JUST SNAPPED @littleswallowchinadoll

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas at home and this is my first year not celebrating it with my family. I'm definitely homesick (or is that my hangover?), and talking to mum and dad and hearing about what food was going to be served up made me miss home cooking more than ever.

I've been on the road now for 4 months...avoidance or adventurous? You be the judge...

Mourning

Grief is a funny thing. Two months ago, our family pet, Spunky the cockatiel, passed away. I got this news in the middle of a phone call with mum and dad while in London, while in the middle of relaying news to the them that was far more tragic and momentous. Spunky lived a good, long life, as good a life as a bird in a cage can live I guess.

Recently I had a dream about Spunky. He was dying, and I was trying to save him. But he was regressing through life stages - he was old and pale, then he was younger and bright, then a small little chick, then a hairless chick, and finally an egg. The eggshell cracked and he was a yoke...I tried to pick him up, telling myself not to break the yoke, but I couldn't help it, the yoke slipped out of my hands and started to run.

Grief. Time. It often surprises me.

Lonely

As usual, life doesn't go as planned. But hey, I'm starting to learn to roll with the punches (as they say) (and while we're on that subject, who are "they" anyway?).

It's a big wide world out there, with lots of places to explore. And hide.

"The smell of your skin lingers on me now...
I need some shelter of my own protection
To be with myself and center,
Clarity, Peace, Serenity...

The path that I'm walking
I must go alone
I must take the baby steps 'til I'm full grown, full grown
Fairytales don't always have a happy ending, do they?
And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay

I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It's personal, myself and I
We've got some straightenin' out to do
And I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I've got to get a move on with my life
It's time to be a big girl now
And big girls don't cry..."

- Fergie, "Big Girls Don't Cry"

Profiled

So I did this personality test based on the myer briggs model. As it turns out, I'm an ENFP personality type, the "advocate", a visionary.

Sounded a bit wanky to me. But reading through the descriptions, I hate to admit that actually, I'm not any different after all, I can be profiled as easily as anyone else...

"They can't bear to miss out on what is going on around them; they must experience, first hand, all the significant social events that affect our lives."

"outgoing, social, disorganized, easily talked into doing silly things, spontaneous, wild and crazy, acts without thinking..."

"ENFPs are energized by being around people. Some have real difficulty being alone, especially on a regular basis."

"ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it."

Yep...it's all true. Oh well! I might as well embrace it.

Procrastination

It feels like I blinked and a month slipped by.

I should be in the final stages of getting ready to relocate....but sadly I've maintained my life philosophy of procrastinating until the last minute and then doing everything in a blind panic. So here I am, a week away from leaving Sydney, and I haven't packed and sent my boxes over (visions of me throwing huge tantys when I have to wait weeks for my shoes to arrive), I haven't cancelled my credit cards, put my health insurance on hold, or fixed up my super. I haven't updated my cv, bought a father's day present to leave behind, or bought a suit for upcoming interviews.

But I have booked a flight to Poland for two weeks after I arrive!

On the mend

Dad is going to be ok! Finally a breakthrough...results look great, the doctors are confident, his medication has been reduced. He's gone from being a very likely candidate for transplant to suddenly looking at being able to drive again in a couple of weeks. My parents will tell you it's the power of prayer.

So in true kid fashion, I'm dusting my hands of all family obligations and fleeing the scene of the crime. The flight to London is booked and I will soon be on my way...and if I look on the bright side, sure I missed four months of travelling & volunteer work (thank God for travel insurance and frequent flyer points) - but I'm still ending up in London at about the same time as planned!

Playing the part

Yes, despite being unable to stomach real literature, I still read my stars:

" 'All the world's a stage,' said Shakespeare. He must have been right, else why do schoolteachers value his work so much? The idea, though, raises questions such as, 'Where's the audience?' And, 'Where's the script?' And, 'Can you audition for a different role if the one you're doing doesn't suit you?' Let's leave the first two points. They are too hard to answer. As for this business of swapping identities, well no, you can't do that. But you can expand and develop into the character you have been born to play. You have been limiting yourself for too long. Current events challenge you to widen your repertoire and finally get your act together."

It's true that we spend our lives juggling our roles - I have roles as a daughter, sister, wife, friend, employee...the list goes on. Earlier this year I sought counselling and we spoke about the roles you play in life. But at the heart of everyone there is a core. Some people probably consider this to be their soul.

When your life is filled with so many roles, that they compete for your time to the point where you don't have any time for your core, it's hard to keep that part of you, that essence of you, alive and growing. So your core gets smaller and smaller...until there's nothing left of the real you at all.

Tuesday

Tuesday is such a nothing day. It's in no mans land. It's not the first day of the week, it's not the middle of the week. It's not nearly Friday, it's not Friday, and it's not the weekend. I wouldn't want to be Tuesday if I were a day.

Losing it

Last week I lost something, and I'm not sure what it is exactly. But suddenly, I can't read. I can barely write either, but I'm trying. All those great books I'm halfway through, suddenly I just can't stomach more than half a page at a time. Come on whatever you are...I need you back!

Missing you

I'll stand at your shoulder
I'll keep you running right
I'll fight in your corner
I'll stay by your side

There's no need now to worry
Our love's still here tomorrow

There aint no use in crying
for whats keeping us divided
Baby we're still trying, we're still trying

- Powderfinger, "Surviving"

Not a day goes by that I don't miss you.

Negative energy

Some days, you wake up and you get a bad feeling. You just know that today is just not going to be your day. And when that bad thing happens, you wonder - did it happen because it was always going to, or did you make it happen by expecting the worst?

Home sweet home

You wouldn't think you could suffer post holiday depression when you only had a week off - and half of it was spent on the plane! But I definitely am suffering. Just a sneak peek, enough to get the appetite for seeing new places going again...but here I am. Stuck at home. Mind you, there are a lot of places worse than home.

So my impending departure date now all comes down to dad. It seems so odd that he can appear perfectly normal (albeit a little slower and more fragile than usual) but be so sick on the inside. The doc says he has a one in five chance of avoiding a liver transplant, and he needs to see big improvements in the next couple of weeks. Come on dad, it's time to get better...

The little swallow in Tokyo


All alone

Back at home after a whirlwind Oz - Tokyo - London - Oz trip in less than a week. I've never envied business class as much as I did on my last leg between Bangkok and home. Oh how the other side live!

Saying goodbye to the hubby in London was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Leaving someone behind who has been my best friend and partner in life for the last five and a half years was so physically painful that it surprised me. You think you are prepared for things, that you've got used to the idea. But when reality hits, a whole other story unfolds.

Everything happens for a reason

Life is full of surprises, as the saying goes.

Three months ago, my run of luck ended:
  • my dad got sick and was admitted to hospital with liver failure
  • as a result I cancelled a volunteer placement in China and all subsequent travel plans to Canada and Central America
  • my pap smear came back abnormal and I had to undergo surgery
  • my husbands UK work visa didn't work out so I had to book to fly to London for 2 nights
  • we didn't read our visa restrictions properly and less than 48 hours before we were due to leave we had to reorganise our London flights for three days later
  • I caught a cold
  • and I was fleeced $230 for a meal that wouldn't have even counted as entree sized
But then again:
  • if my dad hadn't gotten sick I wouldn't have cancelled China
  • if I hadn't cancelled China I wouldn't have had a pap smear
  • if I hadn't had a pap smear I wouldn't have found out that I had the propensity to develop cancer...until maybe it would have been too late
  • if I hadn't read the visa restrictions we would have been turned away at Heathrow
  • if the hubby's work visa had been arranged I wouldn't be visiting Tokyo on the way to London
  • if I hadn't already had a cold I would probably catch one on the trip
  • and if I hadn't been ripped off, I wouldn't be able to justify the sky high Japanese prices by saying "this is a bargain, it's the same price as that crap meal I had!"

Sad but true

"...we all have wings, but some of us don't know why..." - INXS

A real eye opener

Last night I watched An Inconvenient Truth. Of course, it's only one film and I have to do more research before I blindly accept the facts presented, but it was a real shock to my system.

I've always been of a kind of humanitarian school of thought - where the environment, to me, was not as important to fix as all the issues we face as a human race - famine, war, disease. Attempting to help my fellow man has always been more my inclination.

But seeing the scientific facts put up there in black and white, and seeing the actual changes to the earth's landscape that have occurred over the last century really was an eye opener. After all, what's the good in saving people when there isn't enough world left for them to live in?

In the stars

Gotta love Cainer, he always seems right on the money to me (if you believe in this stuff).

"You have the option to take an easier route, but that's not your style. You revel in the challenge of the unknown. When you find a successful formula, you naturally feel obliged to alter it. And if something isn't broken, you know better than to fix it, but you may subconsciously decide to break it. Your life is full of drama, tension and change. It probably doesn't need to be so crazy, but it will turn out OK."

It's scary to think I might be subconsciously breaking things.

Advice is easier to give than take

My friend met a boy on the weekend. Not just any boy, the kind of person who makes you want to hold their hand forever and not let go. The kind of person that you can't say no to, because you don't want to be without them.

I don't believe that there is only one soulmate for a person, I think there are lots of people in the world that you can connect with on a level that nobody else feels or understands you on. Nor do I believe that you should necessarily spend the rest of your life with your soulmate - I think life partners can be completely different.

But as we talk, about the ups and the downs and the reasons why or why not, she says to me "I think the head can lead for years, but in the end the heart wins...but by then it's too late. You've wasted your life."

Turning point

In September last year, someone I knew changed my life. That person introduced me to The Alchemist.

There are a lot of different views people have about the book, but it certainly spoke to me and changed my way of thinking. The problem I think is making the move from just thinking to doing. And of course, that tiny little problem of knowing what your personal legend is.

But there are two things I really love in this book. One is realising that anyone who truly loves you wants the best for you and will wish you the best no matter what you decide to do. And the other is that if you want something enough, then the universe conspires to make it happen for you, because it's your "destiny" (for lack of a better word).

I try and keep these two things in the back of my mind always...but it's hard to deal with the reality of it all sometimes.

The most powerful motivator of all: Guilt

In his introduction to the 10th anniversary edition of the Alchemist, Paulo Coelho says:

"Oscar Wilde said: "Each man kills the thing he loves." And it's true. The mere possibilty of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far."

There are things in life you have to take responsiblity for, because you made certain choices and you took the steps that led you to where you are today. But where does that responsiblity end and where does responsibility for ensuring your own well-being come into play? At what point do you grasp the things that you most want, and hope that others who truly love you will support you all the way? Or is really human nature to let go of the things you truly want and love because you feel too guilty to have them when it could mean that everyone else around you doesn't?

Fast asleep

I went in for a day surgery prodecure today, a "loop diathermy of the cervix" (yes boys, run and hide). Basically, they got rid of the cells in my cervix that could develop into cancer later on in life.

What I found completely amazing though, was the anaesthetic. I've never had an operation before, and it was truly incredible how easy it was. The last thing I remember asking was whether I would have dreams, and assured that if I did they would only be good ones, I found myself being woken up forty minutes later (if that) from a lovely deep sleep. Bliss!

And of course, full credit to the absolutely wonderful staff at the San who were all friendly, helpful and attentive. People who dedicate their life work to helping others really should have more recognition (maybe I'm a little biased because mum is a nurse!).

Back to the grindstone

Well, it was inevitable. I couldn't swan around being a lady of leisure forever. So back to work I went yesterday. New job, new people - lots of new people, and names, the introductory walk around the office is going to come back and haunt me when I have to start guessing who I've met and who I haven't!

But the really, truly crazy thing is - I love it. Ok, maybe love is too strong a sentiment, but I really like work. I like being in a place where things are happening, people are making things happen, and where I am using my brain because I am one of those people who are making things happen. Check back with me in a week to see if I still feel the same!

Bloggers anonymous

I think I'm starting to get addicted to the internet. Well, more specifically, the "social networking" side of things (as they say in the biz). I just joined facebook, but I know I will really have lost it when I have a myspace page!

All in the family

Everyone has responsibilities in life, and my biggest one is my family. They are a blessing and a burden, all rolled into one.

A couple of months ago dad got sick. Really sick. He went into hospital for 7 weeks to try and halt the severe liver damage he was suffering from. He was poked and proded and tested for his suitability as a liver transplant recipient. Then lo and behold, he stabilised. So on Wednesday, much to his relief, dad was placed on parole and allowed to come home to be serviced as an outpatient, in the hope that he will start gaining weight and sleeping properly in his own home.

All this, I can handle. Watching dad get steadily worse, and then slowly better, is an emotional roller coaster, but I am here for the ride. Cancelling travel plans to stay and support the family while dad is recovering, I can get over. Staying at home to make sure there is someone always here with dad, I don't mind.

But the impending stampede of kind hearted, overly concerned relatives who are coming to visit, might just break me down. The onslaught of family dinners, lunches, days, nights...it's all more than a girl can handle.

The secret place inside of me

Is full of butterflies and dragonflies, fairies and elves. There are crystals and floating bubbles that glisten in the sunlight. There are tree houses and fairy lights wound all around the trees. Does the little girl inside ever disappear?

Looking into the mirror

There are people you meet in life who can open your eyes. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

Nearly twelve months ago I met myself. To be specific, I met a part of me that not many people know. I didn't recognise myself at first, because I didn't realise that part of me was there.

On reflection, I'm not sure if meeting changed me, of if I was changing at the same time as I met her. Either way, the result is the same. She knows what I am thinking because it's what she's thinking. She knows what I'll do because it's what she would do. She knows how I feel, how I think, how I'll act, how I'll react. And I know her.

This is what I believe a soulmate is. Someone who knows you as well as you know yourself, who doesn't judge, who understands, who gives to you as much as you give to them. But soulmates can be destructive.

Once upon a time

There was a little girl who didn't want to grow up. She worried that a time would come when she no longer skipped on Earth, and her voice would no longer be heard.

Strangely, comfort is often found in places where no one knows you. This is a story that will last forever, even when no one is reading. Fairytales are make believe, but real life is sometimes harder to tell.