Just a bit homesick

Dear Joan,

Nothing deep or meaningful today.

I agree though, I too love how much you are writing. The best part to me blogging more is the correspondence you and I have. It made me realise how much of each others lives we end up missing. The best example is your country swap that looks like it is going to happen for you. It is quite possible you told me and that I have simply forgotten. Though, this forgetfulness, then has me going – oh wow, when did this come about? how long will it be for? when will it be for? what will you do there? can I come? ha!

Anyway, I write today just because I am homesick. Here are the reasons why:

  • I want to be around people that are easy to be around – no second guessing, no worrying about my inadequacies, no trying.
  • Figoli. Yes figoli. My aunty makes the best figoli and for the 2nd year in a row I miss out on it. Making it is quite an amazing process. I have done it once before. It felt so good. The ingredients – particularly the nuts involved would cost a small fortune here.
  • The Milbri – a coffee shop. A coffee shop that the husband and I would go to on a Friday before work. A coffee shop where I would meet other mates before work. A coffee shop, open on a Sunday afternoon. A coffee shop where a good coffee was guaranteed.
  • Freaky Tiki – a coffee shop. Ha! I miss the before school morning dates I would have with the big kid.
  • The Water – The beach. I don’t think that needs explaining.
  • The Water – turning a tap on and drinking or turning a tap on and getting hot water.

The majority of this reasons are first world problems (man alive I hate that phrase). I am ok with that.

Anyway, homesickness comes and goes. Where is home? Hmmm

I love this song: Home It is true. It is wherever my fam is.

Peace out Joan.

Love you.

Eve

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Laverne and Shirley

Dear Joan,

Whassup!? Ha! How dumb. Anyway, how’s things? I just wanted to talk about something very…ordinary.

Driving home after our weekly shop I was just thinking about Laverne and Shirley. Yep. Laverne and Shirley. Oh Joan, I love that show. For all my sci-fi geekiness of Dr Who, Battlestar Galactica, Fringe etc I still love Laverne and Shirley.

Ohhh, the theme song Theme Song . Makes me happy.

Not sure why I love this show. Lets discuss this further.

Two women working in a beer factory. Ha! This alone makes me chuckle.

Two women living by themselves, not married. Having boys over – for kisses. I like that. There is this real conflict in the show about feminist ideals versus traditional values. That speaks to me in volumes. It is a huge societal thing. We say women can work, yet we berate them when they have kids and go back to work. We say women should stay home and look after the kids, yet we say they are ‘just’ mums. Wear dresses, wear pants, wear lipstick, be natural, be a mum, don’t be a mum. Eeesh. I also don’t know how to be a ‘woman?’Simply because I have no bloody clue what it ‘should’ be. I do have to say though, I have really enjoyed finding that girly/feminine/1950’s woman in me. A bit of make up, hair, dresses, waxing, perfume. What a pity it took me so long though. I do wish though, that evolution was kinder to Mediterranean women and gave us less hair.

Moving on, I love how womanly they are – yet how practical they are ANNNDDD in the same breath, how dependent on men they are. Okay, I may have set the feminist movement back a bit with that last statement but there is an element of 1950’s housewife that I kind of like. Clearly, not the cleaning part. That I detest. Always have. Me rebelling against my heritage. Back to the 1950’s. I love being taken care of. I love knowing that if I got sick, that he would make the decisions that had to be made. I hope that makes sense. Sometimes, when it suits, I like the decisions to be made. In all honesty, it truly is when it suits. We both know that. I also know, that I would be more than capable in looking after my girls by myself. There is this inner lioness I possess. Eating someone up and spitting them out would be very easy for me…. if someone hurt my kids. Rage. Rage would be unleashed.

Gosh, I do go a little all over the shop.

There are many other things I love – the slapstick comedy, the vulnerability of the characters, the supporting characters.

I do have one thing I detest. It is filmed in Milwaukee – or so I thought. Dreaming a dream of taking those steps around Milwaukee like they did was stupid. Alright, I thought at least it would have been filmed there, in a studio. No. No it was not. Broke my heart when I found out.

Anyway, I would like to eat some frozen mushed up fruit.

Love you Joan.

Eve

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

Sometimes sadness is happiness.

Dear Joan,

After hanging up from my mum I felt the need to write. We clearly got internet on the weekend and am now able to access you with an edge of ease.

So much has happened. All of which you know because boy, am I great at creating a wonderful Book Of Face life for all to envy!

New home.

London. Paris. Yorkshire. Edinburgh. London.15585257_10154647114790168_472140695738838609_o.jpg

London – Oxford Christmas lights

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Arc De Triomphe

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Paris Disneyland

Planning new holidays.

Invites to families houses.

In all of these though, the part I don’t dwell so publicly about is the beautiful sadness attached to these things. And I do mean it Joan. Beautiful sadness.

Going back to Europe felt like a homecoming. I belong there. It was like putting on my pair of cons. Perfect. Yet it left me sad. But beautifully sad. How damn lucky am I to have lived somewhere that I just adored? Where i made friends with people that I can reconnect with instantly – even after many years apart? Yep. Lucky.

Being invited to people’s houses, being asked to see their lives – humble or not. Who am I to judge? Having them share their stories. On the weekend just gone, we went to a Chinese family’s home. Sofia and her husband or so incredibly giving. There was a moment when she asked me if we were to have more kids…because in Australia you can. I said no. Then the beautifully sad moment occurred. She explained how they only have one because of the laws in China. The laws changed too late for them. They looked at my girls playing with such beautifully sad faces. At that moment I was so grateful to be able to make that choice myself, to be able to give my girls a sibling.

I received a reply to a text I sent (just giving thanks). Sofia said it perfectly in her broken English. We are both here without our families. We need to look after each other. How lucky am I Joan that someone I barely know, wants to look after me? That she is so thankful that I taught her son that she gives thanks by opening her arms and heart to me?

In December Joan, I laughed so much. Felt so much happiness…even at work. hahahaha.

I wanted to write and tell you about all these moments. To capture them. But instead I chose to just keep them to myself. I kind of wish I had. Maybe then I could have relived the moments but instead I just get to remember the feeling. I am ok with that. Joy. Joy was a great feeling. The beautiful sadness of knowing that life cannot always be joy but knowing and appreciating it when it is.

I feel like any letter just scrapes the surface and then I just stop. Well tonight I am hungry, so my stomach stops me.

 

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.

 

 

Purpose – Written a long time ago

Monday 28th December, 2015

Dearest Joan,

Today began the ugly cries. The not pretty ones. The ones where you find yourself inhaling and exhaling quickly to try not to cry and actually find yourself on the cusp of what feels like an almost panic attack but isn’t. The cries where you sit in the corner of the train and let the tears cascade down, quietly wiping your runny nose, trying desperately to muffle any noise but failing as one lone sob escapes. The cries that just leave you exhausted.

Yesterday I was graced with a bunch of people who love me,taking time out of their lives to spend an afternoon, night and morning to say farewell. The time was graced with a heaviness, an inevitable heaviness; that sometimes washed over individuals or the group. It felt like I was treading water.

Within that group, there are six of which I pursue individual friendships with, six people that I prefer the one on one relationship with. Those friendships have different intensities, different reasons for existing. I needed six nights Joan, one for each. Time is that dastardly thing, the one thing that is always there but so damn difficult to find.

All these friendships are clearly created because of our move to the Peninsula, so new friendships. BUT some of them are a year old or just over. It makes me wonder, why on earth would fate have me meet these people, love these people, leave these people.

I want to clarify something before I go on.

  • I know the adventure will be grand.
  • I know I will make new friends.
  • I know that the friends I have now will continue to be there.
  • I know it is ok if the friendships don’t continue.

So, back to fate – I believe in it. I believe in destiny too. I believe in free will. I believe in the choices I make shaping those things. I believe that children are our future ( A little light relief).

Without a single doubt, I also believe there is a purpose to every relationship I make. The catch is Joan, I might not always know what it is. The reason may be for my benefit…or theirs…or both of ours. It may even flit between all three.

Two of these friendships have been……..

Sunday 14th February, 2016

Dearest Joan,

It had been a long time. We may never know what that last sentence was going to say. I have decided to end that post there….though I do know I will, in some way be addressing it again. I just wanted to formally end this letter, before beginning the next.

Adieu Joan,

Eve

 

Just like her mum

Wednesday 16th December, 2015

Dear Joan,

I wish I could leave this entry empty and you could just read it and understand everything.

I have started disconnecting the utilities, one car is on eBay, the steam cleaner is booked. Jobs are being ticked. At the same time some are unticked – the most prevalent one at the moment – the prospective tenants decided to take a place elsewhere. Not the end of the world – but just an added stress I had in fact thought we had offloaded.

I misjudged the big kid’s emotions.

She is often short with me, rude, purposefully not saying I love you. I decided to talk to her about it yesterday – in a place of calm and love. Talking about how we would be feeling all sorts and that it is ok – that I am too.

Then the tears began.

They didn’t stop and became sobs. Lots of them.

She is sad about goodbyes and missing people. The apple doesn’t fall too far from that tree.

We sat for an hour after bedtime, just hanging out. Everything has been so mental lately that I don’t think she has had a whole lot of quality time with me either.

I find this hard to write about. Makes me feel like I have failed her a little.

The bigger picture – the adventure – the thrill – the different cultures – people – places.

Yep.

Finishing this one feeling a little empty.

Love you Joan,

Eve

No Woman is an Island

Thursday 12th November 2015

Dear Joan,

So lately, the best part of me has been tucked away. I have realised in that coping with the big move to KL, all I have thought about is me and my family. I have seriously failed to consider others. Thinking of others is a strength of mine (I think) and to not be doing that has seriously thrown me off kilter. Riding this huge emotional roller coaster, only looking forwards, forgetting that more than one roller coaster operates at any one time, geez has really left me in a state of unhappiness. I was at the point of stomping my foot like a toddler. Seriously unattractive. I don’t think my friends see it so severely, or perhaps they do and are too kind to say otherwise, but I do.

My friends have so much going on in their lives. Being there for other people gives me a lot of peace and I have been anything but peaceful lately. I wish I had taken this step back earlier.

The worst bit about getting older is that the probability of being around sad things increases. I am incredibly fortunate that for me, in my circle of friends, it didn’t really kick off till I was 36/37 years old. Joan, in protecting their privacy I won’t be too specific but death, cancer, babies, mental health – just seems common place. All so terrible….and there I was, wanting attention for my move. Man alive, what was I thinking? How could I not see beyond my nose?

I won’t beat myself up about it. Realising it is the important part. Realising that my move to another country is important to me, like people’s things are important to them is a great thing. Being honest with people, also helps.

I started that today, as I couldn’t carry the heaviness of it all. I feel like a weight has gone and now in its place is just exhaustion. Though that might also have to do with kids not sleeping.

My hopes are that I continue to care for those I love and not shut myself off to protect myself from emotional goodbyes; that I keep listening to others; that I tell people more frequently how I am feeling; that I let others tell me how they are feeling; that I accept and embrace others feeling sad about our departure and not be cross with them.

I am not an island Joan, more like a coconut. I am much happier when I’m with other coconuts.

Love

Eve

P.S. I really do hope you are travelling well.

God, Eeyore and Vulnerability

Sunday 8th of November 2015

Dear Joan,

The ‘Long Goodbye’ has begun.

Fortunately, it has started with people who don’t rate on my emotional radar too highly. However, every time I see someone, who I don’t see often, I find myself wondering, ‘Is this the last time I will see you before your goodbye?’ That thought always leaves me feeling heavy hearted.

The inevitably of the farewells is the thing I find hardest. I know some of the people see our move as rejection and others just can’t fathom why we would do it. There a few who are excited and cannot wait for us to do it. It is just that those closest, find it the hardest.

Yesterday I caught up with a fella from a previous chapter who use to date a dear friend of mine for many years. He has this tendency to sweep everyone away when he finishes a relationship. It’s how he rolls and we grew to accept his decision. Never stopped me wondering about him though. Low and behold I got a message from him on facey. An invite to his birthday soon followed. I always cherished him and thought it would be great to see him and also, nosey and see how he is travelling.

Arriving an hour late I thought it would be in full swing. Well blow me down, I and the girls were the first ones to arrive. I was embarrassed. His 40th birthday celebration was rather empty of people. After I rocked up a few others did. Here was this big hall for maybe twenty people. It turns out, I was there for numbers.

Now why am I telling you this? That is a big part of why I don’t want a farewell do. What if I have a screwed up take of people’s relationship with me? What if people don’t come because they were too busy? I think I would prefer to leave with a misunderstanding of relationships rather than the realisation that perhaps people meant more to me then I to them. It is so insecure and I actually feel really vulnerable for admitting it out loud. It is the truth.

On a side note if you have twenty minutes watch this Ted Ed talk about vulnerability. It is amazing.

https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en

Continuing on, I really don’t think I could handle it.

So in four hours I said hello and goodbye to one person.

Today I was surrounded by God and Eeyore.

A beautiful friend (the other person also nominated for my eulogy), has a key role in her parish. She set up a Field Committee of people who would support her in her various roles. We were her soundboard, helped troubleshoot issues, praised her when she was doing well and just listened. It is such a varied group of women. Turns out though, that there is an Eeyore in the group. I know my mum can be negative, glass half empty but I don’t think she emanates sadness, bitterness and anger at every given moment. Even my gorgeous friend who sees good in everyone, sees sense and understanding also feels the anger. She sucks my energy every time Joan, EVERY TIME. I get my mum being angry about me moving to Malaysia, I’m taking her grand kids away BUT this woman, she is angry with me. So angry with me. Like I am her daughter, taking her grandkids away. I obviously remind her of something or bring back memories of an experience.

We went out for lunch today, a last hurrah to me and the Field Committee. The life sucking force was there and I am kind of sad that I said goodbye to one of the ladies who I felt I could learn lots from, yet I get to see Eeyore two more times. Funny how life does that to you. I obviously have two more times to either give her peace or me some peace. I am not sure which. I just hope she can find some peace and light. She needs peace. Her heart is too heavy.

Well, I am going to head off and ignore the fact that I have reports to write.

Love you,

Eve

Life and faces

Wednesday 4th November 2015

Dear Joan,

Never mind starting with the formal salutations, lets just get straight into it. You gave me this idea to blog about the impending adventure to Malaysia but I figured it has started now. Preparing the girls, the house, my work, the husband, myself, is all a part of it. All the bits pertaining to my life here, right now, also a part of it.

You have written me endless letters and now, I am hoping to return it albeit in a potentially very public forum.

Actually, I have been blogging in my head to you for a few days now. I want to write about a movie I saw, how I am feeling about the move BUT today’s events just seem more pressing.

Today I went to the funeral of my neighbour. It has left me with so many feelings. Firstly though is the funeral face. Yep, the funeral face. That look people give each other that almost seems condescending. The face that people use that just seems so insincere. A funeral is the one place, along with that of births that we should just be allowed to embrace every damn feeling we want. No stoic behaviour, just plain raw emotion. Be angry, be sad, be devastated, be nothing BUT whatever you do, whatever you feel just embrace it. Be sincere.

Equally, I just want honesty at a funeral. Say it as it is and if you can’t then don’t do the eulogy.

From all of this, the husband and I have been talking about what we would want at ours. Cremated. Ashes spread in New York, London, Paris and The Alps in Switzerland. If the bloke doesn’t or can’t do the eulogy, you and another friend has been picked. Just thought I better give you the heads up.

My neighbour’s death has just made me angry. As a society we don’t take enough care of our elders. I feel not enough care was taken of him. What does this say about me though? I am leaving my aging parents. Am I just trusting in one of siblings or aunt and uncle to come to their rescue if needed? What decision would I make if something happened? I don’t know the answers Joan.

I just needed to ‘talk’ about this today. I think next time might be a little more light-hearted.

Love Eve