18 Aug – Back To School

Back to school is right around the corner. Are you ready for another school year?

I’ve always been fascinated by the US school terms. The concept of having an entire 3 month break over summer is truly quite remarkable. I say this only because we have our educational terms structured as four distinct terms from Jan – Dec, with (usually) a two-week break between terms.

I used to love school holidays because it was all about sleeping in and hanging out with my friends… and then I got into my senior years of high school and that disappeared and was replaced with study.

Also not having kids means I don’t need to concern myself with anything related to going back to school.

Although, I will admit that when I was in school, I really did look forward to covering my books. When I was younger it was all about getting really cool adhesive book cover (aka ‘Contact’), usually something silvery / holographic. Then I went through a period of making my own covers – using magazine clippings, different letters from different fonts to spell out the subject; various pictures etc. I’d cover the book first in a layer of newspaper, then glue all the clippings on and then cover it all with clear contact.

I could just never work out how to avoid getting any bubbles under the surface.

Apr 18: So Much Guilt

Talk about a time when you’ve felt a lot of guilt.

Why is it that lately I’m starting to feel more guilty because I’m choosing not to be completely honest about some of the major instances from my life, instead, opting to share only those that I actually feel comfortable sharing?? It’s because of these damn prompts!

On that note, allow me to focus on something that I’ve actually felt guilty about for a while now… telling my brother that he’s adopted.

My brother is five years younger than I am, and when we were younger, I began to tell him that he was adopted. It was usually mentioned whenever he and I were fighting, or when people were commenting on how completely different we are – and I’m talking complete opposites! So I’d make snide comments about the reason we’re so different is because he’s adopted, and he would get so incredibly upset and just start bawling, ‘SHUT UP, SHUT UP!! I’M NOT ADOPTED! YOU’RE LYING!! YOU’RE SO MEAN TO ME’, and that was the sign that I’d taken it to far. I’d try and apologise to him, but it’s hard to try and apologise to somebody and come across as being sincere when you’re trying to stop laughing long enough to get an actual sentence out.

In all fairness though, even my mother would have a little giggle whenever my brother would run off crying because of me being such a bastard! Granted, it wasn’t every time, but she did laugh, so I’m not the only one here to blame. I think she can take some of the responsibility as well.

Since moving to Melbourne, my brother and I pretty much lost touch with each other. I kind of know what he’s up to through Facebook, but other than that, we don’t reach out to contact each other. It’s something that actually makes me feel quite bad, that I have somebody like my own brother, and yet, I don’t really know anything about him, because we never speak. He literally is the complete opposite of me – we have absolutely nothing in common except our parents, and even then, I only acknowledge having one parent. I refer to mum’s ex-husband as ‘my brother’s father’ for a multitude of reasons, but my brother keeps in regular contact with his father, and his father’s side of the family, whereas I have purposefully ex-communicated myself from all of them, and I’ve never been happier.

I feel guilty that my brother and I have nothing in common. I feel guilty that we don’t speak. I feel guilty that we never see each other. The last time I saw my brother was two years ago when I had to fly interstate for a few hours for my grandmothers funeral. Before that, we hadn’t seen each other for a few years. Now we live at completely opposite ends of the east coast of Australia. I want to be able to even just Skype with him and his, now, fiancee, but even then I just struggle to comprehend how that conversation would go. He’s never been able to have a conversation with anybody. Like, NEVER. He would go and visit his father during school holidays and I’d speak to him when mum called, and all you would ever get out of him were one-worded answers. ‘Yep. Fine. Good. Nope. Alright. Hot. Yep. I think so. Maybe. Not yet. Yep. Yep. Nup. Yep. I guess so.’ It was just a constant string of questions. He was never forthcoming with information, and would never actually go into detail. You’d ask him how his trip up there was. Good. What did you do on the train? Nothing. Did you play your gameboy? Yep. Which games did you play? Dunno. Did you play Mario Brothers? Yep. What level did you get up to? Dunno?

So by this stage, I’m ready to start bashing my head against the wall. Even two years ago when he picked me up from the airport, after not seeing each other for I-don’t-even-know how many years, it was still the exact same conversation. Everything was a question, and I only got the same simple answers. Knowing that I’d have a 30-40minute drive of this was enough to make me want to just turn around and come home again. It was just painful.

I don’t know what he’s like with Mum, or even his fiancee, but even the couple of times I’ve spoken to her, she was pretty much the same… although she was at least able to construct a sentence and elaborate a lot better than my brother seems to be able to.

Hmmm, perhaps I should change that, and see if they have Skype? Make a positive change, and put have more of an interaction with my brother?

Speaking of which… I still haven’t received a wedding invitation…!! I guess that speaks volumes. Ironic, really.

Perhaps this is the payback for all those years of tormenting him and saying he was adopted?

Dec 18: More With Less

Tell us about a time you did more with less.

Well, it’s not actually me, it was my mum.

I remember when I was younger, and it was around the time of my birthday, and my parents had no money. We generally didn’t really have money. It was always going to bills, rego, mortgage payments, grocery shopping, school fees etc etc. So for us, getting takeaway was a big deal. Going out for dinner was an incredibly rare occasion and a very special event.

So anyway, this one year, it was my birthday, and I remember mum asking me what I wanted, and I told her something like a bike, or some expensive shoes or something that she couldn’t afford. In the end I think I ended up getting a CD I really wanted, and instead of buying me a card, she made me a card.

It was made out of an old manilla folder, and covered in wrapping paper and contact (a clear self-adhesive film used for covering books to protect them from damage) and inside were  8-10 pages, complete with photos of me growing up over the years, and some illustrations that mum had drawn, and at the end it told me just how much she loved me, and always would, and that she hoped I still had a great birthday.

I remember back then, I thought it was one of the best things I’d ever gotten. I kept it in a box amongst all kinds of stuff, and whenever I came across it, I’d sit and reminisce and it would bring a tear to my eye. Even now, just thinking about it, makes my eyes all watery, because it just makes me realise how much I miss my mum, and how sad it makes me not being able to see her this year for Christmas.