standing still

Things have been a bit non-stop and intense with this filming malarky. Only today (Day 9) did we film the final sequence — and days 7 and 8 were hard work as I had to write, translate and record my voice-overs. Now that my involvement is finally over, I am quite relieved to retire to my own little messy bedroom, after days of travelling around the entire island and sleeping in hotel rooms every night. Little things like my mosquito net and my morning oats are how I know I’m home! Alberto (the director) does this kind of thing for months and months at a time, I don’t know how he manages…

Tomorrow I am taking Maria and Alberto on the China Hash — Alberto will be running and Mariutti and I will walk and talk. It’s weird to realise almost 6 years have passed since we saw each other last — twice the duration of the 3 years we were friends in university! But she is exactly the same person, as if mere minutes had gone by instead of half a decade. It’s hilarious hearing about her adventures in the Mainland, I think I will have to go visit her in Beijing sometime soon.

I am so, so tired. I have a work meeting on Monday afternoon, but on Tuesday I am going to have a nice “ME” day and reboot afresh, so as to concentrate on my new job (and writing?). Cici has a week’s holiday for Easter just in time for my obligatory visa run to Hong Kong — and Maria AND Rosalie are also going to be in HK for the weekend — how perfectly serendipitous! Somehow everything falls so neatly into place.

Finally, this beautiful little ballet, which I have been watching and listening to again and again. I feel it captures exactly the life and relationships that I want to have. Plus it’s set in Seoul! Can’t get enough of it…

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tardy

Oops it’s been a while since I updated, again. I have been busy moving into my new place, which I love. I know my move to Xinyi has coincided with the apparent end of winter, as well as the end of school and a general new phase of my life, but this house makes me very happy, my bedroom is flooded with daylight from dawn till dusk and as someone who needs sunshine — it’s such a blessing. My new place in fuzzy pictures — I never got round to posting pics of my room in Muzha, but you weren’t missing much:

Gorgeous blanket design, n’est-ce pas?


Happy face!

One of the kitties that lives with us — this is Wupo (witch), I have a weakness for Wazi (socks) but she ran away from the camera

The sun disappeared when I tried to take a view of our rooftop garden and Elephant Mountain in the background… but you get the idea

I am now settled and trying to get into the “freelance” spirit, as sleeping till midday is ok for a week or so but really, I need to be productive in the mornings in order to feel good. My schedule mostly involves getting to the gym and sewing buttons back onto clothes for the time being, but Project Number 2 is underway as of this morning (1:35am, to be precise). I am working with David, the founder of Engaging Minds, helping him compile and edit some coursework materials. It’s really interesting and I feel like it’s a good way to ease back into working. New housemate Dan has kindly lent me a spare PowerBook so I now have an “office space” of sorts — it’s definitely helpful to keep the iPad for distractions and the laptop for working. I am also working my way through the filming schedule, researching for the travel/road trip movie which starts next Friday!


On the injury front, there is no real improvement, no doubt linked to my continuing incapacity to perform the exercises the Doctor gave me to do, but I have finally got access to an elliptical machine at the local sports centre so I am hoping that those workouts will allow me to compensate slightly for my lack of running. It kills me though as the weather is beautiful and I am missing the Hash ever more every day…

sore

Yesterday, I somehow thought it would be a good idea to walk the China Hash. I had this vague idea that walking the Hash would make it entirely accessible to my injured self… what an idiot.

The weather was pretty dreadful — standard Taiwan-winter cold rains all day — and there was so much mud, steep slippery banks and trails, a couple of rivers to cross (soggy wet running shoes are really not fun to walk in). Plus by the time I hit any really muddy patches, the place was a sea of mud due to being torn up by all the runners going through it at a breakneck speed. The rivers and little streams did come in handy for washing some of the mud off at regular intervals though! and sometimes I would remember to look up and take in the beautiful misty views…

The hare had told me that I would reach a point about 15 minutes in where I would have to turn back to the start, and seemed to think that would be a nice brisk bit of exercise for me. Unfortunately I am pretty stubborn and when you run the Hash, you don’t look at a vertical mudslide as a dead end, it’s just an obstacle that you have to overcome. I didn’t meet anything really terrifying until I had pretty much passed the point of no return. Due to this mentality I ended up walking the entire thing, in 2 hours and 20 minutes. I should have come out of it feeling victorious, like any other hash. But my knees are NOT happy and I am just cross with myself.

To make matters worse, in the first 5 minutes I slipped and fell on my bum whilst coming down some very slippery steps. My tailbone is really painful now, so between not being able to bend my knees or sit up, I really am not doing too well for myself! Despite all the ridiculous trails we take and the usual mud or loose stones and roots, I had never fallen before on the Hash, and it struck me as particularly ironic that I would do so on the one day I was walking. On steps! So stupid.

Oh the stupid things one does… I am pretty sure this was not what the doctor had in mind when he told me to take it easy and not do anything that would aggravate my knees (even yoga is off the list of permitted activities…). On the positive side… I am having dinner with the most delightful Lesley tonight! I really need to start packing the place up soon, which is going to be fun as I am fairly limited in movement. Moving house for the millionth time in my life is a pain, but the good news is I have somewhere to move next as fellow hashers Dan and Diva have a room available! how lucky am I? very lucky.

summer/winter

Taipei gave me hope by bringing out the sunshine this weekend, and Sunday’s China Hash was grueling but fun. Apart from a chunk which I had to walk, because my knees were having a little tantrum: “you said you would walk! you said you would take it easy! instead you’ve been running like a moron, climbing up and down cliff faces, I mean what the hell is wrong with you? AND you ran the LONG?!” They quietened down eventually.

Monday’s sunshine was even more glorious. I sat outdoors all afternoon, reveling in the heat. This winter has been tough; I’m definitely a bit of a SADS person and the recent blue skies and warm sun were a much-needed reminder that I can be a happy, positive person.

Today sadly it was back to overcast, wet, cold weather. I cycled almost-21km at the gym, but couldn’t bring myself to change into my swimming gear afterwards because I didn’t want to get cold and shivery. Why must the pool windows be kept open in all weather? urgh.

I had a lovely long afternoon catch-up session with Catherine. We generally spend an afternoon or two together every week, and I am going to miss her a lot when I leave (22 days!). Fortunately I am going to be with the Supermate in Hong Kong, so I am still covered on the Awesome Girls front.

I have been looking at Glucosamine + MSM for my knees, but it’s quite pricey, NT 1800 for a month’s supply. And even if I could afford it, those bloody idiots at INGdirect.com.au are still not letting me access my money! I hate banks but until now thought that ING was a decent exception to the rule. Well, that’s over now, I hate ING too. Can’t wait to be a proper Hong Kong HSBC user…

Lastly, I am over the moon because I have found all the Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books for free on Amazon. Currently reading one of my favourites, The Olive Fairy Book, and even though they aren’t illustrated, I am amazed to discover I have every engraving memorized, even though it’s been about 15 years since I read the books. I know exactly where every engraving was for each tale, and I can recall every one of them with absurd detail… I really did love them and they strongly influenced my own artistic endeavours for most of my childhood. I was reading Jackal or Tiger?, which had a couple of my absolute favourite pictures, and suddenly had an amazing visual of the engraving where the Fairy of the Forest is laying on the ground, with her foot cut off and the drops of blood falling into the cauldron… powerful stuff!

Actually you are all very lucky, cos I have found the two best Jackal or Tiger engravings on Project Guthenberg. Here you go!

addicted

Oh Internet, my life would be so much better without you, and yet you have brought me so much joy! Of course, it’s all about self-control, and unfortunately I tend to lack in that department. Anyway, I have been experimenting with cutting internet access off when I am at home, and this worked really, really well for me — in bed at 11pm and asleep by 12:30, as opposed to 3 or 4am. Suddenly I had time to do things again, and was getting a decent amount of sleep (which I have learnt is essential for my body to heal).

This morning, being Saturday, I woke up at 7am and texted my housemate for the internet password… and that was it, I was lost to the world yet again. The hours passed me by and I am too ashamed to admit what time it was when I finally got dressed and left the house — an endeavour which may or may not have been motivated only by my hot water bottle bursting. In the end, the only way I got my presentation written and my cover letter written was by going to bloody Starbucks of all places, where I would be safe from the WiFi.

It kills me that it took me under two hours to do what I had been putting off for days. And so I am determined to go back to an internet-free home again soon. I will of course allowing myself to use it all I want when on campus, but it is obvious that I cannot be trusted to use it wisely outside of school!*

Tomorrow is the Sky Lantern Festival Hash, where I will attempt to show some self-restraint and WALK rather than run… please think positive thoughts for my poor knees, which will no doubt be mad as hell at me by the end of the day. Maybe I should apply the same principle as for the Internet, and cut off my legs to stop myself from running. Ha, ha.

*yes, I am of course still online right now… but it will be turned off at midnight, I swear!

back to hash

After 3ish hours of sleep, I rolled out of bed to go to school today. When I got there, there wasn’t a shuttle bus so I was late for class; the 7-11 was CLOSED (can you imagine?? the shock, the horror) so I couldn’t have any breakfast. 3 hours of class later and I was close to passing out. “I’m going home to take a nap” I informed Cici Whinehouse via g-chat.

But instead of taking a nap, I ended up going to Zhinan Temple and running yesterday’s China Hash. It was in my neighbourhood and the trail was still clearly marked, and I was mad at myself for missing the run yesterday — it was the obvious thing to do. 10km of slipping and sliding my way through the mountains was exactly what I needed; my knees complained but the rest of me felt alive again at last, after a month of stagnating in bed. The run ended by discretely entering Taipei Zoo via a back fence, and I ran as fast as I could to the exit, ever paranoid that I would get in trouble. Earlier on the trail I’d already had an guy lecture me (increasingly loudly) in Taiwanese, so I was even more nervous than usual.

I arrived at the exit unharmed and was promptly absorbed by the black hole that is McDonald’s — I had barely eaten all day and was STARVING. I sat opposite a grandma and 5 kids, who all gave me the nastiest stinkeye as I poured chips down my throat. It wasn’t until I went to wash my hands afterwards and saw myself that I realised I probably looked a bit dodgy — bright red and sweaty, covered in bits of bramble and smears of mud, hair struggling to escape my cap, and of course inhaling my food like I hadn’t eaten in a week. Still. It’s rude to stare!

Then I had a nap. Just kidding! No naps for the wicked. I had a shower and went back to school to study for tomorrow’s test. It’s now nearly 9pm and I am sitting in the library hallucinating with tiredness, but there is a certain satisfaction in knowing I have possibly achieved more in one day than in my entire 2-week break. Please, please let me sleep tonight…

my 2011

A year ago I was in Australia, on Phillip Island with James, Nadege, and Ash. It feels like that was a long, long time ago. Since then I have:

— acquired Australian permanent residency:

— quit my job (three little words, a lot of drama)

— sold all my possessions

(pictured: Nom and Mansa, two of my favourite girls in the world, modeling some of the crap I flogged at my yard sale)

— gone on a variety of manic road trips around Australia with James and the White Knight

— run 107km with miCoach, 345km with RunKeeper, and an estimated 15km with James this summer (I know, wow, right??!), which adds up to a total of 467km. There was a biiiig gap in running due to the fact that I…

— travelled around Europe from April to August, mostly on the back of this motorbike.

 It wasn’t quite the self-indulgent experience we had planned, but I squeezed in time in a number of countries:

—  England (London, Devon), France (most of the Lot department, Biarritz & Bayonne, Marseille, Strasbourg, Paris), Spain (San Sebastian), Italy (Florence, Lake Como), Switzerland (some tiny village in the Alps), Belgium (Brussels, Knock), and Sweden (Gothenburg). One day I will get round to writing at least a bit about my travels. I also moved to Taiwan where I have visited Penghu and Taidong as well as of course Taipei. I also spent significant amounts of time pacing up and down the airports of: Abu Dhabi; Copenhagen; Moscow; Beijing. #jetsetting #namedropping

— lost my boyfriend, running buddy and close friend James to MSF after they whisked him away to Uganda out of the blue. A lot of the time I’m ok with this and chalk it up to fate taking us our separate ways. Sometimes I’m not so ok with this. 

— gone back to Mandarin school and somehow heaved my way back up to upper intermediate/advanced level.

— learned to really, truly, cross-my-heart-hope-to-die, love my own company. 

— found the Hash House Harriers — I have no words. 

2012 promises: Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, finish school, get a new job, run two half-marathons, and more…