On the move again

Over the last few years I’ve become accustomed to packing up all my belongings and moving house.  When I was in London I moved house at least every six months.

My first flat in London was in the lovely suburb of Notting Hill with my then boyfriend.  But after that relationship imploded within 3 weeks of us moving to London, I moved into a flat share with an Aussie guy who had lived in London for quite a number of years.  After 6 months and too many occasions catching him smoking in the flat, even though he had promised that he would only ever smoke on the balcony, the final straw that made me move out was coming home one night and finding him drunk (again) with a mate.  I was in the kitchen making myself a bagel when he came over to me and ranting about what an asshole his mate was before grabbing a pair of kitchen scissors and trying to cut himself in front of me.

The next flat I lived in was with my friend Christine, where we shared a house with a lovely Aussie guy called Mike and a Welshman, who thought of himself as quite the ladies’ man.  He would often show us Facebook photos of all his girlfriends in Thailand, where he would visit a couple of times a year, usually to visit some “new girlfriend”.  Creepy.

The next few places I lived in were wonderful, and it made me realise how happy one could be if you lived with good friends who were considerate flat mates.  Even though London flats are small and the rooms even smaller, it was comforting and a relief after a long day at work to come home to a warm home and smiling faces.

When I returned to Sydney last year, I moved back into my own little flat in the cafe suburb of Balmain.  Although I missed the company of flat mates, it was also nice to have your own space, your own mess, and not having to worry about wandering around the place nude.

Now, a little over a year later, I’m moving again!  I’m leaving the bachelorette pad and moving in with my man.  A new chapter of my life, and hopefully no more packing and moving for a while!

Boxes and moving house

The year that was

As 2011 nears its end, I thought it might be time to reflect on what amazing things I saw or did during the year, and what crap things occurred that I hope to have learnt from!

The biggest thing that happened in the year was moving back to Sydney from London. It was pretty tough settling back into a routine and giving up the nomad lifestyle, but now that I’ve an established a bunch of friends that enjoy catching up for socials and food tours, and am loving being back in my Balmain flat, things are getting easier. It doesn’t mean that I don’t contemplate moving back to London, which I would do in a heartbeat if a) the economy and job market were in better shape, and b) if the salaries in London weren’t so stupidly crap.

Considering that I spent most of the year in Australia, it actually wasn’t a bad year for travelling. I welcomed in the new year skiing in Italy, then made some short trips to Iceland, Poland, Turkey, Lebanon, Singapore, and New Zealand. I will be sending off the year in Japan!

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There is nothing at all to report on the relationship front. Yet more harassment from the parentals as to the whereabouts of my future husband (there was some part of me that wanted to stay abroad!), but sadly for them, there seems to be a shortage of available, nice, interesting and intelligent men in Sydney. I think that 2012 might be the year of Internet dating!

So all in all, I’d give 2011 a rating of 7 out of 10. I wish that I could have figured out what I want out of my career by now, and I wish I had a few more friends that were up for some fun days or weekends away (trying to get people to come to music festivals, diving and ski trips this year has been an impossibility) but otherwise I’m financially secure and have very few cares in the world. The issues above are very definitely First World Problems!!

How would you rate your 2011? What do you hope for 2012?

The adjustment period

Almost every single Australian that heads to the UK intends to return Down Under.  Some return after their one-year working holiday, pulling beers at their local pub and then blowing all the money they earned on a shitty flatshare in Shepherd’s Bush and a few Contiki tours.  For others, they end up settling into British life and staying longer than they had initially planned, until they get sick of the weather, and of moaning constantly about how things are better in Australia.

I was one of the latter antipodeans, and returned after three-and-a-bit years away.  Having been back in Australia for nine months now, all I can do is reminisce fondly about is how life was better in London.  Sure the weather was a bit crap, and people always mocked me for saying “thongs”, and “DAH-tah” instead of “DAY-tah”, but it’s only after coming back that I’ve realised in what an expensive, isolated, and history-deprived country we live.  Grocery shopping is a depressing experience when you realise that everything costs twice as much as the UK.  On my second day back in the country, my brother took me to a cafe where an almond croissant cost $5.50 and all I could think about was how it would only cost me £1.70 (less than $3!) in Paul.  Jumping in a plane for 2 hours will get you from London to Barcelona for a weekend city break, but doesn’t even get you from Sydney to Auckland.  And in the UK, you can visit cities that were formerly Norse kingdoms, and ancient Pagan stone circles.  In Australia, we have a some cave drawings in remote parts of the country, and Heritage-listed buildings that are only 100 years old.

Before you all tell me to bugger off back to Engerland, there are of course upsides to living in Australia.  It goes without saying that the weather is rather more pleasant, we have proper beaches, and we have great Asian food.  Our economy is still putting along rather nicely, and incomes are a damn sight better than they are in troubled UK economy.  The newspapers don’t just contain headlines about which married footballer was caught with his pants down with some seedy WAG wannabe.  And our transport system doesn’t grind to a halt from dumpings of snow:


It has taken me a little time to adjust back to Sydney life, but things are going well.  I have a new job and a new car, I’m back living in my little Balmain flat, and I have quite a few travel plans in the pipeline.  So all in all, life is good!  How are you guys going?

Lady of leisure

I finished up my 6 month contract at the pharmaceutical company on Friday and am officially unemployed whilst I’m looking for my next contract.  I did manage to find a new house share in East Acton, where I’ll be moving to next week and shall be living with Christine, my good mate from uni.  I must say that it was an incredible relief to get away from my previous psycho flatmate, even though the Notting Hill location was just absolutely perfect.

Before I finished up at my old job, I was invited to attend the company’s Accountant’s Conference, which really was as boring as it sounds.  The important thing to know is that it was in Malta – do I hear some of you say junket???  Well, it was a complete junket, with a lot more play than work, lots of feasting, and we even did a tour of Mdina (the old capital of Malta) and of the nearby islands, Comino and Gozo.

Today I went out for a brief visit of the British Museum.  It must be impossible to get a good look at it in one go, so I’m hoping to get there a few times whilst I’m here to check out the whole place as thoroughly as I can.  Then I went for a stroll along the banks of the Thames, past the London Eye to the Houses of Parliament.

And until I find my next job, it’s free sights and cheap nights in with a box of goon!

Maladjusted people

Earlier this week, my brother and I were questioning whether stupid people actually know that they’re stupid.  Nothing like a deep human psychology discussion over lunch to get the juices flowing, but an incident occurred last night that also made me wonder whether maladjusted people know that they’re maladjusted.

I’d had a fantastic night at the theatre (the current production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe is highly recommended!), having laughed so hard that I thought I was going to keel over from the lack of oxygen going to my brain.  I arrived home at about 11:30pm to see my male flat mate and his best mate from Texas watching a movie.  The Texan has been staying with us for the last week, crashing on the couch.

I am fixing myself a snack in the adjoining kitchen, and I can hear my flat mate mumbling obscenities under his breath.  That’s not unusual in itself, since he often likes to swear at the television, but then quite suddenly, the Texan gets up and storms out of the apartment.  This prompts my flat mate to yell and slur obscenities at him just as the door slams.

I walk out into the living room and sit on the couch whilst my bagel is toasting, and my flat mate is being overly chatty to me.  Feeling slightly weirded out, I launch myself back into the kitchen, just as I hear my flat mate exclaim, “Fuck, blood is dripping everywhere”! I decided to ignore his outburst, since I’ve figured out that he’s generally an attention-seeking person, but then he comes into the kitchen and looks at me in an eyes-half-glazed look.

Venturing cautiously, I ask him what is wrong and he tells me that his “fucking friend is what’s wrong”. Hmmm.  He continues slurring, “But I don’t care, because pain doesn’t worry me – you want to see what I think of pain?” before he grabs the kitchen scissors, opens them up menacingly, and then gouges the blade down his forearm, which is already fresh with cuts. I can’t help but look away.  I’m not sure whether it’s a reaction to my cringing, but he laughs and says, “Don’t worry though, I’ve run out of knives”, gesturing to the empty knife block.

Needless to say, I beat a hasty retreat back to my room, all the while wondering whether my taekwondo skills to date would be enough to take him on if he threatened me (I thought so).

I could put this down one of those random incidences of flat sharing, since living with random strangers very rarely turns out perfectly it seems.  But it did make me wonder, when this sort of incident freaks me out, that it probably seems “normal” to some people.  Sure, everyone has their own quirks, but there surely must be some point where you are just no longer “normal” and are clearly maladjusted.

Drugs must play a part in it, making you irrational and delusional – as Ozzy Osbourne managed to prove publicly on The Osbournes.  I’ve only seen my flat mate drink excessively, I’m pretty sure he does do drugs as well.  I must seem so utterly boring and conventional to him, because I would definitely view myself as “normal” and well-adjusted.  I often wonder whether my flat mate thinks that his excessive drinking and drug use, frequent watching of violent films, compulsive gambling, and chain-smoking behaviour is normal.  I would think not, otherwise he wouldn’t be seeing a therapist.

I think that 26 July (the expiry of my lease!) could not come sooner.

* Image courtesy of stock.xchng