Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday companion


Most of my weekends since moving to Australia have not been too eventful. To make peace with the fact I tell myself: 'When I'm staying home I'm saving money for the trips to Great Barrier Reef and Uluru.' 
By chance, my living room is facing an electric pole - it's an electric lines crossroad. I like it, because often birds will line up and cheer me up with their chirping. 
Today the weather is moody. Clouds cover the sky since the morning, and it's been rather gloomy. Then it started raining - annoying drizzle and gusty wind.  
But this one magpie stayed there - on the electric line, despite the rain, for quarter of an hour. It didn't care that it's cold and wet. The wind didn't ruffled its feather, it seemed.
When the rain band passed, the magpie shook off the water and sang its song. Really?!
I often joke that if there were a singing contest for birds around the world, the Aussie ones would be the losers. The lyrebird, which is amazing at mimicking any sound , doesn't even have its own song. As for the magpie - in my opinion, they sound just like opening an old squeaking iron door.
But back to my companion today - it just stood there, singing, in the gray Sunny afternoon.
The pictures I took are not in black and white, that's exactly what the view from my window looked like.
Luckily, the weather in Melbourne is very changeable, and the blue sky soon won over the gray clouds. Shortly after the magpie flew away to play with its friends...and that's how my story ends :)


Monday, February 25, 2013

Myths about Australia - The Surfer Dude


I have had a soft spot for Dutch men for years. As luck would have it, I met yet another 'special one' just before I was to move to Australia. Being a hopeless romantic I was willing to give it a chance, but all my friends sang the same refrain 'Wait till you get to Australia and meet that 6 foot tall, 6 pack abs, blond surfer dude - you'll forget all about Dutch men.'

Slowly, but inevitably the image sank into my mind...
Seen the Las Vegas show Thunder from Down Under? :)
So I flew on the wings of hope, dreaming of a 6 foot tall, 6 pack abs ( and may I add 6 inch ... you fill the dots) blond surfer dude.

On my first (ever!) flight to Oz, I was seated next to a 22 years old boy from Delhi, on his way to college in Brisbane. So much for fate and 'love is in the air' with a surfer dude :(

Four months passed by and none of the Aussie guys I had met was a surfer, let alone blond, 6 foot tall and all the other extras. They were not even that much fun! Then I went for dinner with a girl from Sydney. 'Oh, you didn't know? - she said to me. - Melbourne is for intellectuals. The surfers are in Sydney and the Golden coast.'
Aha! Armed with that secret,  I booked a flight to Sydney and stayed with friends only kilometer away from Bondi beach. Bingo! I walked the beach, back and forth, shamelessly eyeing up everyone with a surfing board.  If they were 6 foot tall, they were quite skinny, and if they had the 6 pack abs, they weren't tall enough. The closer one would get to my dream image, the further in age he would be!

Unsolvable paradox?
Perhaps not. Perhaps in some distant corner Australia is saving for me the perfect surfer dude - 6 foot tall, 6 pack abs, and ... blond. And perhaps he will be looking for a 40 years old hopeless romantic :)
Until then, I'll be betting my chips on 'import' -  average looking guys from anywhere, funny, sexy and kind.

 +1 charm point for being Dutch ;-)





Saturday, February 23, 2013

404 Page not found... or how I gave up Facebook



May be it was a coincidence, or may be not,  but in the quiet evening of 1st of January 2013 I noticed that I had 404 Facebook friends. The geek in me giggled -  '404 Page not found'. And that's when I quit Facebook. Why? I had outgrown it.

I joined Facebook in 2007, just after another relocation - a friend suggested it as a mean to keep in touch. But I didn't have a use for it. I had only moved a couple of hours away, so I preferred to visit my friends on the weekend, call them or email them. And they did the some for me.  I also had a blog, so had anyone been interested in my adventures there were plenty of ways to find out what I've been up to. I soon made new friends in the new city, and Facebook was completely forgotten.

But then I moved overseas - the UK turned out not to be my cup of tea, work was challenging, for some reason I was failing to make new friends, I was miserable. My good friends were miles and miles away, and in different zone, so even calling and Skype were not working out.  So I wrapped myself with the Facebook blanket, craving attention and comfort. I evolved from venting bitterness and disappointment, through irony, to optimistic and fun posts. My friends and Facebook saved me.

Then I moved again, this time to a place I loved, made new friends immediately and life took off! But  I remained active on Facebook because I wanted to be there for my friends. In case anyone needed TLC, I wanted to know and to help, or if all was o'right it was always great to share a joke or two. Facebook was the place to share photos, plan the next party, find fellow expats, etc. etc. It was great!

Another twist came around - I saw the 'Social network'. Something in the way Facebook started, in the way the business part of it developed did not agree with my moral values. Let's Face it - Mark started it all because he was heartbroken, he wanted to do something big, and yes, he did it, but if it was all so altruistic why is Facebook now the way it is - changing layouts (supposedly for good), replacing your email address with a Facebook one (tricky, tricky!), now suggested advertisement links, free Apps, 'paid for' promoted post? To me it seems like Facebook is way pass its innocence, it's not the site to connect the people, but it's the site to learn about the people and ultimately try to sell you something. Well....Thanks, but NO, THANKS!

At the same time, people on Facebook changed...
A lot of my friends who have an active life withdrew from Facebook - why? because altho it's fun, it's also a waste of time.  Instead one can read, take on a project, hang out with friends in real life, do sports, enjoy a hobby, take a nap, have a beer.

I admit that in the first weeks after I relocated again recently, checking Facebook was the first thing I would do in the morning. I love my friends and I do want to know what everyone is up to,  have a laugh over a goofy post. 

But also, more businesses are promoted, more bragging take place, and once I heard someone say 'I only post on Facebook to make my friends jealous' I had to bite my lips.  'You are kidding, right?' - because I refuse to be in the same bin with such shallowness. Many of my posts are positive and sharing happy moments, but I have about equal number of humor-coated bitching. My life is NOT perfect and nor is any of yours. So, who are they getting jealous?

Another irritating fact - I know a couple of people who joined Facebook just because their partners are there. One is the jealous type and feels better keeping tabs on the 'other half'. The other, who I know as a shy and very private person, out of sudden became a social butterfly with a public profile showing tons of affection to their loved one. Seriously?! If I trust my judgement of people, then these last two need help. One more story, a sad one. A good friend of mine and their partner were madly in love with daily 'I love you' on their walls. And I mean it - daily! Then one day, the 'I love you' was substituted with change of status to 'Single'. Overnight?!

Finally, not a too serious comment, but perhaps it speaks ton of how humans behave... 
If you change your FB profile photo with that of another FB friend of mine, I would probably not notice the name, I would glance at the photo and 'trust' that I'm talking to the right Face...Hahaha!
I was just about to email the wrong person for that reason... two of my FB friends, a couple, have profile photos of both of them, so I tend to think it's the wife who post more often...Well, live and learn! Instead of  'read the fine print', I'd say - read who's name is next to the photo :)  But then again, we can change our profile name too...Sigh...is there an end to it? 

So I gave up...
Facebook to me is turning into a Fakebook!
If you want to know how I'm doing - send me an email, read my blog, comment on it. And if I want to know how you are doing - trust me, I will find a way to reach you :) 
It takes more time to keep in touch via email, but I believe it's worth it,  communications are more private and meaningful. 
As for Facebook - I will keep my profile open for a while (to transfer photos, gather everyone's email, etc.) but 404 Page not found is bound to happen!

ps. Photo from http://www.webdevelopersnotes.com


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Slap in the face of single people

As if it's not tough enough to be single (assuming you fail to snatch a romantic partner despite your best attempts), but 14 February comes as a slap in the face of single people every year.

I am not gonna bitch about my single life - for the time being it's my choice. But some years ago, when I most sincerely was looking for love and not succeeding, it was most excruciating to witness shops, restaurants, bars, practically every social locale,  turnings crimson red from hearts in all sizes. Arg!

So what, 'Job well done, Cupid!', two people are in love, yay!
Studies have shown that the end of January is the most depressing time of the year. Let's add some more drama to it and have St.Valentine's day two weeks later. Eeek!

I am sick of reading restaurant menus stating that paella is only prepared for two, that the tempting dream holiday in the Caribbean is priced on the basis of two, all the cheesy commercials with couples in love , diamonds, red roses and heart shaped balloons... Will you be my Valentine? That almost sounds like a one-night-stand proposition...Sure! Next day it's 15 February. St.Valentine is gone, and so am I.

In the US, fortunately, your social status is not your future boss's business, but in Europe they make you rethink your life choices all awhile you are making a career choice. 'Do you have a family? Are you moving to 'city/country name' alone?'  How is that any of their business?!

A few years ago, my Bilbao-London flight was cancelled, and passengers were to be accommodated in a hotel for the night. A bus took us to a fancy hotel. First they accommodated the kids - a group of Spanish pupils was going on a field trip, then they proceeded with the families with kids, then the families and couples without kids, then everyone that was not traveling alone. The singles - about 11 of us, had to wait another 45 min on the bus. Somebody joked we should  get to know each other to the point of forming 'couple' for the night, just so we get off the bloody bus (been  2.5 hours already). Will you be my Valentine?

So, what is Valentine's Day all about? Are we celebrating love itself, or is this holiday exclusively for couples? And what about us, the single ones! Can we claim our own Holiday? What about Bachelors' Day 6 months later, on 14th of August? A hot summer night party may actually up the numbers for Valentine's Day...Sounds like a great idea to me! Until then...screw Valentine's day!










Friday, January 25, 2013

Australia

Remember the poll I had on my blog?

Will I move yet again to another country, and this time...to Australia?

Well, now that I am already 'down under', here is the story... coming out just in time for 26 January, Australia Day.


The truth is, when I first posted 'Let's play' and the poll along with it, I was driven by pure childish curiosity :-) What does Life have in store for me? Back in October 2010 (hard to believe that more than two years have passed since then!) I was madly in love with a young man whose big dream was to move to Australia. I sincerely wished him that his dream come true. But if so, what would have happened to me? would he ask me to join? would I go? after all, I had just followed my own dream - moving to the Netherlands, and I was so incredibly happy... 



There is no way I could have foreseen that the romance would crack and that I would lose my job shortly after, that I would be unemployed for an entire year, that my spirit would weaken and I would apply for jobs wherever there are, just so I can support myself again. At the end, I landed in Australia - just like that, never seriously thinking it would happen. 

They say 'God moves in a mysterious way'...I'd say, life happens in a mysterious way, at least that's how my Australia story unfolds... 

Friday, January 04, 2013

Happy New Year





Far away from home, from friends and the ones I love...what better way to welcome 2013 than amidst a cheerful crowd of 17000 (just one of the fireworks vista points), enjoying the amazing light show over Sydney's harbor, the silhouette of the Opera House ... and whispering Happy New Year!

The fireworks movie can be downloaded here (.m4v format) or here (.mov format).
Enjoy!