Canadian Down Under

Thursday, December 30, 2004

He's Just Not That Into You

Why Oprah? Why do you need to say things like that to me? Can't I just continue to live in the world where he wants me so bad that the reason he doesn't email, text or call is because his feelings for me are so strong that he's so overwhelmed he's unable to communicate? Please don't shake me from my delusional world where the sky is always blue and all men always want me!!

Someone should tell Oprah she's mean.

Road Trip

Ahhh, it's been a while since I've been able to write. I've been on a bit of a road trip. (Didn't mean to insult your intelligence there, I just felt compelled to state the obvious.)

Anyway - due to an unexpected last minute cancellation of my original romantic holiday plans (unexpected on my part, not on his unfortunately...) I decided to drive my shiny new car down to Melbourne and spend Christmas with my brother, his wife, my niece and the extended in-law family. (I was invited before my brother realised just how miserable and sulky I actually was... Hmmm, the things you do for family)

So, I knew it'd be a long drive from Sydney to Melbourne - I had done it before - but somehow I managed to forget what driving for 900kms was actually like. You know, I planned on starting early so I would miss the morning rush hour through the city (apparently crossing the Spit Bridge from Manly into the city is like taking up residence in a parking lot if attempted after 7 am) and also so I wouldn't need to rush.

6 am.

For those of you who know me - 6 am has never been very kind to me... So, imagine that I got up at 5:15 am and piled myself and all my belongings that I thought I needed (which, of course, was five times what I used) and began the long trek.

Well, 15 minutes into the drive I had my first unscheduled stop. One would think I might have looked at the gas gauge before leaving, but no, somehow I still believe in faeries and thought the gas faeries would ensure my tank was full all on their own.....

So once stopped, I realised I hadn't had any caffeine yet. Now, whether I realised that then because I was just beginning to come out of my early morning fugue state or perhaps because I had subconciously noticed the Starbucks sign across the street, we'll never really know. But hey, once spotted, Starbucks was added to my 'must-do' itinerary.

A two minute drive to my next unscheduled stop to find out that Starbuck wasn't open yet. But my mind was made up (and that's a scary thing when that happens) and I simply waited outside the door until they opened. Now, their hours of opening sign read 7 am - but somehow they let me in at 6:35 am. Maybe my pitiful face pressed up against the glass windows on Christmas Eve made the staff take pity on me and open early or maybe they were just so excited about being at work they couldn't wait to start serving customers - again - we'll never know. Whichever. In the end, I got my green tea that I seemingly couldn't live without and I started off again.

So 7:30 rolls around and I'd just gotten through to the other side of the city. Traffic was heavy but moving - so things were going well. I was just starting to feel comfortable about the whole road trip idea and had slipped Sheryl Crow's Greatest Hits CD (an oxymoron of sorts, I know, but very singable music - which is the ONLY criteria for road trip music) into the CD player and turned up the volume when I read the highway sign that said 'Canberra'. I was sure I was going the right way - but with each passing exit from the highway and the continued signs indicating the highway I was on was going to Canberra and not Melbourne, my niggling sense of unease was growing into full anxiety. The directions I had printed out from were not proving too useful and in fact led me to exit the highway.

In a classic driving move that - had there been traffic cameras - would have got my license pulled - I overshot the toll booth. Backing up (yes, backing up on an off-ramp...lovely) to the right spot, I then discovered the toll booths were unmanned and required exact change - or alternatively nothing bigger than a $20 note. Wisely, I had used all my remaining change at Starbuck's, but as luck would have it, I had just been to the bank machine - so thankfully had money (which is not necessarily a sure thing with me) but only had $50 notes. As I sat and pondered what I should do while watching the line behind me become increasingly longer, a metallic voice sounded from the toll booth. Seems big brother operates everywhere over here... I shouldn't make fun, but the nice invisible lady listened to my predicament and solved it by agreeing to send a bill to my home. Hmmm, $1.00 in postage to get $3.30 in tolls, hardly seems worth it, but then this country is a bureaucrats heaven....

Once off the highway I went into the closest petrol station to buy a real map. The guy behind the counter informed me that they didn't sell maps. My look of sheer and utter disbelief coupled with a sneer of complete disgust mixed with what was the beginnings of despair, caused him to frantically start searching behind the counter for maps. Luckily for both him and I, he had one.

Opening the map, I discovered that I had been on the right road all along, so with relief I got back in my car and found my way back to the highway....only to discover that the toll highway ended 500 metres down the road and I had to pay the $3.30 toll once again. (Apparently it doesn't matter how far you travel...just that you did travel....) At least this time I had change!

Things were looking up. 8:30 am. Three unscheduled stops and only just on the outskirts of Sydney with only 850 kms to go. At that pace, I'd be lucky to make Melbourne before New Year's...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Blogging Etiquette?

Seeing as I'm fairly new to blogging, I haven't quite figured out what all the rules are yet.. especially in regards to comments.

It's funny, initially I was apprehensive of blogging because it meant anyone would be able to read what I wrote - and I wasn't sure I could survive that kind of scrutiny or exposure. However, since I've started I've had a few people post comments and they've all been quite wonderful to me. I'd like to answer some but should I? What's the rule? And if I answer some - should I answer all? And if I do answer, do I answer on my own blog? Or do I follow a link to their blogs?

I know, I know - I'm obsessing. But obsessing is something I do well......

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Monday, December 20, 2004


I just found out he's nothing but a coward. How incredibly disappointing.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Eagles

If you've read my personal profile at all - you'll have noticed that I listed the Eagles as one of my favourite groups. That's a bit of an understatement - I love them. Well, not them exactly, but their music. There's something about their songs that always seem to strike a chord with me... and their music is very easy to sing along with. Hey, who could ask for more?

So tonight I've been doing a little work and put some music on to help dull the pain. So, what did I choose? One of the 7 new CD's I bought in the last two days? Of course not. That would be what normal people do. No, instead - you guessed it - I put on the Eagles. There is a logical reason for this though - my all-time favourite Christmas song (can't really call it a carol) is The Eagles version of Please Come Home for Christmas. Love it. Have actually played it far too many times tonight, but then it is Christmas - which really is the only appropriate time of year to play it...

Anyway, it got me to thinking - well, the lyrics got me to thinking. Lyrics like:
"oh what a Christmas, to have the blues. My baby's gone, I have no friends". I kind of noticed, but didn't, but then the CD continued - and next thing you know the song Wasted Time was playing and some of those lyrics go:
"Oh my God, I can't believe it's happening again, you're baby's gone and you're all alone" or
"you don't care much for a strangers touch, but you can't hold your man" or
"you never thought you'd be alone, this far down the line" and best of all:
"you're afraid its all been wasted time"

So they started me thinking (which is always a dangerous thing...) do I love those lyrics because I seem to identify with them? (which wouldn't explain why I loved them at age 12) or did I love them and consequently subconciously live them?

Now my favourite song of all time is Desperado - but let's not go there....

I think it's time I turned off the music. Wish I could also turn off my brain.

Shiny New Car

Okay, it's not shiny and it's not new but it's all mine.

Yup, just bought a car - haven't owned one of those in about 5 years. I've only owned it for one day and now I wonder how I survived that long without one!

So I got something fun and irresponsible - a Suzuki Vitara. It's summer here in the land down under so the perfect time of year for a soft top convertible - I'm never going to grow up....

You know, when I first thought about writing this, I had planned to write all about the trials and tribulations and red tape and bureaucracy that comes with buying a car in Australia and buying a car in Australia when you're not Australian, but I have to confess that - at the moment, I no longer care - I'm just happy that I now own a car.

What would make me happier? If I wasn't over the blood alcohol legal limit and I could take it for a spin.... (See previous blog - couldn't resist taking the piss out of myself. No pun intended....)

The Night Before but not The Morning After

Why does alcohol seem like such a good idea the night before but not the morning after?
Why does that guy seem so funny and cute the night before but not the morning after?
Why does my conversation seem witty the night before but not the morning after?

Why do I only remember that I've had these questions before on the morning after but not the night before?

Monday, December 13, 2004

My Private Addiction...

Okay, I'm probably going to get some flak for this, but I was out running some errands yesterday afternoon and I succumbed.. If Theresa's reading this, I bet she already knows where I'm going.

My private addition. Any guesses? If you're thinking alcohol or cigarettes, you'd be wrong. Chocolate? Well, that's a well publicized addiction, so that's not it. And before you start thinking up a whole long list of mood-altering chemicals - just know that you couldn't find a bigger anti-drug person if you tried... So what am I going on about? What am I marginally embarrassed to admit to?

The future. Or more specifically, those who claim they can see the future....or in yesterday's case - those who can read it in your palm.

Sad. Pitiful really. But those adjectives don't stop me...

So the outcome? Well, apparently I'm a wonderful, unique person who is very smart and has a wonderful life ahead of me. Oh yeah, and the guy? Well, apparently he doesn't like to be pushed - and I was a little too pushy. He'll contact me within 6 hours (that's passed) 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months. (or 6 years, or 6 decades) Something with the number 6. That'll we'll be friends. Good friends. How good? Well, she didn't know that. Apparently telling the future isn't an exact science...

So, what does all that mean? What's the end result? Well, truthfully, I feel better. Why? Well not because I truly believe what I was told, but because it made me feel better. Why? Because not only was someone telling me how wonderful I am - which I really can't disagree with and never get tired of hearing - but someone was reassuring me that things would be okay.

It's funny - I just realised that no one else told me that. No else told me that everything would be okay. Why not? Probably because they didn't know if it would be- or more importantly, that I wouldn't believe them if they did.

So will they really be better? I believe so - and not just because the palm reader told me so - but because things always get better (and worse) in time. I just needed reminding.

$30 for someone to tell me I'm fabulous? $30 for someone to tell me everything will be okay? $30 to make myself feel better? Hey, why not. I know some people would consider that a waste of money - but hey, I feel better and no one needed drugs in the process...

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Also known as 'Career Limiting Move' (although strangely enough - the acronym reminds me of clymidia- God only knows why...)

Anyway, bursting into tears at the work Christmas lunch would probably classify as a CLM.

Please tell me this is rock bottom, because I'd hate to think this was just a ledge I got snagged on...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Kindness of Strangers

Well, maybe not exactly strangers - but this week has been full of little unexpected pockets of kindness and caring. It's often the little things that count - and I must say - its gone a long way towards restoring my faith in humanity.

These last two weeks have been hard. I've been dumped, ignored, cried at work, eaten far too much junk food and been completely overwhelmed by all the change that's happening in my life. I know that that's a pretty strange list- but its pretty much the things I hate to have happen to me.. End result - it wasn't hard to tell I was feeling pretty down. What amazes me is that in times like this - how people can surprise you. Good and bad.

The bad? The people you trust or rely on -just aren't there. Even worse, they're not only not supportive - they actually kick you when you're down. And sadly, that's happened this week - but I must say - the good has far outweighed the bad.

So what's been good?
- An unexpected phone call from a friend back home. A friend that spent an hour with me on the phone after he realised I was feeling down. An hour spent saying positive and encouraging things to me inbetween listening to how I was feeling - instead of the usual sarcastic banter which is our usual way of relating

- A phone call with my brother that ended with an awkward brotherly offer of being willing to listen to me cry or vent anytime I wanted - this from the same brother who runs at the merest hint of tears... (note -I hadn't been crying to him on the phone, but he offered just the same)

- A mother who offered to fly me home so I wasn't alone at Christmas - even though the cost far exceeded what she could have afforded - but an offer that she would have come through on if I had agreed.

- Friends who live overseas that have checked in - unprompted - to see how I am

and most recently,

- A lunch invitation from someone I didn't know very well, but from someone who spotted that I was less chipper than usual. Someone who wanted to listen, someone without a hidden agenda, someone with similar experiences and really good advice.

So, although it hasn't been easy - and I am sad - I do realise that I am extremely lucky. I have a family that will always be there for me no matter what, good friends who don't let distance weaken a friendship and acquaintances that are turning into friendships.

The kindness of strangers (friends, family). What a difference it can make.

Monday, December 06, 2004


So if you get dumped in the land down under - does it hurt less? I mean, if you're down under - you can't really get dumped from any great height, right? Yeah, I know that logic is flawed, but I just had to throw it out there to try and make myself feel better.

For the last year I've been having this long-distance whirlwind romance of sorts. A friend of a friend came to visit and within days we were together. Unusual for me - seeing as I've been single for years (and by design) but I guess the thought that he would be leaving in a matter of days made me throw caution to the wind. When the time came for him to leave a week later, I said goodbye with great maturity- talked about how wonderful it was to meet him, yet made no reference to seeing him again - leaving that up to him.

Despite zero expectations, we did stay in contact and a month later met up on the Great Ocean Road for a few days together before he returned to England. Despite having spent only a few days together, something seemed to happen between us - a connection of sorts - and although it seemed unlikely we'd ever meet again, we decided to stay in touch.

Which we did, and on Valentine's Day he sent me the loveliest message - so I mentioned that I'd be going to Canada in July to see my family and friends and would he like to join me. I was very happy to hear that he did.

The next few months were wonderful but tortuous - looking forward to seeing him and at the same time, worrying what it would be like to see him again.

I needn't have worried. Three weeks, 24/7 with each other and he only got mad at me once. Now that's a record! For anyone - not just a guy..... It was heartwrenching to say goodbye, but we had plans to see each other again. He hoped by October, but definitely by Christmas.

By November, it was apparent October was a no-go, but he was waiting to find out what holidays he could take - but he was coming. The end of November neared and the holidays had been reduced from 4 weeks to 2. After infrequent communication, yet continued assurances that he was still coming, I got a text message saying he wasn't. It was too expensive and he wanted to come in the New Year instead.

Note - this is after I begged, borrowed and stole holidays from colleagues and from the next year so I could spend time with him. After I said no to my mother on an offer to be flown home for Christmas. To Canada no less. He promised to keep looking, and by the end of the week sent me another message saying he was coming.

But it wasn't to be. Within two days, I got a message that said he wasn't coming. He'd still like to see me, but in the new year. That he was sorry but that he'd talk to me soon

Since then? Nothing. No answer to his phone, no answer to my text message, no answer to my email.

You know what I've discovered? It doesn't matter if you're in the land down under or in the land up over - it hurts just the same.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Christmas Party

What is it with Australians and fancy dress? Even more important - what is with Australians and fancy dress for a Christmas party?????? I really think they should introduce Hallowe'en here - maybe a mandatory fancy dress party on the same day every year will diminish Australians' need for fancy dress on any other day - like it has in North America. That can only be a change for the good...

Do they not understand that Christmas is a religious event? or at the very least, about Santa Claus? I don't see how dressing like Hollywood stars really helps to uphold the original meaning of the holiday - but whatever..

So what else was different? And why am I obsessing about the differences? Well, life as an ex-pat is proving to have its challenges for me - and I'm hoping that blogging about it will turn out to be a better alternative to either:
1- packing up and going home, or
2 - venting to new found friends and colleagues.

Why are those options not really viable? Well, I believe option 1 is quitting - and I'm just not ready to quit yet and well option 2? Well, if I use that one anymore, I'll probably lose those new found friends....

Okay, back to my original story. So what was different at this Christmas party? Well, aside from the fancy dress theme the biggest difference was the temperature. I never thought I'd say this - but I miss the cold. It just doesn't feel like Christmas if I can go out without a coat and there's no time speculating as to whether it will snow in time for Christmas. I mean - there's absolutely NO chance of it snowing here ever - let alone at Christmas. Hmmm, you can take the girl out of Canada, but you can't take the Canada out of the girl..

But there were similarities. There was the usual jockeying of political players at the party - the up and comers trying to spend time with those in the know; the die-hards talking work even though it was a party; the wallflowers dying for time to pass quicker so its acceptable for them to leave and of course, the excessive drinking that pervaded everything else.

But it was fun. I drank. Got drunk. But not too drunk. Had a laugh, had a dance and enjoyed spending time with some of my colleagues. Bobbed and weaved to a cab - barefoot because my feet were not only bruised from people stepping on them - but bruised from walking and dancing in strappy shoes I hadn't worn in ages. Drunk dialled my best friend back home and nicely passed out on the phone inthe middle of talking to her 5 year old daughter.

Guess it wasn't really so different after all....

Friday, December 03, 2004

I'm a Newbie

So be gentle. A friend backhome has introduced me to the wonderful world of blogging and has suggested that I post some of my thoughts on life as an ex-pat. I think she actually has heard enough of my whining and thinks I need therapy - but knows I'm too cheap and/or proud to actually do that and thought perhaps blogging might be the way to go. I can get it all out of my system and she only has to listen to it when she wants... if she wants....

There is good and bad to living a life far away from home, my family, my friends and my native country (oooh, starting to sound like a national anthemn...) and hopefully I'll remember to write about both.

Perspective. That's the key.