Monday, October 21, 2013

This fire, we let it all burn.

University's finished for the year! I've been getting marks back lately and feeling very satisfied with them. Classes felt more fun and alive despite comparison to my previous semester abroad; I returned this time around wanting to knuckle down and learn, and I loved what I found. Speaking of which, this is a product of some group work I was involved in. We pretended we were a travel company in different parts of the world and just had fun with it.

Something that I seem to have taken to lately is the phrase 'joie de vivre', which is roughly translated to 'joy of living', or 'joy of everything', depending on who you are and who you ask. I've realised that this seems to be my exact way of approaching and looking at everyday life. The small and quirky details are the ones that jump out at me and I've found that I've had a more positive attitude to looking at problems. There's a beauty in everything; though I've found that sometimes it can be quite exhausting, at least I can sleep well at night!

I can't help it, I've fallen in love with the world. that I've stopping thinking everybody's out to get me.

My university life isn't quite over; I've gotten into full swing in preparations for my study tour abroad next month. I'm looking forward to ice skating in the States so badly, I'm so glad that I actually took lessons since I returned. I've started moving forward with my life and getting to know my own city so much better; but I'm so looking forward to being a tourist again and experiencing the crazy chaos that comes with it. I don't think I'll ever stay put for long, no matter what I choose to decide to do with my life.

My skating lessons have gotten really interesting now that I've mastered the mere basics; now I'm doing crazy things like crossovers and one foot gliding on outside edges.

I got inspired the other week and wrote this little piece on my Tumblr about the importance of sharing your love instead of depending on a singular love with another person. There's so much love out there; it's all about how you feel it and how you share it with the people in your life. I've found people have started looking at me and thinking things like 'inspirational' and 'accomplished'... in fact, everything I've seen and done in the past year has only just humbled me to how small my thoughts are compared to such majestic views and wonderful personalities I've experienced. I've learned to start really looking after myself and love myself, because that's where it starts for everyone; themselves. It's taken me such a long time to be comfortable with being in my own skin, and I've finally found it.

So if that's inspirational... then so be it. I'll take your word for it.

I'll just be over here reading my book.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The perks of being a cinema worker.


Cinema work is yet another perspective that I've taken for granted. One thing I'll say; popcorn off carpet has to be one of the hardest things to clean effectively and efficiently.


As I sit here with my regular cup of tea and ponder the future, new details come into knowledge and old ones end up helping define them clearer. I'm finally, definitely, out of that lost feeling of such a prolonged reverse culture shock. While I treasure my moments overseas and they shaped to become this new me; I know it means nothing unless I start moving forward and onwards.

I've been seeing tons of Melbourne lately and I'm loving finally being a tourist in my own city; Mount Dandenong, the Royal Botanical Gardens, St Kilda, Southbank... there's more to come and I can't wait.

Last assignments are coming up; essays piecing apart films, advertisement analysis and group work all complete. I find I'm feeling so productive when I'm on a roll, with some Sufjan Stevens accompanying my laptop's keyboard clacking away on a Word document. I've chosen Stoker and The Purge for my film essays, mainly because I've been so fascinated by the visual imagery and themes in both as of recently. I'll include trailers below of both for your interest.

Stoker (2013)
The Purge (2013)
The weather's getting warmer, the next season ice skating classes are coming up... and it's October! This time next month, I'll be full swing in last minute preparations for my study tour to the States. Remembering the necessary arrangements is a little scary, but it's oh so very exciting to be heading out again.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Take me, take me to the riot!

I passed my ice skating exam, by the way.
So I've had a bunch of crazy catastrophes in the past week or so. I've finally figured out how to utilise this part of my life; this strange, jetlagged heart of mine recovering little by little. I was sitting on the sidelines of my own life, looking in, waiting for my own life to start.

And it has. It took a while, but it finally has.

Sunday I went to the Royal Melbourne Show with friends. I'm glad I initiated plans and it turned out to be one of the best days I've had in quite some time. BMX stunts, rides, fireworks, showbags... I'd missed the chaos of a carnival atmosphere. It had been years since I'd previously gone to the show, and I was able to appreciate it differently with friends. One of my highlights of the day was finding a booth that was selling chocolate covered strawberries, which I'd taken to doing in Örebro as gifts and for fika.

It's funny, my two regular fika friends first laughed amusedly at the thought of 'fika' being an actual word for what we do regularly (sitting around catching up over coffee and cake for hours, Fika Fridays!), but they seem to have adapted the term and they've really embraced it, which is something I've delighted in.

Something else I've done this week is revisit my Melbourne bucket list. I still want to do the Eureka Tower, but some interesting circumstances happened and I ended up at the top of Mount Dandenong, looking out over the city below.

It's so much better in person, you could see the entire city skyline much better. It got me thinking how I saw so many views abroad; Barcelona, Paris, Poland, Venice, Florence, Russia, Tallinn, and even from the Örebro water tower, looking over the city I'd lived in for such a while. 

It was so comforting to see a view of a place I call home this time; being able to think 'I live somewhere down here' as I watched the city below - and practically cost free (unless you count parking) and great company. That's not something I could entirely get from going to the Eureka Tower, but I still want to do it.

Cinema work is something entirely new; yet another perspective I've taken for granted. Apparently though, I'm a fast learner and I'm doing well.

And my pre-departure session for the study tour in the States is this Friday! It feels so much closer now.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Well, hello there.

So things have been crazy for me, one more month left of university for the year and the US study tour happening in two months! Classes have gotten absolutely fascinating, and I have my ice skating exam in a couple of days (to pass to the next level!), so things have been very exciting. I also happened to win a double pass to see The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones thanks to Dymocks's recent competition! 

I've resigned from waitressing and I start my new job - at a movie theatre! - within the next week. I'm really looking forward to it. More information soon.

Musically speaking, I finally listened to Elbow's Dead In the Boot, the B-side compilation album. I'd listened to the majority of Elbow's discography while abroad, so listening to the various B-sides from those other albums at home seemed fitting. My pick would have to be 'McGreggor', simply for that slow, thumping rhythm setting the atmosphere. I can remember writing an essay with it playing in the background and feeling more inspired. 

I started listening to Stars, starting with Set Yourself On Fire and continuing with In Our Bedroom After The War. The absolute favourite so far is still going to be 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead', but other favourites include 'Reunion', 'What I'm Trying to Say', 'The Big Fight', 'Take Me to the Riot', 'My Favourite Book', 'Midnight Coward' and 'Personal'.

I guess the concept of 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead' is such an appealing concept to me - I mean, isn't it for anyone who's gone through a messy break up? That agony of not being able to move on, especially if you're the one wronged? Not to mention the first lines, "When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire", with the four last words referring to the album title.

That part seems to yell 'pyromaniac', but I can interpret that as self-improvement. You have to destroy parts of yourself for the sake of rebuilding and re-creation, right? Destruction as a form of creation. And often times if it's not for the destruction, you often don't find the better situation for yourself, am I right?

Not to mention the last verse of the song.

There's one thing I want to say, so I'll be brave
You were what I wanted, I gave what I gave
I'm not sorry I met you
I'm not sorry it's over
I'm not sorry there's nothing to save
I'm not sorry there's nothing to save

That process of self-recovery is so incredibly important, but being able to say 'I'm not sorry there's nothing to save' indicates the final level of growth needed to move on with life. Again, while the experience itself may have been terrible, it can lead to new and positive things, and that can be the sole reason why somebody may not regret a relationship.


Coldplay also released recently their new single for the next Hunger Games film, called 'Atlas'. This song feels more like their earlier stuff, which I'm a bigger fan of than their more recent stuff. It's hopeful, it's contemplative, and it carries a message of care. Not to mention, the lyric video is absolutely stunning.


This seems to be a music heavy blog post, stay tuned for more work and travel related posts!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 what?

Okay, I think I'm going crazy.

Not a new sentence, I know. But I think about everything I wanted to do when I returned, and think about what I've really done to this point. I've gotten the haircut, I'm regularly ice skating once or twice a week, and I went to the Monet exhibition not long after I got back. I try and make plans with friends once or twice a week.

But that's it. I feel like I'm slipping backwards again.

It's hard to interact with strangers for me, considering my living situation and that everyone just feels closed off on campus. I've ended up mass venting my thoughts on my Twitter account, and a majority of it is about work (sorry to my Twitter followers).I'm second guessing myself at work and that just makes me fall further backwards in that regard.

Of course there's all that solo woman power, exploring Docklands, going to the cinema solo, eating out solo... but there's a fine line between confidence and solitary.

I think I just feel... lost.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Country time and a catch up.

It's so easy to forget just how far I've come.

I'm not talking travel, I'm talking family. I went to visit Mildura during my week off from uni.


It's been a refreshing time off from work, which I've been thankful for. Work's definitely been more challenging lately and I've ended up second guessing myself. Which is ridiculous because I have confidence in my work. The problem just seems to be clashes of perspective when it comes to upselling and service.

...always putting in 100% only to be told it's not enough and another 30% is required? You'd be frustrated too. Especially when tips say I'm doing perfectly fine.


University's really starting to get interesting as I start looking at Freud and Oedipus in my film psychology classes. I went and saw Now You See Me in cinemas and recommend it. I mean, magicians.

That's all from me for now... stay awesome, guys.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Some big steps.

So I bought my own pair of ice skates. Unfortunately the rentals, while convenient to use until now, are not safe for learning how to ice skate properly. While the skates were expensive in this part of the world, I judged it was better to pay for skates now, rather than an injury later.

I also couldn't help but be frustrated on my first lesson, when the unpredictability of the rentals failed me and I couldn't perform the exercises properly.

I was well looked after by the place I visited; I was measured, fitted and sharpened within a decent amount of time. I couldn't help the excitement on my face as I left the store with my new skates, ready to try them out.

Putting them on and gliding along the's a bit difficult to explain, so I'll do my best.

Getting proper skates of my own was ultimately pricey, but worth it. I love being able to have my own things, and the joy of new equipment is something I've barely experienced (having never really done a sport like this before). I was told my skating would improve when I started using the skates - and it really did, as I noticed when I practised my turns. 

This new equipment had strengthened my purpose and motivated me in a new way to keep on skating. Isn't that strange? That we need physical reminders to soldier on and persevere through this thing we call life?

It was, perhaps, the joy of exercise as well. I was ecstatic as I tried manoeuvres I'd learned (nothing fancy yet) with this new set of equipment, and I knew I'd been right to keep up the skating. Even if I can't continue lessons, I know I'd keep them for recreational purposes. Perhaps I'll bring them to the States in November? Practice my skating there? That'll be a story to tell.

University's getting interesting and the study tour in particular is also quite anticipating as I wait for the calendar pages to flip by; impatient but ready. I've also got a ticket to the Muse gig in December; General Area Standing. It makes me think how I'll almost be full circle, what with Coldplay Area Standing B last year. It's turning out to be a cracker of a year, after the last one was such an emotional downturn for me. I've achieved so much in such a short amount of time; which is almost unnoticed by the amount that I still want to do.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Over a month has passed since I've returned. I've made a decent effort to return to my life in Melbourne without forgetting that fiery, passionate, ecstatic part of myself I'd discovered abroad - although I'd like to see you try the same while waiting on people. I thought it would be a good reminder to remember my postcard vendetta and the stories behind them all.

I must say, first of all, that I'd grown accustomed to the procedure of buying new postcards and sending them out. I had a mailing list of about seven or eight people, all in a little address book so that I was sure not to forget people; though sometimes that worked in theory and not practice. I had handled seven or eight identical, brand new and fresh. To come home to eventually see them as a complete set; all worn, some bent, with unique postmarks on them from their own adventures was nothing short of remarkable.

I was fairly particular and fussy with this process as well; I wanted the cards to have the local stamps, bought with the local currency, and sent from the country so that it would be legit.

I'll go chronologically.

Clockwise from top left: Sweden, Barcelona, Lappland, Paris.
Sweden was quite the easy one. Swedish Krona. I'd bought the cards at a news agency/bookstore in town, and the stamps were found at the Pressbyrån (local convenience store) on campus. The post box was right outside the Pressbyrån as well. Fairly straightforward. 

Barcelona; Euro. I was there for two days and I'd honestly almost forgotten about postcards, we were so busy! I'd even forgotten my little mailing book. I messaged most people on my mailing list online the night before we left asking for addresses. Bought the cards and stamps from the reception at our hostel on our departure morning. I sunk down on the little staircase in the lobby and feverishly scribbled out some greetings before addressing the cards, double checking the addresses with my iPod touch next to me. The hostel even had a little mailbox of their own, so those went right in.

Lappland. Swedish Krona. I bought these interesting cards from the Sami gift shop; after having just met and fed a live reindeer, and before tasting some reindeer meat. Since we hadn't left Sweden, I didn't find it necessary to mail them straight out. I took my time writing them and waited until we returned to Örebro, then simply bought stamps and mailed them out from the campus Pressbyrån.

Paris. Euro. These cards were found at a stall along the Seine, while my travel companion had popped into the Subway across the street. I loved these cards, they showed an old time view of the city from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which we'd climbed the previous night. Gorgeous view, by the way. I bought some stamps from the Louvre that same day (there were cartoon cows on them for some reason), and wrote them all out that night. I'd forgotten to mail them out until we were leaving; I was quite distressed until we came across a post box randomly at the airport. There were two different slots, both labelled in French, so I simply shrugged and put them in one, hoping they would get to their final destinations. Apparently they did.

Clockwise from top left: Stockholm, Poland, London, Valletta (Malta).
Stockholm. Swedish Krona. There were plenty of stalls and vendors if you knew where to look for them. As with Lappland, I simply bought the cards, took my time writing them, and mailed them from the Örebro campus' Pressbyrån. Again, straightforward.

Poland; now this is an interesting one. Polish Zloty. I bought these ones from a store nearby Auschwitz; they were all fairly poignant and it was difficult to choose the scenery I wanted. I wrote them out after the shock of Auschwitz that night. The rest of the process that followed is quite hilarious to me now, and it was at the time to my travel companion as well.

The post box outside the Uprising Museum in Warsaw hinted stamps would be sold, but on enquiry I was met with blank stares as though I was an idiot. One guy finally said at the souvenir shop in broken English (I can imitate this remarkably in person), "Post stamps are at post office in Poland". We finally found one on the second last day of the trip, but I didn't have enough cash for all of the cards to be stamped and they didn't take card. We were assured that the office was open 24 hours ('Awesome', we thought) but by the time I'd gotten cash and returned, they were closed.

We were literally with our suitcases leaving the next morning, and I was fretting like Paris. My companion noticed we had a extra ten minutes until our bus for the airport, so he suggested I try again (the office was close to the stop). I tried, and it worked! There was a bit of hilarity with language barriers and standing in the wrong queue, but I got there in the end. They posted it for me and I returned to my travel companion relieved.

London was fairly straightforward as well. British Pounds. I bought the cards and stamps from the same souvenir shop. I wrote out the cards that night and posted them in the box around the corner from my cousin's house on the way to the Overground.

Malta was not as straightforward, but not difficult either. Euro. I bought the cards in Valletta. Wrote them out that night, then bought the stamps and mailed them off while in the Maltese island Gozo.

Clockwise from top left: Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Italy, Örebro.
Tallinn, capital of Estonia, was a tad difficult. Euro. I'd previously been to Tallinn for Sea Battle in April, but we'd only been there for a few hours just to ferry back to Stockholm again. I was hung over, dehydrated and dazed, I saw no point in rushing around for postcards when I'd be back again the next month.

The next time was a tour, with only a night in the city - a Sunday. The post office was closed. I really liked the cards but I bought them overpriced from an amber store. They had no stamps and only directed me to the post office - which, as I mentioned, was closed. Another place I was directed to was a cigarette counter, and after waiting for twenty minutes was given a dirty stare and told I was wrong.

We stopped for lunch and I scrawled out my cards, with my address book having been kept on my person in preparation. I finally thought to ask the tourist office and they simply pointed to a bookshop visible from across the street. The post box was located right outside our hostel, and they were mailed before we left for St. Petersburg the next morning.

St. Petersburg was one of the most difficult instances. Russian Rubles. I was still shaken from a (thankfully) failed robbery while in a church's ticket office. I saw these as I was leaving the church and had to have them, even though a British associate later called them 'garish'. I wrote them out that night, and went in search for the post office the next morning (learning from my time in Poland).

A bookshop owner helpfully told me in impressive English (for a Russian) of one near a church and scrawled the name on a piece of paper (didn't know it in English). I took one look at the piece of paper and sighed; it was written in Cyrillic symbols. I tried translating with my device and recognised the pictures as a nearby location and went to the church - but couldn't find it. I went with my friend into a café to try and ask, and the young waitresses working there couldn't speak a word of English. After a lot of gesturing and pointing on my part, and dirty looks on their part, one of them finally understood. She gestured and said slowly, "That way.....then...that way".

We found the office fine that way and I cautiously entered, asserting my position in the queue and waiting. When I got to the counter, it was a little old lady who presumably didn't know any English, so I was on the safe side. I fanned out the beautiful postcards and pointed to the post stamp square, making my intentions obvious. She looked through the cards and nodded deadpan, then took up a calculator, and typed in a price for me to see. I nodded, took out the notes and placed them on the counter, and she gave me the correct change. I nodded once again and left.

That whole exchange had occurred without either of us opening our mouths and communicating verbally. Even after the whole encounter, I was still unsure that my cards would arrive to their destinations (they did, though a little later than the next one).

Helsinki was a relief after Russia. Euro. There was a charming little market in a square where I bought the cards. A little shaken after Russia, I asked about stamps, and I was directed to a souvenir shop just up the way. The woman behind the desk was very friendly and reassuring, and pointed out the nearest post box (yellow in Finland). I didn't have my address book on hand that day, unfortunately, and we were only in Helsinki for a few hours.

I sat with my friends in a park, and as they relaxed, I tried to remember addresses off the top of my head. One of my companions was from Melbourne himself and he remembered postcodes when I couldn't. I think I remembered most addresses - if not, then REALLY close. I simply posted them off and they arrived in Melbourne before the St. Petersburg ones.

Italy; Euro. I bought the cards at one of the markets in Rome, and tried buying stamps. Apparently there's a private company that I bought them from and they had specific mailboxes in Rome that I couldn't reach from our hotel. We were leaving for Florence after the Vatican the next morning and I was adamant from sending them from Rome, so I was refunded the stamps I bought from the company. I wrote the cards that night and ended up buying stamps, mailing from the Vatican that next morning; which I was much happier with. It arrived with the next postcard, and after I had returned to Melbourne.

Örebro was the final card; Swedish Krona. These were sent a few days before I left Sweden in mid-June, and they came with the melancholy of returning home - but leaving another home. They had been bought from a Pressbyrån and stashed forgotten in a desk drawer, found as I was packing to leave. Sent from Örebro campus' Pressbyrån.

The water tower (Svampen) in Örebro, Sweden.
So there you have it... that's the summary of each card. Roughly seven cards per trip = ninety-one cards in total. I was looking at the postmarks and surprised to find that the ones from Örebro were postmarked from Västerås, a city on the way to Stockholm. I hope you enjoyed a little insight into the foreign crazy catastrophes that went into these postcards.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013



Hello everyone!

Things have been crazy and I haven't really had much time to myself lately, so here's a little update.

Work was getting a little crazy - understatement - what with holidays and working a few back to back shifts. People take their free time for granted until they no longer have it. I've cut back on my hours now that university's started up again, and it's amazing the little appreciations I have for everything. Showering. A proper meal. Dreamless sleep. Socialising. A reasonable bed time!

Sometimes serving people strips you of your humanity if you're doing it too often without properly taking care of yourself; and that's something I've finally had to accept. No matter how many times people ask how I am, it's just easier to say that everything's fine to not burden the question asker. I'm finally accepting that I haven't been well as of late. I got used to jet-setting, jumping around everywhere and anywhere; it felt like such a natural part of me. Coming back and staying still again feels like a betrayal of my personality and I have to learn to accept the 'waiting room' part of life again.

University! Once I cut back my work hours and started hanging out on campus again, I realised it was something I really missed. All that's expected of me is to think, try my best, and achieve a personal potential with you to motivate yourself - and I like to think that's something I am fairly good at. Classes are actually really interesting to me at the moment and I'm happy to meet new people as well.

We'll see how I go, now that things finally feel like they're getting better.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Play hard, but work hard too.

Abisko, Sweden.
Hello! I'm happy to report that things have been quite busy lately. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through certain things, before remembering that I'm working toward something. It'll all be worth it.

University trimester starts up again, and I'll be pondering more of the media and its hypnosis on the general society again. There's also a Study Abroad Club on campus that helps out the international exchange students, and I'll be joining! I'll help out students adjusting to Melbourne and this insane country.

I opened my letter to myself that I wrote before I left. It was full of a respect for the unknown that I wasn't quite expecting; and just another example of how far I've come.

I've read and watched The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Daydream Nation, respectively. I've reviewed both on my Tumblr page for your viewing pleasure, and they've both been such a surprise to me. Both came within 48 hours of each other and it's made me see things yet again differently.

I've finished 2 Broke Girls, and I'm debating about rewatching Buffy for that extra boost of self-respect. 2 Broke Girls has gotten me more curious about New York, and the people that can be found in little corners and down streets. Places like Soho and Willamsburg. Central Park. South Manhattan. I'm hoping to see Metric while I'm in North America; coming across Emily Haines' music in Daydream Nation has steered me back to listening to Metric and rediscovering my old favourites.


Ice skating's going well, I've signed up for a term and I've been going to the rink on weekends. I'm exploring different areas of Melbourne that I haven't previously and I'm loving it. I went with my friend Jewels to the Monet exhibition and then we wandered around the Business District.

As always, you can find more informal stuff on my Tumblr, and I'll keep updating once uni starts.