One foot in front of the other

18766033_10155369634441531_2734394718576523237_nI burnt three diaries the other day. They spanned across several years from my early teenage years, when nothing went as it did in the movies and I complained a lot. I probably still complain a fair amount now to be fair, but I like to also think I’m a lot more grateful; because as overwhelming and terrifying as it is, I love my life. And that’s why I burnt the diaries, I didn’t want to read years worth of moaning when I could focus on the happiness of now.

That’s what I’ve been trying to do this week especially, focus on the now. I have made it to Australia! And for the past 8 days I have just been putting one foot in front of the other, trying to ignore the voices in my head of what to do the next day or week, or whether I’ve made the right choice, and just focus on settling in. And on sleeping – they do not exaggerate the jet lag!

I’ll be honest, it’s been hard. Wondering if I’m doing a good job as an AuPair, if the family like me, if I’ll make any friends here. If I’ll spend the next 17 weeks regretting my decision. But I have made it through everyday without tears and with a smile by the evening.

Today was a particularly good day though, because all the worrying about what to do at the weekend (hey, I said I was trying not to worry, not that I was succeeding!) were unnecessary. I went for a lovely bike ride through the sunny town and then met up with another AuPair who took me for a walk around Alice Spring’s old telegraph station. This basically means walking through red dusty paths with strangely green trees surrounding you and a lot of flies following you. I did see a rock wallaby though!

It’s a strange place, Alice Springs. It’s basically the middle of Australia, this town with a cinema and shopping centre that is surrounded by outback. But it has a charm about it, this relaxed vibe that they know there isn’t much to do but everybody is friendly. I wouldn’t want to come on holiday here, but to live, so far it has nice chilled vibes. However, I’m always hesitant to speak too soon!

Anyway, just thought I’d say hello from the other side (of the world) and share the appreciation for life. Have a happy and sunny day now y’all, and don’t forget to always find things to be thankful for.

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Lucky tears

Mamma Mia was correct, there is an ABBA song for every occasion; I’m currently finding myself humming ‘knowing me knowing you’, because I know breaking up is never easy, but I do actually have to go. Ok, admittedly I’m not breaking up with anyone, but I do have to say goodbye and go away.

In just a few days (I daren’t count how many) I fly a ridiculous amount of miles, and I am freaking out and crying more than usual. But most of the time they’re actually happy tears, grateful tears. I cry because I’m aware of how blessed I am to have a supportive family who will look out for me, even on the other side of the world, and because, as daunting as it is, I have a very exciting opportunity and it’s one that I must embrace wholeheartedly. I think Winnie the Pooh said it best; “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?” It would be a sad life if we could just get up and leave totally unphased.  My life isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect, but the imperfections just highlight the beauty better than any contouring ever could.

Driving away from Oxford with a car full of boxes last week I recalled coming to uni for the first time nearly 2 years ago. Half an hour from my halls and I was sitting in the back seat, texting my friend freak outs and crying – not the impressive, silent, can’t breathe sobs that I did last week, but rather the pathetic trickling tears kind. Sure uni wasn’t what I’d imagined it would be like, and I am taking a year out, but I don’t regret going and I’m glad of the friends I made and the experiences that I had whilst there, and I’m confident it shall be the same on my travels, as it always is with tricky and terrifying new beginnings in life.

For now however, I shall just try not to cry whilst I write birthday cards in preparation of the next 6 months, try not to wince at the amount a good quality backpack costs, and try to stockpile enough sleep so that the 2 days of flying doesn’t totally destroy me. My lucky-in-life tears and I look forward to telling you all the crazy that I get up to starting next week.

Is it just me?

How is everybody else not absolutely terrified? Sometimes I go into autopilot and then after a bit too long I suddenly go ‘oh my days, this is my life. This isn’t a dress rehearsal, it’s not a movie that I should be sitting back and watching pass me by, this is my life.’ And the way everybody else seems to just get on with everything, happily living, I have to wonder if they don’t go in to this autopilot like me or if they are just jolly good robots. You see the thing is, life is terrifying, and so it should be. If you do something stupid, you hurt somebody. If you don’t embrace an opportunity, you’ll regret it. And if you spend all your time watching Netflix in bed you’ll miss your own life. We need that fear to keep us going, to motivate us to get up and keep trying. We need to embrace our lives.

But nobody else seems to be as terrified as life by me, they just live in this little bliss bubble enjoying each moment, or repressing all feelings in a very English way. Maybe I’m additionally freaking out because I just said goodbye to a dear friend. It feels so final even though I should be seeing her in six months once I’m back from my travels. I guess goodbyes always feel a bit final because you never know what will happen, and you don’t know what your next plans to meet will be. The last time I said goodbye to a friend we ended up growing apart and now we don’t talk anymore. It’s all a bit unknown really, and that is bloody terrifying. Another thing that’s bloody terrifying is that I’m going half way across the world, to the antipodes (big word I learnt from my brother) to a place I’ve never been to live with some people I’ve never met. Am I crazy? I think I’m crazy. I also think I have a right to be freaking out, and that’s why there is a chance you saw me and my friend crying at St Pancras station today as we repeatedly hugged goodbye – I didn’t cry on public transport this time, just in all areas around it.

Still, even though I am crying in public places and totally bricking it, I’m still going. I am moving forward with my life, because you know what’s more terrifying than living? Letting life pass you by.

Sir, are you hitting on me?

So I’m sitting on a bus, in London bare in mind. It’s been another long day at placement, chances are I have an ‘I will kill anyone who gets in my way’ death glare tattooed on my face. I’m minding my own business, counting down the stops on the familiar 30 minute journey until I can scream in my bed – or more realistically, scoff my face – knees pushed up on the back of the empty seat in front of me, head against the window, earphones in. That’s when I notice him out of the corner of my eye. The bus driver is looking over his shoulder, checking out something inside the pretty empty bus.

He carried on driving and I thought nothing of it… until he looked again. I could have sworn he was looking at me. Maybe I was humming along to my music again, or perhaps he didn’t like me having may feet up on his bus seats. I put my legs down and carried on looking out the window; 3 stops to go.

Mr bus driver was definitely looking at a me though. The third time I caught eyes with him and took my earphones out, because clearly he had something he needed to get off his chest.

“Did you ever have long hair?” It wasn’t just him looking at me now, but the other 2 passengers still on the bus.

“Yes…” I answered cautiously. Did I know him? I didn’t recognise him. He was too old for me to have gone to school with him, and seeing as I’m not a London girl it’s not like I just knew him from around.

“You should grow it long again. You’d look pretty with long hair.”

Come again for big fudge. This man was weighing up my hair (which admittedly was messy, because it had been a long day and I just didn’t care) instead of looking at the busy roads. I didn’t respond right away, I was far too confused. “I like it short, it was too puffy when it was long.” I eventually answered, rather lamely, and pushed the stop button, because I was finally home.

Totally stunned, I told my housemate when I got home. She was indignant, outraged on my behalf. I think she pretty close to writing a letter to Transport for London, a nice long rant about their misogynistic bus drivers. But the thing is I now find it rather amusing, and it’s not like all bus drivers give me fashion advice. You’ve got to admire his confidence really, even if his advice wasn’t appreciated. But what I really took away from this is that my face was pretty alright, I just needed to sort out my hair. And hey, a compliment is still a compliment, right?