i am done.

It was a hard year.  The hardest yet.

Last fall.  Leaving Yosemite in a blur to try and soften the blows of a family emergency and my sister’s divorce.  The darkness of that.

Fresno.  The tears of family, the delicacy of a two year old in question in your arms.  Hard. The frustration of uncertainty.

The pain of an uncertain love.  Being embarrassed by the pain and hopes of it all.  Dark.  Pain.

Twelve job applications.  No employment.  Lost.  Losing.  No direction.

Jackson.  Laying in bed, not able to get up, can’t see clearly.  Physical pain like I’ve never known.  Waking up in the middle of the night sweating, shaking, freezing, crying, confused.

Five minutes to get up.  Ten to get out the door and into my car.

At the Emergency Care…

– You have a horribly bad kidney infection.  We don’t even know how you got here by yourself.

– [trying not to cry and focus on the face of my doctor or nurse.]

– You could either just take the antibiotic for $4 or the shot for $170.  We highly recommend the shot.  You need to get something in your system now.

– [trying not to cry.] I just can’t afford the shot.  I’ll have to just take the pill.  I’m sorry.

– …We’ll be right back.

They leave the room for about five minutes and then return…

– Well, you’re in luck.  Usually the shot is $170, but today it’s on special for $25.  Would you like it?

– [crying.] Yes, thank you so, so much.

Georgetown.  Home.  Defeated.  In every single area of my life.  Not winning at anything.

Australia.  Australia?  Australia.

The. Family. From. Hell.  I kept searching for hidden cameras.  Not from the family, but from some kind of cable TV show.  This had to be a joke.

Lonely.  The loneliest.  Missing everything.  Everyone.

Crying.  Daily.

New family.

Lonelier.  How?

Mother/boss lost her job.  Fired.  What?  One week’s notice?  Whatever, screw you.  Middle finger to this place; I want to go home.

Beat down.  Defeated.  Desperate for living of any kind.

The darkest time.  Family, love, friends… All torn down, failed.  My own doing.  My responsibility for my darkness.  Powerful.  My responsibility for darkness in general.  Crushing.  Suffocating.  Ready to be done.  Making the decision that there is nothing to live for, nothing in myself that I want to look at… but the belief that maybe [some day] there will be something there again… and having to desperately grasp on to that.

Jackson.  Home.  Friends.  Calling it quits [again] on a love that cannot be willed into working.  Tears… always.  Empty.

Too many jobs.  Worn down.  Good thing?  Yes.

Throwing up.  All night.  Why?  Because this is a bad year.

Finding joy.  Finding light.  Getting excited?  Whoa… slow down.

Ear ache.  Ear infection.  What am I, nine years old?

More sickness.  Scared.

I was ready for it to all be over.  But this time it was different than that way I wanted it to all be over that last week in Sydney.  I’m calling it my bad year… hopefully my worst… and I’m moving on.  But there had to be something to symbolize the end.  Something big.

So I ran a marathon.  In Fresno.  Where this all began.

marathon.

the finish.

I hardly told anyone.  I didn’t tell my closest friends.  This had to be something I did by myself.  For myself.

It was hard.  Rightfully so.

I had a mix of songs throughout the year to listen to.  The songs started in Yosemite and ended with two weeks ago.  It was powerful.  You’re laughing at me, but I don’t care.

A mile for every two weeks.  Running.  Reflecting.  Hurting.

Mile 6, thinking, “Really?  I have TWENTY more miles?  What the hell am I doing?”

Mile 17, the stitch.  My right side, all the way down.  Thinking, “Oh god.  Please let this stop.  I’m never going to make it.”

Mile 20, my ankle failing me.  Thinking, “I want to cry.  I can’t.  I have to keep going.  I want this to be over.”

Men older than my dead grandfather passing me.  Women in metallic wigs passing me.  Me thinking, “Well, this is just embarrassing.”

Finishing.  Time: 4:57.  Slow.  I could care less.

My family there.  Cheering me on.  My sister, my biggest fan.  Yelling so loud, smiling so big.  So proud.  On both ends.

I’ve never been happier.

Finished.

I am done.

I’m glad to be back.

Thank you for everything.

All of you.

you’re very yellow.

Today I wore my favorite yellow dress… the one I bought on a very happy day in Australia.

I had been wanting a yellow dress.  It was a very long day.  The trains were all messed up [per usual], so I had to wake up at 3am to catch a train to the outskirts of Sydney to make it to an interview for a new nannying family.  [Long story, but I wasn’t exactly happy with the current family I had… The Vincents.]

Anywho… It was such a long, weird, amazing morning.  I wrote in my journal, I listened to music, I rode in a train that looked like it was out of the Darjeeling Limited, I met with the Parkers, they were great, they were sweet, they were young, I drank coffee, I got offered the job, I rode to Newtown [the Austin of Sydney], I was refreshed.

I stepped out of the train station and there was a market accross the street.  I spotted the yellow dress.  I bought it immediately… $10.  I went to a coffee shop [my favorite], I put it on, it fit perfect, I beamed.

Today:

[outside the library, at the bike rack, a random man smiles at me and says…]

– You’re very yellow.

– Oh… Thanks?

– It’s awesome.  [then rode off on his bike.]

Well, thank you random man.  I am very yellow and it is awesome.

And here is a song for you.  I didn’t like it so much at first, but now I really like listening to it in the morning:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgBeu3FVi60

[p.s. my poached internet is messing everything up… so no pictures of the yellow dress and no embedded video of Matt and Kim.  bummer.]

this found happiness throughout.

We’ve been here before: You and I. You: Sitting at your computer with five other tabs open, keeping up with the Joneses and that tall girl in Australia. Lost again. Moving. Again. Me: Moving. Again. Leaving another nannying family tomorrow morning. Ready to get out.

Usually, this would call for some Last-Day-Kitchen-Dancing. And let me tell you, my soul feels like dancing. Dancing on the roof tops like CRAZY! Doing what my body tells me… letting the joy, love, excitement burst out of my limbs in the most ridiculous ways. Like in my new favorite song/video:

Man. So great. Thanks to Casey for that one.

But [sadly] no dancing for me tonight. My body has been overtaken by a sickness of the head and throat. I had trouble packing and moving all my stuff around because of my light-headedness. I know this is brought on by stress and, well, the fact that my boss is sick too… awesome, no, yeah, thanks for that too.

But sitting in the garage, sorting everything out, listening to songs sent by loved ones and looking at my life in boxes [again], I became overwhelmed with the happiness of it all. The brokenness, the love, the hope, the positive, the love, yes, the good, yes and yes! I want to remember everything about this experience, this move, this found happiness throughout.

So, no kitchen dancing photos for you all… Don’t worry, another time.  But tonight, I dedicate a simple, genuine smile to all of you. Me: In a dark garage, sitting next to my life in boxes, about to make another move, feeling exhausted, finding joy, love, greatness and so ecstatic about it all.

so so excited!

for you. it's not much... but it's everything.

[p.s. I’m calling it right now. The band, Passion Pit, will do to this summer what MGMT did to last summer… Take it by storm.]

[p.p.s. That’s right SUMMER. Screw this first week of winter crap in Australia. I’m going back to America, where we’ve got our seasons straight.]

enjoy your day.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to do this… how to post about this… and I’ve decided I’m just going to tell you about the beginning of my Monday morning.  I want to remember every part about it, so I’ll write everything down…

I woke up and walked downstairs at 7:30am to start work.  [Work = Nannying for a 11 month precious girl.]  I held her as her parents were about to head out the door.  Her parents, Kylie and Grant, are 28 and love pop culture… yes.  For the record, I’ve always really liked them.  We ate together, drank together, watched movies and really bad TV.  Anywho…

This past week, their phone had been turned off.  This was pretty upsetting because that’s how I called my family and love, but I figured it would be turned back on… Until I noticed Monday morning that their phone was gone.

– Hey, where’s the phone?

– Oh, we put it away… We don’t use it.

– Ummm… Well, where is it?  Can I use it?  That’s how I talk to my family.

– Well, it got shut off so we were just going to keep it off.

– Oh.  Okay….

Whatever, I’ve dealt with worse.  It sucks but it will all get figured out.

Grant walks upstairs and I remember to ask Kylie about the weekend.  It’s a long weekend for Australia [the Queen’s birthday] and they want me to babysit on Saturday night.

– Hey Ky, what time do you guys need me for Saturday night?

– Ummm… 5?  5:30?

– Okay.  Am I going to get paid for that?

– Oh, no… We were just going to give you Monday off.

– Isn’t Monday a public holiday?  Don’t I get public holidays off?

– No.  Not if you’re just doing contract work you don’t.

– Oh.  Okay…

Whatever.  I’m fine.  Whatever.  [p.s.  nannies get public holidays off… ask any nanny.]  I’m fine.

Then Kylie goes upstairs and she’s up there for about five minutes.  She comes down and leaves for work.  Grant comes down and asks for a cuddle with Bink [the girl I nanny for].  Then he’s just kinda hanging around and it’s pretty awkward.

– I’m going to stay home today… Just cuz, it’s gonna rain… I can’t work in the rain.

– What?  Didn’t it rain all last week?

– Well, sometimes we can work in the rain.

I should have known by now.  Grant was in his WORK clothes, it was not raining… hmmm…

– Okay, well I was gonna take Bink for a walk this morning.  Can I do that?

– Ummm… No, you can just go.  I’ll watch Bink.

– What?  Go for a walk by myself?

– Yeah… I’ll take Bink for a walk later.

– Uhh… Okay.  Then I’ll just ride my bike down to town and grab a coffee and I’ll be right back.

I was psyched!  Bike ride into town for a morning coffee by myself?  Sweet.  I grabbed $5 and put it in my pocket, got my phone, rolled up my jeans and put on my shoes.  Then Grant said…

– Before you go, just so you know, I wanted to tell you that this will be your last week here.

– [I was blindsided.]  What??

– It’s just not working out.  We need our space.

– What??  Why??  [at this point I’m crying.]

– Don’t be upset.  You’re great with Bink… she’s a lot happier now that you’re around, but it’s just hard living in a small area.  We need our space.  I’ll stay home this week with her so that you can find another job or something.  Get things figured out.

I don’t think I said actual words after this.  I cried a lot and I think I said “Sorry” at some point.  Then I just wandered out of the house… no bike.

I walked down the road, shocked.  I called my mom.  “I got fired…”  Tears, tears, tears, confusion.

Still walking.  I called Dan Long.  “What am I going to d-“…. “You know where you have a lot of people who lov-” …. “I feel so lo-” …. Our call got dropped about one hundred times.

Still walking.  What is going on?!  What am I doing?!  Where am I?!  I called Mark and Tamsin.  “Tamsin, can I just come over for the day?”  “Of course!  Yes, please come.”

Walking back towards the house, I pass the busstop.  There is a young Asian man standing there.

– Hi.  What time does this bus come?

Awkward smiles and nods.

– What time does the bus come?

Awkward smiles and nods.

You must remember that I’ve been sobbing for about a half hour, so it looks like I have, in fact, been hit by the bus.  This poor kid can’t understand a word this crazy sad junkie is saying… but I’m so desperate and confused, I just talk to him anyway…

– Okay, I’m going to go to my house and get some money and try to get back before the bus comes.

Awkward smiles and nods.

– Right.

I walk about five steps and see the bus coming.  Dammit.  They only come every hour… I can’t go home.  Okay.  I’m getting on the bus.

It’s $4.20 for my bus ride.  It’s a pretty crowded bus.  I sit down in the row in front of my busstop friend and think… “How am I going to afford the train ride to Mark and Tamsin’s?”  After about ten minutes I just think, “F*ck it” and I stand up in front of the crowded bus and say…

– Hi.  Ummm…. Hi.  I just got fired and I just need about five dollars for the train… Can anyone help at all?

Nothing.  Everyone avoids eye contact.  No one will even look at me.  I’m a mess.  One woman, who I had noticed looking at me before [because I’m an obvious mess], finally made eye contact and said, “I’m sorry.”  I looked around one last time and then finally looked down to my busstop friend right in front of me.

Awkward smiles and nods from him.

– Right.  Okay.

Nothing.  Dammit.  How am I going to get there??  We arrive at the train station and I’m not going to lie to you… I looked for a way to sneak on to the train.  I did.  I was desperate.  But, no… it was guarded pretty well.  So then I decided that I would have to ask… again.  Apparantly, I am not good at this… or people are not good at this… I’m not sure.  I asked two people, “Do you have spare change for the train?” and they just picked up their pace and kept walking.  Finally, I went and stood next to the ticket machine, to see how much a ticket would cost… exactly.  As I walked up, an older man also approached…… Okay, why not…

– Hi.  Do you have any extra change for the train?

– How much do you need?

– $4.60.

– Ummmm… [he counted the change in his hand… not enough.]

– It’s okay…

– No, wait, here, I have money.  [he fumbles around his pockets and pulls out his wallet.]  Where you going?

– Central.  [I start crying.]  I’m sorry… I’m fine.

He buys my ticket for me, hands it to me, looks me straight in the eye and with so much compassion says…

– Enjoy your day.

I fell in love with him.  He was my favorite person in the whole wide world.  Thank you!  Thank you!

And that was the beginning of my morning.

Everything will be okay.  I am okay now, nay great… I am great now.  More on what’s next soon…

I do just want to end this by saying that it is hard.  It is all hard.  But it is all worth it for the beauty found in the old man with the sweater with the patches on the elbows, who checks every pocket he’s wearing before he finds his worn, leather wallet, to buy you a train ticket…

Enjoy your day.

…what with the recession and all.

Kylie [my boss, a 29-year-old hottie] and I like our coffee.  We found a local cafe that serves our favorite: Campos.  The stuff is like heaven on earth, voted best coffee in the Southern hemisphere.  Campos deserves a post in itself… but this post is not about coffee…

Ky and I have developed a little faux-crush on a bearded barista that works at our new place.  Now it’s all in innocent fun.  Kylie is so happily married and I may or may not have an American squeeze [i’ll keep you guessing].  Either way, it’s fun to refer to our surfer-by-dawn/barista-by-midmorning crush throughout the day…

– Hey Ky, you wanna go get some coffee from your man?

– Totally… Rach, I think he misses you.

But today I had just a downright embarrassing interaction with the eye candy.  Any homeland sweethearts of mine [who may or may not exist] shan’t be worried about anything… because this is what flirting with Rachel Stevens looks like:

[small talk, small talk, smiles, smiles…]

Barista:  Hey, I was just reading about people making trips to Mars.

Me:  Mars?  Like the planet?  [no… no… it gets worse.]

Barista:  Yeah… I’m thinking about going.

Me:  Oh yeah?  I heard chickets are teap……..

[awkward silence.]

Barista:  Pardon?….

Me:  [completely red]  Yeah.  [clear throat]  Tickets are cheap… to Mars…… what with the recession and all… yeah, ummmmm…… Can I get a latte?

…It was painful.

Who wants to see the junk show??  CHICKETS ARE TEAP.

you are a very fit mom!

Bink [aka Sienna, the baby I nanny for] and I go for a walk every day.  We stroll around the shops, get lunch, or just go to the beach.  It’s a nice part of the day.  I’ve about thrown in the towel on anyone not thinking she’s my daughter, though.  I used to correct everyone:

– Oh, your daughter is adorable!  How old is she?

– She’s not my daughter… I’m her nanny… She’s 9 months this week!

But then they’d have all kinds of questions about what being a nanny is like and I’d walk away thinking, “It really doesn’t matter if they think she’s my daughter.”  And it doesn’t.  I’m old enough to have a 9 month old baby… I’m never going to see these people again… So, I’ve stopped correcting people and I just go along with it.  Until I get an “I’M NOT HER MOM” t-shirt to wear, I’ll just play along.  Like yesterday, when a young woman that worked in the shop we were in approached the stroller:

– She’s precious.  What’s her name?

– Sienna.

– Is she your first?

– Ummm… Yep.  First indeed.  [though I should’ve told her about the teenagers I had last month.]

– Wow.  Well, you are a very fit mom!

– Thanks.

It was a very awkward comment/compliment (??).  And as I left the store, a very weird kind of panic came over me…

WAIT. Am I very fit FOR a mom??  OR… I’m very fit + you think I’m a mom = very fit mom.  ??  I need to know this answer.  Does it look like I’ve had a child in my belly??  Cuz I haven’t!

I wouldn’t be so self-conscious about this if I hadn’t been eating so many damn crumpets these days.  They’re too delicious!

To My American Friends,

Crumpets are little bread treats that look kiiiinda like english muffins but aren’t.  And they don’t taste like ’em.  They taste like little pancakes… but spongier.  And…

Crumpet + Butter + Peanutbutter + Sugar + Cinnamon = DELUCIOUS.

I hope you get to experience them at some point in your life.  Maybe I’ve been eating so many because I feel like I have some making up to do… yes, yes, that’s it.

All My Love,
Rach. [aka the “Fit Mom”.]

the "fit mom" and her culprit.

the "fit mom" and her culprit.

SYD CRIBS.

– Hey Gurl, turn on the tube! My favorite show’s on!

– What?? SYD CRIBS??! Awwwhellya… Who’s on today??

"Oh... Oh, hay!  Welcome to my crib!"

"Oh... Oh, hay! Welcome to my crib!"

– Oh snapppp! It’s Rachel Stevens! She be my fave.

– She’s tight. Au-pair Extraordinaire. I wonder what her set-up’s like.

"Here you see that my windows look out to the deck and then out to some of what the Aussies call 'bush'."

"Here you see that my windows look out to the deck and then out to some of what the Aussies call 'bush'."

– Wait… What’s all over that gurl’s windows??

"I had these custom window stickers sent over from the States.  Got 'em did by DABZ."

"I had these custom window stickers sent over from the States. Got 'em did by DABZ."

– Ohhhh… child. Them’s tight.  Little blurry… but tight.

– Mmmmhmmmm. I wonder what her system’s like.

"Behold!  My entertainment system!"

"Behold! My entertainment system!"

– CHECK IT!

– Nahice… Wonder what she’s got on her walls… It’s probably a bunch of classy stuff.

"Here is the wall compiled of all the amazing things my friends have sent!"

"Here is the wall compiled of all the amazing things my friends have sent!"

– Errr… Okay… Tight… Tight.

– Yeah, but what the eff is that gurl wearin’?

"I have to show off my awesome shirt that I got from Dabz... and how awesomely short it is!"

"I have to show off my awesome shirt that I got from Dabz... and how awesomely short it is!"

– Cool shirt… Creepy shot.

– Agreed. I wanna see more of the stuff on her walls!

"A lovely poster from Dabz, Pictures from Dabz, a calendar from Nicky..."

"A lovely poster from Dabz, Pictures from Dabz, a calendar from Nicky..."

"Postcard from Whales, Valentine from Bro, Artwork by me, Pictures from Dabz and Nicky..."

"Postcard from Whales, Valentine from Bro, Artwork by me, Pictures from Dabz and Nicky..."

"Valentine from Lisa, Amazing Poster from Dabz, Poscards from Pops."

"Valentine from Lisa, Amazing Poster from Dabz, Poscards from Pops."

– Hodon, hodon, hodon…… What happened to that poster??!

"Rachel, this poster is deluscious."

"Rachel, this poster is deluscious."

"Rachel! There are games on the back of this poster! And they, too, are deluscious!"

"Rachel! There are games on the back of this poster! And they, too, are deluscious!"

– That baby looks terrified. …Wait, where does the R-Child sleep?

"Here's my bed.  And a hilarious book.  And a JH News&Guide from January 30.  And my modes of communication."

"And this is where all the magic happens."

– I wonder what tunes she currently jams to on that raptop.

[JAYDIOHEAD.]

"Alright, you guys get out.  I got babies to sit on."

"Alright, you guys get out. I got babies to sit on."

– Yeah, that was aight.

– Not as good as Lil’ Romeo’s.

– Awwwhellnaw. Dabz told me that kid’s got a Mercedes with an Xbox in it.

– Now why you need an Xbox in your Mercedes?