Thursday, 22 December 2011

Surprise Rat

I would like to announce the unanticipated arrival into my life of a small white rat. I say unanticipated because I did not set out with the design of acquiring a rat, or any pet for that matter, but somehow I have!
It all started with the invite to a bbq. One of my housemate’s colleagues was having a bbq and, like the good friend she is, my housemate didn’t want to leave me on my own for an evening so took me along too. It was a fairly quiet night of socialising and meeting new people. I enjoy meeting people here as it’s nice to have a break from the student life. I think I was the youngest there and the age range went up to mid-30s which makes for slightly more mature conversations. Well not that much more mature as we still got tipsy and talked about anything at all but its nicer wine you drink while you’re doing it. We had a really nice bbq with the best steak I have had in years! It was soooo amazingly good. Oh and they made little brownies and decorated each one with a strawberry and icing so they looked like little Santa hats!

Where was I? Oh yea, rat. So earlier that day the host of the bbq had found two small rats in her garden. They seemed domesticated and were happy to be handled so she assumes they are lost pets. She scooped them up into a big plastic box and was going to poster the neighbourhood the next day to see if anyone claimed them. But over drinks that night she said that if anyone wanted them and they weren’t claimed then they were welcome to them, and me, having had about 3 glasses of rather nice sauvignon blanc, instantly volunteered to take in the little homeless rats. Didn’t think anything of it the next day but then we got a text saying that the rats hadn’t been claimed did I still want them? I said when I came here I would take every opportunity that came my way so I agreed to take these rats.

The next day I went over with our empty recycling box with some shredded newspaper and a shot glass of water in the bottom.  These are rats, they won’t care that they are technically in a bin. I was a little concerned that they would be a boy and a girl, not that I have anything against rat couples but I do have something against millions of rat babies. So I was intending to see what sex they were when they were there and take both if they were both boys or both girls and take one if they were one of each. But when we arrived we were told that “the quiet one” had passed away during the night. So no problem with breeding if you’ve only got one rat! The one that was left was a little albino boy rat so I took him home.

On the way home we discussed names and toyed with the idea of Ted or Barney (from how I met your mother) or Leonard or Sheldon (from the big bang theory) and as Sheldon is such a great character we decided for Sheldon. So officially he is Sheldon but mostly he is called Shely or Rat.

New Cage
Today I went shopping for him and he has a new fancy cage! It’s got a little house for him to sleep in and 2 floors and a tunnel and a wheel! To be honest its cooler than my own house. I live in a bungalow with not a tunnel or wheel in sight. He is very happy with his new home as it means he can see out too! However he isn’t so keen on the nutritionally balanced, vitamin enriched rat food I bought him. Previously he has been eating little bits of whatever I am eating. So far I know he likes tomatoes, cheese, peanut butter on toast, and sausages. Wasn’t keen on celery, carrot or strawberry though. Silly rat.

My other housemate came home today too, I had forgotten to tell her that I had adopted a rat in her absence and I was a little worried about what she would say. I don’t think she’s over the moon with the idea but she is happy now he has a proper cage. She even held him earlier! Well, kinda, she held his first two paws and then decided she didn’t like it, but its more progress than I was expecting at this point!

I have no idea what I will do with him when I go home. I will look into importing him home but that probably needs vet checks and injections and lots of expensive things like that so I might just have to find someone that wants a lovely pet rat.

But its funny how the world works isn’t it? It hadn’t occurred to me at all to get a pet while I was here but now it’s happened nearly accidentally I’m very glad it has. Its silly how happy getting this rat has made me, I have been showing him off to friends back home on Skype and some of my friends here have come round to visit him already! Because honestly, who could say no to this face…

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Aww, I'm in demand!

This is my first blog post that was requested. I was like aww, I’m in demand!  Ok so it’s Sunday evening which means soon it will be Monday morning. Eugh, Mondays. What is it about Mondays? Monday is at least a short day for me. I will work 9-6 and probably hit the gym afterwards. Then come home and eat awesome ice cream cake. Now I know I can’t eat ice cream so this is a soy-frozen-dessert alternative. I made it myself! It’s awesome. I’ll put a picture in tomorrow when it comes out the freezer but its layers of chocolate sponge with ice cream in between. Nom nom nom. Well it’s got a little bit of normal ice cream in it as I ran out of soy-frozen-dessert but hopefully I won’t die. Death by cake does sound fun though.

Where was I? Oh yea; Mondays. So Mondays aren’t that bad really. Tuesdays I work 1pm-11.30pm, so it’s nice to have a lie in and wake up, have lunch and get ready slowly. But this week we have this new study going on so I have to be in for 10am. This makes for a very long day. Usually Wednesday I do the same as Tuesday but this new study needs me to be there (yay I’m important, boo I don’t get my lie in. shot myself in the foot there didn’t I?) so Wednesday and Thursday I’m back to 9-6 and because I’m only paid for a certain number of hours a week I then get Friday off. Now I’m excited about this week because usually when I get Friday off it’s because I have worked from 11.30pm Thursday to 7.30am Friday so I come home and sleep through my Friday. But this time I actually get a day where I’m awake! Not sure what I am going to do with it but I hope I can do something good.

Christmas shopping at markets
I might end up Christmas shopping. I finished shopping for my family yesterday and today I sat and wrapped all the gifts up and tomorrow I will have to stand in line at the post office and post them off so that the get to the UK on time. I’m excited about them. I wish I could be there to see them open them. It’s going to be odd without my family this Christmas. More to the point it’s going to be odd without the cold this Christmas! Mind you it’s cold at the moment. I’m in long sleeves and long trousers! And for December in Sydney that’s pretty rare. Everyone was like oh you won’t be able to stand December, it gets to 40 degrees, well ha! I think we are the ones dealing with it the best because this is like September in the UK maybe?

My Christmas plans are a bit sketchy still. Since there’s no one here I have to see over the Christmas period I can do what I like really. At the moment I think I will spend Christmas day on bondi beach. See which celebs are about. My friend Cecile sat next to Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire the other day. I doubt I will see anyone amazing but just some friends, a cold beer and a bbq will suit me fine. That’s another thing about being here. Everyone wanders round with booze on the streets, as long as it’s in a paper bag its cool.

I think I will probably miss a big roast dinner but we had thanks giving dinner the other night which was similar. Kait cooked and there were so many pies! We had roast turkey and potato pie and sweet potato mash and broccoli casserole and pumpkin pie and apple pie and it was all very yummy. We are still eating the left overs!

Where did I get to last time in my catch up? 13 wasn’t it? Well, have another mini update:

Week 14:
Sculpture by the Sea - Who left the tap on?
Our interim reports were due in this week. This is a paper explaining the company and our job in 2000 words. It’s harder than it sounds! But I got that send off, in the post because fhms won’t take an electronic copy (?!) Oh and that weekend was really good as we went to Sculpture by the Sea which is a big art exhibition on the coast. I enjoyed it a lot but I think me housemates just went for the sun and to be by the sea. Also that week it was the Newtown festival. For those of you who know it are a bit like Leamington peace festival but about 10 times bigger but still crammed into the same amount of space. I loved it. I bought another ring and I got a big henna tattoo put on me by a lovely Indian lady.

Newtown Festival
Week 15:
This week started well as it was photo time at work. They send out Christmas cards to all the patients with our pictures on so everyone needed an individual photo and then some group shots too. As soon as the photographer heard that I had experience with photography I was stolen for the morning and I basically did her job for her. I don’t think she had been a photographer very long so this may have been her first professional job. I talked her out of having the group shots inside under some rather harsh halogen lighting and instead the group shot was done in the garden around a bench. I can’t do anything about the individual shots which were all taken inside with office lighting against a magnolia wall but you can’t fix the world. Hopefully they will use the outdoors shots.

Week 16:
This week we had Georgie's birthday night out which involved organising everyone being in an “I <3 SYDNEY” t-shirt and some akubra hats! It chucked it down with rain but we still had a really good night.

Week 17:
This is last week. Not a lot happened actually. I had to be the guinea pig for some new equipment we got in work. This involved having electrodes put on me and things up my nose and pretending to snore. It wasn’t the most lady like thing I’ve ever done but anything in the name of science!

Oh also Eloise’s mother has arrived. She is staying with us for a week and then her, Eloise and Katrina (Eloise’s sister) will be jetting off around Australia and returning for Christmas day. So that’s fun.

Only two more weeks of work! I have a lot of work to do in those two weeks but there are also some fun things planned like the work Christmas party where apparently everyone gets a bit gazeboed. Georgie's real birthday is coming and Gareth (Georgie’s boyfriend) is coming to visit. I haven’t got any plans, I was going to be in New Zealand, then I was going to be on the gold coast then I was going to Thailand but its all not happened. Oh well. Next plan is cairns in Jan. ill let you know if that one actually works!

Ok well that’s enough of a post for now. I’m sure ill post again soon, about either Christmas or New Year’s, which is a big thing here, so ttfn!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

3 Month Review

Ok so I started this blog to keep people updated about what I was doing here and so far I’ve just written lots either complaining or being ridiculously self-empowering. So I have decided to go through my diary and tell you what I have been up too. Well just the cool things, I doubt you care about me going to work or spending my Sundays sitting on my arse watching TV trying to ignore the fact that tomorrow is Monday and I will have to get up and go to work again.

Week 1-2
So anyways, you know about me arriving and stuff. You know about work and what I do. Urm then there was a load of shopping for things like stationary and bed linens and boring house things. I had no idea buying a duvet cover could be so dramatic! I do like the one I have though. It’s very me and all warm and snuggly. But I wasn’t sure if I should get it because I have a double bed and they didn’t have the duvet set in a double size, they only had queen and king size. So I bought the queen set and just have a large duvet for my bed. More duvet to cocoon in, mind you it’s getting hotter now, its 30 degrees here today so not so much cocooning needed. Anyway that’s enough about my duvet.

Week 3
Nom nom nom
Oh then we went to the zoo! I had so much fun! Love the zoo. It’s so not as good as Colchester because it’s squeezed into this tiny park on the side of the coast. I actually felt really sorry for the elephants because they were in such a small enclosure. But still, I had fun. The seal show was really fun and the cable car ride was a great way to see the city from across the water.

I’ve been trying to meet new people as much as possible so I’ve been to a few housewarmings and met some really nice people, met some real dicks too but who cares about them?

Week 4
You know about me moving into my new house, which I still love and it keeps nice and cool in the heat. Oh the only thing is that I can’t unscrew my curtain pole from the wall to put up thicker curtains so I just have to sleep with a mask on when I sleep in the day because of the night shifts.

I also have dinner parties and bbqs with friends now and again. I’m growing up! No longer is socialising just going out and getting drunk, well we do that sometimes too but not exclusively.

Week 5
This was my birthday and I’ve written about that.

I also got sent on a first aid course and got to spectacularly act out being stung by a bee and going into anaphylactic shock. It was Oscar worthy in my opinion but I’m still waiting to hear from the nominations committee.

Week 6
This was the week of looking for my phone.

This bridge
Oh and this week I climbed the bridge! You know the harbour bridge that’s in all the post cards? Well you pay a stupid amount of money and they take you up the arches and you get to see for miles! It was amazing. They make you wear these stupid jump suits and everything you take is clipped onto you even your hat and sunglasses! But that was amazing.

Week 7
This week we had backpackers staying with us. They were friends of Eloise’s and it was meant to be two people crashing on our sofas for a couple of nights, and ended up being 4 people staying a week. Ah well, it was fun. Can’t have been good night’s sleep for them as we only had 2 sofas…. Better than the street I guess. But we went to the sky tower which is this big revolving swanky restaurant that we went to and could only afford one cocktail.  It was really nice to see all the city like that, it was very tranquil.

View from the sky tower
It was also the week of pirate night, that was fun. Totally an opportunity to have a night of flat shoes that I messed up with giant heals, ouch.

Week 8
This week we went to the Blue Mountains and orange! Katomba was rainy when we went so we only spent a little while looking at the three sisters and then went and found hot chocolate. I was talking to the waitress and she told me they made their own diabetic chocolate which funnily enough has no sugar which means lactose free!!! And with soy milk too so I could have a large hot chocolate, win!

Then orange was really good, just hanging out in all that space by the bonfire with the dogs and my friends. It’s the kind of place I would love to raise a family in some day, I could get some horses and just spend my time out ridding through the hills and lying in the sun. Now all I have to do is find some way to make a living out of doing that….. Maybe I should just go entirely self-sufficient, worked for Tom and Barbara so why not me? Maybe not.

We also went to the Jenolan Caves. That was really cool, I like rocks and the dark and being in little tucked away places so it’s very me. Just a bit cold and damp lol.

Week 9
This week I was working on my big presentation. Scary scary stuff. Didn’t do a lot else because of this.

Week 10
I did my big presentation this week and I think it went well. To celebrate we went out to dinner at bondi which was fun. The night after we went to Kaits and Maddi made sangria…. Woops.

Week 11
Halloween party at Kaits was lots of fun. I went as marylin monrow which apparently made me look about 16 as I got ID-ed a lot. We did have fun going out as a group including: Lara croft, a devil, an angel, lady gaga, a cat, a shark-to-pus (don’t ask) and a beer maid.

This weekend I also went to the bridge museum which was fun in the sunshine.

Week 12
Week from hell, such a bad week. Don’t want to talk about it.

Week 13
Here we are, 3 months into my placement. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been here no time at all, and sometimes it feels like I’ve been here years. I’m hoping that next week goes better than last week because I’m kind of fed up of the job atm. Being in Australia is still awesome, being able to do all those things that I’ve been talking about in this post, it’s got to be worth putting up with the job.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.

This is a quote from the secret garden that I have recently re-read. And it struck a chord with me. I’ve been having a hard time adjusting to life in Australia. Not that its Australia’s fault but it’s the combination of being in a new country, being in a new environment and having to stand on my own two feet for the first time. Now I know I’ve been living away from home for 3 years now so I’m fairly independent, but I’ve always had my support network round me. Now I’m here without my friends and without a boyfriend. I know that last bit sounds a bit pathetic, but since I was 17 I’ve pretty much always been in a fairly serious relationship. Now I’m not going to sit and talk about them but the point is I’ve always had someone I could run too when things got hard, someone who I was emotionally supported by. And my close friends did the same thing; if I was upset I knew a shoulder to cry on was only a phone call away. But now it’s just me. My housemates are great but there isn’t the history between us to make us that close yet. I think that’s the thing I’ve found the hardest, it’s not the distance, or the time difference, or the work, it’s the lack of emotional grounding. I have to be my own rock, which is new for me.

So I’ve been finding that hard and moping about a bit, don’t worry I haven’t been moping that much. Well, I was for about a week, but I’ve pulled myself together. That’s why that quote meant so much to me. "Where you tend a rose, my lad, A thistle cannot grow." Therefore if I don’t want any thistles I have to tend the roses. So that’s what I’ve been doing: I’ve thrown myself at my work and at developing my new friendships.

A couple of weekends ago I went to Orange. Orange is a town on the other side of the Blue Mountains which are west of the outskirts of Sydney. It’s a fairly hick town but it’s in lots of space and beautiful countryside.  And it was a really good weekend! There were 6 of us that went and it was really good to get out of the city and spend some proper time together. So that’s really helped developing friendships here.

I’ve also been working really hard at work. My supervisor is away for a month, so that means I’ve been left in charge of the lab and team. Remember I’ve only been here 2 months so to be left in charge of the entire lab is a big responsibility. I could have spoken to someone and said I wasn’t sure I was capable of it and they would have cancelled all the lab time for this month, but I decided I should step up and take the opportunity that was given to me, despite the big bosses not liking that I was in charge but it was too late for them to do anything by the time they worked it out. I put in extra hours, I used every resource I could find but I managed to fill the lab and organise the staff and make everything run smoothly-ish. The lab runs Tuesday to Thursday overnights and, at one point, it was looking like Thursday was going to be cancelled because only one patient was booked to come in. This makes me look bad, so I ran round working my arse off and managed to fill the lab! I caught one of the Drs before she left and gave her the update and she must have emailed the big bosses because later that night I had one of the two big bosses come into my office to congratulate me on filling the lab and having all the patient history coordinated already. So that was good. Later that night I had to stay late to make sure the overnight staff were fully briefed about each of the patients history. So I stayed an extra hour and a half even though I had arrived early that day. So I ended up working a 12 hour shift and when I was leaving I bumped into the other big boss and she remarked on me putting in extra time and making sure everything was working. That’s both of them that have noticed the hard work I’ve been doing.

So I think tending the roses is working. I hope I can continue to see life this way, it is exhausting though. Today I slept for 12 hours straight which I never do so I really must have been tired! Finding the right balance between spending energy on being social, working and relaxing is always difficult so maybe a bit more R&R is needed so I don’t burn out like I have done before. But I’m feeling a bit more positive about things now. I’ve been here two months, I’ve run a lab and I’ve done it all by myself!!! Watch out world, Deb doesn’t need someone to hold her hand any more.

Sunday, 9 October 2011


This is not a blog post about me. This is an obituary. For someone who was only with us for a short time. Only 4 years. This post is about my cat: Cleo. On Sunday evening my father called to tell me that she hadn’t come home the night before and when they had gone looking for her they found her dead on the side of the road. My only consolation is that she must have gone quickly and been killed on impact so at least she wasn’t in any pain. But I am. Never again will I be greeted by her cheerful chirps as I come through the door. No more afternoons will be spent bouncing her favourite pink ping pong ball across the tiles for her to chase. And no more evenings will be spent with her cuddled up on my lap keeping me warm. I miss her so much. I wasn’t even there to bury her or cuddle her sister, Phoebe, who is lost without her.

So this post is in recognition of an amazing soul who is not earthy bound any more. But just because she is gone doesn’t mean she will be forgotten. I will miss her and carry her in my heart forever. 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

But I don’t want to be a grown up!

The title refers to the fact that I am now completely and utterly an adult. Not one of those adults in training that can still get away with things, no, I am actually an adult. I have moved out of my parent’s house and I pay rent and bills and tax and do far too many other boring grown up things. Don’t get me wrong I like some of the perks that come with being an adult, like not having a bed time and being able to leave mess all over your house if you want to and eating whatever and whenever you like. What else can you do when you are old? Being able to buy booze is pretty fun but I will skip the nasty scary horror films that need you to be really old. I may have been on the planet for 21 years but my imagination still thinks it’s about 8 and will invent monsters to terrorise me. 

That’s not important. What is important is that last week I celebrated my 21st birthday. It was strange not having all my UK friends and family round me on my birthday. And since I have only been in the country a month almost to the day on my birthday, all my friends here haven’t been my friends for very long. Be that as it may, my birthday was a Tuesday so I had to work. But in the evening my housemates made lots of dinner and we had a few people over for a very nice meal and a few glasses of wine. Very good food, very good wine, very good company. I even got presents! I got three necklaces: one pretty with pearls, one with teal stones and one which says EPIC FAIL (aren’t my friends lovely?) I also got this very lovely little tea pot and cup set. You know, the ones where you get a cup and saucer and then the little tea pot sits on top and looks dead cute? Well it’s one of them, and I got two flavours of really nice tea, the air tight jars to keep the tea fresh in and a strainer. The full tea works as it were. I got a tea pot from my brother for my birthday last year too so maybe this will have to become a tradition? 

The following Saturday we had a night out and to mark it as a special night out we made it masquerade so everyone had to come in a mask. The evening was going well with pre-drinks and everyone looked amazing in their outfits and masks. We then went out on the town. We are still fairly new to Sydney and haven’t been to that many places but first on the list was The Argyle. Well actually first we went to somewhere I can’t remember the name of but only for 5 mins so that one of us could see some friends she knew. Right, back to the argyle. I wasn’t paying attention when lots of people went to get drinks so I ended up drinkless and in the middle of our table booth so I couldn’t get out either. Being drinkless in a bar where all there is to do is sit and drink is very boring. The place was bare aged wood with vintage chairs and booths but with modern bars and “mood lights” so it was all a little too pretentious for my tastes but no one else seemed to notice. After about an hour I got bored of that and decided if it was my birthday then I got to decide when we left. As I was sitting in the middle I stood up and ushered the people on my right to stand up and get ready to go. However, while I was doing this, a couple of smooth talkers had come and targeted the girls on my left and the girls were in no rush to leave. So half of us left and went and got into another taxi to go to Cargo Bar.

I’ve had good times at cargo bar before so I was looking forwards to it. We got in for free (hurrah for guest lists) and then started to mingle. A few more friends met us there but before long the men who didn’t know each other started to get all territorial. The last thing I needed was a testosterone fuelled strop from a bunch of guys. Well that’s what I got. some of my friends left entirely or just avoided us for the rest of the night, some got upset and the lucky few that were drunk enough not to notice had a really good time. 

After a while I decided I had had enough of that and wanted to go home. As soon as the taxi lurched its way round the first corner (as only Sydney taxis seem to know how to do) I felt ill. I’m not sure if it was the vodka jager vodka tequila shot series I had to make myself feel better or if it was the tablet I had taken for a headache before I came out or even if I was drugged that night but something was not right. I finally got home without my friends, without my dignity and without my stomach contents. Shortly after getting into the house I also realised I was without my phone. I knew I had it in the taxi with me but now it wasn’t in my bag. The taxi was gone and so was I so I just went to bed.

The following morning I felt awful. I don’t think I have ever felt this bad after a night out. This makes me lean towards the tablet/being drugged option for my gastro-pyrotechnics the night before because I know the alcohol wasn’t enough alone to make me feel this bad. I went outside and looked for my phone in case I had dropped it coming out the taxi but it wasn’t there. I spent the entire day feeling very sorry for myself and missing my phone a lot.

Monday morning I was nearly back to normal and I spent most of my lunch break at work calling every taxi company in Sydney to report my missing phone. None of them had it but said they would call me if they did. I tried calling my phone and it still rang. This gave me hope as it meant it hadn’t been stolen and sold on as then the SIM card would have been removed. Days went by and each day I hoped that someone would call me and say they had my phone but each day came and went without a call. It’s now Friday morning and I’ve all but given up hope of my phone being returned to me. I love that phone I got it for my birthday last year and it has thousands of texts and many pictures that I really don’t want to lose. 

So now I am still without internet, now without a mobile and on the opposite side of the planet from almost everyone I know. People say it’s a small world but it feels very big and lonely to me right now.

New house

Ok so this is a little overdue now as I have been in my new place for a fortnight now but I wanted to write a bit about my new place and how we came to have it.

House hunting started almost as soon as we arrived in the country as we only had the place we were staying in at the time for a month. By week 2 we were sick of the place and all its silly rules like no photo uploading on the internet and no leaving dishes on the side even if they are clean and on the draining board because then the cleaners will take them away and lock them up! (No jokes) So the great house hunt began. First problem we ran into is the price; everything is so expensive, literally triple what I was paying in the UK but I guess that’s what you pay for living in the city. So, sadly, we had to remove all the houses that were thousands of dollars each a week, even though the pictures of the beach views or pool that came with them were very tempting. Next problem was furniture. Not that the furniture in rented places was bad….. It just wasn’t anything. Houses here are usually rented empty and people just take their own furniture with them when they move. As we didn’t have any furniture this was far from ideal. So after we had taken away all the unfurnished houses we were left with a very sad and sorry looking list of properties. We arranged viewings of some of them but they were either gone by the time we asked, not actually 3 bedrooms, or in the case of one we saw, not even furnished even though the advert clearly said it was! We were all a bit fed up of our lack of choice and progress. 

Then we found this place. And it was perfect; fresh on the market, fully furnished, cheap for a quick sale and only 10 minutes’ walk from work. It seemed too good to be true. But it wasn’t! We viewed the house as soon as possible and loved it from the hard wood floors to the new wide screen TV. It even had a union flag pillow proudly placed in the middle of the master bedroom so we had to have it. The owner had been offered a job in Singapore for 18 months and needed to move immediately so it was on the market for less than it was worth so even after the week or so it was advertised it had got allot of attention. It was already under offer from one group and another one submitted their application at the same time as us but the owners must have liked us best as we were offered the house! Though that’s not saying much as the other group who submitted an application at the same time as us apparently looked like a hooker and a builder….. Not ideal tenants. But that’s beside the point. We got the house and were very happy at the prospect of moving out of the one room we shared at the old place into our lovely new house. 

Time for more problems. Nothing is ever easy is it? First problem: money. They wanted a holding deposit to take the house off the market, then a bond (which is a proper deposit) and then another weeks rent to combine with the holding deposit to make our first 2 weeks rent. Now that’s a lot of money to have to come up with when you’re new in a country and haven’t been paid yet! Getting money into the country is harder than we thought as they use a different making system than the UK so it’s not easy to just swap it over. In the end everything got transferred to Eloise’s UK account as that was the only one that seemed to let money into Australia.  So finally that was paid.

Next problem: time. We wanted to overlap the contracts of our old place and the new one by a few days so we had time to move but it looked like we were going to have 2 days where we were homeless. I work nights every other week and it just so happened that the week we were meant to move was a night shift week so I needed to be asleep during the day, which is hard when you don’t have a house. So I was looking at sleeping on a sofa at work. Then after a little persuasion the agent agreed to move our contract date forwards so we could move in a day before we had to be out of the old place.

Next problem:  actually moving! We had to get all our stuff somehow from our old place to our new one which was about 25 minutes’ walk away (30-40 if you’re Eloise) and without a car we were a little stuck. One of the women at work volunteered her car for one evening but could only do one trip as her little boy needed to get home to bed fairly early, that took the suitcases and a couple of little bags. Then we were very nice to one of the girls who also work nights with me and she said she would take the rest in her car. This meant that her and I would go in the day after an overnight shift to pick up the rest of our stuff while Georgie and Eloise were at work. This is fine in principle until you couple it with the fact that we were both pretty sleep deprived and we had a clothes rail to move. The sleep deprivation meant that at one point we totally locked ourselves out of our old place with no hope of getting in but very luckily one of the other tenants just happened to be walking by and let us in. the rail was more of an issue and it just wouldn’t fit in Kait’s car no matter what we did. By this point everything else was in the car and all the keys were inside again so the rail was just left on the street for anyone who wanted it. That sounds bad but it seems to happen a lot here. Last week we got a dart board because it was just on the street in a pile of abandoned stuff. 

So finally we were moved in! Just a small matter of phoning electricity, gas, phone and internet companies to set up new accounts but other than that we were all good. And so far it’s been a really good house. Close to work and a bus stop and MacDonald’s too! The only bad points are that its much colder inside than it is outside but this will be good in the summer when it’s like 40 degrees outside, and we have mosquitoes that are eating us alive but we think that’s because of the incense we burnt and the water in the back garden both of which will be removed asap. Oh and I don’t have a door to my room…. Well actually I have 2 but one doesn’t work so it’s permanently shut and the other one is just a curtain but that’s not much of an issue and my clothes are 2 rooms away as I don’t have a wardrobe in my room but that’s because I’m in the room that was a study but it means I get my own walk in wardrobe with shelves for my shoes and everything.
Our new house :)

We were just the right people in the right place at the right time and now we have a lovely house to show for it.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Clay, Felt Tips, Grand Theft Auto and Other Scientific Things

This post is about my night shift week. Now when I first heard the phrase “night shift week” I groaned, but it’s actually been really good. Let me tell you why.

The sleep lab runs for 3 nights so that’s Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights so Monday was a normal day for me so 8.30-6 in the office as usual. That day was spent phoning round all 4 patients to check that they remember that they are coming in and to ask them not to have any caffeine from then onwards. This was really bad news for one of the patients as he was a 6 cups of coffee a day man and had been for like 50 years or something. Oh and also I have to tell them not to eat and tomato, banana or turkey on Thursday because it mucks up the results on that night. Apparently there’s a chemical present in them that can mimic melatonin which is being measured on Thursday night. But all of them remembered they were coming in and I even managed to get a couple excited about it! 

Tuesday I was in at 3pm. I had to swing by the cafĂ© where the patient’s dinner was made to pick it up and then carry on into the lab. Then we had to do really hi-tech things like making the beds and setting up the paperwork. At about 5pm the patients start to come into the lab and we make them comfortable and settled. Dinner was next and then the fun bit of putting all the electrodes on them. Its a lot of fun putting the head electrodes on because you use this clay that dries in their hair to keep the electrode in place. They have 12 on their head, some heart monitors, a muscle sensor on each leg, respiratory bands across their chest, a position sensor to see what side they are lying on and urm oh yea an oxygen saturation monitor on their finger and a tube clipped to their nose monitoring their exhalations. So they look pretty funny with all these stickers all over them and all the wires coming off them into this little battery pack they have to hold. 

High tech neuropsych equipment
Then they get to do some fun fun testing. Some of them quite enjoy the testing but some of them seem to get quite annoyed by it all. One of them is a figure we give them to draw and we want to look at what order they draw in so we swap the colour of the pen every so often so we use felt tips. There’s another test that’s a night time driving simulator. It’s a quiet night time road and they have to just catch up to a lorry in front of them while staying in the speed limit, then break then head off again. Sounds easy right? Wrong. It’s really hard to steer the car and a lot of the time the patients just drive straight off the road and crash. So it’s more like grand theft auto – pensioner’s edition. 

After that most of them settle down and go to bed but as they are plugged into the wall for the power pack for the electrodes, it means they need to ask to be unhooked when they want to go to the loo. So there are at least 2 people in the sleep lab working. Fortunately on Tuesday I was only there till 11.30pm so I stayed till they were all tucked up in bed (no bed time story required) and then I could get the bus home. Wednesday was harder. I had to work from 8pm till 7.30am the next morning. All the departments in the building give us little jobs to do overnight, mainly photocopying and binding and things but a lot of the time I could spend doing whatever I like so I was on Facebook a lot which was great because even though it was 4am here, it was 7pm at home so a lot of friends back home were online and I could chat and let them know what I was getting up too. But I spent some of the time just watching their brain waves as they sleep. Also you can see their breathing and when they snore so that’s funny sometimes. 

Going home at 8am in the morning is… interesting. I was so tired I missed my bus stop and because it was the morning rush hour traffic the traffic was mad and a lot of the bus stops were full so I ended up miles away from where I wanted to be! I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice so I walked back the rest of the way which took me another 20 mins. Got home and just face planted the bed.
Thursday I didn’t stat till 11.30pm but I was there till everything was done the following morning. So it was another night of Facebook, reading and photocopying. I downloaded and scored some of the watched they have been wearing which monitor light and activity levels for the 2 weeks before the patients come into the sleep lab. Some of their sleep patterns are just plain weird. But I have to download the data and highlight the times of sleep and rest from the activity, light and the sleep diaries they have been keeping. 

The night passed in a half-asleep blur. At about 6am they started stirring but it wasn’t till about 7am that they were all awake. Breakfast, showers and packing seemed to take them forever but finally they were all ready to leave. Goodbyes were said and then it was just getting all the little things done after. The beds were stripped, the laundrette was called to come pick up the linens, the dishwasher was put on with all the plates and bowls etc. and everything was put away. All finally done and I got home about 9.30am. I blinked and then it was 5pm. No, wait, that’s not true. Throughout the day I was getting calls from my housemates about these house viewings we had and forms to fill in etc. but that’s more than enough writing today so I will talk about houses later. 

So that was my week this week. It’s really good to be able to do some hands on science. I try to ask as many questions as I can so I can understand all the processes involved and I’m learning a lot. And it’s not just my science background I’m drawing on, lots of other things like my time being a floor manager in retail has helped a lot with the interactions with the patients and being able to be friendly and maintain the professionalism that the lab needs, and my psychology A-Level helps me understand some of the testing involved. I seem to be made for this job which means I can have a lot of fun with it but it’s still stretching me to new places. I’m looking forwards to seeing where else it will take me.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Devil wears Prada without the fashion

I wish these came with the job
So this post is about work. I’ve been working for a week now and it’s all been very hectic. I haven’t had time to think or breath or sleep it feels like. The title explains my job rather well; I am a lot like Anne Hathaway in the devil wears Prada bit atm. Only I don’t get amazing clothes to wear, I don’t have a hot boyfriend who cooks for me and hopefully I won’t turn into a career obsessed bitch like the film though. Well she quits in the end and is better off for the experience (yay for happy endings) but I’d rather not go there in the first place.

Right, analysis of film over. But yea, I am working in the sleep lab which is looking at the sleep patterns of cognitively impaired individuals by giving them a series of cognitive and psychiatric tests and then wiring them up with electrodes and watching their brain waves while they sleep. I actually get to do a lot of the processes, actually I don’t think there has been anything that I’ve been told that I won’t be doing. The sleep lab runs every 2 weeks overnight as duh, that’s when people sleep. So next week I will be doing evening and night shifts, I will have to do the housekeeping, the cognitive testing, the entertaining, the electrode sticking, the overnight watching and the waking up for all the old dears that come into the sleep lab. I am kind of looking forward to doing some hands on science and developing a repertoire with the patients as it’s the same patients all week. But at the same time it’s a lot of responsibility and there isn’t really time to re-do things if I get them wrong.

But this week I’ve been doing the PA thing for my two immediate bosses. I do things like scoring the test papers that patient have completed and phoning patients up to confirm their bookings or to ask them to participate in a new study. But then every now and again one of the big bosses will send me out to run an errand like Friday I was sent to pick up a CD from another lab somewhere in the city that I had no idea where it was but I found it in the end. 

So that’s my life for the next few months at least. The idea at the moment is that they will cycle the three of us though the three jobs but if we end up just getting into the swing of our jobs by the time the 4 months is up then they might keep us there as it seem to take ages to train us all up. I honestly feel like I don’t even know a quarter of what I will need to by the end.
The days are fairly busy as when I’m not dealing directly with patients then I’m doing training or I’m doing paperwork or I’m in a lecture. The lectures are a good chance to grab a much needed coffee but they are (mostly) really interesting, some of them are like student lectures with the medical school that’s nearby but we go to the ones that are relevant to our work regardless of the university level, and some of them are “in house” lectures where someone from the institute is talking about their research and where they would like the research to go to next, or its some specialist from a partner lab that’s been invited to speak and talk to the staff. 

The last one we went to was really interesting, it was about the future of genetic tailoring of drugs to suit different pheno types. It all sounds really interesting but the amount of red tape it will have to go through means that it won’t ever get used. Imagine the law suits if someone died from too much or too little drug after they had been genetically sequenced and prescribed the supposed amount. Just getting the infrastructure would take decades as a general database of everyone’s sequenced genome would have to be recorded and made available to hospitals and GPs everywhere. Also the cost of all this would be astronomical. So like so many medical breakthrews, it will be technology that would greatly benefit mankind that will be put aside because of the way society works. It’s a real shame. Maybe it will be used some day but I doubt it will be widely available within my lifetime. 

Oh and they want the three of us to give a lecture! In 6 weeks!!!! They have given us all research projects to work on in our own time and they want a preliminary report done in 6 weeks’ time to present to the entire staff, including the big bosses. Its rather scary as I can’t even remember what my project is! Something about dim light melatonin levels I think.

Anyway, so that’s what I do. Stay posted for my overnight shift shenanigans. Sorry about the lack of pictures but it’s not very professional to take photos of the patients or the workplace.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Jet lag sucks!

Hello from the land down under! Its winter here and I’m wearing shorts and a vest, its 9 hours ahead so when I have to get up at 7.30am my body thinks its 4.30pm here which is weird and they work in dollars which are brightly coloured and look a lot like monopoly money! Ok so now you’re up to speed on Australia.

Our plane
We arrived only slightly delayed in Sydney airport on Thursday morning (having set off from the UK Tuesday evening) to a cooler temperature than we left England! Well it is winter here, it’s so odd to think that this is winter but it is! There aren’t any leaves on the trees and there aren’t any bugs so it must be winter. The flights were easy and we were kept well entertained with on-board games, TV and movies. I watched tangled, which was the expected amusing fairy-tale gone wrong you have come to expect from Disney, water for elephants, which was really good and I would recommend it, and inception which was an interesting concept but a tad predictable. I also slept as much as possible. Time seems to have no meaning on a plane and your body has no idea what’s going on so the only way to tell the time is to look at how long the plane has been in the air.

Our room
Anyway, we finally got here and we were met by Eloise’s sister and Nat who is the girl who is out here from Uni from last year. We all bundled into a taxi and were taken to our new home for the next 4 weeks. Our room is nice and large, our small amount of belongings we were allowed to bring look rather sad and small in the cupboards and drawers. There is a large kitchen and a pretty little roof terrace so it’s a nice place to live. 

The first couple of days we spent doing boring things like setting up bank accounts, phones and food shopping. I can honestly say I had the most fun I have ever had in a bank when I set up my account here. The guy was chatting about all the British celebs and gossip so the conversation was more suited to being at the hairdressers or something rather than the bank! I sorted out a new mobile too. It’s annoying that they don’t do pay as you go phones here! You have to get something called prepaid and you buy a $30 minimum recharge (aka top up) card and then the network multiplies that to give you your credit. Like I get $300 worth of calls but free texts to Oz numbers and unlimited Facebook but my phones looking for English mobile internet so can’t connect. I will get it fixed soon. But the credit expires after 30 days so it’s a bit like a rolling one month contract but you don’t have to renew as soon as the 30 days are up, you can go without your phone for a bit. Oh and Mum, I was food shopping and I found Anzac biscuits! They are a bit like soft hobnobs but with peanuts and coconut. Sounds odd but they are nice. Everyone else reading this won’t get that but never mind.

Opera House!!
Where was I? Oh yea, walking down George street. George Street is the main street that goes from the bottom of the city right the way through the middle to the very top where the opera house and the bridge are. This city is so odd! The architecture is all higgledy piggledy. As in none of it matches. You can have a skyscraper made of all glass next to what looks like a really old red brick town hall! And there are banks everywhere! Literally every 200m there’s one of every bank. It’s a really long walk down to the water but when we got there it was like being in a poster or something. The bridge and the opera house are just as impressive if not more so in person. We had a beer from the opera bar and sat and watched the sun set behind the bridge. It was very cool. 

Our internetz
All of us are getting on really well. Eloise, Georgina and I are all in the same room for now but it’s really not an issue. I feel very lucky that I’m not here on my own and I’m with people I like. I get on with Nat too, even though she’s bonkers but it’s a good bonkers. (I hope you laughed at that Nat).
Shopping has been interesting. Shoes go up to like $300+ which is like £200 so I really can’t afford to keep my shoe addiction at its high level. Things are so expensive! Like going out last night, yes we were in this club by the water (love being so close to the water) but it was $8 for a vodka and cranberry which is like over a fiver! I am living off my credit card till I get paid and that first pay cheque can’t come soon enough! Mind you we did go to this cool little vintage market yesterday and that’s got some really nice things and cheaper than the city. I found a really nice dress that I want but didn’t get this week. Maybe if it’s still there next week I’ll get it then. 
Sunset behind the bridge
I’m going to go to bed soon as it’s our first day tomorrow! Quite nervous but excited too. I’ll let you all know how we all get on.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Last Goodbyes

So here I am in Australia! I’m so tired right now so please excuse any incoherency.

Right, so my last weekend was amazing. Very last minute I managed to get a wristband for the Saturday night at Global Gathering. So I had to run about to get the wristband from James. I was meant to be going for lunch but as I was still sorting through all the stuff at my parent’s house (some of which has been in boxes since I left Essex nearly 4 years ago!) and that over ran so I ended up only just making it to town before James had to jump on a train. We actually met at the station, that’s how close cut it was! I bought his ticket for him as he was running so late he might not have got one in time, however he was probably late because I had messed about so much with the plans for the day that he didn’t know what was going on, poor boy. So yea, I swapped a train ticket for a wristband and then, later that evening, I disappeared off to Global. Camping is never very glamorous and true to form this night was no exception but it was better than nothing and I think I even got a sizeable amount of sleep till the heat of the sun through the plastic tent became unbearable and I got up. But the music was good and the sets of the acts I had seen before were better than last time. We went on some of the rides which was fun. Didn’t go near any of the big scary rides like the one where you slingshot into the air or the one where you get spun about on the giant arm, but that didn’t stop the big burly guy behind us throwing up on what I thought wasn’t a particularly up-chuck-ey ride! So to summarise Global: Good music, fun rides, wish I’d taken my hoody and good company.

Sunday it took us over an hour and a half in the car to get out of Global as there was so much traffic. And when you’re in a non-air-conditioned car and it’s a gazillion degrees, that’s far too long! When driving thought Stratford the butterfly farm was pointed out as a place of childhood memories since it seems it was a mandatory school trip, but since I didn’t go to school here I had never been. Therefore it was decided that we must go there and then and it was actually really fun! I like bugs and creepy crawly things and you could buy giant snails and millipedes and I think that if I wasn’t going to Oz I would have come home with a new pet! I took lots of photos on my new camera. My 5pm my brother had finished work so I went home with him in the evening. 

Dani and I matching hoodies
When I got back I was meant to be packing but, urm… yea that didn’t happen. Woops. Instead Dani came and picked me up after dinner and we went to “her place”. Now that doesn’t mean anything dirty and I don’t mean her house but it’s a place she goes to in the countryside to think or when she’s sad etc., so we went there. The only problem was that it was pitch black by this point so she kept screaming at plants and stopping dead because she had heard something and it could have been an axe murderer or something. Anyway, eventually we made it through the fields and got to this little patch of grass that you could see for miles from. It was dark but you could make out the towns and villages from the little twinkle of the lights. We sat there for a while and she gave me a goodbye letter to take with me. I am turning the book Rachy got me as a leaving present into a scrap book (well I will when I get some pritt stick to glue all the things in) so that letter will go in along with things like the receipt for last coffees and cards people have given me, I even have the reserved sign from my leaving party to go in there! Dani and I went back to her house and I slept in “my spot” (again not dirty, it is the side of Dani’s bed that belongs to me) for the last time for a year! I left early in the morning and tried really hard not to be sad about leaving. 

James trying to play piano
I spent that afternoon packing and sorting more things to take with me, the 23kg limit was looking increasingly out of reach, but in the afternoon James came to see me on the train after work. He actually spent all the time at mine either shooting me with a nerf gun that my brother had left out or mucking about on the piano trying to transpose my leaving song from guitar to piano. I told him we had many guitars but no, he wanted to play the piano. I still haven’t heard my leaving song so I do expect an email with the file attached very soon boys!!!! (That’s aimed at James and Dave, not all boys on the planet) He had to get the train back at about 7pm so off he went after lots of last hugs. 

All my shoes I left behind :(
It was starting to get repetitively morose in my life because of all the goodbyes but it had to happen sooner or later. Eventually I was all packed up late on Monday evening only to realise that my suitcase was 5kg overweight – damn. But it was too late to do anything about it then so I went to bed exhausted. Tuesday morning I was awake at 6.30 and I hadn’t slept very well at all! I had various phone calls from friends wanting to wish me a good flight before they went off to work and then I set to work trying to loose 5kg from my already very basic packing. I got it down to 25kg after some clothes and cosmetics and shoes were taken out. But that was the lightest I could get it!
All I have in the world!
Ben had to work so it was just me and the parentals going to the airport. We arrived an hour and a half early thanks to my dad not wanting to be late so making us leave ridiculously early! Airports really are weird places. Everyone is kinda in limbo, everyone’s waiting to go somewhere but cant. I sat and people watched for a while and it was very obvious who was off on holiday and who was traveling for business. There were families and backpackers and business men and some people who just looked plain weird! When Georgie and Eloise arrived all our parents were introduced and numbers exchanged yadda yadda yadda. Eventually the time came to say goodbye and after some last min texting to my besties (lol spell check wants to change that to beasties which might be more apt sometimes) and some very tight hugs from my parents; we checked in and that’s it we were off on our adventure!!!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

How many guys can you make wince with a fake penis?

Gotta love Rolf!
Firstly for those of you that don’t understand the title I am not going to explain it, those of you that do understand the title then I hope you giggled/felt the pain again, especially Rachy.

Ok so Friday was my leaving party organised by the lovely James and Dani though they had help from Rachy and Dave. I think everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong! But somehow it was still an amazing night. There were cards and banners and presents and a song that I never heard and a private booth and free drinks and a lot of time and effort was spent making me feel special and loved. What they didn’t take into consideration was wardrobe malfunctions, my shoes killing me, having to get up early and a lot of rain!!! Needless to say my brand new outfit was changed within hours and my newly cut and dyed (nearly 3 hours in the hairdressers earlier that day) hair went from stylishly curled and full of volume to soaked and looking like a drowned rat before I even got into the club!

Be that as it may, I only bought one drink the whole night and managed to get really rather drunk on my brilliant line of “You haven’t bought me a drink yet!” and I had a good night dancing away with my friends and chilling in my private booth that I still have the sign from.

Australia Cake
The point is that just because the little details didn’t go according to plan it doesn’t mean that it’s a disaster. I think sometimes I forget that. Yes I did get upset when not all the people that said they would come came, but the people I needed there were. I know I didn’t look how I wanted to but the people I was with have seen me a lot worse and besides they were there because they loved me so it didn’t matter how I looked. And as for the lost sleep, there will be plenty of time to sleep later. Just got to go with the flow and enjoy it!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Popping Peas

Ok I have said “popping peas” to three people now and none of them knew what I meant so if you know what I mean then skip to the second paragraph.  For about a fortnight every summer they sell peas in the pod. They are much fresher and taste really good. But to get the peas out you have to squeeze the end of the pod till it pops open and then you can split the pod and ping out the peas inside.

So mum and I always pop peas. I’m not sure why but we do and its really fun. It might not sound it but it is and the peas taste yummy raw so you eat one pea per pod you pop. Anyway it made me realise how the simple things really are the best things to make you feel better. This Friday my friends are throwing me a leaving party and I am really looking forwards to it, hopefully it will be full of more simple yet amazing things. I know James and Dave have written me a song and I know there are more surprises on the way. We are all on student budgets so there will be no surprise diamonds but I think that what does happen will be better as people have taken the time and energy to make a night purely about me.

So I am feeling the love from my friends and this is a public thanks to everyone that has gone out of their way to make me feel special and loved in my last few weeks in the country, especially to Dani and James for organising my party. See you all soon!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Half Price Coffee

Why do these mugs remind me of my brother?
So today I went for an impromptu coffee with Steph. Costa is doing half price coffee between 4pm and 6pm so we went on the dot of 4 and I stood in the queue while she hunted for a free table. We make quite a team and shortly we were drinking from those huge double handed coffee mugs. I remember the last time I had a drink in one of these was February 2009 when I had a spectacularly bad day and just wandered into the nearest coffee shop and ordered “hot chocolate please, the biggest size you do” and was presented with this huge bowl of what was apparently hot chocolate though I don’t remember tasting it. But never mind, this was a much happier giant soy caramel latte and nothing at all like a commiserating hot chocolate. Steph and I can always chat and it was nice to have the time to spend with her as she is away a lot. Recently her laptop has been away being fixed so we have had to actually phone each other. I forgot how much better it is to talk to someone on the phone than text or msn etc. She is going away again maybe as soon as tomorrow so we wanted to meet up one last time before I go. So that’s her gone for a year.

Also, last night I had a few of my “Grown Up” friends over for dinner. I don’t mean grown up as in they are older than me but I mean they enjoy fine food and wine rather than a kebab and value vodka. So myself, Fliss, Dom and Phil sat about my kitchen table into the small hours of the morning discussing everything pretty much. By 2am it had degenerated into fairly hard core theoretical philosophy that mostly I just listened to as I had little to contribute to the topic but found it interesting none the less. In bed by four but the following morning I was rather aware that I was now another 3 friends closer to having said goodbye to everyone and leaving for Oz.

I am 4 friends closer now including Steph. It’s kinda scary. It almost makes me not want to see my friends as I know it will be goodbye. I know that’s backwards logic because time will carry on regardless and the time for me to leave will come if I am ready or not. Eeeep.

Friday, 15 July 2011


“A dream is something that fills up the emptiness inside. The one thing that, you know if it came true, all of the hurt would go away.”

If you know where that came from then shame on you! I include myself in that category but it really did make me think about dreams and what I want out of life. I know what my dream is, the thing that if it came true then all the hurt would go away, but that’s not what I want to talk about. It’s a personal thing and I think most people would be private about theirs. And to be honest I don’t think even then that all the hurt would go away but it would stop the hurt and make it a memory rather than a reality. 
Not all things we want are like that though. There are the dreams of our childhood, the small dreams of the next year or so and then there are the big dreams that are your lives work. When I was a little kid I wanted to be a teacher. I toyed with the idea of being a vet but decided I couldn’t stand to be around the sick animals (yes, I was one of those kids that took everything way too seriously) but having seen how much work teaching is and the toll it has taken on my mother I know I will never touch teaching with a barge pole. Well at least not school teaching. I have small dreams, like passing my exams (I did!) and I still have big dreams, of being happy in the future: financially stable, having my own home, having a family. I know those all sound mundane and unexciting. My updated dream job is to be researching new plants and animals in the unexplored regions of the Amazon and maybe discovering some amazing new drugs. However that doesn’t work well with my little family dream. I suspect that would be an either or situation and the family would probably win. Well that’s assuming I find someone that fits my personality enough to want to spend their life with me. Maybe he will want to come with me and we could raise our children while working and be like the wild Thornberry’s!!!  (Smashing) But I doubt it. With the jobs and property markets being what they are I think I will be lucky if I have a job that pays more than 15k and can afford the deposit to buy a small 2 bedroom semi-detached I will count myself lucky. That sounds rather sad doesn’t it? I don’t mean to say that I am resigned to a boring suburban fate. I just mean that I am realistic about what I am likely to get.

However having said that if you had told me 10 years ago that I was going to be moving to Australia to study brains then I would have told you to jog on and seek some help. So I know that life surprises me a lot and doesn’t always do what I want. Sometimes life does the exact opposite of what I want and it causes me a lot of pain, but sometimes when life does the opposite of what I was expecting it works out better than what I wanted! Like me going to University; I wanted to go to somewhere else but fate intervened and here it was, and I feel more at home here than I do anywhere else. It’s just about perspective and hindsight. My favourite song at the moment is bowling for soup – turbulence. Even though the lyrics are a little “yea don’t worry it will be ok” it helps when I feel trapped.  But what if the company I am working with next year really like me and offer me a proper job for after I have graduated? Would I move permanently to Oz? What if I can’t find a job? I fully intend to do a PhD before I die but the current plan was to have a few years in industry behind me before I did. I could go straight to studying for that. I try to have made my mind up on the issue I’m talking about in each post and this one I guess is that some dreams will never come true and some will change but that’s not always a bad thing. And sometimes having a dream will drive you to greater things that you never even thought of.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Today I want to talk about something that’s been on my heart a lot today. The inspiration for this post is that I have had a moderately large argument with one of my close friends. No one has done anything wrong so there is no blame game to be played. We had argued about a characteristic that has always been a flaw of my friend. She is aware of this characteristic and will (on a good day) even admit to it, however this flaw is quintessential to my friends character and therefore without it she wouldn’t be her. So is it still a bad thing?

Well it managed to royally upset me and therefore I was less than diplomatic in explaining why I was upset and that just made her worse and it degenerated into a vicious upsetting circle resulting in me storming off in anger which wasn’t my most mature action ever. But if we were all without flaws then we would all be the same so is it our flaws that make us who we are? However, using that logic should we all embrace our flaws? I like to think that I am aware of my flaws and therefore make an effort to avoid them. But is that removing the things that define me as me? I hope not, and anyway I sometimes fail at avoiding my flaws so they are never gone for very long. Plus think what would happen to society if we all embraced our flaws? Nothing would get done, order would crumble, governments would cease to exist and international relations would explode into chaos. So therefore we should work to avoid our flaws and conform to the standards of behaviour and manners that society dictates. 

So where does this leave me with my friend? On first thought I concluded that either I would have to change my character to allow for hers OR she would have to change her character to allow for mine. This made me angry because, as previously stated, this characteristic is fairly fundamental to her and therefore the likelihood of her changing for me were about as likely as my bum fitting into size 6 jeans…. It just aint gunna happen. Therefore, as usual, it would be me that would have to change to accommodate her, and why should it always be me that has to change?! Then this made me sad as I realised that my self-riotousness (yes that is, in this case, one of my flaws) wouldn’t allow me to apologise for being upset by her flaw. So therefore it was the battle of the unaccommodating situational flaws. I say situational as being self-riotous isn’t always a flaw and, as stated at the beginning of this post, without her flaw my friend wouldn’t be the same girl therefore it isn’t bad all the time. So now I’m at an impasse. Marilyn Monroe once said “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it is better to absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” 

So now I think there are a different set of options; Either we stay stuck in our flaws and admit that we aren’t compatible and maybe have changed in opposite directions since first becoming close (which would be a terrible shame after all the two of us have been through) or the other option is to accept each other as we are complete with our flaws and try to avoid setting them off. I wonder if she will come to the same conclusion.