Cats and fish…

Mr Husband and I took a Sunday drive to Port Douglas not so long ago. I brought a chair, a really good book (The Long Song by Andrea Levy) and an esky full of food and lovely cold drinks. Mr Husband filled the rest of the car with fishing gear. Then we found a tree with shade for me and a pier for Mr Husband. An hour later came the cat.

Everyone was happy that day. It was a beautiful day as well. We saw this guy on the same day. I think he had a good day too…

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Trying to focus

I’ve learnt that I need to start my paragraphs by summarising the content, so forgive me for stating the obvious: I’m not writing much on the blog at the moment. I look at all my earlier posts and I simply don’t know how I found the time to do them. Between bleaching uniforms for a hard-working Mr Husband (think Italian, think tomato), my own work and all the other little things, life just passes by.

I suppose it is also a mind-set, not only to create good posts for the blog, but also to remember them and then write them down. Right now, the only thing I can think of that happened to me in the last few days is that I was electrocuted by a lemon in Woolies. It really surprised me. I expect static electricity in a lot of places, but not the vegetable section of a supermarket.

But tonight is movie-night and so I am excited and want to share the buzz. We are having Funny Movies From England night, because we in need of a laugh. Writing a PhD is serious business and we often find ourselves in a bit of a gloom. I am serving tacos which has no relation to England what-so-ever, but it means I don’t have to cook, just put out a large amount of bowls with colourful items. We are watching “Saving Grace” and “Four Lions” and I know it is going to be fun. I also know that there are plenty of English movies that are probably a lot more fun that those, but Saving Grace still contains my favourite funny movie scene ever: the store scene. Till next time, have a laugh on me:

Movie Club

We have made a movie club! That is my colleagues and I.
It is a really simple club, not much organising really. We meet at my house, bring food/drinks/snacks along and watch a couple of movies together. The whole intention behind the club is that it is to be easy, cheap and just as much about the company as the movie. Most of us are non-Australians, so we are in the process of creating a social life here. Coming together to share food and a movie is great for this.

The first time we met, we decided to watch a Danish action comedy called I Kina spiser de hunde (I had a lot to do with this choice, I will admit that) and the latest movie by Almodovar – a thriller called The Skin I live In. This was a really good start as we now have a better feel for each other. It seems that no one in the group is especially sensitive – to anything really.

The second time we met was last weekend. Cairns was host to the travelling film festival and we grouped up across interests and met in smaller groups during the weekend. I did a marathon on Sunday, where I saw three movies, all which I can highly recommend. Festivals are great for this really – they have gone through a lot of trouble selecting the movies to begin with, so they are almost always entertaining.

The first movie I saw was a documentary on a 1970s singer called Searching for Sugarman. The story is unbelievable, it really is, and the music is fantastic. It was definitely worth the ticket. I don’t want to reveal the story, for two reasons: if I give you the short version the movie sounds so uninteresting it would turn you off. If I tell you the interesting part, you know the plot. BUT, definitely say yes if someone invites you.

The second movie I saw was a Chinese drama about growing old called A Simple Life
Also this was a great movie, playing on the whole spectrum of emotions. It was funny, we laughed out loud many times, reflective, intense and of course sad. My Chinese companion and I cried at the end, so much so that the tissues needed to come out of the handbag for a good noseblow.

My personal favourite was the last movie I saw. It was a Lebanese comedy drama about a group of women, who try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village. It is called Where Do We Go Now and is so funny that my face produces a massive smile, just thinking about it. This movie is not a massive block buster, which is a real shame. It should be. I encourage you to go and look for it, ask for it, drive far to see it and bring your friends. It is worth it.

Tonight we have movie club again. The two Germans in the club will be away for a while (one has fieldwork in Papua New Guinea for 9 months and the other is off for a job in Georgia) so we have decided to do a German movie night. We have listed seven amazing German movies for selection and will decide on the final two tonight. I’m excited. I will let you know how it goes!

Friend Request

Friendship has taken a whole new meaning since I left my country a decade ago. It takes time to become friends and it takes an effort to maintain them. Most of all, I have learned how precious friendship is and how much I value the relations I have created through my life.

There are the people I grew up with in the village I come from, who I used to catch up with on a regular basis without really making an effort.There are the other people I met growing up, like my friends from when we lived on Long Island. Or my pen-pal from Germany. Then there are the good solid friends who I have laughed and cried with for decades. The ones I studied with, worked with, went on holidays with. Then there are the two girls I made friends with the three years I lived in Italy. Those were tough years, I tell you, and I could not have survived without those two. I don’t see them much and I don’t talk to them much. But I would walk through fire for them both. Then there are my new friends, people I have met here in Australia. That again is a totally different relationship. For most of us, we are tied together through an experience of being foreign, reflecting on our surroundings. They are from countries I have never had friends in before. Like France. And Egypt.

Many of my friends are on Facebook. I often sit and look at my list of friends on Facebook and I get filled with a tremendous sense of gratitude. I love Facebook for that reason alone. I really do. I LOVE to hear the stories, love to see the pictures and I try to return the favor.

I listen to the scary parts they tell us about Facebook, about being watched and surveilled. But you know what? I sometimes hope they spy on me and my friends. I hope they see how connected we are and how much we care. How much I care. And I hope it scares them.

And then I love it when I get a friendship request and think: who the heck is that girl with bananas in her hair? Do I really know her? OH YES she is lovely! How good is this!

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is on this weekend and it is really, really nice. We went Friday morning, because I’m shooting an archery competition this weekend in Mareeba. I’m so happy that we made it. The art on display was VERY nice. It was also very expensive, but I really enjoyed it all the same. There were some prints I fell in love with, but at $265 a piece and thinking that 3 in a row would be the ideal, that is now just a dream. They were worth the price though.

One really pleasant feature of the art fair was the entertainment. There was a constant change in the many different dance groups and music, mostly Aboriginal dancers from the region. This is the Lockhart River dance group, which we (Mr Husband and I) thought did a real good job. I personally really like that there are so many kids in the group. Passing on culture is such an important thing.

Outside the venue, all sorts of other good things were going on, like the artwork being made on the spot from ghostnets (fishing nets that fishermen somehow do not think they are responsible for and leave as trash in the ocean). I really liked the turtle as the nets are one of the major reasons for turtle death in the Torres Strait. So appropriate.

If you are in the area or know someone who is here, I highly recommend going. If you have half a shopaholic in you, bring the big wallet. If I was rich I would have bought these Items from the Torres Strait. The headgear cost app $4000; I really like the one with the crocodile tooth in the middle. The metal item I didn’t check the price for; I probably would have fainted. But have a look at the artwork made out of the white feathers. Just amazing.

Good to be home…

So it was all so different than I thought it would be.

Before leaving, blogging and the entire writing process was helpful, a stress relief, even cathartic. While in Greenland, it was a catalyst for all the non-work experiences – work being the number one word for that trip.

But then in Denmark. Then it became too confusing, too complicated, too hard (the writing that is – the stay itself was great). I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t get my head around it and write about my experiences in a meaningful way.

Now I’m back in Australia and the urge to write is slowly returning. I have kept a record of many stories I could write about from my trip away and I may just do that. For now, I will see what happens on a day to day basis, the largest upsets being a MASSIVE case of jet-lag and a crashed hard drive. Right now, Mr Husband and I are camping at my workplace on a Saturday night to skype home and write personal emails.

This is the first tentative steps of me returning to the blog. Can I just say: it is good to be home!

Ms Wimpy

So I spent the evening hiding in my monster sofa, eating Nutella, untill Mr Husband came home. I was a lot more vulnerable and wimpy after yesterdays experience than I would initially admit – or that I would have thought I would be. The first hour I just thought ‘Nothing happened. You did well, you listened to your gut and nothing happened.’ I was all fired up and action, adrenaline running. Then I made tea and curled up.

One memory kept coming back to me over and over. I could not stop thinking of my grandmother, who was robbed in a similar way, though much worse. This was back home in Denmark, in Copenhagen, it was Easter 1994. She lived in an apartment block, where you could not see her front door from the street, because of bushes and trees. That day someone was hiding between the trees and jumped at her, when she opened the door. He put a knife to her throat and forced her up the stairs to her apartment.

It is a terrible story. It shook all of us at the time. The robber first tied her in her living room, while he searched the house, then tied her in the bedroom and put a piece of furniture in front of the door, to stop her getting out. He then cut the phone cord before leaving. It was a terrible ordeal. He took all her jewelry; he even took her wedding ring off her finger. It was very, very bad.

So while drinking my tea, my imagination ran wild. I kept thinking what could have happened and what did happen to grandma. And I kept thinking why would someone do this? It is so up and personal. So very different from ‘just’ breaking into a house with no people in it. Why the personal attack? But people get robbed every day and, in most cases, the robbers get away with it. It is hard to catch them. They never caught grandma’s robber.

I’m sorry for writing all this blabber. I am hoping I will be less wimpy if I write about it. I’m thinking ‘get it out there, leave it out there.’ It worked with my Angry Bird post from yesterday, though that was short-lived. I’m beginning to discover how powerful a tool this writing business is. On a personal level. So now I’ve wallowed so much in this story that I don’t want to be wimpy anymore! End of that. Thank you for listening.
I mean that. Thank you.