Thursday, December 20, 2007

Some Things are Out of Date

In the acquisitive phase, much changes. Things are rearranged. Perhaps they make more sense this way.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Day

Yesterday I went to the old hood and shopped for Christmas tree with Ma and Jack. First we went to the Scouts' and they only had three left. Then we went to the rugby club and they were $80 so lastly we went to the stall behind the florist where there was a great range. And they were all $50.
Decorating was as fun as I remember, all the ancient silly decorations, the random baubles, that canary that I made when I was three. Near the top, I hung three little white angels, like seraphim below the star.
Then I came home and listened to NIN and made marmalade in the breadmaker. Yum.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Aquisitive Phase

Second day riding to work today. Yes, I'm loving life.

Got a new couch. Goes with my new painting. And so yesterday JCW assisted in the new arrangements for the back room to accommodate these showpieces. Stacked the magazines and art books differently. Moved the computer. All this while Charlie cooked, smirking. He was smirking because he began to suspect the dinner might be a success.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm a Giant

Santa brought me a bike.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Here I am. My new job starts today. The holidays were just long enough that I feel I have forgotten how to work. I've been in this industry for a while but things truly are very different here.

My mode of transport to work is by foot - how lovely is that? Ok, it's not around the corner but a 45 minute walk feels good. Charlie came part of the way and as we went through the park, we laughed at a puppy chasing a bird flying high high.

Mum came over yesterday and gave me my birthday present - potting mix, planters and little baby herbs and lettuce. We potted them together and carefully poured water around the seedlings. Hopefully I don't kill them too quickly.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wish Me Luck

Heading back up ito the capital on a Vietnam airlines flight. We say goodbye to the friendliness and peaceful pace of Hoi An. And goodbye to the floods and smell of damp, heh heh.

Home Tuesday morning to inspect my lost and found corockinrolla.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Still Raining

The view from our hotel window... Rain rain rain. Now we've had our first breakfast, we'll don our raincoats and hop step jump to town to examine the rain damage from overnight.
We stayed in last night, did the tourist thing and ordered in dessert and a facial, drank beers from the mini bar.
Yesterday we visited the local market, where you can buy a live duck, a bag of marinated tofu, endless greens, as well as pyjamas and pottery. We did the good cop bad cop routine when bargaining for a hairclip and won a grin from the ajumma selling socks and hairties.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

It's raining raining today. The whole town is flooded as as we walk around Hoi An, locals are raising their belongings to higher ground and mopping mopping mopping. The hotel we wanted to stay at was right by the river and our driver said, sorry but that hotel isn't really available... We're back from the coast and it's so peaceful...
No real plans except relaxing here until Sunday when we'll fly back to Hanoi. We took the train down the coast to Danang and it was pretty hellish. As we waited at the train station for our 2300 train, tiny mice scurried around our backpacks. I thought I'd booked us sleepers but instead we had seats for the scheduled 14 hour trip.
After a long long time the train finally came to a halt; women with dried squid approached the train windows. Thinking we must be close, we optimistically start planning our arrival. The train stayed still; the women wandered away; so roosters came pecking along the track.
A few hours later, we are all hearded of the train and into some buses; the track was cut due to the floods. Buses, then back on a train for one stop. The trip has so far taken 20 hours.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

6 Hour Blocks

I have a little collection of coins and notes from other countries. Mostly from Asian countries, brought home by Dad back in the day when a pocket of change was exciting. I rummaged through and found about 5 pounds, as well as Italian lira. And 20 Singapore dollars. The notes seemed old and I guess they must have been in my collection for a decade. Well, this morning, as the light crept across the tarmac at Changi, I bought Charlie and I Continental breakfasts with that currency.

We arrived from Melbourne at 9.30 last night, and were faced with a 13 hour layover. Yuck. Already tired, we approached the Transit Hotel - fully booked - both terminals - waiting list - come back at 12 midnight... Finding a quiet corner, we ate muesli bars and kissed. After a while we headed back to the Transit Hotel, and they gave us registration cards and sent us down the hall to room 19. A huge clean bed yawned at us... We yawned back...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Firstborn Will Be Named Sabine

Highlights of my recent holiday include:
  • Lots of scones
  • Shades of green on a lovely tree
  • Charlie's jokes
  • Sculptures on the Lorne pier and meeting the artist
  • Chalet up the hills...
  • Massages

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Button Found on Jessie Street

The lament continues.
In Melbourne's sweet blustery days, life is on the up.

Soon I will take a rest, then, when summer starts to hit, when I'm 27, I'll start a new job over yonder at the University of Melbourne. Exciting.

Means I won't be going to China. Whatever.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

43 minutes with headwind

Walked to work as usual this fine morning, thoughts buzzing, wind gusting. Lovely.

Received a postcard last week from my Finnish friend and I've been remembering Vilnius. The Savers-like shop 'Humana' where I passed so many hours and so few litu. The cupboard at my Dutch friends' house full off Dutch treats like stroopwaffle. All those adventures, moments and fun.

There's all the good. So much good.

Hard to face the dreams I have. Nightmares of the stupid misguided times I spent with Enso. I hate myself for thinking of him, but I can't control it. I feel like I need an exorcism.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Strip Seal

I've worked every weekend for months. Ugh.
I looking forward to a long hot summer with frequent holidays from this.
Good news is I'll go to Shanghai and HK on a Study Tour with a bunch of overachievers sometime after I turn TWENTY SEVEN this November.

This have changed. Things are changing. I'm amazed at the new worlds.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Watched the eclipse on Monday night, thanks to KP.
It was a very convivial atmosphere up on the roof of IKEA, listening to the Astrological Society commentate the eclipse via megaphone.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Beautiful songs in the morning make for a great day ahead

You know my love this is no dream of mine
But the way you ride those waves makes me want to follow you blind
And what I'm thinking of just this time
Why don't you lay your head down in my arms, in my arms.
Lay your head down in my arms.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Film Festival is Working

Each year I use the Melbourne International Film Festival as an excuse to catch up with friends. And this year it's worked really well - particularly as I've been bad at staying in touch with friends this year.
So I've seen 5 films, all very different, at three cinemas over the past week. Last night I saw 'Everything's Gone Green' with KP and TT. The Forum is such a great venue for movies and Coopers drinking. And the film made me larff and get inspired. Also made me want to go to Vancouver, a place I know nothing about.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


In 2000 Edward De Bono advised a U.K Foreign Office committee that the Arab-Israeli conflict might be due, in part, to low levels of zinc found in people who eat unleavened bread, a known side-effect of which is aggression. He suggested shipping out jars of Marmite to compensate.


We're being audited so I'm looking for anything to distract me from the hellish task of preparing self-review notes. Had a chai latte at Piccolo and now reading up on De Bono.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

Lucky Me

I was born, lucky me
In a land that I love
Though I am poor, I am free
When I grow I shall fight
For this land I shall die
Let her sun never set
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, 'toria
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, 'toria

Thanks, The Kinks...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Royal Treatment

Three day weekend means terrible Mondayitis on Tuesday. Hmm.
Picked up Ma on Saturday morning from that hospital. Very miserable place and Ma was busting to get out. She's doing ok now I think...
Finally saw 300 and nearly fell asleep. What a boring movie! Was very underwhelmed.
Been reading recipes lately and going on chilly walks. Found 5 buttons since Saturday.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Tinker Tailor

Sometimes I'm just tinkering. And I think we all are.

Clothes swap party last night then visited my lil Ma in hospital.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bumper Crop

It was a week ago that I'd found my last button - outside the Night Cat - that great big stripey one. So I was wondering when the next was coming. On my way home I found a big scratched thing on the edge of a building site in Izett Street. Was it technically a button, I wondered...
Then I found a business shirt button, and a big black coat button, and another shirt button.
It was a bumper crop! Four buttons in one day!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sweet Anticipation

Such a sweet weekend planned.
Friday: drinks; then Korean barbecue dinner with dear friends
Saturday: be quiet cos Charlie is studying; then market for ingredients; then drive to Castlemaine!
Eat drink cook be merry take photos general goodness at this place and surrounds.
Sunday: more of the same plus going to Daylesford Foto Biennale and Artist Market.
Monday: more of the same plus seeing Romulus, My Father at Theatre Royal in Castlemaine.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Buttons Make Me Happy

Finding a button makes me instantly delighted.
Seeing Charlie makes me so happy.
Getting photos back makes me so happy.
Holding a baby fills me with delight.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Our Lady of the Flowers

But now I am afraid. The signs pursue me and I pursue them patiently. They are bent on destroying me. Didn't I see, on my way to court, seven sailors on the terrace of a cafe, questioning the stars through seven mugs of light beer as they sat around a table that perhaps turned; then, a messenger boy on a bicycle who was carrying a message from god to god, holding between his teeth, by the metal handle, a round, lighted lantern, the flame of which, as it reddened his face, also heated it? So pure a marvel that he was unaware of being a marvel. Circles and globes haunt me: oranges, Japanese billiard balls, Venetian lanterns, jugglers' hoops, the round ball of the goalkeeper who wears a jersey. I shall have to establish, to regulate, a whole internal astronomy.

With thanks to Jean Genet.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lithuanian Hospitality

Something of a cultural weekend. Windy and warm in Melbourne. I watched the first 3 installments of Die Hard, which I'd never seen. Loved them. All ready for number 4 now. Went to St Andrews' Market, bought food, flowers and a 3 dollar red t-shirt. Sunday walked to Camberwell market and scored a waistcoat for a buck. Walked home and felt a bit over it. After some fashion crises Charlie and I got it together to walk to North Melbourne to the Lithuanian Club where we planned to meet my exchange mate and experience some 'culture' in the form of an 'ethnic' celebration.
Unfortunately the dragon ladies at the door shooed us away as we were running late. So we missed our on hearing the 'comb' composition and queuing for pancakes. Instead we sat around the corner and drank and ate... Then headed to a Korean restaurant and ate and drank. K-beer, K-pancakes, K-style seating, K-TV. It was a cultural experience. Bought dessert from the K-konvenience store and walked home.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Would you sell your home to us?

A strange thing came through the letterbox yesterday...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Tumbi Umbi. Tuggerah. Wyong.
These are the places I'm familiar with, having just visited rellies on the NSW central coast.
Things are different there. It's not just like the difference between Prahran and Hawthorn; or Sydney and Melbourne. It's different.
Firstly, yeah the weather is good. But more importantly, everyone is white. Church is big. And weirdly, there are lots of mums much younger than me, pushing strollers around the shopping centres. Public transport? Forget it, take your big-arse 4-wheel drive to the nearest shopping centre. Shopping centres? Everywhere. No old-fashioned strips there - everything is mega.
Lots of golf clubs for the retirees; lots of surfers. We ate our first breakfast at Bay Beach, on the foreshore, off polystyrene. POLYSTYRENE?!

But the big thing, the big weird uncomfortable thing, was that my family up there are religos. They are members of one of those evangelical new-skool churches. Like Hillsong. Maybe it IS Hillsong. My cousins 21st on Saturday was a sit-down dinner for 100. On the stage in the hall, grace was said into the karaoke microphone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I am not so pure

Back in the nineties I went to a second-rate Big Day Out style concert called 'Alternative Nation'. Lou Reed played and had bottles thrown at him. Ice T and Bodycount played and rocked the bogans. I think I had a dance to Skunkhour. Late in the evening Nine Inch Nails hit the stage and I was so upset. Dad had set a pick-up time for me and my best friend Kelly and it was nearing... We had to leave whilst Trent was still rocking out. Very disappointing.

My friends know I have pretty average taste in music. My CD collection is pretty dismal, with a few points of consistency and a strong soundtracks section, but lots of fairly embarrassing bits, like seven Greenday CDs. So last night I headed to the Metro and saw Nine Inch Nails' final Australian concert of the current tour. I haven't got the new album so I wanted to hear some familiar tunes from With Teeth and the albums I've got. I was satisfied.

Trent looks different to the mid-nineties posters: stocky, older, but full of passion and energy. They played Head Like a Hole - damn, that song is nearly 20 years old! And March of the Pigs, plus my new favourites like You Know What You Are?; The Hand That Feeds; The Line Begins to Blur. No encore. Thrown tambourine. Trent very sweaty.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Blogger Is Wak Today

Rarely discover new blogs these days.
Walked on a beautiful mild night to the cinema last night. It's not a cinema I go too often. The crowd is definitely a 'type': wealthy, middle-aged women. Chardonnays in hand.
Movie was another to add to the East file - after Goodbye Lenin, now The Lives of Others. Charlie was introduced to Brecht via this quote::

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Long Year

Well we joined the library and borrowed lots of Tintin. I read them slow and Charlie reads them fast. I'm going in order, too. The Blue Lotus is my favourite so far. Of course, I read them all, once. Borrowed from the library in Eltham in the years before it was demolished cos of the asbestos.

Took my first sickie of my new job yesterday. Been sick for a week or so and Charlie more than me. Yesterday was the only day I didn't have a presentation on. We had such a great sickie, too. Though at about 6pm, we walked to work so I could do a few things, but even that was nice. Charlie came with me and sat at the desk next to me and I worked for a while at my computer.

This Friday my Mum launches her latest book. It's a reference book called 'Eat Your Words'. It's been years in the making and is the result, in part, of her pedantry with spelling and grammar on menus and blackboards at all the eateries and cafes that she haunts. She hopes that it will make her rich. Heh heh.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Flying Green

Booked a domestic flight and after it was all done I saw a little thing saying 'offset your carbon emissions'. $5 on my credit card and I received this::

Thank you for joining with us at Virgin Blue, and with many other concerned people around the world, to help make a positive difference to the level of greenhouse gas emissions on our planet.
By taking the time to offset the emissions relating to your flight, your investment is helping to ensure we all have a future.
Your tax invoice will be emailed to the nominated email address. You can download your tax invoice clicking here.
Sincerely, The Teams at Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue.

What happens with my $5? Does it really make a difference? How big is my footprint?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sometimes I get Scared

Watched a truly great movie last night. I can't remember the last time I was so gripped by a film. Afterwards I was a bit achy from sitting so rigid in my seat for that 100 minutes.
See Sunshine if you can - intense, well-acted, good music, crazy intense plot, challenging ideas about the world, human nature and ethics....

We walked there after recycling old tabbouleh into napolitano pasta sauce - yum! We got booth photos which were silly and cute. Today, I'm off to an 'Effective Teams' workshop that lasts EIGHT hours............ Ugh.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I Get Impatient

I went on camp and was sick. So now I'm home. Camp was ok, the bush is pretty, it was nice having kangaroos visit and splashing my (snotty) face with stream water. But there were noisy bogans all around, and we were sick.
Melbourne is quiet and sunny and beautiful. I'm visiting Jack at his house - walked from ours to here and it was peaceful and nice. Finished my Tintin and am thinking of joining the library so I can borrow them all out like I used to when I was a kid. At the old library, the one full of asbestos.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Two Really Good German Movies

My first trip to Video Ezy in forever and the two movies I chose were German. And really good. They were on that long list of movies I know received great reviews and which I fully intended to see when they were at the cinema... But didn't.
So, Downfall. Phew. We watched it over two nights. It was intense. Dear Sweet Charlie commented that the background noises in the bunker seemed really real. I wondered, is that part of cinematography?
I like watching movies where I don't know any of the actors.
Next movies was Goodbye Lenin! Great all-round, like Downfall. Great colours, dialogue, characters, insight into history. But this one was funny too.

See both if you haven't already.

I wanna go East. Euro.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Last Weekend

Friday. And my post is about last weekend. Celebrated the long weekend last weekend by going away with my lover to the country. It was divine. Heavenly. Relaxing. Fresh air, apples from the roadside stall. Cute little cousins drawing us pictures. We stayed on a farm and had geese, cows and a goat called Nellie as our friends. And the stars and the peace. Was grand.

This week has been insane at work. So busy. I am holding a big event next week and we have lots of preparation - international visitors - blah blah. Hoping it will be a notch on my belt when it's all done and dusted. Standing in the tornado, though, it's pretty hellish.

Went to yoga last night. Pain today. But a return to a form I never had is imminent. Then heard some brilliant crime poetry by Dorothy Porter read out in Eltham.

Won't mention the bad news.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thinking Walking Compacting

Worked at Prahran yesterday. Where the trendies are. It's a world away from my Hawthorn life. Had drinks after with a bunch of German design students, and my colleagues. Charlie came and we all discussed the Compactor idea and whether a) I could give up impulse-buying blue shoes and if b) Charlie could give up gym memberships. Or should he? Obviously blue shoes are a capitalist indulgence, but are yoga classes? Or movie tickets? Or newspapers?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Meanwhile, Elsewhere

On Sunday I went to my friend's birthday barbecue and had a lovely time. Eating, drinking, praising the rain when it came, playing with little ones, singing happy birthday... All that.
There was one sober moment, though, in the conversations about holidays and house hunting, wine and fashion. Birthday girl's sister is engaged to a man from Guinea, so I asked 'how is Mohammad?'. She replied that things are not great right now as the president had declared martial law, there was a curfew in place, the army had shot at peaceful protesters and generally the country was teetering on the edge of civil war.

Did you know? I certainly didn't. But I'm kinda cut off from the news at the moment.
Was it on the TV? Did you read about it? Anyways, if you are curious about the big world of things we don't know, particularly this situation in Guinea, read up on the BBC's site.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New Blue Shoes

Yeah I'm back in Melbourne but I think I'm still working the K-style... Heh heh.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day is a Crock

Except if you're madly in love. Which I am.
I walked home from work last night - in my new Reeboks. Stopped at a continental delicatessen and bought dolma and a wedge of handmade Belgian chocolate. Crossed the street and bought two Hoegaarden from the fridge at Dan Murphy's. Strutted home, toward my love.

Ate our treats, got dressed and walked up to the tram stop, cut across the Treasury Gardens, saw a wedding on the steps and some lesbians pashing on at the base of a tree.

We went on a date. Long anticipated, it was a place he'd drunk at while I was away. With TT and KP. Or just TT. But definitely not me. So it was magical to be there, together, as it had been created in our imaginations...

So happy, quickly drunk, so happy. Ate pizza after pizza then a chocolate one then home. So happy.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Two Weeks of Perfect Hues

Oh my god I never thought it would be so hard to find time to blog.

My working week is so intense. My settling in period is well n truly over. Life storms on.

I am still in the dark about current events. I have no TV, no radio, and read the paper only on the weekends. The internet -pah!- I'm using only briefly at work. Weird changes.

I've been given my targets -targets!- at work and there's a big event I'm planning as well so I know fer sher that the next 6 weeks will be relentless. Verybusy. So forgive me if I'm under the radar or curt if you call during work hours.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Add It Up

Saw the Violent Femmes the other night. Was my Christmas present from Ma - tickets for me and my beau, and for my brother and his beau. A double-date. We walked to the gig, had a meal, listened to the trivia that we arrived in the middle of, then tried to rock out a lil.

First day at work today. It's killer. I'm fatigued. Thinking about my work really does my head in. It's the biggest professional challenge of my life. Lifestyle is good, I get to work quickly, easily, I have friends and friendly people at work, I am not part of an evil empire or anything nasty. Good shops and caffs and stuff all around.... But man, I'm drained.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Happy New Year

Should be eating dumplings today, to induce prosperity n all, for the new year. Shouldn't be cleaning but did anyways. Gotta enjoy big love, no fights, happiness and new beautiful things all day, to pave the way for a year of peace and bounty.
Being offline is really hard for me. The prospect of work on Monday is also kinda tough, no matter how much I'm sure it's good and right and my colleagues are wonderful. My small break is over, really, bar the cheering, and it has been so wonderful. I spent a day at the beach! Thanks to the generosity of KP, I looked a treat in her stripey swimmers. It was wonderful, down at Black Rock, the water was so clear and the sand clean and it wasn't too hot. Very peaceful and lovely.
Love to all those who are near and far. Love to those I've seen in this first week back, who remembered me and reminded me. Big love to those who I left in K-land. Love to those whom I don't know or barely know who still offer little sweetness and light.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

'Tis Grand

Ach, 'tis truly great to be back. Weather was lovely - warm, then rainy. Loving it.
My new digs are light bright welcoming relaxing. The Manor is a happy place.
Had a swim yesterday, ate Chinese food today, have drunk a lot of coffee, bequeathed some well-received gifts, met another new blogger peep. Am suffering terrible hayfever.
Have lost conversation skilz. But not driving skilz.

Happy happy.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I Have One Question

At passport control on the way outta Korea, the immigration officer said to me 'I have one question'. Of course I'm feeling a little nervous, I want everything to go smoothly. It's all been going well so far - my bag was 6 kilos overweight but the check-in cutie didn't care.
Anyways, I said, 'Yes?', and he said 'Australia - that's a racist place, right?'.

Oh, my heart sank.

As I paused, he said 'White; black; yellow', indicating with his hand declining layers, then explained 'Classes, right? It's racist, Australia?'.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm Packing

If I had time I'd be blogging about this stuff ::
  • Another name change for Australia's Department of Immigration;
  • Nationalism in Australia and Serbia;
  • Democrats in the USA appear to have a (semi) Mexican, a female, and a black (is that racist?) in the Presidential nomination race;
  • My colour palette has changed with my K-time, as it did with my Euro-time, evidenced above;
  • I'm feeling calm.

Final 30 Hours

I've spent seven months living alone. I've finally experienced a bit of Asia. I've made more friends and taken more photos. I've bought possibly 8 pairs of shoes. I've flown a lover across the world to see me. I've become acutely hysterical once, maybe twice. I've missed out on big things at home. I'm still in debt. I've sent a lot of postcards. I've eaten breakfast nearly every day. I've fallen asleep and missed my stop.

I'm looking forward to the colours of home, the hugs, the river, the children, the bread, the deck, the walks. Looking forward to not driving to work, to waking up with Charlie, to being alive and inspired at work, to enlarging some photos, to mending some bridges, to supporting my brother.

I'm going to miss the food, the subway, the new friends. I'll miss cheap clothes, shoes and taxis. I'll miss the Han River at night, PC bangs, cute Korean boys and their effeminate fashions, rice cakes in the subway, not understanding a word, freebies everyday.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Saturday Night in Hyehwa

Said goodbye to the posse of K-girlfriends last night. Was typical of the fun silly lovely nights I've spent with them. We ate and ate a little traditional style place, then went to get star photos, then had a beer at a weird bar. Typical! Silly! Perfect! Getting star photos involves dressing up in the wacky costumes, falling about laughing, then eventually getting tiny photos taken in a booth. I had a tiara and angel wings... My friend Ahri went all out, as some kinda dilapidated geisha::

I will really miss these girls. Some of the best times I've had here were with them. I feel so lucky to have met some very genuine and generous people in Korea. Ahri and her friend Damon escorted me all the way home when it was clear I'd miss my last subway connection, which was great cos it meant I could give Ahri a bunch of household stuff I couldn't take home - she was especially delighted when I palmed off a 5 kilo bag of washing powder and a giant jar of honey.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

From 6 into 5 but really 4

Said some goodbyes today. Made and distributed farewell cards to my colleagues. Twas my last real day of work. Didn't cry, but surprised myself these past days with how moved I've been by it all. Even amidst the happiness of all the good stuff that's waiting at home.
Also had a little fight at dinner, with my friend from the hood, Tom, whom I've gotten along with famously til now. It kinda gave me a reminder of what it's like to be at home, where one has real conversations about 'issues' and suchlike, and where political debates take place between friends.
Ate a pile of duck, drank a lot of beers and sat looking out at the neon from the 11th floor bar, thinking about my world, Charlie, and the victims of cruise ships. I was thinking about International Cruise Victims Organization, which I've just discovered... An organisation less concerned with the misdeeds of Tom Cruise than those who've taken holidays on cruise ships and somehow suffered as a result. It's in the zeitgeist, people. Last night's CSI: Miami was all about this.

These are the birthday kids from yesterday. The one in the middle is my favourite, Branden::

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Day 6: An Australian Story

Last night I laughed and laughed.
Mum told me a great story about Burleigh Heads, where some friends of hers are living. The friends are a lovely couple, an Aussie woman, her Turkish husband and their two gorgeous poppets. After years of living in Istanbul, and months waiting for Mister's visa, they've moved to Australia. Mister is a textile machinist, I think he made suits in Turkey, and applied for a job at a place that made aprons and tea-towels. The previous worker had disappointed management by producing only ten pieces a day, so they were looking for someone new. Missus left him at the atelier for an hour-long tryout, feeling good about seeing him look so comfortable and professional at the machines. When she came back after an hour, the owner rushed at Missus and said 'gosh, he's fast!'... He'd made 45 pieces in the hour. They were rapt. They were also excited to be a part of his new life in Australia, showing him all aspects of the business, and looking forward to helping with his English learning.

Today is the monthly birthday party at work. My last birthday party here. The balloon swords are all made, the long birthday table is covered in coloured paper, the kids are running around wildly. In the classrooms, the kids who have their birthday this month are changing into traditional dress. Cute! Soon I'll be eating fried chicken and drinking pepsi...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Seven Daze

Got offered the 'Exhibit B' position today. Will think about my 'yes' answer and then tell them tomorrow. Means I'm heading straight back into the giant machine when I get back. But that is security, and bills paid. Ach, it's not bad at all, and it'll be working in a friendly familiar place with old mates all around.
Less than a week left here. I've taught my Wednesday afternoon boys for the last time. I entertained then by pretending to eat erasers, or pulling them out of my ear. Am I grandpa? Whatever, it was fun.

  • Saw The Departed, loved it;
  • Reading February's Vanity Fair (which has a huge article on the neocons who left Bush's side);
  • Reading the Melbourne Poet's Union best poem;
  • Listening to the old psychedelic mix CDs that LTR has tirelessly made for me;
  • Thinking about the lack of a successor at this school;
  • Drinking red wine for dinner.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Tenth Day

Credit where credit is due - my new profile photo was taken by Ethan. Nice, eh?

Sightseeing was scheduled for this Sunday - as is often the case - Ethan and I travel to some new place to see some random Korean highlight. I was really pleased that Ethan and Jen both were happy to do as I wanted and go to the War Memorial, for a Korean lunch and to Yongsan to buy DVDs. The sun was shining, it was cold, but bright and fine. Lovely winters' day.

The War Memorial is maaasssive, just like the National Museum. And the grounds are full of aeroplanes, tanks, submarines and howitzers. Yeah, and a little wedding palace, in case you wanna recall the war while you take your vows.

There was a great deal of acknowledgement of the UN forces who had fought in the Korean War - I saw monuments, plaques, uniforms and movies of the Australian involvement. The question arose of why the 38th parallel was chose for the division and I immediate thought was just cos the Americans picked it... Well, as Wikipedia says ::

On August 10, 1945 two young officers – Dean Rusk and Charles Bonesteel – were assigned the task of creating an American occupation zone. Working on extremely short notice and completely unprepared for the task, they used a National geographic map to decide on the 38th parallel; they chose it because it divided the country approximately in half but would leave the capital Seoul under American control. No experts on Korea were consulted and the two men were unaware that forty years previous, Japan and Russia had discussed sharing Korea along the same parallel; Rusk later said that had he known, he would have chosen a different line.

Gawd. It's just so sad and ridiculous. Rusk actually said: '[The] choice of the 38th Parallel, recommended by two tired colonels working late at night, proved fateful.'

Though today, I don't know why, I didn't instinctively mourn those lives lost... Through all those memorials, I wasn't moved. When in Minsk I remember been profoundly upset at a memorial to the Belorusian mothers of those who fought with the Soviets in the 9-year war in Afghanistan. Those lives were lost so needlessly, and the concept of a mother's grief was emotionally compelling. Not sure why I didn't get that today... Maybe because the memorial, many parts of it, are focused on the technicalities of the wars: equipment; tactics; dates and numbers. The idea/s of the war are so much more complex, intractable, intriguing, frustrating... Sad.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Last 12 Days

I've not long left in Korea, I have started to count down.

Yesterday was the twelfth day, and it was a regular school day. On the way to work in the morning I realised some kid was following me, imitating my strut for the amusement of his mate. Am I that ridiculous? Had dinner with a friend in my hood. I really wanted to eat galbi - barbequed meat - one more time before I left cos I love it and it's so Korean to me. So we overate, it was delicious. Talked about the history wars in Australia and Spain.

Today I cleaned, I talked to home, I read blogs and eventually went out, with the mission to find a French ghetto. Last year there was a sensation in Korea when two French expatriates were under suspicious for killing their babies and storing them in their home freezer in this hood. I'd heard there was a Montmartre street and all... Unfortunately, my directions were sketchy, so I ended up roaming around in the twilight (and increasing chill), looking for anything French. After walking by a huge suburb being built, another one a ghost town, I'd given up when I saw a sign in French. Oh my. Stopped a moment later and took this photo ::

I'd found the hood. And it was nice and curious to be in this sweet neighbourhood with French families talking and delicatessens and nice beauty salons and lots of manicured dogs and wine bars. But I was very cold and over it. I went to the giant Gangnam Underground Shopping Mall and bought jocks for my brother (I'm under instruction), a cute top for Z, a cute dress that may or may not be able to contain my boobs, and some hair ties cos my hair is finally growing.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Somewhere in Time

When I emailed some Korea alumni to ask what things I should make sure I did in Seoul before I left, one replied:: 'get to as many galleries as you can - you don't find that quality many places'.
It's true, the art here is so good, and there are many tiny contemporary art galleries with new different interesting beautiful work of a really high quality. Ethan and I went to the Artsonje Center and saw a show mixed media show called 'Somewhere in Time'. My favourite piece was by San Keum Koh, and was a big panel with pearl beads adhered to it. It was very very beautiful, graphic and peaceful. If it were nothing more, I could well appreciate it. Then we realised the beads were arranged in a deliberate manner; not to form an image, but to represent the characters and spaces taken from a text, that was sitting nearby on a plinth.
I read about the artist and his reasons for making this simple, graphic work here and saw some more of his work at the bottom of this page. What do you think?

Thursday, January 11, 2007


This and yesterday's green photo were taken on my holiday to Ethan's hood, Ansan, last weekend. We both live in satellite cities, so technically outside of Seoul. Ansan is a metropolis which seems as big as Melbourne, malls, neon, giant churches, above-ground train stations, big houses as well as apartments. It was great to go there last weekend, cos it was in my first coupla weeks in Korea that I went out there to meet Ethan, who was a blogger, barely yet an e-friend. Six months later we have a great friendship, which is one of the hardest things to leave here.

No school this morning as the lil kids are seeing Heidi: The Musical. They've been counting sleeps down, as if Heidi was as exciting as Santa.

Zen and Garbage

Been reading a terrific book, The Secret River. Not sure how much weight my literary opinion is worth after I loved Gorky Park so intensely. But The Secret River is a whole other wonderful. All about convict transportation and settlement near Sydney back in the day. Confrontations between whites and blacks. I understand a little of the terror of the frontier, but I never thought about the new hierarchies that the convicts were negotiating. I was pondering how their behaviour was shaped by fear and pride, and that their actions were thus in some way affected, unnatural.

Trekked across Seoul after work to go to a bookstore and sell some books to them. The guy asked me what I thought of Zen and... and I said 'absolute garbage, I wish I could get those hours of my life back'. Then he asked what I thought of Fury, by Rushdie, and I said 'absolute shite, I wish I could get those hours of my life back... so are you gonna give me a good price?'.

Watched a heap of filums of late: Babel; 16 Blocks; Lucky Number Slevin; Jarhead (again).
'Sbeen good. Also got back online and bought some CDs to augment my wacky collection. Great.

Word of interest:: Refoulement
Person of interest:: Anthony Swofford

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Maybe I've started to feel sad about leaving here.
Today I felt I understood why teachers teach for decades. It can be so fun, so rewarding. Lovely.

I hate that guilty feeling when you know you're leaving... Or is it just me?
I remember my boss in Melbourne sending me a bunch of white tulips to congratulate me on my graduation. It was maybe two weeks after I'd decided to leave, but hadn't told him. I felt terrible.

I got mail yesterday. And today. So wonderful. I know I have a blog and email accounts and a phone but it was still great to get snail mail. I got a card from my friend in Iceland, and a Christmassy card from Dear Charlie's family. Nice.

I think it's gonna snow this weekend. Gosh, soon I'll be home, and it'll be damn hot. I'm thinking about the river, getting a water massage in the rapids...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Demons and Sages

I may have come down from my high. Yeah.

So last night, as all sorts of demons, new and old, invaded my mind while I tried to sleep, I was thinking of where I was this week last year. Then I thought about where I was the year before, the year before, and so on. Wow.

  • Last year at this time, I was facing a knife, then a fist, being thrown at me by my partner.
  • The previous year, I was coming back from my first visit to Byron Bay, seeing Garden State at the Nova, and hosting a party attended only by bogans, schizophrenics and alcoholics.
  • The year before I spent two days in London on my way back from Ireland, before heading on to the white-on-white freezing lonely landscape of Lithuania.

My horoscope for December, as told by the sage at Vanity Fair ::

The good news: at least you don't have to scrounge around for money and tear out your hair over the bills. Politically, though, it has been one hell of a hairy game over the last several months. Saturn's culmination in your solar midheaven can solidify your position, help you find your niche, and establish you as a powerful, credible pro. The aggravation that goes along with that is another story. Some people are so mean. They simply refuse to forget all the inappropriate things you did to get where you are.

And for January ::

With money no longer a source of agita, maybe you can stay focused on your career. If you've got the gift of gab, God bless you, because it's going to come in handy now that the ruler of your 10th house is in your solar 3rd. Not only can you express your views professionally and publicly, but you will also be able to talk your way out of all the sticky political situations you've gotten mixed up in over the past few months as you endeavored to climb to the pinnacle of success without stepping on too many heads along the way.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I've realised I'm experiencing some side-effects of my imminent return home ::

1. Hair is growing
(It had stopped growing and started falling out the past 6 months in Korea.)
2. Hysterical optimism
(Love, reunions, new beginnings, freedom... I just keep feeling deliriously happy.)
3. Hayfeverish sneezes
(A constant the past decade, which stopped entirely the past 6 months in Korea.)

Oh, there's a great unbloggable rumour (good news, rather) that is just about to hit the airwaves... Oh the joy of love in the new year!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Exotic Rich Beautiful

Love is optimism.
2007 the year of my exotic rich and beautiful life.
Where ever I am now, it's better and more beautiful and happy than where I was last year. What a blessed life I have.

I received a happy new year greeting from a good friend who said ::
"I wish you really ALL the best for 2007... The best in love life work friendships food art music books outfits political engagement confessions movies bands concerts nature sun letters good talks health". I like that. I wish the same for all.

Was gonna stay in last night, then Ethan called me and said 'I'm playin' the card: you're leavin' soon: come on out.' Then he tells me where... Homo Hill. Great. The wrong side of town with a buncha sleezoids drunks hookers and scary army arseholes. So yeah, I went. Ethan is a doll and he was with his lovely friend Jen. We went to a bar called 'Queen'. Yeah. Drink specials and GIs at the bar. Wasted poofs kissing fat girls, army girls who look like LL Cool J. Cute Korean guys playing with silver balloons, dirty lesbians with their tops off. Funfunfun.
It was low-key, I didn't dance, had a couple of drinks (and a felafel), then left at 12.30. I stopped to sneeze as I walked down to get a taxi and a hooker came out of the brothel I was standing in front of. I walked on, through crowds of gangstas setting off fireworks, dodging guys trying for a New Year's embrace. It was less then a hour into the New Year but the queue at MacDonald's was out the door.

Nice taxi driver took me quickly and safely home.