Three plane journeys

Where does the time go, eh? Almost a month has passed since I left for my whirlwind trip to the northern hemisphere…and a whirlwind it was.

I spent ages uuumming and aaahing over whether I should go to the UK or not in July – I had a couple of reasons, but it’s a very long way to go from all the way down here. But then my best friend told me he was getting married and suddenly I had the excuse I’d wanted. Wedding of the Year: UK Edition!

First thought, I flew Air New Zealand internationally for the first time and it was amazing. 10/10. Would recommend. Every other airline I flew was absolute pants but I digress. Because there’s a direct flight from Auckland to Vancouver, I decided to stop off there for a couple of days. I always try to go somewhere new when I travel, otherwise I feel like I’m wasting time somehow? I don’t know. Only so many leave days in the year. Ugh.

Vancouver was very pretty. And very overcast. I could not find a decent coffee anywhere and it made me very homesick, even though I had only gone for two days at that point. What can I say, when you live in the natural habitat of the flat white, you get used to certain standards. And when you’re boyfriend is a barista, it’s hard not to link coffee with fuzzy happy feelings. I mean, coffee has always given me fuzzy happy feelings but that’s beside the point.

My favourite part of my Canadian layover was visiting Grouse Mountain – hopped on the shuttle from downtown and spent a very foggy morning hanging with the two resident bears Coolah and Grinder. It was freezing. Summer is a lie. The fog lifted a little towards the end of my visit but it was actually just really nice wandering around the woods. Very atmospheric. And then I rounded off the day by walking around Stanley Park, a huuuuuge public park that borders downtown Vancouver and surrounded by Vancouver Harbour. In complete contrast to the mountain, it was gorgeously warm and sunny in town. All round lovely day.

I set off to London very little fanfare and spent the flight next to the most annoying man ever who kept turning my overhead light on and off while I was trying to sleep. I’ve decided airlines should let you choose whether you want to sit next to men or women on planes. It’s been my experience that men take up way too much space and don’t even try to fit into their surroundings. It’s tedious.

London was a delightful blur of friends. I caught up with M for dinner on my first night and we also went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour. The Hogwarts Express is there now! I was so excited! Even though I’d been before, it was still a lot of fun. And it was just awesome to hang out with M who’d only moved to London 4 months ago and it really seems to be agreeing with her. Yay!

Of course, on my second day it was time for Wedding of the Year: UK Edition (insert crowd cheering) What an absolutely lovely day. Just perfect for the couple, and filled with so much love and good will, I could barely stand it. It’s like your heart will just burst with the good vibes, you know? Could not wish for a better day for such a great couple and I’m just so grateful to see them surrounded by wonderful people. So thankful I got to share it with them.

And I got to spend loads of time with the groom the following week! Woo! We had pizza and played card games and it was almost like nothing had changed at all. I so desperately wish we could just hang out like that more often, so easy and relaxed, but no, of course we have to be a 34 hour plane ride apart. Life is hard.

I also got to meet my other bff A’s brand new baby boy! You can read all about him on her blog. It was so nice to see her and just catch up. We’ve come so far from where we were when we first met each other what must be 10 years ago but it’s so awesome that we can just pick up where we left off when we see each other. Even if we are actual adults now. The horror.

No trip to London would be complete without a gig – Twin Atlantic at Scala which was effing amazing and intimate and everything I love in life. I managed to catch up with some friends from my former work beforehand and it was so, so nice. It’s weird how you can still get on with people and just really click even though you only see them every two years and maybe exchange a Facebook message every eight months or so. I was also delighted to squeeze in a theatre visit with my friend V who had just gotten back from holiday. We used to be theatre buddies back in the day so, again, just like old times! The play was quite different and I found it fascinating…and it randomly had Matt Smith in it. I miss my UK friends so much. They’re good people.

Because rest is for the weak when on holiday, I crammed in a day trip to Paris because some of my lovely Sydney friends happened to be there and it was J’s birthday. I’ve been to Paris a couple of times so I’m pretty chill about wanting to do things, so I think that helped make this such a great day. I could just catch up with everyone and just go with the flow, really. Plus it was a gorgeous day, sunny, warm, and I love the way Paris sparkles in the sun. I always feel so grumpy when I first arrive (cause let’s face it, it’s dirty and it smells) but then I walk along the Seine and I get to the Latin Quarter, and all I want to do is rent a loft and write for three months. Such romanticism. It doesn’t suit me.

Just like that, it was all over, and I had to come home. Downloading Pokemon Go just in time for the journey to the airport…and the many hours I had to spend there after the flight was delayed. I was so stressed. I had a three hour layover in San Francisco but the delay quickly meant we were actually only due to arrive as my connecting flight was set to depart. And then they had issues with the in-flight entertainment when we boarded and I was about ready to lose my mind. But we got to San Fran and we were met by a lovely staff member who rushed us through security (wtf America, you need to chill) and we didn’t have to collect our bags so I count that as a win. Still had to run to the next gate though so arrived nice and sweaty as the plane was boarding. Who doesn’t love getting on a 13 hour flight drenched in sweat? I have never been so relieved to land in Auckland but alas, my joy was short-lived, cause they promptly cancelled my connecting flight to Wellington. I was so done by this point. I hate layovers and two is too many for me. That last leg from Auckland when you’ve already been on a plane for 24 hours is killer. And it was 5.45am and my rebooked flight was at 1pm. How about no? I managed to get on a 9am flight. Home by 10, collected by the lovely boyf, and at work by 12. Go me!

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The whole trip feels like a lifetime ago – it’s just been so manic at work. But it was a lovely trip. After all, what’s better than catching up with good friends?

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What happened?

Google ‘terrible blogger’ and you’ll find a photo of me. It’s been an atrocious year for doing things I said I’d do, like blog, or you know, be around. I’d like to claim that I’ll be better but I’ve realised claims like that are counter-productive…basically, I have no free time so I doubt 2015 will be a better year for blogging. Waaaaah.

Regardless, I’m here now and lord, do I have a lot to catch up on. Where has 2014 gone? What exactly happened? I did not authorise any of this! I need an adult! (Apparently I am an adult now, I also did not authorise that. Double waaaah.)

My whole life is upside down since my last post. Things were insanely busy, what with the broken wrist and never ending uni work and moving countries. Again. I know, I know. T’is mental. So, in order, this happened:

Broke my wrist
Already blogged about it. But it went on for ages and was a massive pain in the ass. Not fun. Wouldn’t recommend.

Visited the UK
Was fun. Would recommend. Not with a broken wrist though…well, technically not broken but I was told it needed to stay in the splint for the journey so…that was something. It did mean I got a lot of sympathy on the plane though, which was handy since I had developed a fear of flying shortly before leaving (I was flying Malaysia airlines, so, self-explanatory.) But yes, I went to London and got to hang out with my BFFs and have an amazing time. I went to Paris for a day with V, Ireland for a day of Game of Thrones adventuring with Abbi and spent five glorious days in Iceland which is definitely in best holiday ever contention. It included a flight over a motherflipping volcano! It doesn’t get more awesome than that.

Moved to Wellington
Surprise! In a bit of a long, drawn-out procedure, I applied for a job as a bit of a joke in May and three months later ended up getting it. But because I’d broken my wrist and was essentially useless, I couldn’t start when they wanted me to but for some inexplicable reason they decided they were happy to wait and so at the end of September, I packed up my life and moved to the land of the long white cloud. It’s been a little over three months and I absolutely love Wellington, it’s a cute little city with a hipster vibe and more coffee shops than any caffeine loving fiend could hope for. And everyone is so nice. Mum was with me the first couple of weeks as I settled in and then M came to visit for my birthday. Lots of fun was had. The job is challenging and extremely busy, and I’m still finding my feet. I’m worried about how it’s going to fit in with my PhD (yes, still doing it, long distance) and I don’t think I’m going to get much sleep in the foreseeable future. But my manager is great and the team I’ve been adopted into is really nice. I already have what I’d call one good friend so that’s always great. Another girl always takes me out with her, so I’ve been to more soccer games than I ever thought I’d go to and the League grand final and lots of other random things, like the santa fun run. It’s really sweet of her to invite me and hey, it’s fun. Overall, it’s a pretty cool organisation to work for so, you know, I’m just letting it play out at the moment and not making snap judgments.

In other news, my ironic love of One Direction is no longer ironic – both worrying and hilarious. I’m also obsessed with Taylor Swift. Queen Tay! Oh well. Pop music is fun y’all. I really really need to listen to more new music though, I’m woefully behind on albums released this year. But where does one find the time? WHERE? That said, I have found the time to become obsessed with Teen Wolf (up to season 3!) and get up to date with Vikings after everyone told me to watch it (really it’s just a show for people who like Sons of Anarchy but not Game of Thrones, and vice versa.)

I haven’t read nearly as many books as I’d like, excluding uni reading of course. I’m sitting on 9 for the year, but I read one twice (The Gone Away World, so good) and I’ve also reread three Harry Potter books (currently on The Deathly Hallows). Just finished The Queen of The Tearling on the plane back to Perth for Christmas and it was soooooo goooooood. Agh. I hate reading unfinished series though. I’m too impatient. Look at this A song of ice and fire fiasco, this is where series reading gets you! But I digress. I’ve just downloaded The Maze Runner for the flight back to NZ, looking forward to that one. And no, haven’t seen the film.

That’s another area that’s been woeful this year, film watching. I just tried to make a list of things I watched this year and it came to 24, excluding re-watches of course. Pathetic! My fave films released in 2014 that I’ve actually seen: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Edge of Tomorrow and The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies because I am lame and Middle Earth is everything and no, I didn’t see it twice in the space of 3 days, what are you talking about? In related news, Guardians of the Galaxy was lame. Laaaaaame. I also finally saw Only Lovers Left Alive which is basically everything I ever wanted in a film. 

So yes. That’s the last few months in a nutshell. In 2015 I want to read more, whine less, write more, finish Sons of Anarchy, organise my time better and be an all round bad-ass that gets shit done. Bring. It. On. No doubt I’ll be in a corner crying and muttering incoherently about my thesis by the end of January.

Music: Blank Space – Taylor Swift

Thanks for the memories

So, it’s that time again. I can hardly believe that the year is over but then, that’s what everyone says. I know I’ve already done my Christmas Countdown of things that I’ve been thankful for this year, but I’m still going to do a retrospective. 2013 was a funny one – mostly good, if challenging at times. I’ve had a blast.

It’s been a year now since I left my beloved Sydney, and indeed a year since I’ve set foot there. At the time the decision to come back to London felt like it could blow up in my face at any second. So rash and ridiculous. But I thought it was the right thing for me and I’m happy to say I was right! Best decision I could have made. And I got back in time to go on a work trip to Frankfurt and learn the hard way that flying while hungover is fun for no one. I remember January really well, which seems quite weird because everything else is a bit of a blur except for V’s karaoke birthday partay in February, Budapest with Abbi in March and the Borough karaoke incident in April. Oh, and it randomly snowed in April. I remember being outraged. I sustained many a burn wound over this time period as well. I’m pretty skilled at that.

May/June saw me visit the parentals in Perth, their new home, and I found to my delight I actually really liked it there. Convenient, as it’ll be my new home in 12 days. Upon my return to London, I found it extremely lush and overgrown and summery – FINALLY. Many a book was read in St James’s Park and Victoria Tower Gardens during many a sunny day. It was around this time that the boys started going to casinos and I inevitably ended up tagging along to cause a scene and drag them away from black jack tables. It was also around this time that I realised that my work friends were not just work friends but actual proper friends who make my life a thousand times better.

We got new upstairs neighbours in July who decided to introduce themselves by flooding our kitchen. It’s a real testament to what an adult I am that I did not just run away to wait for the flatmate to turn up and deal with it. We did not have lights for a bit after that, but we did have craft beers to drink, so everything kind of worked out ok. Abbi and I went on a cupcake walking tour and ate many delicious things, and I also went out a lot, drank a load of jaegerbombs, nearly lost my phone and made questionable life choices.

Things got absolutely mental during the last month of summer. I went to Birmingham to cover the international quilt festival, headed up to Edinburgh for Fringe and attended the End of the Road festival in Salisbury. It was a full on month and I loved every second of it. In September, I had to go vote and received a beer voucher from the Walkabout for my trouble – summed up Australia pretty well, I thought. I also had a bit of a meltdown and started unraveling around the seams. BUT it is also the month I finally got my hair cut. Woo, short hair! And I finished Sons of Anarchy season 3, which I only mention because it has possibly one of the most satisfying season finales of a show ever. The flatmate had introduced me to Cowboy Bebop and I fell completely in love with it. He also acquired a new table top game called Descent that we started playing and adoring – we’re halfway through a game as I type this. AND because the boys at work were scouting new date locations, we discovered a new cocktail bar that I also fell completely in love with and would have moved into, if they’d let me.

Actually, September was a pretty fraught month. We went out almost every night after work for the last two weeks and completely ruined ourselves for ages afterwards. Everything fell to pieces a little bit. Maybe it was because Breaking Bad finished. OH GOD, BREAKING BAD. Ahem. I was working on a ridiculously OTT project at work which didn’t help my general state of emotional turmoil. And I rolled my ankle which has been consistently effed ever since. But hey, whatever! Fun! The angsty vibes continued into October but Kat was here, and then Lizzie came to visit and we went to Brighton. I introduced her to the aforementioned cocktail bar where I tried some questionable cocktails like the Bacon & Egg. Later in the month I received a wonderful tour of Oxford from the flatmate, complete with many pints in quaint, homely pubs. We capped off the experience by returning to London for a birthday party on the Thames. October was the month of the hurricane, which mainly involved me sitting in an empty office contemplating my own mortality as a crane across the road threatened to fall over. It was also the month I became a published academic. And the month I was told that my visa wasn’t going to be renewed. The grand finale was, of course, my Halloween party. The first house party I’ve ever had. And the last house party I’ll ever have. It was both really fun and really awful, for reason that I will not divulge. A wonderful, fun disaster. At least it was memorable!

The year’s last hurrah involved a lot of gigs in short succession, a box from home filled with chocolate and festive cheer. V and I went to watch the Carnaby Street lights being turned on, followed by watching our friend’s really awesome band play the Water Rats. Kat was back in town, always fun, and I watched the All Blacks beat England in a lovely kiwi pub. There was a lot more drinking. I felt utterly loved on my birthday and, yes, there was more karaoke. Went to see Mojo with V and utterly loved it. By then festive fever had well and truly taken hold so there was much decorating in the office and perhaps too many Christmas carols. And oh, so many Christmas parties, lunches and secret santa gift exchanges. So many. All lovely though. Finishing it all off was Lizzie staying for Christmas which involved a blur of markets, a zoo visit, a Lord of the Rings marathon and Coriolanus.

And that brings us to the present, where in a couple of hours I’ll head off to St James’s Park to watch the fireworks over Horse Guards Parade. I have so many wonderful memories of this year and I am so thankful for all the people in my life. When I first moved back in January, I never thought I’d still be here so late in the game – I certainly didn’t think I’d still be in this same flat. But I am so, so incredibly glad that I am. I am going to miss everything about my life here so much but I hope that I’ll be able to carry the friendships I’ve made with me.

Thanks for the memories. I hope 2014 will be just as good to me.

Tis the season

Merry Christmas everyone! I’ve had a wonderfully manic festive season that’s just reinforced how lucky I’ve been this year to have the family and friends that I do. I’m about to combust with all my festive cheer. Lizzie has braved the psychotic weather to come down to ol London town so we can have a nice Aussie Christmas together…barbie on Westminster bridge, anyone?

xmaspuppy