You see them walking across the road in packs, or even solo. They look like a strange mix between an adult and teenager, wearing things ranging from designer gym clothes to Kmart sale items. Their hair is either fabulous or a mess (I never understood quite how to make time to do the former, given that I start at 8am most days).
They carry around this huge overpacked baggage, as if they were boarding a flight to some exotic foreign continent (hah *sheds a single tear*), within – a hoard of treasured items can be found.
A coffee mug. The best (and most expensive) friend of the University student, guarded fiercely.
multiple assignments with coffee stains – usually printed double sided to conserve funds
books with half written lecture notes – usually a friend has “borrowed” a few pages.
Gum for emergencies (I.e spontaneous hookups)
And of course,
the 10kg $200 textbook that she/he STILL hasn’t used.
Upon observing (and unfortunately interacting with) these hormonally driven beings for the better part of 3 years now. I’ve noticed the appearance of such mammals follows a seemingly predictable trend.
For females; dead set panda eyes coved dutifully with concealer, sunglasses on forehead and usually one fashion statement item, Nike or converse as the choice footwear. The same outfit is repeated on a weekly cycle – an attempt to hide the fact that the female student doesn’t have the time nor funds to afford luxuries such as clothing items – a tragedy indeed.
The typical male university student looks very similar in appearance to his fellow “sick c*%#€”, “top bloke” or “mate”, as he adresses them- (amongst other terms), the dialect of the university bogan is hard to understand, even harder to duplicate. Those of the most testosterone driven are found at the “gym” – a communal area devoted to acting like a complete ass. I’d say avoid these types.
These are of course just generalisations, there are plenty of normally normal personalities in the world. And not everyone is a sleep deprived, financially, socially and mentally drained, gym fanatic slash full time student with no fashion sense…
Oh wait, I’m just describing myself now.
I hope you all have a great week regardless, if you see me frothing at the mouth and in a seemingly terrifying state of mental stability – don’t worry.
Historically known as ‘forceable invasion and ostracisation of indigenous Australians’ day.
Nationally celebrated as ‘let’s f*ck up our liver’ day.
Being Australian myself, I make it a habit not be found engaging in the annual behaviour of:
1. calling in sick
2. binge drinking
3. attaining diabetes with lamington overdose and finally….
4. finding yourself lying unconscious, poolside (or beachside) on a couch – surrounded by the wreckage of VB cans, cheap plastic cups and cold sausages.
I do however, love beaches.
Unfortunately, today… I was working!
Though, my shift got cut short (Great job once again Aussie weather).
I found it interesting though, in the space of two humid hours; my snapchat stories had been quietly accumulating. My phone repeatedly buzzing. Muted but none the less annoying – notifying me of new drunken updates.
I wasn’t surprised when the majority of my ‘friends‘ had sent me short snippets of their booze fuelled public holiday.
Watching everyone have a good time via social media always fills me with a mixture between regret and relief. Regret for missing the occasion and relief for not being exposed to those socially awkward situations in the first place.
Atleast tommorow I’ll have a clear head, whilst a quarter of all Aussies will probably fall victim to the post Aussie day hangover.
My unsteatated liver is quietly thanking me for now – don’t worry liver, the cruise will sort that out.
Hope you all had a great day, whether you be a sober Aussie, a drunken Aussie, or not even Aussie at all.
I’ve just received the conformation email for my seven day cruise next month, I’m officially going to be sailing the high tides on the P&O Pacific Dawn in February!
It was a spontaneous buy.
It all started with a late night text and laughs over caramel pecan icecream.
Ash: Meet me at Baskin Robins in 15 x
My best friend excitedly dropped me the deets as icecream was dribbling down the sides of the chocolate waffle cone, melting (like I was) in the humid summer air;
Anna, how do you feel about going on this cruise next month? It’s just before Uni starts!
And of course, in true Anna fashion; I replied:
OH MY (EXPLETIVE) GOSH – YES.
YES YES YES YES
It was the last minute sales, we nabbed our cabin – more like bunker of four, with two other mates that very night.
The following day they sold out.
The last cruise I went on was in the winter of 2006 (with the same company) – I’m a little more than out of shape cruisewise.
But the cool smell of the sea, dancing, smiles and mocktails in hand will never fade from my memory (even though I was barely 8 years old the last time I went).
THIS TIME THOUGH, I’LL ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO DRINK
to be honest though, this will probably be me.
I distinctly remember one of the Islands we ventured to, it was a beautiful place. The twang of ukulele’s filled the air. Shade from the palm trees gave much needed respite from the sun kissed sand, and the snorkeling (though I don’t remember much of it).
Sea cucumbers dominated the seafloor, I remember being scared of them and refusing to go back into the reef.
Instead I decided to make a deep pit in the sand, in which I would hoard countless hermit crabs.
Those poor hermit crabs….
For 2 and a half hours there was this huge, strange, monster pushing them back into this pit when they tried to escape. Their attempts at climbing the sandy cliffs – an act of desperation – proving worthless.
I don’t know what came over the strange mind of the 8 year old me, but I loved having this hermit crab zoo more than the cruise itself.
When it came to leaving I had left some half eaten biscuit crumbs in the pit, tears streaming down my face – Goodbye friends!
Yeah, I was really social back then.
I’ll have to tell you about the time I found a trove of coconuts by a beach and absolutely lost it.
But that’s for another time.
====== Anna Freeman, Student Dietecian ======
Ps: So if you have any cruise tips at all, please let me know! I’ve forgotten the in’s and outs of the cruising life!
Veterinary and Orthopedic research Scientists have shown that low magnitude, high frequency vibrations between 25-100 Hertz can actually aid in repair of bone tissue!
In a 2008 case report in the journal of Orthopedic research suggested that the application of mechanical low magnitude signals can improve bone healing and speed up recovery in the peritosteal region of sheep with fractured tallus’ (1);
At 10-weeks post-op, the callus in the Experimental group was 3.6-fold stiffer (p < 0.03), 2.5-fold stronger (p = 0.05), and 29% larger (p < 0.01) than Controls. Bone mineral content was 52% greater in the Experimental group (p < 0.02).
These data reinforce the critical role of mechanical factors in the enhancement of fracture healing, and emphasize that the signals need not be large to be influential and potentially clinically advantageous to the restoration of function.
And, the American acoustical society filed a report referencing the fantastic felines themselves :
Domestic cats, servals, ocelots, and pumas produce fundamental, dominant, or strong frequencies at exactly 25 Hz and 50 Hz, the two low frequencies that best promote bone growth/fracture healing.
These four species have a strong harmonic exactly at, or within 2 Hz of 100 Hz, a frequency used therapeutically for pain, edema, wounds, and dyspnea (2).
Perhaps the best way to heal a skull fracture after stacking it at your next basketball game is to put a cat on your face.
They went further to mention that this supposed ‘healing mechanism’ of purring may in fact, be used by cats purely in times of stress – when the cat’s are injured or sick.
So all along, when I thought Fuku was loving my weirdly close hugs – perhaps was getting over the stomach bug, or had nausea, a headache?
Next time I cuddle up to Fuku, i’ll make sure she’s okay first.
Goodship, A., Lawes, T., & Rubin, C. (2009). Low-magnitude high-frequency mechanical signals accelerate and augment endochondral bone repair: Preliminary evidence of efficacy. Journal Of Orthopaedic Research, 27(7), 922-930. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jor.20824
The sky outside; clear blue, it’s currently a comfortably uncomfortable 28 degrees celsius (90F for our american cousins), expected to reach 34 by mid morning. The leaves of an unknown tree murmur outside in the non existent wind. My window blinds have been replaced by a towel; the Australian national flag as it’s print….. It’s good to be home.
Just 24 hours ago I had walked back through my wooden, stained glass front door; reeking of unwashed hair and sweat, with sleep remaining solidly in my eyes . We dragged our suitcases through the door and dumped them there. Our dog; Skip, went crazy, licking our legs, swirling around in circles and reeking of well, dog. I had a quick COLD shower and was under the blankets in a doze sooner than you could say Vegemite.
38 hours ago I was just departing Dubai airport, most of the people gave me a suspicious look regarding my casual t-shirt and shorts attire. I heard it was uncommon to have your arms uncovered, even in the airport. I shrugged, It was hot, and I was in no mood to negotiate. Especially when I was confusing my brain enough with the fact that I should be sleeping, not walking around looking for the next gate at that time.
45 hours…. I was stuffing my face with (my last) classically huge pizza- the type you can only get in Rome; a simple and pleasing Margherita, fresh out of the oven. There was no triple bacon, megameat, cheese crust, hambuger stuffed, meatlover pizza in Rome (that I could find anyway), sorry to disappoint
A week ago… Was I checking out the Collessem? the Spanish steps at Spagna, the great St. peters Basilica or the Trevi fountain-nestled away in the backstreets of Rome?
I was looking in the Ghetto of Rome; half lost, half exhilarated – but determined not to drag out the city map and risk looking like just ‘another ‘ tourist.
What were we searching for exactly?
We had traveled across to the other side the world, taken three conjoining flights in the space of 48 hours, walked down unfamiliar streets and fallen victim to the dreaded lag of jet. All to find our feline friends, that had no notion of becoming our friends to begin with.
My mum came up with the idea; she had seen street cats dash through the autumn leaves at dusk behind our cozy rental apartment. It had been a mission ever since to find them.
“Seek and ye shall find”, it had been my Dad’s definitive saying for over a decade.
And find them we did.
We stumbled across them, almost by accident.
Ruins, as many did in Rome; just appeared out of NOWHERE! you’d seriously be walking down a normal street and then BAM, Colosseum. Completely and utterly dominating your view, you’d think you were standing in a postcard. Colossal (as the name implies) and oftentimes chipped to nothingness in places- most structures were just remnant slabs of marble, shells of their former splendor.
Absolutely breathtaking nonethless…
Anyway, back to the ghetto cats.
The ruins I’m talking about were nestled in the city centre, a tad tricky to find by foot, to be honest we just kept walking around until we found them.
Eventually we stumbled upon the theater of Pompey, located at Palazzo della Cancelleria. Formally a large wooden (later decorated with marble), multipurpose theater in which formal meetings took place in the late republican era. The theater’s claim to fame is tied to Julius Caesar; the authoritarian and epic dictator (also the namesake of the decadently creamy salad), and the place of his assassination in 44BC. Nowadays an olive tree has been planted to mark the place whereupon he met his untimely end.
You wont find this in the Wikipedia site, but the Theatre of Pompey; whilst a marvelous site to look at, today serves a more particular and rather, residential purpose.
Whilst the ruins are blocked off to the public, on the west side there’s a small stairwell with a sign, the face of a cat imprinted on it’s front. The stairs lead down to a small shack-like shelter, and the strong smell of musk mixed in with heated air hit’s you in the face as you walk inside. A second afterwards the smell of cat becomes almost overpowering. The site is now home to over 200 individual cats. A handful of volunteers scuttle around, mewling after the cats like felines themselves. Whilst a small lady with jet black hair tied in a ponytail, welcomes us with the trace of some European accent I can’t quite place.
“Welcome to Roma del Gato, we are a non-forprofit charity shelter with over 150 cats, running for over 10 years...”
For 30 lovely, smelly minutes I was living the life of a cat lady.
Cats in their tens, twenties and thirties crowded in every nook and cranny of this small hut like shelter, the mewling, purring and meowing was like nothing you could ever imagine. All cats miraculously managed to ignore each other, even though they were basically top and tail next to each other. And all completely clean, well fed and content (well, as content as a cat could be I suppose).
It was incredible, my mum for one was in love the instant we set foot in the door. She bought an 18Euro top and was reluctant to leave. And as if the cats knew she was helping them out, one large tortoiseshell actually CLIMBED on her and stayed in her arms, a paw over her shoulder! as if to give her a hug and say ‘thanks’! I’ve never seen a cat do that before, and the other cat-loving visitors eyed on with apparent jealousy.
Well, my mum is more than keen to go back to Rome now.
Well, as we did throw our coins in the Trevi… It looks like this won’t be the last time I visit the Eternal city.
So it’s currently 3:12am, I went to bed at 12:00am. The darkness of this room cannot ease my restless mind, the gradual, predictable, annoyance of ticking from my wall clock does no justice to the buzzing that’s going on in my head. I was hoping to get some shut-eye before being rudely awakened by my alarm at 6:00am, but the vision of waking up at some (normally) non-ridiculous time of 8:00am (and miss his flight arriving) haunts me. And thus, my mind does the opposite of sleeping and insists I stay awake through the whole ordeal.
Trust me, I tried falling back into peaceful sleep. Covered in the warmth of these blankets, but everytime I do, I see him. In my minds eye, it happens over and over. A Groundhog Day of a memory, his incredible face, the smile of an angel, the rapid and urgent rattle of suitcase against tile, awkward strides closing the meagre space that keeps us apart.
Then, the warmth that spreads from his arms around me, as I find the space where my face fits onto the crook of his neck.
We stay there, we remain like that. In eachother’s arms. Obvilious to everyone’s glares or glances. I can’t let him go, I feel the heat and sweat on my own skin spread. I don’t care, in that moment I never want it to end.
It’s all in the struggle of the long distance relationship.
I’ve known him for a little over 7 months, the first time I met him was April this year, when I travelled to Auckland for 5 days in the break of my University mid semester (I was supposed to be studying, hah)
And those magical 5 days went much too quickly, as soon as I had arrived it seemed as if I was headed homebound.
Time does no favours, nor makes considerations for need or want.
He simply sits at his grand table, observing the world through dark spectacles. Countless souls ask for it to speed up, slow down for more or less. But, like a tight lipped pensioner, he is stoic to the pleas; hording the time he has at his disposal. Time is time, or it is up. There is no fast forward or rewind.
So in the silence of this night, I gingerly wait. Wait for the sun to make his gradual dance across the sky and at the first notion of daylight, I’ll be a vassal to the rushing of my own heartbeat. Soon the world will wake, and the kookaburras will laugh at the silliness of their song. The lorikeets’ call will fill the dawn with vibrance whilst the magpie’s melody will provide the body and form of an incredible few weeks to come.
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
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?
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.
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);
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.