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Posts Tagged ‘community’

In reverse order, so you don’t get worn out by the home-related words, of which there will be many:

I’ve been rather sick for the last week. First was a head cold that I caught from Jed. Overall rather mild, didn’t need to take time off work, but still sniffles and fuzzy headed not as good as being well.

Then on Thursday I spent the day in bed (and the neighbouring bathroom) with a stomach bug. Thankfully it was a 24 hour bug, but my stomach has been very delicate since. Eating has been problematic, with my energy spiking and crashing ever since whenever I eat (or don’t for too long). Not very fun, but I’ve had this happen before and know what to watch out for.  Hopefully it will even out while we’re in Devon and in time for Christmas. Being fed regularly might help, rather than the ad hoc eating patterns Jed and I have on weekends.

The interview last Wednesday, so you can all stop crossing fingers, etc. The  job was quite similar to the one that I had in Sydney, that I enjoyed immensely. I walked away from the interview thinking it had gone reasonably well. Felt I’d stated my case as a desirable employee, my knowledge of waste infrastructure projects and experience in case managing them, and that I’d built a rapport with the Chief Operating Officer. As long as I was what they were looking for then I’d be fine.

I received an email on Thursday stating that I’d not been successful. In the midst of being sick this didn’t really register, but since then I’ve been feeling a quite lost and despondent. Not sure where I belong or what I’m doing or where to go from here. Income is not an issue (yet) as my current employers keep renewing my contract. But, it is increasingly apparent that the team I’m working for does not fit my workstyle. Almost detrimental to my confidence and sanity in many ways. I need something else. But if it’s not a job with London’s Waste and Recycling Board then I’m a bit lost where my skills and knowledge are needed, where I should be targeting. What to do as a small fish in a large pond.

I’ve been feeling this very strong urge to run back to Sydney (and take Jed with me) and beg DECC for a job again, for the security and stability I had in Sydney. If only this was feasible. Perhaps I need to learn to live with a modicum of uncertainty and instability?

They’ve invited me to call to discuss the decision, which I will do on Monday (if there’s time after the drive to Devon) or Tuesday. I’d really like to know the basis for the decision, if there’s something I’m overlooking during interviews, or whether it was simply that there were more qualified candidates that pipped me to the post.

Right then, HOUSE

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About 2 years ago I wrote frequent postcards to friends overseas. Generally they were free postcards found in Newtown cafes, or postcards that I’d drawn myself on these fantastic blank watercolour postcard packs I’d found in an art supply shop. I always had my address book, and appropriate stamps with me, so I could scribble one off very quickly and stick into the next postbox I walked past.

I’ve stopped doing this. Well before I moved here. I suppose I got nervous, thinking the postcards might come across as stalkerish, rather than a gift from a friend. It was partially a symptom of the burn-out associated with constantly projecting myself through activities associated with being an internet DJ, and some of the drama surrounding that. I also moved inwards, preparing for this move. Whichever way I stopped writing them.

Occasionally I feel guilty about this, feel I should reach and then wonder if I have anything to say. It seems to be tied in with the way  I’ve been unwilling to communicate with many people through any medium recently. Why would postcards be any different. Some days it takes a special effort to remember to respond to a text message.

Juliana-Bec and I spoke about this the other week. About being scared of communicating with people. The crippling guilt because you’ve been lax in keeping in contact with people you love and respect because of life circumstances and the subsequent fear that people have stopped caring, or will make a big deal of your lack of communication when you do reach out to them, such that it’s easier to not communicate. It helps to know it’s not just me.

This is starting to shift. I’ve added a signature to my personal email which says this:

Disclaimer: despite my best intentions I don’t respond to emails as often as I like.
If you want to keep up with what’s going on in my life then I recommend the following:
Blog: http://www.verdarun.wordpress.com
Twitter: misskrin
Also on Facebook

Which removes some of the fear and guilt. I’m trying to shift the way I phrase things in my head from an “I should send xxxxx a text about next week” or “I should respond to that email” into an “I’d LIKE to send xxxx a text about next week as it would be fun to catch up” and “I’d LIKE to respond to that email as then I get to go to an exhibition” (which reminds me, I need to respond to Flick’s email… see, there I go again, it’s hard to break the cycle).

Then, today I read Jen’s recent post about writing letters. How she enjoys the act of writing them, and more importantly the joy of receiving letters, much better than bills. The imagery of her poor neglected mailbox was especially poignant. A good reminder that one of the things I used to love about writing postcards was imagining the surprise when people opened their otherwise empty mailbox to see the short message from me. Thanks Jen!

I remembered that Dee has pinned one of my postcards to her wall. That poki has posted his delight at receiving a postcard from me on his FB wall. That Lars always expressed how much he enjoyed getting random coffee-related postcards and has sent one back to me. That there are people I miss so much in Australia, and what I miss is simple communication, the small gestures to remind someone that you like them. Postcards can facilitate this feeling much more than online communication.

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My uncle, who also worked as a public servant for the NSW government at the same time I did, has a slogan which he repeated ironically everytime we discussed our work:

“Working to make the state of New South Wales a better place for the people of New South Wales”

Now, irony and self-deprecation is appreciated in our family, so it was always delivered in a slightly sarcastic, political patter, so you didn’t take it too seriously. But now I wonder.

My work ethic has substantially dropped off. I’m just not really interested in what I am doing at my current position, and every so often I wonder why, as this place does have the potential to be fantastic, so there must be something specific.

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As an anti-dote to the Things that are Weird posts, since there are (of course) more good things about living here than weird things.

1. The light quality. It’s so much softer, more restful. Still bright, but not scorching. Love it.

2. Clouds. I’ve always loved looking at clouds, I even have a Flickr set devoted to photos of them. The clouds here are fantastic. They scud across the sky, or hang there as a gigantic sky sculptures.

3. Plants. They are green and lush and just everywhere. Wildflowers tend to be the flowers I love – foxgloves, sweet pea, blackberries (OK not a flower, but I love looking at them), and ones I am recognising and coming to appreciate.

4. The cafe downstairs from work with the lovely Italian men who call me Bella, and say Bourgiorno to me every morning and make my toast and coffee without me needing to say a word. They also the best steak sandwich on the planet. Tender, juicy, right balance of ingredients. It’s been a goal to find a good steak sandwich for years. Yay Italian cafe that is a restful place in the morning just before work! Wish I could take them with me to all future employment situations.

5. Summer is lovely. I don’t care what the popular opinion is, summer is really pleasant, like a few months of the nicest September or March days in Sydney, not too hot, lovely breezes, long twilights.

4. Berries! I didn’t really get the love of berries in Australia. With the exception of fresh blackberries. English strawberries are divine, raspberries are to be consumed whenever possible.

5. Most people speak softly. This has reduced my incidence of noise sensitivity which is fantastic. One less stress point is a very good thing.

6. Variety of ingredients. Sydney – Newtown has a better selection of places to eat, but England has a much better selection of ingredients, which are easier to access. Perhaps this is why I am doing more cooking here. Which is also a good outcome.

7. In my opinion the discourse around sustainability is more balanced and advanced. This is probably the subject of a future post. Or one in a related blog if ever I get it up and running which will focus on policy/sustainability rants, rather than muddy-ing the two together.

There’s more, but 7 will do for now.

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Redhill, Surrey

The GaribaldiI’ve ended up in Redhill, Surrey, for the moment. It’s a railway town, with predominantly Victorian housing stock, and a town centre that was rebuilt during the 1980s. It reminds me a lot of a large Australian country town like Bathurst, combined with the rural north-west of Sydney where I grew up. It’s probably a combination of surroundings, climate and demographic.

I’ve made some additional tools for this post, an annotated googlemap, and a Flickr set which you may find interesting.

Redhill is about half hour by train from London. It’s just outside the M25 that rings London, and is essentially a satellite town for the nearby city of Reigate, as well as a commuter town for London. There are a number of finance businesses located here, so the centre of town is bustling at lunch, and therefore supports a number of eateries and retail shops. That being said, there’s no stand-out place to eat or to socialise in except the pubs which means it’s a good place to live, but not an outstanding place. I’ve taken to getting my morning coffee from the local Costa, which is a chain maybe a few steps above Starbucks. At least they have soy milk, actually know what a macchiato is, and offer fair-trade at no extra charge.

The centre of town has grown up along two cross streets, which have been converted into pedestrian only spaces. A line of trees planted down the south arm of the cross have had circular solid benches built around them, a pleasant place to sit and wait for certain men to go on their lunch break. The north arm is under a glass arched cover, with small black benches to sit on. This end is closer to the local Sainsburys.

To my eye the town seems to be divided between these two spaces, in terms of where you will wait for a friend, or eat lunch. The north arm seems to be more chavs (bogans in Australian parlance), whereas the south arm seems to be more porfessional. This split exemplifies the town in general, with both groups existing, but not necessarily mixing.

There are a number of pubs. Our ‘local’ is the Junction, right in the middle of town, which has frequently been referred to as a pub attempting to be a wine bar. This does mean it’s quieter and a bit trendier than other pubs in the area. Seems fine to me.

One of the things I notice about the area (and England in general) are the gardens and greenery. Gardens of all sizes, in almost any available space. Colour and greenery. Some of which have been there for years and grown into a lovely, but pretty mess. Some of which you know was recently purchased and bought to bring a shot of spring colour into a landscape that was recently wintery and grey.

There’s a local market here every Thursday and Saturday, which means there’s a butcher, fishmonger and fruit and veg stall which I can visit on a regular basis in an attempt to maintain seasonally based eating. To compliment this there’s a Delicatessen and fine food store on the hill behind the house, which sells the other small items I need for my cooking, and they do a decent coffee, although there’s nowhere to sit and enjoy it.

I’m sure there’ll be more to say about the town as time progresses, but this is enough for a introduction and backgrounder.

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This afternoon I spent 2 hours sitting in the wet grass in Camperdown Rest Memorial Park, ostensibly reading a book on environmental economics. In reality I was watching my community go about its business.

There were dogs. Big dogs plodding along beside their owners, kelpies avidly chasing tennis balls, young dogs jumping on older dogs while those older dogs placidly put up with it, small dogs chasing each other round and round and puppies learning how to behave in the company of other dogs and falling over their own feet. I had three dogs come and jump in my lap to say hello.

There were birds. Lots of noisy mynahs feasting on the flying ants. A kookaburra was calling in the distance. Pairs of pigeons and lorikeets flew overhead as the sun went down. A lone swallow flew overhead at one stage.

There were people. Walking, cycling, playing rounders, reading books (me), chatting with each other about their dogs, and generally appreciating the outdoors.

There were insects. Flies and flying ants that seemed to be attracted to the red object at the top of the hill (me).

There were clouds. Storm clouds off in the distance dumping lots of rain on Drummoyne, with lightning flashing at odd intervals. Cumulus clouds off to my left, scudding over the sky, the sun trying to break through and display the colours of sunset.

There was the smell and itchiness of the wet grass and the joy and fun and simplicity of watching people living their lives.

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