Sunny Days

This week has actually been one of my busiest weeks in Melbourne, even though I didn’t end up working the entire time. Since I didn’t get work, it gave me a lot of time to do life admin during the day, and catch up on my social life at night!
Thanksgiving Dinner!

Last Friday morning, I had to get up early to go to Warragul since my tattoo artist (Shanra) said that I could come 1-2 months after my tattoo to get anything retouched free of charge. She only works Monday-Friday so this worked perfectly since I wouldn’t have to take off work to come see her. I must have been in there for about an hour and still quite enjoyed the feeling of it (so weird, I know). But now, it looks even better than it did before – she spent a lot of time adding more contrast to the watercolour so I love it even more now! I got back home and checked the mail because I’ve been waiting for a letter for the past eight weeks. In Australia, we get our tax information around May or June, and then we have until the end of October to lodge our taxes. They automatically tax everyone for Medicare (Australia’s healthcare) no matter who you are. However, since I’m a Canadian citizen, I’m not eligible for Medicare (which is why I have to pay $70 every time I go to the doctor, even when they tell me it’s only a throat infection and to just gargle with saltwater…). Therefore, in order to get out of this, I have to opt-out of being taxed for Medicare. Now in order to opt-out, I have to provide a bunch of paperwork – I had to go to the police department to get them to certify copies of my passport and visa as well. I sent the paperwork way

My updated tattoo 🙂 

 

On Saturday, I met up with a friend who I hadn’t talked to in two years. We had taught at one of the worst all-girls schools in London for about a week, had exchanged information, but never met up again after. He’s Australian, lives in a town three hours away and was in Melbourne for the weekend, so we met up for brunch in Richmond. Afterwards, we went to his friend’s house to have some drinks with his friend before they had to go to an engagement party. When it was

St Kilda Beach

time for the engagement party, Leigh said that he had written his friend to ask if it was okay that I come, and he said that it was fine. Therefore, I found myself going to a random engagement party with a guy who I hadn’t seen in two years. It was actually quite nice and everyone was so friendly, so I stayed for a few hours before I went to meet up with Alexa, Sabriena, and Nathan for dinner. I got to Alexa’s house and we had fajitas, and then relaxed on the couch. The next day, I just tried to catch up on laundry and cleaning before having to go back to work on Monday.

On Monday, I got up at the usual 5:30 to slowly get ready for my first day back after the holiday. I got to Flinders Street Station at 7:30am, walked to Starbucks, got a pumpkin spiced latte, and waited until 9 before deciding that I likely wouldn’t get any work. I then made my way back to the Medicare Centre so that I could submit all of my paperwork. I had to wait for quite awhile to get in, but eventually they got everything sorted and I got reimbursed for my previous doctor appointments. So now I officially have Medicare, yay! No more waiting until I’m dying before going to the doctor! I went home to have lunch, and then I met up with Sabriena to sit on the beach in St. Kilda. After a couple of hours, one of my teacher-Canadian friends (Hannah) showed up, so we walked to a nearby cafe and had some gelato. That night was the second of my

The Thanksgiving Crew

 

On Tuesday evening, some of my friends and I had planned a Thanksgiving potluck so that day, I went to the store to get everything I needed and then I made two dishes: broccoli casserole and broccoli salad (cause if you don’t like broccoli, then you better learn to fast). I then went to Victoria’s house, where there were six of us who had an amazing Thanksgiving dinner! We had waaay too much food, but it was delicious!! On Wednesday, I had set my alarm for 5:30 but then decided not to go to work that day either. That morning, I spent over an hour trying to change my flight to Asia. You see, AirAsia actually changed the airport that I have to depart from in Melbourne so because of that, I’m entitled to change my flight up to 30 days sooner or later than the actual date. I had decided that since I haven’t seen Yang, Ron, and Evan in forever, and I

Our beautiful gingerbread house

haven’t even met Max yet (for those of you who don’t know, Yang and Ron are basically my sister and brother-in-law, and Evan and Max are my nephews), I should try to fit Shanghai into my trip. Therefore, I decided that I should leave for Bangkok a week earlier (December 15) and then spend a week in Shanghai before my travels started. After waiting in the queue, I was finally able to speak to someone and change my flights. Afterwards, I went to St. Kilda to meet up with Jessica for lunch. We split some nachos and then were keen on finding some dessert. We decided to just buy a cake at the grocery store and then saw that the Christmas section was already set up beside the Halloween section. We decided to get a gingerbread house kit (cause why not?), as well as some cider, and we went to her place to make the gingerbread house while listening to Christmas carols. I now understand why they sell the kits in October – when we’d put icing on a candy and attach it to the side of the house, we’d watch it slowly start melting down until it fell off. It was actually so difficult, and we eventually lost patience! I ended up staying there until nearly 11 because we couldn’t stop visiting. 

On Thursday morning, I actually got up and ready for work, and then made my way to Flinders Street Station. I sat there for an hour and a half again and then made my way home at 9. That day, I looked at flights from Bangkok to Shanghai so that I could get that sorted. Then, I realized that I’d have to apply for a visa in order to go to China. I filled out all of the paperwork for the application, and had to write Ron to ask him for his address. I also realized that if I had gotten a visa in China before, I needed to provide photocopies of it. However, my visa from China was given in 2012 on my old passport, and I had absolutely no idea where that old passport would be. I frantically wrote my mom and sister, asking them to look in my box of “important stuff,” but it wasn’t there. I have a storage unit way out in Delisle, nearly an hour outside of Saskatoon, with all of my stuff so my parents (bless their hearts) drove out and went through as many boxes as they could in the cold, but still couldn’t find my old passport. I decided that there wasn’t much else I could do except try to submit my visa application without the visa photocopies. That evening, I had my meet-up with the sport teacher, who’s actually a Canadian from Hamilton. He decided that we should meet up for drinks at 7:30, and then he had made a reservation at an Italian restaurant for 8pm. As soon as he mentioned that he made a reservation, I wrote my friends saying I couldn’t do it. I realized how much of a commitment-phobe I am cause usually any sign of something being too serious, I run in the other direction (obviously … I’ve basically been single for 28 years). Reservations were too serious for me! However, my friends pep-talked me into going and it was fine. We had a drink before going to the Italian place, and the food was absolutely amazing! Then we went to another bar afterwards to visit some more. Actually, I talked a lot.. maybe too much. I even somehow ended up talking about narwhals at some point. And every single one of my friends has had the same reaction: “How do narwhals even come up in a conversation?!” Honestly, I really don’t know. But this girl made it happen… But yeah, nice guy, good conversation, I won’t say anything more. By the time I got home again, it was after midnight so I decided I wouldn’t be getting up for work the next day.
On Friday morning, I decided I’d try to submit my Chinese visa application. The centre is only open Monday-Friday from

Drinks at Rooftop Bar

 

Brighton Beach Huts!

On Saturday, Alexa and I met up again that afternoon to go to a rooftop bar in central Melbourne. We spent a couple of hours there before going to a restaurant on the floor below to have Mexican food, and then we went back upstairs to have some more drinks at the bar. We even made some new friends, who we’ll hopefully hang out with again soon! We were in that building for at least 7 hours so by the time we were done, we were ready to get some dumplings in Chinatown before heading home. On Sunday, it was 28 degrees so Alexa and I met up again to go to Brighton. In Brighton, they have a famous row of beach huts, so we walked past all of them, took some pictures, and then spent some time on the beach. We also decided that we’d purchase our own Canadian beach hut but upon looking them up, we saw that the latest sale was for $326,000, which is a little out of our price range. We walked back into the main part of Brighton and had dinner before heading back home to get ready for the next work-week. This week was just what I needed after being away for two weeks, and it’s great that the summer is finally coming out. 
I was pre-scheduled to teach BIOLOGY today for the first time in Melbourne, so I was super excited about that! However, I woke up, got ready, and just as I was about to leave, my agency called to say that the school had cancelled. I then went to Flinders and waited for no phonecall, so I went to do a bit of shopping and checked out the State Library, which is absolutely gorgeous! That evening, I met up for drinks with some friends because it’s one of our friend’s (Sophie’s) last week in Melbourne before she goes back to Vegas for school. She’ll be back in June, but it’s still a long ways away! Hoping I’ll get work tomorrow because this is really starting to get old… Love always

Sunny Days (Michael 

Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise, and Brisbane: Jump in the Pool

My holidays are already over, and I only have 9 weeks left in Australia until my next big trip!! 😦 After I got back from

Tasmania, I only had the evening to unpack everything (all of my winter clothes) and repack for Byron Bay (all of my summer clothes). I have now realized that trying to fit 7kg of stuff for ten days is pretty much impossible, so I might have to rethink my options when I do my 4-month Asia trip… On Tuesday morning, I had to walk to St. Kilda so that I could take the bus to the airport. I arrived in Brisbane at about 12:30pm and then I was planning to take a bus straight to Byron Bay. However, when I went to all of the service desks, they had either said that their last bus had already left at noon, or the next bus wouldn’t be until 5pm. One of the ladies told me that if I went to the main station in Brisbane, I might be able to get a bus from there. Therefore, I bought a ticket to central Brisbane. I was to arrive at the Brisbane station just after 2pm and I saw that the last Greyhound bus would be leaving at 2:30pm. Luckily, I ended up making it on time, and the bus ended up even being about a half hour late. I then had a 4-hour bus journey ahead of me, which actually went by quite quickly. Since the bus was late, I got into Byron Bay at about 7pm. Byron Bay has a completely different vibe, where everyone just has a carefree attitude. There’s no style in Byron – everyone wears whatever they want and you’ll often see people just wandering the sidewalks or shops in bare feet. I ended up being put in an all-girls’ dorm, but for some reason I was put with all of the girls who worked there so most of them had been there for 1-3 months. They were all getting ready to go out that night and since I had been travelling for basically the last 12 hours, I decided to have a quieter night in. The hostel was awesome in that it gave free dinners, so I met some British guys and hung out with them for the evening. That night though, one of the girls ended up bringing a guy back, so I had to listen to them for about two hours. I wasn’t too impressed and was thinking I should ask to change rooms, but I decided to give it one more night to see how things went. The next day was supposed to have on and off rain, so I decided to walk along the beaches and check out the lighthouse. I was taking a walk along the trail and I saw a path leading down to the beach. For some reason, I decided to take this path, even though there had been numerous other paths along my walk. When I got to the beach, I realized that there was a wedding going on, with tons of people watching. I didn’t think much of it and went to go sit down but then when I looked over, I noticed that there were quite a few cameras and

videos there just for an average wedding. I then looked over and saw two normal-looking guys standing to the side with cameras, trying to get some shots of the wedding and then saw two security guards run over and try to jump in front of their pictures. I wondered, “What if this is a wedding for Married at First Sight (which is a HUGE deal in Australia – everyone gets into it)…” I decided to get closer to watch, and casually snap a photo while the securities guards were distracted by the paparazzi. I noticed that when they said you may now kiss the bride, the bride went in for a hug first. I couldn’t contain my excitement and messaged my friends who kept up with the show. I’ll definitely be ready to watch next season! Anyway, I continued my walk towards the lighthouse and spent a couple of hours sitting next to the beach. Once I saw the rainclouds start heading over, I decided to walk to the lighthouse, look at the most eastern point of Australia (the lighthouse in Tasmania was the most southern point of Australia, so now I only need to do north and west!), and head back to the hostel. It started to rain just as I headed back to the hostel and I made it back just in time, before it started pouring. That evening, I took advantage of the free dinner at the hostel and then watched the ping pong tournament with the British guys that I had met the evening before.

On Thursday, it rained pretty much the entire day so I decided to check out all of the shops. Everything was so expensive there! I definitely wouldn’t be able to afford any clothes, which was probably a good thing since my bag was already overweight. The rain stopped in the evening, so I walked to the beach and listened to one of the buskers for a couple of hours while the sun was setting. It was so relaxing! I went back to the hostel because I wanted to sign up for kayaking with dolphins on Friday, but I found out that it was completely booked up. I was seriously contemplating leaving Byron early because I had felt like I had seen everything I needed to see and I didn’t know what else I could do the next day. Lucky for me (and as I had mentioned in my previous post), two American girls showed up that night after dinner. We instantly clicked, and they asked if I’d like to join them on a hiking trip the next day. 

On Friday, I got up and met with Amelia and Meghan for breakfast at the cafe next-door. We then got everything ready for our hike to Minyon Falls, and started the drive over. It’s great hiking in Australia because you have to totally be one with nature, as there’s rarely any phone service anywhere. Which can also be a bad thing if anything happens and you have no way to contact anyone. We were told that it would be an easy 2-hour roundtrip walk, so we had the rest of the day planned with other activities. However, we just kept walking and walking, wondering why it had been well over an hour and we still hadn’t reached the falls. We then reached a fork in the road with a really crappy map that didn’t tell us anything, so we struggled figuring out where to go next. We could either go up some stairs which seemed to lead away from the falls, or climb over a bunch of huge, dangerous rocks, which seemed to lead towards the sound of water. None of us were wearing proper hiking shoes since I didn’t really expect to be doing any hiking on this trip (unlike in Tasmania), so I was sliding around on slippery rocks in my Converse sneakers. I was legitimately concerned that someone would take a wrong step, fall off the rocks and break a leg, and then we’d be trapped at the bottom of the falls with no way to call for help. Luckily, that didn’t end up happening. We finally made it to the falls, which actually only ended up being somewhat of a trickle. We decided to stay and sit for about 45 minutes to an hour and while we were sitting there, we finally heard (and saw) other humans!! It was a family of six with three kids for sure under the age of 12. When we asked how long it took them to do the hike, the dad responded, “Oh about an hour” as non-chalantly as possible, while we decided not to share that it took us over two hours. The dad was even wearing flip flops! Like they were just a superfamily. Anyway, we decided to make our way back but we weren’t too keen on going back the way we came, since it had taken too long. The only other way seemed to lead in a completely different direction from where we started but luckily, we saw a couple more humans who knew the trail and they said that if we took the other path, it would just lead us to another parking lot and then we could walk back to our car from there. The path that we left on was supposed to take half the time of the path that we came on, so we definitely were ready to take the short way! We got to the top much quicker than expected and saw that there was a full map there, where we realized that we took the longest route possible to get to the falls (a 5-hour circuit, which we did in 4 hours – 1 of those hours was us just sitting by the waterfall so we did quite well). The path that we had just finished was the only path we SHOULD have taken to get to the falls and back, which would have taken us a total of 2 hours. We walked back to the car and by the time we got there, the superfamily had also made it back at the same time, even though they had taken the path that should have taken double the time! The girls had wanted to go to the Crystal Castle so we drove there but when we arrived, we’d only have about 45 minutes until it closed. The lady suggested that we go to this small, nearby town called Mullumbimby, which seemed to be quite hippie-like and had a neat feel to it. Unfortunately with small towns, most restaurants were closed during the afternoon but we were able to find one cafe, where we fuelled up on coffee and had a few snacks. We headed back to Byron once it got dark, had dinner, chatted for awhile, and then I went to bed. 

On Saturday, I was planning to leave for the Gold Coast that morning but Meghan and Amelia were planning to drive to Brisbane later that day, so they suggested that we all hang out again and then they could drive me to the Gold Coast. We packed up all of our stuff and then found out that there was a market in Byron that only comes four times a year! We spent the morning and a good part of the afternoon looking at the hundreds of stalls, and eating tons of food. We then went to the cafe next to the hostel so that I could have a much-needed poutine before we went to the Crystal Castle. Literally as soon as we got to the parking lot, it started to rain. The park supplied umbrellas so we started walking around all of the different areas. The park was big into zen and energy, and all that jazz, so it was interesting to see. We saw that there was a rainforest walk so we started our walk through it, which is when we got caught in the middle of a huge thunderstorm! The rain started going sideways and we got absolutely soaked, plus the pathways got so wet that there was mud everywhere. When we finally got out, we noticed that they had actually closed the gate to the rainforest walk due to bad weather, so we shouldn’t have even been down there! We ran to the cafe, as it was the only shelter, and then it started to hail – I couldn’t believe it! We spent about the next hour to hour and a half waiting for the rain to stop so once it finally did, we were able to explore the last of the park before starting our drive towards Brisbane. We got to Surfers Paradise later that evening and I instantly knew it was going to be a dangerous place. Why?? Cause every store had huge SALE signs in the windows! Never would I ever see sales in Melbourne unless it was on winter clothes that no one wanted. The feel of Surfers Paradise reminded me of any other American coastal city, where there was a beach all the way along the city but it was surrounded by tall skyscrapers, shops and restaurants everywhere. I had heard bad things about Surfers Paradise before I arrived so my expectations were low (whereas with Byron, they were high), but I actually think that Surfers Paradise ended up being my favourite part. 

On Sunday morning, I met one of the girls in my dorm room (Lena) from Germany and she was meeting up with another German girl (Alex) to explore the city. I decided to join them, so we walked around and explored the shops, went out for lunch, and then Alex left that day. Lena was in Surfers Paradise for an internship so she was looking at different apartments throughout the day. Therefore, that gave me the chance to check out some of the shops on my own. I decided to just treat it as a shopping trip, since I don’t really have many summer clothes (because I’ve always been going from winter to winter to winter) and this would be the cheapest place that I could find new clothes. I ended up having to pay the airline for a checked bag, and I also had to BUY a bag to take on the plane (don’t worry, it was only a $10 backpack), but it was totally worth it! Lena and I went out for dinner that evening, where I was able to get a steak and salad for 10 bucks! They had the rugby final on that night, so we stayed and watched along with everyone else in the pub, and tried to figure out the rules. 

On Monday, I had my mind made that I wanted to do a whale-watching tour. Since whale-watching season was only from May-October, I figured that I probably wouldn’t get the chance to see them again since when I finally DO tour Australia, it’ll likely be from January to April. I did some more shopping in the morning, and then my tour started at 2pm. At the beginning of the tour, they tried selling motion-sickness tablets for $3 and they strongly recommended them since we’d be going into really rough waters that day. I didn’t really think anything of it since I’ve never been sick-sick on a boat, and I had only gotten that sick feeling twice in my life. Therefore, I didn’t bother buying any of the pills. We started the tour by going on a nice, smooth cruise down the river, where we got to see Jackie Chan’s summer house. Then we hit the ocean and boy, they definitely weren’t lying when they said the waters would be rough. I got bruises on my arm from getting thrown back and forth on the boat! Finally, we got through the worst of it but it was still a bumpy ride. They had a rule that if you were standing, you HAD to have one hand holding onto something at all times. Eventually, they spotted a mother whale and her calf, so we followed them for the rest of our trip. They’d come in and out, making sure they kept their distance and at the end of the tour, the calf started doing all types of jumps as the sun was setting – it was so majestic! I definitely started feeling sick towards the end of the tour though and there was a moment when I just wanted to get off of the boat and get back to land. It was a good three and a half hours though! Lena and I met up for dinner at the same place that night and then walked around Surfers Paradise. 

On Tuesday, I spent the morning sitting by the beach and enjoying the sunshine before catching my 1:30pm Greyhound to Brisbane. I think I arrived in Brisbane right before 3pm and then I had to get to my hostel. For some reason, I chose a hostel way outside of the city centre, so I actually had to take a boat down the river to get to it. That was one of the coolest things about Brisbane is they offer a free ferry transport service which stops at about ten different places along the river. I think I finally arrived at my hostel at about 4:30, so I unpacked everything and then decided to go and explore. I was staying in an area called Kangaroo Cliffs, which were cliffs beside the river, where people can rock-climb whenever they choose. I walked along the river to Southbank, which is where there’s a man-made pool beside the river, and is basically Brisbane’s only “beach.” I then walked downtown, checked out the shops, and had dinner before doing the 55-minute walk back to the hostel. The next day, I did a lot of the same thing – just walked around the botanical gardens, checked out Southbank, did some shopping, and just sat in the park and people-watched. It was such a nice day, so it was good to just relax! I went to bed super-early that night since I’d have to get up at 5 the next morning to get to the airport. However, the girls in my dorm had different plans for me, as they continuously kept making noise. One girl decided to shower and blow-dry her hair at 11:30! So I didn’t end up actually falling asleep until after midnight and was exhausted the next day. 

On Thursday, I got up and caught an uber to the airport. I arrived in Melbourne at 10am and then had to take the Skybus to the city in order to get back home. I got back home at about 12:30pm. Then, I just spent most of the day trying to

catch up on the past two weeks of laundry. This past week has actually been pretty productive and busy, even though I didn’t work the entire week. But I’ll save that for the next post! Hope everyone is well. Love always

Jump in the Pool – Friendly Fires

Thin Air

“Don’t depend on other people’s approval when it comes to following your dreams. The more you seek out approval and validation, the more you will absolutely depend on it. The less you seek it out, the happier and more free you will be and feel.” -some random website I found
Most people know this about me but for those who don’t, I’m usually very strong-willed and know who I am. I know what my morals and values are, and I express them in the way that I live my life. It doesn’t matter how many jokes are made about me needing to have more fun, or needing to let loose and live a little – I’m never bothered by it. I know that there are people who appreciate me for me, and that’s all that matters. And I really am thankful that I have such a strong support system, with multiple people who will remind me of what makes me the person that I am. People who have known me for 15+ years, people who I’ve known for less than 10 years, and even people who have met me this past year. It’s those people who I know are the ones worth keeping around, because they see me for who I am, and I see the same about them. We chose each other, as cheesy as that may sound. 
My entire life, I’ve never felt the pressure to conform to something just because everyone else was doing it. I didn’t have my first drink until I was of legal drinking age and even once I was legal, I never saw the point of getting completely drunk (okay.. that changed during my crazy phase in London but even then, MY reason for getting drunk was so that I could dance…). I’ve never seen the point of dating just for the sake of dating. I only pursue something if I see it actually going somewhere, and even then I chicken out because I’ve been so used to only thinking about me for the past 28 years and making myself happy by doing what I want when I want. I’m old-fashioned. I like the idea of getting to know someone before doing anything further. I remember awkwardly sitting at friends’ parties – being one of the only sober ones, and refusing to participate in any ‘spin the bottle’ or ‘7 minutes in heaven’ games. My first kiss wasn’t until I was 20 and it was with someone who I actually liked, and wasn’t someone I was told to kiss by a bottle. Just because everyone else was in relationships didn’t mean I had to be. I’ve always been the 3rd/5th/7th/9th wheel, and haven’t had much of a problem with it. I can’t explain WHY I am the way I am – it’s not like anyone told me to think or act this way. Heck, my mom would try to encourage me to drink at parties and I’m sure she questioned why I only went to look after my friends. I AM proud of it though. I’m proud that I’ve always known what’s been important to me and I’ve never swayed because someone told me to. I see so many people who are STILL upset with themselves because they feel like they don’t fit in or they’re not good enough, and I know that it’s because they’re looking to others for acceptance. Or because they think people like them more when they’re drunk. Once you realize that acceptance comes from within, everything changes. You really begin to live and enjoy your life. And maybe that’s what scares me so much about being in a relationship is that I’m forced to also find that acceptance elsewhere, which brings out my insecurities in full force. Everyone has those insecurities. Everyone can seem like they have a great life, that they’re put together, that they’re invincible and nothing can break them, but I find that as soon as I’m interested in someone, I start to convince myself every reason why I’m not good enough when I should know full well that of course I’m good enough. However, for some reason, it always takes my friends to remind me of that. 
The thing is, during this past week, I’ve really started to question who I am more than I ever have in a long time. I actually felt like I was back in high school again. When I got to Byron Bay, they had put me in a room with a bunch of girls who were living and working there so most had been there for 1-3 months. I don’t know why but during my first couple of nights there, I felt really uncomfortable. Everyone there only seemed to be interested in partying and hooking up with people, and I sat there and realized how out of place I felt, and questioned if maybe I was getting too old to stay in hostels. I really just wanted to go back home to Melbourne. I’ve went out partying while travelling very rarely because a) Drinking is expensive and when I travel, I’d rather spend my money on food than drinks (no surprise there…), b) I prefer to get up earlier and have the whole day to explore rather than have a late night and sleep half of the next day AND feel like crap, and c) I can drink at home with people who I trust and who I WANT to go out and have fun with. Then thank goodness, on my third night, two girls showed up (Meghan and Amelia) and I instantly knew that they were my kind of people. Luckily, they asked me to spend the next two days with them, and we clicked right away!
I often find myself needing to explain why I do certain things. Why aren’t I drinking? Why aren’t I going out? Why do I live my life the way I do? And I wonder if it’s because those people still haven’t found fulfillment in their own lives. Maybe they’re still trying to find happiness with drugs or alcohol, partying, spending money, sex and relationships, or whatever else. I think that once you fall in love with life, you don’t need anyone’s approval anymore. You don’t feel the need to explain why you do certain things. You start to enjoy all the little things and stop taking everything for granted. You don’t need to try to find happiness by partying or doing drugs. When I was in Byron Bay with Meghan and Amelia we were (in my opinion) lucky enough to see and hear a thunderstorm. We were caught right in the middle of it. I swear that every time I saw a lightning strike or heard a thunder clap, I got excited all over again (Meghan and Amelia can confirm this). The reason for this is because even though it constantly rains in both London and Melbourne, I don’t ever remember hearing a thunderstorm. And I love thunderstorms – they remind me of my childhood! Back when I was under the age of 10, in our old house, I remember that every time there was a thunderstorm, my entire family would sit outside on the front porch and we’d eat sunflower seeds and just watch the rain. We’d just sit there and enjoy – no electronics, no TV – just listen to the rain and the thunder. When the storm had finished, my sister and I would take all of our sunflower shells and we’d go down to the street and put all of our sunflower “boats” into the water. We’d watch them float down the street and follow them until they fell down the grates. This is a memory that sticks with me every time I hear a thunderstorm, and which is why it always brings me such joy. This is only one of the numerous things that I find fulfilment in. I also find fulfilment in going for random walks and finding new scenery or new buildings. Or completing a crossword puzzle. Or sitting in a park for hours and just watching people go by. Having deep and meaningful conversations with a friend or even a stranger. Life doesn’t have to be complicated. And everyone finds fulfilment in different things. I’ve never gotten a manicure or a pedicure, or went to the spa. I’ve never gotten a massage. I’ve never gotten my eyelashes done or dyed my hair. But some of those things work for other people. 
There are some people that will just get you and some that will never understand, and that’s okay. The thing I love most about my friends is we can go weeks or months without talking and one day, I can just be like, “I need to talk” and they’ll always be there to listen to what I have to say. And they say the most heartwarming things – Just a few days ago, I’ve had a friend say, “You’re so amazing. Because you have this wonderful drive to be someplace other than home. Some people can’t leave home. You make home wherever you are. I see this wonderful woman who travels to destinations… she has the balls to go distances most people only dream about.” Another one said, “You are just living the dream, travelling and doing whatever you want, not having to answer to anyone, and I admire that of you.” Honestly, I feel like I’m just living my life, and I forget that maybe I’m inspiring a few people at the same time. It’s such a humbling feeling. I’ve lived so much of my life that I’ve learned to hold on to the people that I vibe with, and to not force anything with the people who don’t appreciate my sparkle. And if someone’s questioning or putting you down for the way you live you life, then they probably don’t deserve to be a part of it. I always thought I was just shy my entire life, but I’ve actually now realized that maybe it’s just about being around the right kinds of people. Sometimes I can be loud, excited, and super energetic after meeting certain people for only an hour, and I feed off of their energy as an extroverted person would do. I’ve read that introverts are born to connect more deeply with others, and in my case, I can agree with that 100%. I hate small-talk. If someone doesn’t open up and want to have a meaningful conversation, I lose interest. This is probably why I don’t feel the need to go out and party with a bunch of strangers. The point is that everyone is different, everyone is fulfilled by different things. You don’t have to understand everyone, and they don’t have to understand you. But as long as you stay true to who you are, you can’t let anyone take away your sparkle. So keep shining – the right people will notice!
 
Thin Air – Colouring