Happy Monday • Land of the Free Edition

I love my job. So much. Today, I got to overhear the 5-year-old tell her mum “I love you more than all the other mothers love their children, and more than all the other children love their mothers”. Sweet, no?

Summer makes me happy.

I’m out of jetlag, and into the regular kind of exhaustion that comes from happy children not sleeping in the summer. Late nights, and early mornings.

I have a house key. I officially live here!

Swimming lessons continue, for the 4- and 5-year-olds. They continue to think their time is best spent by asking the teacher to watch them do some trick, rather than actually learning to swim. (Somehow they manage to pick up a thing or two. I assume by osmosis).

Seattle looks a lot like Switzerland. I swam in a lake! I saw baby trout, and a handmade wooden canoe, and I missed my camera very much. Always bring the camera! Even for a quick trip to nana’s house! You never know when it might become a lake-swimming trip.


Waiting at the airport. After 5 hours sleep, I was worried I’d crash and miss my flight, but so far, so good. Only another half an hour until boarding.

Checking in this morning, I was given a $10 voucher (I needed to spend another 10 cents to be able to afford a chocolate-pistachio scroll and an apple juice) because my flight has been delayed just over 90 minutes. Luckily, the internet is pretty good, so I’ve been able to bask in the love of friends from Melbourne wishing me farewell and happy adventuring, as well as a few friends in the US who are excited to see me. A good friend is in NYC at the same time as me, so here’s hoping we cross paths! And a new friend invited me to a young single adult convention the weekend after I arrive in Seattle, and of course Chad and Elisa heard about it and were already arranging rides for me. I registered online, putting this wait time to good use.

I’m ever so slightly worried about the effect of this delay upon my transfer between LA and NYC – I only learnt this morning that I’ll need to collect my bags, and go through customs and then check-in again before my connecting flight. The plan is to handle all my bags with grace and poise, but I’ll settle for being in the right seat at the right time, with all my bags on the same plane.

It’s a Qantas flight, so the food should be good – and I already checked the movies. Mostly, I’m just SO EXCITED to see my family again. A guided tour of NYC on the way is just gravy on the cake.

One way or another

You know how, sometimes, everything seems to be going your way?

Even though the first few days back home were tough, from the moment Anne and Steve kidnapped me offered to take me in, everything has felt like smooth sailing.

Maybe I didn’t sleep much, right after I booked the embassy appointment that would take place in only two days time. But that was so much better than the August 11th alternative, which seemed like it was going to be the next free date.

And then, even though they told me it might take up to 5 business days to receive my passport back, I knew it would only take the minimum 3-day timeframe.

I wasn’t entirely sure my brother would be awake in time, despite his insisting it would be fine, so I planned to come back home after the school drop off, and camp out until I heard the knock on the door. I thought my little brother and sister would be there, but the house was quiet when I arrived. Nothing in the mailbox, yet.

My little sister said she had slept over at a friend’s house and would be back in the afternoon, but she soon messaged me to check I was still there. She’d received some bad news about a young friend of theirs, and was on her way back. When she arrived, we called my little brother, to make sure he was okay (he wasn’t far from mum, so had gone to meet her at uni), and arranged to pick them up – making sure our other brother was listening out for the door while we were gone.

When we got back home, I called the bank (they’d blocked my credit card, because I misremembered my password to confirm an online payment), but I had to leave after 20 minutes on hold, for after school pickup. It was just one thing after another.

Mum took over on the call (it’s all sorted out), and on the way out the door, I flipped up the mailbox. It’s a habit, I didn’t expect anything, but there was a “sorry we missed you” note from the delivery company.

I was furious.

My passport, my entire life is in that package. And they didn’t even knock on the door. (Or my brother wasn’t paying attention).

If I don’t have that passport in my hand tomorrow morning, I have to wait another whole week for my flight.

We called the 1300 number listed, to find out which option would be quicker, a local delivery point (it wasn’t even 3pm yet, if they were still doing rounds, it could be there in a couple of hours) or the nearest depot (in the city, an hour away, but the call centre said they’d be open until 8pm). The staff were very close to useless. This is a company whose whole purpose in life is to take packages to places. You’d think they would have some understanding of logistics. A way of tracking items and knowing when trucks are expected back at the depot. If they were really good, maybe an ability to contact the driver. Not so, my friend. In fact, though apologetic, they didn’t sound surprised that the driver probably hadn’t knocked – and certainly hadn’t filled out the entire “sorry we missed you” slip. I was lucky to have a consignment number.

I was mostly frustrated that I have no control over any of this, and although many people have been great (the embassy, the au pair agency we switched to after the first ones were not very helpful), there are times like this where it seems like those who have my immediate future in their hands just don’t care.

So. Finally, at 8:15pm (the depot closes at 9pm, would’ve been nice to know), I have confirmation that my passport is at the depot in Port Melbourne.

Immediately after school drop off tomorrow, I’m on my way. I have to double check the visa is printed correctly, and then I can email everyone to confirm my flight for Sunday.

It will be nice to have a moment to breathe, between that confirmation, and the mad rush to pack and organise everything, and then get to the airport on time. The next time I’ll breathe is when I’m in Seattle. (Though being breathless in NYC should be the good kind!)

Phew. Wish me luck!

Happy Monday • Binging on Roderick Edition

I went back to Episode 0 of Roderick on the Line – one of my favourite podcasts.

Mentions of Hitler: 8

First time thrifting is discussed: 22:16

Other topics covered: fruity pleasers, the naked baby philosophy, ralph lauren polo shirts, tinnitus, listening to oneself perform

My US Visa was approved! Now I’m just waiting for my passport to be returned!

At the pretend birthday party for the now-seven-year-old I used to nanny, the mums helped me make native animal finger puppets. They’re super cute! Anne (his mum) is insanely crafty. She just gets stuff done. And so everyone around her gets stuff done, too. It’s amazing.

With this kind of Pinterest board, I want to look at it all together, not mixed in with other ones I follow.

After a couple of nights of being too keyed-up (nervous/excited about the visa appointment) to sleep, and then a late night preparing a talk for church, I really need some better sleep patterns. Starting a 2-hour movie (Star Trek: Into the Darkness) at 10pm last night wasn’t the best idea. (But it was totally worth it!)

Happy Monday • Welcome to Australia Edition

I want to sleep for 100 years. I don’t know if it’s jetlag or not; I sleep and wake at appropriate times for this country. I just wish I never had to wake up again.

I started reading Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, and Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. There are so many more I want to read, and one I have to read for book club (that didn’t come highly recommended, so I’m avoiding).

Things I forgot about living at Mum’s house:

  • The light switches are really small
  • Someone insists on switching the toilet paper back-to-front (regardless of how many times I place it the correct way)
  • That it’s completely impossible for the person asked to say the prayer, and it has to be reassigned about 80% of the time, due to giggle fits
  • Everyone talks over everyone else, and somehow we all follow the different threads

➵ Miles O’Brien – Life, After

“Here are two things you need to know about life after an arm amputation: First, your center of gravity changes dramatically when you are suddenly eight pounds lighter on one side of your body. Second, while my arm may be missing physically, it is there, just as it always has been, in my mind’s eye. I can feel every digit. I can even feel the watch that was always strapped to my left wrist.”

“If I concentrate, I can move my imaginary fingers. The arm feels as if it’s been asleep and the circulation has just begun once again. First thing in the morning, it’s actually a pleasant, painless feeling. My arm is suspended, almost as if it is weightless. But as the day goes on, it feels as if it is progressively bound tighter and tighter, to the point of excruciating pain.”

I am a magnet

Sitting in the armchair with my laptop, they climb into my lap to see what holds my interest.

I’d be annoyed about getting squished, if I didn’t feel so flattered and fortunate and loved.

Running across the oval to the playground, they measure their co-ordinates in relation to me.

They run back to touch their hand to my back while they survey the scene, to tell me of treasures or show off a scrape.

To some children, I don’t exist. I am a stone, an object, a fact only because of my physical presence.

To these children (when mama and papi aren’t available), I am the centre, the touchstone, the compass.

And sometimes they give no more thought to me than the grass upon which they run, but when they realise they need something, they are drawn to me, from a level deeper than conscious thought.

And there is nothing I aspire to or hope for that is more beautiful or important than that. To be simultaneously taken for granted and essential. Like gravity, like air. Like magnetic force.

➵ Berfrois – What is Philosophy Still Excluding?

“Vico’s demarcation of philosophy from ‘poetry’, which he sees as a mode of thought characteristic of pre-urban archaic cultures, is based on the different valuation in these spheres of activity placed on the universal and the particular. Poetry plunges into particulars, while metaphysics raises up to universals.”

“Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that the metropolitan prejudice occludes from view many extremely valuable insights about the nature and formation of moral commitments to animals, to the environment, to ancestors. It ensures that we will only see a small part of the range of human experience and self-understanding.”

➵ The Paris Review – United Nations

“Following the decimation of the domestic lime crop in the 1990s, the United States is now largely dependent on foreign imports. And this year has provided a perfect storm of difficulties for growers.”

“Time was, presumably, even the most pampered city dweller had a certain understanding that the earth giveth and taketh away; that what we eat – and plenty of livelihoods – are dependent on the vagaries of weather and blight.”