Archive for the ‘Zaum in Perth’ Category

Whales are Cool

Monday, September 7th, 2015

This year both of my parents turn 60 and I had my big 3-0. As I won’t be around for mum or dad’s birthdays, the four of us (plus Eva) headed down south for a weekend away. We stayed at our usual hangout, Bunker Bay resort, for some luxury family time.

There was plenty of wine and lots of cheese and we had a great time. Two highlights – where we were staying is right on Bunker Bay and every morning mum, dad, Eva and I head down to the beach for a swim. I discovered beach running and did laps up and down the beach, often having the entire bay to myself. It was quite incredible – building up a bit of a sweat before jumping in (and then very quickly out) of the cold ocean. It is definitely a great way to wake up in the morning.

Bunker Bay

Bunker Bay

The even bigger highlight was whale spotting. Whales are migrating at the moment and head south for summer. We walked around to the whale lookout near Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and were welcomed by numerous spurts of water in the distance.

whale

That white dot is a whale. I kid you not.

I never see whales so I was a little bit excited and could have stayed watching out for them all day. We drove around to Meelup beach and sat in a carpark waiting to see if we could spot any others. There were a few further out but as we started the car to leave, a whale about 100 metres off shore decided to come up to the surface and started dancing for us. It rolled around, showed us its fins and tail and then made loud honking noises as it released wind from its blow hole. It was just incredible – nature at its most special, reminding us how the world continues on and is so much bigger and better than just us silly little humans.

Meet Steve

Monday, September 7th, 2015

A month or so ago, I asked my friend Steve what I should write a blog post about and he gave the usual response that most people give – “Write about me.” I gave him the terms and conditions that I would deliver a true and honest report of him and that it would require a photograph. He agreed. And so here it is.

Steve

Hello Steve.

Meet Steve. I call him Sustainability Steve and now so do at least seven people at the Subiaco council. I’m not quite sure how no one else had noticed that glaringly obvious nickname before seeing as his name is Steve and he works in sustainability. Clearly I am more naturally creative than I think.

Steve is Scottish, which we can’t hold against him but it does mean he has a particularly difficult accent. He also mumbles a lot so I spend a lot of time asking him to repeat himself. If we’re in a noisy room at the time, I will often give up on the third repeat attempt and simply smile and nod and hope I will work out what he’s talking about later on in the conversation.

I have been friends with Steve for just over two months and during that short period of time I have managed to learn a lot about him. He has a similar wandering spirit that I can relate to and he dreams of living up a mountain one day (which I can’t relate to.) We started a trend of drinking cabernet merlot next to a fire at The Queens pub but now we won’t do that anymore because it’s too far for me to come and he refuses to live in Manchester.

Steve likes to pretend he is tough but actually he’s not. He is what I like to call a ‘grumpy arse’ and he almost always has a frown on his face. He complains a lot, particularly when he has the sniffles, and is just generally disgruntled with life and the unsustainable living habits of all human beings. Don’t we know that the world is going to end as we know it in 2030? Then what? THEN WHAT?

The only thing that makes Steve smile is the motorbike that he recently purchased. He also likes motorbike jackets and talking about his motorbike. He also talks a lot about sailing and I don’t understand what he’s going on about. The same applies for his current weightlifting obsession and his personal trainer, Johnny. Every day I hear about Johnny but I don’t think Johnny hears about me.

One day Steve is going to live in Canada, buy a van, grow his hair and own a dog and he will spend his time living on mountains, skiing and lighting fires. He went to military school so he could easily fend off bears and Canadians.

Steve has promised that we will meet again within the next twelve months and if we don’t he owes me $20. That will come in handy for this poor, starving student.

Moving to Manchester

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Time really doesn’t stop and somehow 7.5 months have disappeared without telling me where they have gone. In January I left Manchester in tears, certain that my time in Perth was going to be a big void of wasted time. While it perhaps wasn’t what I ultimately wanted to do, my time in Perth turned out to be quite great.

If there is something that I have learnt in my old age, it is that no matter where you are in the world, if you are surrounded by great people then everything is ok. Working at the Subiaco council wasn’t my dream career move but it opened a wealth of unexpected opportunities to me. I spent six months looking forward to going to work because I would spend the time with some awesome people.

I ended up doing seven roles while at the council and I particularly enjoyed my final two which involved me running the Visit Subiaco social media. I love watching social media feeds – so many conversations happening all at once and I can eavesdrop on all of them!

I also loved being back in my family home with mum, dad and Ben. It is a rare occurrence that four very grown adults can live in the same house as one another without someone getting hurt and yet we did ok. Perhaps they’re all relieved that I have finally gone again but I know I liked it.

Meeting up with friends and family that I haven’t seen in years was great and it is always interesting to see how people have changed and grown. We all do it, but in our own special ways.

Getting on the plane today was hard despite having done this moving country thing many times now. I hate the goodbyes and while Facebook, Skype and email do make staying in contact easier, there is always a natural separation. Hopefully we really will see each other again, sometime, somewhere. Until then, let the life adventures roll.

Getting Old

Monday, September 7th, 2015

After running 42 kilometres I then had a birthday party. I wasn’t sure about whether or not my local bar, The Nic, would be an appropriate venue or if it would even be open, but it turned out to be perfect. From 3.30pm until around 6pm, my friends and I essentially had the place to ourselves!

Every time I leave a country I am reminded of how lucky I am to have such awesome friends and family. I had an unexpectedly large turn out to my party and despite it being a very random selection of people, everyone seemed to get along. There were no bar fights so I count that as a successful birthday party.

The post-marathon tiredness hit me at around 6pm as I lay down on a bench seat next to my friend Ellice who proceeded to stroke my hair as I nodded off. Good times! Wild party. Any shindig that ends in me having a head massage is a winner in my books.

My actual birthday was on Tuesday and it crept up on me quite suddenly. I didn’t find the ‘turning 30’ thing as scary as I could have, mostly because I have declared that 30 is the new 20. The fact that I am heading off on yet another adventure and starting a new life direction means I don’t have much choice than accept that I’m not being a typical 30 year old. No mortgages, white picket fences or weddings are on my radar. Instead I am going to become a student again.

birthday card

My brother knows how to choose a birthday card.

*Small aside* The flight attendants have just handed out bags of sweetened popcorn to everyone on the plane and it sounds like the start of a film. Packets are rustling and there’s the crunch and chomp of popped corn between teeth. Pity it is coated in caramel and a bit soggy. Mmm… plane food.

Anyway, good birthday times were had – I started my day with a massage in the hope to alleviate some of the pain from the marathon. It wasn’t quite the ‘dolphin sounds’ relaxation session that I was hoping for and more of an intense pummelling but my muscles thanked me for it afterwards. I then had coffee and cake with Dad and Eva before meeting my friends for lunch in the park.

Dinner was at the Beaufort Street Merchant where we were served by a charming waiter who sounded like Jamie Oliver. The food was excellent – cauliflower and lentils followed by a delightfully rich chocolate mousse with peanut butter ice cream. Somewhat unfortunately all of the desserts were covered with exceptionally teeth-sticking toffee. We all ended the meal trying to discretely remove chunks of sugar from our teeth with our fingers. Classy!

In this soft candle light, the wrinkles are far less defined.

In this soft candle light, the wrinkles are far less defined.

The Marathon

Monday, September 7th, 2015

I ran a marathon last Sunday. That was fun. I actually managed to get some sleep the night before which is quite unusual for me. Usually the excitement and fear keep me awake all night and I lie there thinking, “Is it time to run yet? No.”

It was a 6am start time down on St George’s Terrace and as per usual it was a wind tunnel. Thankfully this was the windiest part of the entire race and despite a fairly nasty weather forecast, it ended up being a remarkably sunny day.

Please forgive me, I am about to brag. I set off on this marathon expecting to complete it in a similar time to what I ran in Manchester. There were going to be hills so I didn’t think I’d be able to improve on my 4 and a half-ish hours. Half way through the race it dawned on me that I was going slightly faster than I expected, and I was still feeling good. I crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 2 minutes – cutting 24 minutes off my Manchester time. I WAS SO HAPPY. I admit to crying just a little bit as I crossed the finish line but that was potentially due to the burning pain that was going through my thigh muscles. Hills are nasty. I greatly dislike them.

city to surf

Hooray! Another medal!

The race was four days ago and I am still feeling it a bit in my legs and I’m reasonably certain that my foot is broken. Sitting in this plane chair is not helping at all. I’d prefer to be running.

Thanks to some smart thinking on my part, I asked Sir Pubert if he wanted to set another dinner bet for this last marathon. He agreed and I beat the decided time of ‘less than 4 hours 26.’ I am currently about 20 hours away from claiming my prize.

Stories From the Sky

Monday, September 7th, 2015

The last few weeks have been somewhat manic – my decision to run a marathon, turn 30 and move to the other side of the world turned out to be quite the challenge. I don’t regret it but next time I might reconsider doing so many physically and mentally strenuous things all at the same time.

I am currently writing to you while flying somewhere over the Indian Ocean. If the plane goes down now I’ll try and float towards Jakarta. That seems to be the closest land mass. I have already watched two films – Aloha and Frozen. You’ll be pleased to hear that both ended happily and resulted in me tearing up a bit in the lovey-dovey moments. It’s my old age.

I had the beef for dinner. We apparently get another ‘light dinner’ later. I’m likely to get yet another one on my next flight from Abu Dhabi to Manchester. Great. Three dinners. Normally I’d love this concept but when it comes in a foil container and you’re not entirely sure what you’re eating, it is slightly less exciting.

I figured I’d take the opportunity of me not doing anything to catch up on some blog posts so that people may or may not read them later when I have a chance to upload them. So here we go. Let’s catch up, friends!

Marathons and Pilates

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

I have recently been working for a physiotherapist in Nedlands, writing a few odds and bobs for them. Jeremy and Elle Wisdom are potentially the nicest people on earth. Every time I see them they buy me coffee, and the fact that we met while drinking wine shows how awesome they are.

Jeremy laughed at me when I told him that I run ridiculously long distances and don’t do any sort of additional training to look after my body. I’m fairly certain he thinks I’m a little bit of an idiot, so I am giving him the opportunity to prove this to be the case (I don’t think it will be hard.) I have been challenged to undertake four weeks of physiotherapy and clinical pilates to prepare my body for the City to Surf marathon. In exchange, I am writing about the experience.

So far I have had an initial assessment, one class and one private session and I feel GREAT! Who knew that muscles worked the way they do (Jeremy did) and that if you do certain stretches and exercises then you hurt less (Jeremy did)! You can read about my pilates adventures on the Wisdom Physiotherapy website. There are some interesting (and slightly terrifying) photographs of me in lycra, so be warned.

Look out, England

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

The final piece of the ‘Get Jess back to England’ puzzle has been set – today I collected a package from the post office, walked to my car, opened it and felt a surge of utter relief (that appeared in the form of hyperventilation and a flood of tears). I have been granted my student visa and I can officially enter the UK without being arrested.

I realised I have been holding my breath for the past six months, not knowing whether or not this ridiculous plan would actually work. But somehow I now have a university placement, a visa, a plane ticket and a room to sleep in. And in 21 days I will start my next adventure. Holy mongolia.

I’m still here

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

I have realised that my blogging frequency has dropped significantly in the last few months. My apologies if this has affected anyone, although I suspect it hasn’t caused any great distress. I thought I would provide a brief overview of why I have become slack on the writing front.

Work.

I am up to Job #7 at the Subiaco Council and Job #6 required significantly more concentration and effort than jobs 1 through 5. I really enjoyed Job #6. But now I’m moving on. It is amazing how attached to a company you can become – I will now passionately defend the Subiaco town centre and argue against any negative comments that are made about it and its parklets. THERE IS PLENTY OF PARKING. Now stop complaining.

I have made lots of great friends at work which has been a massive bonus, and for some reason people seem to think that I know stuff about writing and whatnot. Strange but lovely. I’m going to miss these folk. Once again, I find myself in the position of having gained the friendship of such fantastic people and having to say goodbye. At least most of them say they’ll come and visit me, but I don’t think any have actually googled Manchester and looked at the weather forecast.

Visas.

My flight to Manchester leaves in 35 days. I am still uncertain as to whether or not I will be on it. Having finally received an application number from the University of Manchester, I was able to start my online application for my student visa. What I had expected to be a fairly straight forward process turned out to be a ridiculously complicated application. Why I thought it would be easy, I’m not sure as visa applications never, ever are.

There are always two or three questions that make absolutely no sense, have no explanation or require you to search through a 100-page document that is briefly mentioned in another form in order to find some sort of answer for it. If someone asked you “Do you have an existing presence in the UK?” what would you answer? Exactly. Thanks to an exceptionally helpful person in the visa office at the university, I think I have managed to complete the application correctly.

However I then needed to attend an ‘interview’ at a dodgy office on St George’s Terrace where I sat in a room full of swivel chairs waiting to hand over precious documents such as my passport. Every time I have been in this situation, I have left feeling like I won’t get the visa and that I have committed some sort of fatal error. People who work in visa application centres must have hours of training in the art of making people doubt themselves. Have I supplied all of the correct documents? Have I forgotten something? Is that an original or a photocopy? Is that really how I spell my name? Nothing is certain.

And so we wait.

Life.

The rest of my time has been filled with meeting up with friends, celebrating my Grandma’s 93rd birthday, spending as much time as possible with my family and giving guide-dog Eva lots of pats.

I’ve also started training for the City to Surf marathon. I thought that completing another marathon before I’m 30 would potentially be a good idea. The more I train for it, the more I question this logic. I ran 30 kilometres last Saturday and by kilometre ten I was ready to go home. However my plan of running a marathon in the morning of 30 August, having birthday drinks with my friends in the afternoon, turning 30 on the 1 September and then flying to Manchester two days later to start Jess’s Socially Irresponsible Adventure #328 is quite pleasing.

And that’s the crux of it.

Working with my Great Grandfather

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Two weeks ago, I started yet another role within the City of Subiaco. This time, not only did I move desk, I also moved office to the other side of Rokeby Road. The council rents an office space in a strange orange clad building that from the outside appears to wish it was located in the mediterranean. It has an internal atrium space with a balcony and the front windows dream of housing a fair maiden.

In reality it has been divided into clunky offices, some of which can only be accessed via stairs and it has some serious heating issues.

230 Rokeby Road

230 Rokeby Road

Despite all of this, I am feeling a very odd sense of pride working here because in the years around 1918, my great grandfather and great grandmother lived at 230 Rokeby Road. Obviously their house wasn’t this ridiculous office block and was most likely a very small cottage with not a lot surrounding it, but every day as I walk into work and see the number on the letter box I wonder how on earth this happened.

I very much doubt that William thought, “In 100 years time, my great granddaughter is going to monitor the City of Subiaco’s Twitter accounts from my lounge room.” And on my return from Manchester, I didn’t expect to work in his old house. Yet somehow this has happened and once again William and I have crossed paths three generations apart.

I also bet he didn’t think that Advanced Hair would be operating from his second storey and that these good looking fellas would be hanging on the wall.

Advanced Hair, yeah yeah.

Advanced Hair, yeah yeah.