Sunday, May 1, 2011

Goodbye Twenty-One

In one month, I’m going to be twenty-two. In one month and one week, I’m going to be a graduate. Knowing that I only have one more month of this “magic” age makes me think about the last twelve months and do a quick summery;

Twenty One:

12 countries
20 cities
24 planes
too many heartbreaks
too many tearful goodbyes
too many airports
too many neurotically sleepless nights
too much neurosis. Period.
Just enough wine
way too many car accidents, stiches, broken bones and damaged livers
too many blood tests, hospital stays and panic attacks
just the right number of new dresses
using/hearing the phrase “but it’s complicated” too many times

This was the year that kicked the wind out of me, the year that messed with my head the most. It was the year that everything changed, the year I discovered ‘Sex and the City’, and French 75s. It was the year my plans changed 456, 354 times, the year I had the best job I’ve had so far (although I didn’t get paid for it). It was the year that screwed me over the most, and yet it was still the best.

It started somewhere between Manhattans Upper East Side, and the side of a road in New Jersey and three in the morning. It’ll end in Adelaide. Somehow, neither the beginning nor the end of twenty one seems to matter, but all the crap in between that made it worth it, or made me lose my mind – I don’t know which yet, but I still have one month to decide.

So, pre-emptively raise a glass to twenty-one, the craziest year of my life so far, and hope that twenty-two will kick twenty-one’s ass!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where does the time fly...

Its been almost 3 months since I've been back in Australia and it's only just starting to get warm. Usually, in my neck of the woods, we're swimming by now. A few days ago, we still had the heating on... in NOVEMBER!

A lot of things have happened since I returned and I realised that the accident in Turkey happened for a reason. I'm back at university, studying away, as well as working as a part time secretary (I'm at work now, and it's a slow day and almost hometime for me!). But most importantly, in less than 2 months I will be off to California, but more on that later once I get the nitty-gritties sorted out, like visas and whatnot.

In my time back, I have been neglecting my blog(s) and have promised my dear friend Cait, that I will start writing again, even if it is crap like this one here, and even if it is just for her enjoyment and procrastination value.

I decided to make a list, about all the things that I'm glad to be back for. But I thought that doesn't paint an accurate picture of my life right now, since there are a lot of things I miss about what my life used to be. So, trying not to be too emphatic either way, I will make two lists.

- snuggling in my big big comfortable bed with seven pillows
- having a wardrobe full of clothes, not a suitcase
(although I still have some clothes in my suitcase... don't judge me!)
- having a fridge full of food that I didn't buy
- comfortable couches for movie nights
- sunday night dinners with the family
- glasses of wine with the mother
- driving lessons with the father
- shopping with the sister. (she is an amazing shopper)
- girly coffee dates
- Adelaide being small, that you can walk everywhere when you're out in the city at night
- lovely dinners at cheap, student-friendly restaurants with ridiculous laughter
- koalas in the garden
- that particularly australian type of sunshine
- the smell of eucalyptus... everywhere!
- timtams and cherry ripes
The next list in the next post. I'm back, baby!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We arrived in Turkey at around 2am on the 18th August and took a bus from the airport to the city centre (Taksim) and planned to take a taxi from there to our hotel in Sultanahmet, the old city. We decided this was the best and most cost-effective way to get to our hotel quick-smart and finally get to sleep. However, we had a serious car accident on the way to the hotel.

I personally have no memory of the accident (I originally thought it was in a big square, but it was actually in a small side-street). I was sitting in the back with Bertrand, I was on the right (passenger side) and he was on the left. The other car hit us with most of the impact on the front passenger side, thankfully noone was there, because they probably would not have survived. I suffered from a few fractures, mainly to my hips, and had some serious damage to my liver. Also, I have well over 10 stitches on my face because the glass shattered all over me. Bertrand is pretty badly beaten up with a seriously broken arm and will need surgery when he returns to France tomorrow. I was lucky enough to not need surgery and not have lost an eye, as most of the facial injuries are around my eyes. Someone also stole my wallet somewhere between the accident and the hospital and did a fair amount of shopping on my visa. Also, my computer is broken due to the impact of the accident.

The next few days are a blur and I have little to no memory of them. I remember a lot of needles, and ultrasounds and cat scans. I remember changing rooms at the hospital frequently and I remember vomitting from the shock (good-bye German cuisine!). The Polish consul helped us a lot, translating and bringing us food and clothes, as did the family of the taxi driver, who helped wherever possible. The consul was very surprised they finally let us stay in the same room as in Turkey, men and women are not allowed to be in the same room in a hospital, besides emergency.

I remember the final room. I argued a lot with the doctors, who said I could not go to the bathroom, but I screamed and fought and finally stood up and (very very slowly) walked the 2 meters to the bathroom, my drip jittering next to me. My wonderful boyfriend was feeling well enough to leave the hospital for a while and bought me an icecream, having learned after a week in Italy that icecream is perhaps a more effective method of lifting my mood than any kind of drug.

There was one day that started horribly but turned out to be the big turning point in my recovery. That night, I didnt sleep at all untill 6am, and at 6.05am, the nurse woke me up to take my blood, which set forward the standard panic attack when it comes to taking my blood. A doctor then came around to put anisthetic on my stitches and got some in my eye, causing me again to scream bloody murder across all of Asia Minor. I then had a strange reaction to the drip, causing my had to swell and become very very sore. However, it all turned around for me, full of little victories. I walked (with no-one to hold me hand) the the bathroom, I finally had a shower (or half-shower, I couldnt bend to wash my legs) and I sat up on the bed alone! I even laughed!!

The next day was good too, full of little victories. Finally, yesterday, they said we can go! The relief and the promise of a bed big enough for me to stretch out in! (And I'm only 5'2" and the bed was too short for me!!!). It took 8 hours of dealing with Turkish beurocracy and waiting for the understaffed doctors to finally take me stitches out, but we got out! It took a lot of stress and miscommunication but we got to the hotel, we showered (well, I bathed, because standing for long periods is not possible) and I finally (after a week), brushed my hair.... it took a good half an hour but I no longer have dread-locks! And my face looks a little better once I finally cleaned the dried blood and old antiseptic off.

Now, we're just resting and waiting for me dad to arrive (2 hours left!) with pain-killers, and little presents and moral support, most importantly. Bertrand is going home to Lyon tomorrow and my dad and I have to figure out how to get me back to Oz becuase there is no way I can travel like this, I can barely walk and I fear that it will take a long recovery....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rome... #1

It’s official. I’m in love! I love Rome, I love Italy, I love ice-cream (gelato) and I love tomatoes. I’m a happy girl! I arrived in Rome last night ahead of schedule, completely exhausted and with less than half the things I left Australia with, and still with 1 kilogram more than the official RyanAir luggage allowance. I was so exhausted (blame it on the insomnia the night before and a tiny panic attack before leaving) that I only saw Termini, the route to the hotel and the hotel. I didn’t even eat anything!
So, I woke up starving (and still a bit sleepy) and gladly chowed down on a tomato and mozzarella sandwitch and had a lovely Caffe Freddo (iced coffee) and then the intense day began… here’s a dot-point summarized version of the events of the last 10 hours;

· Colosseum
· Vespatian’s Arch
· Roman Forum
· Trajan’s Column
· Royal Palace
· Basilica
· Beer (for some)/ juice (for me) break
· Piazza Navona
· Gelato (mint and pistachio – my favourite, although odd, combination)
· Pantheon
· Pizza
· Plaza di Spagna
· Siesta (even though I know sleeping in the afternoon is more a Spanish thing...)

Now, off to Trastavere for some good local food – we’re making a pilgrimage to what is claimed as one of Rome’s best trattorias. I’ve been told to ask for Uncle Ennio, and beginning to feel more like I’m living in a bad mafia film while all day I’ve been channeling Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday…

Friday, July 30, 2010

Village Life or the one full of dreaming of running away to New Mexico

So, here I am, in small-town Silesia with the rain pelting down and summer disapearating before my eyes. It is cold. And windy. And rainy. And I like it.

I'm here with family and that's nice too. I have time to think and a lot of time to read and write and scribble.

As always, my nomadic temperament strikes again and I've been dreaming of the deserts of New Mexico.

Santa Fe struck my fancy as it is a pretty town full of artists. Perhaps I'll go there one day. New Mexico sounds lovely. Theres snow, and heat and it seems just right. Perhaps I belong in the desert.

Following photos by Lonely Planet. (source)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vague thoughts for Post #60

I'm easy to get but also easy to loose.

Fight for me.

Because if you don't, I'm out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Next time, I'm taking the bus...

The seemingly endless incompetence of British Airways never ceases to frustrate me, shock me and amaze me. I've flown with British Airways many times. I've had problems each and every time. I've been delayed for hours, had my luggage lost and had my vegeterian meal forgotten. I've missed connecting flights and trains because of the aparent inability of British Air to get anything right. Couple that with their terrible food and the worst customer service I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with, well, I am at a loss as to why they are still in business.

Today was no different. I tried to be a good, efficient passanger and check in at the self check-in booth as recommended by the airline. I entered all my information only to have it rejected, the stupid machine telling me to go see an agent at the "Assisted Check-In" counter. I hate that counter. The word "Assisted" just highlights the fact that the peoplein that line (myself included) cannot even enter some simple information into a computer which results in the printing of a flimsy piece of paper. It is the shmuck line, the linefor the technologically inept, the line for those who will die out once fluency in the InfoTech world becomes as important as the ability to breathe, or digest food. It is the'scarlett letter' line.

Anyway, I digress. As I stood in this line, a wonderful slug-like creature emerged and began to, quite roughly, verbally berate me as to why I did not have a boarding pass. She spoke so fast, asking so many questions, I barely had time to register what she was so snappy about. Her main concern was that now, with me and several other passengers not beingable to check in, she had two lines to deal with. Now, I'm naturally a very polite person, and I expect a basic amount of respect from people, and when someone who is supposed to be a customer service representative acts this way, I'm too shocked to respond and all the witty remarks come too late to use. So, I stood there, flabbergasted, barely managing to saythrough my shocked expression, "the machine said to come here". The creature then walked off in a huff.

Luckily, I was assisted by a marginally more pleasant assistant who informed me that my 1 hour flight was delayed by 40min, which was actually 1:30 and that is why I couldn't check in, because I was likely to miss my flight to Warsaw (at this point, I was having horribledeja vu of my first solo trip abroad). I had to then go to the sales desk, wait in another horribly long line to get on another flight, the only other flight available would arrive in Warsaw at 10pm, far too late to catch a train down to Sosnowiec/Krakow/Katowice, my final destination. The sales clerk was another lovely presentation of British charm and politess, answering gruffly to my desperate (somewhat teary) pleas to maybe possibly get me on another (earlier) flight.

After this was over, I was told to go back to check in, where I waited in line for over an hour only to be told that I should go to the sales desk. I almost cracked. I tried, as calmly as possible, to explain that I have been there, I've stood in line and I've seen the clerk, I've been tentatively put on the other flight and I might still make the 13h50 to Warsaw. I breathed deeply as the assistants brows made funny shapes while she typed things in on the computer, I held my breath as I put my luggage on the scales (4.2kg too heavy, but at least they let that go.) And now, here I am, waiting in Heathrow for 6 hours, bound to spend the night in Warsaw instead of with family.

I met an American biologist on the plane. Once I started recounting (in brief) my travels, he asked; "and what was the most important thing you learned in all these travels?" Strangely, no-one asked me this before. My reply was "don't fly British Airways"... I jest, their lounges are nice.

In all honesty, I'm not sure if this is worth it, if you calculate the time I waited, the stress I went through and the sheer amount of hours it is going to take to get to my homecity via London, it would probably be quicker, and less painful, to just take the 20 hour bus next time.