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

Toot! Toot! An Epiphany!

Wednesday 9th December, 2015

Dearest Joan,

It has been an incredibly long time between writes. I have had so many things run through my head since the last letter. BUT literally, they have ran…in and quickly out. There doesn’t seem to be a huge capacity to hang onto anything at the moment that isn’t Malaysian, packing related or Eastbourne connected.

I so desperately wanted to respond to a blog I had read about a red string of fate – destiny between two people who were always going to meet in a given situation. Talking about the people that have shaped me, wondering about those I have influenced, questioning why fate occurs when it does. Some people have walked into my life this year, profoundly affected me as a human, yet I am leaving. The time that fate has allowed seems too short. Unfair. Testing.

BUT then I think of you AND me. The relationship we had, didn’t have and have now. The intensity, the hiatus, the reconnection. I feel blessed for the time apart. The red string of fate between you and I was never cut. Perhaps we just failed to see it or acknowledge it. The reconnection has been perfect. For some reason we have always had kms between us. The best long distance relationship ever.

ANYWAY this email isn’t about that. It is about where I am at right now, mentally, with the move. What is happening. The epiphany of today.

Toot! Toot! All aboard the CRAZY train!

That is just how I feel. My emotions are absolutely everywhere. Babu (the little kid) received a card and a pressie from her bestie at crèche. It just set me off. It still sets me off. Leaving her friend, her network – Feeling horrible about it is just how it sits in my heart. It is much the same for Borsz (the older kid) but for her, can rationalise it with her a little. I also find myself distancing myself, putting the wall up when I should be embracing every moment with everyone. Be fair dear Eve to yourself….for some people I give the time to, others not.

Joan, it depends on the eyes. If the eyes cannot move beyond sad I don’t spend so much time there. It hurts too much because I feel like I am doing that. I guess why I haven’t pushed a lot of time with my mum. A decision I am annoyed at myself about. Sadness is just hard to be around. Sad eyes harder. I know the sad eyes love me, cherish me, wish I wasn’t going (so too do the non-sad eyes) and it is that I should hang on to.

It all kicked off when I told my neighbour, Lorraine, our moving out date and she cried. It was that very moment that I realised that our decision has had a wider ripple effect than perhaps I ever considered. This too led me to today’s epiphany. Lorraine is an elderly neighbour. No children. A recently passed husband. We have been a part of their lives for the last 2 and half years quite a lot and prior to that just friendly with each other. I just love her Joan. Find myself worrying about her, often however I have been doing this for some time.

Ok, where is this going? Today, I had a chance to be involved with the school Christmas choir, singing in old folks home. I struggled Joan, hugely. All the thoughts, loneliness, the ill health of Lorraine came flooding. I saw it en masse. My heart broke. I always thought that my destiny was to work with refugees at some point. I am not so sure anymore.

When I get back to Oz – one day, with whatever school I end up in – I have decided to set up links with an old folk’s home. I think I want to become like a companion for an older person. To bring friendship, a little joy. I think I want to involve the girls a little. I even started thinking about Christmas day lunches. It is still swirling in my head everywhere. Trying to sort out. It feels good. I don’t think it is a change of career, just an extra to making the world a little kinder, less lonely. Much like your next venture….which I think is so admirable.

In the scheme of jobs to do before leaving our beautiful beach home on the 21st of December we are doing ok. We have had an application on the house, the steam cleaner is booked, friends are coming over on a weekend to pack and move. I need to phone utilities, sell cars, pack more. The husband is sorting cars, has finished the garden, is sorting out his grade sixes for end of year and generally remaining very focused on all the jobs he needs to complete.

The adventure is getting closer!

Sorry about the delay Joan.

Love you loads,

Eve

Report Writing Season

Dearest Joan,

I have obviously been absent and will continue to be for a little while.

It is Report Writing Season. It consumes me and my family.

I dislike it muchly.

I do have my next blog cooking away. Time is just needed to execute it.

Love

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

Nits Can Suck Eggs

Saturday 7th of November

Dear Joan,

The crappest part of motherhood……nits. Not the sleeplessness or worry BUT nits. Especially when you are mother to two girls with long hair. I curse the person that we got them from. Why on earth isn’t there a vaccination created for nits? I’ll tell you why Joan, all the nit shampoo companies! They must make a fortune.

I hope and pray that you may never face this.

Put simple Joan, nobody looks pretty in a green cap.

Love Eve

The Cup Runneth Over

Friday 6th November 2015

Dear Joan,

The first and foremost thing I want to address is the lack of me asking about you. I don’t want to give information about you away. Just because I’m writing to you, doesn’t give me the right to share your details with the world. Secondly, I don’t want you to feel obliged to respond, ever. Life gets busy and we as humans, already have so much on our plate. The only response I truly want is for you to take a few minutes out to read it and pop into my head.

Moving on…..I am brimming with so many emotions and being at work just feeds the overflowing cup. To sound big headed, I am thought of highly at school – a potential power player. I am regarded by management to be hard working, enthusiastic, a team player. My colleagues respect me as a peer. I get on board, give things a go and am equally happy to self-reflect on failures and successes. I have been gently guided to the path of leadership. Receiving an email today about a leadership course that I was going to be on next year just made me feel disappointed. Disappointed that I am not going to be able to do it. This isn’t the first time I have walked away from management opportunities. BUT this is the first time where I am second guessing the decision.

Some friends felt I was sacrificing a lot with the move to Malaysia and that I was doing it for my hubby. His work place isn’t forward thinking, innovative, exciting or challenging. He has been essentially unhappy at his place for a while. They questioned why I would change countries when he could just change jobs. Back then I told them they were crazy. Hmmm maybe they saw it clearer than I did. Don’t get me wrong, my seven year itch started in year three and I could not fathom the thought that this here is my forever with nothing else. I just love my school. Love my work ethic here. Love the clientele and the innovation of the school. I just don’t like walking into a school and being just another teacher. How terrible does that sound?! Imagine saying just another doctor, just another nurse, just another policeman. It is terrible but that is how I feel. I don’t just want to sit in the background. I am also worried I won’t be the best teacher working with kids of privilege. What if the husband flourishes? And I don’t? That he finds his place and I lose mine? What if the big kid finally finds her groove in a school? And I just become a sore thumb?

Trusting in the path I am on. Trusting in the choices I have made so far. That is all I can do. AND if it turns out to be the wrong choice, then we will know rather than have regrets. Regrets are far worse.

Love you Joan,

Eve

Dreamy Eyes Hemsworth!

Thursday 5th November 2015

Dear Joan,

I have always dreamed of reviewing movies and find myself doing that at times, again in my head. Makes you wonder how everything fits in there!? For a movie to engage me these days it has to be amazing as I find it hard at home to commit to just sitting and watching. Social media, internet, stupid apps have been the undoing of my attention span. I have to make a conscious effort to not use it. Hmmm, perhaps I should make that a real goal? If I write it down, then I am accountable for it.

Anyway, I find it hard to find the time to go to the movies. We don’t have babysitters at hand and when we do, there isn’t always a movie out that we are interested in. I actually find myself compromising when going to the movies anyway. Sure I’ll watch Fast and the Furious 7 or Magic Mike 2. Sometimes I just want the time out from being a mum, so will take what I can get. Sometimes that even means leaving for work half an hour earlier, telling a fib about a meeting I have and then going to my fave café (The MIlbri) and having a cup of tea. Yep tea, not coffee. That is another email.

This weekend gave me the opportunity to go to the flicks with my sister in law to watch “The Dressmaker.” All my doing. Why did I choose it? Ha! To perve on Liam Hemsworth because I think he is dreamy! Hahahah It’s true. That was my motivation. Luckily, it turned out to be more. Would I recommend it to others, possibly. The acting by Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving and Judy Davis have moments of just glorious belief about them. I truly believed that Teddy (Hemsworth) wanted to save Myrtle (Winslet). I believed the love in his eyes. Myrtle (Winslet) nailed the Aussie accent. Madness emanated from Molly’s (Davis) pores and Weaving just went back to the days of Priscilla.

There were just a few things that I couldn’t reconcile. Suspending my disbelief between Hemsworth and Winslet was just a stretch too far. Apparently they were of a similar age but in real life it is fifteen years. Removing that real life fact was too big of an ask of me. I believed their individual love of another character but not for each other. Winslet was poorly cast for this choice. There were also throw away lines in the script, but throw away lines that needed more of a story. It was like the forgot to edit the line out. The other glaring issue was the inconsistency to the style of story telling. Was it supposed to be absurd comedy? Drama? A rom com? The bit parts were too far fetched to call it simply a drama, the storyline at times too twisted to call it a Rom Com and the heart of it to sad to have it as an absurd comedy.

I get it is a story. I get that not all stories follow an expected line but it felt as if though they deviated from the line because they could. It all just wrapped up in a way that felt rushed and not overly purposeful. Sure, every decision fit the character of Myrtle it just doesn’t necessarily mean they were the right ones.

Why was it great? Why has it left me thinking about it (besides the dreamy eyes and body of Hemsworth)? Well it is because in isolation I could believe Davis, Hemsworth and at times Winslet. The Australiana of it was also endearing – at times a little far fetched – yet still endearing. I could relate to the idea of finding yourself, as a mother the idea of protecting your child. The idea of your surroundings making you mad.

I’m glad I saw it, I just wish I could have proof read the script or the nearly final cut and ask questions.

I always feel like I have my next note ready for you and I cannot wait to write it.

Love you Joan

Eve