Archive | November, 2012

Conversation

27 Nov

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I’m having a bit of a hard time at the moment. I don’t wanna dwell too much on the negative stuff but I’ve been feeling a bit lonely and isolated this week on top of the anxiety I’ve been feeling about Darwin.

Dan has been busy working super extra hours for the trip and we haven’t been chatting as much as we usually do and I realised something horrendous…. Some days, if I don’t speak to him, I don’t speak to anyone. I mean, I speak to people here, of course I do, and I love the chit chats I have with people around the office and around the town. What I mean is a real a conversation, and I mean the type of conversation where you’re sharing something meaningful, like a sense of humour or common interests or love for something or past experiences.

I find emails really hard, especially when I’m replying to an email from someone who hasn’t written to me in a long time and just digested everything they have been doing in the last month and then said at the end “so how are you going?”. Then I find it really awkward to reply because I am thinking does this person want me to respond to everything they have told me in this email? Or when you say “how are you going” do you want me to start with that and then respond?

I love knowing what my friends are up to, more than anything, but I miss knowing it because I texted them to catch up and they’re busy, or I am doing it with them, or one of my other friends told me in a separate catch up, or I just know because they told me. I find an email conversation can be really one way if you don’t do it right…. And that’s why I guess I do it so inconsistently. I like to take the time to really do it right, time I don’t seem to have for some unknown reason because god knows what the heck I am doing with my time but it seems to march right by me.

Lately too, some friends have been throwing out the “let’s skype”…. I find skype really hard too, I think the conversation can’t flow organically any more so than in email without the best internet connection and without being able to notice non-verbal cues, but it’s definitely better than nothing. A skype date for me here is as close as I’m getting to real dates, so when this “let’s skype” business gets thrown around and never followed up on, it’s like the equivalent of seeing someone in the street from high school and saying “OMG it’s so good to see you, let’s have dinner sometime” when you both know it will never happen. Honestly, I know it isn’t like this, but that’s what it feels like sometimes here when I am alone and so isolated.

My friends at home love and support me and my friends here are totally amazing, but I miss conversations in my life with a statement and a response and then another response and so on in the most organic way, with irony and sarcasm and warmth and hope and feeling and even touching.

Here, I have had to come to love my Monday morning facebook inbox messages from Lease before she goes into the studio, viber conversations with Kate about certain boys, hilarious mp3 recordings of Kerry singing, pictures of cats from my mum, good morning messages from Dan…. I love these because they capture the kind of moments I would have if I were with them in person, which you can’t really replicate over email or skype. I know also when I receive them that person is thinking of me and sending their love, because that’s what I do with my vibe messages and faceinhole.com photos and 9gag reposts and all the other stupid shit the internet makes easy for us.

So you might have gathered from reading my blog that even when it’s a ranting, rambling post like this one, I like to put forth some kind of solution or resolve to improve me situation. This is why blogging makes me feel better I think! I get all my thoughts out and then know what I have to do….

I’m more of a face to face long catch up over brunch kinda person. So when I rant about all this stuff, I want it to be clear that I am most responsible for my current state of isolation as anyone. And I guess I know what I have to do. Because emails and skypes are the only modes I have, I have to get better at them, practice both of them more and be more grateful for them.

Ps can I just add that i am grateful everyday for my dear “office mate” Aileen ❤

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“i’d see your eyes in my eyes suddenly”

25 Nov

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This time next week I’ll be in apparently sweaty Darwin for a week with my man. I am unbelievably excited – like staying up late at night in excitement and dreaming about the reunion excited – but I am also really scared.

When Dan and I decided to long distance, we originally thought we would just be seeing each other once, in November when he came here to visit. But new romance got a bit much and within 6 weeks he was here in my arms, with plans for future rendezvous in the works.

They say love conquers all and I believe the feeling does trumps all other feelings (like annoyance over miscommunicated feelings and subsequent reactions in text messages). but it can’t conquer contracts with standard 4 weeks annual leave pro rata or volunteer allowances or immovable committee meetings so this Darwin trip came to fruition. Darwin was selected not only because it is romantically right in the middle, a 4 hour flight for both of us, incidentally newly home to a friend of his and 2 friends of mine with their own loves, a place neither of us have visited and both wanted to and a place with sale flights when we were booking… It was selected because it would feel a bit like a dream like holidays always are, not like real life and not reinforcing the normalcy of Melbourne I miss so dearly. It was picked so I wouldn’t have to say hello and then goodbye to home again so quickly.

But alas, in addition to the 3 friends between us we already had there, 3 more of dan’s friends are visiting, plus another friend of mine, the original Li Li. No more holiday anonymity, this is a proper group of friends, ala the tv show ‘friends’. To add a bittersweet cherry to my bittersweet passionfruit frozen yoghurt sunday, just a couple of hours ago Li told me husky would be playing on Saturday night – only my favorite band, no biggie.

I followed these guys all over victoria to consume the feeling their music stirred in me, dragging a bevy of semi-unwilling friends along for the ride and whose album let’s me feel the homesickness I suppress whenever I feel brave enough to play it and feel everything my body so desperately wants me to feel.

So the reason my excitement is overshadowed by fear is that the week in Darwin will be more like Melbourne than I thought it would be, which means I’ll have week long a taste of this pseudo-Melbourne. I’ll get to talk to my girlfriends Kahlia and King about work and life and Melbourne and love. Li and I will talk about music before we realize 3 hours has passed. Someone will cook me a vegetarian dinner which I won’t have to pay for. And of course, I’ll get to spend 7 days looking at dan’s face in high definition, with his mouth moving in sync with the words coming out of it and not saying “what??!!” every second sentence…. Real Hugs and kisses will be more amaze balls than I can handle too of course, compared to “xoxo” action.

But I’m scared that I will come back to Gubat and feel that hole again I felt when I first arrived and that sometimes sneaks up when I wanna share my life here but have no one to share it with.

As you may already know, I don’t like to place attachments to feelings. BUT as you would definitely also know, I feel everything and sometimes, when it gets a bit much, I like to share these feelings with the people I love at home…. Just say everything on my mind, dwell on certain things for a second or two longer than a yogi should (BOYS!!!) and then let it go. I am SO excited to have a week of this, but so sad it’s just a week and I’ll have to let that comfort go too.

I didn’t come here expecting to always be comfortable… In fact a big part of why I came was to feel uncomfortable a lot and to observe in myself the reactions to these moments and learn from them. I also don’t want to reneg on all the things I’ve said in previous posts about loving my life here – you know I do!!! But I can love life here and still miss life back home. The love I have for Gubat is different for the love I have for Melbourne, for my Gubat friends different than for my Melbourne friends and my love for my counterpart is EXTREMELY different than my love for Dan. Oh and my “love” (kinda a little like hate at the moment” for videoke is very different from love for listening to beautiful, lyrical, thought-provoking, poetic live music with a crowd similar stirred…. A a week can’t come quick enough! But please, don’t go too fast !

“eff you mother nature” and other tales from the road

4 Nov

I’m at the airport waiting for my first of 2 flights to get home from a long weekend in Dumaguete with Alex to visit Claire. The second flight today will be the appalling 18th flight in 7 months of overseas living and even more appallingly will be followed by 12 more (booked so far) flights for the next 5 months. Stimulating local economies and enabling 2 way cultural awareness don’t even begin to curb the guilt I feel at participating in such a carbon intensive industry and throwing pesos at cebupacificair.com… But when you live on the second largest archipelago in the world (7100 islands) and you have wanderlust, you gotta do what you gotta do and make up for it in other ways.

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This weekend in Dumaguete was characterized by adventure … We joined a local barkada group through Claire’s connections on a birthday camping weekend on Apo island, a 30 minute banka ride from a port off Dumaguete. Before island party times, stopped abruptly by power going out at 9pm, we spent the whole day swimming with giant sea turtles, the wisest looking of all animals, interrupted only by lunch on a cliff perched restaurant. We were shown to our accommodation for the night… It was one of those pop up wind shelters, which could maybe fit 2 adults sitting up, but 3 girls we were so 3 we must be sleeping like sardines with nought but our body heat to keep us warm and the sharp assuage of coral pieces under our backs since the birthday guy had passed out on our sleeping mat.

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I ended up on the outer edge and my internal monologue throughout the night sounded like “eff ants biting me, eff mother nature, eff you Alex taking up all my room and pushing me out of the tent *roll over and see beautiful clear sky with stars above my head* oh man this so beautiful! I’m having so much fun”. This ebb and flow was punctuated by alternate fists curled in frustration and hands behind the head relaxation. The most exciting moment was when a dog peed on the side of the tent and I was seriously contemplating sleeping either on top of 2 guys squished into a 1 man tent next to us or getting in with a 16 year old kid 2 tents over… Deliberating over this conundrum eventually sent me off to sleep and I awoke around 4am ready to get on a boat at 6.30am. Overly attached boat passenger am I.

I appreciated this experience more after some Bircher muesli and a hot shower at Claire’s and remembered fondly too many other amazing moments we are so lucky to have the chance to experience on our adventure here in the Philippines…. Here are some of the highlights.

Racing down a mountain in antipolo on our first tricy ride during an amazing race challenge in our training week when we first arrived in the Philippines. We originally thought it was a race but when we realized it wasn’t, we took our lives back into our own hands and went “Dahan Dahan Lang po” (slowly slowly) the rest of the day.

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Kayaking on lake bulusan at 8am and crashing into an exhausted, food coma sleep at 11am at a private cold springs with Alex and Tania on a tour of the province arranged by the LGU just for their visit.

Failing to see whale sharks but having a whale of a time in Donsol with most of the intake 33 crew and riding 7 in a tricy back to our resort.

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Feeding fish at Matnog fish sanctuary before a lazy afternoon island chilling on subic beach enjoying a tropical romance with my hot guy.

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Walking slowly for 5km in runners way too small in a fun run in tobacco city and grabbing a Taho to give me strength for the last km with Kristen, before bestowing awards to real runners along with Marly and Mark.

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Getting marooned in antipolo for the second volunteer intake training for the year and sleeping in a bed wet from a water leak over head with only a little bit of blue body paint left on my face from earlier antics.

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Visiting endless kilometers of malls in Makati with Mum and Jen and doing an all nighter at a gay bar before getting a 6.30am flight to legazpi to get home.
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Alternating between formal titles (mr jäger, mr Bacchus) and friendly intimacy (*points out sleeping tarsier* check out this guy) on holiday around Cebu with maganda Skanda from down under and getting my drunk ass thrown off some guys lap after I tried to pass out on him in a club while Skanda flirted with locals and enjoyed dance floor drink service.

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Visiting Bacolod for the masskara festival, where floats in parades apparently need 20 minute gaps for observers to take in all the glory of electric masskara. I soberly participating in many “conversations” with my drunk friends until 3am before getting up at 4.45 for a 6.30am flight back to leggaz.

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Swimming in a hot spring while a tropical depression froze the air around me at 10pm at night in Irosin to celebrate Gubat’s success in the Kasanggayahan festival in Sorsogon.

Right now I am listening to my favorite Filipino song performed by the singer/guitarist in the waiting lounge of Dumaguete airport at 8.30am and I feel less guilty (for now) about all that carbon and more grateful for all I have seen, experienced, smelt, tasted, heard, enjoyed and hated in my travels thorough the experience.

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“all good trips are, like love, being carried out of yourself and deposited into the midst of terror and wonder” (“why we travel“, Pico Iyer). Indeed, with every terrorizing long haul ride in a minivan going way too fast down the national highway and every wondrous waterfall stream pounding my back while I float in a stream, I feel myself more open to every new
experience I might encounter and more fond of all those that are now memories.