Monday, February 25, 2013

Reasons I don't understand or get along with my flatmates

Opinions on household smells
Yesterday evening I went downstairs to make some dinner. Baz, Dada and Zaina were baking a cake as a family (cute!). I'd like to point out that they were sitting on the floor mixing the batter with their hands. Obviously its a cultural thing but I kind of felt like pointing out that spoons and mixers are actually really cheap and easy to get here, but whatever. Anyway, I made my dinner (left over pasta woo), went upstairs to eat in my room and then came back down to wash my dishes. Zaina had gone to bed and Dada and Baz were watching TV. The kitchen door was closed and as I opened it Baz said "Oh sorry, its because we're baking a cake." I didn't think anything of it, until I had finished washing the dishes and suddenly realised CAKES SMELL FUCKING AMAZING WHY WOULDN'T YOU WANT YOUR HOUSE TO SMELL LIKE THAT ALL THE GOD DAMN TIME. Like, people bake things on open day when they're trying to sell their house; its a universally recognised delicious and comforting smell. Later that evening I went downstairs to clean my teeth. The door was open and Baz was standing in the kitchen smoking. In fact, there was so much smoke I had to squint when I first walked in. How the fuck is that an acceptable scent to have wafting through the house, but a freshly baked cake shouldn't be enjoyed? And don't say "because he's a smoker." I know plenty of smokers who agree that smoking inside is disgusting and wouldn't want their house reeking of exhaled tar and moth balls and whatever else primary school teaches you is in cigarettes.

Baz smokes too much marijuana
I don't have a problem with weed. One of the best things I've done with my time is roll a joint, dance naked in the pool while listening to Blood Orange, roll another one, watch An Idiot Abroad and almost pass out from laughing so much. I don't think people who smoke regularly are drug addicts. Actually, I'm a little bit jealous of people who can smoke regularly and not get weird or just want to sleep all the time, which is apparently what happens to me. I have a problem with people who smoke so much they can't hold a conversation. Baz and I pretty much only ever talk about how much I love winter (to be honest, its getting less and less the more it drags on: if anyone says 'I told you so' you'll get a whole lot of swear words coming at you) and when my visa runs out. As you can imagine both topics are basically exhausted. I like winter because we never get one in Perth. I'm leaving the UK in July. I don't want to go but there is nothing I can do about it, so oh well. That's it. The other day I was watching TV with Baz; I said I would because he was so bored (they both seem to be completely incapable of entertaining themselves without a screen in front of their faces, and even that doesn't seem to do the trick most of the time) and definitely not because I was interested in watching Underemployed (another gem of entertainment, totally related to music, produced by MTV). He was so baked I wouldn't have been surprised if he couldn't remember who I was.
During an ad break he suddenly asked "what's happening in April?"
"Uh, I don't know, Baz."
"In April...your visa? Something with your visa."
"No. That's July."
"Oh, July. What's happening in April then?"
"Nothing, Baz. I have never spoken to you about my plans in April. I'm going to see the Book of Mormon (a new musical written by the South Park guys) but I never told you that."
"Oh where is that, then?"
"Um the West End, I guess? Do you know what I'm talking about? (There are huge billboards and posters for it all over London) It's a musical theatre production. In London."
"Oh right. So your visa runs out in July, not April? I could have sworn you said something about April."
"No. Never."
"Oh, maybe I smoke too much." Then he giggled stupidly.
Ya think? Various other attempted conversations have happened between us that make it fairly obvious his brain is just sloshing about between his ears and he desperately throws out a few sentences that are vaguely related to the topic. Most of the time I smile weakly/roll my eyes and retreat to my bedroom.

I also have a problem with people who smoke more than one or two sneaky spliffs if they live with their four year old daughter. Don't you want to be more present for her childhood? I feel so bad for Zaina. I know this is definitely a cultural difference but they spend more time ignoring her than they do entertaining or teaching her. She spends a lot of her time watching cartoons or dancing to skanky music. Its not like they're busy with their full time jobs or anything. Dada is busy Keeping up with the Kardashians and Baz is busy wishing he was one of the guys on Top Gear. I come home from a busy day at my minimum wage job and spend an hour playing with Zaina because she's so starved of attention she has a stupid amount of pent up energy. I don't really understand the point in having kids if you don't want to be a huge part of their lives and watch them grow and learn and make mistakes and mould them into real people so there are less fuckheads walking around. They were SO excited about having her move in, but don't seem to do anything differently. Except occasionally yell at her for doing kid things like wipe her hands on the wrong towel.

It says "From Zaina, To Sian." He lives on my wall.

Zaina just came into my room, gave me a biscuit and then started playing with the bit of paper that comes in a box of tampons. I thought it was better to give her a blank page from my notebook in case she started running around with the diagram of how to insert one properly.

There aren't any books in the house
I only recently realised that they don't have a bookcase. Or even a small pile of forgotten novels in the corner of the display cabinet. Not even any decorative and somewhat pointless coffee table books. I don't read nearly as much as I should but I still enjoy being in a house that has books, or at the very least, with other people who read. They have pretty awful taste in decor, but the worst is the lack of a collection of dog eared and well loved books. When I stayed at my friend Polly's flat in Berlin, I loved that her flatmate had a beautiful and full bookshelf. I'm pretty sure all the books were German, but that didn't matter. There's something about being in a house with books that makes you feel at home, comforted. Like being able to smell a cake baking in the oven.

I instagram'd this but I can't be bothered putting that image on here now. You should follow me like a true friend/fan anyway.

Whenever Baz or Dada complain about being bored (something my parents always have and probably always will scold me for; they usually threatened me with household chores before I ran off and used my weird imagination to keep me company) I suggest they read a book. Which usually gets the response "nah I can't do that, I get bored too quickly" which makes me want to throw up in their faces and move out. But I love my room and I like not having to pay for tea bags or toilet paper. I don't really understand how real adults, living in London, can ever be bored. There is SO much happening here, there must be something you can do that doesn't involve Netflix or incessant cleaning. Eugh.

I just went downstairs to make a cup of tea before I proofread this and Dada says she likes Ben Affleck. That's just wrong. Casey is clearly the more attractive and more talented brother.

So I'm not just moping about the house, calm down. Jessie's sister, Ali, was here for two months and I had lots of fun hanging out with the Sawyer girls. We went to bars and markets and The Lion King (just as amazing as when I was 14) and watched Jessie play roller derby. I was sad to see Ali return to Australia a couple of weeks ago, even if it does mean that I have a bike now. It's still fucking cold and kind of snowy but I love riding my bike everywhere instead of dealing with stupid, smelly, grumpy public transport. I still really enjoy my job; I've had bar training so now I make coffees and smoothies which is so much better because I don't have to deal with customers waving me over and constantly wanting things. I had a really bad flu a few weeks ago and chose that time to to go the doctor about my gross hand herpes again. After being patronising and rude the nurse simply suggested I get another job so I went and cried in the toilets for ten minutes because I know it wouldn't be this hard to get help at home with my GP. I felt really homesick until my flu got better, then I just got over it and have decided to live with having gross hands. I'm going to Bristol next month with Yana to see Foals and I'm toying with the idea of going to Italy in April/May with my Italian friend from Shoreditch Grind. And today, I found two places in Dalston (obvz) that sell Club Mate.

The white and green blur with a pink helmet is Jessie.

Me and Ali. Somewhere. Oh the roller derby after party, I think. 

Ali and Jessie turning heads outside the Lyceum theatre. 

This is at a party held at my work, where the owner, manager and one of the supervisors (pictured) dress up and DJ cheesy pop songs all night. Customers are encouraged to have shots of jagermeister and dance on the tables. There were also male strippers at this one. I saw more middle aged flaccid penis than I anyone should have to.

Unfortunately I don't have a photo of me on Frankenbike (or Frankie for short) but Jessie does have a photo of me standing in front of him before I rode it for the first time from her place. Its very "Sian's first day of school."

I apologise for mentioning tampons again. And flaccid penis, I guess.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Most of my time at the moment is devoted to working, sleeping and thinking about what I want to do when my visa runs out in July. For people who keep asking me, I AM STAYING IN LONDON UNTIL JULY, I'm not annoyed that you keep asking, fair enough, I continuously forget relatively important things that you tell me but I just thought I'd make a small/semi-sized deal of it in case anyone else is wondering if I WILL BE STAYING IN THE UK UNTIL JULY or not.

I'm fairly sure I don't want to go back to Perth just yet. I know I'll be here for another six months and a lot could change by then, but I need to make my mind up now in case I need to organise visas or whatever. And based on what I have learnt about myself so far I'm fairly sure I'll want to stay abroad. This isn't necessarily because I hate Perth or I'm sick of my friends or anything particularly negative, I just like being somewhere else.

I'm definitely sad about having to leave London so soon, now that I feel more settled than ever but I don't love the city enough to find a visa loophole or marry someone. London doesn't have the same allure for me that Berlin does/did.

One option is always to go home, plan exactly what I want to do, save up in a relatively short amount of time as I'd be getting paid $735 per hour again and then come back to the UK/Europe. But as I learnt last year, going home just to leave again is an awful experience. Especially after being used to living in London where everything is faster and, I dunno, more London, going home and adjusting to Perth in the state of Wait Awhile is really fucking difficult. Not to mention getting used to being part of my friendship group again and then saying goodbye. Again. While I was super drunk on one of my last night's in Perth, I cried because I kind of almost didn't want to leave when I'd just become acclimatised and could even see myself living in Perth for good, something I previously never thought I would want to do. I just think its emotionally easier to stay here, even if I could really do with some those half-arsedly-earned golden Australian dollars. And I really miss my dog.

So one of the supervisors at work, Al, is also Australian and here on a two year working visa which expires this year. He's planning on going to Canada and doing the same thing there. Its really easy for Australians to get Canadian working visas because its also a Commonwealth country but I was never particularly interested because to me it meant working in a ski resort with the other gross Australians. But when Al said he was planning to go I was all "hey yeah! Why didn't I think of that?!" And so I toyed with the idea of maybe moving to Toronto for a bit, seeing if I could get some kind of internship or study program to make it worthwhile, expat life blah blah blah whatever.   I'd like to to point out that I'm not sure why I suddenly changed my mind about Canada; I like Al but he's not some uber hipster that I felt compelled to copy and impress (I recently found out he has a Southern Cross tattoo). It just suddenly became a viable option.

So I started asking friends what they knew about Canada for tips and to trial the idea of actually living there. And then I thought, no, I've still only been to Berlin and Amsterdam - I really need to see more of Europe. And toyed with the idea of just doing a massive trip around Europe. But that would mean I could stay abroad for another three months, maximum, probably less due to limited funds. So why not get a working a visa for a European country and live there for a bit. The obvious answer is Berlin and if I spoke German fluently/any better than I do and their economy wasn't so fucked I would go back fast than you can say "ich nehme ein Club Mate, bitte." But mostly I feel a bit "been there, done that" and that I should really try/experience somewhere else.

Jessie was going to travel around South America for six months and I thought about joining her when my visa ran out (I really wanted to do that after my stay in Chile last year and think its probably somewhere I would rather travel with a friend), but she has come in to some financial set backs and is now thinking of moving to Sweden and joining their roller derby team. So through Jessie's research and Lloyd's exchange I have found out that its quite easy to get a job in Sweden, even if you only speak English (pro #1). I've always thought Swedish culture was awesome with their leftist-hippy-welfare-supporting way of life and they also recently added a gender neutral pronoun to Swedish - amazeballs (pro #2). Everyone says it is filled with beautiful people (pro #3, 4 and 5). Also my new favourite cafe in London, Cooper & Wolf, around the corner from my house, is Swedish and makes me wish I was in Scandinavia and feel incredulous that I still haven't been. I'm counting it. And fuck, I dunno, why not Sweden?

But I'm still not adamant. That means working for minimum wage in another job I don't care about; essentially being poor in another currency. I wish I had something like roller derby, like Jessie. I wish I had something that I loved and was good at and could take me places. Don't say writing. That doesn't count. Its different. It just is. And I'm not even sure if I'm that keen on writing professionally any more. Yeah, whatever, I'm twenty two, leave me alone.

Today while walking from Cooper & Wolf to my local organic supermarket (I really quite like where I live) in the snow (DID I MENTION IT HAS BEEN SNOWING ALL DAY OH MY GOD ITS SO MUCH MORE AWESOME THAN WHEN IT SNOWED IN ILLINOIS WHICH WAS ALL FUCKING WINTER). I was deep in thought about living in London; the pros and cons and whether or not I'm actually enjoying myself when I slipped and fell. I managed to time it so well that a couple just happened to be in front of me at the moment my knee smashed into the unexpected curb and I emitted that awkward and surprised "aa-eeurggh" that people make when they fall on their own. They helped me up but I could see they were holding back laughter. Which is fine, falling over in the snow is funny and something I had previously used to describe slightly retarded people. I would have laughed too if I wasn't sure I wasn't about to cry (I didn't). That's what I get. It pretty much sums up everything.

I'm not particularly enjoying this growing up business. I want to be four years old again, measuring time in Play School episodes and playing with slaters in the garden or I want to be forty with a husband and a family and a career and all set up and content in life. I'm sick of this in between crap. Don't tell me these are the best years of my life. Whenever people say that I assume they were like, prefects in high school or something, and have a mortgage by the time they're...whatever age. Maybe they have a tattoo of a butterfly somewhere. I don't know. Just don't be that guy.

I always had this feeling that I was younger than everyone around me. Like I was only pretending to be allowed to be out on my own and buying alcohol and making big person decisions. Somehow everyone else was a real twenty something and they'd just forgot to check my ID properly. Except I can remember feeling like that in high school and probably also primary school. Not that I'm insecure or anything. But then I watched Liberal Arts and one of my favourite lines ever "nobody feels like an adult. It's the world's dirty secret" made me relax a bit.

I know this is all normal and I probably, actually, really just think about things too much and that I should just go out and get drunk and take drugs and shag everything that moves but if I wasn't this self absorbed you'd actually be doing the sixteen other things you were supposed to do today instead of reading my inane thoughts.

I'm not as unhappy as this post makes me seem. I'm just confused about what to do with myself and writing this as a way of hashing it all out and maybe getting some advice from my worldly, real adult friends and family. Where would you go/what would you do if you were in my situation? Do you know of any useful websites I could use to find programs or courses I could involved with? Whenever I search for that stuff it comes up with things for UK residents. Help me (I'm poor). The near endlessness of my options terrify me sometimes.

In other news, I think I'm going to grow my undercut/modern day mullet out. And maybe trial having grey hair. My flatmate's daughter, her name is for sure Zaina, has learnt my name (adorbz!) we have progressed to blowing kisses, playing "which hand is it in" and tickle fights all without words because I don't think she speaks English yet. She also started copying sticking her tongue out at me which is great because she always just stared at me blankly and I freaked out that maybe it was a rude gesture in Sierra Leone and I had seriously offended her. But its all good, we're becoming buddies now. Sometimes, I wish I could colour-in and dance around in my pyjamas all day with her.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I have continued to do things

A few things have happened since I last posted something here.

The Flatmates
I discovered that my flatmate's name is actually Dada and I'm not being inappropriately sexual when I say it to her. I found this out by checking the names on their post (why the fuck didn't I think of that before and why didn't you suggest it?!) and discovered they actually have different surnames which is weird because she is definitely wearing a wedding ring and is referred to as Baz's "wife." I want to say her first name is something like "Rwanda" but I won't because that's a country, the point is that the last syllable is "da" - thus she is known as Dada.

I have stopped trying to be their friends beyond "how was your day?", "that smells good" and "yes I am working tomorrow." This is also partly because their daughter has moved in. I was told about this three days before it happened. I don't know her name because I have not been introduced to her, although I have overheard her being referred to as "Zena" - yes, like the warrior princess. She is four and they haven't seen her for two years. I don't know why. I really fucking want to know but I don't feel like its something I can ask. I don't know why. You need to come and meet these people to know what I mean. That's half of that girl's life, that she has spent with someone other than her mother in a completely fucking different culture. Erin came back to London and stayed with me for five days over New Year's and due to my VAST EXPERIENCE OF PSYCHOLOGICALLY MINDED STUDY and her mother being a therapist, we diagnosed her with Attachment Issues. Mostly based on the fact that I went to work the day she arrived in London, Erin smiled at her on the way to the bathroom and received a hug. It doesn't sound as weird there, but when Erin told me I reacted with an exasperated "whhaaaaaaaaat?" so you should too. We also wondered exactly whose child she is because she has a definite fro and darker skin than Baz.

I also met their eight year old son, who came and stayed for a bit. I learnt this by getting up at heinous o'clock one morning for work and walked passed him on the couch watching cartoons. I waved hello and he shied away from me as if I was going to hit him. Gooooooood. I was a bit pissed off that they hadn't told me he was coming because I thought he was also staying for good. They make a big deal about this being my house too but don't introduce me to their kids (which, if I was them, I'd be doing my for children's sake, not mine (me - the house mate), then again if I was them I probably wouldn't have a self righteous sense of how to raise children) let alone tell me if they're coming. Their son left the other day though, which I'm sure is devastating for them, but good for me because I thought I was going to be kicked out and I really can't be arsed being homeless again.

The night before I left I heard him yell out "Aunty Dada" and my heart broke for her, figuring he had been raised thinking she wasn't his mother. But I'm going to hope that he is Baz's son from his previous marriage/relationship because that kind of thing would be so fucking awful for her and I already get the feeling she's pretty unhappy. Probably because all she does is watch shit midday television and sweep under the lounge room mat. I recently asked her if she'd had a good day and she said "no, all I did was stay home and look after the kids." I was under the impression she couldn't wait to look after her daughter again. You need a fucking hobby, lady.

I Found a Desk On The Side Of The Road and Bought and Built a Chair At Which I Am Currently Sitting

I got a new job at The Breakfast Club. The place I went to with Erin and had to have a food coma induced nap afterwards. I emailed the "Director of Jobbies" and basically said "hey I just had a rad bfast at one of your locations it was amazeballs and the staff were super helpful I totez reckon it would be a fucking cool place to work so here's my CV give me a buzzzz sometime" and a few weeks later, just when I was about to quit The Grind, during a London crisis breakdown, without having anything else lined up I was called in for an interview. I now have a full time waitressing job with them in Spitalfields (super close to Brick Lane); I'm back on minimum wage (£6.50 - Dada couldn't believe this when I told her - shows how much job hunting she's really been doing) but I make about £20 in tips every day. It's hard work but a different kind of hard work to Shoreditch Grind, mostly because I like 98% more of the staff at The Breakfast Club. And also mostly because I get £20 in tips every day. 

Maybe, at some point in the near future I'll upload the photos of the passive aggressive notes I took that the manager at the Grind left around the place. Man, that guy and his poor spelling got on my nerves.

Amy, a friend from St Mary's, came to London for a few days. We only met up once, unfortunately, but I really enjoyed catching up with her and hearing Perth goss from someone with a slightly different group of friends. I wish we could have caught up again, I feel like there was a lot more I wanted to talk to her about. As I mentioned Erin came back from gallivanting around Europe and she occupied the strangely comforting ditch in my bed (that was not a euphemism for lesbian sex). I bought us tickets to see the Australian comedian, Sam Simmons. I've seen him before (and I may have wet my pants a little bit during the show) so I would normally think seeing an Australian act while in London makes me as bad as the bogans in Shepherd's Bush but I got a little bit sad and lonely when all my friends in Perth went and saw him again without me AND ITS MY FUCKING MONEY I'LL GO AND SEE HIM AGAIN IF I WANT TO OKAY GEEZ. We didn't do much else because I was working every day, apart from New Year's Eve.

Xmas and NYE
Jessie tried to invite us to several of her friends' Xmas gatherings and everyone eventually said no (which has left us extremely confused about the meaning of Xmas) so in the end we (she) cooked and drank and ate and watched movies at my place and it was awesome because we didn't have to pretend we were having the most magical Xmas day ever. Even though, actually, it was pretty damn good. If you're supposed to spend Xmas day with the people you love, then I guess it was always going to be with my fake girlfriend (we have a fake/real-ish dog now, his name is Gerrard, the ruse continues). Until 4am when I woke up with bizarre stomach pains and threw up everything I ate. Here is a photo montage of Jessie And Sian's Unforced Magical Xmas.

Preparing the veggies

Apprehensive about the gravy

Stuffing the chicken

Roasting the veggies

Diwali/Xmas decorations

Xmas tree and presents (I got a necklace with a bird on it and a Hipster Hitler book - I love them just as much as if I'd got 53 times more presents from everyone at home too)

Dishing up the veggies

We were rightfully apprehensive about the gravy

Our table - with my spare bed sheet


Mulled wine

Scrolling through Netflix with a romantic fire in the background

It was cold

Post dinner raspberry mojitos

We watched this

Creating dessert magic

the best style

Boxing Day breakfast (particularly amazing as I had an empty stomach at this point)

New Year's Eve was also pretty awesome. We (me, Jessie, Jessie's sister, Ali and Erin) spent all day buying and designing costumes for the Victorian Circus Freakshow party in Camden, only to turn up and discover we were the only ones dressed up. Whatevz. We continued to drink all night and have a rad time just as if we were surrounded by fellow circus freaks. Work the next day was awful. I basically wanted to cry, vomit, sleep, shit and cry at the same time all day. I did get £40 in tips though.

Ali, me (I swear my bra wasn't that obvious, then again I had started drinking when I got dressed. I'm not really sure what I was going for, actually), Erin and Jessie

In character (my character quite likes Erin's character, apparently)

Jessie is punching herself because she was drunkenly regaling the story of when she was mugged which has become our favourite story (I didn't mug her). I'm sad for you that you won't hear both of us tell the story together.

Unexplained bruise on my inner thigh. Yes, I took this photo while on the toilet. At work. It was a slow day (seriously, I only got £8 today).

And, no, I don't have any New Year's resolutions. Like Ricky Gervais, I don't see the point in changing something about my life just because the year ends with a different number now. You should change your life because it needs changing and to make you happy not because you drunkenly told a bunch of people before midnight. I'm not saying my life doesn't need changing now but I can't think of anything I know I won't keep, and what's the point in making a promise you know you'll break. Surely we've all got enough self hate going on without purposefully adding to it. I'd like to think I'll stick at this full time work thing even though I'm clearly allergic to it (see below) but that's more so I can pay rent/lead some semblance of an adult life rather than #newyearsresolution.

Hand Herpes/Stigmata
The last couple of days I've been feeling a bit shitty because I have this absurd rash/disgustingness on my hands. I've always had dermatitis things on my fingers and have prescription creams that sort it out when it gets bad. But I noticed a month a go that it had spread and the cream didn't help, so I went to the chemist and got something else. That worked until it seemed to burn a hole in my skin. I woke up in quite a lot of pain yesterday and decided to waste my day off in the NHS walk-in clinic waiting room. Two and half hours later (although I was reading the latest Frankie, so I guess it wasn't that bad) I spoke to a patronising and judgemental nurse who gave me the prescription I was after eventually, but almost made me cry thanks to a series of unnecessary comments about whether or not I have actually had this "all my life", how much I drink, whether waitresses actually need their hands more than other people and if I have changed a detergent or body product recently that has caused it WELL YEAH BECAUSE I'VE LIVED IN FOUR DIFFERENT COUNTRIES IN TWO YEARS AND ALWAYS HAD IT. Fuck you, NHS nurse. I pay taxes too, you should be nicer. I just want my family GP (even a scary male doctor at this point) covered by Mummy and Daddy's private health insurance to refer me to a dermatologist (but not the one who kindly informed me oral medication means "through the mouth"). 

So this whole thing is getting me down because I want to scratch but can't, want to work to get more moolah but it's painful and I'm kind of useless and want to ride my bike that Jessie finished building. Ali has gone away for a bit so I can use it except I can't because I would be only slightly less disabled at holding handlebars and steering a bike through London in peak hour than a thirteen year old girl trying to use a tampon for the first time. Failure, is what I'm trying to get at, it would end in failure, awkwardness and a possible sore vagina. I'm going to go and eat some Vegemite on toast about this. 

Enjoy that image while you eat your rice crispies. Or bacon. It kind of looks like bacon. Off bacon, maybe.