Australia so far

My time in Australia has definitely been pretty good so far. Which is not to say that I’ve done a whole lot. Still, the few times I have managed to get out of the house have been pretty interesting.

My first night in Melbourne my housemate took me to a premiere at an art gallery she was involved with. My housemate is a professional puppeteer (how cool is that?) and I’m not sure exactly what her connection to the art gallery was. She may have explained this to me, but I hadn’t slept at all on the flight over from China, so if she did I missed it. Either way, it was cool. Some people standing around and pretentiously critiquing the art, but a lot of other people just enjoying it for what it was.

Also there was free booze. I definitely enjoyed that.

But one of the best things so far is that I just seem to be surrounded by really creative people. My other housemate does computer programming, and if you don’t think that’s a creative endeavor you obviously don’t know too many programmers. My housemate’s girlfriend is a chef—and a damn good one too.

Last night I went with my housemate to a speakeasy. Apparently this is somewhat common in Melbourne where people set up illegal bars in their homes and sell alcohol—mostly to their friends and acquaintances—just for fun and to help pay their rent. Well, the one I went to last night was a little more elaborate than that. It was in a sort of abandoned warehouse where the residents apparently lived in a loft on the second floor, and they had a guy watching the door dressed in a tuxedo who insisted you give him the password “watch under” in order to get in. They had a live band, and most people were dressed in 20’s era clothing. Instead of buying drinks, you could buy an empty shotgun shell for $5 which could be exchanged for a beer, or a clam shell for $7 which could be exchanged for a mixed drink. Or you could just keep the shell, I guess, if you’re really, really weird.

It was pretty cool. The music was great, and I got to meet some of my housemates friends, who are all creative people. One guy I met informed me that he was also in a band. An 8-piece pirate-themed band, to be specific. I asked him what kind of music they play, and he said “drinking music”.

Awesome.

Yeah, apparently if you know where to look you can find really good live music every night of the week in Melbourne. Which means it’s a good thing I don’t know where to look, since everything is so damn expensive here I feel like every time I walk out the door I just start immediately hemorrhaging money.

So aside from the night at the art gallery and the two evenings where I went to speakeasies, what have I been doing with all my time? Honestly, for the most part I’ve just been typing up the journal I wrote by hand from when I was 16 until I was 22. I don’t know if this seems like a stupid use of my time, but I’m doing it for two main reasons: 1) it’s something special to me because it paints a pretty accurate picture of what I was like when I was younger, and if I lose the notebook it’s written in, it’s gone forever, and 2) I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do next with my life, and in trying to look forward I think it sort of helps to look back at where I’ve been, and what led me to where I am now.

And it’s pretty funny to read stuff I wrote when I was 16. It’s especially funny to read about how all I wanted to do back then was be a writer. Why didn’t I follow through on that? Well, mostly because I just didn’t believe in myself…

Yeah, it’s cool to see how much I’ve changed over the years, and a little funny and a little sad to see how much I haven’t. I particularly enjoyed this part, which I apparently wrote when I was 18: “Andy, If you’re reading this, never forget how to be happy, how to smile, how to be a goofy idiot.”

I don’t know about the first two, but I definitely got that last one down pretty well.

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About Critical Awesomeness
I'm a 32-year-old American with a PhD in chemistry and a green hat. Only one of these two things is really important.

2 Responses to Australia so far

  1. ellielawson says:

    I fell in love with a talented young American writer a few years ago who, in the throes of passion, gave me his own journal from his college days, which I now feel incredibly burdened to be in possession of 3 years later, for precisely the reason you describe. I knew it was a mistake the moment he gave it to me, full of notes and poems and reflections, because I lack the necessary sentimentality to truly value and care for it, and I’m also incredibly sloppy with my own possessions and lead a rather minimalist life as a result. But this journal, I’m forced to treasure now forever. And I do. But I wish he didn’t give it to me. His current girlfriend would probably appreciate it a lot more!

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