Tag Archives: australia

When the hard times strike, what’s a girl to do?

When I was back in L.A., I was one of the many poor sufferers prone to panic attacks. Sometimes these were randomly onset, other times induced by some sort of Sunday morning regret. Either way, in these moments my best friend Russell would pop a Xany on my tongue, put me in the car and drive me up the road to the Walmart.

These Walmart excursions served a soothing purpose, kind of like the foil shock blankets they put on people after a car accident or a fire. Once there, Russell would buy me a large Diet Coke or an XXL McDonalds iced skinny vanilla late or any form of a drink carrying copious loads of Aspartame. He’d walk me several laps around store, and by the third or fourth I’d be feeling better that I was not toothless/sporting exposed an exposed ass-crack/or wearing my robe to go shopping at two in the afternoon. Life was okay.

Still, we could never part ways without some sort of indulgence, so usually we’d end up splurging on a $2.00 tube of face mask before leaving to spend the next 40 minutes trying to remember where we’d parked the car (a event which sometimes struck the need for us to go back into Walmart to calm down again).

But the problem now, being in Australia, is that none of these things exist.

The closest thing to a Walmart here is Ikea. Given that I once had to Phone-A-Friend to get out of Ikea, this will never be my choice for mental monastery.

The twenty Xanax I brought over with me lasted a while. At six months in I took the last one after an embarrassing run in at a chicken shop. After that I did what any normal L.A. girl would do: I went to the Doc to ask him for more.

After I got my other necessary prescriptions sorted out, I cleared my throat and began to explain my panic attacks… and could I please have some Xanax or something…?

He looked at me blankly then turned to his computer without saying a word for several long moments. I couldn’t see the what he was typing, but I could feel the judgement in his rapidly moving fingers. He was one of those one-finger typers too, which just made it that much worse. Uh oh.

He turned back to me and lowered his glasses.

“Well, you see, we don’t do that here. Why don’t you try some yoga or pilates or meditation. I think you’ll feel much better.”

Pilates? I left the doctors office and went out to grab the next best thing- a D.C. But due to Australia’s stringent preservative laws and their understanding that Aspartame actually does fuck you up (whateverrrr), you can’t find any diet products that are actually made with the ingredient.

I was starting to feel very homesick, so I reached into my purse and called the one person I knew could and would hook me up, ASAP.

Several weeks later, around Christmastime, the box arrived– unmarked and wrapped in plain brown paper. A box sent by the best smuggler I know, Public Enemy No. 1 and ultimate provider of non-Australian goods.

I ripped open the paper and read the note first. It was printed on Snoopy Christmas paper:

Didn’t have time to write much. Hope this is the right thing.

Love Mom.

Underneath the letter was just what I wanted. Obviously Diet Coke would be too heavy to send and let’s face it, the good Doc was right about the Xany. Nonetheless, everyone needs one indulgence and here was mine: Aspartame in the beautiful, compact form of powdered Crystal Light. Packets upon packets of it!

In general I’m proud to say that since I’ve come to Australia I’ve hardly had two panic attacks if any at all. Life really is good here. Nonetheless, it’s nice to know that I’ve got a lime Margarita in my pocket that I can drink anytime, and it’s only five calories.

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I Was Blessed to be Cursed

Being in Sydney has made me realize something profound about my diet. I’m not a vegetarian, I’m an American vegetarian. I haven’t eaten meat for 10 years, however my herbivorous life has been made easy by the fact that Americans are obsessed with mock meat. I’ve been raised with “chick’n” wings and fakenn bacon, however Australia’s preservative laws prevent such things from existing here. Because of this fact, I’ve been consuming a diet of mostly raw vegetables alongside an unfortunate amount of Reeces peanut butter cups for my source of fatty substance. Subsequently, due to my healthy appetite for cucumbers and capsicums, I am constantly going to the grocery store to get more produce. Oftentimes these trips end up being at night when I return to our apartment for an evening meal. The walk-everywhere culture of Sydney is interesting to me because back home in Los Angeles I hate walking alone, especially at night. Walking alone means car honks, catcalls, and druggies asking for money. The streets of Sydney are wildly safe, comparably. My rudest encounter for a while was a drunk guy shouting between swigs of Wild Turkey that he oughta give me a kiss. Overall, though, my experiences in the streets of Sydney have been majorly docile, until a few weeks ago when I was approached by a strangely tall asian man on my way to the market. He wore a long camel-brown robe, and looked like a kind enough person. I couldn’t tell the significance of the garment, but he appeared gentle like one of the hari-krishna people you see at the airport. I knew that he was going to try to talk to me, and due to my oath it would be wrong not to. See, I made an oath after being snubbed so much while working at the environmental organization– the promise being that I’d never be in too much of a rush to make a connection with another human being. Still, on this particular occasion I really didn’t want to stop and talk to anyone.

I was careful to avoid eye contact with the man, my gaze locked definitively into the distance, yet I could sense him targeting me as I approached his bit of sidewalk. Of course, right as I pass him he pounces out. I was expecting this, but not the gold coin that he’d thrust into my hand. I examine the coin which is made from cheap metal and has an image of some unfamiliar deity printed onto it. My assumption is that I will have to pay for whatever this thing is so I try to hand it back to him but he won’t take it. Instead he’s chanting some strange words at me. The tone in his voice isn’t soft or inviting as I had expected it would be, but is instead violent and overflowing with what feels like malicious intent.

“Changarido! Changarido!” he yells at me, five, ten times.

“I don’t want it! i don’t want it!” I yell back at him.

We literally tussle for a moment and finally I manage to get the coin back in his hand. He stops chanting and I use the moment to run away towards the safety of the sliding doors of the grocery store. As I take the escalator down to the produce section, I feel, throughout my whole body, as if I was just cursed by the man. “Goddamnit,” I’m thinking, “I think I was just cursed! Do I even believe in curses? If so, this is just the worst week for me to be cursed too since I’m about to start looking for a job!” Yet even through my haze of anger, I realize that I’m smirking a half smile. The odd encounter had reminded me of my beloved, wild Los Angeles. Part of me wanted to go back outside and nuzzle my face gently into the man’s robes and say

“Thank you sir, feels like home.” But he was gone.

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Australian Invasion Starts Here

I am officially [accidentally] Australia obsessed.

I can’t stop listening to Gotye. I believe the man is a creative genius. He is able to pull off a 70’s almost Motown vibe on tracks like “I Feel Better” while making an intelligent critique on today’s state of music with a track like “State of the Art”– referring to the good and bad of relying on electronic devices and software to create pleasurable listening sounds. His most popular song “Somebody I Used to Know” is a simple but perfect ode to the wrenching experience of breaking up. And his music videos ain’t bad to boot either. They’re all different, and all just the perfect bit of weird. Gotye recently played at the El Rey in Los Angeles and is slated to play at Coachella in April.

The second bit of Australia currently manifesting in my life is Brisbane-based company Black Milk Clothing. I’d been eyeing the clothing line for several months, lusting after a pair of galaxy print leggings but wondering if the international shipping was justifiable. Verdict: Heck Yes. I didn’t end up ordering the galaxies, but instead bought a Cathedral print skirt which I thought was brilliant and a great addition to my mostly non-color wardrobe. It’s a good thing that I jumped into the BM bandwagon ahead of time because just two days ago on Tuesday, they exploded with the release of their new Hot Little Bosses collection. I’ve watched their Facebook page grow– with over 2,000 new “likes” incurred in a mere two day span. The shop even made a wise but appropriate business choice to shut down the website in order to fulfill the first batch of orders, leaving many fans waiting eagerly for the online re-opening scheduled tentatively for Tuesday. Not bad a for a company whose designer was still sewing in his kitchen just two years ago. The hot item of discussion across the net are the new “Muscle Leggings” which have some groaning with disgust and others with joy– with both parties referencing the likes of Body Worlds and Dr. Slim Goodbody. I myself picked up the Retro Gamers and Circuits, both of which should be arriving in my mailbox shortly (a graduation present to myself, the only non-Aus trip spending that I’ve allowed). Check out the BM community for yourselves– full of a wonderful caring staff and fans who refer to themselves lovingly as “Sharkies.”

The Notorious "Muscle Leggings"

On a travel related note, I picked up a new version of my birth certificate on Tuesday and I’ll be going to the Post Office to apply for my passport either today or tomorrow. Did you guys know those things cost $140? Oy vey… But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And hopefully, she’ll do it in Nylon tights.

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let me give it to you straight

Dog walker. Makeup Advisor. Assistant to Attorney. LGBT Activist. Charity Mugger. Beer Wench.

If I get every job that I’ve applied for, that is something along the lines of what I’d be. But there enters the ever-lasting conflict between potential and reality; what is vs. what could be. Right now I’m in a bit of a limbo. Educated and unemployed. I am a Rabbawk– complete with the predatory drive a hawk with front-facing eyes, and the survival instincts of a rabbit. The rabbit part of me resolves to have a job by the end of this week. Now taking bets on what that will be.

In the meantime, I’ll keep dreaming and working on my goal plan: to get to Australia. Next week on the 13th, several of my good pals will be leaving to try life abroad in Australia. Each of them has got a different idea in mind, a different sum of money in their pockets but I’ve got to get a few more of my ducks in a row before I can make that happen to. My goal is to raise $3,000 + airfare. That should allow me to be safe for about two months while I look for employment in Australia. And if it’s not, well, I’ll be having that wammy of a revelation over there.

Get in a line you shits.

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