Category Archives: musings

A quick note to myself

Next time I am scared, or hesitant; next time I underestimate myself or an experience, next time I judge or class something before experiencing it, next time I try to play it safe, next time I attempt to follow someone else’s formula or rules, I should remember exactly how it is that I feel at this moment.

There isn’t anything in life to stop you from happiness except yourself and the way you look at the world around you. At this moment my heart seems to balloon up out of my chest so that is almost hard to remain on the ground. These travels teach me what a stunningly beautiful and good place the world is, and on a basic level, the people in it as well. Meeting all of these people and hearing them speak their minds, seeing the colours of the world; the golden hue of Central Park, the fading greys and blues of the snow-topped mountains around Seattle, the inexplicable texture of a cloud as it slips past a plane window makes me feel tiny and giant simultaneously. I want to be able to express the goodness that radiates out of great big huggable Gareth, or Olga, proud and defiant, the nuttiness of Zak who is all giggles or Anna whose flair for drama makes me look tame. Amazonian Bree who somehow thinks on the same train tracks as I do, or quiet, self effacing Sa’adia who makes people love him without saying a word.

These people show me that there is no cause to be scared or sad or hesitant in a new endeavour. With so much good around to be discovered, all that I can alter is how good my response to it all is. The most important part of the friends you make overseas is that though you might never see them again they will always be able to colour that part of the world for you. San Francisco is not just the sun on the bay or the pearls of the bridge at night; it is the swirling colours of CZ’s walls and the people within them. It’s the way Alex’s eyebrows make a teepee when he asks if you’re alright, and that feeling when you hit the end of a cracking swingout on the 9.20’s illegally slippery floor. The people whom you treat as special treat you in the same way. And that’s what makes you become a person who is valuable. The world can dwarf you but the people in it make you a giant.

The Berkeley Diaries Cont….

Lots of wonderful things are happening! Small moments of productivity, big discoveries, down time, too much up time, but most of all this is a wonderful place to be.

Last night Kyle rocked up at CZ (literally, he broke in, I looked up and there he was in the living room) and kidnapped me into a concert at a place called Freight and Salvage. It was totally unexpected, and totally wonderful! This traditional Irish band was playing, 5 guys; an Electric Bass, a fiddle, a guitar, an Irish Piper and a flautist….. it was amazing! They were so together, and I loved the Irish accents. After only hearing my awkward Australian-ness in the midst of the American drawl, it was super refreshing!

A beautiful thing here is the afternoon sun. It catches on the buildings in campus and on the redwoods in the Berkeley hills and makes them glow in a golden sheen, as if someone has draped a gossamer blanket over the world. It kisses your face and makes you feel as if you have energy when you’re running on empty. I love the afternoons here.

So, also, I am helping vamp up the dancing scene at Berkeley. There is an amazing structure in place for introducing new dancers to the scene; they have a troupe for newer dancers, as well as the SwingCal subject that I’m helping teach! But they don’t have anywhere for students to practice, for whomever to come and just dance, because there is no equivalent here to the Unimelb student union which lets us use rooms with wooden floors…. And after 3 weeks of dancing on concrete, I have had had enough!

So I am using my copious inside connections, (thankyou, co-op with 126 roommates!) to book us a room, as well as the super sneakiness taught to me by S.C.U.M to help break us into empty rooms when we have no booked ones 🙂 it is fun!

Also, teaching is heaps of fun. It’s really nice to be able to give people dancing tips in a constructive way that doesn’t make them upset. When you’re put in a position of a teacher, people listen to you! It’s exciting to see people improve and get excited about Lindy Hop.

What else? I had to drop my Harry Potter DeCal 😦 I really needed the time in the week to do other work and catch up on sleep, especially as I have about 4 dance exchanges coming up in the coming month. There are only 3 days left until ULHS and I really can barely contain excitement….

but here are some people playing land quidditch, for all you furious Potter fans who are now out for my blood 🙂

I went to San Francisco the other day, and went on this cable-car tour ride thing for free with a friend, behold some of the photos!

Also, we went up the clear elevators in Union Square. They are magnificent and amazing…! You get this rushing view of the city as you zoom up, and suddenly pop! You’re at the top with a full moon and shining city out in front of you. Incredible. Sadly, it’s not the kind of thing you can capture on camera, which, in some ways makes it better.

Right now I am sitting in Zak’s room doing work and listening to his electronic music/ DubStep….. well, by doing work I mean procrastinating.  Zak has a fluffy dresser. It looks like a muppet with drawers. Odd.

Last night we had Human Chess in the common room, but apathy won. The pieces who didn’t get developed early enough soon got bored and left…. Boo! I was getting really into it. I’ve become somewhat of a chess addict whilst being here. People are always invariably sitting on the balcony playing chess, and so I have become sucked in…. ditto for foozball, the ‘gentleman’s sport’.

Also, I went to a frat party! My first, and hopefully my last one…. I knew a couple of people who lived at the frat, so that was fun, but the place was filled with overly drunk individuals who either have no intelligent ability left, or simply want to take advantage of the people with no intelligent ability. The average age was a little younger, and everyone was dancing all up in each other’s business in a way that I had just ever seen so blatantly before. I went to dance but soon had to leave because I was just going to have to hit too many people in order to get my own space 🙂

The Frats and Sororities here are apparently not all as bad as we see in Legally Blonde, but I haven’t seen it yet…. It’s pretty much a Jocks and their Gals kind of culture that I don’t really get, a kind of voluntary idiocy with the aim of hooking up with randoms…. *sigh*

I also went to a blues house dance party…. (Isaac and blues co, emulate this please!) It was awesome! Just a beautiful big hardwood floor, fairy lights, nibblies and good music! And a sukkah out the back, with these beautiful hanging candles. I got excited because I didn’t think I’d be in a sukkah this year, what with living at the coops etc. It was really the perfect venue, and I enjoyed myself super much-ly.

Lastly, handed in my first big Berkeley paper (assignment) today…. Eep!

Now, it is more than time to end this, it is getting egregiously long.

Xxxxx SO much love to Hannah and Amy, for their amazingly wonderfully beautiful letters which made me so ridiculously happy!

My drug den home :)

so here is a story that I was told today about Casa Zimbabwe, aka, the drug den…..
long, long ago (last fall) the residents of CZ were divided up into two sects. the democratic-y sect, and the anarchists. the anarchists would sit on the smokers balcony hating life and being hardcore and organizing parties for the house. the other group would go about things pretty much regularly, partying here, going to uni, getting drunk there. All in a days work.

Each group had its affiliates; the people who would vote for its policies at council meetings, support it in house decisions, hang out with it at parties. Much like a mucked up situation in Australia that I know of, there were those independent parties, free rangers, one might call them, who swung from group to group, never realizing their affect on the politics of the co-operative drug den.

Then came a new group decision. the anarchists put forth the motion that CZars should be able to break bottles and glass in the common living space. If any member wanted, they should be able to smash a bottle, and create mess. or chaos. which is what the anarchists believed in. Free autonomy. The ability to do whatever one pleases, as members of a free society and democratic house.

However, there was conflict. the liberal co-opers did not agree with the obvious, nay, necessary notion of broken glass shards all over the floors of their kitchen. They put forward arguments that people could get hurt, that glass is indeed, rather sharp, and that smashing and breaking things promoted violence in the house. These opposing views had house members at odds with each other for months. Bottles went unbroken, floors remained suspiciously clean, but workshifts too, were done slackly by the anarchists, who felt crushed by a higher authority who did not care for their needs.

eventually, the co-opers of yore (last fall) came to the mutually beneficial agreement to reserve an area of the courtyard specifically for the smashing of bottles. Many co-opers will go there daily to get their smash on. It is a much beloved facility that Casa Zimbabwe has to offer.  And those who do not partake in activities involving broken glass do not have to be involved, which keeps a light an cheery atmosphere for all!

isn’t that wonderful?

This is how things work in the house I have moved into. Co-opers put forward motions, about aspects of life they feel need changing, for the good of all. Eventually, we come to group decisions about them. As well as cooking and cleaning co-operatively, people try to live co-operatively, and that involves some serious politics. better than anything I think I could learn in a political science class 🙂

Joking aside, though, this is a wonderful place. I shit you not that that story is 100% true (with my dramatic embellishments, of course), but this is a colourful, loud, awesome place to be. Right across from campus. And the community feel and culture of the place is unlike anything i’ve ever experienced before. It’s run by students, therefore noone here is older than, say, 26. very different from kibbutz, with many a responsible adult deciding what is right, and what should go. The system here is constantly changing, and adjusting as people move in and out. First council meeting is tonight, and then I am signing up for IKC, intensive kitchen clean, my first shift.


p.s. congratulations to all my lovely AUSTRALIAN JITTERBUG CHAMPIONS! you rock my socks. especially one particularly awesome SHOWCASE event. 😀 😀 😀 😀 :D!

A second attempt!!

so I think i’ve jinxed myself up and down….: its friday the 13th, I slept through my alarm, my vital visa form almost did not arrive, I told a whole lot of people that i’d probably be back in 2 weeks, and to top it all off, I walked the dog last night and forgot to being a plastic bag, so was unable to pick up some dog business, so major bad karma as well as jinxing.

but my theory is, I am currently SO jinxed up, that the jinxing has counteracted itself and I am back to neutral. yeah? does that make NO sense whatsoever?! I thought so 😀 hooray!!!

as much as I whinged the whole week, it was really wonderful to see you all again, especially it was amazing to spend so much time with the family. being together really makes me happy, and even though it was under terrible circumstances, I feel very blessed to have you all.  and that goes to all the friends who showed themselves to be so much more than expected this week.

Zaida Arie taught me to keep taking on new challenges and to keep learning new things about life and yourself even after everyone else seems to have stopped or slowed down.  so America should freaking watch out! (in a non threat-to-homeland-security-way.) last time I was nervous to go, but right now, GET ME ON TO THAT PLANE. 😀

other than that, heaps of excellent things came of coming home, full list to come later (or likely, not, as I hopefully wont have time to write it.)

but in the end, nothing is really lost, Im still making it to the Seattle Lindy Exchange tonight!!!

YAY!!! what could be better?!?!!!!!

On Leaving, and Plane Letters

Its a really wonderful thing that in life there is no limit to the number of people and things that you can love. love isnt something you have to save, or guard, its not running out, you can always, always make more, and most important, you can give it to as many people as you want, all at the same time.

the more you make, the stronger it grows. what else is like that?

and when you give it, you get some back, even if indirectly. it always finds its way back to you somehow. so you can give it without worrying.

people are too careful with their love. they worry it will be wasted, but can it really ever be a waste? loving things makes us more beautiful and the world more beautiful.

I go away a lot. and often, Im amazed by the sheer number of people I know, people who are important to me. I’m looking back on 2008 and thinking how I was so sure I knew and loved as many people as was possible.

lies. just look how that number has grown. youre all very much wonderful.

sorry for my random musings, this was the cotents of my head whilst on the plane.

have officially touched down in LA!

Mbali, let me tell you now that getting off the plane at LAX is not nearly as awesome as miley cirus makes it sound… that airport is like being beaten over the head with a lion.