Getting to Europe.

15 Oct

Apologies for the short hiatus – I have been wandering (not always in the right direction) through Europe for the last 3 weeks…

The trip was very spontaneous. On the eve of my 25th birthday (very intoxicated, suffering from my quarter life crisis) I sent an email to our family travel agent, requesting a flight to London. The next morning, I had no relocation of sending the email – nevertheless, I confirmed.

I was going to Europe.

After much deliberation, I decided on visiting; London, Paris, Berlin & Stockholm. Being the highly organized, efficient, compulsive ‘list-maker’ I am….I immediately began to ‘research’. I made a collated ‘excel spreadsheet’ for each destination. Separate tabs on sights to see, nightlife & restaurants. Colour coded according to priorities & ‘must see’. Formatted so when printed it looked like a ‘book’. Yes, I have heard of Lonely Planet. That is irrelevant. My research ‘manual’ was personalised and admittedly, awesome. Side note: Feel free to hit me up if you want this ‘Eurotrip 2011’ list (nixsheth@gmail.com)

I love traveling.

I love the constant stimulation of the senses. New sights, smell’s, sounds. Street signs, people walking dogs, tall buildings…things that are normally classified in my daily life as mundane suddenly become ‘cool’ and ‘photo worthy’. I love the way travel allows us to transcend routine and feel like we can take on anything. – wish you could bottle that and spray into your normal everyday life…ready to take risks.

For the next few posts, I want to share some of the highlights from my trip (there really were hardly any lowlights….ok, maybe struggling with the German U-Bahn transportation system, repeated mis-identification of currency…getting dirty looks from Parisian’s as I repeatedly tried to pay with pounds by accident & the nauseous feeling of one too many cinnamon buns in Sweden), also want to share some random insights & thoughts that caught my interest along the way…

Let me first rant about my main negative experience of the trip, just to get it out of the way.

Whilst, I love traveling, I hate airplanes. I am not scared of flying. I just hate certain elements of experiences.

Top hates:

  • Security detector – EVERY time, one of us got pulled up – Racial profiling…admittedly did have a large scissor in my hand luggage from Swedish designer…got taken away. Sorry mum.
  • Lighting system – makes you feel like a caged animal. Lights on, you must eat. Lights off, you must sleep.
  • Neck paralysation (aka Dead Neck) – no matter how you (solution: bought a fugly neck pillow
  • The ‘tray shuffle’ – For some reason, you always need to go to the bathroom when the meal has just been served – the awkward tray shuffle – drinks are spilt & muscles are torn. Need I say more.
  • Goldfish Syndrome – the open and closing of your mouth as you attempt to rebalance your ears and make them ‘pop’. It is not a pretty sight.
  • Immaculate Airhostesses – how they remain looking fresh & composed throughout the flight annoys me. Meanwhile, my hair looks like a rats nest and my top is almost always top with melted chocolate (I make it a point to ALWAYS travel with chocolate- preferably peanut m&m’s!)

Some interesting characters I spotted on board

  • Matching tracksuit couple – This couple wore matching purple Nike tracksuits, pulled out matching novels and wore matching blue headphones. No not sweet, slightly creepy.
  • Lady who spent 5 hrs (no joke) cutting a dragonfruit…with a small plastic airplane knife. Wierdest part: She didn’t even eat it in the end. New hobby? Who knows.
  • Chronic Snorer – we all know a snorer, but this guy was horrible. I could hear him over the airplane engine. I could hear him over the movie I was watching. It sounded like a dying animal.

Solution: Continue traveling, but start a new career in teleportation research….

A Bizarre Encounter in Aisle 4 Woolworths Checkout

16 Sep

So, apologies in advance _ I do not have a pretty photo to reflect my post. I just feel very compelled to write about a very bizarre encounter I had this morning. It was unexpected and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about tit since.

 

I had to buy a trolley (literally) full of bread (for work purposes) early this morning.  The ‘check-out chick’ looked over 55+ and had big, bushy ‘Frida Kahlo-like” eyebrows. They were definitely the distinguishing feature on her harsh, but podgy face. Being the friendly person I am, I greeted her with a warm smile & said a ‘hello, how are you?”.  

 

Not in a million years could I have anticipated what was to come next. Let’s just say, the probability of what came out of this ‘check-out chick’s’ mouth, can be aligned with the probability of Victoria Beckham voluntarily sifting through a bargain bin at Target. Yes, unlikely.

 

I wish I had found out her name. She wasn’t wearing her badge.

 

Anyways, I expected a simple “I am well thanks” to my question. Instead I got; “I am feeling good tody, as my boss let me off last night and I got to watch the re-run of Miss Universe.”

 

I thought it was going to stop there. No…she continued. For 15 minutes. On the topic of Miss Universe. I wish I was exaggerating. But I promise I am not.

 

I don’t know if she was lonely or she was genuinely obsessed by the topic. Nevertheless, her facial expression remained deadpan. She rattled off statistics & figures like it was a math’s Olympiad. “Did you know that 3 of the top 5 finalists of the 2011 pageant were from Spanish speaking backgrounds – don’t know find that biased?” before, I had a chance to get over the shock, she was telling me; “In 2008, I knew that Puerto Rico had a 76% chance of winning, she looked natural & was a stand out from the start”…”Did you know, Angola was a Portuguese colony? No wonder she won”

 

She then went on a tangent, on the meaning of beauty and for her beauty is when she ‘can’t stop looking at someone’ (alarm bells, started to set off in my head – what the hell?). She told me how she didn’t like ‘long pins’, but instead preferred bodies that didn’t look like they had been ‘worked out’.

 

She spoke fast. Very fast. Was direct. And struggled to take a breath.

 

Let me remind you – by this stage I had already had all my goods swiped and paid for. She just didn’t let me escape, she kept talking as she served the line of people behind me. Each of them, giving me the ‘I feel sorry for you’ look.

 

Ok so admittedly, 5 mins into it – I may have added fuel to the fire. I told her my friend from school was MissAustraliain 2007 (Caroline Pemberton). She was already onto it – in 2 seconds flat, she started rattling of facts about Caroline. It was truly unbelievable – “Oh yes, the blonde one, who does a lot of charity work & does quite a few TV appearances”….opinions on Rachel Finch, Cherrie Lee-Biggs and Jennifer Hawkins followed….she ended her speech with “It must feel so good winning Miss Universe”

 

I was running late, I didn’t want to seem polite….but I slowly started edging the trolley away. But then…. the strangest thing happened (even after our 15 min engagement), instead of saying goodbye or any closing comments, she just turned to the customer she was serving…and said “cheque, credit or savings”. That was it. Speech over.

 

I was left there amused and in shock & disbelief…did that just really happen?

 

It was a very interesting experience; I have never met a die-hard Miss Universe pageant fan before. To be honest, I thought majority of the audience were  men  that enjoyed watching women parade around in swim suits or American stage-mom’s taking notes for their unborn daughters to increase their chances of becoming a beauty queen one day……Never in my life, would I have picked this 50-something Woolies check-out chick ….BY no means, I am not judging…. I say good on her for being so passionate about it!

 

I still don’t understand, why she chose me to download all her Miss Universe opinions on. It was very intense & unexpected for a8:00amtrip to Woolworths.

 

Maybe it was her dream to be a beauty queen. Maybe she enjoyed the pageants for its cultural currency. Or maybe I should brush up on my pageant knowledge, go back to Aisle 4….and ask her these questions myself!

A visit to the art gallery…

12 Sep


 

Subdued whispers. Voiced opinions. Silently shuffling. Pausing every few steps. Staring. Gazing. Getting lost – not physically, but instead getting lost in the metaphysical. Blurring boundaries between imagination and reality.  No control of where your imagination may venture to next.  Colours. Lines. Textures. Each element constitutes a whole. Each element a dormant catalyst – you never know what it might activate within you– a physical facial expression, a long-forgotten memory, a potent emotion.

Art Galleries. Visiting one is like stepping into a vortex. The art gallery space has a universal vibe. On the outset art galleries are physically predictable – paintings on walls, sculptures on floors, people politely wandering, tour guides excitedly proving insight. Yet, beyond the basic structure and social etiquette, lies the unfamiliar. On the surface it just seems like people viewing art, however, those who have been to an art gallery know how much deeper this actually goes. Each piece of art has the power to take you on an imaginative journey. A journey with no predefined destination. It is not like reading a book. Or watching a movie. There is no fixed ending. How your mind makes sense of a piece of art, is dependent on a culmination of your own logic, rationality, creativity and past experiences. How you perceive a piece of art is important, because whilst someone else has created it – it is ultimately a reflection of your inner self.

An art gallery pulsates. An art gallery breathes. An art gallery lives. Certain pieces of art live on in your mind. Even when your consciousness has put them to sleep, your subconsciousness keeps them awake.

I visited the ‘Mad Square’ Berline exhibition (Weimar Period 1919-1933) last week. I went there by myself. People might find that weird. But I found it incredibly meditative. I could take my time. I could take in each piece without interruption. I honestly had such a good time. The lighting, the humidity, the temperature of an art gallery – all so controlled, seemingly contradicts the chaos that runs through your mind whilst viewing art.

Being myself, meant that I could focus deeply on my own reaction to certain pieces. Whilst  I was in there – my mind quietened. My breath slowed. I immediately realised how powerful this space was. No wonder art has stitched itself into the material that makes up human culture. No wonder art galleries are so highly valued all over the world for centuries and centuries.

You forget the world outside. Art galleries demand total focus. Fragmented thoughts of daily life, suddenly are put into perspective. Upon viewing art, your view becomes myopic.

Art galleries. Powerful places. Powerful spaces.

Secret Car Behaviour

4 Sep

All of us have been involved in SCB at some stage. Incessantly drumming your palms on the steering wheel. Cruising, with one hand out the window, doing ‘the rollin’ with the homies’ move (you know the one). Or, with all windows rolled up…belting out Mariah Carey’s ‘One sweet day’. Yes, you got it – SCB – Secret Car Behaviour. Except…that it is not so secret. Although, it feels like we are in a protective bubble…it is too easy, to forget that we are actually caged in a perspex mobile vehicle. Tinted windows? Don’t kid your self… people can still see in.

One SCB which I am very well acquainted is car singing (at the top of your lungs).

You know what I’m talking about…the awkward moment, where you stop at the traffic light and your favourite song comes on…all of a sudden you let down all inhibitions. Your shoulder begins to twitch, before you know it…your head is bopping, you hands are beating the wheel and you are singing (VERY loudly). Your peripheral vision catches something by your side. You stop mid-verse, only to see the driver next to you is either horrified or laughing…..hard. In this situation there are two paths you can take:
a) Sink down in your seat & stare hard at the red light – hoping it will turn green quickly, so you can speed off.
b) You continue your ‘performance’, smiling at your traffic acquaintance, hoping they will be inspired to do the same.

We spend equivalent of 1 year of our life stuck in traffic (ok, I made that up – but I reckon I am pretty close). It is considered wasted time….or is it? I have recently taken up to downloading ‘intellectual’ podcasts, as a result my trivial pursuit game has improved ten-fold. I also received a free Mary Poppins CD this week, which I have been paying on repeat- this has definitely improved my high soprano notes & vibrato….

Another one of my favourite things to do, is put on my ‘Gangsta Nix” playlist & drive one-handed (again, very safely), put one hand on the window pane…and pretend that I am driving down an alley way in the Bronx in New York. It makes me feel empowered. (NB:- If you want to recreate this amazing sensation for yourself, I recommend Coolio’s -Gangsta Paradise)

Moving on from SCB, the car is the perfect place to ‘think’. Over the last few years whilst driving my (yellow) Honda Jazz, certain ‘car-related’ innovation ideas have arisen (Please kindly do not try and steal my ideas, they are all copyrighted)

1. There should be a car dating service. Come on admit it, how many times have you been distracted by a hottie in a near by vehicle? Purposely switched lanes? Given a flirtatious smile at the traffic lights? I am guilty of doing this many times. So this is my idea…If you are single & interested, you should be able to display your name, number and a small message on your window. The love interest can then ‘accept’ or ‘decline’ your message. Viola! On the road to love….

2. Car-o-ke – A (safe) way to be able to display lyrics of a song on the windscreen of your car – like a projector…Yes, there are a few flaws in this idea – but come on…its genius! What’s not to love! My new ‘thang’ is recording myself singing on my iphone when in the car – instant playback was a great invention – especially when you have such a gorgeous voice like mine. I’m sure a recording feature could be integrated into ‘car-o-ke’.

3. The ‘wave’ – instead of ‘waving your hand, I think we should install a back windscreen wiper with a hand that says ‘Thank you’. I also, think there should be another option to attach a hand signaling the rude finger with such phrases as “Stop driving so closer to me you [insert rude word here]”, “Hurry the [insert F word here] up”. Again, genius!

Some of my other ‘illegal’ SCB, includes painting my nails (using the wheel as a flat surface), changing my bra whilst driving on the way to soccer training, even been known to read a book whilst being stuck on Ryde Rd. If you are part of the police force, please disregard above comments.

SCB – productive, exciting and oh so satisfying.

The awkward moment when…

17 Aug

The awkward moment when you realise you have had a piece of  green parsley in between your teeth…for the last 2 hrs.

The awkward moment when you go to introduce someone and ….your mind goes blank.

The awkward moment when you order the ‘usual’ to the cute barista and he has no idea what you are talking about (Matteo, if you are reading this – Do I have an unforgettable face/personality? Or did you just enjoy watching me get embarrassed? After 5 yrs of uni, you still asked for my name & coffee…every morning)

The awkward moment when you say goodbye to someone then walk the same direction.

The awkward moment when you start cheering wildly, only to realise you have just watched an instant replay.

The awkward moment when you think someone is waving to you….but they are waving at someone behind.

The awkward moment which you reach into your pocket to get your ‘lipgloss’, but instead pull out your female sanitary item (ok, this happened to me last week,  it was absolutely mortifying!!).

Awkward moments are inescapable. They are unexpected. There is no warning. Take comfort in the fact that they happen to everyone (well…nearly everyone….maybe not the Queen or Opera).

All of the above  are personal experiences – all of which have happened multiple times.  You never become desensitised, no matter how many times these awkward moments arise, they are each as painful as the next.  Lucky for me, my Indian complexion never allows me to go visibly ‘red’…instead, I just feel the burning heat as it rises up my neck.

One awkward moment, which I have experience repeatedly .… is that my ‘fly’ is always open. No I’m not a pervert – I don’t do it on purpose. I swear it must be my body shape. No matter what brand, what style (high-waisted included), for some reason my fly becomes undone. Yes, I am aware of the zip ‘locking mechanism’ where you push the zip downward. What amazes me is the myriad of ways, people address the ‘open fly’ situation. Some discreetly lock eye contact with me and then look down at my crotch – they stare, until I get the hint. Others, blatantly (and loudly) state “Nix, your fly is undone”.

Even as a pre-teen on a trip to Disney Land in the USA,  the Donald Duck character kept pointing at me, and miming me to ‘do up your fly”.  Obviously I have not grown out of it ; this year, on the morning of  my 25th birthday, my ‘fly situation’ stepped up a notch. As I was pulling up my fly – the zipper snapped, flew off, hit the window & fell into the toilet bowl. I was in a café, needless to say, I spent the day with my fly undone.

True story. All I can say, is lucky I’m not a guy.

So next time you see someone with toilet paper stuck on their shoe, their jumper on backwards or you can see that their toupe is creeping down their forehead to create a second eyebrow……don’t judge, laugh or embarrass them…because next time it could be you!

Feel free to comment with some awkward moments you have faced…

Part 4: 34 Westbrook – Hinges, doorknobs and rimming….

7 Aug

 

It is often the small things that go unnoticed.

I find it fascinating. I have woken up in the same room for 22 years. I’ve brushed my teeth in the same bathroom and sat in the same position on our family dining table. Despite all these things being literally in front of my eyes every day – I still cant recall the small details – I couldn’t tell you the design of tiles in our bathroom, which piece of art is currently hanging in our main dining room  (to my defence, this changes regularly – this comes with living with an artist) or even the colour of our living room blinds (off-white, caramel…or are they wooden slats….) I haven’t a clue.

It is only natural that things in your immediate environment, become routine, familiar and ordinary –  you become desensitised. Your eyes see it, but there is no association in your mind. It is just…there.

It is only until… things start to change, to move, to disappear – that you suddenly become more perceptive and alert to the smaller details.

Being confronted with the reality of moving out, the details of my home are emerging from the woodwork (excuse the pun). As we ‘style’ our house for prospective buyers, de-clutter  and tidy our home is changing. Has that always been there? Something is missing from the garden, but I don’t know what it is? Has that wall always been teal blue? This has nothing to do with my short-sightedness, or my non-observant behavioural trait. I mean, I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but analysing each room to ensure optimal ‘presentation’, had really made me open my eyes.

Dad made a comment “Shame, our bathrooms are not tiled all the way to the ceiling?” “I wonder whether the brick wall in the study will be an issue?”- Alarm bells went off. Really? In 22 yrs, despite using the same shower and spending endless hours in the study – I’ve never noticed the tiles or the brick wall. I guess, it’s because, there was no need to take notice.

I believe this idea can be extended to people. We see people as an entire being (seeing them as a sum of their parts), that is, until things change – they may move away or they may pass away….then you force yourself to remember each mole, the smell of their perfume and their hair colour… as you rack your brain to hold onto the details, it becomes evident how the ‘smaller things’, aren’t so ‘small’ anymore – instead they have become significant.

Moral: Stop and the smell the roses. Take in the little details.

Just a thought!

Saying goodbye to the 2076 Hood.

1 Aug

10 things I will miss….

1. The bush turkey’s roaming the streets (and the occasional echidna)

2.  Tom the Green grocer & his ‘pick n mix’ & ice-cream selection (yes mum, that’s where the change went when I bought the milk & bread)

3. Junction Lane (the no through road on the side of our house)- with the perfect downward gradient – the ultimate place for riding bikes, home-made billy carts, razor scooters and rollerblades…

4. Dodgy Don – the infamous North Shore alcohol supplier to under 18’s.

5. Spying on the ‘undercover’ drug circle, headed by a 30 year old ranga (yes – he has orange hair, still lives with his mum and has illegal car parts scattered on his lawn)

6. Referring to my hood as the ‘2076’

7. The neighbor calling me to tell me to shut my blinds (because she can see me dancing…naked- Yes it has happened…multiple times)

8. The sound of dirt bikes revving their way to Golden Jubilee at 1am in the morning (Kurin-gai council if you are reading this, I am NOT happy with the plan to build a world class dirt bike ramp on jubilee – not cool)

9. The 20 second stroll to the Hampden “restaurant’ strip – Cozy Thai & La Zana (Spying/watching my sister Alisha, get fired from La Zana was a definite highlight)

10. Knowing how to get home…..with my directional incapability, I can sense the number of ‘getting lost’ situations rising exponentially…

Oh, one more thing –apologies to those teenagers who I yelled at the other day (They were making noise & were being generally disruptive – So I yelled out my window “Shut up & go back to your homes, I will tell your mother’s”). Anyways.…I promise I’m not a bitter and twisted old woman…something inside of me died, when I realised that my days of riding the curbside, making mud pies and eating ice-blocks in the summer sun.

2076 you will be missed.