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My sister has a foot phobia. I don’t mean like a slight aversion to feet. I mean that she is actually afraid of them and actively avoids them in all situations. She wears socks…all the time. I went to the movies with her the other day (it’s the middle of summer) and she quickly threw off her thongs & proceeded to put on some socks. I’ve asked her why she hates them so much…she says she can’t explain, but the sight of feet make her feel sick.
What she hates even more is when people have to touch her feet. She avoided getting new sneakers for months as she didn’t want to have to try new ones. When forced to get a pedicure for my cousins wedding, she sat there mute and turned a pale colour.
Her phobia, provides great ammunition & black mail. Numerous times, I have just put my feet on her when I want the channel on the tv changed. It works every time.
I do not have the same foot phobia. Meeting my baby cousin for the first time, last week….I was immediately infatuated with his tiny feet. Baby feet are just adorable. Something about the tiny toes and podgy sole. Honestly, I just wanted to eat them, they were so cute (not in a literal sense!). The way the toes curled & arched when he was excited..
Anyways, just thought I’d share these pics…
My boyfriend’s dad (Uncle J) bought 2 sausage dog puppies last year. After much discussion (my suggestion of Frankfurt or Bratwurst were apparently not appropriate)…they were named Ringo & Star. Uncle J loves them. No…like, he loves, loves, loves them. He cuts up their broccoli with scissors every night for dinner. Hires me often as the ‘dog-sitter’ whilst he attends dinner parties. And uses a ‘very special’ high-pitched voice to speak to them (ok fine – I am guilty of that too, if you are a dog owners you know the ‘special voice’ you put on to speak to your doggy – it is usually extremely high pitched and very akward if someone hears you…my ‘dog-voice’ even has a slight Indian influence integrated into it- don’t ask me why!). Don’t get me wrong, I have two beautiful dogs (Mojo & Perry) & treat them as my brothers (from another mother). However, Uncle J’s love for his two puppies is actually amazing. I have never quite seen anything like it.
Last weekend, he specially requested that I attend a ‘festival’ at Bicentennial park with the family. The details surrounding this ‘festival’ remained ambiguous. Secretly, I was hoping it involved some sort of wine and cheese. No, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Uncle J said he would be at my door to pick me up at 8am…on a Sunday. Given that he insisted that I attend this ‘festival’. I accepted the invite. Upon getting into the car, I saw… Ringo & Star in the backseat…with Uncle J. I was adamant that he take the front seat, but he refused. Instead he lovingly stroked the dogs & fed them out of a special bottle.
Upon my arrival at the Bi-centennial park, I looked out the window to find myself at the annual “Daschund festival”. It was 8am. On a Sunday. I was not mentally, emotionally ready for this. Don’t get me wrong, Ringo & Star are adorable…but sausage dogs on the whole, scare me just a little. Maybe its their disproportioned bodies or their long snouts.
But, I kid you not…there were sausage dogs everywhere. Big ones, small ones, long-haired, tan, brown, fat, skinny….I am not going to lie; I was totally freaked out. Majority of the dogs were dressed up – some as as ballerina’s others as bondi surf lifesavers, quite a few as live ‘hot dogs’. I don’t know what freaked me out more – the hundreds of sausage dogs…or their owners. T-shirts with “Look at my Weiner” & “Sex, Drugs & (Sausage) Rolls” were not uncommon. There were running races (let’s admit daschunds are not the most athletic of dogs – I had to hold back my laughter) & prizes for ‘tricks’ (the winner; a sausage dog that held a position like a status for 3 mins…actually quite impressive…but still…weird).
Given it was 8am on a Sunday, Jai & I phantomed out of the daschund ‘funtivities’ for an hour to get some breakfast. When we came back, there were even more dogs.
To me it was bizarre, but to other’s it was just a regular Sunday in the world of a Daschund owner. I guess at the end of the day, a dog essentially like a child…no matter how ‘special looking’ it is – if it is your own, you love it & think it is the best!
So I hadn’t been to IKEA since I was 5 years old. My memory of IKEA, is happily sucking on a toffee apple whilst sitting in the trolley. Last weekend, 20 years later…. I returned to IKEA. It was very different this time around. My sister called me mad. My dad called me an idiot. But, yes, I went to the new IKEA Tempe store (opened 3 weeks ago) on a Sunday afternoon. Probably not the most ideal time. Every pregnant lady and her hormonally charged emotions was there. It was like being on the set of a Bold & Beautiful episode. Domestic arguments in every aisle. Classic quotes I overheard; Young girl to her boyfriend; “Of course, you and your mates would like that lamp. It is U-G-L-Y. Just like you. Seriously, I just can’t do this anymore” (by ‘this’ I am unsure if she was referring to IKEA or her relationship). Another classic; the domestic argument in the sofa area- wife to husband: “Just vis- it, please just vis-it”. Husband: “What the hell is vis-it”. Wife: “it means.. visualise it, you idiot”. The drama was amazing. I wish I had popcorn. My BF and I had a few small arguments. Mostly about his inability of ‘furniture language'; “This would fit my apartment decorem perfectly”. Its “decor” not “decorem” or his lack of prioritisation; “Look Nix! A whiteboard with magnets… I can write stuff to myself” My response: “Stop being an idiot – You need a dining table, a couch and a coffee table first”.
One of my passions is furniture. I love it. It’s the reason why I went to Sweden a couple of months ago. No, I didn’t venture to the IKEA store there. I’m not THAT stupid. I did however, lovingly stroke a lot of swedish furniture – trying to convince Jai, I could sit with it on my lap on the airplane. In all honesty, driving into IKEA’s 3000 space carpark, I thought that this experience was going to be a real test on our relationship. I envisioned dragging Jai around like a small child. I envisioned myself taking charge and helping him choose everything. I envisioned myself, getting frustrated at him for not focusing or losing interest.
Quite the opposite happened.
I didn’t understand why you had to walk through the entire store, even if you only wanted a light bulb. I felt like a rat in a maze. Herded into each area. Disorientated. I didn’t understand the process of writing down ‘item numbers’. It’s a clever concept and its no wonder, IKEA are doing so well. After 3 hours, I started transforming into my 5 year old self. I was hungry – wanted chocolate and needed to go to the bathroom. I became delirious. It even crossed my mind – Were these ‘test toilets’ were functional? It was then that the real shopping began. The storeroom. Aisle after aisle, full of flatpacked boxes. Racing to an aisle only to find the ‘out of stock’ sign.
The backs of my ankles were bruised – thanks to the continual trolley ramming by other shoppers. My biceps burned – thanks to my lack of trolley ‘control’. Finding out the final cost of all these items was hard. Finding the exit out was even harder. Trying to squash x12 flatpacks plus chairs plus many ‘accessories’ into Jai’s small Toyota was impossible. But we did it. We had survived. Pretty sure we did a small high five. Putting together flatpacks is another issue altogether. I’ve heard many stories of couples going into therapy over IKEA flatpacks. I was not ready to embark on the ‘flat packing’ journey with Jai yet. I opted out. I cant’ tell my left from my right (no joke). I can’t tell a screw from a nail. I wasn’t going to be much help. That didn’t stop Jai -he pulled out his (very cute) toolbox (full of ‘tools’ he has collected over the years) and the next day started assembling.
Admittedly, I got to give the guy credit. He remained calm throughout our IKEA shopping experience…..and literally put together x12 IKEA flat packs in no joke, 48 hours. I was in shock. He did a brilliant job.
Maybe we should apply for the Block or renovators…or then again…maybe not.
You know those moment when you are trying to smile on the outside – but on the inside you are crying with fear?!
Well…that was me – riding a bicycle down the Champs-Elysees. Not by choice, my friend had forced me; “Come on it will be fun!”. Having a drink under the eiffel tower = fun. Trying on boutique clothe s= fun. Nearly dying in Paris = Not fun.
I’m no Lance Armstrong. And yes, admittedly I probably hold the record for being the oldest kid in the park still on ‘training wheels’. And yes, I probably would still request training wheels if it was socially acceptable.
A forced smile on the oustide. But inside I was scared. My hands turned blue as I gripped the handle bars. I thought I was going to die. No, I’m not being dramatic – I honestly thought I was going to die.
A double-decker bus skimmed pass me. Parisians cursed me through their windows. I’m pretty sure I closed my eyes for some it.
My friend Jo rode ahead, laughing, waving…at one point even texting on her phone. I yelled abuse to her…in my head (was to scared to open my mouth).
Lesson learnt: Bike tours = not my ‘thang’. I am much better on foot.
We ate in pitch darkness. Our eyes didn’t adjust. I’ve done the dinner under the stars in Uluru. But this was different. There was absolutely no light.
Blind waiters and waitresses worked at the restaurant. I was instructed to hug ‘Marcus’s (our waiter) neck as he guided me to my chair.
At first I felt claustrophobic. I felt short of breathe. I couldn’t see a damn thing.
The 3 course dinner was a surprise. We had no idea what we were eating. After the claustrophobia wore off, it was very exciting.
It was like being in a game of laser tag…for 4 hours. I felt that someone was always behind me. Ready to tackle me down. My heart was beating fast.
I could feel my other senses immediately becoming increasingly heighted. I could hear a lady sitting to my right. At one point in the dinner, my fingers accidently touched her hair. She screamed out. I then realised the ‘dark humour’ wasn’t called dark humour for nothing. I could do anything I wanted. I was anonymous. I slowly pulled at the lady’s hair. She cried out hysterically; “I cant take this any more…someone turn on the lights”. Her cry’s for help fell on deaf ears.
I then started to mess with my bf, Jai. I stole his cutlery. I shifted his drink to my side of the table. “I lost my drink, I lost my drink”. He began to panic. My response….I remained silent for 5 mins. “Nix….Nix…Are you there? Why aren’t you saying anything?” And so it continued…Admittedly, it was immature… but I found it absolutely hilarious.
We attempted to use our cutlery to eat our entrée. The fork kept hitting my cheek. Frustrated, Jai then said; “Use your hands, just use your hand…indian style…who cares no body can see us”. So I used my hands. To eat everything. I felt almost animalistic.
Dining in the dark made me realise just how much I rely on my sight. It also forced me into the situation
The best discovery – the chocolate dessert, which I thought was just a bowl of chocolate mousse. I left the bowl and for some reason put my lips on it. JACKPOT! The bowl was edible!!!! It was a chocolate bowl. I think the whole restaurant heard my discovery…”JAI!! The bowl is chocolate… you can eat it!!!”.
The only other blind experience I have had was in Guatemala. It was a ‘blind massage’ (ie. The masseuse was blind). Despite the fact that he wore sunglasses and that he had a cassette playing noises to indicate the time – still to this day, I question whether the masseuse was actually blind. It sounds horrible, I know, but my breasts got ‘massaged’/groped excessively and he kept asking if I had a ‘novio’ (boyfriend). The giveaway – as I walked out of the massage parlour…he took of his sunglasses and opened a newspaper…..I don’t know, I don’t want to judge- maybe his friend was about to read it to him….
There is no universal definition for street art. However, growing up on the leafy suburban streets of Sydney’s North, my experience of street art was limited to pubescent teenage boys ‘tagging’ their names on or misspelling phrases, ‘F**k the Sistem’ on train station platforms. Of note was the North Shore ‘gang’ called GFF (Gordon Freedom Fighters). They tagged stations, schools, shops…I call them a ‘gang’ in inverted commas, as I bet their mum’s still packed their lunches and their greatest weapon was probably an empty bottle of Moet stolen from their dad’s cellar. Nevertheless, I’ve always been fascinated by colourful street murals and images. Melbourne is always a great place to perve on some street art. But even better…I was lucky enough to be able to go to Berlin. A street art lovers dream.
Berlin is a city plagued a history of tension & unrest. It is no wonder that street art permeates every nook and cranny – it is the physically and visual manifestation of the years of suppression.
Street art is not limited to tagging and spray can graffiti. It goes deeper, much deeper. There is such a variety of techniques used- pasting, stickers, stencils, sculptures, guerilla art, street installations and flash mobbing. Street art refers to the contemporary public-space artwork, as opposed to the traditional graffiti and vandalism.
There are differences of opinion, as to what constitutes street art .
My own opinion and perspective was formed after walking the streets of Berlin. For me, what constitutes street art is a purposeful creative expression that aims to engage viewers and communicate socially relevant themes in ways that are informed (as opposed to vandalism which is conducted in a destructive context). I guess, ultimately, what constitutes ‘good’ street art is, of course, in the eye of the beholder.
To get a comprehensive insight and understanding of the street art in Berlin, we embarked on a street art tour, run by Alternative Street art Tours (NB:- I highly recommend this if you are travelling to Berlin – it was a highlight of my trip: http://www.alternativeberlin.com/). The tour was led by two street artists (who were slightly nuts, one guide spent the entire tour watching the pavement and pushing us out of the way to ensure we didn’t step in any dog mess!) We learnt about the historical context of street art.
My favourite part of the tour was hearing the Linda story. To illustrate the impact of street art on Berlin’s citizens, we were told he story of the Linda campaign. An artist who wrote poignant love letters all over the city to his ex Linda, asking her to come back to him. Each poster featured this sad looking boy and asked the same question – “Where’s Linda?”. At first, people either ignored the posters or were mildly curious. Nort before long, it captured the imagination of sympathetic Berliners who were eager to see the couple united. The campaign continued for a year until the artist finally came forwarded and admitted it was an art project, to see how people would react. It really made me realize the power of street art – it has the power to connect people to a cause. It has the power to transcend the art form and influence behaviour.
Street art is democratic – It is done by the people, for the people. It is not limited to high class art galleries. It is there for everyone to see. Street art is illegal in Berlin. Street artists to risk getting fined & arrested…but I guess that just heightens its appeal. We were told stories of guys getting their arms chopped of my moving trains whilst they try and ‘bomb’ them (NB:- Bombing, is when crews get together and try and pray whole trains or buildings in their colours and tags).Losing your arm in the name of art – dedication.
Street is art is also not limited to 2D. Some of it is interactive and allows people to get involved. More over, what I love about it – is that it makes you reconsider and think.
These are other reasons why I love street art:
- Speculation: It makes you stop & think?
- Inspiration: What is the message behind that piece of art? Why didn’t I think of that? (I was asking myself that a lot)
- Awareness: A street sign, the curbside…it brings things to the forefront.
- Transformation of the mundane: A brick wall is no long just a brick wall – its art.
- Accessibility: allows artists who may otherwise feel disenfranchised, to reach a much broader audience than traditional artwork and galleries normally allow. – – – Anonymity: The artists remain unknown (unless of course, you circulate in that crowd). I like the inherent contradiction – the artists remain anonymous, however their artwork is highly visible.
OK, so I’m not going to lie, it did cross my mind – maybe this was my life’s calling? maybe I was destined to be a street artist? I quickly realised that setting my alarm off at 1am every morning & wearing a balaclava whilst running away from the police, wasn’t really ‘me’.- I go to bed at 9pm most nights and I love rules (my days as a school prefect, were some of my finest),
My trip to Berlin changed the way I walk down the street. I now take an active interest in street art – I attempt to decode the underlying messages. I try to imagine the artist behind the anonymous work. It has opened my eyes.
Next time you see street art – stop and think…there is much more than what meets the eye…