Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 01

Gratitude posts, specifically of the 'Wonderful Wednesday' kind, are some of my favourite posts to read. I'm a big advocate of the practice of gratitude, whether you're feeling happy or feeling down, it always does a bit of good to take some time to reflect on the things you're grateful for, however big or small they may be. In saying that though, I probably don't practice gratitude enough. So, after Linsey's latest post, I thought I would join the Wonderful Wednesday crew in the hopes I will cultivate a positive habit.

The days getting sunnier and longer. I have never been the biggest fan of summer, but after what has felt like a particularly long and wet winter, I'm welcoming the gorgeous mid 20 degree days and intend to soak it all up before summer comes around and temperatures go beyond 35 degrees! I'm especially loving seeing my favourite flower, Geraldton wax, in bloom around my neighbourhood.

Following on from this, I am over the moon to be able to drink iced coffee again! That isn't to say iced coffee can't be enjoyed any time of the year, but it becomes so much more refreshing during the hotter months. I enjoy my iced coffee with one shot, soy milk, a dash of honey and ice. Mmm absolute heaven!

I got a job! Okay, so it may not be the lucrative publicist/public relations position I have been so ruthlessly chasing, but it is with a company I adore (Kikki K) and with people who are absolutely wonderful! I'm so excited to be earning again and looking forward to the return of a routine. I never realised how much I love working until I wasn't. I'm content that having this position will help me save but also spoil myself on occasion, all the while allowing me to continue my *entry level* job related search with a little bit more optimism.

I caught up with a group of my good friends at 'Oktoberfest'. In celebration of a friend's 21st, we all head up to the Swan Valley to attend one of Perth's replica events of the festival at a brewery. Funnily enough, it never crossed our minds that we could dress up for the event, so we were among the very few attendees who weren't kitted up in dirndls. Nonetheless, we had such a good time drinking beer (cider in my case), eating pretzels and just generally catching up.

What have you been grateful for lately?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Magazine of the Moment | The Happy Reader

After a very prolonged 'pause', I am so happy to once again be typing up another 'Magazine of the Moment' post. Admittedly, the ferocity with which I have been consuming new 'indie' magazines has diminished a lot since my last post, as I both came to realise that I couldn't keep up with all the magazines I was purchasing and I was probably spending a little too much of my money on them (I know *shock horror*. I never thought I'd type those words either...). I'm now focusing on buying the magazines I truly love and leave me hungry for more the minute I finish reading the final page.

One of these magazines is The Happy Reader. A quarterly publication, the fundamentals of this magazine are refreshingly simple. Each issue is split into two halves: the first half consists of an in-depth interview with a prominent celebrity or figure and the second half consists of an in-depth analysis of a piece of literature. Being a collaborative project between Fantastic Man and Penguin Classics, The Happy Reader is a marriage of exquisite style and literature. But for me, what makes it so unique, is it invites readers to further explore their own curiosity.

In the information/media saturated world that has seen our attention spans grow ever thinner, The Happy Reader is a welcome reprieve from all the noise. The interview half of the magazine is very extensive - more so than any other feature I have read in other publications. The issues I have read so far featured incredibly prominent people within their fields (actors, curators, artists), although they were still people of which I was personally unaware. This was no detriment to my reading experience though; I got to learn so much about the handful of people in the most organic way possible. The interviews are conducted as if the interviewer and interviewee are merely good friends talking the afternoon away. Of course, books are a regular and reoccurring topic of conversation, but the interviews also delve into the areas of art, music and cinema. On the occasions that I have found myself reading these interviews (at a cafe, on public transport and even in the bath) I have always been enraptured by the insights that the interviewees gave and eagerly noted down every reference to things that inspired them in some way.

The second half of the magazine is a pastiche of essays, opinion pieces, artworks and, in the case of the latest issue, activities that relate to the chosen classic of that issue. I particularly enjoyed the second half of Summer 2016, which focused on Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Favourite articles of mine included: 'On Big Ben', which discussed the sound and significance of the iconic bell of London, 'Ten Men I Should Have Married', which sees the writer take apt inspiration from Clarissa's constant wondering of what might have been had she married Peter Walsh, and 'My First Great Book', in which author Michael Cunningham discusses how Mrs Dalloway changed his life and helped shape his career. These pieces are indicative of the ways that literature can shape people; their ideas, livelihoods, careers and every day life. Reading it, I not only became more curious about the impact of great works of literature, but the varying ways in which we interpret them and attach individual meaning.

The Happy Reader is an absolutely delightful magazine that provides food for thought at a very reasonable price (8 pound for a yearly subscription or, if you are lucky enough to find a local stockist like I have, about $6 per issue in Australia). If you happen to live in London, I also urge you to send through your interest to attend their book club events which coincide the release of the newest issue. I was so lucky to have been able to attend the second Joseph x Happy reader Book Club. It was an evening of enlightening discussion with like minded readers and lovers of Virginia Woolf accompanied by bottomless gin and tonics. It was one of the highlights of my trip to London, and I think for that reason, I will always have a soft spot for The Happy Reader

Friday, October 14, 2016

Thoughts On: Reverse Homesickness

Reverse homesickness, reverse culture shock, whatever you prefer to call it: it's something we don't normally consider before setting off on a big trip abroad. Whether you're a bit of a worry wart like myself or not, I think it's a pretty unanimous feeling to be a mixed bag of nerves and excitement moments before entering the departure gate. The two times I set off on my own overseas I felt a huge surge of panic leading up to the moment my plane took off. I worried about the things and people I would be leaving behind, the things I would miss about home, in effect preempting the few instances of homesickness I experienced later on in my trip. I'm no seasoned traveler by any means, but based on just these two experiences, I can say with absolute certainty that despite this, coming home is so much harder than leaving it behind.

That's not to say I missed my home comforts at some points throughout my trips and was thankful to return to my own bed. But once the normality of daily life set in, I found myself itching to get back on a plane again. I'm not even an adventurous or nomadic traveler; when I go abroad, I prefer spending a considerable amount of time in one place rather than racing through all the countries and landmarks so I can 'see' everything in a short period of time. I thoroughly enjoy being in a place long enough so that I can establish somewhat of a routine; my last trip was especially true to this, as I was pretty much interning full time in London. So it's not like I was fearing the 'everyday' life upon my return to my home country.

When I was in London, locals would quiz me on why the hell I was there, of all places, when I'm from Australia. Even family would scratch their heads about my desire to travel and say how lucky I was, still am, to live here. There's no place like home, right? Without a doubt, I feel incredibly grateful to have grown up in such a beautiful place, and while I have always been somewhat of an Anglophile, it's not simply a case of 'the grass is always greener on the other side...'

If it weren't for the independent trips I have taken abroad, while few, I can say with conviction that I wouldn't be the person I am today. My 15 year old self could have never dreamed that I would become the confident, driven, headstrong person that I am. I used to identify as an introvert, but thanks to pushing myself, I realised that I thrive off human interaction. I was just too afraid to put myself out there before. In a city where I knew no one, where there's always something going on, I had nothing to lose but to soak up everything that London had to offer.

Naturally, I guess you're going to attribute the positive change in yourself to the place which saw you blossom. So it's there that I picture the best version of myself. London was my 'home' for little over two months and my time there was enough to leave me feeling empty, like something was missing, for well over a month after coming back to my actual home. Before, home always meant comfort and security. But after my trip abroad, I craved a home that set my soul ablaze with excitement, a home where I could be whoever I wanted to be in a city that barely knows my name.

Reverse home sickness goes something like this: One afternoon you find yourself jamming along to some music and then that song comes on and it's like a punch to the stomach; the song or songs that punctuated the nights dancing on sticky floors with the people you grew so close to in a short amount of time. You weren't ready to leave it all, them all, behind. You realise you're still not ready.

Reverse homesickness feels like your roots have been uprooted but your wings have been clipped. You struggle with neither being 'here' mentally nor 'there' physically. What was once familiar seems unfamiliar. You can't express this change that has taken place within you except that you know that the moments and experiences that helped it to eventuate were, and are, the most worthwhile pursuits you could ever wish to make. 'Home' will never feel the same again. With every return, you will forever be planning for and chasing after your next adventure.

'Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to go'

But all hope is not lost, and after the initial 'dazed' period of the first month back home, I have slowly begun to feel fairly content and happy with where I am at this moment in time. I know myself well enough now to know that I'll never wish to stay in one place my whole life. Living abroad for an extended period of time (aka more than 2 months) has always been somewhat of a bucket list pipe dream, and I'm determined to make that a reality. But for now, I've fallen back in love with my city and need to remind myself that there's nothing stopping me from 'getting out there' just as I did in London. I think it's just easier to become lazy. Home will always be there and it will always be home. There's not the same sense of urgency to see the latest exhibition at the state gallery or go on road trips as far south as Margaret River and as close by as the Swan Valley. I may never be able to sate my appetite to see and do bigger things, but for the times in between, I can still make the most of every day. 


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