A collector of people

Dearest Joan,

Before I get cracking in this post, I still suck at my Lenten promises. Yep.

Anyway, as you read this post/blog/ramble/letter, I hope your are in good health both physically and mentally, that work is ticking nicely and that you found some volunteers to help you out.

International Women’s Day. I have never given it a thought. It comes. It goes. This year I thought about it. Maybe it received more social media attention than it has before. Maybe it was because it was on my school calendar so I thought school might acknowledge it. They didn’t. Or maybe, I finally get how important women are.

Reflecting on this day and the days after, made me think about the women I have collected through the years and who in fact, are the ones on my top shelf. Ha! I make it sound so not personal when I write it like that, a little removed. I asked myself, if I could have anyone here, around my table right now, who would it be?

Actually, I couldn’t think of anything socially worse by having many people together. I am a one at a time kind of person. I digress or maybe I actually am on topic…

I was surprised by my decisions. People that I thought would be at the round table (it is in fact rectangular but that doesn’t read as well – maybe I now know how the Knights of the Round table were borne), were in fact not. Not because I don’t love and care for them, not because I wouldn’t do things for them but because I feel I have to explain myself to them.

Look – a person should not go through life without having to answer to their actions or thoughts – but there is a sense of ease that should come with friends. Maybe that is what it is that was the defining moment – ease.

Well who are these women – you, my cuz Ros, my friend Ella (who also reads this) and my friend Jayde.

Ros kind of makes it by default. The question for her is, how could she not be at the table? She knows everything of me growing up, she knows everything of me since returning to Oz. I cannot really blame her for not knowing 8 years in the UK. I was rather terrible at communicating that with anyone. We both know regular contact is not a strength of mine. Ros understands the cultural pressures too – though she as stayed close to the mould of it all and for that I admire her. She has a true sense of being Maltese. Oh, she also let me cut her hair when we were younger. I left her with a bald spot.

You dear Joan, are an easy one. You were there in my awakening that began with Pauleen. You got to see me begin to find the person I wanted to be in all it’s glorious awkwardness. We temporarily scooped ice cream together, my hair came out of a pony tail and I started to wear it down, I did trips to Wagga Wagga to see Jebidiah and eat a meal at your then boyfriend’s place where we burnt the saucepan. Hmm maybe not boyfriend. Maybe just a dude you had a lot of ‘chemistry’ going on with. The hiatus was a blessing because when we did catch up again you gave me sound advice on how to solve a problem I was having. It worked. And now though in a physical sense you drift in and out, you are permanently around in a much grander way.

Next up is Ella. Our connection began in an interesting way. She was my replacement when I went off on maternity leave. When I came back I worked with her and another friend. I think we would both say that the second half of the year was much better than the first AND that our friendship grew when we no longer worked together. Ella and I are very similar in temperament. hahahaha. We we stopped working together we found that we really did enjoy spending time together. Turns out she is my sister from another mister. She taught me about being girly through dresses. I so miss shopping with her. For me, the most memorable thing between us (besides going to her parties) was our morning swim before work. There was just something about the hour we spent doing that. It was freeing in so many ways. I find that Ella gets my emotional craziness in all it’s glory and is still happy to be my friend. I feel equally vulnerable with her. Apparently vulnerable people actually have greater depths of happiness.

My final lady is Jayde. She is a new friend. That doesn’t surprise me. In fact I think it is kind of to be expected. I met her at this job in Malaysia. We laugh lots. Have a common philosophy in teaching. Share a common moral centre. Turns out that both of these are really important here. She also does anything for me. Loves my kids like she is their aunty. After telling her about how Ella and I would tell each other how our hair looks shit in times of emotional stress, has joined in with that. She just loves hanging with us and not doing much in the hang time. I like being with people who are happy to just be in the presence of you without expectation. She is a good human with a story that is so varied and rich that it continues to surprise me – but at the same time not really.

Anyway, I love these four women greatly – others too. But you four, I wish I had with me all the time. But maybe our friendship is greater for not having that?

This is by far, one of my most fave posts that I have written.

Love you Joan (and el)

Eve

Square Peg in a Round Hole.

Sunday 14th February, 2016

Dearest Joan,

Happy Valentine’s Day. People often talk about the commercialism of this day, that it is a sell out. I choose to not see it this way. In a world where days go so quickly, taking a purposeful moment to pause, stop and consider your chosen one isn’t a bad thing. As a couple, you don’t have to buy into the money side of it. Today my loved one let me sleep in (along with yesterday). I bought him a little packet of kisses. He spent half an hour looking for  a card that didn’t exist. All small things. All small gestures that actually mean quite a lot.

So I don’t write in ages and when I do I spout on about the day of love, when cupid is hopefully busy hitting targets! Or just simply getting lucky.

Where to begin?

Insert tumbleweeds here.

If you cracked open my head, it would just pour out and not necessarily in any beautiful manner. I would love to tell you everything is rosey. But I would be lying. The question, “Are you loving it?” is my most hated question. No, no I am not. But I didn’t instantly love the Uk when I moved there, nor when I relocated back to Oz. How can I? It is all so damn hard at first. I would like people to change their question. Perhaps the revised question should be, “Are you surviving it?” On most days, yes.

Yet, this email isn’t even about how I have settled.

It is about how I feel like I am in f*&^ing High School again. Oh, I loved High School so much….not. This isn’t even about work. It is about going poolside. Yep. Going to the pool is now my social anxiety moment. I don’t even care if I haven’t shaved, or if it is getting close to be disturbingly hairy in places that shouldn’t be. Nothing that a quick hop in and a dash to towel can’t fix. I also have two year old who is now at a good height to help out with concealing unsightly visions. It is the whole where do I belong crap.

The men sit together and drink. The women sit together and drink. Sometimes the men sit together in the pool and drink. Today I actually found women in the pool, possibly drinking. On the odd occasion,  the men and women sit together by the pool….and drink. I don’t drink. Have chosen not to since May last year. An inner ear, possible vertigo thing, not a ‘I am living a healthy crazy thing’ choice.

I am also a working mother. Not so many of those about. And if there are, they work part time, you know, just to keep busy. I also teach some of these people’s children.

I’m just not a cool kid. And it is my fault. I just can’t be bothered trying too hard. I just want to be normal. Daggy. Non drinking. Working because I like my job. Exist beyond the compound I live in. I want to embrace the non western things. Go for roti chani on the weekend. Speak to my Asian neighbours and get to know them OR speak to my expat neighbours who get that we are all out of our comfort zones.

It doesn’t help when I also cannot stand their poolside advice. Let me save that for my next email. You were right though. Everything is bigger in an expat community.

Joan, hope you are well.

Love you.

eve

p.s. I am failing to proof read this one. I will later.