Round and Round the Malaysia go wheel.

Dear Joan,

I hate the question – So, are you enjoying Malaysia? Hate it. I am forced to say yes or my new stock standard answer – I like the chances it gives me for travel.

I hate it because if I had to answer with a simple yes or no, it would be a resounding no. Yep. No. Why? Well work takes up so much energy, time and being – that if that isn’t great then it has a massive impact. And yet that isn’t a simple explanation either. I like working with the other people in my immediate team. I like the kids. Management – eh. If I don’t believe in that – they are people that should hold the values of teaching at the core – then I simply struggle.

It isn’t just that. It would be unfair. The husband an I, for the entire 17 years (maybe 18) that we have been shacked up, have always struggled to find balance in term time as a couple. Now lets throw a few extra things into that mix – we now have kids, only one car, not the same network of people around us, work for a business so work many more hours on a weekend and all of a sudden there is no real us time for four blocks of ten weeks  a year. How did I fix this in Oz? UK? I created other networks to supplement that. It isn’t so easy here. I know it takes time. The networks, friends – I am trying hard on that – especially to make friends with locals. They are great and love a catch up on a weekday but not so much on a weekend. I only have a couple of mates from work and again, people are really caught up in their own lives. I don’t begrudge them that. It would be unfair and unreasonable.

We are also constricted by traffic. How crazy is that?! On a weekend, trying to get to a mall after 1pm is not worth it unless you want to sit and wait for a park for at least an hour. Going for a spontaneous coffee 20 mins away becomes an hour away – one way. It becomes not worth it. Not worth the fighting of siblings in the back of the car.

Going back to the work thing. When I am in a place that doesn’t share my ideals, and I have been there before, I question my career. Is it the right one? Which again, when faced with such a big question makes happiness in a place a little harder to grasp. We are defined so much by the job we hold – rightly or wrongly, by how we contribute to society, by how well we do said job. When this waivers for me I find it difficult.

I think the universe is trying to tell me it is the right one or at least that working with kids is the right thing. In earlier blogs I mentioned how former kids have contacted me and in the last couple of weeks I have had one previous and one current colleague say beautiful things to me – about me as a teacher. Sometimes I am not sure where their perceptions come from. My current one thanked me for bringing joy to the year last year (we are in different yr levels now). She said that I kept banging on about joy and it wasn’t till I left that she realised how much joy I brought to my class and the flow on effect it had to the team I was in. That would be a great thing to say in my eulogy – she brought joy to others – well some – to others she was just a pain in the arse. hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Though I am hoping we are old and grey before the line is needed.

I feel like this blog is a rehash of many other letters I have written to you. I guess I am just trying to sort my ideas out, what is happening in this noggin of mine.

Love you joan and any other eve’s dropper listening in (pardon the pun),

Love Eve

Post Script

On a completely different tangent but linked to the four lots of ten weeks – that is why teachers need holidays – to be human – to connect to their families. We invest so much into other families, we need the time to invest into ours. We don’t get weekends or weeknights like some other jobs. I just wanted to say that.

 

 

 

 

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

40 days? What’s that?

Dearest Joan,

In my most terrible Adele singing voice, “Hello from the other side.” Buggered if I know if they are the lyrics but I have never been one to follow true to them anyway.

Reading your email made me cry. Thanks for the kind words, though please do not think that is what I am fishing for. I don’t think you would but i just need to make sure you know that.

My most favourite correspondence with you of late was your text about going to your old shopping centre and hoping that no one saw you. Geez did I laugh. It so made me wish I was there with you, so we could hope together that we wouldn’t be seen there. Mind you, if you stayed in DP or moved back to DP that would be ok, as long as it was because it made you happy.

Reading your recount of your latest adventure sounded quite sublime. Perhaps I may have even turned a little green – there I go breaking a commandment. I was jealous of your disconnectedness to people, yet the relationship you built with strangers. And yet, here we are in KL for that very same reason (well one of) – so that the expectation from others lessoned – so that we could beat to our own drum.

Insert music here that signifies a realisation of how dumb the protagonist actually is.

None of us really beat to our own drum. The beauty of humans is that we are all interconnected. My drum cannot beat without considering those around me, my family, friends, people i work with. All i can do is alter my drum beat to match the one i hear.

My beat doesn’t have to work too hard around you Joan. I think that is the blessing our time apart offered us. Acceptance. Complete and utterly. It just beats. With my family it is a little on the off beat, but dare I say, most Maltese women who break with tradition would say that. With my little family – my beat is whatever it needs to be. I can accept all of those, all within reason of course.

Work. The beat. My moral code guides this one. It is important. So knowing that my drum beat is so adversely different to others is making life a little tough right now. I can’t turn work off, put it in a box, leave it to office hours. Teaching is not that. That is why I need a reset every ten weeks. Trusting people, is for me, what makes me me. Why wouldn’t I trust someone? I place my trust in people first and foremost. This does lead to some emotional problems for me, for I take it so personally, when someone makes such terrible decisions and choices. Today I thought this, to err is to be human, to forgive divine. Oh Joan, I have to dig deep to be divine.

And cut to a new topic – that matches the previous one in a real round a bout kind of way. Persist. But if it was a film you would be irritated at the edit.

So, it turns out I am shit at keeping Lenten promises.

Firstly, I did the typical shallow – no choc. 2 days in a row I broke this. Not even consciously. What is with that? Hey JC, thanks for giving your life to open the pearly gates of heaven but 40 days of no choc is not possible. The funny thing is, this morning for brekkie we had pancakes. Kids smeared choc spread everywhere and I wouldn’t even lick my fingers.

Secondly, I remember someone saying to me that a Lenten promise should be about making a better version of you. I have always loved that. So, another promise I totally suck at is not saying horrible things about people. Yes, yes you read correctly. In saying that, it is linked to school and my struggles there. BUT, I have been surprised at how horrible I am. Glass houses and all. I would have a very airy glass house at the moment. Stepping back from it all though, I look at it as I realisation and a 40 day discussion with God about me and how to try and turn it all around. God, JC, Mary, the odd saint – we talk often. I pray every night. Makes me feel like I understand mum a little more too these days.

Next shitty edit.

Well I feel like a summary should occur for things that have happened but I won’t really be talking about:

  • Kris and I paid a fortune to attend the symphony but we didn’t get in.
  • We went to see a great version of Romeo and Juliet this week.
  • The youngest discovered that boys don’t have a the same body parts as a girl.
  • The oldest is asking me awkward questions about the birds and the bees.
  • Bring on Japan!
  • We finally bought plants.
  • Borsz is writing little things that are just lovely.

Anyway, Joan, I too cherish our time in the company of each other, albeit infrequent and short.

 

(me, rocking a monocle and a hat!)

 

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

15540777_10154656231300168_6589476960802800230_o.jpg

Arc De Triomphe

15585428_10154667007315168_9219367440205151497_o.jpg

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.

 

The Prodigal Friend Returns – No Roast Pig Though.

Dearest Joan,

I was talking with friends yesterday, whilst watching the highly anticipated but certainly disappointing, Gilmore Girls about how I wish I had time to write. I know the limitations of my writing. My lack of exact use of grammar – my missing oxford commas would attest to that, the rambling nature – refer to previous blogs and perhaps just the self indulgence of it all – BUT i do miss it. I often want to write book reviews, movie reviews, people reviews, life reviews – instead of writing any review, writing nothing reviews seems to be my choice. Apathy? No. Just a reluctance to share this myriad of thoughts that has consumed me this year. God’s ear has certainly been bent this last 11 months.

Knowing where to begin is impossible, so I shall just trust in these fingers and where this ramble may take me.

So here I am, still in KL. I knew I would be. I always knew it would be two, probably three years. The family relocated 8 hours by plane so that we could work in a somewhat dysfunctional workplace. That isn’t really what I want to talk about – not yet.

We make decisions all the time, don’t we Joan. And every decision has consequence, good or bad but it has one. Sometimes we don’t know the outcome till many years later. This year I have wondered why am I here. Answering that for the Borsz and husband is so simple – he needed new, a fresh take. The Borsz was never settled at her last school. It wasn’t the right place. She thrives on all the activities she does here. The Babu and I on the other hand, were loved and settled – we didn’t need the change. I think our paths were set and they were good.

Here my path is rocky, treacherous, not traveled. I have to be brave in decisions I make – in whatever capacity it is. I was naive and not prepared for this eventuality. Well why would I, when life was just peachy back in Oz? This September I was in a dirty funk. Not the first of the year. Somehow the universe sensed my struggle and it sent me this:

Mrs. R!! I believe you taught me in grade 6 I would just like to say thank you 😂 I remember you being a really good teacher and making the last year of primary school one of the best ever, I am now 17 almost a official adult in 2013. I left the MP and me and my family moved to Hampton Park. It’s a suburb near Dandenong and it’s as ruff as you think hahah but I liked it. Last year my parents decided that they didn’t like it there and we moved again but this time to another place. I went to WI high school for 6 months until I realised school wasn’t for me. I finished year 10 and didn’t start another year. I am now doing a carpenter apprenticeship and I’m loving it. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m 8 months in now and I love it so much. Through the years I’ve been doing boxing then I started training probably at a gym and I am now a ametuer boxer!! I love it aswell i just wanted to contact you to let you know you did a great job teaching us back in EB. We all loved you and was one of the best years 😂 thank you!

Where is the link? I just have to trust Joan, that I am here maybe not for me but for my family and for a kid just like the above one. Maybe there is a student like the one above, that just needed me this year.

Selfishly though, I wonder when I get to make choices just for me. When do I get to put me first? I imagine it is the eternal question that all parents ask. And maybe the answer is never. Maybe I relinquished that upon deciding to breed or when I decided to be responsible for children (even in a teaching capacity). Maybe that is ok. For when I wonder: What the fuck am I doing in KL? I think of this song:

Editors – Weight of the World

and these particular lyrics:

Every little piece in your life will add up to one
Every little piece in your life will mean something to someone
Every little piece in your life will add up to one
Every little piece of your life will mean something to someone

I trust in free will. I trust in fate. I trust in purpose.

Thanks Joan. Thanks for being patient.

Love Eve

Post Script

I have another friend that will read this, Ella. She is a good egg. You would like her. I just wanted her to know that I know she would read it too.

 

 

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

 

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