curious about becoming a Divemaster and what it entails? look no further! even though I’ve been keeping a blog in some way or another since I think I had access to the Internet, for some bizarre reason it never once … Continue reading
interested in reading about how I organised and started the hike up Mount Rinjani? click here first ☺️ NIGHT 1: PREPARING TO PEAK inside the tent on the first night, I had a fitful but deep sleep. I struggled to … Continue reading
climbing the majestic Gunung Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia has been a dream I’d been incubating for almost two long years, and it’s surprisingly easy to do. the “hardest part” is getting yourself to Indonesia! JUSTIFICATION & PRE-PLANNING the terms on … Continue reading
if you’re waiting for the punchline, I’m sorry, there isn’t one.
in the wake of the political nightmare where my home country is currently attempting to divorce Europe – and indeed potentially itself – after 40 years of a harmonious, openly polygamous relationship, I found myself also awake, restless and brain on overdrive, in the middle of the night. it took us 3 proposals for Europe to eventually accept us and now we have decided we want to out, (although we also want access to the single market still wahey!) subsequently causing everyone involved in the affair to pull out the dusty prenups agreed upon from the bottom and back of an old unused drawer. nobody thought they would ever be opened. I still think we are living in a parallel universe. but isn’t denial one of the first stages of a breakup??!
anyway, one of the main, if not the most significant reasons why the British people wanted to leave this arrangement was to “take back control of our borders” and restrict the amount of European foreigners that freely and legally come into the country; namely those from poorer countries, entering our rich country and taking all our jobs etc.
this got me thinking.
what’s the difference between an immigrant and an expatriate anyway?
I am a British National who has not lived in the UK, or indeed Europe, for over 3 years. in truth, I do not actually have a home anywhere: my partner is an Australian-New Zealander hybrid, and we have been hopping between the two southern cross countries for over a year now. I still have my British passport; I decided a long time ago that I will never give that up. it is a part of my identity which I am proud of, despite the turmoil happening back in the UK. (seriously, can I wake up yet?) I have not yet gotten round to applying for Australian residency, and I am in no rush to settle down yet. maybe I might never apply for it. furthermore, because of my lifestyle, I am constantly filling out visa forms and going through immigration at international airports.
so, knowing this, does this make me an immigrant or an expat?
I asked some people what they associated with the word “immigrant”: “refugees”, “foreigners”, “asylum seekers” are what came to mind. when I asked what connotations they considered for “expat”, words like “wealthy”, “successful”, “Europeans” surfaced. so we think of British being retired expats in Spain, but working Poles in Britain as immigrants. hmmmmm….
now I’m not insinuating that these people are racist; this is the result of what we have learned by being conditioned to believe through the media I think I think… we know what immigration and expatriation means, just like we know what risk and hazard mean, but it’s correctly distinguishing between the two that is irritatingly particular and difficult to grasp. it’s a very interesting and charged topic, the racial bias and socioeconomic perspective, but that’s for a different blog post which I’m not prepared or articulate enough to write about. when I googled that very question I keep asking, I stumbled over here. anyway, for a more curious, innocent version, I thought I would look up the dictionary definitions of both “immigrant” and “expatriate”.
“expatriate“: verb, “an expatriate is an individual living in a country other than their country of citizenship, often temporarily and for work reasons. an expatriate can also be an individual who has relinquished citizenship in their home country to become a citizen of another.”
“immigrant“: noun, “a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence.”
(I have to add this in as a side note: according to dictionary.com, the origins for the word “expatriate” comes from the French “expatrier” which means “to banish”, and the Latin “patria”, “one’s native country”. so before 1902, when the modern word came to mean “one who chooses to live abroad”, it originally meant “one who has been banished”. oh, the irony is not lost on me.)
but I digress… invaluably so, however. interestingly, the descriptions of the two lexicons seem more indistinguishable than we might have assumed, and actually has nothing to do with racial stereotypes – hurrah!. for me, the difference between them lies with a sense of commitment: an expatriate, according to this definition, lives “often temporarily and for work reasons” whereas an immigrant is deliberately looking for a fixed place to call home – a new residency. quite a contrast really.
so maybe there’s something more to it than just moving countries; maybe there’s a bigger emotional obligation for immigrants’ intentions to migrate; they don’t have the luxury that expats do to just get up and leave as they please.
well, this is awkward. rather than finding a clear definition I feel the line is blurred again. I’m dictionary defined as an expatriate, although I feel more immigrant by society’s (mis)conceptions. I guess I am simultaneously both and neither: as an expat, I am a wanderer, always hungry to explore more places, settling wholesomely and temporarily, but never getting too emotionally involved in the affair. as an immigrant, I dream of communism and being a citizen of the world, (oh UK how you’ve broken that unrealistic fantasy even more!), committing to every part of the world as my home and residence and making the effort to feel accepted and local wherever I am. however, I suppose I hold most characteristics from being an expatriate, almost organically, just from the privileges of the randomness of where I was born: I think, if it doesn’t work out for the long run in this country, I can always move on to the next. (which, as my best friend Emmarightfully pointed out, in turn makes me feel grateful across all my country’s social mobility: free healthcare, education, democracy, freedom of movement…) well, I guess that’s something to be happy about at least amongst all the current ambiguity of the future. thanks for being Great, Britain!
let me begin by saying that, yes, I went to university and studied English Literature and Language for three years. I still don’t use punctuation properly, for the lame reason that I don’t like the aesthetics of capital letters. so is it any surprise that I voluntarily quit university? no, but I am proud and thankful to say that I did stay and completed my degree. I still am in love with language, reading and writing, probably more so, but this is not because of I chose to further my education in the specifics of English. where am I currently? I’m in New Zealand, part-managing a restaurant on one of the best drives in the world on the coast. it has nothing to do with my graduate or any educational abilities. it is also not something I find particularly fulfilling, nor that I believed I would still be doing at 25. so far, the very least my degree has given me is a ticket to a greater chance of immigrating to a country of my choice.
I am fully aware that the reason why I am not doing anything with my degree is because i haven’t actively pursued it; I can blame the idea that work experience is highly preferred than educational advances. I am sometimes embarrassed by my lack of dedication to my post-studies, rendering my degree a complete waste of time and money. in my (weak) defence, I never wanted to go to university; some people I know (and I am ashamed to admit given my privileged position to just be able to go) claimed to have dreamed as children getting accepted into university, as if it overrode the seemingly inherited infant dream of getting married complete with envisioned beautiful dress to the wo/man of their dreams. (I dreamed of neither of these things… am I still human?) I went to uni because I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do with my life. and guess what? I still don’t. surprise!
but then again, did I always dream of travelling? the truth is I can’t remember, so I probably didn’t. therefore, i don’t actually know what ambitious things I yearned for in my youth. that’s embarrassing. maybe that explains my lack of career direction… oops. anyway, I was however familiar with travelling abroad thanks to have been fortunate enough to go on family holidays as a child. I guess, travelling sort of happened my accident for me. I suppose having a taste of living alone in a new city for university first sort of ignited this, then vacations abroad with my friends enhanced this curiosity in me. so I’m not sure if my thirst for knowledge, which is intrinsically linked with travel, correlates with my age, but I’m finding the world a whole lot more interesting than 14-year-old me did. I am perpetually thirsty to learn, absorbing as much information as possible like a sponge and allowing others’ impressions to leave indelible marks on me. I commit time into developing and improving myself in any way I can, stimulating my mental capacities because otherwise my brain softens like butter through a job like waitressing. sorry, not sorry.
this doesn’t mean I think subjects are school were necessarily irrelevant. it’s not like I apply ‘skills’ I learned like trigonometry to every day life, so I used to think the syllabus was stupid. but school teaches a broad range of subjects which interconnect into our daily lives and help us to understand the world around us just that little bit more; like history shows us how to got to where we are today and biology is, at least, a general understanding of how our own bodies work. school is integral because it encompasses everything to do with developing social skills, defining moral, teaching discipline and building confidence into every individual. I just wish school taught you more than geometry and post-modernism. why didn’t school teach you how to get a mortgage, how to write a will or how to deal with heartbreak? I know how to handle the latter (through A LOT of trial/error), but I still have no idea on the mortgage front. these are things I consider mandatory yet I still know nothing about. these are topics I would want to see discussed and explained in the Real Life class.
is travel better than education? no, of course it’s not. just like a formal education is not superior to travelling; you will find either under the ‘LEARNING’ heading. it all depends on your own stance. as long as you choose whichever avenue based on wanting to improve yourself, then both travel and education are invaluable. unfortunately sometimes these can be used as a status symbol: ‘I have a Masters in this and my occupation title is fancy therefore my knowledge and financial success is superior to yours’ or ‘look how many countries I have travelled to and how long I have been travelling for and i have been to ____ so my opinion and experience is superior to yours’. on the other end of the spectrum, I don’t care if you terminate your education at high school or don’t feel inclined to travel… it’s all individual choice. I have both received and completed a formal education at university and have travelled all over the world, although I have covered very little of it. (yes, I can have my cake and eat it too!). both have lasted three years (so far), and both have enriched me, so I feel I can make a pretty fair comparison. because I was never sure of uni, I felt somewhat oppressed and shackled by the education system. I was lost and confused and completely demotivated. it was also the first time i truly had my heart broken… Keats, you did not prepare me sufficiently for when this happened! travel, on the other hand, has encouraged my curiosity and liberated my mind. although I am sure that maturity has a big part to play, travel has made me perpetually hungry for knowledge, more tolerant and hopefully less ignorant. I am far less materialistic, spend more time immersing myself with nature and am more motivated to improve. I feel inspired and more creative in foreign spaces. travelling has been confronting and forced me to stand on my own two feet – something I struggled with at school where I preferred to be a wallflower rather than orally contributing. as cliché as it sounds, I either lost myself at uni or had not found myself yet, but I discovered myself travelling. and although it is ideal to have both and I consider my education and my freedom to travel privileges, if I were to pick one, I’d travel over and over and over again.
I am really really bad at blogging. sometimes I see blogging as a chore that I refuse to acknowledge, like washing the dishes piling up in the sink or tackling the mountain of laundry pushed into the corner of the room. sometimes I think about things I could blog about, but pull the duvet up over my face, roll away from the idea and shamefully disregard it as something that ‘requires too much energy and research and time and dedication’, just like having a pet dog. the truth is I love writing, but i find it hard to motivate myself. sorry, let me rephrase: I am lazy at inspiring myself.
so I figured, maybe I would reintroduce this blog with a list of 5 things we need to stop doing. this isn’t the best blog post. but it’s a start. and that’s something right?
I am really so very bad (good?) at this that I am a procrastinator, which i am proud of the pun but I really should be ashamed of it. I am so good at putting things off that I justify the bad habit with, ‘I work better under pressure’. which, is true, but not a very attractive trait. the majority of stuff we cannot muster the energy to do are mandatories like vacuuming, sending a work email, cooking the dinner – where we have almost certainly have the skills to complete these mundane tasks. I should start by nurturing this blog back to life and giving it the attention it needs in order for my creativity to blossom. we should all stop putting off things that need to be acknowledged: after all, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’… right?
my personal idol, Eleanor Roosevelt, once said: “great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”. stop gossiping about others; you don’t know necessarily know who they are or what they’re going through. everyone is guilty of passing judgement on another innocent soul – whether it’s on their weight, haircut, or their marriage or career problems, and we are all quick to do it, almost reflexively. we judge usually over a comparison, and to feel better about ourselves. but most judgement I deem to be negative, therefore unhealthy, and unattractive and we should really begin to train ourselves in becoming impartial and neutral, even when it seems enticing to join in the comedy around prejudiced people.
PLAYING ON OUR PHONES
I HATE THIS WITH A PASSION. us millennials have become so attached to our technological devices, so consumed by the online world and the demand for instantaneous information that it might as well be an extension of our limb. i have said before that the irony of sitting with some friends in a social setting like a restaurant and ‘talking’ instead on social media is overwhelmingly undeniable and embarrassing. we are so disconnected from real life in favour of a superficial, blue-screen ideal that is really is quite plainly, sad. I feel that maybe I should swap their blood for kb/ps. there is nothing ruder than sitting in with another real life human and having your companion’s eyes glued to their phone screen like a newborn baby than directing their attention rightly at you. I take the last stop back – all judgement is welcomed here at the person in question.
SAYING YOU “HATE” SOMETHING
“hate” is such a strong, repulsive word and I think it’s thrown around so carelessly for a strong dislike that it means nothing anymore. (although I must mention that yes, the above use of the word ‘hate’ was very much impassioned). is our vocabulary limited that much that in order to describe how much we dislike something that we always must use ‘hate’? on the other end of the spectrum, the word itself is just a word, but it is the effort required to produce the sounds of the word that give it such power – pronouncing the ‘h’ is like fire leaving your mouth, coming up from your guts, and the ‘t’ reiterates and emphasizes the hateful person’s dispassion. I really dislike drinking unexpected room temperature soya milk but I loathe homophobia and racism … are the other on the same level? you can decide that one.
GIVING UP TOO EASILY
another Roosevelt, this time Theodore, said: “nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, or difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life”. I don’t like people who want something and complain about not having it, but cannot be bothered to change their routine up (like people who complain about being overweight, stay eating terribly, and don’t bother to change their diet or include exercise). I find these kind of people demotivating and irritating. I like to inspire and be surrounded by people to ignite passion in me. and now a bit of self-plugging, this is also similar to my blog post on the art of an hour a day, where if you want to improve or challenge yourself, you should dedicate an hour each and every day to that cause.
so there’s that! I am going to try and blog more, spend more time with people and less time socializing online, stay out of the rumour mill and remain neutral through other peoples’ dissatisfaction, be consciously aware of the language I used to express my distaste of something, and fully immerse myself in the areas I want to improve and challenge myself in, like my Spanish and French learning. what are you going to achieve?
you get paid weekly. gone are the days (weeks) of waiting til the end of the month to get paid a shit amount on minimum wage only to have to rinsed out by rent and bills. you get paid weekly here in Australia! which also means rent goes out weekly too, but when minimum wage is the equivalent of 12£ and expenditure all becomes relative (it’s pretty cheap wants you’re earning the dollar … not when you’re spending English pennies), you’re living the high life, wondering why you never got out before.
they make the best coffee in the world. ok so this may not be entirely accurate, but Australia wins hands down. every town and city is littered with independent coffee houses and cafes which all make their own unique coffee blends. Australia doesn’t buy into corporate shit like Starbucks. in fact I read in bill bryson’s book down under that Starbucks opened about 150 stores in the cities and a few years later about 90 of them had shut down because nobody gave a fuck about them. so kudos Australia for supporting your local economy. and delivering me the most divine of substances to my taste buds every morning.
they greet one another with “how you going” which doesn’t make any sense, really. although, to be fair, us Brits greet each other with “you awright?” where when I use this habitually on Aussies, they proceed to look at me with a perplexed expression on their face, assuming that I’m suggesting there is something wrong with them. (and there probably is because….)
… everyone is a celiac. seriously. this annoys the fuck outta me. working in a restaurant, I get asked for a gluten free option in half of my food orders. it’s unreal. having an intolerance myself, I get that some people are in fact, celiac…. but even I eat dairy and although I feel bloated and uncomfortable and complain a lot, it’s all self-inflicted and I haven’t died.. yet.
they abbreviate everything. they probably have an abbreviation for abbreviation. ones you probably didn’t realize that you use: “sunnies” for sunglasses; “swimmers” for swimming costume; apparently even “chunder” was created for seasick passengers when crew would shout “watch out under”!
they celebrate the queen’s birthday. by giving you a long weekend – commonly referred to as a bank holiday in the UK. hell we don’t even get that in England! and I’m from Buckinghamshire!
they celebrate Christmas in July. because the seasons are opposite due to being located in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is in summer here, and where I’m currently living can reach highs of 45 degrees. so some people go away for a long weekend and celebrate Christmas in the winter here in July.
they love to gamble.I’ve bin to both the world famous crown casino in melbourne and Sydney star casino. they have fruit machines in every pub, called “pokies”, that can pay out tens of thousands of dollars. on their long weekend for Anzac Day, they play a bizarre game called “2 up”, which is betting on the outcome of two flipped coins, simply put. this is apparently illegal for the rest of the year and they spend literally all day playing it. Australia accounts for 16% of all the world’s gambling, which is a hell of a lot if you think about it.
you can’t get pints in Australia. or at least it’s very rare. they have their own smaller version called a “schooner”, which holds 425 ml. pints hold 568 ml. it’s a sad time for us beer loving poms.
you have to pass a test to work in hospitality. yes really, it’s called an RSA (responsible service of alcohol) and you have to pay approximately $125 for a card to prove you have common sense when serving the general public alcohol. every state has its own version, so if you’re looking to work cross country prepare to potentially dish out more money for the same fucking certification. luckily you can take it online but it still took me 4 hours and I didn’t even read it- just kept hitting next until the multiple choice questions came up. there’s also extra fees for an additional RSG, which covers gambling and you have to sit in a classroom. I got off lucky, if I can even say that!
all the pubs are called hotels. lots of pubs in Australia can accommodate you rooms to stay. but the title is misleading: don’t think you’ll be staying in some lavish studio apartment: they’re usually basic, scummy rooms and anything but hotel-esque.
you’re a pussy if you think driving from the midlands to the north is long. here in straya they are hardcore! I’ve driven all around nsw and vic, I’m now a seasoned veteran. just popping to Newcastle from Sydney for the day – it’s only 3 hours so I won’t need to even toilet stop. :||||
they’re obsessed with nickelback and pink. I don’t think this is entirely factual, but, it is bizarrely true in my experience that they can’t help themselves when nickelback or pink come on the radio. and they’re always on the fuckin’ radio.
never visit Perth. I don’t know what the polls are saying with Melbourne and Sydney topping lists for being the most expensive cities in the world when Perth and WA in general is double the price of Sydney. it is the sunniest city in all of Australia, boasting on average 8.8 hours of sunshine a day and I absolutely loved Fremantle. it is also the most isolated city in the world. I think it is roughly 4,000 km from Sydney, which is the nearest city! maybe it’s only then when you stop driving hardcore from state to state and catch a plane instead.
when you are contemplating dating someone, think to yourself, “would [insert name here] be a good choice in case of a zombie outbreak?”
you think I’m kidding.
with all this talk of the world’s end next month and me playing a lot of zombie games/reflecting on max brooks’s “zombie survival guide” which I read while living abroad/deciding to be buried rather than cremated so I can come back as a motherfucking zombie in light of such an meltdown, I have come to the conclusion that this outbreak cannot be handled solely alone.
on the other hand, I don’t believe assembling an apocalypse team is a brilliant idea either: people don’t get along, there’s more room for mistake, more food to be rationed amongst many, a bigger likelihood that people will let you down. what you need is a strong partner if you want any chance to survive such a societal crisis.
take a look at your potential choice. take a real hard look. do they have what it takes to protect and support you in the possible event of a catastrophic societal breakdown? because if they don’t, then why the hell are you with them?
this is where I get serious. if you are in a relationship with someone who can’t grasp the concept of strategical planning, who is selfish and doesn’t know how to share, who is not strong-willed or optimistic, then what chances have you got of a future with this person? of course a nice body is highly appreciated, we might have to escape a lot of walking corpses on foot and we wouldn’t want to be jeopardized by our partners not being in physical good health … (did zombieland not teach you anything? rule #1: cardio, because fatties always die first). don’t all of these characteristics play significant roles in real life scenarios? housemates, marriage, parenthood… if you want any chance of survival (ie, a long-lasting relationship), you need stability and reliability from your partner. would you really choose someone you couldn’t rely on to try and withstand a collapse of society? no. you wouldn’t.
similarly, you’ll want someone who can make you laugh when times are hard, someone who is considerate and trustworthy (which, in turns, these traits show they will support and protect), and someone who has a positive attitude and ambitious personality. no you won’t give up and yes you will get out of this nasty situation with the help and strength of each other. the winning combination to mr and mrs awesome is recognizing and celebrating your strengths; maybe your partner is really strong and can wield heavy objects to crush an unexpected zombie’s skull and you can fit through tiny hedge gaps to bring back pales of water to base – ok, I’m getting a bit literal with the whole zombie crisis but you get what I mean.. ultimately, you pick a partner who you know you can trust and depend on when you need to.
at the end of the day, life is full of unexpected little twists – albeit maybe not a zombie epidemic just yet but a combination of factors hinting the beginnings of one – sickness, death, anarchy… the last thing we want to do is put in twice the effort by running around after your clumsy partner whom you can’t really depend on.
so you know when people say “never settle for anything less”? I’m going to finish that sentence, and declare never settle for anything less than a potential zombie apocalypse survivor.
I’ve lived with men as housemates all my life. through uni I shared several houses with male housemates. and they suck sometimes. they leave the toilet seat up, they piss on the floor, they leave all their shavings in and around the sink, they collect plates and takeaway containers of half-eaten food in their rooms and in my experience, they often live (unfathomable to me) contentedly in squalor.
but living with a man also has it’s upsides, I promise. just hear me out.
they fix things. my housemate bought a really expensive, really impressive new fridge, silver and contemporary, complete with own water and ice dispenser. the door’s skirting and the cabinet above the fridge’s cove prevented it from even remotely fitting into the space. so James being a typical man’s man who thinks the idea of measurements and tools is a man’s wet dream, got to work by removing, sanding, poly filling, painting the door frame and reattaching the cupboard above. so now the fridge fits so perfectly it’s like it was always meant to be. if it was up to me and nat, the fridge would have bin promptly returned, and we’d’ve ended up living on imperishables from tins and room temperature tap water.
they kill bugs. going back to the last great pro, my bike got a flat tyre today. without question James immediately got his hands filthy by taking apart the back wheel. in his quest on looking for the pump, he encountered a red back spider – one bite from one of these babies can be fatal. so he killed it. god bless Australia hey. as a woman we are stereotypically, blamelessly, and societally accepted to be afraid of tiny insects. furthermore he set fire to all the cobwebs littering the patio rails and previously worked as a pest controller for a friend. strictly man jobs.
they do the mandatory man jobs that are innately masculine. they take the bins out, the unblock the drains of clogged hair (even if it’s mainly yours), they change the tyres (see above) and they open impossibly chastised jars. it’s unwritten law.
they are your personal chauffeur. it’s great, I’m pretty poor and currently providing for the both of us, but if I need to go somewhere I’ve got my own personal taxi on speed dial. and I don’t have to pay. hurray!
they eat all the leftovers. I’m not a big eater, although I do inhale my food, and regretfully I often waste produce because I buy it and don’t eat it because I don’t eat a lot. men are like dogs scavenging. they won’t let anything go to waste, which is great because then I don’t feel guilty about having to waste good food. now if only I didn’t need a Hoover..
they balance out the bitchiness. I know all girls say they’re “one of the boys”, but that’s because boys are so much more fun and laid back. they don’t go behind each other’s back and they usually confront issues straight away if something’s upset them – which is also a rarity. I’ve lived in a house full of girls and it was so unbelievably dull and unnecessarily tense, for no reason. I wouldn’t trade the world for Emma but she’s literally the only girl I can tolerate.
they install things. similarly to fixing things, men also like installing things. the sky box (foxtel here), the Internet, the DVD player I can’t get to work through the tv. I probably could if I tried, but I know a man will enthusiastically get to work on it and probably reach conclusion before me, so why bother?
they keep the bed warm. it’s winter here in Australia and altho it’s still pretty hot, sometimes at night it gets chilly. there’s no radiators in the houses, only air con, which is the exact opposite of what I want in the cold seasons. but having a man to lie with is having your own personal hot water bottle with arms.
they satisfy my primitive needs. look, my vibrator doesn’t have arms. unfortunately unlike lady toys, men do answer back and need to recharge too, but sex and cuddles is always a winning combination.
I implore all you women to maybe seriously consider a male roommate. they will also provide beer and video games… and a shoulder to hide behind when scary movies become a bit too much.
- ambitious and financially stable, but not a workaholic
- charismatic but not slutty
- emotionally available but independent