December 2009

Just a quick update to let you all know that I’ve crossed another thing off my 101/1001 list.

52. Write a letter to myself 10 years in the future.

I stumbled across the future me website this afternoon and was thrilled to discover that not only would I not have to hand write my letter to myself, but that I wouldn’t even have to try and think of someway to remind myself to read the letter ten years in the future – which is a relief, I can barely remember what needs to be done today let alone a decade from now! You type up your letter to yourself and then Future Me will email it to you on whichever date you specify in the future. Pretty handy!

I hope everyone is enjoying the silly season and that you all have a safe and happy New Years Eve followed by a safe and happy 2010!

Normally I am quite the Christmas grinch, scowling at speakers daring to broadcast Christmas carols in public places and grumbling at the idea of buying gifts for family members I don’t really like all that much out of obligation instead of goodwill. I have to admit that I judge you if I go past your house and find it covered in Christmas lights or with a Santa sticking out of the chimney. Not only do I not own a Christmas tree, but Luke and I have never exchanged Christmas gifts.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to give gifts to the people I love, I love thinking about finding the perfect little thing, thinking about what you would want more than anything else. My issue isn’t with the giving, it’s more with the idea of giving for the sake of giving, filling up stockings with useless junk that people don’t want or need, my issue is with the wasting of resources (both financial, and environmental) on the idea that at Christmas time we have to give gifts, and so we do.. and usually they aren’t even gifts you want, just junk to wrap for the festivity of it, which seems like it’s kind of missing the point.

Anyway, I know what you are all thinking, first the post about the Melbourne Cup and now this! What a humorless old grinch I am! BUT, the point of this post isn’t to grumble about all things Christmas, it’s actually to tell you that this year I am actually trying to be festive! I decided that instead of eating vegemite on toast for lunch – which was my original plan, I was going to cook up something fabulous for our first vegan Christmas. Luke is working at night, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a nice Christmas lunch together before he goes, right?!

So, yesterday we went grocery shopping for all ingredients for our Vegan Feast, and when we got home I discovered that even just having all the ingredients in the house was making me feel all warm and festive and not only that but it was even kind of nice. Shock horror!

Then, this morning I went to get the mail and there was a giant package from my mother, filled not only with Christmas presents but with Christmas decorations (when she found out we didn’t have a tree she almost cried down the phone, poor dear!), so I figured I would set up a little corner in the house with the decorations. There wasn’t a lot there, a tiny little red metal Christmas tree (I think it’s supposed to be the top ornament on an actual Christmas tree) and some tinsel and this strange flashing badge thing with a Santa on it, anyway I constructed some kind of tree structure using some old candle holders and wrapped it all with the tinsel so that if you squint really hard at it you might mistake it for a very small (and funny shaped) Christmas tree, then, I put all the presents underneath it and lo and behold that festive feeling got a bit more festive!

So! Now I am going to sit down and have a MASSIVE Christmas movie marathon in the hope that that makes me feel even MORE Christmassy. I have two days to get through them all, here is my list:

Gremlins (well it IS a Christmas movie!)
A Muppets Christmas Carol
Joyeux Noel
Home Alone (In honor of John Hughes who passed away this year)
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Love Actually

Okay, so it’s not really a VERY traditional Christmas movie list, I realise that, but surely I get points for trying to be a little more Christmassy?!

Anyway, while I’m feeling all warm and festive, I hope you all have a really lovely festive day, whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, or are someone who is just damn happy that there are a bunch of public holidays in December and January.

I was very excited today to receive a package in the mail today from Yes and Yes. The calendar has arrived!! And what a cute little calendar it is – and I’m not just saying that because I’m Miss September! – Full of space to make happy little lists (you all know how I love lists!) and lots of little tips to have a wonderful Yes and Yes kind of year. I love it!

I took that photo during our New Zealand road trip in June (back when we still lived in Sydney!). The building is The Church of the Good Shepherd and it looks over Lake Tekapo on the South Island. Inside the church, instead of having a normal altar it has a window so that the congregation looks out over the lake and beautiful Mount Cook. It’s such a beautiful place. Here is another photo I took that day.

23. Send out at least five books on BookCrossing (3/5)

I had a bit of a genius idea with my bookcrossing books (even if I do say so myself haha).. when I first started my 101/1001 project I sent out two book crossing books relatively quickly but when neither of them were “found” I started feeling a little discouraged and so I hadn’t send any more out into the world since. Then, when my couch surfer asked if he could borrow one of our books, and mail it back wen he was done, I decided to turn it into a bookcrossing book instead and gave it to him, as long as he promised to pass it onto another traveller with their promise to do the same.. fingers crossed that someone joins in the fun and “finds” it on the website!

Have you had any luck with bookcrossing? Was your book found? Did you find one?

A few months ago, my friend Nathan, updated her facebook status telling us all that she was bored (or something like that anyway, it was a while ago!), on a whim I suggested to her that she and Jaz and I start a story book, each of us writing a segment of the story and then mailing it onto the next person. I thought it was a wonderful idea at the time, and continued to think so right up until the exact second that the book landed on my desk. And now? Well now I can’t think of a single thing to write so I’ve hid it under my Lonely Planet India guide and my worn copy of The Joy of Vegan Baking because every time I look at it I get heart palpitations.

Sorry story book buddies, I promise I’ll get to it soon!

Yesterday morning I woke up to find an email from my friend Phi (Phi, when are you going to get a blog so I can hyperlink your name???). In the email was a link to a TED talk – this isn’t unusual, Phi is a TED talk addict and is usually trying to convince me to watch all the talks he comes across that inspire him or excite him, anyway his email was subject lined “this could ruin your day, or really inspire you”, it probably wasn’t the best idea to watch it while I was still in my pyjamas and half asleep, but I decided to give it a whirl.

So, it is because of Phi, and THIS video that, before I had even had breakfast yesterday morning I had decided to travel to India to try and change the world.

Okay, okay, I know that I’m not ACTUALLY going to change the world, but every little bit counts right?

So, after I watched the video I did lots of research and then I rushed into the bedroom where Luke was sleeping and shook him awake so that I could tell him all about my exciting plan. I don’t think he was nearly as excited I was, since I was going to be the one off saving the world and having adventures and he was the one who was going to be staying home and working and conveniently depositing money into my bank account every week while I was gone. But he took it all as well as could be expected, considering he was half asleep and he had absolutely no forewarning. “Three months?” he asked groggily, “India?” he muttered, confused, “What about an orphanage?” he asked, squinting at his mobile phone to figure out what the time was. So I rambled through the whole plan one more time. “It’s okay right?” I asked him and Luke, wonderful husband that he is, said “of course!” (though in his head he was probably saying “Of course! Of course you can leave me for three months to travel to a strange country where you probably won’t be safe and I have no way of protecting you! Of course you can leave me here in this strange little town in this strange little country that YOU convinced us to move to in the first place! Of course this is happening to me! This is what I get for marrying this crazy, impulsive, ridiculously nomadic girl in the first place!!!”).

So, now it looks like I will be looking forward to not ONE but TWO trips to India in 2010! How wonderful is that??

I still have a lot more research to do but at this stage I’m looking at flying over in late October (I was thinking December but now I’m not so sure), doing a 6 week volunteer program with a Women Empowerment organisation in Delhi, and a 6 week program with an orphanage in the Himalayas. And maybe while I’m there I’ll tack on a stint in an Ashram too, just for the fun of it!

Here’s to more adventures!

You might remember my post a little while ago, where I mentioned signing up with in an effort to start getting over my social phobia. Well, today was the day!! I’m embarrassed to tell you how many times I almost called the whole thing off, how many times I composed emails in my head detailing all sorts of weird and wonderful reasons why it was just impossible for us to host him, or how many times I agonised to Luke about any number of ridiculous things that I thought would go wrong the second the stranger walked through our front door.

In the end I’m ashamed to admit that Joel arrived on our doorstep, not because of my gracious – and brave – invitation, but by sheer dumb luck! He emailed me yesterday to say he was on his way, cycling madly all the way from Te Anau, and that he would arrive either today or tomorrow, he left me his mobile number at the bottom of the email and asked me to sms him our address.. which, of course, I didn’t do. I know, I know, shame on me! In my defense, I didn’t actually have any credit, but I do have a home phone so I could have just called him, but I was stupidly paranoid about the whole thing so I just kept putting it off and putting it off and putting it off, until about 6pm when I noticed a very worried looking man cycling up and down my street, his bicycle overloaded with camping gear and water bottles and saddle bags packed to bursting point. What a sorry sight he was!

My heart gave an almighty, panic stricken, jump when I saw him, and I did consider just ignoring him altogether, but you’ll all be pleased to know that I didn’t leave the poor man to fend for himself (which, for the record, wouldn’t have been so bad, there is a caravan park just down the road) and instead I took a deep breath and went outside and introduced myself.

So here he is, lovely Joel, who isn’t at all intimidating or scary and in fact is just a lovely little sunburned French man trying to have an adventure. What a mess I must have looked, the strangely nervous, barefoot, dreadlocked hippy girl, all a flutter at his arrival! I made us some chamomile tea (like any good barefoot, dreadlocked hippy girl would!) and we sat around my loungeroom chatting and watching the sunset over the mountains. I offered him dinner but he had already eaten – thank goodness for that because I’ve no idea what I would have made for him! – And now, 6 hours after his arrival, we have compared life stories, taken photos of each other, exchanged email addresses, compared our New Zealand panoramic photography, become facebook friends and I’m in the process of convincing him to settle in Queenstown so we can be coffee buddies.

He is tucked up in bed now – exhausted from cycling over 100kms today – and I am sitting here,¬†marveling¬†at my own absurdity, it’s moments like this, when I am awash in the happy glow of socialising with friendly people that I really have to wonder about myself, I mean I practically gave myself an ulcer worrying about this very night, and now it is here and it’s absolutely fine!

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