On the Road Again (or, for the first time)

I remember my very first time on the open road. I turned 15 and 9 months – the state of Maryland’s minimum age for obtaining your learner’s permit – and scored my learner’s permit on the first try. Continue reading “On the Road Again (or, for the first time)”

How quickly we forget

Remember last summer when every. single. post. I wrote had at least half a paragraph complaining about the summer heat? Did you miss it? You did? Fabulous. Because it’s coming back full force.

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It got pretty warm this week. And not just “wow, it was pretty hot in the afternoon!” but more, warm all day, and sleeping with the fans on warm. I had a little bit of warning, at least. Last weekend, all anyone could talk about was how it’d be 40*C/100*F on Friday. It was whispered around the trade show I was working, in ominous tones like the heat was an advancing army and everyone should prepare for an invasion.

All week at work we geared up for it, counting down the days with “oh, yeah, it was warm today. Friday’s just going to be worse!” and “Just wait til Friday! 45 degrees!” and “Have you planned what you’ll wear? Make sure it’s breathable. It’s going to be a hot one on Friday.” and “Has everyone bought a water bottle? It’s going to be really hot on Friday.” mind you, I work in an air conditioned office with very little manual labor. But when I woke up Friday morning to a balmy room and my hair plastered to my cheek, I knew the invasion had begun, and the weather was going to suck.

Walking to the bathroom made me sweat. I ran a shower and wondered what was even the point – I’d just need 3 more before bed. Getting dressed made me sweat. I was sweaty and cranky and it was 21*C/70*F before 8 AM.

Once I got to work, I didn’t go back outside. We had a temperature update seemingly every 10 minutes. And the mercury just never stopped climbing. At one point, it was 43*/109*F, and that was when the a/c at work flat out stopped. At that moment, I thought of my bus route home: the first bust I catch comes from Coogee beach. It’s been awesome – reliably on time and not always crowded – until this week, when the beach crowd showed up. Wednesday and Thursday I had to wait 35-50 minutes for a bus that wasn’t loaded to the gills with teenagers in wet swim suits making all the bus seats damp. That’s a long time to wait in the boiling sun. So faced with possibility of literally roasting in the crazy heat for an hour, I decided to catch a cab home. I sat with the back seat a/c vents pointed right at me, and I was home in 30 mins, not 90. Best $30 I’ve ever spent.

As I walked up the stairs in my building and toward our apartment door, I could feel the temperature rising. It was like our place was generating a heat shield and I had to pass through it to gain entrance. I walked through the thick wall of humidity and into our hot, hot, air conditioning-less apartment and saw Joel sweating and sitting in front of a fan that was just blowing hot air back at him I knew… this summer’s going to be so hot. Especially after being so spoiled by autumn and winter and this blessedly extra long, unseasonably cool spring.

I had little hope that the temps would actually drop over night like the weather channel predicted, but we woke up to grey skies and low temps, and for that I am forever thankful. One day was enough. But shit. Friday was a grim reminder that the death of summer is almost here. Soon it’ll be mid December and 108*F will be the norm. Summer is stretching its legs and crawling slowly back into my life, to take residence and make me a sweaty monster until April.

Oh boy.

Time for frozen wash cloths and cool showers and terrible summer allergies and hanging out in the tub filled with cold water and standing wet in front of the fan to feel the chill. Time for scheduling activities for when you’re least likely to suffer heat stroke. Time to once again feel waht it’s like to stand in a puddle of my own sweat. Time to put away EVERY item of winter clothing and EVERY blanket because looking at them will make you sweat. Time to shave my legs everyday, because pants will no longer be an option.

But, in the essence of positivity, it’s also the time for hanging out at the beach, two weeks off for Christmas, eating dinner outside, picnics, coffee in the park, and daylight until almost 9 PM and being able to do 4 loads of laundry in a day because everything dries in like, an hour.

I mean, regardless of the nice things summer brings, chances are still pretty high that I’ll burst into flames or wilt away in a dehydrated mess.

But… we live in hope.

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We all have that one shirt.

You know, that shirt that you see and you’re all “I need that. I need that right now.” And you don’t even think about it, about where you’ll wear it, what you’ll wear it with, or if it even fits. It’s just so new and captivating and full of promise that you can’t help but buy it at full price and take it home right then, thinking how amazing it’ll look and how sexy/badass/carefully deshevled/tastefully slutty it’ll make you feel.

And then you never wear it. It just sits in your closet or in your dresser and it gets passed over time and time again. And you pull it out one day and put it on, thinking of all times you could have worn it, but didn’t. Because something just wasn’t right about it, after all. And after a few closet clean outs, after a few heart to hearts, you chalk it up as a loss and donate it to someone. And you wonder what you saw in it in the first place.

It’s basically how I feel about the domain audwrites.com.

I chose the name, as I choose most things in my life, in an impulsive fit after 34 mins of brainstorming and nothing better coming up because I needed to get this done right now. My old blog was called Audpodge and Blither-Blather. I started Audwrites because, well, it’s weird. I started to grow apart from the blog – there were too many skeletons in it’s blog closet. Too many times that I didn’t want to think about anymore. It reminded me of being a bad person, in a bad place. I all but stopped blogging, but I couldn’t bring myself to delete the whole thing. So I decided to make a new one.

I bought WordPress premium and set myself up a fancy little blog. I decided to try blogging in a way that’s more sophisticated, more relevant and more searchable. I started reading popular bloggers and fantasizing. I got a delusional sense of power, like a kid hyped up on sugar bombs and Mountain Dew, harbouring all these sick ideas of becoming a lifestyle blogger as I navigated life in a new country. SPARSE LAYOUTS! NEUTRAL TONE PHOTOS! RECIPES – I’LL LEARN TO COOK! CRAFTS – I’LL ACTUALLY FINISH PROJECTS! INSTAGRAM – CUSTOM HASHTAGS AND PASTEL FILTERS! I nourished my blossoming inner Martha Stewart and planned for how radically my life was about to change.

But here’s the thing about me – I’m the opposite of a lifestyle blogger. I hate sparse layouts. And taking meticulously planned, neutral tone photos. I’m learning to cook, but I basically set the kitchen on fire each time. I have *no* money to spend on crafts. And the pressure of trying to make a well liked Instagram has zapped all the humour out of my life – regardless of filter.

In the last few months, I blogged less and less. I have a catalogue of topics I want to write about, but nothing I felt was appropriate for this “tone” I was trying to create. Last month, when I was updating the layout, trying to get inspired to blog again, something just didn’t sit right. And a couple weeks ago while I was coming home from work, it hit me: This blog isn’t who I am. Most of audwrites is a testament to something I thought I wanted to be, but it’s not who I am. It felt desperate and flimsy. Basically, it was an idea that failed. And once I admitted that to myself, it made sense to make a change.

I like art and books and wine and I spell very well, but I’m not sophisticated. I like to watch Teen Mom, wear sweatpants, Google celebrities, eat terrible but delicious food, make lists, skip showers, go on adventures, obsessively clean and rearrange, write catty blogs and chat with my friends. That’s my lifestyle. And while there’s not a lot of “lifestyle content” around that, there are a hell of a lot of anecdotes. And I’m at my happiest when I can share those anecdotes.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m back to my audpodge domainand I’m back to writing what I love, the way I love: little pieces of distraction. Hodge Podge and Blither Blather. Funny, sad, stories or essays or filled with MS paint drawings, it’ll at least be from the heart. It’s like a lifestyle blog. But for the lazy girl who manages depression and anxiety on a daily basis. And who one day will start bettering herself. Maybe next week.

Thanks for reading!

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A Year in Review

September 3rd brought about my one year anniversary of living in Sydney with Joel. We celebrated with Netflix, champagne and sweatpants.

One of Joel's customers gave a bottle of bubbly. Free champagne is the best champagne.
One of Joel’s customers gave a bottle of bubbly. Free champagne is the best champagne.

Like every milestone that’s passed since I’ve been here, it’s still a little hard to believe that it happened. Like, how did all the holidays pass, all the seasons change, and all the shit that’s happened happen when I only got here like, 2 days ago?

Moving overseas was a huge process, and in the excitement of it all, I underestimated every step of it. I knew I’d miss my friends and family, but I didn’t know how devastatingly I’d miss them or how much I’d kick myself for not calling them every day when I was back in the States. I knew living in a new country would be an adjustment, but I didn’t account for the little things, for the crushing despair I’d feel from not being able to do a walk around Target when I’m feeling down, or for having to stand in the grocery store Googling “what is this ingredient called in Australia” or having a question about dinner and not being able to call my mom for advice. It didn’t occur to me that I’d feel like such an outsider in a first world, english speaking country, and I didn’t think about how feeling like an outsider would make it harder to make friends. I didn’t know how helpless and frustrated and angry I would feel when I’d hear about being able to do nothing about problems back home. I didn’t think about how scary it would be to count every dollar in my budget because I can’t just borrow $50 from my parents anymore. And I really didn’t think about the “hey, only I can talk shit about my family, ok?” reaction I’d get when I’d hear shit talk about the States and American policies – that was the most surprising.

So this year has been the biggest adjustment I’ve ever gone through. But, I can’t think of an adjustment that has been more important or more necessary. And for all the internal challenges I’ve faced this year, my support system has been incredible. I’ve met some great people through Joel and through work, and my parents been there for me, offering me endless support and turning a blind eye to me buying American TV shows through their Amazon prime (they also gave me a gift of temporarily taking over my student loan payments, which I’ll never be able to thank them enough for). My friends have never been more than a message or an impromptu Skype session away, which I’ve never been more thankful for.

I’ve also had a constant source of support and friendship and general badassery here, and it was from one aspect of my life that I knew I never had to worry about: Joel. For the first time ever, I feel like I have a partner. I have someone who isn’t just invested in me, but who is invested in us. I hadn’t realized it before I moved here, but I had always had him as my number one priority in life. Since being in Sydney, though, our life together has become the number one priority. And it’s been an eye opening experience. It’s our money and our problems and our home and our holidays and our life. He’s helped me to be more conscious of my spending, to be healthier, to be more patient and supportive of myself, and to let go of situations I have no control over. Of course, we’ve had our stumbling moments, but now, it feels effortless. I wake up every morning feel grateful that the universe knocked us together.

A whole year. Damn. It took a lot longer than I expected, but I feel like Sydney is becoming my home. I’ve met some great people, I know how to get around town more, I know what to expect from the seasons (i.e. how to dress and live during summer when you don’t have air conditioning), I have cheat sheets for the metric system, I’m determined to learn how to drive, I’m going to hit the beach way more, and life here doesn’t feel so lonely anymore. At the end of every month, I learn a few more lessons about living here. My visa is finally finished and turned in, and I’m employed full time. Basically, I finally feel ready to worry less and do more.

Time flies. At jet speeds. And it feels like so much has happened, even if it doesn’t look like it. Because all the things that happened were little. I realized the value of a dollar. The value of a phone call or even a text message to loved ones. The values of patience and consideration. The value of putting myself in someone else’s shoes. The value of eating healthier and moving more. The value in dropping bad habits. The value of letting go and forgiving. All these little realizations all added up to something huge: I finally grew up.

Happy anniversary, Sydney. Thanks for everything. xo

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