Time is on my side

Well well well! Six months since my last post…pa-bloody-thetic.

Where was I in my last one? Ah…Lithuania. And whinging about my (lack of) job prospects. I’m going to have to fish out my 2013 diary to remember what happened after that. My guess is that I continued being stupidly busy, blowing my money on holidays and stressing out about getting a permanent job. Back in a second…

Well WATTYA KNOW?! I was right. After hitting ‘Publish’ on August 26th, my life continued much on the same trajectory as it had been on for the whole of 2013 (which, the consensus seems to be, was pretty shit for most people?).

Don’t get me wrong, there were some pretty awesome events including both mine and my loved one’s 30th birthdays. Jim’s came in September, 3 months before mine, so I wasn’t really feeling the ‘pinch’ when we celebrated his. I made sure to pull out all the stops because I know I can be a bit shit when it comes to doing things for people’s birthdays, if I even remember them in the first place. So that’s why I arranged dinner in the gorgeous private dining room in The Oak pub and restaurant in Notting Hill for us and 10 of Jim’s friends. I also spent ten…yes TEN hours making a cake in the shape of a cricket bat. My housemate Heloise watched me for the last 2 hours or so, observing in some kind of transfixed horror my botched attempts at icing. In the end, I don’t think it turned out too bad! The little presents I got him as well as the party we had at our place were the icing on the…oh, I guess I can’t use that analogy now. Jim and I made hundreds of canapes for everyone which we were really proud of, though we were happy to finally serve the last ones and get on with partying.

Jim’s party was a double-fun-bonus as my very good friends from Australia – Casey and Charles – arrived in London that day and I saw them for the first time in years in my very own kitchen. They stayed with us and a few other friends during their trip, and I had an awesome time hanging out with them and remembering the good old days as well as making new memories. Casey, Bianca (who lives in London) and I have known each other since we were 14/15 years old through working at BIG W! Together we have such a bevy of ridiculous stories from our time there; we are the original disaffected fucks. I ended up staying for 6 years – well into my Uni days.  I still have stress dreams about not doing my night ‘routining’ (tidying) properly and forgetting my log-in code. Grim. To spend some time together, we went on holiday together at the end of November/start of October to a random holiday destination – Transylvania. We had a LOVELY TIME! Although we had grand plans to travel outside of our Transylvanian base Cluj Napoca, we ended up lazily wandering its pretty streets and spending time catching up in ancient squares, cute little cafes and bars. I would thoroughly recommend giving Romania a visit – people were so outrageously friendly and there were enough markets and tiny shops to keep our touristy selves happy. I feel so lucky to have those two people in my life (though I’m secretly a bit glad our impulsive and wine-fuelled plan to get some kind of tattoo to symbolise our friendship has not yet come to fruition).

Not long after that it was time to ‘pop’ back to Perth for 8 days to surprise my Mum for her 60th birthday! As far as I can remember I have NEVER surprised anyone, so I was pretty chuffed with myself when we actually managed to pull it off. My dad and brother were in on it, and helped to arrange the logistics so that I could casually walk in and surprise Mum at our favourite restaurant – Restaurant Amusé. We’ve been visiting them since they opened a few years ago, and all their staff were really on board with making the surprise work. I arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning, my brother David picking me up from the airport and kindly giving me his bed while he slept on the couch. He had even bought my favourite soft drink – Passiona – to help me feel at home. Aww! His lovely girlfriend Sofi had bought me the most gorgeous Salus handcream, which was wrapped and waiting on a lavender pillow on the bed! So thoughtful and relaxing after a long haul flight. I slept in while David played GTA 5 and his cat Cereal stared at me and occasionally tried to sit on my head. Later that evening after I caught up with a friend, David, Sofi and I got spruced up and arrived at the restaurant early. We made sure Mum and Dad had their backs to the door, and I was smuggled away down a hallway right next to the kitchen. Finally the maître d’ (who is co-owner with her husband and Head Chef), signalled that it was time and I walked out, casually sat down in the extra chair, and apologised for being late. I’d been a bit worried that Mum would keel over at this point, but luckily her blood pressure meds worked perfectly and she let out a scream of joy and shock 🙂 Seems I almost messed up the whole thing by sending a jet-lagged Facebook message from Singapore, which obviously then told Mum that I was contacting her from Changi airport! She told Dad in puzzlement, but he managed to convince her that Facebook was hardly ever accurate due to signals bouncing off the wrong satellites and…stuff… Phew!

I have never experienced such crippling jetlag as I did upon returning to London after being in Perth for eight days. It was awesome spending time with my family, catching up with friends and touching in with the little people who have sprung up all over the place from the loins of those I know. But, your parents only turn 60 once, and I’m glad I’ve been able to be there for both of my folks’ celebrations.

Once back in Perth, my attention turned to a certain looming milestone. I never thought I’d be the kind of person to worry about getting older, and in some respects I’m quite comfortable with it; I’m more confident, relaxed and happy than I’ve ever been in my life. But on the other hand there are certain things that I expected to have achieved by the time I hit 30. The choices I made throughout my 20s came into question – has all my travelling and loving been worth it? My peers from University are now running hospitals, or are married and have (numerous) kids. And here I am – living what feel like the right choices for me…but not the right choices in terms of where I’d dreamt I would be as a little girl. Getting a permanent job didn’t turn out to be as easy as I thought it would be. I’m not as skinny as I used to be, and there are lots more dark circles and bags and general wrinkliness than before. And above all, the biological clock is ticking. Shit! Probably for that reason, I became grossly neurotic about having as nutso a party as possible down in a rented house in Brighton for my 30th. This coming from someone who initially, honestly, did not want to have a party at all. Luckily my very good friend Shaun (who proves to me that boys and girls CAN be friends), was also celebrating his 30th and came over to London (his previous home), with his girlfriend to spend the weekend with the crew. We had an amazing time – “I’m Keith Richards bitch!”

I was immediately relieved upon actually turning 30 on the 8th of December; the anticipation was infinitely worse than the event. I had been asked numerous times ‘What does it feel like to be 30?’ I decided I should probably ask my friend Shaun the same question, since that seemed to be the done thing. “What a fucking stupid question”, he replied. And that’s why we’ll always be friends.

A bunch of stuff has happened since then. New Years Eve was great. I took a WHOLE MONTH off drinking alcohol, in order to test myself, be a bit more healthy, and most importantly raise £600 for the Epilepsy Society. I finally got a permanent job at a Highly Specialist level. In other words, I finally got what I wanted. It was a hard fucking slog and I know it’s odd that I add it on almost as a footnote, but perhaps I’m not keen to talk about how much it means to me. Perhaps I’m sick to death of talking about it since it felt like that’s all I was talking about with my friends and family for a while. My stress levels have dropped dramatically since the start of the year, and one of the biggest things about my newfound stability is the prospect of mortgages and maternity leave. Oooooo-err! 2014 is lookin’ pretty good so far.

Casey, Bianca and I in Cluj Napoca


Mum, Dad and I just after the surprise!
The day I turned 30.
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