last day

It’s fairly obvious from the drop-off in updating that I haven’t been all that sparkly recently. My work here in Sri Lanka has been sucking all the joy out of me. There are a few highlights: I have been on a couple of runs with the local Hash House Harriers chapter, and of course nothing can beat the delight of having James stay with me for a week — we went diving in Unawatuna and every moment was simply blissful. I wrote a detailed account of the diving trip but I’m waiting for pictures from James (who has an underwater camera). On the list it goes!

It’s my last day in Sri Lanka and tomorrow I fly to Australia, my adopted homeland! I will be starting a Masters degree, which is exciting but also a little terrifying as it means staying in one country for potentially several years, as opposed to the 15 or so countries I have visited in the last 18 months. Plus James is off to Afghanistan for a year because he is James.

I have a list of all the things I want to do in Melbourne. I wrote a similar list (seen here*) when I was getting psyched about going “home” to France. I did fulfil every single item on that list, apart from La Pataterie, which is quite satisfying. So I’m writing down (in no particular order) the things I’m looking forward to doing “back home” in Australia:

  • – ridiculously delicious and unhealthy breakfasts at Alimentari and Arcadia: crispy bacon, poached eggs, corncakes, rocket, delicate salsas, sourdough toast… Fitzroy does breakfast like nowhere else in the world
  • – dragging Graham out for runs
  • – Ashtanga yoga
  • – Vietnamese food
  • – Ethiopian food
  • – long walks with Rebecca
  • – Bikram yoga
  • – the Veggie bar
  • – trams
  • – decadent French toast at Babka’s with James (before he goes all Afghan on me)
  • – Fitzroy pool (I don’t know how I plan to get so much Fitzroy when I blatantly can no longer afford to live there)
  • – tea and bicycles with Amy (if I can find a bike!)
  • – supermarkets that always stock: haloumi; tofu; hummous; olive oil Nutelex
  • – no longer living out of a suitcase
  • – watching Stick It with the other Sugar Zombies, Kerry and Enza
  • – fish and chips, as well as Lord of the Fries fries
  • – that Qantas advert with the kids singing “no matter how far or how wide I roam, I still call Australia home”, which always makes me bawl my eyes out and which they always play at Christmas time
  • – multifriend cocktails! (also the chocolate gingerbread cocktail at Polly) (also I’m guessing that Bonnie will be massively influencing my cocktail consumption)
  • – SCHOOL!
  • – being able to run outside
  • – my doctor, Genie (gosh I hope she is still working at the same clinic!)
  • – diving again, preferably in Queensland, preferably with le James
  • – D.O.C. pizza aka the best in the world (better even than in Italy)
  • – Bonds undies!
  • – ordering a flat white to be cool, realising caffeine kills me, swearing off it again for a year
  • – never going to the beach even though it’s just a tram ride away
  • – trying a third time for my driver’s license
  • – reuniting with my possessions that have been in storage as well as the bags and boxes I have abandoned scattered around the world and which can now be sent to me (cue Lesley, Mummy, Rebecca all sighing with relief).
  • Of course I also need to sort out vaguely unpleasant things such as finding a place to live, finding a source of income, investing yet again in furniture (or at least a bed and some milk crates) and paying my tuition fees, to the tune of many thousands of dollars. Also a major downer: the aforementioned departure to Afghanistan, early in February. But overall, I am so very much looking forward to this next step.

    *that post was written SIX WEEKS before my actual departure. Six weeks?? wow my life must have been dull and predictable for me to be able to make decisions and plans that far ahead. I guess I have changed a lot! Nowadays I would never write (in fact would not even bother to think much) about something so far away, because my life tends to change so quickly… if you’ll forgive the humblebrag


    diet of broken biscuits

    I did a lot of things this weekend — a 2-hour driving lesson with a new instructor, which has left me full of confidence to pass my test again in a few weeks; baking insanely delicious and unhealthy “chewy chocolate chunk cookies” with Bridgie; a yoga class on Sunday morning; struggling with the horrid stove in my current flat’s kitchen in order to produce a curry for dinner — I had invited Graham, Amelia and James to come sample my cooking and was convinced that I would blow their minds, as my last batch had been heavenly. It came out alright in the end, but it was lacking the amazingness of the original version. But Graham had thirds and that was enough to leave me satisfied, after the hours of hard work that went into it. This morning my fingers smell of garlic and onions, as a reminder of my exploits…

    Today is my replacement’s first day, and I have set about teaching her how to render a sketch in Photoshop. It’s something that takes a while to get the hang of, and I’d forgotten how long it takes to pick up, luckily it’s still 5 weeks and 4 days until I leave (!).

    Hopefully I won’t have too much on this afternoon, as James informed me this morning that he has brought his running shoes and so it would be good to get a jog in this evening… Fingers crossed.

    deafening silence

    Yes… missed two runs and a yoga class… but I did learn how to do hook turns this morning during my driving lesson…

    I have been decidedly uninspired; I had a slightly unsettling Sunday night and have been struggling to fall asleep since then, meaning that as I avoid using alarm clocks, I have not been waking up in time to do anything much before work. I did wake up at 5 this morning, which would have been ample time to get to yoga, have breakfast, shower, go to my driving lesson, go to work where it’s ridiculously busy today… and then go for a friends’ goodbye drinks and see James tonight… I did the maths very quickly and decided to go back to sleep. Sometimes sleep is more important than yoga.

    Regardless, I have been feeling very guilty about not exercising these last 3 days, and then I read my iGoogle horoscope (usual disclaimers: I don’t actually believe in horoscopes, I just like reading it because it usually gives some sage advice, applicable to all and sundry!):
    You want to continue with your regular routines, including eating whatever makes the most sense to you. But unconscious desires can lure you away from your healthier resolutions. Don’t judge yourself so harshly if you slip off track today. Meanwhile, keep working toward your goals and you’ll notice progress soon enough.

    I assume 90% of the western world is on a resolution to live and eat healthily at the moment, so it’s hardly surprising that it would resonate with me — or anyone else, whatever their starsign! But I liked the “Don’t judge yourself so harshly if you slip off track… keep working towards your goals and you’ll notice progress soon enough.”

    Besides… my shin splints are finally gone, as is the nagging pain in my ankles. I probably needed some time off.


    Distance: 5.42km
    Time: 31:08
    Pace: 5:45min/km

    Albert Park Lake! I selfishly abandoned a sick and feverish James and got up at 7:30 to run without him. The thought did cross my mind that if I couldn’t make it all the way round the lake it would be a long walk home, but then I reminded myself that I can easily run 5km these days. I wanted to see how long it would take me in contrast with the last time (in case you were wondering: last time it was 37:17, a clear 6 minute difference!).

    It was no real effort to run there and around the lake, and I should have run home too, which would have added on an extra kilometre, but as usual I always underestimate my remaining energy/stamina. Or maybe I overestimate it, post-run? Anyway, I’m still very happy with my time – the first 5km were done in 28 minutes which puts me at well under 30 minutes. I hope this weekend I’ll find the motivation to do a nice long run, if I can pace myself and not go too fast.

    And then after my run, I had a driving lesson and did my first reverse park! Oh if only I wasn’t constantly worrying about money, my life would be pretty awesome right now.


    This morning was my first driving lesson. I thought it was tomorrow, which gives you an idea of what an excellent PA I am. Anyway, the instructor came over to my house when I failed to appear at my office, and I could postpone no longer. There I was, behind a steering wheel, for the first time ever.

    We did a few back streets and I guess I’m going to be okay after all. Like all things long put off and anticipated, it wasn’t as monumental as I thought it would be! I have another lesson tomorrow… I’m living on toast so I can afford to learn how to drive… Two weeks till pay day!

    I am aware that my mood leaves room for improvement, which indicates I need to go running. I am cold and tired. Maybe tomorrow morning before driving. I keep waking up at 6:30, then falling back to sleep and having vivid, violent, disturbing nightmares, so I hope tomorrow will be different!


    I scored 97%! I made one mistake… a question I had absolutely no idea how to answer about a “sensible thing to practice in a safe place” when learning how to drive. Anyway! 97%! Kvell Kvell.

    So now I must find a driving school, and set a date for my actual driving test some time in February — because I’m over 25, I only have to wait 3 months. Hopefully 3 months is enough for me to gain the necessary confidence and skills… I want to be on my Ps before I leave Australia.

    flexing plastic

    My friend Pip laughed at me the other day: “You are always taking classes!”. I remember saying the exact same thing to my dearest friend Rebecca, who encouraged me to do the same, with great results. I think taking any kind of classes is probably the best way to stay sane when you are sick of your job and there’s nothing you can change about it. Even if they end disastrously (like my ballet classes…), it’s the novelty of doing something different — my brain and body have both been doing the same things day-in, day-out for 2.5 years now — which makes it worth the while.

    So I just signed up for 4 more sewing classes — Mod 2 (Zippers, Casings & Buttonholes; I think this is the equivalent of a grammar class, essential but rather dull), Mod 3 (I will need to buy fabrics to make my very own bag! so exciting!) and Mod 4 (two 3-hour classes at the end of which I will apparently have created 1xA-LINE SKIRT — watch this space). I am entitled to 2 hours of free practice time for every class I take (which means I already have 10 hours to waste on a machine if I see fit) but the studio isn’t really available at times when I’m not working.

    I have also booked a spot next Wednesday morning for my LEARNER’S PERMIT test ZOMG. I have almost entirely given up reading my book as it is more dreary than a Chinese newspaper vocab list, and instead I have been doing tests online at work when I’m bored. I consistently score above 80% so I figured what the hell, I’ll just go ahead and book it. Then I can go ahead and start learning how to drive — driving lessons! yay!

    Also attempting to dent my credit card: dentists and lawyers. I know they want to take all my money for themselves, but I want to at least be able to drive a car and use a sewing machine before selling off my kidneys to pay for wisdom teeth extractions, crowns, and Australian residency. Then I can be a travelling seamstress (minus kidneys).

    EDIT: My supermate Cici is thinking about doing a leather workshop in Hong Kong… it’s expensive but look how fantastic their creations are(under the “blog” heading)! Unfortunately she’s still paying for make-up classes… aaaah classes!