this is the second time since i’ve left the US that i’ve experienced a low point (level 3 on the 1-10 mental breakdown scale). the first time was the day that i lost my phone. i left it sitting on an incredibly camouflaging gatepost at the birdwatchers’ farm. i wasn’t able to go back to retrieve it as i was already several hours en route to melbourne, so the farmer said he would ship it to the city to arrive SIX DAYS LATER. this meant two things. one, that i was nothing but a heap of irritable, self-defeating, head-aching misery for the entire day and my arrival at my music-blaring party hostel full of teenagers and top bunks was not helping. two, that i had to navigate the streets of melbourne walking around with my laptop open. imagine that for a second or two. anytime i had to check the time, figure out where i was going, check my messages, out with the old brute. on the upside, my phone was mailed to the place of work of one of the birdwatchers: the bureau of meteorology. i can’t imagine that i’m the only one who thinks that sounds exciting. oh yes, this highly significant american device has to be screened by the australian government’s top meteorologists–the bureau is ON it! am i right? the phone finally arrived in good form, and honestly, after 6 days of being without it, it wasn’t that much of a relief to have it again. that first night in melbourne, however, i questioned everything. why am i doing this. why am i not at home with my cats and my succulents and my kitchen and my bed and my comfortable, stable existence. how was that not good enough for me. what is this teaching me other than to GLUE MY PHONE TO MY HEAD and get a JOB so I can make MONEY and afford to stay in a nice hotel by myself. what. am. i. doing.
luckily a good sleep and a good sandwich fixed all my problems, and i met up with a friend the next day to stay at her place. after wandering around her neighborhood lost for about an hour (with my laptop open, of course, attempting to guess the passwords of all the closed cafes), i finally arrived at 4 como st. this place could lift anyone’s spirits. you know how dogs are unbelievably, unfeasibly excited when they see you? so are the five housemates of 4 como st. “ANNAAAAA ANNA ANNA ANNA YOU’RE HOME!!!!! YOU’RE HOME!” they are so full of life and energy. i mentioned that i wanted to see a movie. “is it playing now?” “let’s go!!!!” and so we rushed to the next showing. someone said how they’d been wanting to go to yoga, and we were up on the roof doing yoga within minutes. same situation with making our own craft beer flights, going to korean karaoke, and getting the best kebabs in the city. just by saying yes. i want to be this kind of person, who doesn’t find it so incredibly easy to say no. why is it so easy to say no?
on monday i did a 2-day bus tour, where i discovered the art of people-watching and the dangers of selfie sticks. i was almost mutilated 12 times. that being said, when I tried to take a selfie (with my massive DSLR, mind you, seeing as my phone was being transported to the BUREAU), the result was an artful photo of my earlobe, so maybe these sticks could be useful. plus it has the added function as a weapon! on this tour, everyone spent about 90% of the time on their phones. of course, i only noticed this because i was unwillingly without my own phone. i wondered if we had entered into a zone that disabled all technology, what would these people have done? would they have enjoyed the tour more or less without their phones and cameras? after every sight, everyone would pull out their phones and immediately edit and post their pictures. i probably would have been one of these people, if my phone wasn’t on its way to the bureau. why do we do this? this might come as a surprise to some of you, but i love taking photos. i love witnessing a scene and capturing that moment of life forever. but i don’t just do this for myself. i post my photos on social media so my friends and acquaintances will see all the cool things i’m doing and be jealous. right? it makes me tempted to give my camera away. or what am i saying, sell that shit. i’m OBVIOUSLY not going to do this, but i am tempted. i really can’t decide—am i missing out on the present by hiding behind the lens, or am i viewing the world from a highly detailed and involved point of curiosity by caring so much about what i’m seeing? part of me thinks it gives me a more poignant sense of perspective, and part of me thinks i’m just an idiot.
speaking of idiot, the current panic. i arrived at the microscopic airport in hobart, tasmania, and missed the only bus into the city for the next 2 hours. thus began my downfall. i berated myself. i actually said out loud to the empty baggage claim, “i officially HATE not having a plan.” i had no idea what i was going to do when i arrived at the hostel, what i was going to do the next day, when i was going to leave tasmania. i still don’t know what i’m going to do. but then i got on the bus and eavesdropped on a conversation between the bus driver and one of the passengers. the passenger mentioned that she was a chaplain, and the bus driver indicated that her son died by suicide two years ago. the driver was explaining her story, and i was just sitting there in the back crying quietly. when i reached my stop, i gave the driver a note with the name of a book that i thought might be helpful, and she got up and hugged me and said i made her day. at this, i BURST into tears and could not control myself. i was straight up sobbing. as i left, the driver called to me “you’re my earth angel!” sob city. i proceeded to check into my hostel with tears streaming down my face. how do you explain what just happened? the poor guy at reception did not know what to do with me, so he just went on with his chipper little hostel spiel (“and here are your linens! and this month is frogtober so we have lots of events going on!”) as i continued my waterworks. i really know how to make a good first impression.
there is nothing like having that sort of raw emotional connection with a stranger that makes you at once appreciate the whole WORLD and HATE HOSTELS AND SMALL TALK. so now i have to decide if i should rent a car and and explore the island by myself and get some much-needed alone time for the next week, or push myself to meet people and try to travel with them. i’m learning that i have a really hard time deciding between the easy and hard option—and being able to distinguish between the two. what am i supposed to say yes to?
i feel really lost (i knew the blog name would come in handy), but i know that’s the point. and i know it will get better soon (like, really soon, probably right after i get myself a sandwich). plus, i am an EARTH ANGEL. THE BUS LADY SAID!
also, guess what. DICK FOUND HIS YELLOW PLASTIC PLATE!