Sunday, November 30, 2003

An address!

Officially, 73 Old South Head Road. In Bondi Junction, a 30 minute walk from the oh-so-popular Bondi Beach, a Whistler made of sand. The longest, prettiest beach closest to the city, with loads of tourists, girls in bikinis, men carrying surf boards, sidewalk cafes, pastel-colored buildings, and the ever present terracotta tiles.

And my little room is upstairs in a rooming house with other young people, its about the size of a dorm room, with a window and a bed and two wardrobes. Close to the bathroom. The house itself is close to the train station.

So now there is the job matter, but that should resolve itself shortly. I worked at a 'fish emporium' last night that wanted me, but if this potter wants me then that is what I will do. Pray for decent pay!

After reserving the room (I don't move in til the 13th) Jacky and I walked down to the beach and lay there roasting like any decent tourist. We then ate ice cream we bought with the ten dollar bill we found on the train platform earlier that day.

I'm realizing how unprepared my mind was for this travel. Officially, I was prepared: all documents checked out, money was good, tickets booked. But in my mind, there were no big changes on the horizon, I was getting ready for a winter in Cape Breton, snow and tea and all. Not ready to work, not ready to shift, really.

But it's all working out.

Friday, November 28, 2003

me and my signs

No more Coogee. I wouldn't bother to tell you how fast things are changing except that I have a bit of time right now. But I'm looking for a place for just me, Jacky will probably be a live-in nanny (waiting for the references to check out)...and I hope and hope that this potter on Monday wants me. Otherwise, well, there'll be something, I'm sure. Some little cafe or fish shop.

Another sunny day in Syd-town. Today I head to Marrickville to see about a house. The landlord's proxy sounds a lot like Johnny of the Juniper 'Ostel in Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland. And Flook is playing! All together now--it must be a sign!

Thursday, November 27, 2003

my grandmother says its "10% luck, 90% pluck"

Well, things are progressing. Slowly, I learn the city, the bus routes, the trains, the streets and suburbs. Its only been a week and a half, and I haven't yet been run over while looking the wrong way at a cross walk--cause for celebration!

Job searching is going, the way it goes--resumes are being handed out, calls are being made. It's always depressing, or humbling, depending on how you look at it. But we can always do some cleaning work, or something, and Sarah has made it quite clear that we can always stay with her. We'll be fine.

And I might be working with a potter! I won't reveal the details yet, so as not to jinx the possible arrangement, but I am to go see her on Monday. She's busy with the Christmas rush and needs an all-purpose girl. That, I can do! Right, Deanie?

The weather is getting a bit hotter, the sun shines right now and I may go take a dip in the backyard pool later. I hope things go smoothly, but then most people hope that.

Sydney is at least a pretty city, lots of bougainvillea, lots of red tiled-roofs.

Oh and--we either move to Coogee tomorrow or next week. I hope for next week. It would make money things easier.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Australia the beautiful

We have found a room in a boarding house in Coogie, sharing a bathroom and a kitchen. 100$ per week, a 7 minute walk from the beach. We are to move in there in a week, and until then we're job searching. The plan, as it is unfolding, is to live in Sydney for a few months and make some money, then go travelling to the next place that strikes our fancy. So this means we will be 7 minutes from a beach for the Australian summer, we will be walking past beautiful small houses with red ceramic tile roofs and bougainvillea spilling over thier fences, and we will have access to gelato and fish and chips practically everywhere we go. Living in sandles and bare feet.

Its easier than you'd think to get used to summer, again.

And soon I can tell you where to send money. Ah hah!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Horoscope Speaks Truth to Young Traveller, Vonnegut-Admirer

From Free Will Astrology, my personal astrologer to millions: "Do one thing that scares you every day," counsels novelist Kurt Vonnegut. That's easy for a risk-loving Scorpio like him to say, but is it good advice for you Tauruses, who typically thrive on peace and safety? At most other times, I would say no; I'd suggest you force yourself to face your fears no more than once a month. But the coming weeks are shaping up as a departure from your usual rhythms. You can do a lot to ensure your long-term peace and safety through regular encounters with unpredictable experiences that will scare up your hidden reserves of courage.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

(just emailed from Sydney)

"Hello, everyone!

Jacky and I are now safely landed, arrived in Sarah's house, slept up and showered. It has been a long and crazy trip just to get all started with the hurricane-force winds that were battering NYC the night we were supposed to fly in. Our original flight from Montreal was cancelled, so we had to take a later one, that put us in to NY 4 hours later than we had planned, giving us a little under 2 hours to get from Newark to Kennedy (a 45 min drive) and find China Airlines and get on the flight to Taipei. Even with jumping into a cab with two guys heading to Kennedy and then Buenos Aires, (who bribed the cabbie to go as fast as he could), we missed the flight by about a half hour. Then, we splurged and got a hotel room because we didn't have to fly out until 9 PM the next night. The airport hotel felt like the Ritz, let me tell you. Double beds, a shower, a view of Queens. We laughed til we fell asleep.

The next day we lazed around the hotel room, had a bit of breakfast (in NY, that's really all we could afford) and then went to the airport to wait for our flight. We sat in the food court/lounge, which afforded a very nice view of the runway, where international flights were going off about once every five minutes: Mexico, the Netherlands, Italy. That night we got on China Airlines flight 51 and didn't see the sun again for 20 hours. We basically followed night halfway around the world. At one point, over Japan, you could see some of the lights down below, and in the clouds flickers of lightning. Amazing.

We landed in Taipei yesterday at 6 am, and had a whole day to wait in the airport (which smelled like someone's basement and reminded me of the Cold War) so we ended up taking a free bus/walking tour of the city, put on by the government. There were some other young travellers with us, and it was fun. We saw all kinds of really old Chinese temples, shrines to old presidents, and a lot of dilapidated houses and a lot of motorbikes. Then back to the airport to do what we are now experts at: wait. We made friends with two Aussie blokes and so had people to wait with, and now more contacts in Canberra and Sydney.

That night we flew out and slept nearly the whole way to Australia, waking up over the outback, which was red and covered in amazing lines--canyons, bushes, all kinds of things. We landed in Sydney at 10:30 am thier time, or 7:30 Taipei time, and Sarah was there to get us. We went for lunch with Chook and then took a bit of a tour of the city in Sarah's car, (Manly Beach, Newtown) then back to chez Cashman. We had sushi for supper (that Sarah made) that was delish, and Jacky was asleep by 6. I held out til 10, and then both of us slept since.

Spring is in full swing. Bougainvilla spills over every wall and jacyranda trees have lavender-colored bell shaped flowers. The air smells like perfume. There is lush growth everywhere, crazy new trees and plants everywhere I look. Macaws and cockatoos roam the streets like pigeons or crows back home. Eucalyptus trees have reddish purple bark peeling off the creamy green wood underneath. And! They drive on the left hand side of the road, with the driver sitting on the right side of the car. It takes a bit to get used to it.

Our plans now are to chill here a bit, see Sydney, then get ourselves a place to live, in the city. Get jobs. Take holidays to various parts of Australia. Learn to surf.

So far its not that hot here, we just missed the heat wave (it was 35 degrees, apparently) and it feels like early June on Cape Breton. It rained yesterday too, and clouds are kind of and off today. The jet lag isn't too fierce, gives me a mild headache and a feeling that I'm not quite up and running yet.

Well, I shall write again when there are developments! I hope everyone is happy and enjoying the Northern climate, I'm just happy watching the water spin round the sink backwards...haha.

Your loving, Leah

PS Thanks to Granny for doing that emailing for me when I was stuck in New York. Thanks to Craig the cancer researcher/prof and his friend Angelo for paying our way to Kennedy airport and getting us there quickly. And of course thanks to the Cashman family, who is so kindly putting us up (and putting up with us.)..."

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

and a candy cane too

So today, after Catriona left, I went for a short twenty minute walk, and I think that is when it officially clicked in that I am indeed leaving in two days, to fly out to Australia, where I will actually, physically be in 4--no, 5 days. I don't know anymore! All I know is that I had chocolate on my pancakes this morning and I am buzzed.

Monday, November 10, 2003

something i just noticed

I want it said that I just noticed that my color scheme (which I had no control over, mind) is heavy on the bluish and the orange. Not on purpose!

monday morning, more snow!

and those are the facts.

more facts:

--I am still in my pajamas.
--I am going to pack today.
--I also have to take a walk to the mailbox. If I ever get dressed.
--This is a new blog I discovered/uncovered, and her post makes her sound so much like me I had to link to her. Granted, I know there are hundreds of blogs out there. But I don't care enough to go finding a new one every day.
--It is colder in Antigonish than it is here.
--It is colder in a lot of places than it is here. It is hotter in Australia than it is here. Which is why I will pack nothing warmer than a hoodie. My cblocals hoodie, perhaps.
--Now I am going to exert some willpower.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

it takes a real pro to push the Saturday late-afternoon envelope

And push it, I did. Today, due to my cold and also to how there was nothing making me do otherwise, I ate a heap of waffles, got sat on (thanks Ross! you demon child) and later did a whole heap of dishes. And that is about all I have done. (OK, talk on the phone and make Mum a smoothie are also in there somewhere.) It's a good thing I'm going to Australia, otherwise I'd turn into a vegetable.

Speaking of which. Thursday draws ever nearer.

Oh, wow.

Friday, November 7, 2003

the small print

It’s midnight, and I’m not off to sleep yet, and I’m alternately craving lemon, and fudge. I’ve finished ‘The God Of Small Things”. I wrote 5 poems tonight, and one yesterday. All with my ‘special ink pen’, the Sharpie I half-stole from the Zine fair. OK, whole-stole, I knew exactly what I was doing as I did it. Didn’t I say at the beginning of summer that I was growing up, learning to take responsibility for my actions?

Tonight I felt the first edges of a new continent creeping into my consciousness. The neon night-lights of cities, Sarah Cashman and new men, the sunlight and new mornings. The six months that will have no other words but New.

“Be still, my heart.” Sings Mirah. “My ticktock ticktock clock, oh were it to stop,”

Reading about the Beating of Velutha in The God Of Small Things, tonight, made me for a second see Tragedy (like a rip in my tent suddenly showed me the storm outside), the Tragedy of split lips, bent bodies and broken ribs, helpless eyes closing, blood on breath. (Eggs on Toast.) That this doling out of violent power is much more imbedded in human action than the peaceful days would like to admit. That it has happened over History, that it plays a thread-like role in the rug of History, and that it is not pleasant. If we try and make it pleasant, it is only a coping mechanism, a way to turn Death into a smiling aunt. But Death’s grin won’t be metamorphosed. We try and make violence funny, comical, so we can forget that it is otherwise, that hideousness demands a place as big as its opposite. We are not a culture of Ugly, at least we don’t want to be, on the outside. We want everything to be pleasant, even our death, our rot. So we turn it into televised breaking bones, a well-timed stomach punch. Not actually real, we say. Death is only a punishment, a consequence, one of many, it can be avoided. The small print says, “According to consumer perception.”

No-one reads the small print.
And the big print is all propaganda.
Its easy to see why everyone thinks we’re doomed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

"Spicy hollandaise, hip vibe."

For all of you who wonder: what IS eggs benedict? And how are they made? I especially like that there is a link to a 'medical risks' page. And that alcoholism is the top entry!

And on a related topic, here is an organization I could! Anyone who says this is worth listening to: "Anyone can brunch on a Sunday at 11:00 am, but it takes a real pro to push the Saturday late-afternoon envelope."

Go on, eat something.

stitch these together, would ya?

I took a walk to the mailbox today, after my usual morning's worth of stuff (attending to Mum, doing stretches, wondering what order to do everything in and getting frustrated), and found the brisk air of November and the sight of bare grey branches quite refreshing.

Now I have 8 days until I get on a plane and leave this continent for the first time in my life. I'm on here looking up schools to go to; I want to take psychology and it really doesn't matter too much to me where I go, as long as it is a good school that wants to give me money. Any deans or registrars out there reading this? Dang....

It is lovely to see the sun rise in Whistler again, and see the little snowmakers making snow on Blackcomb mountain. This time last year I had been in Whistler one day. Thinking I might actually learn to snowboard!

This is Joey Comeau, who wrote a great story called "The Girl Who Couldn't Come", that I saw at the Zine Fair when I was in Halifax. He liked Katherine's MIT hoodie so much that he bartered a comic book for it, and she agreed. Then he wrote about it on his live journal.

I have a cold coming on. I woke up today with that awful stuck-to-the-bed feeling that I get when I wake up with a stuffed nose. I rolled on to my side to try and clear the sinuses. It worked.

Trust me, in 8 days these posts will get a lot more interesting.

Monday, November 3, 2003

eggs benedict forever

"You’ve been told again and again to avoid those seven deadly sins: lust, anger, pride, sloth, envy, gluttony, and greed .... what if there were seven other sins that you really should be dodging? [This book] unmasks the seven so-much-deadlier sins: emotional masochism, guilt, fear, repression of self-expression, need for speed, worry, and apathy. These are the real spirit-killers; invite these into your life and you’re guaranteed to have enjoyment problems. So what to do? Be lustful, be joyful. Be greedy, be happy."

Back home now. Halifax was grand. And money will be OK. I leave for Australia in ten days... I feel like a nervous bride crossed with an unprepared cub scout crossed with a monk who's been wearing his robe for just a week.

I think when I am in Australia (depending on access to email, etc) I will mass-email first and write on here second. Of course, now we need to add Leah's All-Purpose Disclaimer: "but who really knows! We'll just see..." Apparently not only do we become our mothers, but our fathers as well. That was always my biggest pet peeve about Dad when I was a kid: any plans, any request to make plans, was met with a "We'll see!"

List of Things that Make Me Feel Decadent*:
--eggs benedict with smoked salmon for breakfast (with coffee with cream in it)
--having my toenails painted and my feet pretty
--reading the whole paper
--clean, curly hair

*Not all-inclusive.
What about you?

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