Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday.

I snapped this while we were driving through the Rocky Mountains of Canada, which my boyfriend took me to a few years back. He's Canadian. And Canada's gorgeous. Just like him.
To play Wordless Wednesday, visit the divine Faith, Hope & a Whole Lotta Love.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I love a saucepan.

That's right, a saucepan. It aint sexy, but it sure is practical.

Can you think of a word less sexy than 'practical'?

Even though this saucepan is ginormous, it holds a heck of a lot more than sauce. I actually bought it so I could make Hainanese Chicken Rice properly. It's a delish dish (try saying that ten times after tequila). You should try it.

But Hainanese Chicken Rice really isn't my point.

My point is, I love a saucepan. I was thrilled when I saw it, I did a little happy dance of joy when I noticed the price tag, and I carried it all the way home in the rain like a devoted mother.

This isn't lost on me, that I have developed an unsexy love for kitchenware. While strutting home with my new pan, I may as well have walked past a signpost that declared, Look at you Nat! You are getting old! You happily bought a saucepan instead of shoes, makeup, hair products or vodka! Way to go, nanna!

I'm not quite sure how this happened, but somewhere in the recent past I became domesticated. And now I find myself wanting things like saucepans, and one of those mortar and pestle thingys.

When I was five I wanted a toy kitchen set (oh the full-circle-ness of it all)
When I was ten I wanted a hot pink Barbie car (I never got it, thanks mum)
When I was fifteen I wanted desperately to be cool and have hair that stood up (it never did)
When I was twenty I wanted as many glasses of Jack Daniels as I could stomach (which was a lot)
When I was twenty-five I wanted a husband (I found only frogs while the prince was still stuffing around with some other bird somewhere)
When I was thirty I wanted... a shiny new saucepan (and here it is).

I do wonder what will I want when I'm thirty-five... Most likely a mini human.
When I'm forty? Most likely time away from those mini humans.
When I'm forty-five? Yikes, that sounds so old. Can we stop here?

Ahh a shiny new saucepan... tra la la.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"It's all good." Poppycock.

Sometimes I have a fear that my blog is a bit too rosy. That those who read it might get annoyed with my endless I heart Hong Kong! I heart my boyfriend! My job! My life! posts.

Because, while I do love a lot of things in my life, that life leaks happiness and smiles from just as many holes as the rest of us. I don't know about you, but I haven't reached My Perfect Life. I know I never will, because it's a place I made up and it changes as fast as my taste in male celebrities.

But, I do know I am a positive thinker. I can see that through reading this blog. I guess rose-coloured glasses just tend to go with my outfits better. I'm just not that good at posts that rip things apart and dish out tales of woe, even though I'd like to be, as I find them the most compelling to read.

So, for the sake of balance, I thought I'd list a few ugly truths from my life that remind me that I'm not in My Perfect Life; I'm still caught somewhere between Birth and My Imperfect Life.

n.b. these are not necessarily the worst admissions of my life I could make and some of them are just plain shallow, but they're meant to be just a random mixture of things that remind me it all pretty much sucks sometimes.

 When I grew up, all I ever wanted to be was an actor. When Australia's most prestigious drama school NIDA (which trained the likes of Cate Blanchett and Mel Gibson) invited me in for a very rare call-back when I was in my early twenties, I got lazy and didn't show up. I've spent most of my years since wanting to reach into the past and box myself around the ears for that.

 I can't sleep unless the room is darker than dark (black is too light), there is no trace of sound at all (silence is too loud; snoring is absolutely out of the question) and the sheets aren't all bunched up. B calls me 'the princess and the pea'.

 I'm pretty lazy, even though I really wish I wasn't. Generally, I hate getting up, cleaning, exercise, and too many nights out. Sometimes I feel like I'm an 80-year-old in a 30-year-old's body. 

 I'm short, I have flat hair and small eyes. Given that hot people generally have long legs, voluminous hair and big eyes, this is definitely one for the negative column.

 My relationship, while friggin' excellent, didn't kick off with love-drunk weeks of being unable to eat, fireworks and declarations of love at first sight. Sometimes I wonder if that's a bad thing. But mostly I just want to kiss him and just accept that every couple has their own story.

 I am pretty much scared of everything. Oh, except snakes. For some reason I can handle those. Sharks? Spiders? Bears? Owls? Butterflies? Torches? They all freak me out. Yes, owls (their giant nighttime eyes are creepy), butterflies (I don't like anything buzzing around me) and torches (to me, they symbolize crime). 

 I can never, ever make a decision without worrying about what I might be missing out on.

 Sometimes I feel like I have too many work avenues going on, and that I'm in danger of being a jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none. 

I am incapable of eating without food ending up somewhere on my face or in my hair. I can't tell you how many times someone has joked to me, "saving some for later are we Nat?"

It doesn't matter how careful I am with my handbags, they always end up a filthy mess on the inside with crumbs, crushed old receipts and gum wrapping papers. When I peer inside, I remember that I'm really not all that classy.

My Facebook comments and status updates will never be as funny and witty as my boyfriend's.

 I find it hard to accept what I have, and always seem to want more.

But friends, I couldn't finish this post without inserting this photo... a lovely handwritten little note that I found on my computer this morning. So, rather than leave with a taste of the negative on my tongue, I'm switching back to the positive. I consider myself a very lucky girl. And the endless road to My Perfect Life may be scattered with bumps, mosquitoes, bad eighties road trip music, excess baggage and the occasional traffic accident, but - all in all - it's really not all that bad.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I see people. All the time.

I used to think downtown Sydney was busy... Get out of the waaaay, I would bark in my mind, as I'd dodge passers-by and - heaven forbid - actually have to take a step out of my straight line. Geez, Nat, could you be any grumpier at 8am on a Monday morning? 

You understand, right? Monday morning... 8am... who invented that anyway? It's utterly shite.

But a few suited-up Aussies wondering down a Sydney path just doesn't compare to an average stroll down a Hong Kong street. Nuh-uh. In Hong Kong, there are no straight lines while walking.

To show you what I mean, I captured a short little video yesterday while walking home. This is just a normal street nearby to where we live: it's not even downtown Central. And, as you can see, we're in a serious crowd crisis here. Who are all these people? And where are they all going? That little kid in the Sixth Sense saw dead people. In Hong Kong, I just see people. Everywhere.

p.s. This may come as a shock after watching this video, but I used to work in television. No, an earthquake didn't strike while I was filming this, and no, it wasn't my first time holding a camera. For some reason I just couldn't hold the darn thing straight. Clearly much to learn about iPhones. Sorry 'bout that.

p.p.s This marks my first video blog! Perhaps I shall try more. Would you like to see more?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Glamping in Hong Kong. How is it possible?

Last weekend we went camping (or 'glamping' as I prefer to call it)... in Hong Kong.
n.b. Those italics-y things there are because I want you to understand the sheer improbability of this, in my mind at least... which is kind of mean because, after all, Hong Kong is something like 80% green mountains and beaches.
So why wouldn't one camp?
I guess I just never really thought of it as a camping place. For one, I come from Australia, where an episode of Man vs. Wild is pretty much your average camping weekend. It's a camper's  paradise.
Hong Kong is more like a shopper's paradise. There are very few visible campsites. Most are impossible to get to, except via helicopter. The beaches are polluted. And it's just so darn friggin' hot.
But, then my friend found this little gem of a place called 'Treasure Island'. No, not a ride at Disneyland, not a mini-tropical island, just a little campsite in downtown Hong Kong called 'Treasure Island'.
You can see how this could go very wrong.
But, we were desperate to feel like we were still on holidays in Thailand, so we just went ahead and booked it. Not sleeping in our own bed? Wearing shorts and sunscreen? Bringing a book? Well, that's a holiday, right?
I have to say, it really was. We were more than pleasantly surprised. 
For a start, we didn't need to bring our own tent. They're already all set up at the site. It's a 30-minute ferry ride from where we live. You can leave at breakfast, and arrive in time for, well, breakfast. There were no other campers there but us, so we had the whole place to ourselves.  There was a restaurant right on the beach, which served coffee, cocktails by the jug, burgers, ribs, nachos and other straight-to-the-thighs food. It didn't rain once, despite warnings of torrential downpours and tropical storms. The tents were just a short walk to the beach... And that beach, Pui O, was simply gorgeous.

We swam, lay in banana chairs, bathed in the sun and lazed around. There were even wild buffaloes on the other side of the tents! At one point they stampeded across the field, like a scene from Out of Africa.

I am seriously not kidding. Pinky-swear.

It was pretty faultless... until it came time to go to sleep in tropical temperatures and none of us really managed it. Perhaps next time we'll pick a time of year when the sun isn't trying to kill us.

Hong Kong? You've outdone yourself again. Now if it would just stop pouring this week I might feel tempted to tell you I love you. 

But, you see, you just keep raining down. So, you miss out again.

Now, over to you... I do far too much waffling on this blog. How was your weekend? What did you get up to?

 See? I wasn't lying about the buffalo!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday.

Fragrant joss sticks burning outside the Po Lin Monastery at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

To join the Wordless Wednesday game, head over to Faith, Hope & a Whole Lotta Love.

p.s. More written blog posts coming soon, I promise! So much to write about... so little time, sigh.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Abroad in Thailand.

Oh my god, someone call CNN... is this really happening? Am I really blogging?
Yes, it must be true... I have finally lifted up my lead-weight butt to put fingertip to keyboard and drum out a blog post. True, I did disappear to Thailand for a few days, but I've been back almost a week for goodness sake. I've been mostly busy, but also a bit lazy.
But it's time to get back into it.
I'm not going to waffle on and on about Thailand, because that would be, well, showing offwouldn't it? Can one write about their adventures in such a beautiful, free-spirited place and not sound a tad boasty?
So, instead, I'll share a few pictures from our delightful but lightning-speed visit to Chiang Mai; a lovely little pocket close to the border of Burma (or Myanmar, depending on where you stand on the whole junta thing) of green mountains, massages, ladyboys, kickboxers, tigers, elephants, snakes, mojitos and fire-hot chilli.
Here are a few highlights before I kick off the photos:
- Seeing family. It's just all there really is, isn't it.

- Getting a massage every day. Isn't that illegal in some countries?

- Having dinner and dancing with the Prince of Malaysia... totally unexpected! He was a guest at my dad's conference. Of course dad never mentioned it until it was like, "that's the Prince of Malaysia". Okay then.

- Cuddling baby tigers... BLESS THEIR TINY PAWS AND BABY TIGER TEETH. Mega heart stoppage. My dad was brave enough to enter the pen with the large tiger, who they say is trained and comfortable around humans. So the twelve-thousand kilo tiger with the razor-sharp teeth and claws told them that then? Maybe even wrote it down and signed it?

- Visiting the 'long neck people' (see photo at the top of this post). Bizarre, yet beautiful women.

- Riding an elephant. Likely cruel, I know, but something I honestly wanted to do once in my life. Plus, I think our 27-year-old lady-phant could handle me and B perched upon her gracious back - neither of us weigh that much.

- Experiencing the sheer freedom of the Thai people. Asia is generally made up of such restricted cultures in terms of what's considered acceptable behaviour and what's not. In Thailand? Pretty much anything goes and noone bats an eyelid. Hence the plethora of ladyboys. Love it.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Turning off my phone for five glorious days
Forgetting about the internet and what the world is up to
Baking in the sun like a Christmas turkey (with sunscreen, of course)
Losing myself in the twists and turns of romance novels
Sipping iced drinks with umbrellas in them
Cooling my scorching body with the refreshing hug of water
Inviting the musky flavours of Thailand to dance upon my taste buds
Gazing at the green mountainous landscape without looking away
Having my limbs beaten to a pulp by strong, massaging hands
Sleeping like only the truly free can

Monday, June 6, 2011

Analysis Paralysis.

I think I am. I think I think too much. What do you think?

I believe thinking is truly a wonderful thing... I'm all for it. Like our own mini 'time out', it keeps ourselves in check, prevents us from going off the rails, and enables us to make decisions. Thinking is all good. Except when it becomes paralysing and counterintuitive.

Living abroad, away from home, is dangerously fertile ground for analysis paralysis. In fact, it can be wickedly deceitful... one day you can float through life to a soundtrack of 'tra la la', living in some kind of perpetual holiday fantasy in this 'new world'; and on other days you can wake up wondering where the hell you are and if you even recognise your own life. Because so much has changed so fast.

Out of the blue, I have missed home this weekend. I have missed my 'old life'. I have struggled to recognise my new life, which made so much sense just a few days ago. And I'd like to send analysis paralysis on an all-expenses-paid trip back to the Maldives.

What about you? Do you ever 'over-think' it all?

Friday, June 3, 2011

The after-glow.

But the fundamental flaw in this God-given high is, How do we follow up? How do we live up to its defective expectation?

Mr Armstrong says that, unfortunately, when the early period of heated passion diminishes, it looks as if love is declining.

Now aint that just an unfair truth: The perceived "genuine period of love" has passed. They honeymoon is over. And then comes... what, exactly? Hopefully more love and happy days of course, but perhaps threatened by increased cases of irritation, the revealing of annoying habits, boredom, disillusionment, and - the worst culprit of all - repetition. No more surprises.

So, when things get hard and love is tested, we often turn to the physically and mentally impossible: we try to go back to the early days. To revive the giddy Glow in order to regain what has been "lost". And, as Mr Armstrong explains, not only is this tragically unachievable, but it bestows unnecessary elevation upon the beginning of a relationship, and thus, stabbing its future in the back.

We all want love that lasts, right? So, according to this view, what we really need to do is accept that love changes its looks with time. It develops wrinkles. It grows a little fatter. It loses its hair. We need to trust that the giddy Glow (no matter how pretty it may be) is not the benchmark - nor the ideal version of love. It's just a lovely little starting-point; an emotionally powerful kick-up-the-butt from nature to ensure things get going and our survival on earth is maintained.

But then, after nature's little "welcome to a new relationship" present - we're on our own. We then need to cultivate a mature attitude towards ever-lasting love, and trust that what comes next is the real test... that we don't need to pull out our gun and shoot, just because we suddenly find ourselves in the after-glow.
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