i would put my kids in the sydney public school system… knock on wood.

I ride the train a lot around Sydney… and so do a lot of kids.  I have heard some ri-diculous conversations over the last couple weeks, but this one is my favorite thus far:

[two teenagers, a boy and a girl, in tank tops and neon board shorts.]

Boy: I just can’t stand Tonya.
Girl: Well, maybe she like, won’t be there… knock on wood.
Boy: What?… “Knock on wood”? What the hell does that mean?
Girl: You don’t know what “knock on wood” means?… You dumbass. It’s like one of those old sayings that like everyone knows.
Boy: Oh shut up. Just tell me what it means.
Girl: Well it means like, “never mind”… Like you say something that like you don’t really want to happen and then you say, “knock on wood”.
Boy: So you say stuff that you don’t mean and then say, “knock on wood”?
Girl: Yeah, exactly.
Boy: Like… You got a fat ass! Knock on wood!
Girl: Hey! You jerk!
Boy: I said, “knock on wood!”
Girl: Haha… yeah, okay.

twenty [or more] minutes of my life.

Alright.  Barbara, the woman I work for, does NOT STOP TALKING.  Actually, right now… she’s STILL talking to me… but I’m not being rude… this is a form of survival here, people.

Let me explain my current situation.  About a half hour ago, I could tell that she was going to start one of these chat sessions…. So being resourceful, I grabbed a sponge and headed towards the stairs like I was busy cleaning.  She started before I got to the stairs… I’m in trouble now.  This is how it goes…

Barbara: “Oh work is horrible… I tell you, I don’t like the HR people… They’re not the most socially adequate type of people..” [continues on for five minutes.]

Me: “Yeah… ha… yeah….”

[there’s a short pause in the conversation and I move up three stairs.]

Barbara: “The thing is; if my boss says that it’s okay to move the deadline to the 15th of Feb…” [continues on for five minutes.]

Me: [after just nodding for five minutes and playing with the sponge.] “Well that is good to know.” [move up three stairs.]

Barbara: “I tell you, don’t work for a corporate company……” [continues for five minutes.]

Me Inside My Head: “I cannot take this. WHAT is she talking about? Okay, I’m just going to slowly finish going up the stairs… I’ll still nod.”

Barbara: “And the other companies aren’t much better…” [omg, she’s still going.]

Me Inside My Head: “Oh my gosh… I’m just standing here at the top of the stairs! The walking didn’t even phase her! She’s still talking!”

Me: “Yeah… Oh, sure…”

Barbara: “And I basically said, ‘If you want me to leave, keep on doing what you’re doing…” [continues on FOREVER.]

Me Inside My Head: “I have to shift my weight… I’ve been standing here THAT long. Okay, Rach, make this positive. How can you use this for the better? What is constructive that you could be thinking about?”

Barbara: “It’s just all experience… You don’t know until you experience it.” [omg, she’s done!]

Me: [as I walk around the corner.] “Yeah… experience.”

Barbara: “And you have to go through it…” [omg, she’s back at it!]

Me: [literally pulling at my hair cuz she can’t see me right now] “Uh-huh.” [and step back into sight… she’s still standing there at the bottom of the stairs.]

Barbara: “When I was working in London…” [still going.]

Me Inside My Head: “I’m gonna blog about this.  I’m going to escape and the first thing I’m going to do is blog… that oughta get some frustration out… you know, telling all three people that read my blog about this. Oh my gosh, I’m THAT girl… I’m officially THAT girl that blogs… whatever, I don’t care. I would seriously pay a lot of good money for someone to call me right now on the house phone. She is STILL talking. I wish that my friends could see this right now… not to make them suffer as well, but just to laugh at it… because I obviously can’t laugh… all I can say is…”

Me: “Mmmm… Yeah…”

[ten more minutes and then I managed to escape.]

It was rough… I basically just had to leave after she finished a sentence.  Then she found me again, but I was already on here… being on the computer doesn’t phase her either.  SUCCESS… for now.

[I don’t blame you if you didn’t make it through this post… I hardly survived the real thing.]

little miss lipstick.

The other day I was walking with the Vincents into a drug store [here they call it the Chemist… weird].  While walking in, we saw a little girl who was about three years old with her mother.  The little girl had lipstick ALL over her face.  Well maybe not allll… but definitely covering most of the bottom half of her face.  It seemed that her mother had just discovered Little Miss Lipstick trying on some samples and was trying to hurry her out of the store.  The Vincents hurried in and avoided eye-contact.  I, on the other hand, think that stuff like this should be glorified and held in attention for as long as possible.  The mother saw that people were trying to avoid the situation…

Mother: “She did it herself!” …[she defensively yelled at no one specifically… as everyone kept pretending she didn’t exist.]
Me: “She looks beautiful.”
Mother: [surprised] “……..well, I think so.”

I just LOVED that.  “I think so.”  Whilst her daughter was giggling, happy as a clam, behind her.  So awesome.

my humble abode.

For all of those who wonder what my accommodations are like here in Australia…

guantanamo.

guantanamo.

…this is a very sad, very blank, view of my room.  I didn’t even think to pack things to decorate my walls.  I even left my dinosaur poster at home!  Sad days.  We are about to move houses, so no point in putting up anything now.

How bout this… If you send me something, anything, I’ll put it up on my wall.  As long as it’s not vulgar or horses.

Dan and Nic [Jackson Hole friends] have coined my living situation as looking Guantanamo Bay-ish.  Fair enough.  I’ll tell you what though… it’s not so much like a detention camp unless they make me go see Hotel For Dogs again… WORST MOVIE EVERRRRR.

Sean Hayes has a great song called “Guantanamo” and I think it’s on his myspace… but I couldn’t tell you that right now.  The internet isn’t working properly… It might get better once Hazel’s pirated copy of Twilight [the movie] finishes downloading.

Love from Guantanamo.

AUSTRALIA DAY.

…it’s a big deal over here.  And by big deal, I mean it’s a huge frat party.  I am currently sitting in the living room kinda watching “Friends” and kiiiinda watching all the half-naked drunk people walking to or from the beach.  One guy actually turned around in circles before walking into our yard!  He figured it out eventually.

Yeah, so I thought Australia Day would be like the 4th of July… kind of… but not really.  There are a LOT of people at the beach… but more so it’s just a LOT of drinking and a LOT of Australian flag paraphernalia.  I only saw college-aged people hanging out… not so much families.  Oh and by “hanging out”, I mean I saw a lot of people in kiddie-pools and squirting each other with beer-loaded Super Soakers.  No thanks.

Annnnnywho, this weekend was a real interesting one.  NOTHING went as planned, but it was a weekend filled with finding happiness in the little things…

One of the many times that I got lost this weekend, I found myself walking through a cemetery that was a little bit creepy but mostly beautiful.  The greenery was overflowing and I felt like I was walking through the Secret Garden (don’t make fun of me… you know you read it when you were 12).  Then I saw something that I will always, always carry in my heart.  An elderly man was sitting on the ground, next to a tombstone, reading a book… aloud.  It was the sweetest thing I have ever seen.  I tried not to stare as I briefly passed, but I was mesmerized.  Love.  Wow… how beautiful.  LOVE.

this person.

I must recommend this book…

yes.

…but not to everyone.

My first encounter with this book was reading the story “This Person” in this bookstore:

puss 'n books.

puss 'n books.

I finally finished the book yesterday… then quickly flipped to the front and started it again.  I never wanted it to end!  I stretched out the time between stories so that they would never leave.  Miranda July is brilliant.  All the short stories were beautiful, simple, shocking and comfortable.  I found myself thinking, “Man, Miranda July really understands me… but she is waaaaay more messed up than me… but I still want to be her best friend.”

So I do recommend this book to many of you… but not all of you.  She really is quite shocking.  I’m afraid that you’ll read it and then think, “Golly jee, Rachel!  This book is wretched!  You are a dirty girl for even liking it!”  So if you’ll do that, don’t read it.

You might know Miranda July from the movie Me and You and Everyone We Know.

me and you and everyone we know.

me and you and everyone we know.

She wrote, directed and acted in it.  It’s also a great movie.  I recommend it to the same group I recommended the book to.

And if you do get the book, know that there are four colors to choose from.  I got the orange.  I think three other of my friends should get the yellow, pink and green and then we’ll all get together and have a Finer Things Club meeting.

Here are some more photos of Miranda July because I think she is beautiful:

pensive.

purdy.

yellow.

If I could concentrate right now, I’d put some excerpts in from my favorite stories… but it’s not going to happen right now.  Maybe later.

It is a lovely book.

…and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

My first wander into the proper city of Sydney was because of Barack Obama.  I took a 40 minute train ride to get to Sydney University where I found that there would be a get together to watch a screening of the Inauguration around lunch time.  I found out about it from Facebook… big shock.  All of three people had RSVPed as “attending” when I found the page.  And since it’s summer here and school’s not in session, I really didn’t expect much to come from this venture.  I just wanted to watch some history with some people that care.

When I walked into the Manning Bar, I could hardly even get in the door.  There were hundreds upon hundreds of people there!  People from all over the city came to watch!

look at all those people!

this is the only picture i took... because i was embarrassed... because i was by myself.

It was incredible.  Seriously.  There was an hour of student projects [summer school] that were played before the speech aired.  It was hilarious to see how Aussies make fun of Americans.  I started to get scared that this would be just a bashing of Americans and then I’d have to order another drink with my best Australian accent before sneaking out, but it didn’t turn out that way.  A lot of videos were about admiring America for being a country where ANYONE can be the leader of the country… no matter their bloodline.  It was very inspiring.

Then the President of US Relations gave a very interesting speech about Obama’s facial expressions and his change of tone.

Then they played the video and I cried.

Then, during the national anthem, all the Americans stood up and sang and I cried again.

The whole thing was a lot more emotional than I had planned on.  Hearing a true recognition of a brokenness in our country was refreshing and devastating and the same time.  Obama displayed a vulnerability that can only come from honest strength.  I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone else, but to me, it was something that struck hard inside my chest.

And then I sat down for an Obama burger and another drink [much deserved after the last two weeks, trust me] and I got to talk to some great people.  Okay, two great people… okay, I actually talked to two people and they were great simply because they were around my age, in Sydney and talking to me.

It was a breath of fresh air… the whole day.

Then I finished my Obama burger, my 20-minute-friend, Micheal, directed me to a really cool bookstore near campus, then I headed home.

sitin', waitin', wishin'.

sittin', waitin', wishin'.

And then I couldn’t find the bookstore because I’m horrible with directions which made me relatively bored waiting for the train.

great day.