dolorosa_12: (una)
Day 30 – Your aspirations
Well, I've finally reached the last day of this meme. I wish this day were not called 'your aspirations'. The former Australian federal government has forever tainted the word 'aspirational' for me, and I dislike using it. But no matter...

My aspirations are at once quite simple, and extremely complicated. I want to matter, and I want things to matter to me.

I aspire to live a meaningful life, and for things to have meaning for me. I aspire to matter to people, and always to be surrounded by people who matter to me. I don't see the point of going through life without leaving the slightest impression. I aspire to be like a stone thrown into a pool: I want to leave ripples, no matter how small.

To this end, I've always tried to make everything matter to me: my family and my friends and my colleagues and teachers, and our every interaction, the books and blogs and stories I read, the films and shows I watch, the music to which I listen and dance, every word I write, every cup of coffee I drink. This sometimes means that I ascribe way too much significance to things that don't actually matter. But I want to go through life with my eyes wide open. I don't see any point in being conscious otherwise.

I think it is unrealistic to aspire to be happy. I'd rather aspire to feel the full range of human emotions. What's the point in having the capacity to be sad or angry or worried if nothing you encounter evokes sadness or anger or worry? I'd rather aspire to have the emotional resources to cope with these kinds of emotions and the things which cause them.

I guess what I'm saying is that I aspire to learn, teach, think, feel, and love and be loved. In short, to live. Sin é.
dolorosa_12: (una)
Day 30 – Your aspirations
Well, I've finally reached the last day of this meme. I wish this day were not called 'your aspirations'. The former Australian federal government has forever tainted the word 'aspirational' for me, and I dislike using it. But no matter...

My aspirations are at once quite simple, and extremely complicated. I want to matter, and I want things to matter to me.

I aspire to live a meaningful life, and for things to have meaning for me. I aspire to matter to people, and always to be surrounded by people who matter to me. I don't see the point of going through life without leaving the slightest impression. I aspire to be like a stone thrown into a pool: I want to leave ripples, no matter how small.

To this end, I've always tried to make everything matter to me: my family and my friends and my colleagues and teachers, and our every interaction, the books and blogs and stories I read, the films and shows I watch, the music to which I listen and dance, every word I write, every cup of coffee I drink. This sometimes means that I ascribe way too much significance to things that don't actually matter. But I want to go through life with my eyes wide open. I don't see any point in being conscious otherwise.

I think it is unrealistic to aspire to be happy. I'd rather aspire to feel the full range of human emotions. What's the point in having the capacity to be sad or angry or worried if nothing you encounter evokes sadness or anger or worry? I'd rather aspire to have the emotional resources to cope with these kinds of emotions and the things which cause them.

I guess what I'm saying is that I aspire to learn, teach, think, feel, and love and be loved. In short, to live. Sin é.
dolorosa_12: (travis)
Day 29 – Your favorite foods/drinks
Just two days left of this meme!

This topic is both easy and difficult. I love food and drinks...but I love many kinds of food and drinks, and am surprisingly non-specific when it comes to my favourites. Whenever my mother used to ask my sister and me what we wanted for dinner, I would always say 'Something with a sauce' in a typically vague manner.

The sauce thing is important. I have kind of a weak sense of taste (probably due to having a poor sense of smell, which affects your sense of taste) and so I like things with very strong flavours. You will never see me eating fish, meat (even deli meats) or potatoes on their own because I find them too bland. I typically eat steak with both tomato sauce and some kind of chilli sauce, for example. Whenever my mother cooks stir-fry, I always add extra soy sauce and whatever other sauce she's used in order to give it more flavour.

Aside from that specification, though, I like almost all kinds of food, provided they're cooked with very high-quality ingredients. I can put up with poor-quality vegetables better than I can poor-quality meat or eggs, and so if I can't get hold of good-quality meat, I'll tend to eat vegetarian food.

I love Japanese food, Thai food, Indian food (both the kind made for Westerners and more genuine South Indian stuff), Indonesian/Malaysian food, Italian food, Lebanese food, Turkish food, good quality Chinese food, Mexican food, Spanish food, Eastern European food, French patisserie food (although I'm not as keen on French savoury food, apart from the simple cheese and bread-type stuff), good-quality pub food, most vegetarian food, modern Australian food and what I guess you could call 'Australian cafe food'. I adore fruit (apart from bananas), ice-cream and good-quality chocolate, although I'm not a huge fan of cakes and biscuits (I find them a little dry).

A couple of weird food-related quirks: I detest all commercial brands of cereal, although I quite like muesli and porridge (I can't eat them every day, and tend to go through phases of about a month where I'll eat them with fruit and yoghurt or fruit and honey). I only like sandwiches if they're freshly-made in a cafe, and preferably if they're toasted. You'll NEVER see me eating sandwiches at home, but rather slices of bread, slices of cheese/tomato/chorizo/spoonfulls of hummus all separated. I don't know why, that's just how I like to eat.

In terms of drinks, I think I've already established I'm a coffee snob and also quite fond of most kinds of alcoholic beverages. I only drink coffee that's been made on an espresso machine by competent baristas. If I can't get that, I'd rather drink tea. I'll drink cheap tea-bag tea, but I prefer loose-leaf. When it comes to alcohol, I'll drink most spirits (although these days I need mixers too, unlike when I was younger), any kind of wine, no matter how cheap, and pretty much any cocktail. I don't like beer or cider at all. I can't afford expensive wine, and I was brought up drinking middle-of-the-range wine at home. My favourite white wines are Brokenwood semillon and Brokenwood Cricket Pitch (a semillon/sauvignon blanc blend) and my favourite red wine is Torres Sangre de Toro. I suspect if we'd been able to afford extremely expensive wines I'd have others I preferred more, but within my experience and price-range, these are my favourite wines.

To be honest, apart from alcohol and coffee, I mostly just drink tap water. I like freshly-squeezed juice from time to time, but really the only other drinks I actually adore are regular Coca Cola and various types of expensive sparkling mineral water (I highly recommend San Pellegrino). Coke is my great weakness, although I've pretty much given up drinking it because it's so bad for me.

I think I'm probably a bit of a food snob. This doesn't really bother me, particularly.

The final day )
dolorosa_12: (travis)
Day 29 – Your favorite foods/drinks
Just two days left of this meme!

This topic is both easy and difficult. I love food and drinks...but I love many kinds of food and drinks, and am surprisingly non-specific when it comes to my favourites. Whenever my mother used to ask my sister and me what we wanted for dinner, I would always say 'Something with a sauce' in a typically vague manner.

The sauce thing is important. I have kind of a weak sense of taste (probably due to having a poor sense of smell, which affects your sense of taste) and so I like things with very strong flavours. You will never see me eating fish, meat (even deli meats) or potatoes on their own because I find them too bland. I typically eat steak with both tomato sauce and some kind of chilli sauce, for example. Whenever my mother cooks stir-fry, I always add extra soy sauce and whatever other sauce she's used in order to give it more flavour.

Aside from that specification, though, I like almost all kinds of food, provided they're cooked with very high-quality ingredients. I can put up with poor-quality vegetables better than I can poor-quality meat or eggs, and so if I can't get hold of good-quality meat, I'll tend to eat vegetarian food.

I love Japanese food, Thai food, Indian food (both the kind made for Westerners and more genuine South Indian stuff), Indonesian/Malaysian food, Italian food, Lebanese food, Turkish food, good quality Chinese food, Mexican food, Spanish food, Eastern European food, French patisserie food (although I'm not as keen on French savoury food, apart from the simple cheese and bread-type stuff), good-quality pub food, most vegetarian food, modern Australian food and what I guess you could call 'Australian cafe food'. I adore fruit (apart from bananas), ice-cream and good-quality chocolate, although I'm not a huge fan of cakes and biscuits (I find them a little dry).

A couple of weird food-related quirks: I detest all commercial brands of cereal, although I quite like muesli and porridge (I can't eat them every day, and tend to go through phases of about a month where I'll eat them with fruit and yoghurt or fruit and honey). I only like sandwiches if they're freshly-made in a cafe, and preferably if they're toasted. You'll NEVER see me eating sandwiches at home, but rather slices of bread, slices of cheese/tomato/chorizo/spoonfulls of hummus all separated. I don't know why, that's just how I like to eat.

In terms of drinks, I think I've already established I'm a coffee snob and also quite fond of most kinds of alcoholic beverages. I only drink coffee that's been made on an espresso machine by competent baristas. If I can't get that, I'd rather drink tea. I'll drink cheap tea-bag tea, but I prefer loose-leaf. When it comes to alcohol, I'll drink most spirits (although these days I need mixers too, unlike when I was younger), any kind of wine, no matter how cheap, and pretty much any cocktail. I don't like beer or cider at all. I can't afford expensive wine, and I was brought up drinking middle-of-the-range wine at home. My favourite white wines are Brokenwood semillon and Brokenwood Cricket Pitch (a semillon/sauvignon blanc blend) and my favourite red wine is Torres Sangre de Toro. I suspect if we'd been able to afford extremely expensive wines I'd have others I preferred more, but within my experience and price-range, these are my favourite wines.

To be honest, apart from alcohol and coffee, I mostly just drink tap water. I like freshly-squeezed juice from time to time, but really the only other drinks I actually adore are regular Coca Cola and various types of expensive sparkling mineral water (I highly recommend San Pellegrino). Coke is my great weakness, although I've pretty much given up drinking it because it's so bad for me.

I think I'm probably a bit of a food snob. This doesn't really bother me, particularly.

The final day )
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Day 28 – Something that you miss
I ended up taking a longer break from internetting than I'd initially planned, mainly due to being insanely busy the entire time I was in Australia. Because I was only there for such a short period of time, every waking moment that I wasn't at the conference or the wedding was spent catching up with various friends and relatives. I had a wonderful time, but I was kind of busy.

Anyway, appropriately, this post is about what I miss. I'm feeling desperately homesick at the moment. It was worse than when I left Sydney in January. I actually walked sobbing through Sydney Airport, which was kind of embarrassing. At the most bizarre moments, I'll find myself feeling absolutely wretched with anguish about how much I miss everyone back in Australia. I haven't really felt this homesick since 2008, and it's kind of surprising.

So, yeah. I miss Australia. It's weird, as I am completely, utterly, perfectly happy in Cambridge. As [livejournal.com profile] anya_1984 mentioned to me when I had dinner with her and [livejournal.com profile] jonjonc a couple of weeks ago, 'you seem to have found yourself, Ronni. You're so much happier than any other time I've known you.' Considering we've been friends for more than 13 years, I would be inclined to agree. I feel like I am myself, utterly and completely, here, in a way that I had not been in Australia since I went to school at age five.

I don't miss the person that I was in any way. I ranged between depression and neutrality (interspersed with rare moments of delirious happiness), I treated my friends not as well as I should have, and I always felt as if my life lacked in some way. But I do miss the little things. I've spoken about this before.

Mostly, what I miss is the sense of having common cultural references. Being Australian, it's not horrifically bad, since so much of Australian culture draws on USian and British culture anyway. But I miss being able to refer to specifically Australian cultural points of reference (ABC Kids shows, well-known Australian newsreaders and journalists, ads, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne suburbs, 'going down the South Coast', The Chaser, Spicks and Specks, the Sydney fireworks, etc etc etc) and being sure of the immediate understanding of my interlocutors.

We use things like this as markers of solidarity. They are the equivalent of asking 'you know?' at the end of every sentence. Understanding what these things mean is like asserting identity, like reassuring someone that you are of his or her tribe. And in dropping these references into conversation, I am saying to people, 'I am a Canberran, I went to Telopea and Bundah, I did the IB, I grew up in the inner south, I am a Sydneysider, I live in the eastern suburbs but hang out mainly in the inner west, I watched (and watch) the ABC, I am a middle-class social-democratic Australian, I read books - and you are one of those people too, aren't you?'

And although I've got other groups over here with which I can express solidarity - believe me, I can speak fluent ASNaC, sraffese and obernettian - I still feel a slight sense of loss when I mention Antony Green and people look at me blankly, or when I cringe at the thought of Alexander Downer and people don't know why, or when I go into reveries about the standard Sydney cafe: competent baristas, toasted banana bread (and I don't even like bananas) and egg and bacon rolls.

I don't know if this feeling will ever go away. I tend to reflect on this sort of thing a lot, so I suspect not.

Is it any wonder I write about exile?


The other days )

Angst and self-reflection )
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Day 28 – Something that you miss
I ended up taking a longer break from internetting than I'd initially planned, mainly due to being insanely busy the entire time I was in Australia. Because I was only there for such a short period of time, every waking moment that I wasn't at the conference or the wedding was spent catching up with various friends and relatives. I had a wonderful time, but I was kind of busy.

Anyway, appropriately, this post is about what I miss. I'm feeling desperately homesick at the moment. It was worse than when I left Sydney in January. I actually walked sobbing through Sydney Airport, which was kind of embarrassing. At the most bizarre moments, I'll find myself feeling absolutely wretched with anguish about how much I miss everyone back in Australia. I haven't really felt this homesick since 2008, and it's kind of surprising.

So, yeah. I miss Australia. It's weird, as I am completely, utterly, perfectly happy in Cambridge. As [livejournal.com profile] anya_1984 mentioned to me when I had dinner with her and [livejournal.com profile] jonjonc a couple of weeks ago, 'you seem to have found yourself, Ronni. You're so much happier than any other time I've known you.' Considering we've been friends for more than 13 years, I would be inclined to agree. I feel like I am myself, utterly and completely, here, in a way that I had not been in Australia since I went to school at age five.

I don't miss the person that I was in any way. I ranged between depression and neutrality (interspersed with rare moments of delirious happiness), I treated my friends not as well as I should have, and I always felt as if my life lacked in some way. But I do miss the little things. I've spoken about this before.

Mostly, what I miss is the sense of having common cultural references. Being Australian, it's not horrifically bad, since so much of Australian culture draws on USian and British culture anyway. But I miss being able to refer to specifically Australian cultural points of reference (ABC Kids shows, well-known Australian newsreaders and journalists, ads, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne suburbs, 'going down the South Coast', The Chaser, Spicks and Specks, the Sydney fireworks, etc etc etc) and being sure of the immediate understanding of my interlocutors.

We use things like this as markers of solidarity. They are the equivalent of asking 'you know?' at the end of every sentence. Understanding what these things mean is like asserting identity, like reassuring someone that you are of his or her tribe. And in dropping these references into conversation, I am saying to people, 'I am a Canberran, I went to Telopea and Bundah, I did the IB, I grew up in the inner south, I am a Sydneysider, I live in the eastern suburbs but hang out mainly in the inner west, I watched (and watch) the ABC, I am a middle-class social-democratic Australian, I read books - and you are one of those people too, aren't you?'

And although I've got other groups over here with which I can express solidarity - believe me, I can speak fluent ASNaC, sraffese and obernettian - I still feel a slight sense of loss when I mention Antony Green and people look at me blankly, or when I cringe at the thought of Alexander Downer and people don't know why, or when I go into reveries about the standard Sydney cafe: competent baristas, toasted banana bread (and I don't even like bananas) and egg and bacon rolls.

I don't know if this feeling will ever go away. I tend to reflect on this sort of thing a lot, so I suspect not.

Is it any wonder I write about exile?


The other days )

Angst and self-reflection )
dolorosa_12: (una)
Day 27 – Your favorite place
Not many days left with this meme, which I hope you've enjoyed reading as much as I've enjoyed writing. (I'm self-absorbed enough to find writing about myself quite fun.)

I think it's unfair to ask people to name just one favourite place! I've lived in three cities (technically five, but I was too young to remember living in New York or Washington, DC), count Melbourne as a sort of third home, and have travelled a lot. And even in each of those cities, the idea of naming just one favourite place is difficult.

My favourite place in Cambridge is easy. It's in the big table in the window of my favourite cafe, with a coffee in my hand, a newspaper on the table and a bagel on a plate. I found that cafe on the third day I was in Cambridge, when I was walking around blearily looking for somewhere like the sorts of places I hung around in in Australia, and it was like discovering an oasis in a desert. I love it very much.

In Sydney, I'm quite partial to the Bondi-to-Coogee coastal walk, in particular, oddly enough, the cemetery. I also adore Galaxy Bookstore, the quirkier end of King St, Newtown, and the entire suburb of Potts Point and Kings Cross (hold off on your snarky remarks! I'm allowed to like Kings Cross!).

Soho is my favourite place in London. No question.

Canberra is more difficult, because the whole town took on a sort of mythic dimension in my mind after I left the place in 2003. Canberra, to me, is what childhood looks like, which means that I get incredibly nostalgic over silly things like the dry bushland that you drive through on your way from the inner south into Weston, Garema Place, the scattering of organic food shops and alternative health centres in Griffith and the route from Arthur Circle to Manuka. I don't know if any of them could really be described as a favourite place, because it's so hard to divorce them from this nostalgic context.

In Melbourne, it's easy. Brunswick Street. (However, my image of Brunswick Street bears little resemblance to the street as it is now, but rather as it appeared to my mind when I was a child: mysterious, quirky, slightly disreputable, in short a dark chest of wonders.)

I could be clever and say that certain corners of the internet are my favourite places, and at times I definitely feel that I am most at home in cyberspace. (When I look back at how quickly I was transformed from an internet skeptic to an internet utopian, it scares me a little.)

The first place outside Australia where I felt instantly at home was Amsterdam. I love it to bits.

I think the point of my inability to make a decision about my favourite place confirms my belief that home is an age and a state of mind, not a place. My favourite places are, ultimately, places where I am surrounded by people I love. They're what make them home.

The other days )

I will have to take a break from this for the next couple of days as I will be flying from London to Sydney and thus not have internet access for over 24 hours (scary thought!).
dolorosa_12: (una)
Day 27 – Your favorite place
Not many days left with this meme, which I hope you've enjoyed reading as much as I've enjoyed writing. (I'm self-absorbed enough to find writing about myself quite fun.)

I think it's unfair to ask people to name just one favourite place! I've lived in three cities (technically five, but I was too young to remember living in New York or Washington, DC), count Melbourne as a sort of third home, and have travelled a lot. And even in each of those cities, the idea of naming just one favourite place is difficult.

My favourite place in Cambridge is easy. It's in the big table in the window of my favourite cafe, with a coffee in my hand, a newspaper on the table and a bagel on a plate. I found that cafe on the third day I was in Cambridge, when I was walking around blearily looking for somewhere like the sorts of places I hung around in in Australia, and it was like discovering an oasis in a desert. I love it very much.

In Sydney, I'm quite partial to the Bondi-to-Coogee coastal walk, in particular, oddly enough, the cemetery. I also adore Galaxy Bookstore, the quirkier end of King St, Newtown, and the entire suburb of Potts Point and Kings Cross (hold off on your snarky remarks! I'm allowed to like Kings Cross!).

Soho is my favourite place in London. No question.

Canberra is more difficult, because the whole town took on a sort of mythic dimension in my mind after I left the place in 2003. Canberra, to me, is what childhood looks like, which means that I get incredibly nostalgic over silly things like the dry bushland that you drive through on your way from the inner south into Weston, Garema Place, the scattering of organic food shops and alternative health centres in Griffith and the route from Arthur Circle to Manuka. I don't know if any of them could really be described as a favourite place, because it's so hard to divorce them from this nostalgic context.

In Melbourne, it's easy. Brunswick Street. (However, my image of Brunswick Street bears little resemblance to the street as it is now, but rather as it appeared to my mind when I was a child: mysterious, quirky, slightly disreputable, in short a dark chest of wonders.)

I could be clever and say that certain corners of the internet are my favourite places, and at times I definitely feel that I am most at home in cyberspace. (When I look back at how quickly I was transformed from an internet skeptic to an internet utopian, it scares me a little.)

The first place outside Australia where I felt instantly at home was Amsterdam. I love it to bits.

I think the point of my inability to make a decision about my favourite place confirms my belief that home is an age and a state of mind, not a place. My favourite places are, ultimately, places where I am surrounded by people I love. They're what make them home.

The other days )

I will have to take a break from this for the next couple of days as I will be flying from London to Sydney and thus not have internet access for over 24 hours (scary thought!).
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
Day 26 – Your fears
I am quite an anxious, fearful person, but my greatest fear, and the only thing that can reduce me to a nervous wreck, is the fear of being alone when I'm old.

I don't necessarily mean that I fear not being in a relationship. I came to terms with being single - and being happy being single - a long time ago, and it's been many years since I was upset about that. I mean that I am terrified of living alone, and once I stop being a student, and stop being young enough that it's normal to live in share houses, I'm going to have real problems. I don't really care who I live with (as long as I like them, of course) - friends, boyfriend (and ultimately our family), members of my own family - but the thought that I might have to live alone makes my mind go blank with fear.

A related fear is that I may never have children (either biological or adopted), but I try to ignore that fear because it's a really pointless thing to worry about. But I've wanted to have children all my life, and on my darkest days, the thought that I may not terrifies me.

The other days )
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
Day 26 – Your fears
I am quite an anxious, fearful person, but my greatest fear, and the only thing that can reduce me to a nervous wreck, is the fear of being alone when I'm old.

I don't necessarily mean that I fear not being in a relationship. I came to terms with being single - and being happy being single - a long time ago, and it's been many years since I was upset about that. I mean that I am terrified of living alone, and once I stop being a student, and stop being young enough that it's normal to live in share houses, I'm going to have real problems. I don't really care who I live with (as long as I like them, of course) - friends, boyfriend (and ultimately our family), members of my own family - but the thought that I might have to live alone makes my mind go blank with fear.

A related fear is that I may never have children (either biological or adopted), but I try to ignore that fear because it's a really pointless thing to worry about. But I've wanted to have children all my life, and on my darkest days, the thought that I may not terrifies me.

The other days )
dolorosa_12: (Default)
Day 25 – Your sleeping habits
My sleeping habits are, quite frankly, horrendous. They've been getting progressively worse over the years, and because I don't live at home, I don't have anyone besides myself to make me got to sleep.

Up until recently, I was in a long-distance relationship with someone who works nights, which further screwed up my sleep patterns, as I would tend to stay awake until late on his days off (since his awake hours are nights, even when he's not working) or get up early to talk to him in the hours just after he got back from work. While I'm not doing that any more, my sleep patterns could be a bit better.

Ideally, I should go to bed at 11pm and wake up at 7am. In actual fact, what tends to happen is that I go to bed any time between midnight and 3am, and wake up at 7am or 8am. I probably need more sleep, but I seem to be able to function at least intellectually on only five hours of sleep. Psychologically it's probably doing all kinds of terrible things to me, though.

The other days )
dolorosa_12: (Default)
Day 25 – Your sleeping habits
My sleeping habits are, quite frankly, horrendous. They've been getting progressively worse over the years, and because I don't live at home, I don't have anyone besides myself to make me got to sleep.

Up until recently, I was in a long-distance relationship with someone who works nights, which further screwed up my sleep patterns, as I would tend to stay awake until late on his days off (since his awake hours are nights, even when he's not working) or get up early to talk to him in the hours just after he got back from work. While I'm not doing that any more, my sleep patterns could be a bit better.

Ideally, I should go to bed at 11pm and wake up at 7am. In actual fact, what tends to happen is that I go to bed any time between midnight and 3am, and wake up at 7am or 8am. I probably need more sleep, but I seem to be able to function at least intellectually on only five hours of sleep. Psychologically it's probably doing all kinds of terrible things to me, though.

The other days )
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry
A lot of things make me cry, but the two things absolutely guaranteed to turn me into a sobbing mess are stories about the relationships between fathers and children, and stories about the passage of time. Because I've got daddy issues, and passage-of-time issues, you know?

The first film I can remember causing me to bawl my eyes out (aside from The Land Before Time, which traumatised me, as it traumatised all 90s children) was A Little Princess. For those of you who don't know, the film takes some liberties with the book's original plot. spoilers )

Hook caused a similar reaction. As did any scene involving Iroh and Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Certain songs ('After the Gold Rush' and 'Heart of Gold' by Neil Young,* 'Graceland' by Paul Simon and 'Deeper Water' by Paul Kelly) also induce floods of hysterical tears, including one memorable occasion in a cafe in front of a whole bunch of people.

Yeah, I'm aware I have issues. But, to be honest, I quite enjoy crying, so it doesn't bother me too much.

*These songs elicit the same reaction from my father. When I was living with him in Canberra, there were numerous occasions when we'd drink a bottle of wine, put on Neil Young and cry.

The other days )
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry
A lot of things make me cry, but the two things absolutely guaranteed to turn me into a sobbing mess are stories about the relationships between fathers and children, and stories about the passage of time. Because I've got daddy issues, and passage-of-time issues, you know?

The first film I can remember causing me to bawl my eyes out (aside from The Land Before Time, which traumatised me, as it traumatised all 90s children) was A Little Princess. For those of you who don't know, the film takes some liberties with the book's original plot. spoilers )

Hook caused a similar reaction. As did any scene involving Iroh and Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Certain songs ('After the Gold Rush' and 'Heart of Gold' by Neil Young,* 'Graceland' by Paul Simon and 'Deeper Water' by Paul Kelly) also induce floods of hysterical tears, including one memorable occasion in a cafe in front of a whole bunch of people.

Yeah, I'm aware I have issues. But, to be honest, I quite enjoy crying, so it doesn't bother me too much.

*These songs elicit the same reaction from my father. When I was living with him in Canberra, there were numerous occasions when we'd drink a bottle of wine, put on Neil Young and cry.

The other days )
dolorosa_12: (travis)
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better
I get upset, or at least mopey, quite easily, so over the years I've developed a good set of coping mechanisms, out of necessity.

My first trick is to go for a walk or a run. It is absolutely incredible how often simply being outside and exercising can transform me from apathy and sulking to cheerfulness and productivity. I've just got back from a run now, in fact, and it feels as if all my body has been washed clean, under the skin.

If that doesn't work, sometimes I'll be able to make myself feel better just with some form of human contact. I can usually achieve this by walking downstairs to the kitchen and chatting to my housemates for a bit, but if I'm alone in the house I'll resort to #btts. The problem with IRC is that although I dearly love all my sraffies, sometimes it's the lack of face-to-face human contact that's causing me to feel low, so #btts can sometimes exacerbate the problem rather than make it better.

My final, and most effective, method, and one that works every time, is to go to a cafe, order a cup of coffee, read a newspaper and hang around for a few hours doing that. It has to be a decent cafe, the sort of place with character, where the waitstaff and baristas know your name, the coffee looks like this, and where there are free newspapers. I've lived in a lot of places now, and I can safely recommend Silo and Cafe Essen in Canberra, Campos, Allpress, and basically any cafe in Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Newtown or Glebe if you're in Sydney. I'm not quite as familiar with Melbourne, but, seriously, go down any lane in the CBD and you'll find a proper cafe. Babka on Brunswick St is amazing too. I'm keeping quiet about my favourite Cambridge cafes, but there are three that are pretty good, although none of them make coffee particularly well, and when I come back from Australia I have to retrain myself to find their coffee drinkable. In London, I live for Soho, where you can find Flat White and Sacred Cafe. (These are both run by New Zealanders, but shhh...)

I feel kind of worried now that I've given away the names of all my favourite cafes. If they suddenly become massively crowded, I'll only have myself to blame!

The other days )
dolorosa_12: (travis)
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better
I get upset, or at least mopey, quite easily, so over the years I've developed a good set of coping mechanisms, out of necessity.

My first trick is to go for a walk or a run. It is absolutely incredible how often simply being outside and exercising can transform me from apathy and sulking to cheerfulness and productivity. I've just got back from a run now, in fact, and it feels as if all my body has been washed clean, under the skin.

If that doesn't work, sometimes I'll be able to make myself feel better just with some form of human contact. I can usually achieve this by walking downstairs to the kitchen and chatting to my housemates for a bit, but if I'm alone in the house I'll resort to #btts. The problem with IRC is that although I dearly love all my sraffies, sometimes it's the lack of face-to-face human contact that's causing me to feel low, so #btts can sometimes exacerbate the problem rather than make it better.

My final, and most effective, method, and one that works every time, is to go to a cafe, order a cup of coffee, read a newspaper and hang around for a few hours doing that. It has to be a decent cafe, the sort of place with character, where the waitstaff and baristas know your name, the coffee looks like this, and where there are free newspapers. I've lived in a lot of places now, and I can safely recommend Silo and Cafe Essen in Canberra, Campos, Allpress, and basically any cafe in Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Newtown or Glebe if you're in Sydney. I'm not quite as familiar with Melbourne, but, seriously, go down any lane in the CBD and you'll find a proper cafe. Babka on Brunswick St is amazing too. I'm keeping quiet about my favourite Cambridge cafes, but there are three that are pretty good, although none of them make coffee particularly well, and when I come back from Australia I have to retrain myself to find their coffee drinkable. In London, I live for Soho, where you can find Flat White and Sacred Cafe. (These are both run by New Zealanders, but shhh...)

I feel kind of worried now that I've given away the names of all my favourite cafes. If they suddenly become massively crowded, I'll only have myself to blame!

The other days )
dolorosa_12: (sokka)
Day 22 – Something that upsets you
Wow, I've skipped a lot of days. Sorry about that.

There are many things in this world that upset me, but I'm going to talk about just one of them, because, in my opinion, a lot of the other things that upset me can probably be traced back to this. I am talking, of course, about poor education.

I'm not talking about countries without universal education, where only the very rich and privileged are able to go to school, although that is horrific and more anger-inducing as what I'm about to talk about. But I don't come from any of those countries and I have no experience of what it is like to live there and would feel odd ranting about it for this reason.

No, what upsets me is the poor standard of education that can be found in wealthy countries with universal education. There really is no excuse for it. If the money isn't there, reallocate it! If the good teachers aren't there, change your admissions policy for teachers going into training and for goodness sake increase the salaries and improve the working conditions of public school teachers!

My own education was in no way flawless. Some years I had good primary school teachers who were engaging and resourceful and went out of their way to teach every child, to pitch the class to every ability level and every learning style. Some years I had primary school teachers who spent the entire time letting us watch Disney films and playing golf with a metre-ruler. (I wish I were exaggerating. I'm not.) One of my high school English teachers got us so engaged in the drama of Death of a Salesman that I, [livejournal.com profile] anya_1984 and [livejournal.com profile] psuedoskribe, and then half the rest of the class, started crying as we acted out Willy Loman's death scene. One of my high school English teachers was unable to control the class and presided over an hour-long argument between a disruptive boy and one of my friends who objected to his disruption. But on average, I'd say that my education was pretty good. The good teachers outweighed the bad, and the inspiring teachers outweighed the merely adequate. On the whole, the only differences between my own public education and my sister's extraordinarily expensive private education were that she had to go to religion classes and sing hymns at assembly, and the quality of her sports equipment, drama studios and facilities was a lot higher.

This is as it should be. There really shouldn't be any difference in the quality of teaching between public and private education, because public education should be a viable alternative that stands its students in good stead. And yet...I was lucky. I was privileged to grow up in the most middle-class, most educated city in Australia. I was privileged to live in the wealthiest suburbs, where the best public schools were located. I was privileged to grow up with a mother who was aware of what was going on at my schools, and who noticed when I was struggling and made sure I did something about it. I was privileged because I was taught by people who did not force-feed information to me, but instead taught me how to think, who did not see success as an easy path into a well-paying career but rather as becoming a fully conscious human being capable of making intellectual, political, moral and aesthetic decisions based on reflection, engagement and self-knowledge.

I am not saying that I am a particularly wonderful or clever human being. I make terrible mistakes. I am ignorant in so many areas, and sometimes I say wrong things. But I am aware at least that my education has been been pretty good, and that when I screw up it is in spite of my education and not because of it. And I am aware (not least because of the stuff I see on the internet every day) that not everyone from a similar background has had even my luck when it comes to education.

It makes me speechless with rage when I see how badly some people have been failed by their inadequate education. By teachers who didn't see their potential, by teachers who shouldn't have been teachers, by teachers let down by the limitations of their budgets and curriculums and the dominant ideologies of the countries or states in which they taught. By understaffed schools. And by an overarching philosophy that it is acceptable for there to be a two-tiered education system, where the rich get taught well, and the poor get taught badly. It is not acceptable. And it makes me so angry.

The other days )
dolorosa_12: (sokka)
Day 22 – Something that upsets you
Wow, I've skipped a lot of days. Sorry about that.

There are many things in this world that upset me, but I'm going to talk about just one of them, because, in my opinion, a lot of the other things that upset me can probably be traced back to this. I am talking, of course, about poor education.

I'm not talking about countries without universal education, where only the very rich and privileged are able to go to school, although that is horrific and more anger-inducing as what I'm about to talk about. But I don't come from any of those countries and I have no experience of what it is like to live there and would feel odd ranting about it for this reason.

No, what upsets me is the poor standard of education that can be found in wealthy countries with universal education. There really is no excuse for it. If the money isn't there, reallocate it! If the good teachers aren't there, change your admissions policy for teachers going into training and for goodness sake increase the salaries and improve the working conditions of public school teachers!

My own education was in no way flawless. Some years I had good primary school teachers who were engaging and resourceful and went out of their way to teach every child, to pitch the class to every ability level and every learning style. Some years I had primary school teachers who spent the entire time letting us watch Disney films and playing golf with a metre-ruler. (I wish I were exaggerating. I'm not.) One of my high school English teachers got us so engaged in the drama of Death of a Salesman that I, [livejournal.com profile] anya_1984 and [livejournal.com profile] psuedoskribe, and then half the rest of the class, started crying as we acted out Willy Loman's death scene. One of my high school English teachers was unable to control the class and presided over an hour-long argument between a disruptive boy and one of my friends who objected to his disruption. But on average, I'd say that my education was pretty good. The good teachers outweighed the bad, and the inspiring teachers outweighed the merely adequate. On the whole, the only differences between my own public education and my sister's extraordinarily expensive private education were that she had to go to religion classes and sing hymns at assembly, and the quality of her sports equipment, drama studios and facilities was a lot higher.

This is as it should be. There really shouldn't be any difference in the quality of teaching between public and private education, because public education should be a viable alternative that stands its students in good stead. And yet...I was lucky. I was privileged to grow up in the most middle-class, most educated city in Australia. I was privileged to live in the wealthiest suburbs, where the best public schools were located. I was privileged to grow up with a mother who was aware of what was going on at my schools, and who noticed when I was struggling and made sure I did something about it. I was privileged because I was taught by people who did not force-feed information to me, but instead taught me how to think, who did not see success as an easy path into a well-paying career but rather as becoming a fully conscious human being capable of making intellectual, political, moral and aesthetic decisions based on reflection, engagement and self-knowledge.

I am not saying that I am a particularly wonderful or clever human being. I make terrible mistakes. I am ignorant in so many areas, and sometimes I say wrong things. But I am aware at least that my education has been been pretty good, and that when I screw up it is in spite of my education and not because of it. And I am aware (not least because of the stuff I see on the internet every day) that not everyone from a similar background has had even my luck when it comes to education.

It makes me speechless with rage when I see how badly some people have been failed by their inadequate education. By teachers who didn't see their potential, by teachers who shouldn't have been teachers, by teachers let down by the limitations of their budgets and curriculums and the dominant ideologies of the countries or states in which they taught. By understaffed schools. And by an overarching philosophy that it is acceptable for there to be a two-tiered education system, where the rich get taught well, and the poor get taught badly. It is not acceptable. And it makes me so angry.

The other days )

Work it!

Sep. 15th, 2010 05:33 pm
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Day 21 - Your job and/or school (part 2)
So, I thought I'd split this up as the post about my schooling was getting pretty long.

I've had so many jobs. From the age of 15 I've been constantly employed (the longest I went without a job was one month when I moved from Canberra to Sydney in early 2003).

Jobs )

The other days )

Work it!

Sep. 15th, 2010 05:33 pm
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Day 21 - Your job and/or school (part 2)
So, I thought I'd split this up as the post about my schooling was getting pretty long.

I've had so many jobs. From the age of 15 I've been constantly employed (the longest I went without a job was one month when I moved from Canberra to Sydney in early 2003).

Jobs )

The other days )

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rushes into my heart and my skull

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