Tuesday, February 27, 2007

curve of the earth

andrew's in china. shanghai, to be specific. he got there last night. nice to know that he's closer to me. i miss him.

chris and i went out and played pool with harry and his friends bryce, ben, and jake. ben, harry and i were on a team, and at the end of the tie-breaker game i sank the two winning shots. i was excited.

it's funny how a new place can be so different but so the same. i'm in australia, this amazing country, but i spent my night playing pool and watching soccer in an irish pub on king street. i could have been anywhere. kinda crazy to think about.

but it's good to know that there are fundamentals to life. that people enjoy common things. andrew and i talk a lot about how it's simple things that make me happy, or small things. he says he doesn't understand how i can be so complicated but so easy to understand at the same time. but that's being human, don't you think?

Monday, February 26, 2007

lessons

today i learned that sometimes all it takes is the suggestion of what you thought you wanted to make you realize that you really want something else.

today i learned that life is always going to be complicated, and that an easy answer is a rarity.

today i learned that no matter what you do, things have a way of happening before you realize it.

today i learned that it's ok to be unsure.

today i learned that it's also ok to know what you want and to go for it.

today i learned that the best part about the unknown is that it's exactly that.

today, i found a little bit more peace.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

48 hours of meh

last night we went on a harbor cruise. despite how cool it sounds and how pretty it was, it actually sucked. we paid 60 bucks for tickets, the food was crappy, and there were like 400 loud obnoxious kids taking up all of the space. on the upshot, i got a good(considering my camera is pretty much busted since the display broke and now it can only take pictures and video without any of the functions like night flash or without being able to see it after) picture of the harbor at night.



today chris and i went to watch liam the the boys play cricket. boring game, but we sat with donny and had a lot of fun talking with him. after the game we went to see wiggles headquarters, where donny and liam work. it was awesome- we got see the costumes and where they do the filming and recording for their cds.

we drove home through a huge huge huge thunder and lightning storm, and hung out at liam's while we waited for it to pass. gore came to pick us up and we went into the city for their friend's party at some bar. not that great, i only knew liam's friends and it was loud and all i wanted to do was go home and sleep.

thank god i get to sleep in tomorrow.

Friday, February 23, 2007

this is the life

today was uplifting.

i woke up to tom making bacon and eggs, which smelled unbelievably good and made me wish for the big, greasy, morning-after-a-night-out sunday breakfasts of camp, sneaking off to go eat when we weren't supposed to. i poured a bowl of cereal and sat on the porch with him, chatting a bit but mostly just enjoying the fact that i was eating breakfast on the porch with the sun beating down on my legs.

i read a magazine while harry and tom bummed about a bit, and then they decided to go to the beach and invited me and chris along. i called her and told her to get ready, then hopped in the shower and put on my swim suit.

we drove over to near bronte beach, slightly unsure of where coogee, the beach we wanted, was. we pulled over to look at the map and found that we were only about 3 minutes from coogee. we parked, and stopped at maccas(mcdonalds) for burgers and fries for tom and chris and a chocolate shake for me.

we walked down to the beach and once again it hit me just how gorgeous this country is. walking around the city i can kind of forget how close to the water i am, but walking over the pale sand to the deep-blue ocean was beautiful.

we spread our towels out, and i lay down while chris and the boys put their sunscreen on(i had put mine on before we left to give it time to absorb, like a good girl). we all lay in the sun for a bit, and then decided to go for a swim.

the boys jumped straight in and went body surfing, but chris and i hung back and just let the water rush up to our legs and our feet sink into the sand. eventually she joined them, and i watched as they all jumped when the waves hit them. i looked around at the gorgeous blue water and felt it surrounding my legs, and closed my eyes and felt the sun on them. it was one of the purest moments of peace i've had in a long while.

tom rode a wave back to me and asked me to come out to where they were. i was scared because i haven't done more than wade in the ocean since i was tiny, and even then i don't think i ever really swam in it. i was nervous about it, but i figured that i came here to do something new and exciting, so i better get a move on. he showed me how to tell which waves i could ride and which to dive under, and i almost made it out to where the three of them were before getting uneasy. i started to head back and was bashed about by the waves a bit, swallowed some salt water and got it up my nose, but in the end i was glad i tried something new. i may suck at it, and not actually like being that far into the ocean, but it felt good to come to face to face with something i've never done and at least try it. i liked letting myself be part of the sea instead of just watching it.

chris came out of the water as i was toweling off and we went for a shower. when we got back the boys were there, so we all laid down and started chatting. we talked about classes and harry and i had a couple of good laughs. i like him and tom more and more each time i interact with them. chris was cracking up because harry had sand in his curly dark hair, and we all watched him bury his feet in the sand as tom sifted it through his hands.





eventually we decided to come home, and on the way is started to rain. chris fell asleep in the car, and when we got home she went to her place to take a nap. the boys and i took turns showering and then i chilled out and read my book for a while.

chris came over at 8 because we had dinner plans with gore, and she and i hung out while we waited for him. he called at 8:30 and said he was on the way, so we went out front to meet him. when we hopped in the car he gave us each a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek, and i immediately had a huge smile on my face. gore is someone who's company i sorely miss when he's not around. he's constantly telling stories and making me laugh, but he's also really insightful.

we found a cool chinese place at darling harbour and sat down to eat, gore regaling us with stories about the odd ways he's met girls. we talked about the whole liam situation, and gore actually gave me some things to think about. it's nice to have someone around to talk about it with who knows liam. no one at home or school does, so it's hard for them to get a complete picture or to give suggestions.

after dinner we got ice cream and sat looking out on the harbor and talking about australia vs. america- work ethic, movies, lifestyle. it's always interesting to me to talk about how different it is here. chris and i talk a lot about how america is so self-absorbed and go go go. not individual americans, persay, but the just country in general.

gore dropped us off at home and gave us huge hugs, especially me because he knows how strange this whole liam thing is. we made plans to come out and watch the boys play cricket on saturday, and then gore backed out of the parking lot and chris and i walked home.

so maybe life hasn't gotten less complicated, and maybe the peace i've found in this place so far has been fleeting. but hey, i've only been here a week.

i dig my toes into the sand
the ocean looks like a thousand diamonds strewn across a blue blanket
i lean against the wind, pretend that i am weightless
and in this moment i am happy


wish you were here - incubus

Thursday, February 22, 2007

easy lucky free

today was a quiet day. finally.

i got up at noon, finally able to sleep in for the first time since i've been here. i got ready and called christiana, and we went to get our student i.d.'s. afterwards we ate at this little cafe that's tucked away on campus. it was pretty good, surprisingly.

we came back and spent the afternoon reading magazines and listening to music. it was the first time since we've been here that we haven't really had to go to something or do something or sit through some lecture.

chris went back to her place eventually, and i sat on the couch reading my book. cyrus, a guy we met at orientation a couple days ago, called to invite me(well, both chris and i) to a party, but i said no because we've been out and about every day and night since we got here. i'd had a good, lazy afternoon hanging out and i didn't really want to make the effort.

i kind of had dinner with harry, my roommate- i did dishes while he cooked, and then i had some cereal and read while he ate his steak and mashed potatoes. he's pretty cool, harry. quiet, but he's funny in his way and has a great smile. tom, another roommate of mine, is very very australian. you know it right away when you look at him. but he's nice and very polite, and funny as well. rachel just moved in yesterday, and she's from upstate new york. sweet, but keeps to herself a bit. nothing wrong with that though, i'm usually never out this much.

when we finished dinner harry and i decided to watch a movie. just as we were about to start the ladies man (not really worth seeing unless you are incredibly bored), tom got home from work and sat down to watch with us. we started napoleon dynamite after that, but harry's computer ran out of battery so we decided to call it a night.

i'm still not sure how i feel about being here. don't get me wrong- i absolutely love this city. it's sunny, bright, young, vibrant, and being near the water... i honestly cannot describe how happy it makes me to just to go to circular quay, and that's not even the beach.

on the other hand though, i feel that if i'm not careful i'm in danger of just falling into a routine and doing the same things but in a different place. i know that's not true, because we're going to the beach on sunday and out with gore and possibly liam and liss tomorrow, and there's the zoo here and the aquarium, and tons of museums... i want to go to the blue mountains again, and out on mick's boat. i'm too excited by the harbor and everything there is to do here that i know i won't just stay home all the time like i do a lot in new york, but i'm still not quite at home, and sometimes exploring seems a little daunting. while it's nice not to have the constant go go go of new york, i miss it. i fell smack in love with this city the moment i set foot here last june, but new york is a place that's slowly crept up on me and stolen my heart, much like some of the people in my life. so while i might spend a few nights in missing everyone at home or just reading my book, i know that because i took a chance on this, i'm going to get a lot out of it.

i've learned already that life keeps happening to matter where you are. the same thoughts of do i have enough money for dinner?, the same constant checking of your cell phone in case you missed a call, the same comparing yourself to others.

i want to find some form of peace while i'm here. life as been so full of upheaval the last year, and while there are still many things to be settled, things that maybe won't be settled until i get home even, i'd like to find some kind of balance here, some sense of control. i'm trying to learn not to worry about the future. though i realize it's important to plan and to be prepared, i'm trying to just kind of let things happen the way they will and to adopt the whole no worries attitude that is so prevalent here.

i feel like i'm continually searching. not that there's anything wrong with that- i love new experiences, meeting new people, learning new things. i'm happy about who i am, for the most part. i guess i just need to keep in mind that the unknown is part of life, and that its a big part of why i'm here. i wanted something different, something kind of scary, something that would require me to be brave and to break my routines. i definitely found that, but as for what else i'm searching for, i couldn't tell you beyond the vague feeling that it's always just round the corner and i can never reach it.

guess i'll have to take things one step at a time, starting with stopping to appreciate the way the sun and the wind feel on my face.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

transpacificism



things are so different here, but so the same. i'm loving this city, the sun, the huge campus, the water. knowing the circular quay and the amazing beauty there is 20 minutes away and that there are a million gorgeous beaches nearby is kind of blowing my mind.

but no matter how far you go, life is still life. you still have to sit through boring information sessions, hang out in your apartment at night while you figure out what you want to do until eventually you've sat there too long and it's too late to do anything, and deal with the problems that living poses.

i've missed liam. it's been good to see him. i've forgotten how he makes me laugh, and how much fun we have together. i was so anxious about coming here and seeing him that i had stomach aches for the first few days until i actually got used to hanging out with him. they're gone now.

i'm actually pretty glad we went through everything- i can look at this whole situation much more objectively. i think things will work out- i'm hoping to leave here on good terms with him, and having had some fun. it's weird to be transitioning into the friend zone, but good. i think i just had to be here and in that situation to realize that we could do it. i kept thinking it was all or nothing, but i think we can find a good something in the middle.

i haven't heard from andrew since i left. huge bummer. he's getting ready to go to shanghi soon so i know that he's busy. it doesn't help that my aim and msn won't work here. but still. a hello would be nice.

tomorrow's the last day of orientation, and then we finally get to sleep in. i haven't had a decent night's sleep since i left iowa, so i'm pretty excited to have a nice leisurely morning, maybe grab a coffee and a muffin and just read on the lawn or at circular quay. to just be still.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

sydney, here i am

i'm finally here.

we landed thursday morning and went straight away to circular quay(pronounced key) to see the bridge and the opera house. we took a walk around the botanical gardens and had a snack before we came back to usyd.



we moved into our apartments; i have a room in a 5 person apartment. it's nice- crisp white walls, and huge kitchen, 2 couches and an armchair and pretty good furnishings in my room. christiana and i went with the two other guys staying here at usyd and bought sheets and towels and such at kmart. when we got back i had a shower in one of the bathrooms, which are nice, and then we made our way back to circular quay for drinks at the opera bar(which is this beautiful outdoor place right on near the water, from which spectacular views of both the bridge and the opera house surround you) with the rest of the brockport group.

eventually everyone from brockport except chris and i left, but we stayed because i had called liam from a payphone at kmart, and he agreed to meet us there. we were talking to the two women running the orientation, carol and skye, for about an hour, and liam was late so i was getting really antsy. when carol and skye left chris and i walked around to see if maybe somehow we'd missed him. no luck, so we sat at a table for a while. when he didn't show up for another half an hour we decided to do one last walk around and then head back to campus. as we were walking though, liam appeared right in front of me, with gore(mike) behind him. i gave liam a hug and asked him why he was so late, and he explained that he'd had to wait for gore and then they'd gotten mixed up on their way in. i gave gore a hug and introduced chris, and then we all sat down and had a few drinks. it was really nice, actually- totally surreal to be there with them and at the opera bar, no less. when it got late the boys drove us home, and we told them we'd see them saturday for gore's birthday dinner.

on friday the group had an info session about classes and things like that, and then we were visited be Uncle Max, an aboriginal elder. he showed us his spears and boomerangs, and then did a smoke ceremony for us. a smoke ceremony is kind of like a blessing and a healing in one. he lit a beautiful smelling piece of fungus and waved the smoke around us each while giving us this blessing in his language:

through your mind and your eyes, that you see truth
through your ears, that you hear truth
through your mouth, that you speak truth
and through your spirit, that you live your truth


i thought it was such a great way not only to kick off the trip, but to put us at ease. i've been struggling so much lately with what i want out of my life and what are the right decisions to make. when uncle max told us what his words meant i immediately committed it to memory because i thought it would be a good mantra. i have to keep reminding myself to just enjoy my life and to trust that it will all work out.

after the smoke ceremony we ate morning tea and then got on to bus to go to bondi(bond-eye) beach. it was gorgeous- i haven't been on the beach for so long and i totally reveled in just lying there feeling the sun and listening to the waves. after a while chris and i got up because we didn't want to get sunburned, and waded in the water for a couple of minutes. we then went to icebergs, and nice bar, to get some water and to chill out. two business men were sitting next to us and somehow we struck up a conversation. when they discovered that it was only our second day in the country, they ordered a glass of champagne for us both. one of them showed us a picture of his son and told us his wife was american and that they were looking for a nanny, and did either of us want to stay for a job. as we left we thanked the profusely for the champagne, and the father wrote down his phone number because he said he thought his wife would love to talk to us about being their nannies. of course we're not going to call, but still, how's THAT for a job offer?

we walked around bondi and bought some stuff, then stopped in an internet cafe to finally check our email. we met the rest of the group after that and took a beautiful walk with them to bronte beach, where skye, her husband scott, and carol cooked us a barbie or steak and sausages. we were all so beat that we left after that, and took a bus back to campus.

saturday we all went to the zoo, and got taken around by one of the women who works there. she showed us all of the australian animals, and it was awesome! we saw red kangaroos, the dominant male of whom was totally jacked- i haven't seen biceps like that in a while! we then had lunch, and afterwords she showed us some more animals that we got to touch- a boa constrictor, some lizards, a smaller kangaroo, and even a koala! even though we didn't see any of the african animals, it was awesome to touch the aussie ones.

we came home afer that, and chris and i got ready to go to gore's birthday dinner. we hoped on a bus out to castle hill, his suburb, and met he, his girlfriend belinda, and liam for a drink. we then went to the restaurant and had an awesome dinner. donnie and his girlfriend bronny were there, macca, lucas(jeff), tim gore, liss, and some other friends were there. it was so much fun, we were laughing at talking and i'm sure the staff hated us for being so loud but we had a ball.

afterwards gore, liam, liss, donnie, bronny, chris, gammo(gloria) and i went to the RSL, which is like a verterans club. we hung out there and then liam, chris and i got a life to gore's house.

when we got up this morning liam, chris, and i drove to liam's house to see trish and mick, which was great, and they gave us some spare cell phones. then we came back to campus and chris and i showered and changed, and then the three of us went to the aquarium, which was awesome! huge sting rays and sharks. the zoo's better but it was so nice to be out and about on such a beautiful day.

liam and i dropped chris off and then went to dinner, which was nice 'cause we haven't actually been alone together since i got here. we have a ton to talk about but it's not awkward to hang out at all, so that's good. i really think that i'm going to leave here with a solid friendship with him, which is good because that's when i want. i don't want any bitter feelings on either side.

so that's the last few days in a nutshell. pretty crazy... but absolutely amazing.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

hollyweird



i'm in l.a. and it's warm. and i'm happy.

megan picked me up at the airport and was adorable as usual. amazing to see her, i have missed her sooooooooooo much!! we then had dinner at ted(my step-bro's) apartment, and he and his girlfriend made us yummy pasta with a fabulous warm chocolate cake with strawberries and bananas and ice cream for dinner. i almost died it was so good.



we're going to have lunch and then go rollerskating. yay!

i meet christiana tonight, exciting too.

time for lunch! hope i don't fall...

and megan says hi!



Saturday, February 10, 2007

you're so damn hot

got a new haircut today. and i love it.



Thursday, February 8, 2007

the upcoming days

christiana's away message last night:

christiana + alexis = crazy
aussies = wild
christiana + alexis + aussies = insanity

i couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

a mark a mission a brand a scar

i got five stitches in my back today.



i went to the doctor to have a mole that i've had for a while checked out before i left because it was making me nervous, and she told me they needed to remove it. she checked the schedule for later this week and said that they really only had time today, so she numbed the area and cut it out. weird. i've never done anything like that before- never had stitches or an operation or broken a bone. i could see her working over my shoulder out of the corner of my eye, but i couldn't feel anything until now because the novocaine is wearing off.

it got me thinking though, about other kinds of wounds. i guess we all kind of figure out our own way to 'stitch' them, and some of us don't so they're jagged and rough. some of us open the wounds again and again in order to continue to feel, and for the very purpose that there will be a scar. sometimes we just need to suffer.

the most inconsequential things can leave the deepest scars; the deepest wounds can heal smoothly over time. but each one is a story, and a part of who we are.

here's to the scars that we suffer and those we make in others: each one is another step.
happy birthday.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

won't you be my valentine?

andrew got me a valentine's day present. i wasn't expecting anything from him, the thought hadn't even crossed my mind, so that was a pleasant surprise. it brought light to what would have been a much harder day.

christiana and i don't actually experience valentine's day this year- we'll be on the plane, and because of the direction we're flying and the fact that we're crossing the international date line(australia's 16 hours ahead of new york), we will never technically be living february 14th. the plan though, is to order champagne on the plane and toast each other and our trip. seems like a good way to start off.

how weird to realize that there's this whole day i don't get to live.

Monday, February 5, 2007

sometimes it pays to be just a number

nyu forgot that i'm not supposed to get housing next year because i'm doing a study abroad that's not through them.

score.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

the art of loving

he who knows nothing, loves nothing. he who can do nothing, understands nothing. he who understands nothing is worthless. but he who understands also loves, notices, sees... the more knowledge is inherent in a thing, the greater the love... anyone who imagines that all fruits ripen at the same time as the strawberries knows nothing about grapes.

paracelsus.

Friday, February 2, 2007

those you've known

sami's mom died today.

freshman year of high school she found out she had a brain tumor, and underwent chemo and radiation. it's been in remission until earlier this year, when she had a stroke and lost all function on her left side. they took her into the hospital about a week and a half ago and found out that the tumor had grown into her brainstem and that her kidneys were failing. so they've pretty much just been waiting.

sam is pretty shut down about it. she said her mom hasn't been her mom for 2 months, so she's relieved, but that she doesn't really know what to do. she won't really talk about it; she never talks about things until she's ready. our phone conversations today have been short because i can't say anything to make it better and she's pretty matter-of-fact about it. i know that she's feeling it because she feels things deeply, and that it must be killing her, but she's always been the strong one in the family. i hope she realizes that she doesn't have to be the strong one with her friends.

it's hard enough to lose a parent when you've had a whole lifetime with them, let alone when you're young. sam's only 20. her mom was going to be 48 this week.

so maybe take the time to call someone that you haven't talked to in a while. or tell someone how you feel about them, if that's something you don't do often. people deserve to know that they mean something to you. we could all do with a little more love in our lives.

those you've known,
and lost, still walk behind you...
all alone,
they linger till they find you...
without them,
the world grows dark around you-
and nothing is the same until you know that they have found you.

'those you've known' - spring awakening

Thursday, February 1, 2007

existential ambition

mom and i had dinner last night, and somehow ended up talking about my life and my relationships. i told her how i was feeling about going to australia and seeing liam, how i feel about that whole thing now. i told her about how hard it was to leave my friends at school and to leave andrew, which i both had and had not been expecting. we talked about friendships; how sometimes i feel like the ones i have are so tenuous, but in reality some of them are so strong i couldn't break them if i tried.

i'm excited to go to australia. i feel that i'm doing something very brave, and kind of out of the ordinary for me. and i feel like, had everything with liam not happened, i wouldn't be going anywhere. i think being forced to look critically at my life made me want to do something scary. and i'm ready for it.

i'm looking forward to being somewhere where no one really knows me except for christiana and liam, and to being open to anything that may happen. i know that i'll come back from australia a little bit different; i'm hoping to really get to know myself while i'm there. i feel like for so long i've been playing off of other people and what they think of me to create who i am. and when i felt like i was known(which is rare) for the real me this year, even though it was only a tiny part of me, it made me want to know myself better than i do. so i guess i'm hoping that i'll find a little bit more of myself there.

i've learned a lot through high school and college, this last year especially, about who i am and why i do the things i do. i feel as though there is something forming in me, some small thing that reminds me that i'm getting to know myself better every day. it may still be on the smallish side, but it's solid, and comforting, to know that i like who i am, and that i'm actively seeking to know more. there's still a lot to learn, and i know that i'll keep discovering new things about myself until the day i die.

so while i'm scared and nervous about being in a new place, making new friends, seeing liam again, being away from those i love, i know that it's an experience that will help me grow in ways i can't even imagine.

life has a lot to offer me, and i'm learning to reach out my hand and take it.

but i know
there's so much more to find-
just looking through myself, and not at them
still, i know to trust my own true mind
and to say: there's a way through this...

on i go,
to wonder and to learning
name the stars and know their dark returning
the hunger that a child feels for everything they're shown.

you watch me-
just watch me-
i'm calling,
and one day all will know


'all that's known' - spring awakening