Category Archives: Various

Become what you've always wanted to be.

Post #86: Packing Up My Life (Again)

We have only a handful of days left in the apartment, and in the city, and I feel the ticking of time with each passing day. This morning I awoke in a bad mood. I have a mountain of stuff to discard, and was quickly disheartened and overwhelmed. I thought about burying my head under the pillows and enjoying the weekend, but the truth was that I was not much enjoying the weekend anyway with this dark cloud hovering. So we just got right to it.

I purged myself of all the beautiful stationary I have collected over the years. Japanese pens, British cards, Swedish-Australian notebooks. All of it is being donated to work — I’m sure my public sector colleagues will appreciate it. It’s cathartic to let these things go, but it also makes me wonder why I didn’t use more of it to benefit someone else when given the chance. There are plenty of people who should have received a lovely, handwritten note from me… I hope I will remember the next time to pass on the joy and appreciation I have felt.

Along with stationary, another thing I tend to accumulate is books. I always imagined that when I ‘settle down’, I will have all of my collections in one place, displayed in my own personal library. I don’t know when that will be, and these books are taking up a lot of room in other people’s garages. But after recently purchasing a Kindle, I have decided to only retain the hard copies of the books that have incredible sentimental value for me and donate the rest. Sometimes you just have to be practical.

Become what you’ve always wanted to be.

I have been reading a few things lately that I’ve enjoyed for varying reasons:

  • You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One!) by Jeff Goins.
    The quote above really resonated with me. I am making a more conscious effort to become what I have always wanted, but also to project it. I’m gonna fake it until I make it!
  • Across Asia on a Bicycle by William Lewis Sachtleben and Thomas Gaskell Allen.
    Talk about epic adventuring! My adventures without arranging visas or hassling with foreign currency pales in comparison with these adventurers.
  • The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
    A rather dark commentary on two personalities who seem to bring out the worst in each other. It’s beautifully written and I kept hoping for the characters to turn from their obsession with money, status and the never-ending party.

I’m looking for some more suggestions for good books to take on my career sabbatical with me. Do you have any recommendations for me?

2012 Premiers: The Sydney Swans.

Post #83: The Sydney Swans are the 2012 AFL Premiers!

So the Swans won the flag. The WHOLE THING.
I’m bursting with pride.

2012 Premiers: The Sydney Swans.

[Source: Sydney Morning Herald]

As I mentioned last time, I was so nervous in the lead up to the game. It just felt like 2005 all over again.

Remember this? Leo Barry clinches it for the Swans in 2005.

[Source: Courier Mail]

2005: the benchmark year.

[Source: SMH]

It was a strange experience — I watched the game with the American and his mate — and spent half the time explaining the nuances of the game to the mate. To focus on the game and block out the conversation that was bouncing across the room during the final (stressful!) quarter, I donned my much-loved scarf as a head covering. I spoke to the universe and suddenly, it was over.  Sydney had won. We had done it again, only the second time in 78 years. And all of my winter family were at the MCG to revel in the triumph.

And for those who remain from of the 2005 team, two premiership medals makes life so much sweeter.

The second is just as sweet as the first.

[Source: ABC News]

And apologies for the tardiness in regaling to you the outcome. I was too busy celebrating!

Post #32: Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Welcome to the thirty-second post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #32: Ten Things You Didn't Know About Me

I could not exaggerate just how busy things have been at work, lately. I am feeling like I need both a personality transplant (it’s all work, work, work!) and to leave it all behind in favour of a beach in Thailand.

So here’s a few things you might not know about yours truly:

10. Next week, the Canadian and I are taking Lightsaber Choreography classes. That’s right. Lightsaber Choreography classes. How excited am I? This.

9. I am obsessed with puppies. Particularly black labs, dalmatians and greyhounds. I don’t love too many cats, but I am really nice to my landlady’s cat, Simone. She hisses at me every time I see her and has never let me pat her, but I’m still nice to her.

The best puppy in the world: Neo.

8. I take German classes, and really dig learning the language. I have a super teacher, Katja, who hails from Rostock and owns a black labrador. Sie ist super!

Ich habe studiert.

7. My drink of choice is Bulmers/Magners. When we were out in the Lower Haight this week, the American introduced me to their new pear flavour. And did you know that they’re coming out with a Berry version with a hint of peach? YUM!

Mmm... Magners Pear.

6. My special talent: catching flies and mosquitoes out of the air with my bare hands. It’s a skill that carries a lot of clout, particularly in Australia.

5. I love being outdoors, and exploring the city on foot. We walk almost everywhere. Each time we go wandering, we piece together a little more of the map of San Francisco.

Fort Funston

The view from Twin Peaks

4. Sometimes, I sit in the same seat on the same train on my way home from work. Occasionally, someone leaves little messages for me. The contents may be religious, but I still really appreciate it.

A little encouragement after a tough day. #thankyou

3. We live in a part of the city that doesn’t have any real supermarkets. So we do much of our food shopping at our local Walgreens where they lock random items in perspex cabinets. Toothpaste and instant coffee are under lock and key. True story.

Toothpaste is a big-ticket item in San Francisco...


2. I own ten coats. Yep, ten, and five of them are blue. It may sound like total overkill, but living in a city that requires specific layering techniques, I have grown accustomed to dressing accordingly. Each jacket has a specific function and temperature range. San Franciscans – who’s with me? But what I really aspire to either wear jeans, t-shirts and sneakers to work here in the city or wear cozzies and thongs to work in my beach-side bungalow in Thailand. A girl can dream…

This is what I wear to the beach in SF.

1. I like to take photos of vomit on the footpath. One of the best days to do so is just around the corner. Hello, St Paddy’s Day!

Aftermath of New Year's. "They held her hair, but not her feather boa..."

Post #26: Upgrade!

Welcome to the twenty-sixth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #26: Upgrade!

…or this should really be called “I only fly business class long haul from here on in.”

Over the holiday season, the American and I took off for Europe. Thankfully, the cold snap had not yet arrived, but it was great to get away. With only two weeks holidays per year, it was certainly the fastest jaunt we’ve taken as travellers.

Continue reading

Post #17: Stop Human Trafficking!

Welcome to the seventeenth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
Thanks to Maia for the suggestion. If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #17: Stop Human Trafficking!

Did you know that the average age of kids forced into commercial sexual exploitation in this area is 12? Here, that’s Middle Schoolers. Middle Schoolers.

Some of these kids (and it’s not exclusively girls) are nabbed off the street walking to and from school, from bus stops and shopping malls. Some are runaways or foster kids, some are lured by the promise of a fledgling romance with a cute boy, and some are invited somewhere by other young girls who are under the control and instruction of a pimp. They are taken from our streets and end up enslaved, working all around the country.

I work in Oakland, home of ‘the Track’: a section of International Boulevard that is one of the hotbeds of sex trafficking in the Unites States. Pimping, in particular the commercial sexual exploitation of minors, is far more lucrative than selling drugs. Five or six kids, at $80 to $200 a trick, can earn trafficker $600,000 a year. And unlike drugs, these kids can be sold again, and again, and again, with minimal outlay.

Many people think human trafficking is an international problem, something that’s not in their own backyards. But it’s a domestic problem, where local kids are being sexually exploited for commercial gain. They are sold out on the Track, in motels that charge by the hour, and online. A recent article in the New York Times told the story of Baby Face, 13-year-old girl who managed to break free from the control of her pimp long enough to alert the police:

[The internet] is a godsend to pimps, allowing customers to order a girl online as if she were a pizza.

The more I come to know about what is happening out on the street, the more passionate I am to help change the situation. And we are. Find out more at the new website we’ve just launched to help inform people about human trafficking: HEAT Watch.

If you see something that is not right, speak up. You might be helping a kid who really needs it.

Post #15: Currently Listening to — KDFC

Welcome to the fifteenth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #15: Currently Listening To -- KDFC

I love my job and the million things I have the opportunity to do each day, and as I discussed the other day, it’s just the mornings that ruin me. My office cubicle is rather large, with a great workstation with plenty of surface area. It’s climate controlled, with great neighbors like Rebecca T. I am rarely lacking for conversation, food or overheard ‘crazy’. And the coolest thing? I have my very own escape hatch.

If there’s one thing that really improves my productivity, it’s the Bay Area’s own classical KDFC. I have been listening to the station since I moved here permanently in 2009, and it’s a breath of fresh air. Following their frequency being sold last year, KDFC is now “listener supported”, and therefore, ad-free (which makes it so much better!).

The familiar voices stuck with the station, and I enjoy having Hoyt kicking off my incredibly early 8am starts, and try to coincide my breakfast with his ‘Mozart in the Morning’ segment at 9am. Dianne Nikolini ushers in the late morning with her beautiful voice and interesting tidbits she throws in. I love hearing her pronounce some of the names of the works she plays: and she does it without being at all pretentious, which is quite hard to do when you’re trying to say things in French.

Late afternoons are spent in a frenzy of activity with Ray White (not the realtor), and seeing what he pulls out for the Afternoon Out-of-School Requests. And nights like this, I enjoy nothing more than sitting down on the couch to write whilst the San Francisco Symphony takes me somewhere unexpected.

KDFC is the only radio station I listen to, and I’d like to credit my parents for instilling a love of classical music. They encouraged an appreciation of the arts by taking us to museums and concerts and recitals as children, and this continued this well on into adulthood. I mostly detested it as a kid, but that had more to do with being made to wear a dress than disliking the activity. Being afforded the opportunity for gallery previews and member evenings (with their free canapes and champagne) is something that I really loved being able to do with my parents as an adult. The Art Gallery of NSW is one of my favourite places and they certainly know how to put on fabulous member evenings. And it’s something I have really missed since relocating to the other side of the world.

KDFC makes my heart swell when I hear some of my favourite works by Tchaikovsky or Saint-Saëns. I’d love to see the SF Symphony in concert, with the enigmatic director and conductor, Michael Tilson-Thomas, or the renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, or violinist Itzhak Perlman. That’s going on my Life List.