Wet’n’..sleepy

Or: This building was constructed so that you could jump off it in the pool from various spots with increasing difficulty

 

 

The flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast was so short, I don’t think I’ve realized yet that I am almost 1000 km away. As soon as the plane was up in the air, the pilot announced that he was about to begin the descend.

I had no idea what to expect when coming here. We arrived in the evening – it wasn’t even that late – but all the shops were closed and the streets deserted. Way to make an impression, Queensland! It was like one of those low-budget zombie movies. Only that the zombies wore shorts.

 

Ok, the Gold Coast is slooooooow. It is like one huge retirement home. Like Florida. Hanging out by the pool all day doing nothing gets actually quite exhausting; maybe that’s why everybody sleeps so much.

When people here talk about full-time jobs, they mean 9 – 14. If you haven’t done your shopping by 5 PM, there is a good chance you’re gonna go hungry. And finally, the library, where people just hang out and read, is something like the busiest spot, as far as you can call it ‘busy’.

 

 

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And with this here key, I shall breach the gates of wisdom and power, for no longer I have to remain in uneducated darkness

 

I’ve made it my new home. That’s where I come to hang out pretty much every day (until it closes at 5PM). At first it was for the free wifi. Then it was for my writing job, for which I need the internet for (doing research makes me feel all fancy-schmancy. I’m their little writer bunny and loving it). But then, I finally got a library card (completely free of charge) and made it my mission to educate myself on all those damn mangas that they have in here. So far, I have managed some Sailor Moon and one Warcraft (Cobbler, stick to your last!)

 

 

Everyone has a pool here. This isn’t luxury, it’s standard. And it’s highly needed, since it does not cool down at all. Even at night it’s still 30 degrees. Wait, night? Which night? The sun comes up around 4 AM. Or something like that. Anyway, by the time I wake up (usually around 7, because after that it’s impossible to sleep) it feels like it’s midday. The sun is a harsh, merciless son of a bitch.

Coming from Germany, where we get like 5 minutes of summer each year between July and Ausgust, this truly sounded like paradise. No thick winter coats, no yellow snow, no running nose. But there is a point when the heat just gets too much, unbearable. I have reached that point when I am trying to scratch my ass just to find a dark-grey mixture of old sweat and dead skin cells underneath my fingernails. Yes, Gold-Coastians have a pretty tough life.

If I thought Sydney was bad with sunburns, then I had no idea what I was getting myself into here. One hour of sunbathing in the afternoon has made my skin practically burn off. Hard tan reset – have to start over!

 

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Can you correctly guess which part of my body that is? That’s right – all over!

 

 

The Gold Coast is mainly only fun if you’re a surfer or know how to operate any other kind of crazy board. Nah, I am not hating. And if I wanted to hate something, it would be the one-layered, way too thin toilet-paper. But otherwise, there is nothing much to do around here.

Southport is small (apparently not so small, but that’s what it feels like to me). It feels like a real community. After being in the hostel for just one week, and quickly finding an apartment to move into, we still keep going back to hang out there. Most people who have ever stayed there do. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s one of those fantasy soul sucking dark magic spells. Maybe that’s why everyone here is getting too lethargic to move their asses… Maybe I am on to something here.

 

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5:30 in the morning

 

 

My“ room in my new apartment, that I am sharing with one other guy, doesn’t even have a door. But, that’s Australia, right? Gotta compromise. The people here are awesome, though. It’s probably the weather. No one really cares. High on sunlight.

My flatmates are Filipino, Portuguese and Brazilian. All guys. Which gets increasingly interesting when the wind has once again blown my panties from where I had hung them up on the balcony to dry onto the roof below, and the Brazilian guy has the glorious idea to vacuum them back up (I trusted him, he’s an engineer..) And he hands them back to me with a charming smirk.. could this situation get any more awkward if I asked you to marry me right here, right now.. oh the long-haired, dark-eyed adonis..

 

Where was I? (I hope he isn’t reading this)

 

I’ve met a rockstar. Or the closest thing to it. The type of guy that remembers people by what kind of drugs he did with them.

See“, he says, handing me his phone with his facebook profile open, „here’s Eddie“. I die a little inside. He calls Edward Furlong ‘Eddie’. The kid that I am still jealous of to this day because he got to play what must surely be the second-coolest part in action movie history to this day.

See how blurry his hand is there next to my lap? That’s because he’s jerking me off“, he goes on casually, as if telling me about Coles’ special deal on $1 extra soft loaf of white bread.

I suppose that’s rock’n’roll lifestyle. These people don’t have a light chicken breast roquette salad for dinner because they’re watching their carbs, no, they have three bottles of cheap merlot by the pool. And that’s only the entree.

Here isn’t where I wanna be

 Or: I should start sleeping with pen and paper next to me because I had a really good title for this in mind right before I drifted off to dreamland.

 

This one is me doing what i do best – whine about my first world problem: depression.

I’ve been dealing with it since I was 13 when I first had a major episode that I consciously remember. For no explicable reason at all, I just started to never leave the house unless I had to and kept blowing all my friends off until they didn’t speak to me anymore. I suppose it’s genetic? Not entirely sure how trustworthy Bill Bryson is, but just the other day I’ve read in one of his books (granted, that came out in the late ’90s) that a „worrying-gene“ actually exists. Meaning, some people can’t help but constantly worry about everything, while others just naturally go with the flow (gosh, I do hate this saying. After all, I am not a surfer high on marijuana, just a neurotic German lady. Kawabonga, dude).

I figured, I could learn to be happy here in Australia. Everyone else who has already been here loved it so much. That coming out here and handling this thing all by myself, it would boost my confidence, putting myself out of my comfort zone like that. Or that I’d be at least too busy to get depressed. But here I am, can’t shake that feeling. This time even worse, because it’s not just the usual „something is missing“, but the very essential „Oh lord, how am I gonna come into money and provide for myself?!“

 

Many fictional characters have names for their mental illnesses and diseases – Dexter’s ‘Dark Passenger’, anyone?

It’s not so absurd! I have a name for my depression as well: It is – lo and behold – „The Blob“ …… Aaaaahh!! Hide your children, hide your wife!!!

It doesn’t sound very impressive or dangerous, and it’s not like one day I sat down and decided that the poor thing needed naming; that was just always how it felt inside of me, squirming around. Basically, the Blob lives in my stomach and eats me up from the inside like a parasite. Unfortunately, it doesn’t eat fat. It feeds on negative emotions only. As soon as the tiniest negative thought crosses my mind (‘Hm, I think I gained about 50g?’) it jumps on that, has sex with it and multiplies thousandfold until there are thousands of related negative thoughts in my head and little blobs in my stomach. Yeah, that was a bit gross.

 

I suppose I have a tendency of running away whenever the Blob gets too active. It’s the whole reason why I came to Australia! I felt like I had to cross half-way around the world just to outrun that disgusting oozeling in my stomach (I should actually try to draw it one day) (Never mind, it would just end up a white bean with a squiggly line for a mouth). This is rather pointless, though, since it’s moving with me. „Where I am, there I am“, + Blob. I always needed to go through the same lesson many times before I learned it. I actually don’t think I’ve ever learned anything.

And it gets even more ridiculous when I tell you that I have figured out it’s not the location that causes the Blob to be active, it’s the people that matter. Yes, I am very codependent. My rational side, that I am trying to surpress more often than not, has realized that.

My emotional side, however, tends to act much too impulsive. Essential for my mental well-being is the company (did anyone really think this was easy? Ha.)

 

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The Blob

 

The Blob is a thing that is so frustrating because it holds me back. It’s the voice in my head (or, in my stomach) saying „You can’t do this! You suck! Nobody likes you!“ You know, like repeatedly poking a sleeping dragon (haven’t we all done this before?) until he snaps and lashes out at everyone in his range, regardless of them holding a stick or not. This is one of the many reasons why I hate facebook – at least since Marc Zuckerberg thought it was such a splendid idea to show if your message sent has been read by the receiver. Everytime I send a message that goes without a reply, the Blob is raging! „They hate you! They’re ignoring you! They wish you were dead!“ … Okay, maybe not that extreme.

I should take this opportunity to apologize to everyone I have snapped at in the past for something that wasn’t your fault (pretty much everyone I know, I suppose) but rather the monster’s inside of me. I sincerely hope this makes sense and is understandable. I don’t wanna confuse anyone. I promise, I am just as confused as you.

 

I do remember to a T the last time I felt truly happy, no Blob, no negativity, just comfortable happiness, no worries whatsoever. This situation occured not too long ago, and it was one that I hesitated to put myself into at first. It was one of those times when you actually live in the moment, past and future do not exist, there is music playing, albeit not hearable, just feelable, and a magnetic feel that guides your body to exactly where you should be. I am trying my best to put it into words and hoping at the same time not to sound completely and utterly insane. It’s like a Disney movie come to  life. Which leads me to believe, the people at Disney must be an extremely happy bunch (but I know better).

But the Blob fucked it up royaly for me (it’s nice to have something to put the blame on, that’s how religious people must feel) and is now inside of my stomach, with an evil grin and rubbing his hands together. Actually, he doesn’t have hands, but you get what I mean. Since that happened, he won’t go away anymore at all. Sometimes, when I drink alcohol, he hides, because that’s sort of like his kryptonite. I suppose I now understand how alcoholics come to be.

I just want that situation, the feeling back. And I’ve been wrecking my brains on how to get there. I have figured out the key components, but they are hard to come by. It truly is an epic quest, and sometimes, you just have to sit back and breath in, breath out, until your head is as clear as possible again (for some more, for some less clear). This is what I am doing right now, well, while worrying about how I am gonna pay rent next week. So less for me. But there only is one ultimate goal for me, and I’m gonna be working towards that until the end of my days. They’re my shoes.

I’ll be back

Or: It’s not a tumor! GET TO DA CHOPPAAAA! You’re a funny guy Sully,  I like you, that’s why I’m going to kill you last.

 

I spent a total of 5 weeks exactly in Sydney. Two of those, I was miserable and constantly questioning my decision to become a world-traveled adventurer (the idea was that I’d find a fedora and/or dual pistols along the way and stumble upon hidden ancient treasure). But three of those, I met some great people, had way too much to drink and got sunburned one too many times (hello skin cancer). I did wanna leave Sydney, and I didn’t, but most of all I had to, for the simple reason that most backpackers AND non-backpackers venture out to Sydney for New Years for seeing the supposedly amazing fireworks from Harbour Bridge, celebrate in the „first major city to begin the new year“, and the hostels taking massive advantage of it. Raggedy rooms that used to cost 20 bucks a night are now up to 60. That’s IF you can still find a bed, anyway. So, if I have any advice for future working holiday makers, plan that time of the year well in advance. But don’t plan anything else. Things will always end up differently than what you thought.

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Sydney’s equivalent to pigeons.

 

In Germany, I used to sleep the days away. Nothing to do, no one to see. It feels like since coming to Australia, I have slept a total of 20 hours all together. You wake up early, do some crazy shit like hiking in the Blue Mountains all day – and the ‘all day’ part isn’t even done purposely because, well, you walk down some very steep 900 steps and at some point decide that there has to be another way back up so you’re wandering through the forest at the bottom of the mountains, hoping for an elevator to appear in the mists (in hindsight, one of the most awesome experiences ever) – just to get back to the hostel where someone is always waiting with a box of goon, ready to party like it’s ’99. And that’s on a tuesday. Backpackers have the amazing ability to drink all night and still be at work in suit and tie at 8 AM. Might have something to do with the whole ozon thing.

 

Yes, after those two first weeks that I felt horrible, it finally all began to make sense. The cheap wine. The massive bats and cockroaches. The weird jobs that you do. I thought people actually wearing signs was a myth invented by Hollywood movies, like 555 phone numbers. Not only did I get to wear a big sign, but also a glittery blue cowboy hat, which was very popular especially with little Asian girls and skaters.

 

This is Down Under! Even the locks on public restrooms turn the other way! Crazy Australia is all over the place! Like, when you’re sitting in Hyde Park and feel like you’re in an 80s movie because, apparently skateboarding is kool again. That’s kool with a k, yo. Gettin’ jiggy with it. He was a skaterboy….. hmm, song has been stuck in my head for days. Wait, no! I don’t want your Schnitzel! It’s not genuine!! .. Sorry about that, got a little carried away there. Phew.

 

ImageI bin a bayrisch Cowgirl.

 

 

In Sydney, I learned about coffee culture. All thanks to the Slovakian legend Thomas, who cringed when I told him about my daily $1 Latte at Hungry Jack’s. I reckoned it was good value. He took me to his café Coco Noir inside fancy Westfield Mall where he was assistant manager and introduced me to all his barista friends (which I first thought was just a sophisticated Australian word for bartender), who, in turn, gave me free coffee with funny milk animals in it after hearing the sad story I just told you, and I love free stuff anyway so who am I to pass that up?! I have to admit: I’m sorry, Hungry Jack, but your coffee tastes like baby dhiarrea in comparison.

Yes, Thomas was a bit rough, as you would expect someone from Eastern Europe to be, but he had a good heart. The free sandwich he got me to make up for, after telling him about my depression, calling me an ugly lesbian with small boobs, is prove of that. You have to understand that to Slovakians, that’s the only reason anyone would ever be sad.

 

I also wanna take a quick moment to talk about the Indian guy, one of the people with whom I shared a 16 bed dorm for 3 weeks. I still can’t remember his name, even though I have asked him so many times that by the time I moved out, he couldn’t be happier that annoying little forgetful drunk German was finally gone. No, it wasn’t Raj, racist motherfucker! I remember it started with a B.

I suppose this was the first time I encountered an „authentic“ Indian person, complete with Bindi and the shrine in his locker that he would pray to every night – one prayer for each God, and I don’t know how many he had up in there, but it always tooks him precisely 23 minutes.

I never found out why he ate curry without a fork at all, why in the middle of the night, and why it had to be so noisy during and after (nice picture there). It was interesting and gross at the same time. I try to keep an open mind, though.

 

Most backpackers that I encountered in Sydney were French or Korean, both of which are very hard to communicate with, as their English is usually below average (lo siento, mates. Yes, my French isn’t really any better). On top of that, Koreans also sleep a lot. They have to, as they secretly run the city.

 

Everything happens faster here. Maybe that’s the traveler’s lifestyle. It would have to, since you’re moving on so quickly. Back home, developing a friendship or any kind of relationship takes time. Get to know one another until you feel comfortable to be yourself (or is that just me), spend time, bond. It’s a process, for introverts like me usually slower, for some faster, but it always takes time. Over here, imagine that process being filmed with a really high speed camera. „G’day, nice to meet you, wanna go for a drink? A splendid, we’re best friends now, that was really fun you crazy son of a bitch, well ok gotta go, add me on facebook, see ya!“ And you probably never hear from them again.

 

I’d wish to be able to keep in touch with all the people I meet. But it just doesn’t always work out that way. Backpackers never get attached.. I am different in that aspect, but it isn’t always up to me. There are more adventures out there that want to be adventured, I guess. Gotta learn to stop looking back.

 

Well, what I wanna say is this: Sydney is amazing if you give it a chance (apparently, lots of people don’t like it when they first arrive, so I wasn’t at all alone in this). The people make the city. And there are some truly awesome and interesting people to be met.

 

Some last thoughts: You’re not a real backpacker in Sydney unless you’ve slept one night in Hyde Park. Only newbies don’t j-walk. Coles has $3 mince meat. You don’t have to buy anything at Hungry Jacks to use the free wifi. The road will tell you which way to look for cars if you wanna cross, for confused Europeans. Saturday nights in the city are crazy. Go and find out why (you might get a cookie. Hint: there is more than once correct answer). And finally, the tap water might taste funny but you will get used to it quickly when you see the prices for bottled water.

 

I’ve been told: Sydney is like the model girlfriend who treats you like shit but is so beautiful that you always keep coming back to her. I think that hits the nail on the head.