is little urgency as I am staying at my parents house since my return from America, therefore (and thankfully!) accommodation and food is free, but I really do not wish to be at my parents house any longer than I have to be. The University is one hours drive away, and all my amazing friends whom I had to leave behind live near the University also. It is where my life is really, and I hate being away from it.

I am quite enjoying this 'rebuilding life' challenge that I have stepped into. To return from overseas after such a long time you can rarely just step into your old life again and continue on like nothing ever happened, and instead must kind of rebuild it all over again. It is awesome however when you think about it, it is almost like being able to start over again where you can begin from the base and build upwards in any way you like.

I have a grand idea on how I am hoping to shape my life, and now I get to have the fun of building it that way =)

08 April 2013

Enjoying my unemployment

Week three of my return to Australia after my 11 month travel abroad, and I know I must sound like a terribly broken these days with all this talk of being home, but seriously it is much more difficult to do than you may imagine! Unless of course you have also done it yourself, in which case I am sure you would agree with me here. Ha, anyways, slowly I am getting life back on track, and am curiously optimistic (and equally petrified) about what the future may hold.

And what's the first step you may ask? Applying for jobs to start saving again To enjoy some great times with my sorely missed friends of course!

Me looking for employment. I searched all day but couldn't find any!

My friends however, annoyingly, all either work full-time or study full-time. The downfall there is just that, it is full-time, meaning that when its midday on a Tuesday and I feel like going to the beach or a game of golf, I have no one to go with! Which then cheers me up as I realize that it is midday on a Tuesday and I am debating whether I'd prefer to sit by the beach or play some golf while all my friends are stuck at work, ha. In their moments of freedom from commitments however, we have had quite the fun since my return!

My great mate Brendan is an avid lawn bowls player (he is 23 years old, not 60, by the way), and organized a lawn bowls tournament for about 12 of our friends. Many beers were had, while also attempting to bowl, which is difficult to do even whilst sober so you can imagine the chaos that ensured. The thrill of the night got the best of me, and I got pretty hammered I admit, which thankfully was to the delight of my two team mates (my friends Liz and Isaac) who joined me with my new found enthusiasm for the game of lawn bowls, and we proceeded to be the loudest, most energetic team on the field haha! It was awesome.

The highlight of the night of course was being greeted via a gigantic hug by Polly... the girl who I was crazy about before I left for my trip, and whom now that I am back and despite it being over a year since I had last seen her, it appears I am still crazy about? But that is for another post.

As for my previous posts about struggling to cope with being home again? Well, they definitely still apply, for despite all this free time and the fun times with my friends I am still constantly on edge, and worried that things won't work out and that I'll be unemployed for far too long or that things won't be how I remember them or... I don't know. I guess it is the unknown in life that gets to me at times despite how it also excites me at the same time. For now, I will enjoy the good times while they come.

Hmm... maybe there is employment opportunities out here?

05 April 2013

Post-travel slump

After traveling for such a long time, it is hard to put into words how being back is like.

On one side it is simply amazing, I've just had an awesome night out with my very best friends, I started up swing dance classes again, and am really enjoying being surrounded by friends and family. Not to mention how blissful being unemployed can truly be! I've been chilling by the beach, playing golf, going to friends for dinner and drinks constantly, and just being having a real blast living life without the dread that is a work day.

Unemployment rocks, yet... well, it does make me realize that the future is wide open, and after the challenges and exhaustion of travel you'd thing I'd be flying with wings, exuberant at all the possibilities and good times that are now at my fingertips once more. But no, that is not the reality at all.

Despite the freedom and relaxation, I feel flat. Confused. Scared. I traveled for so long that I am having a tough time shaking off the mannerisms and habits that I acquired along the way, and continue to do them even now at home. Without thinking I subconsciously ensure that my possessions are within my sight at all times, even if I am sitting amongst a group of friends with no strangers around. I plan in my head how I am to be returning home, forgetting that I now have my own car to drive and don't have to rely on public transport anymore. And at times I feel lonely, and have to remind myself that I not in a foreign country anymore and that friends and family are only minutes away now.

Then there is a whole 'returning to reality'. Money spent on the road was money dedicated for the trip. Money spent whilst at home is money that is coming out of a bank account that has no money coming into it until I sort myself out and get a job. Getting a job takes responsibility, maturity, and commitment... skills not necessarily required when backpacking around a foreign country, which is one of the many reasons that makes traveling so appealing to be honest!

I guess I am just having a tough time adapting to what life was like before I left. 11 months on the road is quite the feat, and it is no surprise that it would be a challenge to return. But the thing I have realized is that it isn't home that has changed, because really it is identical to how I left it, but it is in fact I who has changed. My perspective on life, my habits, likes and  judgements have all been altered, and unless someone around me has traveled as well, my friends really have no idea what it was really like. I have to explain to them that it wasn't a holiday, that is was at times very tough, sometimes lonely, and scary, and that it makes you miss home quite a lot.

It's been not quite 2 weeks since I have returned home, and I am still struggling to find any kind of groove to fall into. I've been told it just takes time. For now I will slowly continue completing things on my 'returning to normal life to-do list', and hopefully will fall into some recognizable routine soon enough.