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December 30, 2005

Nearly there...

I'm feeling suddenly overwhelmed by everything I have to do in the next month.  Less than a month in fact.  By January 26th.  For some reason it feels good that we're flying to San Francisco on Australia day.

I have a ton of reading to do, on Africa, on microfinancing, on current events in the countries we'll be visiting, which Jeremy kindly reminds me of (and I not so kindly remind him that I've been working double shifts every day for the last month and haven't had a chance to relax let alone research the political situation of Uganda.)  We have flights to Africa to buy.  Packing to do on this end.  Financial stuff to settle before we leave.  US tax returns.  I have a bank account to close in Australia, as well as an issue to settle with the Australian Taxation Office.  I want to learn about the stock market.  Learn swahili.  Email a lot of people, I still haven't even sent my Christmas cards.  And we leave in less than a month.

I know that once my work schedule calms down things will get a lot easier.  And my work schedule is definitely slowing in January, in fact I don't expect to earn much after New Year.  And so my life really is just waiting for New Year to be over, because I know I'll be getting a lot more done once the last of the holidays has passed.  But I don't really want it to be like that - waiting for 2006 to kick in so I can finally fill in those medical history forms I need for the Adult Immunization Clinic.  Sadly we won't be doing much for NYE as everyone's going to be out of town (Matt and Kyung-Mi are leaving tomorrow), besides the fact that I'm working a double on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day (joy).  We definitely are getting to the point where every day matters, and I know once we hit January we're going to slide all the way to the 26th before I even realise that the Christmas tree was taken away.

And so I spent a lot of today trying to organise our room, I guess I'm preparing for the onset of madness that will be the coming month.  Jeremy managed to come home from work early, and I only went in for an hour so we were all able to have dinner together tonight before it's back to just J, Adrienne, Tony and myself again (and Gracie of course).  We saw Aeon Flux tonight too, which was pretty cool, and did make me wanna dye my hair black and do kung-fu in high heels. 

I have been thinking about New Year's Eve resolutions, one if which is to blog every day.  I've never been one to stick to things, anything really, and it will be hard, but this year I am very aware that every day counts.  It is the beginning of the rest of it, but only if I make it.  So I'm going to try to be more disciplined.

As I'm writing this it's only six hours away from NYE in Australia.  By the time I wake up it will be 2006 over there.  Weird.

December 29, 2005

A Perfect Day...

It's not often you get one of these, but...

After a late previous night with the webcasting and also seeing Matt and Kyung-mi who had arrived in the afternoon, Jeremy and I slept in and missed his alarm for a nine o'clock start at the cheese shop.  As we woke at nine-thirty he got there at ten... but it just so happens that no-one else had arrived either as the store manager was also running late, and didn't arrive until ten-fifteen.  Fancy that.

I did some jobs at home and then wandered into town with Matt and Kyung-Mi to visit Jeremy.  When we got back home I tackled one of my jobs - finding someplace for J and I to get our vaccinations for Africa.  After becoming extremely frustrated calling the local hospitals and travel centers, all of which require a $100 consultation before even getting a single vaccine, I let my fingers do the walking and found a clinic which will do our vaccines for a very good price, no consultation fee, one mile from Catie and Greg's place in San Francisco.  Thus in one afternoon I just saved us at least $280.  What a luverly day.

Finally the gods smiled upon me at work and I managed to have just enough tables at one time, getting new tables as the old ones were leaving.  Un-be-lievable.   What more could one want in a single day?  Some warm weather?  Well, we did have some kind of warm weather, and most of the snow has now melted outside.  Capped it all off with a drink at a local tea-house/martini bar and called it a night.

December 28, 2005

One Small Step for Man...

We have visual.

It has been a long time coming, but finally we have managed to video-conference to my folks back in Australia.  No small feat considering I'm on a Mac, they're on a PC, I'm using a camcorder which automatically powers down every five minutes and they're on an internet camera from China which cost $1 on E-Bay.  But despite all the odds we have managed to have the pleasure of seeing my dad flash his belly at us in real-time-minus-three-seconds.  Whether or not we'll be able to replicate this once we start travelling again is another matter, but at least I'll have a chance to see my pregnant sister-in-law before she's not pregnant anymore, and get to hear the real live screams of my niece/nephew in a month.

People often ask me "how can you travel to all these places you go to, aren't you afraid, isn't it difficult?" and my answer is always "the world is a much smaller place than it used to be".  Today it just got a hell of a lot smaller.

December 27, 2005


Today was a very long day.  The build-up to New Year is continuing and people keep wanting to eat at the Shady Restaurant.  Today I worked lunch shift and then finished half an hour before I was due to start again for dinner.  Lucky me got a few bites of soup in at around 10pm, my first food since porridge for breakfast 12 hours earlier.  My muscles are aching from carrying huge trays of food, dishes and pitchers of water up and down the stairs.  I wonder how much weight I've lost now...

The good news is that I am not on again until Thursday evening, so I will have the next day and a half to catch up on the myriad things which I need to do, which includes: Take A Long Bath and Spend Some Time Alone.  I am very much looking forward to relaxing a little before the New Year madness, my next marker on the calendar.  Somehow I feel that if I can just make it to New Year then we'll be on a home stretch.

The bad news is that I don't think I'll ever learn  what a Grey Goose Extra Dirty Martini Straight Up is before New Year's Eve.

Daily Moment of Incredulity: walking by the stairs at the Shady Restaurant which lead up to the office, just after the kitchen had closed, and smelling pot from the bottom of the stairs.  How much pot do you have to smoke to be able to smell it from the bottom of a flight of stairs which lead to the office at the back of which the pot is being smoked...??? 

December 26, 2005

On the Brink of Exhaustion...

What a week.

Since I last wrote I have been working double shifts almost every single day at this shitty restaurant.  Some days/nights were better than others.  Some were bearable, some were unbearably frustrating (like the night I was yelled at for not knowing a specialty beer we serve, then finding out the bloody beer isn't even on the menu - how am I supposed to know stuff we sell which isn't even on the menu?)  Ultimately I have ended up with an awful cold, which is only now subsiding, but which did leave me quite ill for a number of days.  No mystery as to where I got the cold, literally everyone at work has had it and been kindly passing it around to each other - another of the advantages of having a job without healthcare or sick days, when one gets sick, everyone gets sick because no-one is going to get fired because they didn't want to come in and serve food to people with snot flying out their nose.

In perfect timing Christmas rolled up just as my snot collection was reaching its peak, so I spent most of Christmas day in bed, sleeping in between sneezing and moaning.  Sadly much of the day remains a blur in my mind but I do remember having a lovely breakfast after opening presents, which was of course lots of fun.  We had lunch/dinner with Aunt Mary at the house, and then lazed the rest of the day away.  My Aussie Christmas took place the night before, Christmas Aussie time, and it was fun opening the presents from Australia with everyone there listening on the phone.

Of course it all couldn't last and this morning I was back at the restaurant, praying that no-one would be mad enough to want to eat out on Boxing Day (of course over here it isn't Boxing Day, it's Shopping Day).  Needless to say every man and his dog, his wife, his kids, his cousins and his mum's cousins' in-laws decided to eat out today and we were slammed over lunch.  Profitable, yes, worth the stress, maybe not.  One thing is for sure, this job certainly is not worth keeping with all the drama and kitchen bitchin' I have to listen to.  I will not be looking over my shoulder when I am done here.

So after a hard afternoon's work Jeremy, Adrienne and I went over to Marty and Linda's house for a Christmas party, which was very fun, as one would expect.  I was excited to Catie and Greg as we're going to be staying with them in San Francisco in a month, and I'm really excited to be going to SF.  After a few hours there, Jeremy and I met up with some of his friends from elementary and high school at a local bar.  In all, it was an evening surrounded by friends, old friends to Jeremy but more recent to me.  I find it enjoyable to watch these interactions between people who have known each other for a long time.  Friendships based on different foundations, but which have all weathered the years.  The ways people relate to someone who has known them for 10, 15, even 30 years.  The ways you don't need to relate to those people, because that communication remains understood yet unsaid.  Knowing who you could trust to help you bury a body you needed to dispose of.  All of these things are a measure of one's life.

Feliz Navidad.

December 18, 2005

Feeling the Gap

I'm the first to admit that I've had a few issues with turning 28 this year, maybe even a little "entering-mid-life" crisis, but tonight just gobsmacked me.

At my waitressing job tonight I waited on a table of 13 14 year-olds celebrating a birthday.  After one girl ordered her third cotton candy (candy floss) before main course it became apparent that at least some of them had been smoking the ganja.  They constantly left and re-entered the restaurant, ran up and down the stairs, didn't eat their ($15 a plate) meals and didn't want to take them home, and during the night presented me with a card which declared their love for me.  After I tried to rush them through their meal so they would leave and stop annoying the other customers, I was unsuccessful in getting them off the premises before one of them threw up, not in the bathrooms, not even at their table, in the middle of a nearby party of 20 as they were milling around with their drinks.  After copious amounts of drama the stuck-up mother of the birthday girl seemed to somehow get everybody out, and left us with a god-awful mess, as well as a CVS bag on the table which contained a douche (still in the box), a bottle of mouthwash, 5 various greeting cards with random and very drug-induced messages written in them, and some condoms.

I never thought I'd say this.  At least not so soon.

Kids these days.

(Seriously though, whatever happened to getting high in the park, puking in the bushes, munching on potato chips and whatever else could be scrounged from the cupboard rather than New York Strip Steak in a semi-fancy restaurant?????)

December 17, 2005

The Beginning of the Middle

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

Yesterday Jeremy and I had a phone conversation with the founder of the NGO which is going to allow us to intern with them for six months in Africa.  Though there are many details yet to be ironed out, the big picture is emerging and it certainly appears to be the type of door we were wanting to walk through.  It sounds like we will have an opportunity to learn a lot, and to be very involved.  At the same time we will be moving through three countries which will give us an opportunity to see and experience a lot about this region of Africa.  I am feeling very excited.  The familiar happiness of having a departure date hovering in the near future has returned. 

Though we have a little over a month left in West Hartford I know that time is really going to fly by, and before we know it we will be boarding planes again.  Other than feeling nervous that we will be able to get everything organised in time, I can hardly wait.

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