Saturday, May 1, 2010

Post-Flight Blogging!

I'm baaaaaaaaack!

Sorry for the lack of updating- I didn't get much chance to use the internet while I was overseas, and when I got back I had to complete a take-home exam for consumer law...and that sort of involved actually learning the about the examinable topic while I was completing the exam. Multitasking for the win!

I was actually extremely fortunate to get the chance to hand in the exam at all, because the Iceland volcano (it's ICEland...where does it get off having gigantic heat explosions?) shut down operations at Heathrow Airport the day I flew out from London to Singapore. However, our pilot made the decision to take off an hour early, meaning that we literally got out of Heathrow forty minutes before they shut down. Ironically, when we got to Singapore I flicked through the cable channels and 'Dante's Peak' was playing on the cinema station :D

It feels weird to be back in Melbourne, tugging on gloves in the cold when only a few weeks ago, I was wandering around Spain in the Andalusian sunshine. It also feels weird to be facing a giant pile of law readings when a few weeks ago, my only concern was whether eating a Magnum for lunch would elicit a sense of loss for not getting the limited edition Cornetto sitting next to it in the ice-cream freezer. Such dilemmas were easily solved (the Magnum was purchased for lunch; the Cornetto for an afternoon snack) but alas, the giant pile of law readings currently sitting on the table downstairs cannot be vanquished merely by the provision of three euros.

The trip was amazing. It was my first trip to Europe, and I was stunned by the amount of history behind everything. Earlier this year, I was reading a collection of 19th century Australian essays and stories- and one of them noted that although Australia lacks the history of European buildings, our beauty and value lie in the natural wonders of our landscape. And that's true. Australia is lovely. Australia has much natural beauty to offer to the marvelling eye.


I walked along 2000 year old walls in York, built by Willliam the Conqueror. I wandered through old Moorish palaces and centuries-old Cathedrals. I saw the tombs of English monarchs in Westminster Abbey, and saw busts from Ancient Greece and paintings from the Renaissance in the Prado.

And it was freaking awesome.

I'm just going to post a photo or two up for fellow blogger (and now fellow Aries 22 year old!) miku, as she was recently in Barcelona and it was ridiculously exciting to look at her photos and squeal, "Ooh I've been there!!!" The salamander says happy birthday- and I hope the salamander of your dreams comes along and picks you up and takes you over his salamander shoulder! :D (Photos are smallest size as takes me a while to upload!)

(The photos above were taken in Park Guell, one of Gaudi's architectural creations. I love the gingerbread house on the left side- it even has little button candies along the windowpanes.)

Before I pop back downstairs to resume my readings, a few tips I've picked up:

Daph's Travel Tips for Spain and England
  • in Spain, when people say 'I only speak a little English', don't believe them. After saying this, they will then wax lyrical in fluent English to the point where they could probably write a 2,000 word essay for English Literature and surpass most high school students in Britain, America and Australia.
  • in Spain, when people say "Muy poquito" when you ask them if they speak English, they actually do mean that they don't speak much English.
  • Spanish coffee is amazing. In Spain, ask for a 'cafe con leche' (there are accents there but admittedly I'm too lazy to format the plain text, sorry!) and you'll get a lovely strong latte. Ask for a 'cafe solo' and you'll probably get knocked out by the intensity. In England, coffee mostly needs a bit of improvement before it can be classified as coffee. Ask for a double shot, or a strong latte, or you'll just get very nicely foamed milk.
  • take a travel pillow on long flights. Otherwise you'll wake up with the Neck Crick to End All Neck Cricks.
  • 'American Psycho' is not a relaxing book to read on a flight. However, it will keep you awake, and horrified, if you need to stay up to switch time zones.
  • They have one pence coins in England. Run away before the service assistant can give you a wallet-clogging bronze coin after buying your 99p Ribena.
  • If you are regret not buying something from Zara or Mango in Spain, don't sweat it. One will magically appear every 20 metres down the street across the entire country.
  • If you're around Andalusia at Easter and you see people in white cloaks and white pointy hats with eye-holes marching past, they're being pious Catholics and not racist redneck Americans.
  • If your hotel offers a laundry service, be aware that they will charge about three euro PER PAIR of underwear. It is much more fun to construct a shameful makeshift washing line in the bathroom- even though the maid will think you're a cheap bastard, it's awfully fun to get a calculator and add up just how many euros you've calculations for one load came to at least 150 euros.
  • Hotel tea in England is frightening and makes strange dymorphic forms that creep up the teacup when you add hot water. Be wary of new British tea-based lifeforms brewing in your cup. High tea, on the other hand, is most excellent and quite free of strange liquids trying to grope their way up the side of your cup.

Hope you've all had a good past month or so- will hopefully update a bit quicker this time! :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pre-Flight Blogging!

I'm flying to Barcelona tomorrow.

Well, today really, since it's 12:17 a.m on what is technically Friday morning...but in approximately twelve hours I'll be grabbing my backpack and heading off to the airport.

It still hasn't sunk in yet that I'll actually be heading overseas for the first time since 2004- I did go to New Zealand in 2007 but I don't count New Zealand as exactly 'overseas''s more like popping across the Tasman to visit Australia's weird dorky cousin :D On that trip, I embarrassed my family by collapsing into a hysterical fit of laughter in the airport queue because the New Zealander who checked our passports said quite seriously to my American aunt, "Oh, you've come from the Oo-Iss?" and I ended up having to leave the queue because tears were leaking from my eyes and every second breath was being inhaled as a strangled, "Hee! Hee! Waaaaah hah hah hah....New!"

Don't even ask what happened at the supermarket when the attendant asked my Dad to confirm that he wanted 'six' slices of ham.

Anyway, I think that there's much more scope for potential humiliation in Spain, as my Spanish is nothing short of horrendous (as evidenced by what was possibly the most pathetic attempt at conversation I had the other day when I phoned our accomodation in Spain- I think I coughed out a 'Como estas?' in reply to a torrent of indecipherable Spanish before I blurted out the inevitable, "Usted hable Ingles?!")

Hopefully I'll get the chance to blog while I'm over there- tomorrow I've got the epic 22-hour flight extravaganza which will be alternately spent eating, sleeping, exhausting my inflight entertainment and fighting over what constitutes a legitimate word in travel Scrabble with my sister. (The Official Scrabble Dictionary would be too heavy to drag along in our backpacks :P) My long-suffering sister gets to put up with me in a confined space for 22 hours, and I'm pretty sure that at some point during those 22 hours the two of us will end up like this:

Catch y'all in Europe!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Dresses and (Achilles) Heels

I'm meant to be doing adminstrative law right now- in fact, I have four subjects to catch up on and about 20 job applications to write- but unfortunately that all had to take a backseat this evening.

You see, the Oscars were held earlier today. And whilst I actually care very little for the Oscars (I'm probably part of the 1% of the population who thought Avatar was completely overrated) I do have a weakness for the red carpet fashions- and so it's damn near impossible to resist when presented with a link to an Oscars frock photo gallery.

Dresses are my Achilles heel. Well, one of my many Achilles heels- I suppose you should really only have two Achilles heels (one for each foot) so I suppose if I had to pick two, one of them would be food and the other would be dresses. I suppose if I had a superfluous third leg (and therefore an extra heel to be bestowed with Achilles-like properties) the other one would be lip glosses. I'm not exactly sure why I'm drawn to lip glosses as I don't really wear them all that often, but they're just so slim and pretty and well, glossy...and they're the first thing my hand snakes towards in the cosmetics aisle.

But with regards to dresses...I have about 20 formal dresses in my closet, which in my opinion isn't that many considering roughly 95% were purchased for $20-$50, with the median price probably hovering around $30. I have a strange ability to ferret out discounted clothes (I think it's encoded into my DNA at an Asian genetic level), so almost all of them went through a 70% markdown at some stage. My sister once suggested I sell a couple, but I felt a sudden rush of horror at the very thought. I have a connection to every item of clothing in my closet. If you point at any item, I can tell you where I bought it, how much I paid for it, and the shopping companion I was with at the time.

I liken it to the scene in Pocahontas where she's running around singing about colours of the wind and trying to explain the concept to John Smith (substitute my sister for John Smith, or any hapless male really). Or since this post is Oscars-related, probably also the bit where Zoe Saldana's Na'vi character in Avatar is showing Jake Sully how their world is interconnected with nature. (In fact, Pocahontas and Avatar are practically the same movie, so either analogy would be appropriate.) Because to an outsider, the connection that I have with my wardrobe is completely unfathomable. But I know every skirt and dress and T-shirt...has a life, has a spirit has a naaaaaame...

Of course, this connection means that I hardly ever throw anything out- I always feel a sudden twang of remorse that makes me clutch at that item of clothing (imbued with memories and probably several dust-mites) and place it back in the closet. I am planning a spring-clean eventually...but in spring. And since I'm in the Southern Hemisphere, I'm safe for a couple more months :P

But I had a look at this Oscars slideshow, and was struck again by how awesome Mariska Hargitay looks on the red carpet. All the time. I still remember the dress she wore to the 2008 Emmy Awards (again, I was procrastinating at the time) and she managed to pull off this amazing bright yellow dress which inspired me to go on the hunt for a yellow dress this summer (I didn't find one though.) Even if you Google Image her on the red carpet, she looks constantly impeccable- bright fuchsia, aquamarine, cream, pale pink- the woman just pulls it off with such elegance every single time.

And now that I've indulged in my celebrity gossip/procrastination/girly moment for the day, I feel that I can now go back down to the plain text drudgery of administrative law :D

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

B**tch, Run That

Job-hunting is driving me crazy.

Granted, quite a few things drive me crazy. Like double negatives, or triple negatives in the one sentence. Or how every Rob Thomas song that comes out sounds exactly like his entire back catalogue but with random concepts like mockingbirds and diamonds thrown in. Or the fact that some bitch today almost ran me over in the university carpark because she decided that because she was in a 4WD this somehow gave her the right to DRIVE OVER A NATURE STRIP PARKING DIVIDER, WITHOUT LOOKING (I feel the need to capitalise every single one of her driving transgressions) WHILE HOLDING UP A MOBILE PHONE TO HER EAR AND CHATTING AWAY, LIKE PLAYING CRAZY TAXI IN THE GROUNDS OF A TERTIARY INSTITUTION WAS A NORMAL EVERYDAY THING BECAUSE HEY, HEAVEN FORBID THAT YOU PAUSE YOUR ENGINE IN AN EMPTY CARPARK TO TAKE YOUR STUPID CALL.

And then the bitch smiles at me as she's bouncing down from the curb and I've stopped in my tracks with my mouth agape at her stupidity.

This is actually the second time I 've almost been run over at university- the first was a bus driver who didn't stop at a pedestrian crossing- and he had plenty of time to see me crossing with a few other students. Fortunately I saw he wasn't stopping in time, but one of the other students screamed out, "You could've killed her, you fucking idiot!" after it roared past.

Oh, and there was also the time where some creepy git hid under my friend's car- most likely waiting to assault her but there were two of us so he didn't emerge- so we almost killed him when we reversed over him. I saw his legs flailing under the car out of the passenger's side window and I thought we'd killed somebody- and that is an image that will unfortunately always stay with me. (He ran away though while we were completely freaking out, and I don't think they ever caught him, although I'm not sure whether the police would even bother to tell us anyway if he had been nabbed.)

Yes, my university is a lovely, safe place to be.

Anyway, I've wandered off topic...scrolling up, I believe I originally started off talking about job hunting.

Ah, yes.

I'm pretty keen to get out of university- not just because bad traffic-related things seem to occur in threes on campus, but because I've just started my fifth year and really, I'm sort of over the whole study thing. I've been trying to apply for graduate positions recently, but it's just form after form after form of questions asking me about times I've demonstrated leadership/teamwork/problem-solving/initiative...and then I have to figure out ways to tweak my CV to demonstrate these key skills without sounding like a tool.


I went to an information session today for a certain organisation that was recruiting graduates- and although the actual presentation was fine, everyone was schmoozing in the foyer afterwards with glasses of OJ and champagne and these weird little things that looked like retarded vol-au-vents, and I just felt distinctly uncomfortable.

I'm not a born schmoozer. I hate schmoozing. I'm one of those unrealistic, naive people who likes to have a conversation without a self-serving agenda. Which means, really, that I would be squished like a bug in the corporate world. I just happen to hate trite conversations that aren't genuine. So I chatted to a random Engineering student who was standing next to me like an extremely awkward statue, had a spring roll and an OJ, and wandered off to have dinner with my family.

So out of interest- any born schmoozers out there? Any anti-schmoozers? Or any tips on how to surreptiously stand in front of the good canapes tray without looking like you're monopolising it?

N.B- Blog post title is from M.O.P's 'Ante Up'...but I'm not normally that mean unless you try and run me over :P

Also, a shout-out to the lovely 'Anonymous' commenter who is reading through my old posts and leaving me feedback- thank you- your comments really make my day :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tooth. And nothing but the tooth.

Hello! Sorry for the lack of updates recently- I had my wisdom teeth removed last week, and despite my sister cheerfully suggesting that I blog "while the pain is still fresh!" I wasn't really keen on writing a post detailing the blood spitting and the mouth-numbing and the tooth-doucheing.

And no, that's not a typo- on my review two days ago, my surgeon stuck an irrigation syringe down the gum cavity where my wisdom tooth (or teeth, rather) had been, and flushed the cavity. It was so disgusting. And painful. And then he popped the syringe in a bag and told me to do exactly the same thing, six times a day.

I call it the tooth douche. It's my new friend in the pursuit of dental hygiene:

Anyway, despite the pain from the intubation (they stuck a tube down my throat for the general anaesthetic and it created an ulcer) everything is peachy. Except for the six-times-a-day tooth douche.

And despite my best efforts, I just spent a goodly paragraph detailing the tooth douche after all. Oh well.

In other non-tooth-douche-related news, Happy Chinese New Year, and a happy belated Valentines'...Chinese New Year actually started on Valentines' Day this year, so I actually got money for being single. It was brilliant!

And judging by the fact that I've just written an entire post about tooth-doucheing, I expect that my 'single' status really isn't likely to change any time soon, unless I find some handsome young maxillofacial surgeon who finds that kind of thing absolutely fascinating :P But that's fine by me, cos all I need in this life of sin, is me and my tooth douche.

Gong Xi Fai Cai, bloggers! :D