March 13, 2012
Home Sweet Home

On Sunday London society changed form. People were milling in the streets, indulging in a level of gaity not often found in this commonly dreary city. The trigger for this abnormal behaviour: the sun. When the sun comes out in London you can observe a complete turn around in character, ultimately from the internal to the external. A beautiful view was to be had in Trafalgar Square where each usable piece of concrete was turned into a lounge by sun worshippers of national and internaional like. Pubs turned into trendy sidewalk cafes by magic and the smiles were everywhere. I even had a lady apologise for bumping into me. This natural phenomenon must provide such a welcome distraction to their dark cold existence that Londoners are so grateful common civility and love for the fellow man returns! Hurrah!

Returning home (still in shock from the spectacle) I found that even the orphan Aussies and Kiwis of Murray Rd felt the change in atmosphere. Sun worship was well and truely alive in this little English backyard, with a camp of doonahs (duvet’s), and copious amounts of food and alcohol waiting for me. Home Sweet Home.

It occurs to me that now might be an appropriate time to introduce my humble abode. The best way to describe my little house allows a little mental imagining. For those who have experienced this, help thsoe who haven’t, because it must be lived to be believed. I live in student accomodation on steroids. 10 people live in my little townhouse (5 boys, 5 girls). More specifically that is 10 people in 6 rooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 kitchen and 1 lounge. It is hideous to say the least. Blue carpet, dirt stained walls and a kitchen I dont want to walk in barefoot, let alone the downstairs bathroom male urinal. Glamorous?. Home? Well for the moment it is my little corner of the world in which I most commonly lay my head to sleep.

The occupants… I have NEVER in my life thought that I would have such people in my immediate vicinity as I find myself with today.

Being practically an only child, I have had the luxury of ultimate control over my surroundings, that means TV control, bathroom usage and ultimately and most sorely missed… my own room. Yes, my shocked audience… I share a room. How unlikely this may sound, my room mate is the silver lining in this bizarre circus of my life. Casey, what can truely be said about Casey, other than amazing! I do believe I have found in her a soul mate that any man would be lucky to rival.

Now enough setting the mood, lets give you some visuals.

Casey and my slice of heaven: my side: bed dresser and table

Casey’s side: Fireplace & chest of drawers

Quaint backyard & front of house

Welcome to Murray Rd, Ealing.

March 13, 2012
"

1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

"

— Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues, and how he went about attaining them. (via explore-blog)

(Source: , via explore-blog)

March 6, 2012
London Calling…

Here we are in my present day situation… London! I have been successfully living, breathing and loving in London for the past 4 months and wow, just wow.At this point I wish I had something more epic to say, but to be honest the whole experience has been incredibly overwhelming. Personally I feel like I have had a 4 month overhaul, my mind going through some serious dry cleaning. 

Did I expect to last this long? I would like to say yes… but we all have our little self doubts now don’t we? Motherly advice: "don’t put any pressure on yourself to live up to your own or other peoples expectations". Well Mum, it has been hard and I must say that I haven’t spent every day taking it one step at a time, but somehow it has been 4 months since arriving at Heathrow airport and somehow I have no plans to leave. I still have too much to do! and I am getting that scary feeling like I may never reach this fantasy point of completion. When does one finish exploring the world? So, that my brain doesn’t explode with this inifite question, I have attempted to focus my exploration attempts to the European area (at least for the 2 years of my visa). Thus distracting myself from the alluring North Africa and American flights and tours…. which are heart wrenchingly cheap! The fact that the majority of born and bred Londoners (of which I have found to be frustratingly elusive) have barely travelled beyond zone 3 of their own city is utterly mind blowing! The world is on England’s doorstep. If it takes this one Australian to inspire them to get off their tea sipping, sunday pub lunching arses then I will admit to a job well done!

The flight over… Romantically I had planned this as a single girl proudly stepping forth into an adventure book entirely styled for her… In actuality I was bawling my eyes out. This was freaking scary people! I was hopping on a plane having left all known family behind (no childhood remembered rellies waiting for me on the other side) and starting a new job in a new land with people I was going to have to get to know RIGHT AWAY! Pushing my admittedly never failing social skills (motor-mouthing) to the extreme. However, I managed to get trhough these first scary moments with the help of sympathetic stewardesses, and an incredibly well structured beginners itineraray created by Jumpstart London, my handy helpers from home who set me up with a home and job all within a week of my setting foot on her majesty’s soil. 

Now time for the Prince Harry hunting to begin…

March 5, 2012
This is the end…

And so ends the NZ and America chapter of my little trip away from home and into my self discovery. Next up comes the actual running away to the Piccadilly Circus part of my story…

Just a little thank you for staying with me so far.

Love xx

March 5, 2012

Some more Philadelphia photo ops

March 5, 2012
Go Flyers!

Philladelphia was a smorgasbord (sp?) of character spunk, what was so disappointing about New York was entirely made up for by my couple of days in this entirely misunderstood city. Where people see grime, I saw living breathing spaces of self expression. The elitist attitude that encompasses a lot of American major cities was completely absent here. The public spaces in these neighbourhoods became evolving reflections of the people who lived there. The graffitti was spectacular and completely without the negative, destructive ‘tagging’ connotations. In the so-called bad neighbourhoods every spare piece of wall space was turned into a piece of art with 4 storey murals covering what could have been an eye sore of blank industrial wall space.

There were so many treasures to be found in Philadelphia. Magic Gardens: In this place you felt like Alice down the rabbit hole. An evolving installation of mosaic works from artist Isaiah Zagar, Magic Gardens is a labryrinth, in which I could have gotten lost for hours on end. The epitome of found objects art this place took my breath away in terms of scale and absolute unabashed creativity. Such a culmination of a life times worth of work could not be better asked for by any artist, and has completely transformed and highlighted the amazing potential exhibited in Philly’s South Street. This is the kind of excursion from the norm that any traveller revels in and words escape to describe the beauty and migic instilled in the walls here. These photographs should speak to you, more than I ever could… but unfortunately will never do the actual experience justice.

So my love for rugby is not a secret to anyone… and unfortunately American football just doesn’t make the cut. With fields that have the moisture sucked out of them so that the pretty lycra uniforms and excessive padding don’t get too muddied in the process of show boating and throwing a ball around. It’s no wonder that these giants of the field would pale in comparison to real rugby. In fact before this trip I thought that all American sports were pretty weak in the brute force and primitive instinct which is why I so love to watch sport. However, this was before I was introduced to Ice Hockey and the Philadelphia Flyers. My first experience of this sport could not have been better. Great tickets and a great winning game for the Flyers. Not only is this sport exactly as rough as it needs to be to meet my criteria, but the fans are absolutely impressive.  Definitely going to keep and eye on this American past time.

Philadelphia Cheese Steak: Well, a trip to Philly would not be complete without indulging my tastebuds with this piece of cultural heritage. A past time so great that it even has it’s own lingo attached. I had to order a 'Cheese Wiz Wit', for those unfamiliar with the term… this means that I ordered a pile of shaved seasoned brown bits that they like to call meat, on top of a foot of a baguette, then covered in the oh so apppetising orange cheese-like substance which comes in a can, topped with onions… does that not just tickle your taste buds? I am glad I can say I have experienced this once in my life, but after finishing the monster, I will not be repeating the adventure. Not exactly a loss to my culinary life.

I did of course indulge in a few more touristy photo opportunities around Philadelphia, such as Pen State University my first Ivy League experience, the LOVE statue, Rocky steps and City Hall. All of which I thoroughly enjoyed with the help of my trusty guide and host Chelsea. This is a city I just love and plan to visit again and again.

 


March 5, 2012
New York New York

Start spreading the news…

New York in October was one of the most disappointing culminations of all my hopes and dreams ever… and yet on a positive outlook still pretty magical.

Let’s set the scene: torrential rain infinite god-like fury was coming down at a horizontal angle, chilling to the bone. Strangers huddled against strangers to get the mere semblence of body warmth and umbrellas were useless to this down pour. I of course was dressed entirely inapproprately in ballet flats, stockings, leather skirt and a blazer over a thin sweater… not my smartest fashion choice. However, beauty is pain says the mantra and despite my slight drowned rat chic I felt I had chosen correctly for my iconic Time Square photographs.

.

Despite the bleak outlook I did attempt to indulge in every bit of New York fantasy and keep in mind the Carrey Bradshaw loved New York in all kinds of weather. And so, my first stop in Times Square was the all American cliche… TGI Fridays! And yes I ticked off my must do item no. 1 with a vanilla milkshake complete with cherry on top.

Don’t I just look thrilled?

Next stop? The Met and Central Park. One advantage of this hideous weather was the complete absence of human presence within Central Park. I felt that this was a gift from New York trying to appease for the disappointing start to the day. It was magical. Wandering up the paths, indulging in memory lane: from A Troll in Central Park to Sex and the City. How many ghosts of Hollywood past had cruised these particular pieces of pavement to achieve many a romantic, tragic and comedic moment? To achieve a Hollywood moment, that is any girls dream…

Then of course I had to indulge my cultural sensitivities with a trip to the Met and the world famous Egypt exhibit. Underwhelming would be quite adequate in describing this experience. Unfortunately I believe my generation has been ruined by blockbuster documentaries in which history is given a larger than life aspect. We expect so much more and the dainty little trifles of Egyptian culture on display just don’t cut it. The fact that the majority of ‘artifacts’ were copies or rendititions of the real thing left me feeling very much cheated. With the global boundaries diminishing every day, how can we be satisfied by a taste of Egyptian culture when we know that we could plausibly travel to the real thing in our life times. As Australians we have such an ingrained travelling culture that museums are perhaps becoming as stale as the artifacts they contain? OR are we losing scope of what is important? If it is so important to understand the past in order to understand our future, I beseech the museums to step it up otherwise they have lost a generation of supporters.

I should not be so quick to judge. For on the final leg of the exhibit The Met did redeem itself with this recreated temple, set in a most architectually impressive atrium. Now this is what we want, to live and breathe these pieces of culture. To be presented with a way to project ourselves into history, that is a successful exhibit. Brava.

No trip to New York would be complete without a trip to Bergdorf’s…. oh joy! I was in heaven with designer designer designer. My heart was singing! However, my attention was pulled away from the scrumptious Louboutin heels to the women who were buying them. Lordy this was a people watching extravaganza. If only I had been able to take pictures my friends, I have always though that Florida was a disgusting display of wealth, but the way these women were tossing on and rejecting thousand dollar shoes was mind blowing. This was the first time in my life that I felt like I could not go disguised into this world. There is no way that I could have replicated the kind of nonchalance that exorbitant amounts of money instilled in these women. I had to go repair my self esteem with a joyous dive into the sale pile. Rabbit fur… controversy aside, it was looooovely.


The day ended in a ridiculous fashion with dinner at Planet Hollywood. I do love how America can be so gaudy and entertaining at the same time withe shrines to blockbusters everywhere and food in quantities that could produce a heart attack, and probably does on a regular basis. Mind you I would not suggest this resturant for a intimate dinner, with the music and club atmosphere so blaringly loud that I could barely hear the blow-up doll waitress let alone my dinner partner… perhaps I am getting too old?

That concludes my New York experience… despite a particularly depressing account of bad weather I sincerely intend to brave this city again, with hopefully some more impressive results.

March 5, 2012
Backtracking

I realise that as much as I would like to start my “re-start” from today, there is a lot that I will be skipping over.  It would be wrong not to do justice to my amazing experiences abroad so far. So,the next few installments will be highlights so far, please enjoy this diversion from the usual current affairs that take place via social media.

March 5, 2012
Optimistic Apologies (05.03.12)

It is usual to pursue a holier than thou approach to improving ones life around the time of January. However this step to achieve forgiveness for broken promises is occuring in March. Perhaps I am a late bloomer? Or am I just getting a nine month start on next years resolutions?

This step to re-start my travel lifestyle inconsequential blog was initiated by the ever frequent requests I recieve on facebook to regurgitate my worldly experiences to those who have continued their lives back home. I realised that despite my efforts to post photos that tell my story for me, this was not enough to satisfy and I believe my lovely friends and family are right. A background commentary is sorely needed. After many failed attempts to write replies and comments and messages that relay all my highlights (individually customised to the friends the requested them) I felt I needed to try again and perhaps succeed fail better Samuel Beckett.

Friends, family… I offer to you this blog as a means to satisfy both your curiosity and provide a means to live vicariously through my exploits. This way you can choose your own highlights and I can ego-maniacly imagine that my life is of interest to you all.

Love xx

March 5, 2012
"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

— Samuel Beckett a celebrated optimist

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