Monthly Archives: May 2014

What I learnt: Great Expectations

It was a roller coaster of a week.  That was for sure.  I’ve felt a little lost.  A little exhilarated.  A little down and very, very up.  Between mum leaving, going back to work, missing home, meeting someone new, making new a new friend and partying for my 30th it has been a hell of a ride.

Caught up with Nichole, a lovely Kiwi I’ve met on my journey in London town.  It was really nice to connect with someone about relocating alone.   I don’t think people realise how tough it can be to move half way across the world by yourself.  It takes guts to do it and it takes more guts to stay when things don’t turn out as planned.

There’s you and you alone.  You can feel extremely isolated and overwhelmed.  You only have yourself to depend upon.  If you don’t cook, or wash then you have no one else to blame when you’re down to your Bridget Jones undies!  I know, I know first world problems right!

Anyway we shared a bottle of wine and what was on our minds- life, love, the usual.  Just what I needed.

Another high of the week was going out with a cute Portuguese boy in Notting Hill.  It was an amazing night full of laughter, wine and deeply profound conversation (yes I’m paying myself out).  Maybe there was also a little kissing like 16 year olds on Portobello road.  I was besotted.  It has been so long since I’d felt the ‘spark’ with someone!

Sadly the flame died a violent death and that was the end of that.  Sa La Vie I guess.

The weekend was my first birthday party in London, which was a bit crazy to say the least.  So many friends, so much fun and sooooo many drinks.  Needless to say it was a great night, in which I very much indulged!

My Birthday

I wanted to talk about expectations this week.  It’s hard not to have them.  Sometimes ‘things’ work out better than expected.  Sometimes they really, really don’t.  You think this will happen and it doesn’t and it’s hard not to be disappointed.  Expectations can hurt you and they can amaze you.  You gotta ride that roller coaster of life, whatever happens.  Scream, laugh, cry.

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Funniest moment:

  • My birthday- when I told the girl who was attempting to kick me out of the loo that I didn’t want to leave and I could sit there all night if I fancied it.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) that wasn’t the case…

What I did that scared me:

  • Let myself be excited about a boy I’d only just met.  Dangerous stuff…

Highs:

  • Email from Maite.  This was one of the ladies who so lovingly looked after me when I was incredibly sick on the Camino De Santiago.  She’d posted photos of me for 2013 highlights on her Alburge’s website.  Maite also said I have to come back and visit, as they are waiting to give me a big hug.  So beautiful.  I cried.
  • Received lovely earrings from the beautiful Liv Shore for my birthday
  • Party, party, party!

Lows:

  • The end of something I thought was just beginning
  • Sunday- I never want to feel that hung over again! EVER!
  • Getting kicked out of Ruby Blue

What I learnt:

  • Life is a roller coaster, you just gotta ride it. (Thanks Ronan Keating)

 

 

What I learnt this week: The big 3-0

It’s a big one.  But at the same time it’s also just a number.

When you’re 19, 30 seems so far away.  You imagine who you’ll be and what you’ll be like.  In reality when you get there it’s probably not what you expected at all!

By 29 my mum had popped me out and was married.  The likelihood of me doing either of those things any time soon is extremely slim.  But that’s totally ok.  We all have different paths to travel.

Even though society wants me to believe now that I’m 30 I should be married, engaged or at least in some sort of permanent relations FFS!  And own a house or an apartment, great car and be in a job I’m thrilled with. Oh and let’s not forget working towards my savings plan!  Sorry to let you down society, I’ve none of those things! But I’m happy (most of the time).

I’ve been reflecting on my life to date and I’ve had so many incredible experiences:

  • Played like a child in Disneyland
  • Partied in Vegas
  • Drank cocktails in Hawaii
  • Celebrated new year fireworks in Singapore and Thailand
  • Swam in Halong Bay, Vietnam
  • Walked the Great Wall of China
  • Caught a glimpse of a Geisha in Japan
  • Ridden a camel in India
  • Watched baby Orangutans play in Borneo
  • Witnessed a man walk on fire in Vanuatu
  • Shopped until my heart was content in Kuala Lumpur
  • Snorkelled in Fiji
  • Road tripped through New Zealand
  • Parasailed on the crystal clear waters of Mauritius
  • Walked over the peaks of the Pyrenees in France
  • Eaten my way through Italy
  • Lost my mind in Amsterdam and Barcelona for my last 2 birthdays
  • Dipped my feet in the waters of Loch Ness
  • Drank mulled wine at the Cologne Christmas markets
  • Tasted the pure air of Sweden
  • AND my favourite adventure was that I walked 600km’s across Spain on my own!

Best of all, during my travels I’ve met so many amazing people who are all part of my life now.

However this is just the travel side of things. In my personal life I have trained as an actor, screenwriter, dancer, athlete, PT, surf lifesaver and Body Balance Instructor.

I was lucky enough to light the Olympic Cauldron, in my town, when I was 16. I’ve travelled all over the East Coast of Australia working with Alpha Theatre educating kids on bullying, self esteem and how to find you inner strength. This was one of my dreams as a child; I always admired the performers when they came to my school!   I’ve produced, written and acted in 4 short films, all of which have been screened at various festivals. I’ve also acted and worked behind the scenes in Neighbours. I’ve been a Team Leader at the Australian Open, and Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.

And now I live in London. I always wanted to live OS! It may have taken me a while to get the guts to do it but the important thing is I did!

The icing on the cake is I have an amazing circle of friends and a wonderfully supportive family. The cherry on the cake is I’ve found the love of my life- screenwriting.

So anyone who feels sorry for me because I don’t have the conventional ‘things’ most people want, don’t!

Yes, I’ve had my heart broken more times than I can remember. Made choices which now maybe don’t seem the best. I’ve behaved selfishly and wasted time on hate. Fought against people who disappointed me.  Suffered bouts of depression, anxiety and loneliness, so acute I wanted to crawl into a hole and die (very dramatic, I know).

But I wouldn’t change a thing. These are the experiences that make us who we are.  Aloe Blacc said, ‘it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.’

My life may not be exactly what or where I planned it to be.  But I know what my purpose for being put on this earth is. And that’s the best thing in the world to me.  I will continue to write and grow.  And love the people in my life.

After all this reflectiony stuff I’m not going to go too over board with what happened during my work week.  We said goodbye to Camilla and hello to Patrick. Suffice to say there were only 3.5 (as Patrick was training) of us instead of 7 in my team.   It was HECTIC.   To make matters worse we had more tube strikes. It was a trying week to say the least.

A few notable highlights- writers group on Monday (good feedback on my work so far).  Dancing to ‘John Butler Trio’ with Shelley at the Brixton O2 and a lovely hair cut after 7 months!

And a new boy popped up on the scene…

My birthday weekend in Amsterdam was pretty DAM good.  Met Zoe on the Friday night.  It was late by the time I flew in, so we had a small bite to eat.  Then went to sleep in our hobbit style room (the lowest ceilings I have ever seen)!

Saturday got up early and headed to see the beautiful tulips.  They’re incredible.  The afternoon was spent strolling the Jordaan area- beautiful, arty shops and markets.  Late lunch.  Headed back to the room.  Pre-drinks.  Mexican for din dins.  And then may have tried some special brownies…

That night we also went for a stroll through the red light area.  Don’t really know what the fuss is about there.  It’s just really seedy and not worth the effort.  BED.

Amsterdam

Up early. Checked out the Van Gogh Museum.  Now that’s impressive!  I was amazed to learn he actually only painted for 10 years of his life!  Incredible.   After, we stopped for pancakes.  Then headed back to the hobbit hole.  It was time to get gussied up for my Birthday!

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Put our pretty dresses on. Cracked a bottle of Moet, woop, woop (I’m posh now that I’m 30).  Then headed to a beautiful restaurant on the canal (one of the millions of canals).  Shared a bottle of Prosecco.  Ate seafood for entrée, steak for main and strawberry tart for dessert.  Best of all a whole bunch of strangers sang happy birthday to me!    It was truly special.  And that was 30.

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The next day we took it easy.  Got on a bus and headed for the famous windmills of Holland.  Wandered around in the glorious sunshine. Ate our packed lunch, like good little school kids.  Headed back to the city.  Explored a little more.  Ate waffles.  Picked up our bags.  Then home time!  What a wicked whirlwind weekend!

Funniest moment:

  • Sitting on the plane home, just after take-off this guy runs down the isle and rips into the toilet.  I’ve never seen anyone run that fast.  It surprised everyone, we all giggled away.  He must have really needed to go!

What I did that scared me:

▪   Ate special brownies

Highs:

▪   My birthday dinner

▪   Van Gogh Museum

▪   John Butler Trio live

Lows:

▪   Getting up sooo early to avoid the tube strike

▪   Overcrowding because of the tube strike

▪   Oh did I mention the f&%$ing tube strike

What I learnt:

  • 30 isn’t what I expected. But I’m pleasantly surprised.  I don’t feel older.  But I do feel more sure of who I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I learnt this week: A Selfishism

No, it’s not a word but I have now made it one.  Pop it in your dictionary.  A selfishism:  a dark horrible organism that sucks your insides and feeds ideas into you brain that you’re the only human that matters.

Several things bring me to this week’s theme.  I recently watched ‘The Other Woman.’   Which I thorougly enjoyed.  I do believe Cameron Diaz is my BFF waiting to happen.  Don’t we all?  It’s a very funny film full of heart.  But to the point there’s a line- ‘selfish people live longer, ‘ which caught my attention.

There was also reinforcement of this notion discovered in my Stephen King book, he wrote- ‘selfish people are happier.’

I’m deducing that because you do exactly what you want, when you want, you’re happier and therefore live longer or something along those lines.  What a horrible concept!  Because I don’t believe that if you’re only self-serving you could possible be fulfilled.  And I believe you can be happier if you aren’t selfish.  I hope that’s not just me.

Of course you need to look after yourself.  I’m not saying be a doormat, but you can look after others in the process.  That’s not being selfish.  That’s being smart. Sometimes it’s hard to see you’re being selfish.  I have done it many times, we all have I’m sure.  It’s about being aware and recognizing the behaviour.

On the practical side of things I went back to work after 3 weeks away.  Wow.  That was tough!  I was a bit of a zombie, as it has been a hectic few weeks.  Sadly Camilla is leaving.  And 3 of the girls are on holidays next week.  Oh yay.

Apart from that it was a super hectic week.  Mum and I saw ‘The Commitments (brilliant), ‘The Book of Mormon,’ (hilarious again), the Graham Norton Show, with Zac Efron, Matt Leblanc, Seth Rogan, and Kaiser Chiefs performing- (all bloody brilliant).

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Ate Chinese, Indian and Tesconese (yes, that’ s food from Tesco).  Drank with Stu and Brendan on Friday night.  Had coffee with Kelly at Notting Hill Markets before popping mum on the plane back to Aussie 🙁

After that I kinda didn’t know what to do with myself (cue song).  So I went to the movies, which always cheers me up.  Especially when my BFF is onscreen, hehe.

Funniest moment:

  • Book of Mormons (long moment)

What I did that scared me:

  • Submitted a story to the Graham Norton show, to be considered for the ‘red chair’

Highs:

  • Starting writing again
  • Show, shows and shows
  • Having nothing to do on Sunday

Lows:

  • Saying bye to mum
  • More bloody rain
  • Checking around 8000 emails at work

What I learnt:

  • It’s good to be selfish sometimes to look after you but it’s not so good to be selfish for the sake of it…

What I learnt this week (special edition): Italian Adventure

Usually this is a weekly blog but I have fallen a little behind due to the fact I was in Italy for three weeks.  Soooo I have decided to do a round up of the whole holiday in one post.  Here we go…

Oh and when I talk about ‘we’ it’s mum and me 🙂

Silcily was our first destination.  We weren’t expecting what we got.  Palermo was supposed to be crime ridden and filthy.  This wasn’t the case.  We stayed in a hidden treasure of a B & B.

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Spent our time shopping, exploring the botanical gardens, wandering through the old city, churches and checking out the Royal Palace.  We were even lucky enough to see a live performance of Mozart’s classical music, set in a beautiful old theatre.  There was a  German silent film projected behind it, which added to the surreal feeling of the evening.    Listening to an Austrian composers masterpiece, whilst watching a film with Italian subtitles and not knowing a word of what was happening.

Ate some of the best seafood I’ve ever tasted in a typical trattoria.  Travelled up into the mountains to view the whole city from a mosaic cathedral.  Spent the rest of the time eating more local foods and driking local wines.  Bliss.

Next stop was a flight to Naples, then straight on to Ravello (when I say straight on it was more like- a bus to catch a train to catch a bus, to wait for another hour to catch a bus to change at Amalfi to catch a local bus, to walk 1k with luggage up steps to get to our accommodation).

It was worth it!   Ravello is a hill side town on the Amalfi Coast.  Very special.  We only had one night there.  Of which we splurged and ate at a restaurant overlooking the coast.  Steak, seafood and of course local wine.

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Then we were lucky enough to be wandering around the city and stumble across an art light show.  Which was music and images projected on the walls of an old castle.  Amazing.

The next day we meandered up and down 1000 stairs to the closest beach- Minori.  Lovely, but we got soaked on the way back.  On account of the rain we headed for wine and pizza in a near by cafe and waited for it eased.  Also ate the best tiramisu of our life!

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Packed up and it was off to Positano. Five days with a balcony view overlooking the stunning Amalfi coast.  We ate, drank and were very merry here.  Spent time at the beach.  Went for a ferry ride to Solerno.  Walked to nearby towns along the coast.  Shopped a little. And relaxed.

Next, it was time to get busy in Rome.  As we only had two days.  We packed in the Coliseum, Vatican, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain all in.  It was a crazy walk all over the city but we did it.

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Ate amazing pizza and lasagna here.  And met an awesome chick- Ludovica on our journey.  You know those people who are so full of life and enthusiasm you can’t not be inspired by their personality!

After a whirlwind stopover in Rome we headed to Florence for the weekend.  That’s where all the cute Italian boys are (reference to any of my single gals).  Amazingly beautiful city.  Loved the vibe.  Killer food.  Brilliant wine, as always.

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Checked out a costume museum at Bobli Gardens.  Ate pizza on the steps of a church.  Wandered the rivers and the markets, cathedrals, leather museums and viewed the city from the top of a hill.

Ate at a really special restaurant- beautiful pasta and desserts- ‘Dildarno.’  The hosts really looked after us.  They even gave us some small pots of jams as gifts when we left.  So the next day we went back with some herb plants for them as a present.  They were so thrilled.

Then off to Rapello.  Our hosts were the brilliant Philippe and Roberto.  Ate more amazing food, drank more amazing wine.  Explored the Cinque Terre area, chilled and wandered the streets of Rapello.  Actually ate Chinese one night too.  Pizza and pasta was getting a bit much!

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Our last stop was Lake Como (where my beloved George Clooney has a house, alas he’s now engaged).  Alessandro, our host of the B & B was a great laugh.  When we arrived he prepared wine and cheese for us, overlooking the lake.  It’s a very special place.  Magical.

The first day we were there the weather wasn’t flash so we wandered around Laglio.  May have walked past George’s house, hehe.

The next day we met some cool American’s staying at the B & B- David and Andrew.  We travelled to Villa Carlotta, absolutely beautiful gardens.  Then to Bellagio for lunch on the lake.  Hot rum and pasta.  Finally a ferry to Managgio.  Wandered and drank coffee.  Back on the bus.

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Walked to a local restaurant for our last night.  Sat over looking the lake.  With a few g and t’s.  Reminiscing about our amazing adventure.

Packed up the next day said bye to Alessandro and caught the bus.  Ran in to Mark (who we met when we arrived in Lake Como), shared out stories over one final Pizza in Lake Como.  Then bus, train, plane, train and home.

What I learnt hmmmm.  The Italian way of life is very different from my own.  They seem to very much go at their own pace.  Things will get done when they get done, not a minute sooner.  Which can be a little frustrating at times.

That being said it is also a good lesson to learn.  Everything in its time.  But maybe they could be a little quicker.  There doesn’t seem to be that much order to how things run e.g. public transport.  It’s organised chaos, perhaps.

I met many a Westernfied tourist who was frustrated with how things ran and people’s apathetic attitudes, at times.  However I do believe we are too ‘go go go’ and want everything ‘now, now now.’  There was a perfect example of this notion as I got back to Heathrow.

In London it’s very much a given that you stand on the right side of the escalator and walk up the left.  But it was clear the Italians would stand anywhere they damn well pleased.  I admire their attitude of confidence to a certain degree.  They have no shame and do exactly what they want seemingly without any care as to what anyone else thinks.  That’s brilliant.  But can be a little frustrating when you’re the person who wants to get up the escalator and go home.

I met some of the most lovely people there and had an amazing experience.  It opened my eyes to another way of life which I think is always so important.  Italians really know how to sit/stroll and just be.   Which is a hard task to master.  I guess in essence ‘trying’ to master it is not really the idea behind the concept!

If there could be a meeting of the minds- the relaxed nature of the Italians to the go getter Westerners it would be a great hybrid.  For now I’ll have to settle with trying to learn how to sit in contemplative stillness.  See what happens…

Funniest moment:

  • I’m going to be slack on this and say there were many laughs during the trip.  Probably my most fond moment was looking back over our experiences during our dinner on the final night.  Though I guess most things are funny after a couple of drinks…

What I did that scared me:

  • When we were staying in Rapello we decided to go on a nice little coast walk near Portafino.  It started out as a lovely stroll in the sun along the coast.  Got pretty steep after a couple of hours, so we rested for lunch.  Kept going and all of a sudden came to a very scary looking section where you had to hold onto  a chain cemented to the wall and basically walk on sheer cliff with the sea about 200 meters below.  I didn’t know what to do.  I thought it must be just this part.  So we braved it, only to look on in dismay and see there was another section like this up ahead.   It was too late to turn back.  We had to go on.  After about 8 section like this, hauling ourselves over a jutting rocks, sliding down gravel rocks, blistered, bruised, battered and terrified we reached the peak of the cliff and down we went into the closest village.  There we ordered the biggest g and t we could find.  In attempt to settle our fried nerves.  I have never been so petrified in all my life.  I actually thought dad was going to read the paper in Aus and see ‘2 women’s cliff hanger walk, ends in nightmare.’ It was hard to even talk about the experience we were so shaken.  The only positive was that you had to be extremely in the moment and put one foot in front of the other otherwise you could die.  And those who know me know I’m not a wussy girl, I walked over 600 km across Spain last year fighting tendonitis, tonsillitis, blisters, a bloody nose and broken heart.  So when I say it scared me.  It freaking scared me!

Highs:

  • Lake Como
  • Meeting some amazing people
  • Wine, food

Lows:

  • Transport system
  • Napoli
  • Cliff walk of (almost) death

What I learnt:

  • There are many ways of life.  Maybe use a little of each and see what serves you best.