I have been assured that you will, in some way, receive this message. Unless in the month I have been gone you have installed internet throughout all the temples, I assume this will be in some other form.
Melbourne is fascinating, to be certain. The flora and fauna could not be more different to that of Albajeria, each of them speaking with a voice that is so very scattered and yet unified. Naturally, it is warmer, and not just because I am not living at the top of a mountain.
Our Brother Sun has been extremely gracious in showing me how to live in this strange place. He has had such grand adventures, things you would not believe, but most shocking to me was how he chose to apply for jobs with a company that carries out tree removal in Melbourne. I thought I had misheard at first. This is well outside our philosophy!
I’m growing to understand, even if I’m not quite understanding the ramifications. The way it was told to me, the layout of Melbourne means that sometimes, trees endanger people and property. They must be removed, and stumps fall into the same category. I had in my mind images of burning woodlands and mass deforestation, so this is…better. I can at least abide this. To a degree.
Alright, I’m still a bit confused, but this isn’t the first confusing thing I’ve experienced here in Melbourne. You should see how seriously people take the simple act of drinking coffee, to the point they will shun entire establishments because the standards are not quite high enough. Oh, and Melbourne’s arborists seem downright normal when you think of people driving to places that are a mere ten kilometers away! There is still much to learn.
-Brother Firefly Leaf
Well, that wasn’t a total disaster. Goodness, when most family members say they want to find a function room in Melbourne with an ice skating rink downstairs, it’s usually pretty straightforward. People would like to have a few drinks, eat some peanuts and finger-food, then go downstairs to skate the night away. Some people wouldn’t be so good at it- let’s be honest, most people- but that’d be part of the fun of the whole party. Fun, good times, laughter, etc.
Then Wendy said she wanted to go ice skating for her 21st, and I was like…what? Did she know that ice-skating wasn’t just a euphemism for sliding around on a highly-polished floor? Like, it involves actual ice, and you have to wrap up a bit because it gets cold. Because of all the ice. Nope, she said that her therapy sessions had prepared her for it, and this was the final step in her program of overcoming her cryophobia.
I respected her wishes, but of course put in some escape routes anyway. The function room was kept really warm, there was a parka with hot chocolate standing by just outside the rink and we were all kept on high alert for any signs of panic. I know, super overprotective brother, but I think it’s what she wanted. Maybe having all of it there but just out of sight really helped. Wendy was nervous at first, and when she got out on the ice she looked like she was about to be sick. It wasn’t the canapes, I swear. But we had an ice skating instructor who was brilliant with her, coaxing her through the basic moves along with the group, making sure she didn’t fall. Pretty soon she loosened up, and stayed out there on the ice for half an hour. I think she was glad to get back to the function room upstairs, but if you knew Wendy, you’d know how incredible this is. And sure enough, she now has this new lease on life. Didn’t even know she had it in her!
Today’s the day. Party day. The day I look my fear in the eye, do that sign with your hands that either means ‘I’m watching you’ or possibly ‘I’m coming for you’, depending on how mean your facial expression is, and tackle it head on. You know the look I’m talking about; it’s the one with two fingers, like…here are my eyes. And my eyes are watching you.
Yeah, you get it. I’ve organised an ice skating party for my 21st, because I can’t live with cryophobia any longer. If I want to be a constructive Melbourne citizen, I can’t just sit in my house for half the year racking up the heating bill and giving suspicious side-eye to waiters who ignore my orders not to put ice cubes in my drink. No, we have a real ice skating instructor and everything. It’ll be great. It’ll be fun. I will have lots of fun. Yes. Lots of the fun, more than I’ve ever had.
Yep, so I’m terrified. Not as terrified as I would’ve been without the year of therapy, mind you; I’ve still managed to get to the stage where I’ve planned this party at all, and I can think about it without fainting on the spot. Everyone knows it, of course…it’s not an easy thing to hide when you feel a cool breeze and run shrieking for cover like it’s raining mortar shells. They’ve all been so supportive as well! Mum and Dad have organised a few warm safe zones for if I get too freaked out. But I really want to make myself do this, because it’s not or never. Ice skating with all the people who’ve supported me through this: I can’t think of anything better. I’m going to do it. I’m going to DO it. I’m going to do IT. I’M going to do it.
Yep, so this is happening, haha, hilarious! Just me, skipping along to the friendly local Melbourne ice skating rink for some fun times with my friends. And loads of ice. SO much ice, seriously.
When it comes to looking after your garden, it really pays to do a little maintenance every now again. I always tell people, you can either spend forty minutes a week maintaining your garden or five hours every month. In my most recent series of garden tutorials I have been drawing attention to the versatile and dynamic uses of native shrubs. Native shrubs are a great way to brighten up brown patches of your yard. One of my favourites is the grevillea apricot glow, it really pops, it looks like a beaming
sun just bursting out of your yard. A lot of people ignore native flowering shrubs because they aren’t as sexy as more exotic plants. I am here to fight the good native shrub fight. The grevillea apricot glow is an evergreen compact native shrub that is so easy to maintain you just will not regret getting some. In terms of maintenance, a little water here and there and that’s pretty much it. They can be grown in sunshine and even in shade, and the best thing is, they attract birds, transforming your garden into a sanctuary of colourful wildlife.
Don’t even get me started on the super doopers, who doesn’t want gerberas peppering an otherwise dreary landscape! Again maintenance is super easy, a little water here and there and some pruning to keep things in order and that’s it. Just doing a little bit every now and again will save you a massive upheaval when things become unruly back there. Native shrubs are great because they really don’t require a lot of attention to look really good, and they can tie together a landscape design with their range of colours and shapes. I’m trying to create an experience with my garden. I’m not trying to win awards but if I was to enter I’d like to be on the podium so to speak.
It may seem a little counter-intuitive, but I think I’ve accidentally stumbled across something I’m actually kind of good at. No, I know what you’re probably thinking. How on earth is that counter-intuitive? It seems like something completely normal, sort of expected on your coming of age journey, and actually, let’s be totally honest here, pretty lucky. All of those things are true, I know I ton of people my age who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing and where they’re going in life, and so to find a bit of direction is awesome, it’s just the direction that I’ve found that’s a little strange.
I’ve come to realise that I’m actually kind of fantastic at public speaking. I know. Weird, right? Really, I should have come to this conclusion a lot earlier, but the fact is that at high school, it’s kind of cool to hate public speaking. It’s the norm, and a lot of my high school experience was spent just trying to fit in. So the fact that I wasn’t half bad at giving speeches and such was never something I never really wanted to admit to myself. Now, though, things are different. I’ve realised that this is something I would actually really like to do, to be a conference speaker all around Australia, but the truth is I have absolutely no idea how to even start down that path. It’s a bit of a left-of-field profession, how do you even get into a business like that?
At the same time, I have a sneaking suspicion that no one is going to take advice from a key note speaker who has basically no experience. I mean, the first thing I watch out for when I’m listening to a speech is what kind of credentials the person talking has. In that regard, ‘straight out of uni’ doesn’t sound very impressive. So I have to work out a bit more of a plan. The problem isn’t, I haven’t got a clue where to start.
When people hear what I do, they call me a happiness psychologist. I really don’t know why…it always just seems redundant. It’s not like people don’t have brains of their own, and thus the field of psychology applies to them. Is this one of those turn of phrases that I keep hearing about? Maybe, but I’m definitely more of a people person and words don’t always make a lot of sense to me.
Anyway, some people have a bit of a rough life compared to others that are straight up stable. It feels like being sad gets passed from person to person like a disease. It’s just that people are often exposed to a greater degree of trauma than others. One person might take the long scenic country road, another along a dark gravel road. My best advice is always to get away from everything have a nice holiday. It’s amazing how therapeutic a holiday can be, especially to some place relaxing like Lorne. Hotels are the best because everything is taken care of for you including cleaning and fresh towels. I can’t recommend the great ocean road highly enough, it’s a beautiful location and something that everyone should experience.
Anyway, I travel around Victoria to anyone who has a problem and see how they’re doing. Oh, nothing like a full service, though that’s something I can do if things get too serious. No, I just make sure they’re still ticking, make some notes and maybe dole out some advice on how to make things better.
I guess the ‘psychologist’ part comes in, since I’m not actively treating the people; it’s more of a general inspection, or I might listen to their problems. I’ve always kind of had a knack for telling what a friend needs or when something’s wrong. Usually all they need is a few days of sun and sand in a luxury apartment in Lorne. I suppose in the end none of the stress really matters. People can say what they want. So long as they keep sending me out to look after folks, it’s still a job.
I’ve been struggling recently with how I’m going to set up the exposition of my novel properly. If you’ve ever met me, probably even just once, you’ll know that having this kind of a problem isn’t really too unusual for me. I’m kind of what I like to describe as the ‘struggling artist’ type, and it just so happens that my medium of choice is my words. But I’m nothing if not a perfectionist, and I find that the meticulously craftsmanship involved in creating a story is the most time consuming part of the process. I have to get every detail, every aspect of it, right before I’m happy to move on and put my vision onto the computer screen’s simulation of paper.
My most recent conception centres around a life changing series of events faced by an otherwise ordinary woman. In order to impress the sheer normality of her life, I need to describe the biggest event in at during the beginning of the novel: she is moving from one house to another. However, I’ve felt recently that this really isn’t as unremarkable as it could be, so I’m wondering whether to add another element into the mix. At the moment, I’m thinking that my protagonist could be working with a buyers advocate in Melbourne to move the process along. Nothing screams ‘uneventfully dull’ like an added layer of bureaucracy.
Although there’s nothing wrong with consulting an advocate, of course, I feel that adding that into the exposition of the novel will just add to the overall effect I’m trying to create. Working with a buyers advocacy in Melbourne is a sensible, risk-averse move to take. It should help to establish those qualities in my protagonist while lulling my reader into a false sense of security. If it does that well, it should be worthwhile adding it in, but I need to be sure it works first.
You know how your parents always told you that you were going to get square eyes, watching the screen for too long? Well…maybe there was some truth to that. I guess it’s because I’m coding so late and it’s usually dark, but sometimes I can see what I’ve been working on in front of my eyes like I haven’t left the screen. Is it possible to look at something so long it actually becomes kind of…imprinted on your retinas? Maybe I should get my eyes tested.
Man, I haven’t felt this tired since I was back in my software development course and my final project was due. Really brings me back, in a bad way. Of course, I wouldn’t even BE this tired if I hadn’t been pulling so many hours for overseas companies. It’s the only way I can get work after the business I worked for had to pack up shop. Guess once Lawrence Corp moves in down the street there’s nothing much a small business of six people can do, especially when we’re offering the same services. They probably have legions of software course graduates, and web design people and…I don’t know, experts in turning things on and off. The cream of the crop from all the best universities, scads of business and marketing managers to help them crush the competition. What can the little guy do, right? Still, our business dropped off like nothing else. I’m lucky I even had this software development course under my belt; everyone else was either an inside hire or were connected to the family business, so they don’t have qualifications.
Hopefully we can still meet up. I know Ranjesh is doing some kind of game design course in Melbourne somewhere, so good for him. I guess we’ll all just make do with being out in the big wild world. It was fun while it lasted. Still need to go and see the optometrist though, because this vision thing just isn’t going away. Keep seeing a load of blue squares and one of them turns red for a moment…and I’m not even working on anything like that. Weird.
My father-in-law is coming to town next week, and I am terrified. You see, I’ve been…well, fibbing about my level of gardening prowess. We talk once a week and he always asks how my garden is growing. We don’t have anything else in common so I’ve been telling him about how wonderful the garden is blooming and the new plans I have. He sends my husband photos in the post of his garden in Japan to share with me. He is a lovely man, I can’t handle the thought of letting him down and upsetting my husband.
See, the way I talk about myself, and the way my husband talks about me, you’d think I was blessed with gardening tips from heaven’s own back garden. Flowering Gladioli varieties, healthy Japanese maples, a lawn so neatly manicured it’s practically a lush carpet of vitality.
Yeah, well, I have none of those things. In fact, up until last week, my garden was a dirt patch and some overgrown grass surrounded by weeds. I couldn’t even keep the grass alive.
When I found out my father in law was coming to down I panicked! I knew I had to think fast. I got myself some help and consulted a garden landscaper to plant a bunch of Summer flowering bulbs. I even hunted around to find the right flowers that sort of matched the colour scheme I was going for. So I kind of have a garden now…but I’m worried that my father-in-law will know.
He has the senses of a hawk, and I’m wondering if he’ll be able to tell that the place has only recently been dug up. There’s also the issue of keeping everything alive until then, which I’m not sure I even know how to do. And what if he watches me while I garden? I’ll do it all wrong, and then he’ll know! Finally, there’s the new flower patch. I have nightmares about him getting down on his hands and knees and realising my treachery. My web of lies is about to come crashing down.