Sunday, October 23, 2011

On Loss

It took me a long time to decide where home was and what 'home' meant to me. The longer I've been away from 'home', the clearer the concept had become. However, in the last year, that concept has changed. When I pictured 'home', I saw my childhood house in South Africa. Last year my parents moved and so now I have a new visual for that. When I pictured 'home', I saw my parents and our dog, Bello. Three days ago Bello left that picture.

There is nothing that can prepare you for the loss of a loved one - furry or otherwise. I come from a small family and so our dogs (we've had 2) were always a strong part of our unit. As a 6 year old I wrote one of my first stories about my brother, Boomer. Boomer was a sheepdog who left us during my final year at school. We got Boomer when I started school and he passed away the year I finished - he traveled that road with me to the end. Bello joined us in 1999 from the SPCA, a sprightly, beautiful spaniel cross something with a mop of golden ginger fur and the playful, loving temperament to match. I left South Africa about 6 months later and Bello provided a much needed buffer for my parents - someone to adore unconditionally while I flew off to explore the world. After 12 years of exploring, i might have reached my destination...

So, now the picture looks like this: me in Sydney with my son and husband. My parents in their new house in South Africa... and it doesn't look right. I can think of it as a period of transition while the fractured pieces of that 'picture' rejoin in a new form. The person who boarded that plane in 1999 would think of it like that - optimistically. Right now it's blurry, distorted by tears and grief and a feeling of intense loss. I have a fierce urge to 'fix' it - to paste it all together again but I don't know where or how to start. I've never been very crafty. So, answers and solutions on a postcard please. Address it to me at my home. Wherever that is.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Concrete Blonde

As seasoned foodies, enthusiastic eaters and unabashed social critics we headed for Concrete Blonde with a slightly world-weary insouciance. A new restaurant in Sydney is about as rare as a d-lister with a fake tan. Right? Restaurants open with such regularity in this city that it takes a real gem to rise above the rest and challenge the very institution of fine dining, glamour and excellence.

Concrete Blonde, in the heart of Kings Cross, thwarts convention with quirky design, innovative menu combinations and a heady ambience that immediately makes you feel like you have been let in on a fantastic secret. The decor is edgy with nods to New York’s Tribeca, while the cocktail menu offers a fresh twist on the famous Bellini from Harry’s Bar in Venice. The menu itself is infused with a strong sense that the owners and/or chefs have travelled extensively and brought the best of everywhere to us in Sydney. If you book ahead you can even get them to cook a whole animal for you – tribal celebration style. We ordered about 15 things off the menu and are already talking about going back to order the rest. It’s been a long time since we’ve sampled anything so completely authentic and fresh. Challenge your pallet and ditch the diet – Concrete Blonde is an instant favourite.

Friday, May 6, 2011

10 Things I wish I'd Known in my 20s

1) You look better than you think you do. Enjoy it.
2) Nothing about your outward appearance warrants 2 to 3 hours of preparation time.
3) It's not as bad as you think it is. Believe me, it will get way worse. And way better.
4) So you made an ass of yourself doing something silly? No-one cares as much as you do.
5) That high drama pal who's stories you find so amusing? She's not that much fun later. Be careful.
6) Your parents love you more than you can possibly comprehend. Be nice to them.
7) The real 'in crowd' is the one that makes you feel like you can just be yourself. It's not an in crowd if you feel left out.
8) There is nothing wrong with being single. It doesn't mean you're unattractive/fat/stupid.
9) Boys are not as complicated as you think they are. Most of them are still more interested in Buzz Lightyear than all your bullshit. When you're ready, you'll find one.
10) Yes, you do need more shoes. Always. That never changes.

One Year

A year ago today we left Dublin. It has not flown. This has been a defining year for us, filled with challenges, raw emotion and self-doubt. I feel a bit like we walked here barefoot from Dublin. However, if you were to ask me if I would I do it all again? Yes.

The thing about difficult paths is, the further along them you travel, the more likely it is that you're closer to your destination. What I hadn't realised on any level is that our destination is entirely different from the one we had intended. We did not go 'home' or 'back'. We went to a different place. You can never go back.

When we left Sydney in March 2007 we were two recently married, happy-go-lucky, successful people with the world at our feet. We returned slightly older, world-weary parents with 2 years of sleep deprivation and mounting uncertainty about our future. Sydney has not changed, but we all have - by 'all' I mean us, our friends, our social circle and the space that we occupy.

I love being here and I like carving a new niche, but I still have a strong desire to run. It's definitely easier to start again from the beginning than it is to start from half-way. When you start at the beginning there are no expectations, no disappointments and no relationships to resurrect or remedy. A new city gives you the opportunity to just 'be' - clean slate, no issues.

It's an incomplete blog post because it's an incomplete thought. One year in and we're still in a transitional stage. There will be more.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I've been indoors for almost 2 weeks now with my potty-training toddler who contracted Croup and was in the ER over the weekend and is now starting to recover... I'm feeling very 'blah' ... Like I could really do with 2 or 3 days away from my house to relax and just unwind and 'be'. I had the most amazing 2 day break at Monart (a super spa outside Dublin) last year with my Dublin BFFs and whenever I feel like I do now, I think of those few days at Monart... What bliss! I miss you Annie and Leissa.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My little man

This is me and my little man - I think 2 years and 7 months old is my favourite age ever.
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Dream Come True

This is my favourite photo. I took it yesterday on a trip around Sydney harbour with my son. For me, it captures all my favourite things - both tangible and not. It's his 'vision' and the one I dreamt up before he existed. This city, this life, this family. His exuberance at being on the water, yelling 'it's mommy's OPRAH house' and telling me about all the fishies beneath us as we sailed, making friends with his 'buddy' in the seat behind us (everyone approximately his height is his 'buddy')... it all just floods my soul with joy and a sense of completeness. I just had my 34th birthday and I told one of my soulmates that for the first time I felt entirely at peace - just as I am, just as we are, just as it is... and this is the illustration to that thought.