Growing up I was always someone who could bounce between friendship groups and, without too much effort, get along with everyone. I had cool pals, geeky pals, pals without other pals, pals with loads of pals and I felt as comfortable with the boys as I did with the girls. Apart from one terrible year of bullying and exclusion; an experience so foreign and traumatic for me that it sent me on a rapid decline in to what I now know was depression; my friendships have, in the larger part, been quite pleasant.
I was the no-drama gal. I was the mediator when it came to schoolyard disputes. I advocated for disability access in the school, I coordinated the peer support program in year ten and, even from those early years of my school life, I have always seen the importance of helping others to be treated justly, to be heard and understood.This easy-going, justice loving trait has become a part of my identity and has shaped the path that would lead me where I am today.
Throughout high school I developed a chameleon-like talent for changing my behaviour and personality to suit whoever I was spending time with. If I was hanging out with my friend C (let's call her C because, funnily enough, her name begins with C) my sense of humour would come to the fore. We spent most of our time together cracking each other up and singing nineties pop songs. We got drunk at parties and would spend our pocket money on Peter Jacksons and Bubble-O-Bills. This was the "me" that emerged when I spent time with C; the drinking, smoking, ice cream eating, hilarious good time girl. Not so bad, but not that great for me either.
My friendship with H began in year nine. The teachers loved it when I became closer to H, because, despite being quite likeable and easy to get along with, I wasn't the hardest worker. My motto was "less is more" i.e. less work = more fun. When H came onto the scene my interest in academics increased in a dramatic way. Both the quality and quantity of the work I was submitting improved tenfold and it was all because of dear H. H was one of two daughters of a very intelligent professor who had, five years prior, lost his wife to cancer. So H and her sister were raised by her dad and H's natural intelligence combined with her father's insistence on working hard meant that H's grades were constantly awesome. In my chamelion-like fashion, when I hung out with H, I became a fantastic student. I could see something in H that I wanted to be able to find in myself and it was a brilliant lesson in self direction that this change did actually occur in me.
Some may feel that my changeability is a flaw however I don't think that my talent for altering myself is necessarily such a negative thing. In fact, I feel it has helped me to connect with people with whom I may not otherwise have connected. I am a social worker now, and this ability to become like the person I am speaking to can be very useful. I am much more subtle about it as an adult and, fortunately, unlike in my teenage years, I no longer "become" the person I am with. These days my skills are used to empathise with those I come in to contact with and as a result, I still have the same mediator-like role in the lives of my friends, colleagues and clients. Most people would still say that I'm the no-drama girl, which is nice, I think.
Another lesson that I am continually re learning and refining is about who I choose to spend my time with. Because of my chameleonism, I know there is a danger that if I spend too much time with negative Nellies, I will actually become one myself. If I hang out with people who have really destructive habits I will most likely take those, or similar habits on board for myself. This could be a daunting and scary thought... It really could be. However I am making the choice to see this as a wonderful opportunity to decide who I want to be. What do I find inspiring? Who is awesome in my book? Where do I want to take my life and my work? Who exudes rad-ness!?
I can ask myself these questions and then seek out people from whose butts this rad-ness shines! And I can bathe in that rad light and soak up that inspiration, creativity, great work ethic and kindness and I can BE like those people.
I can be a chameleon of awesomeness. And then maybe some other chameleons will think that I am awesome and bathe in my rad butt-light. And if we are all being really kind, and working hard, just imagine the things that will happen!
So if you find me sidling up to you one day soon, please don't be alarmed. I am probably just trying to soak up some of your rad-ness.
So my sisters-in-law Mezz & Tazare clever makers and they're collaborating on a very exciting project. I'd love to do something like this some day. Hopefully I'll get to be involved with their baby too.
Go check out the cute cute photos they've been taking in preparation.
Thanks Pip & Mezz for the inspiration. Here's a list of things...
Making : A latch hook Mary and Jesus rug. It's quite kitsch and awesome.
Cooking : Not much.. We have been busy and stressed and I am spending way too much money on eating out.
Drinking : Coffee, coffee, coffee. Lovely single origin espresso from my work-local cafe Wee Genie
Reading: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Wanting: Peace of mind about miss 12's passport. It's not looking good.
Looking: Forward to being less busy next year.
Playing: With the idea of doing some post-grad study.
Wasting: Organic spinach... (wilty-sloppy! eww!)
Sewing: With miss 12 is fun!
Wishing: The citizenship document would show up for miss 12!
Enjoying: The sun shining today
Waiting: I feel like life is one big waiting game right now.
Liking: The thought of spending next year at a slower pace.
Wondering: If we'll be in Vietnam this time next month.
Loving: My wonderful friends and family that have rallied together to help us recently. Hoping: The government becomes more loving towards asylum seekers.
Marvelling: At the loving way in that my boss (and friend) interacts with the people around her.
Needing: To look on the bright side.
Smelling: Thurlby "Blokes Soap"- we have just started stocking it at Green Collect
Wearing: My favourite Metalicus dress
Following: This lass's blog
Noticing: That I have been eating my feelings a lot again recently.
Knowing: I will get fit again one day.
Thinking: About asylum seekers a lot.
Feeling: Like there is so much I'd like to do and that I want to leave my mark on the world by making a "thing".
Bookmarking: Dates in my diary for great things that are happening.. Tavi, Women of Letters, family birthdays etc.
Opening: A block of hazlenut milk fairtrade chocolate.. I'm back on sugar.. lol
Giggling: At a hilarious Vine of a fellow high-fiveing another guys bare butt.
Feeling: Like I'm on a roller coaster.
I currently have only a few entries for the challenge!
If you haven't entered yet please see THIS POST for details!
I just wanted to let you know that I am gathering some lovely prizes . Prizes will be drawn at random so no matter how good/creative/useful your creation is, you'll have the chance of winning something nice! All prizes are being purchased by me. I am not sponsored by any company or organisation (I do work for Green Collect though.. for the sake of transparency! Ha ha!)
Prize #1 :: A delightful Marimekko Mug (for no reason other than they are my favourite!) It may not be this design, but it will be this style..
Prize #2 :: A $20 Green Collect gift voucher
Prize #3 :: A hand made upcycled blanket cushion made by yours truly! Something like this but maybe not as "tigerish". I made this one for my footy mad husband::
So get making people!!!
Flick me an email if you'd like to participate.. as I said check out THIS POSTfor details!
This foster parenting palava is quite the adventure. For those of you who know us and/or follow our adventures via social media, you'll already know that we are trying to get everything organised so Miss 12 and I can go to Vietnam as part of her school's bilingual Vietnamese program.
It will be a wonderful adventure, visiting ancient villages, bustling manic cities and spending a week actually going to the sister school in Nha Trang. It will be so much fun.
But we are coming up against so many brick walls. First was her birth certificate. As we are not yet her permanent carers, it was up to the Department of Human services (DHS) to get this for us and it took a good couple of months just to get it in our hands. Then, I went to submit the passport application and was informed that her birth certificate wasn't enough.. I needed to provide proof of her Australian citizenship. Which meant I needed to get my hands on a copy of one of her biological parent's birth certificates to prove that they were Australian citizens at the time of her birth. Either that or go through the immigration department citizenship office to obtain a proof of citizenship document.
We tried the first avenue and got in contact with her bio-mother. We had arranged for me to pick her up and drive her to Births, Deaths and Marriages. DHS gave me money to pay for it and the plan was that we would then go together to the passport office to submit the form. She wanted to get her birth certificate anyway so it sounded like a plan that would benefit both parties.
I drove across town to pick her up but when I knocked on the door she wouldn't come out. I called her phone and she said it wasn't a good day. Becoming a little nervous that it might not happen, I asked when we could do it.. she said she didn't know. A couple of days later, the DHS worker went to visit to attempt to take her to get the certificate but again she refused. For someone who wants to prove she cares for her daughter, this would be the perfect opportunity to show it, but no..
Next I went to Immigration. The person I spoke to at the citizenship office made it seem like our challenges would end with them. She told me to fill out form 119 and supply lots of certified supporting documents, plus a fee, and we should be able to get a proof of citizenship document. So I did all that and posted it off.. we all kissed the envelope..
I called the immigration department yesterday and was informed that the application was, for some reason, invalid. The operator couldn't tell me why but advised that there was a letter being sent which would explain it..
That was yesterday. I'm waiting for the letter.
For the first time in this whole adventure I am feeling that maybe it is not going to happen. Maybe the stars wont align like I want them to. Maybe our prayers wont be answered.
I sat down with Miss 12 last night and told her what is happening and that we need to remain hopeful but also be prepared for the worst. We need to make a plan B in case it doesn't all come together at the last minute.
Her little face. My heart broke a little.
So that's what is happening for us. If you're a the praying type, please send a few out for us.. if you're an immigration worker that can help us or if you have any ideas, please get in touch.