Sunday, 26 June 2011

Nail Polish

When packing, when editing one's life down into 32kg to be carried in two large suitcases some things fall into an odd category. Clearly clothes, hairbrushes, toothbrushes and the like are the necessaries. But then what else? Your laptop, your diary, a few photos perhaps. But then there are all those other odds and ends that you accumulate, don't merit want to store for two years but seem unnecessary to take. Notepads? Pore unblocking strips for your nose? Handcream? Nail polish? Nail polish seems a particularly difficult one to me.

I have quite a large collection of nail polishes in a delightful range of colours which I occasionally go back to and rather like. It seems silly to store them and foolish to take. I can't think of anything I would like less to spill  in my luggage. And anything liquidy and glassy is both heavy to carry.

All that said I think I'll take it. Not all of it. But I've been buying up copies of Glamour to increase my Nails Inc collection for ages now and they retail at about £10 each. Leave me to my torment!

The nerves of course continue. But if there weren't a bit of fear and 'oh shit what on earth am I doing' before I went I think I would be less well prepared for the culture shock when I get there.

I was asking the advice of someone who had lived in Singapore for several years and loved it. I was expecting things in the line of 'remember to pack this' and 'that's a great place to live'. Instead, he said, "read up on culture shock. It  helps at least if you know what the stages are so you can recognise them as you go through them."

Wikkipedia tells me that I will start out with a 'honeymoon phase' where it's all new and exciting. Then " Like most honeymoon periods, this stage eventually ends".  This is followed by the negotiation stage about three months in which apparently I may feel anxious, frustrated and angry and make embarrassing social faux pas! (Well that  happens already in the city I was born).

At 6-12 months I will reach the adjustment phase complete with problem solving skills and less negative feelings towards this new culture. Finally comes the mastery phase where you have completely adjusted though apparently I will keep traits from my previous culture including my accent and no doubt for me a love of tea and radio 4.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The necessary party

Last night we had our leaving party, rather prematurely in my opinion as it's just under three weeks until we leave. This is a perfect example of how he and I differ in our view on time and timings. I tend towards the late while he is all about early. I drift and wander while he charges ahead. I want to pootle and look in other people's windows on my way to wherever. He wants to be first in line. (See previous entry about form signing at the Australian Embassy for evidence that his way could possibly be the right way to do things.)

To me though, a lot of the richness in life is in the drifting and the wandering. Clearly- what is more drifty and unnecessary than a blog? It's a delicious, selfish waste of time. Something one does only for the pleasure of writing it. I don't fool myself that anyone will be gripped by my meanderings.

Anyhow, back to the party. I hadn't organised it very efficiently. I sent out an email but hadn't followed it up with another reminder one and so numbers were fairly low and then quite a lot of people cancelled last minute.  The nice thing about that was it meant I had time to have proper conversations with people rather than feeling stressed and rushing between them. Even so this morning I realise there were a few people I would like to have spoken to for longer.

I like marking events with a party. I think they fill a human need. Perhaps it's part of being brought up Catholic where you mark the weeks with masses. Monks go through the day with different sets of prayers - lauds, matins, vespers. Baptism at birth, first holy communion, confirmation, marriage and finally funeral rites. Christmas has four weeks of structured preparation through advent. Easter all the rites of holy week before it.

We split our life up and give it meaning with birthdays and Chirstmases and New Years. I think it's important to celebrate birthdays, whether you want to or not. It's a part of how we give our life meaning and come to terms with the changes.

 And I do feel I've cut another of the ties of my life here and am a little more ready to leave. I'm scared. I'm excited. There's a lot of packing to do and there's still no lampshade on the sitting room light,  but I'm another significant step further towards my new life.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Defacto Romance

I feel as though I got married in my lunch hour. Sort of. We went and declared ourselves as each other's partners at the Australian Embassy. When I arrived there was no queue and I was given the impression that there wouldn't be for about half an hour so, stupidly, I went around the corner and sat on the steps of a monument to Gladstone and ate my packed lunch. When I came back, fifteen minutes later and still over thirty before the document verifying was due to start there were already two people there. I cursed my stupidity, curses my boyfriend added to when he arrived. We were both cross and distracted and fairly out of sorts.

I had to take a casting that started at 2pm and they opened up at 1.30pm. The first guy was in and out pretty quick. The second couple, complete with a wriggly child in a pushchair took much, much longer. At one point they came out of the office, at which we both jumped up, only to go back in again. 

Eventually we got in at about eight minutes to two. I was literally jumping up and down. I went in signed the form in front of the woman and ran leaving my boyfriend to sort everything else out. I arrived at the casting, (thank god for bicycles) just in time. 

What we declared in that extremely irritable, rushed moment was the closest I ever have/will get to marriage, perhaps. A scribbled signature and then literally running out of the door. No special outfit. No celebratory drink. No kiss.

And they say romance is dead. Perhaps it is? Or perhaps this is what romance is in 2011.

But I think perhaps, tonight, when I get back from acrobatics I will crack open a bottle of leftover prosecco and this weekend I will buy myself a new dress.