there goes the phoenix, with coffee coursing through his veins

Month: February, 2013

Weekend’s off aren’t really weekends off





another week down! another week til I travel to America! which recent revelations showed me that my visa allows me to travel 30days before and after the program ends!! so if I get my affairs in order… I’ll be in California for 2 weeks! * cue the OC theme song!*



many of these quotes I’ll put up will most likely be from a man named Carlos Andres Gomez. ¬†Poet, writer, social worker and a figure I like to look up to for his fierce honesty that has allowed him to write his book Man Up! Cracking the code on Manhood which exposes the vulnerability and beauty within men by retelling his own personal experiences of growing up with trying to be the man society wants him to be instead of be the man that he knows he should be. The creativity in the way he takes subjects from corporate corruption, sexualisation of girls, the education system to that of heartbreak and romance completely inspires me to be more proactive in my life and is a steadfast reminder that I am enough.

Rose Petal by Carlos Andres Gomez


ok so my parents came back from Singapore today and as they do they got me something. Which I do truly appreciate the gesture of a t-shirt but I think Im all tee-ed out this one was awesome.

they got us all interactive t-shirts which is sensitive to sound is yes battery operated and while my muscially talented sister and my dad got t-shirts with volume bars and my mum got one with a phone saying call me I got the one that has a loading bar and says well… you can see for yourself. I’m not slow! my mind just runs at a pace too fast for itself to even comprehend so we could be talking about whats for dinner and i could ask you ‘ if polar bears has cousins would those cousins eat orangers and lychees for dinner or would they have it as a snack?’ . Why you ask? I’ve been trying to figure it out myself.

I’m now slow im just… let me get back to you on that one


Today was a long day of stocktake! yay! so none stop counting candles, tealights, oil burners, vases and flowers without tags! what do I do for work? figure it out ūüôā

Although through all this sorting a daisy would have been when my friend dropped by and gave me a late bday pressie! now I have a habit of talking to strangers, this one happened to be in one of my uni classes, she had long dark hair, a California accent and a great personality! We’ve always had good yarns although haven’t hung out as much as our schedules wished we did.

contents: a cake pop and a gift card. I hear Luna Rossa or Champion wants to live next to Allure, Guilty and YSL L’omme


a good catch up coffee at Coco Cubano. Very interesting events indeed. And despite having dinner and dessert at home I managed cheesecake with the less than average peppermint tea I was served. I was never this hungry while i was in Africa


Coco Cubano, Rouse Hill.


Went into uni to pick up my course notes ( which because I’m doing it externally it actually got delivered to my house so I now have 2 copies one of which I can’t return coz its course notes! or shoule that be curse notes?) Ahh well, I also went in for a meeting with ISV recruiters in preparation for ¬†O-week next week. The tour book? Had a lovely girl help me out with prices of flight to America and tours… I think I can do better than what she showed me.

I’ve read one cover to cover the other one I ‘forgot’ was there


HAPPY (failed) SURPRISE BIRTHDAY TO MY DAD! he knew that family was waiting at the restaurant and practically saw them seeing as the restaurant had floor to ceiling windows. And he turned to look at my sister who was walking slowly in an effort to hide his cake. the look on her face when he turned around was priceless! And we did things his way, matching interactive t-shirts and smiles. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPA!

yup were that family that coordinates costumes as much as we can. What of it?


what more birthday parties? well thats what the first few months of the year are like for me. This time it was a MARIO PARTY! ( yep I was loving that pun) well alot of the people copped out and just wore blue or green. Not I or her, thankfully I met a Mario ( Maria?) at the party! Now to find my Peach? ahhh Prufrock how you’ve ruined Mario for me.



today was another party, this time with people from church. it was another shindig for my dad. While at my aunts house I found this mask and it reminded me…I NEED TO GO TO ITALY AND BASK IN THE FESTIVITIES OF THEIR IL CARNIVALE! its on the hit list.

Commedia Dell’arte


Unexpected bus rides, lonely HEarts and quiet Friday nights

Ok, So I’m attempting to go back to a normal routine but South Africa refuses to let me forget it. Here is more of Project 365


nothing was out of the ordinary today, except for the fact that due to rain in the evening I was forced to catch the bus. Such an interesting story right?! Well it is seeing as I hadn’t caught this particular bus since high school and it bought back a school bag full of memories.

high school daze


ok so since returning from South Africa, I did notice a change with my perspective on things. Mainly that I didn’t care so much for materialistic things as much as I used to. This deeply concerned my close friends as they knew superfical I can be and obsessed with clothes and just spending money in general. It still is kind of still me, except now I can appreciate things alot more. Case in point, my coworkers go me Gucci Guilty intense for men and mmmmm it smells good! And it was all I spoke about before going to Africa.

its a criminal offence to smell this good


still attempting to undo my room and keep it as bare as possible! there just isn’t enough time… Need to make some executive decisions.

sorting through my shit.


Just another day in the year except today people think that spending a ridiculous amount of money on roses, chocolate, sexy lingerie and when the condoms shelves are empty at the pharmacy. Single again this year, and I really wouldn’t have it any other way… can’t really explain it seeing as to how romantic my thoughts can be at times. I may already have a perfect proposal outlined in my head already. Which is why the photo of a hand woven ring and bracelet is the photo of the day, no I don’t love myself, i love meeting new people. In this case it was a skinny man with a head full of blonde dreadlocks, bright eyes and a leathery looking skin ( probably from being at the beach everyday) ¬†topped off with a British accent. His name was Simon and to say South Africa seduced him is an under statement. He used to live in England now he travels Africa and makes necklaces using techniques that locals teach him.

a reminder that South Africa did indeed happen… kind of like Leo’s inception spinner thingo.


a quiet one for a Friday and another birthday gift. She told me she wasn’t sure if I’d still like it considering how different is seemed. Nope still the same. Loved the whole set! She got it while on her cruise to New Zealand. muchos gracias senorita!

she knows me oh so well.


for some reason today’s photo was supposed to be of the birthday dinner I attended but while the food was great, the company was average so I bailed and ducked into my favourite cafe.

where thinkers drink… and write.

22nd + the Swiss Colour Run Sydney.

a special day in project 365. MY BIRTHDAY 22 and doing the Swiss Colour Run. Again over analysing everything I did it because I’ve always had trouble staying within the lines while colouring in as a child. As an adult I’ve always entertained the thought of pushing my own limits as well as that of others. at (9 am I was at the starting point and to be honest I was disappointed at the lack of creativity I saw from the crowd. yes there was the obligatory tutus but seriously I was the only one to hairspray my hair white?? it didn’t stay that way for too long.

My family are slow joggers so I just power walked. Yes I tasted talcum powder in my mouth and the worst part was blowing your nose and purple coloured snot came out. Rolling in the orange station seemed like a good idea except I forgot it was on a road. There may be a bruise developing over my right knee. Enjoy the photos and watch me and my family go from pure white to walking rainbows!

my scream happy face!

my family is a blank canvas waiting to be coloured in


best 22nd… really my only 22nd

it was then back home for a feast but I was dead tired and me falling asleep may have caused some dramas but hey its my party and I’ll cry if i want to!


Jetlag VS normal life

This is the worst jetlag that I have ever had. Yes I normally don’t sleep at night anyhow but it was moreso the urge to pass out at atbou 11-1 in the morning! i had to grab some shut eye or a good walk. It may just be that life isn’t as face paced as tour which is what I like but wow! this was insane. anyway shall we continue into Feb??


these 2 being a constant figure in my life were the first of my friends that I had seen.

‘happiness only real when shared’ – alex supertramp



I had this baby on layaway before leaving and to be honest I wasn’t overly keen on getting it and the only reason I did was because it had a copy of the final script in it.


I believe in America




back to work and of this is what I’m greeted with. the amount of people that I am supposed to have looked like is getting ridiculous. Bruno Mars, Temper Trap’s lead singer, Will.I.Am. and now Ketut? ¬†Guess I gotta go get my

Rhonda now right?



Like a sunrise



a barrage of birthdays have been upon me this month but very few mean alot. the 8th is one of those. I even gave wrapping pressies a go

Pretty birds on a string.


that damn jetlag. no TGIF for me… more of a Fri-DEAD.






scrapbooking. not much to my Saturday nights.


yay! catching up



wk2 of tour

It should be illegal to even think that this all happened not more than a fortnight ago. and look we’re almost half way through¬†February! Anyway here’s a quick peek at the last week of tour. ¬†and its catching me up with project 365 which means I can get on to writing right??


The last day we spent in Capetown was our last day so I spent it the same way I would as though I was leaving Sydney. I wandered through the city visiting museums. FIrst there was the slave lodge that detailed the slave history of South Africa. It was a good insight into the country as well as the trials and tribulations that South Africa has endured throughout its history.  Walking in the shade of the colonial buildings in the Company Gardens with the intention of hitting up the planetarium when a sudden urge to pee hit me and took me to National Gallery of  South Africa which was no help  anyway because the toilet was all the way on the other side. My short attention span was tested as I rushed past the sculptures and painting trying not to answer the call of nature until i got to the urinal. My bladder relieved of the pressure, I decided to take my time  admiring the paintings and the Nether Man nor Stone exhibition.

When nature calls step into a museum


a late last night in Cape Town, followed by a 4am drive to catch a plane to Jo’burg to board a bus to drive up towards Blyde River Canyon. It was a long day indeed, and may have included someone throwing up on the plande BEFORE IT had moved resulting in the rest of us collapsing into giggling fits. Did I mention that this person was sitting in the window seat with a pregnant lady beside him? No it wasn’t me and the best part was that he tried to justify it with ‘ it was the doxy’ . cue more laughter. ¬†We reached out destination and I give you a terribly blurred photo of the lodge we stayed in. It because both my phone and camera were full and I wasn’t able to take a picture til right up at the end of the evening.

Swadini A forever Resort.


main event of the day is kloofing ( google it!) basically hiking by a river down stream and jumping into it off cliffs at certain points.  Here we were stopped to chill just under a waterfall. at the end, after the 11m cliff jump our spontaneous guide led teh adventurous few into a jog through the forest. there was just barely a path covered in rocks and marula fruit just fermenting.  the unsteady ground forced you to keep thinking on what your next step would be but you could not contemplate whether you were about to roll and break an ankle. It was exilhirating and to come out in a small village that was framed by the lush green cliffs of the Blyde River canyon!

Thinking time


Goodbye Blyde River Canyon and hello Kruger National Park.  the day had quite a few stops where in the scenery was stunning and perfectlyu worthy to be the photo of the day, this blurry shot taken on my Olympus of a lioness on our safari drive was such a breathaking moment for me. I love lions to see 3 lionesses and a male lion in the wild walking not more thatn 5 metres from me, I just lost it. Only managed to take this photo and continued to watch in awe as the Lion King Sountrack played in my head.

‘pinned ya again’
yes that is a toy lion in the foreground.


full day game drive for the last day of the tour… and whilst the countless zebras, giraffes, waterbucks and kudus were nice to watch. the last sunset was my favourite moment of the day

I will be back


On the way to the airport and the toilet at the gas station had stunning panaramic view. in the field I spotted a pair of rhinos, ostriches, warthogs and believe it or not an emu! I’m not ready to leave this country.



again it was a day of goodbye’s which I resent. I will always prefer arrividerci because I will see the people I have spent the last 4 weeks with again…eventually. the Flight home was a tease, I had been waiting to watch Samsara when I got home and boom! its on the list of movies on the Qantas inflight entertainment but naturally they managed to fuck up. Apart frmo delaying our flight home this fault in the entertainment system meant that only a select number of movied could be played…naturally Samsara was not chose. Oh well. Back home a shower, corn rows out and shaved off the dirty mo, now I kind of look back to normal.


back to reality

and there you have it folks. My 4 amazing weeks in South Africa as told by the photos for the Project 365. I’ll try and get to specific events and moments of the trip that got to me once I’m up to date with the project. I’ve had a week of bad jetlag where I wanna fall asleep at work but there is most definitely something that has changed in me because of the trip.


wk1 of Tour

onto the second half of the ISV program. The tour of South Africa, it is very much an on the go tour that shows the country with the impact it has on the environment and community firmly embedded in what they choose to do, so without further ado I present week 1 of tour.


Jeffrey’s Bay is one of the top surfing destinations in the world. You would think that I would have attempted to learn how to surf back in Sydney, home to Bondi but the fact is I always thought that with my ethnic background i wasn’t ‘aussie’ enough to surf the blue tides of bondi. So here is me taking baby steps and getting up on the board.

like a baby learning how to walk


we left Jay Bay and headed to Storms River, Tsitsikamma where the next 2 days would be filled with hiking, climbing waterfalls, treetop zip lining tours and of course the bungy. But we pulled into the quaint town of Storms River and our first stop was the treetop canopy tour which is unique in that its built so that it had minimal impact on the environment. It uses the counter balance of the yellow wood trees as alternative methods to drilling into the trees themselves.


after hiking part of the Otter trail it was off to Bloukrans Bridge Bungy which at 216m is the worlds highest bridge bungy. Everyone had tips on how not to be scared but I wasn’t extremely terrified, if anything I was excited. The best reassurance I had was from the Clive the instructor/ person I had just handed over my life to who said in ‘ Hi I’m Clive, I’m here to keep you alive’. It was in those words I trusted and it was his voice I heard just before plunging down with nothing but the rope tied to me. With my toes on the edge he said ‘ Look to the mountains your going to fly’ and before I knew it I experienced a moment of serenity as the scenery took my breath away so that I couldn’t scream. The pine trees rushed towards me but I knew I wouldn’t touch them and the river was swirling, coloured like that of a bottle of spilled Black Label lager.

you’re going to fly


we left the quiet town of Storms River foe r a 7 hour drive to Cape Town where we were to spend 5 days exploring and breathing Long Street. We arrived to the Penthouse on Long, a backpackers on the 6th floor with a very slow and small elavator and then headed out to dinner at Addis in Cape, a traditional Ethiopian restaurant around the corner from the backpackers. The food was amazing and to be able to eat it by hand made it even more delectable considering how hungry we had been.

cutlery not needed.


one of the highlights of today was the township tour of Langa, a prominent township in Capetown that had flourished and I took with em the words of the tour guide ‘ don’t look at the destitution, rather focus on how far its come as a township’ . I can be quite the negative Nelly so with this in mind I saw achievement it had accomplished such as the Happy Feet Project, another ISV run project . Although one of the highlights of the tour was the opportunityto try a smiley, a¬†barbecued¬†sheep’s head which is said to be a good cure for babelas ( a word I now accustomed to and meant hangover). Half the reason people are turned off by it is beacuse its kept out in the sun, raw and usually has a battalion of flies just chlling on the rotting face. But due to the high temperatures that it gets cooked in one assumes it kills off the bacteria. Nati out tour guide of Langa cut it off and dipped the pieces in salt, and it tasted amazing! the meat was nice and tender and while there could have down without the salt you forget that you just ate part of a sheeps head. I went as far as to try its tongue as well but Nati, being a local went for the eyes as well. So why was it called a smiley? see for yourself.



STRAYA DAY! and the plan was to hike up Table Mountain and then abseil down 100m. that quickly turned sour due to high winds and from then on the day became much of a T.I.A ( this is Africa). the group was split into the few who chose to hike up AND THEN BACK DOWN the mountain which would take at the least 5 hours whilst the rest of us opted to abseil down Paarl Rock in the Stellenbosch region.  This was a fairly chilled adrenalin rush but again that fear when your right on the edge on throw yourself oout of a plane or off a bridge or in this case over the ledge of a cliff still gets me. Although I was ready to bounce and get my best Spiderman impersonation on as soon as I got the hand of it but by the time that happened it had already finished



a long day of tours with seal watching, penguin hopping and visiting the Cape of Good Hope where 2 oceans meet. It was there at the viewpoint where you saw the Atlantic meet the Indian ocean that they had set up this sign post. It was in that moment, crowded by tourists that I realised while I had begun to love South Africa that most of everyone I love were literally oceans away. But it was more so that I knew why I missed them because I find that the phrase ‘i love you’ synonymous with ‘i miss you’ and people just throw it around without thinking.

Finally I’m getting back on track with project 365 and all looking through all these photos make me miss the South African sun!


wk2 of Project.

and so we continue. By this point I’ve begun to fall in love with Capetown, but I know its temporary. In have an adventure tour I’ll be sampling more of South Africa. But for now here is the final week of project.


Apart from the fence that was being put up at Priscilla’s creche, there is also the a shade roof that we’re building at Sarah’s creche which is run at the community centre. the South African weather is really beginning to show itself. because the community centre is quite a large open space there is more of a breeze here so the heat isn’t felt as much whereas in Priscilla’s which is located in the township, the shacks are cramped together and there is no place for the wind to creep into so it gets hotter alot quicker. Over the weekend we let the cement set on the poles and not its a matter of getting the ¬†finer details of the cross beams up so we can put the shade cloth up.

we work hard


taking an easy night off. Back home we have tight as Tuesdays’ which traditionally meant $10 movie tickets although now its $11 and more if its in 3D. In South Africa, theres a bar called the German Locker down the road from where we were staying and they do 5R tequila shots. We were well behaved, we just know how to have fun.




catching another one of those moments today. Bex has a love for children and they just gravitate towards her. the energy of this little one and her passion was a joy to watch while on my break. another daisy ( yes I promise I will explain it)

daisies, smiles and hugs.

daisies, smiles and hugs.


this was indeed a challenging day. Sowing the shade cloth together. Creating the wire support and threading it across the length of the structure required some McGyver style improvisation involving a glove. The next part was to get the shade cloth up above the structure and then rolling it out and tacking it down. Yes the South Easterly came to ‘help’ by threatening to knock us off our ladders. It was successful in unravelling the shade cloth, leaving it flapping around only half tacked down. We we’re all in a daze, how were we going to safely climb up a ladder to try and catch the vagabond half of the shade cloth. Without thinking I shimmied up a door of the centre getting as close to the loose shade cloth as I can…. oh and being about half a metre away from the electric wire you see in the background there. My project leader was furious/worried about me but he was stuck on top of another ladder on the other side of the creche. I had fun, the shade cloth was secured and I returned to the ground un electrified.

Shade cloth dramas

Shade cloth dramas


the last day of project filled with bittesweet goodbyes to the kids. we had a party with them which involved cake and just taking countless photos and piggy back rides. It was rewarding seeing the fruits of our labour and it was even better being under the shade appreciating what it has to offer the community.

ISV impact your world.

ISV impact your world.


the last Saturday in Capetown and I’m going skydiving. It was only 9000 ft, not bad for a first jump. There were 7 of us including the pilot were cramped in the little cessna and I think¬†I was more scared of the journey up to the jump point as I was sitting next to the door and not strapped to my tandem jumper. Should some sort of freak gust of wind manage to open the door I would have been plummeting without a parachute. Although to be fair it would have been a lovely way to go, i could see the ocean, the plains and table mountain as I went. But enough of the morbid talk. Yes I survived and want to go again.

free falling

free falling


more bittersweet moments today, out little group of 14 was to be cut into 9 as 5 went back home and the rest continue to the adventure tour. We head off to fly to Port Elizabeth from Cape Town where we were to join the other project. Today’s main agenda was to head to Jeffrey’s Bay to our backpackers and then back to Port Elizabeth to the Nelson Mandela stadium to see a double header match in the South African Cup of nations. It was my first time watching a live soccer match, and the atmosphere was buzzing with passion. Fans were decked out in their team colours, people were chanting and moving as one group to the beat of the large drums that they had bought in and vuvuzela’s were being blown left right and centre

Africa's Cup of Nations.


wk1 of Project

This will be the photos as part of Project 365 but there will be more separated posts dedicated to South Africa. International Student Volunteers is an organisation that gives students the chance to make a difference whilst seeing some of the most beautiful places on earth and so without further ado this is a brief look at my month in South Africa with ISV.


Excitement bubbles inside me. I’m leaving for South Africa to volunteer and see the country. This quickly wears off after the 14 hour flight became 16hours due to delays and mishaps with refuelling in Sydney. We were still sitting in the plane on the tarmac for a good 2 hours. What made touch down in Jo’burg special was the face that is was raining. Toto immediately began to play in my head, yeah you know the song I’m talking about.

yes I bless the rains down in Africa.


an orientation day, we see Dunoon, the township we will be working on. This was taken at Priscilla’s, she runs a creche and so our goal here is to re build a safer fence instead of the one she currently has which is just old wooden palings hammered haphazardly with rusty nails and pieces of tarpaulin.

getting to know you.


the view of part overlooking part of the township of Dunoon. The electricity was put in about a year ago, prior to which many people would make their own lines from the main cables on the side of the road. This led to many fires in the township.




the work begins and mixing cement is probably I realise I enjoy the manual labour. Now if you don’t know me, I am what my sister likes to call a bit of a princess, sure I’m adventurous but yes I can be a little precious sometimes. So when our tour leader said we’d be mixing cement I looked forward to stirring up sludge in a giant container by hand. WRONG! completely wrong, there was no large container, rather a rusty wheelbarrow whose flat tire meant that we carried it around when it was full and shovels to mix the cement. we allocated an one corner of the community centre to start mixing the cement and began to mix. Much like a giant gravelly heavy cake mix. the work was rewarding although I was easily discouraged when the cement got to the stage where it looked to ¬†dry to even be considered cement.

'Wild Dogs tore shit up' actual quote from our project leader.

‘Wild Dogs tore shit up’ actual quote from our project leader.


at the end of work one day we were waiting for the van to pick us up ( T.I.A!) the kids came to play. Be it taking photos and us being amazed as to how they instinctively knew how to navigate and use cameras or to simply sit and talk to us. this incredibly tender moment is somewhat of a daisy (I’ll explain what a daisy is in another post) . This kid came and sat with our project leader and they seemed deep in conversation. Back at the¬†accommodation, out project leader Kyall¬†told us that the kid was telling him how he loved his studying and my project leader encouraged him. Towards the end of their chat my project leader gave the kid his chocolate and told the kid to have it for himself. This was a township after all and the reality is that the ‘every man to himself’ mentality exists in this place.

My daisy.

My daisy.


first weekend in South Africa and we had organised for a shark cage diving expedition which meant we had to be picked up at 3.50am for the 2.5 hour drive to the coast. You would think that today’s shot would be that of a great white shark, unfortunately for them I enjoy my sunrise and sunsets. And yes, throughout the trip, Lion King references were constantly dropped by everyone.

'with the sun rolling high, through the sapphire sky'

‘with the sun rolling high, through the sapphire sky’


So maybe I missed out on the Stellenbosch winery tour because I forgot to write my name on the list. what a shame, the stories of the 9am brandy shots offered to them by the driver as well as the winery that played baroque music to the grapes made it sound like a great time. Fret not, I had planned to hike Table mountain with Irene, a fellow vollie (volunteer). Now it was recently named one of the 7 wonders of the natural world and I woke up with it in view every morning. ¬†Although the Platterklip gorge was no walk in the park but the views were to die for and this wasn’t even at the top yet.

View from the base of table mountain.

View from the base of table mountain.

there you have it folks. Week 1 of an amazing 4 weeks in South Africa.


Godzilla’s Bathtime


Last year I was in the Philippines on a family trip and unable to enjoy the thrills of the Sydney Festival. Not that I’m complaining about my time back in my homeland. This year I miss out again as I’m going to be volunteering with ISV in South Africa, so before I jet off tomorrow for that adventure I made it my mission today to see the giant rubber duck in Sydney Harbour. Made my monumentalist Florentijn Hofman this giant yellow duck sat in the harbour as if it was waiting for Godzilla to stomp down from Japan to take a bath. It was in the sight of the duck at that spent my the evening catching up and saying arrividerci to some uni friends.





at a workmates 21st and she decorated the cake table herself. Her creativity is a source of constant inspiration for me. Oh and those blue jellybeans were awesome