I WANT YOUR BLOOD

Not literally.

But that is how i felt today when the friendly Bloodvan came along to Uni and parked quite squarely into my usual parking space.


What’s a bloodvan you ask?

well, It’s pretty much; a van.

A van that takes blood from willing volunteers.

Now, before you run off telling all your friends that vampires are real and they’re making a comeback with six wheels, lets not get carried away.

The Bloodvan, lets just call him Bloody, comes along maybe every 5 months or so and he stays for around a week before it’s off to get more blood from somewhere else, kinda like a massive mechanical mosquito.

without the malaria.

Or the wings for that matter.

Or any weird high-pitched screechy noises that wake you up in the middle of the night and make you hyper anxious and flap your blankets wildly in the air at any attempts to thwart the little bastard.  And you’re just like….

kill_it_with_fire

where was I.

Oh yeah,

Bloody is roughly a trapezoid shape with some windows, about 10metres long and completely red. It’s got a massive Blood droplet on its side with some very happy people on the side with a speech bubble saying

I survived x because of you, thanks!’

and on the other side;

‘save a life today!’

 

Bloody couldn’t have been more  propagandistic if he tried.

I remember the first time i donated blood…. It was only a  year ago. it was with my best friend, and we were well, young 18 year olds with a newfound sense of independence and daring.

No idea what to expect….

So we rolled up our sleeves, we drank at least 4L of water before and patiently sat outside, waiting for the unknown. I swear we ran to the toilet 10 times within a space of 2 hours that day.

The process was relatively simple, you sign up, or call. Tell them what day and what time you can come in, and then wait….

Alot.

When you walk into the van it takes a little while to adjust to the area. When i was young, I attended musicals and theatres where the dancers disappear behind the curtain after their part is done, I found that entering the Blood van is a lot like that.

From the outside looking in, it looks really mysterious, your mind drifts away with imagination. What are behind those doors? are there blood bags lying around everywhere?  are the nurses who run the program actually mad scientists who strap you down and poke you with things like they do in those horror movies? Are there blood drained bodies and vampires lurking around?

Let me just say…. it is nothing like that.

It’s also very interesting. As you walk inside you find it hard to believe that in such a confined space there is SO much room!  As one of my favourite TV characters says ‘

‘It’s bigger on the inside!’

See what i did there David Tennant…..

Doctor-Who-doctor-who-for-whovians-28293698-426-240
Why do i even bother

There’s no straps or blood bags lying around, there’s no mad scientists and certainly no vampires.

In fact the whole procedure is over in around 5-10 minutes, they’re VERY accommodating and make you feel very comfortable. If at any time you feel uncomfortable they let you go

And I know a lot of people will never give blood, because the mere thought of needles is enough to freak them out…. but!

Watching the venous blood drain away from my arm, it was fascinating.

Not in the freaky, psychopathic kind of way, but in the way that this blood, MY blood was leaving me and going to someone else.

Someone who could be a few hundred metres away ( the local hospital is attached to my University). And it was my life force, my precious scarlet fluid.

Thousands of litres of it circulated around my body every year, tonnes of it in a lifetime, a tsunami worth of blood; held captive in us all.

And what do we do?

keep it all for ourselves.

When they only take around 400ml of it, that’s less than a water bottle worth. Once every year, if everyone did that we would NEVER run out of blood. Hospitals wouldn’t need to plea with the public to donate a portion of your blood.

Everyone wants to be a Hero.

And saving a life?

Well, I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty heroic to me.

TIPS AND TRICKS

– don’t go if you’re tired, afraid of needles or dehydrated

-don’t go if you’re anaemic

– drink HEAPS of water, like you’re literally going to explode amounts

– you need to be ATLEAST 50kg and a healthy weight.

Update: this is how your arm looks a day after…

PROS!

– you get your blood results and blood type!

– you get FREE FOOD!!!!

– your blood ( that’s free in your body) IS SAVING A LIFE!

CONS:

needles ARE pointy.

– no exercising that night.

– you feel a little tired afterwards.

Remember! the number is 13 14 95

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A childhood in brief 

Coming from a Japenese mother and British father, my childhood was interesting to say the least. Having spent 5 years of it in Japan, I have fond memories of gathering under the household ‘kotasu’ (an unground sauna/ table of sorts that warms your bottom half from below) especially after those cold days and even colder nights.

I remember from my prepubescent height; looking up to see my Dad’s frothing  glass of Sapporo beer on the kotasu top. Consensation sticking heavily to the glass.

 The television reflecting some shockingly idiotic Japanese panel show, with enough vividity and saturated colour on the set to make you question whether you were watching a childrens program.

I remember the ever constant, barely audible bickering; between my mum and grandma or, ‘Bahbah‘ as I called her.

The bright screen of my Nintendo DS and the steady, predictable melody of 16bit Pokemon Emerald music pushing my consciousness to sleep each night…

And then waking up to the gorgeous smell of a home cooked breakfast, what could it be?

Fluffy Rice, whiter then snow, toast as thick as your head, sticky fermented beans (possibly one of my favourites), or yellow pickles that crunched as loud as the freshest apples of autumn.

Those were the days, when I was a kid I remember life being so much more…. simpler…..

Every goal was achievable and every mountain could be climbed. I was a bundle of flexible flesh with enough energy to make wild stallions look lax. An Imagination running rife, so strong sometimes that i swear i saw something  I had only dreamed about; right there, fading in and out of my periphery

dreams are the stories of the soul (balcony, at 5:30am 2015)
When you were a kid, did to ever look outside the window of your parents car, and imagine a shadow keeping up with you? Jumping, leaping and scaling over multiple bridges and rocks, ever constant yet, always present?

Did you wonder where the clouds go on a daily basis, question if they’ve been around  the world and seen things you never would?

palm beach sunset 4/6/15
Or how you wish you could be a tireless bird and travel the seas for days? Stop time and see everyone who was frozen in place… With the ability to read, learn and observe the world in your own eternity?
With an ever present fascination stemming from my core, I would scavenge under rocks for hours looking for insects, worms, centipedes, termites. Anything that moved or gave the slightest hint of harbouring life. Believing I would find some ancient remnants of a temple or talisman that had been forgottern for a millennia.

Tokyo. mt Takao summit
One of the most enjoyable things I remember doing as a kid; was playing the part of, (what I believed at the time to be);

God.

Every afternoon after school, I was perhaps 12 or 13 at this time. I would stop at this same unremarkable fence post in the hill. It was nothing really, just a lone rotting stick in the ground.

To every other passer-by, the post in the ground would have been meaningless. To the child version of myself, it was magical. For it was at this pile of wood that a large colony of Australian bullants chose to make their home.

How did that ant know where to go? Would it get lost? Does it have a family? What does it think or feel? Do they talk to each other?

Silly questions to ponder perhaps, in the huge scheme of things that dictates our lives today. Who would care less about a lowly ant colony? They’re just an annoyance right? An indication of untidiness, unorder and demolition in a household.

Taking a minute to actually observe these seemingly insignificant Arthropods however; proved not only enjoyable, but fascinating to me.

What seemed like haphazard disorganisation was actually effective co-operation. New materials seemed to arrive constantly.

A grasshopper carcass, peices of leaf, white specks that I could only presume to be ant larvae. The ants never tired, all identical, as if controlled by one mind.

After observing this symbiosis with nature, I began to wonder if any external influences would change the colony’s’ attitude.
I dropped a peice of sandwich crust smack bang; in the main route. Almost instantly the ants began to amass on the new addition, an allostetic effect.

Before long, a small portion of my lunch had disappeared down into the depths of the underworld. And there, at that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be an ant, travel like they did, see what they saw. Escape the world that was school and family drama.

Other days when I was especially pissed off (every kid has these days), I changed my outlook; this time I decided not to be benevolent, but rather; destructive.

The ants had their periodic feast, so now the famine must follow.

Glug,Glug,Glug; I would pour water down the anthill, an unseasonal tsunami. It would disappear as quickly as it came. And then, an eruption of ants would follow the chaos, scampering out in apparent distress.

More or less satisfied, I would scamper off up the hill to my house, feeling the familiar sensation of pins and needles running down my gastroenimus due to squatting so long.

I would continue this trend until I was in highschool. I still walked past the colony with less frequency than before, until one day….I stopped  pausing at the fence post altogether.

Deciding I had more pressing matters than to cause some distress to the ants. I dismissed the idea to look and see how the miniature world was fairing.

….And in time, I forgot about exploring all together. 

When and what had changed this seemingly ignorant yet placated  outlook on life?

Was it puberty? Unlike a caterpillar  metamorphosis, I didn’t feel any different, any more smart or elegant after puberty. In fact, I still think that adorkable little kid who found rocks interesting had a much more fascinating outlook on life than I do today.
Which is why it tugs at my heartstrings when I see girls, much too young, wearing stilettos, wearing body tight crop tops. Growing up all too fast,  and wanting to do so, much too quickly.

Call me old, but you should Love being a kid, go and mess around, make mistakes and seize opportunities; childhood should be savoured, Because sooner or later it’ll be gone.