The rain and the sunshine have been alternating with equal intensity this week. Either it’s baking hot, or diluvian (3 days later and my shoes are still not dry after getting caught out). But one thing you can be sure of here in Taiwan, come rain or shine: those bastard, bastard mosquitos are out to get you. 

So tonight, despite the rain thundering outside my open window and bringing some much-needed refreshment to my stuffy room, well tonight just like every night, I’m hanging out in here:

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Looks almost romantic, doesn’t it? And despite the darkness, from the inside all that white netting acts as a great diffuser! And so, with the latest few episodes of Answer Me This ready to play on my iPad, I settled down with my cross-stitch.
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Unfortunately, there’s a bit of an issue — the shadows from the netting combined with the pixellated pattern and the Aida fabric make it nigh on impossible to see what I’m doing. My eyes were watering within seconds…
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My plan, thwarted…


over and over

Today marks exactly a year since I left Australia, only weeks after being graced with Permanent Residency. Crazy to think that I spent most of that last year in Taiwan, when my plans involved so many OTHER places — not that I am complaining, as I have had a good time here, and still squeezed in visits to more than 10 countries anyway. Now it’s almost the end of April, and trust me, I am very eager to start May. April has been a crappy month, which is why there haven’t been many updates.

Fortunately it hasn’t been a completely BAD month, there have been highlights, and I am glad to see how much I have developed as a person over these 4 weeks of ridiculousness. But I have struggled to find anything worth blogging about, as I don’t seem to have been doing many THINGS for me recently. I miss exercise (the backlash from last Sunday’s gym session was no fun) and I am hopelessly poor at the moment so I am avoiding socialising or even leaving the house/office if I can avoid it. Apart from watching series upon series of TV shows (Weeds, Breaking Bad, Community, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) I have done very little outside of work.

So, I am trying to make a plan and stick to it. I have about 6 weeks before I head off to France for the summer (instead of Hong Kong — change of plan) and in that time I need to achieve more than just watching TV shows and working. So far all I’ve come up with is yoga and finishing my cross-stitch project, but if anyone can suggest FREE and LOW IMPACT activities that will not aggravate my shin/knee injuries, and will not involve screen-time, I’m all ears…

Random picture of my little brother from last summer, to cheer us all up.
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there are days when the cage doesn’t seem to open very wide at all

Today was meant to be a bustling day of packing and cleaning and moving house. Fortunately, I don’t really have to respect that timetable anymore, as my once-housemate Silva has rescheduled our moving date to the weekend. Sure, I still plan to be at my new place very soon… but it is fortunate because today hit me with a huge gust of “what the hell are you doing with yourself”.

I’m occasionally incapacitated by these storms of self-doubt and fear, but I know they won’t last, if I just keep stubbornly ignoring the voices in my head (whose words I won’t even gratify by repeating). I am very lucky that I can stop mid-track and refuse to be part of the panic process. Once upon a time I would have pulled on my running shoes and gone to run until I was too exhausted and exhilarated to hear the negativity; as that isn’t a possibility these days, I found much comfort in the below:

Cross-stitch, Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, and not pictured, Stephen Fry's dulcet tones

I listened to hour after hour of podcasts today, most of which sourced from the BBC, because few things soothe like Radio 4. As cooking also is a great distraction, I also cooked two meals, using the last of the food in the house (a veggie and noodle stir-fry for lunch, and grated potato omelette for dinner).

I wouldn’t say the storm has entirely passed, but I’m feeling stronger and less prone to dissolving into tearful fits of “I can’t — I don’t — I wish I knew…”. I keep trying to remember that I’m ok without a plan; I’m ok by myself; I’m ok being independent and free. The price for my freedom is one I’m willing to pay, and I have many, many good things ahead of me.

Last but not least, my good-luck gift from Catherine:

My very own Ponyo!