And of course by “we”, I’m really just referring to myself since, honestly, who else’s slacker hands would the maintenance of this blog fall into? I know.
Okay! So where to start? So much has happened, and I’m pretty sure my sister will get angry if I don’t start with this, so uh, not-from-the-top:
I got engaged! (Yes, I realize that’s not a diamond on my finger. That would be because I hate diamonds. It’s opal, if you’re wondering, and we chose it because apparently opals are Australia’s “thing”.)
Which brings me to Australia. The Boy and I went to Australia! He got shipped out there for a few weeks for work, and because he has one of those super-yuppie credit cards, had racked up enough plane points to fly me out too, so I joined him for his last week of work, and then we both had a week after that to just chill.
It was awesome! (Despite the fact that due to the fact that I am both itinerarily and spatially challenged I missed out on a chance to hang out with Siopup — sorry! But I want to go back, so we’ll definitely hit up Melbourne then!) The first week was spent in Canberra. It was winter when we visited, but coming from Canada, that didn’t mean much (apparently it meant a couple cloudy days and parrots freaking everywhere just tweeting merrily in the streets). Magpies there are surprisingly musical, I rode a merry-go-round in a pedestrian mall, we had shockingly good Indian food and I almost got run over by cyclists because I was walking on the wrong side of the path.
Later I tried driving around (on the wrong side of the road — this experience resulted in me being unable to distinguish left from right for the following 4 weeks, no I am not making this up. Once you get used to the right turns being the “easy” ones, and then the left turns become them, it’s very disorienting alright?) and that was awesome. I think I’d do fine in the UK; I was born to drive through roundabouts. (Why does everyone in North America hate them??)
(I will say though that while the adjustment to driving on the right side of the car is easy, being the passenger is just weird. You sit there thinking “I’m in the driver’s seat… but there’s… no… wheel?”, etc.)
So, a week in Canberra. Despite everyone’s warnings that it would be boring, I had a great time. I met up with Lorraine, whose obsession with yarn quite possibly surpasses mine, and she took me to an aviary where not only did I not freak out (proud of me yet, chan?), I didn’t even freak out when a (large!) bird landed on my head and started trying to eat the shiny metal clippy things I had in my hair (because I am an idiot and forgot I was going to an aviary). We saw kangaroos (both dead and alive) and I got to go to the museum.
It was good times.
After that, we drove up through Wollongong (nice; someone put soapy goo in their main fountain), and along the coast to Sydney, which was a little more lively, and a little less parrot-ful.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t find out about this knitter/podcaster until after we’d driven through the Blue Mountains (one more person I didn’t meet!), but the mountains were very beautiful, and there we got to feed kangaroos (non-dead), pet koalas, and try to feed emus which is a little scary because they’re big and chompy (and well-intentioned I’m sure, but still).
Most of the rest of Sydney (and Kiribilli, where we were staying) was just cruising around on foot (or on ferry! holy worth-buying-the-transit-pass-Batman!), taking 8 zillion pictures of the Opera House (before the APEC folks came and stopped us anyway) and visiting Bondi Beach, where The Boy busted out The Question while we were sitting on a rock.
After that day, it rained pretty much till we left, which kind of sucks, except that apparently there’s been a drought in Australia for the past 7 years? So we figured it was a good thing.
So… what else? I’ve learned that I’m very grateful for my oft-mentionned super-power enabling me to sleep anytime, anywhere. Without said superpower, I highly doubt I’d have been able to land Sunday morning (after 36 hours in transit), get on a train for another province in the afternoon, and be up bright and early Monday to do presentations for work, let me tell you. (Everyone in Australia kept warning us the trip back was the worst for jetlag. Little hint for next time: even if it’s true, I don’t want to know.)
The Boy, sadly, does not have my super-power, so it took about a week, more or less, until his body was back in its normal wake/sleep state. In the meantime, he picked up the (well-contented) kitty from the “Pet Bed ‘n’ Breakfast” where we left her, and found out that while we’d been gone, she’d been whiling away her days playing with other kitties and moonily lazing on a cushion when the caged bird in the joint would make appearances to chirp and sing.
(How cute! I’m now torn between getting another kitty vs getting a bird to keep her company should I ever get a job that involves me leaving the house every day.)
Before I left, I had a good two weeks to myself in the apartment to think about pretty much everything. (e.g. likelihood of tumbling to a fiery death over the Pacific, that mysterious stain on the carpet, good 3-letter Scrabble words using the letter ‘q’, etc.) Things I tended to brood upon were…
The kitty. Although we’ve had her less than a year (!) it still feels as though we’ve had her forever. When we visit pet stores that don’t host shelter kitties I can see the “real” kittens, and they’re so small. Our fluffnugget was never that small, even when we got her, so she’s definitely over a year old now, possibly about a year and a half. Still playful, still very affectionate, but it made me wonder what she would have been like as a Really Little Kitten.
Also: just how much responsibility we took on adopting her. I mean there are the obvious things you think about: where will she stay, what will she eat, make sure the vet sees her, etc. But I’d never even thought, at the time The Boy left, about the fact that I’d need to book a boarding place for her when we left. What if we move to another country? She’s the most adorable and friendly tether, but it squicks me out a little because… she’s just a kitty. I’m not ready to think about how much bigger a tether something like, oh, I don’t know, say a human baby would represent.
* Quick shudder to rid self of thoughts of actual Grown-Up responsibility *
(No chan, I am not knocked up.)
The Apartment. We’ve been shacked up for well over a year now. According to the government of Canada, we’re actually married. (Does this mean I can foist the filing of my taxes onto The Boy? Hmm…) Something to think about really. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but there are small changes to how I felt last year, moving into the place.
I look out the window, and pretty much everything I see reminds me of something I’ve done with people here. I can think of at least ten people I know in town, and at least two of them I wouldn’t feel weird about calling up out of the blue. That’s not to say that I have any really close friends; those folks are all still in Hometown. But I’m definitely not a stranger here anymore (the downside of which is that I now no longer have an excuse for when I get lost).
It’s comforting to think that I’m not risking spending a long time in exhile. This town could be home. It’s a start anyway.
A house. I’m tired of the apartment. Part of it is that we’re both packrats, and we have too much Stuff. (The fact that neither of us has any self-control at used book sales does not help this situation. Anyone need a copy of “The Name of the Rose”? Because I just bought myself a duplicate at the last one because we can’t even keep track of what we have anymore.) Part of it is that it’s not Ours, even though it’s filled with our gear, and it’s even decorated a little. I can’t work up the enthusiasm to really decorate a place that I know isn’t really mine (same thing happened when I lived in my university town), and The Boy has qualms about making too many holes in the walls.
I want A House. A place where I can break shit (then feel bad), and drill hundreds of holes (99 of which would probably need to be puttied up) without worrying about a landlord or security deposit, or any of the other stuff renters think about. I want to sew curtains and know that they’ll be the right length, because we’re not going to be moving out of this temporary place “eventually” and the new place might be different. I want to look at walls that are a colour other than “latte” or “beige” or whatever these walls are. I want to start looking for art that fits, that I like, and decorate, and have some colour on the walls. I want to not have to vacuum every goddamned week.
Part of it is space. The Boy yearns for a garage to tool around in, I want a room to myself for yoga, and blogging (did I just use that as a word?), and spreading all my craftsy crap out, and a garden. Oh, I can’t express how sick I am of my indoor plants. It’s not that I don’t like them: plants breathe life into a room, they’re great. But they’re a pale, pale shadow of what a garden is, and even though I know that once I have one, I’ll be lazy and neglect it, except two weekends a summer when I’ll guiltily go all gung-ho on it, I still want one.
So I guess that’s the latest thing on the horizon. Trying not to let my impatience and general Drear spur me into buying a house that’s less than amazing. It’s coming up on the end of the major house-buying season, so maybe an over-wintering will help clear my head for the spring rush.
(I doubt it.)
In the meantime, we’re off to look at more houses tomorrow — this time with an agent! — and maybe we’ll find it.
(…I doubt it. Hmm, does that make me a cynic?)