lunedì, dicembre 29, 2014

Good Lord, but how can we all avoid being Catholic when Christmas can be so purgatorial?

Oh, thank heavens that I've now wrapped up what is quite likely to be the last Christmas I'll ever spend in the fucking Antipodes. What a bunch of bullshit it is here. And no, it's not the weather. Singapore is a fucking steamroom full of heathens, and they do Christmas right there. It's just so fucking ocker-half-assed-bullshit. Every shitty little string of lights and dime-store tinsel barely decorating some fucking overpriced shop full of the world's factory seconds is like a fucking knife in the heart.

Fuck. This. Place.

Also, in-laws. The F-word has a lovely step-father who is all into Christmas and without him I'd find Christmas with the rest of the F-word's family unbearable. Of course, without him, having found the first Christmas unbearable with the rest of the F-word's family (with precisely seven exceptions) I would have started insisting we have "destination" Christmases in various interesting and exciting Asian countries, and that would have been awesome.

But then that would have precluded our second Christmas here happening, during which the F-word had a major conflagration with ten close family members that has shaped up into looking permanent. Which would have been - bad? Good? I don't know. I'm certainly not unhappy about not having to ever see those pieces of work again. No matter whether it's good or bad, though, in general in terms of our time in Australia, we've reached the limit of the benefit that the F-word can expect to reap by facing up to the ongoing problems he has always had with almost all of his family - indeed we've reached a point where he is just shaking his head over them, while I'm struggling to not physically tear physical heads from physical bodies.

(Our third Christmas was alone with a one-month-old baby up in the tropics, which was more or less as it sounds - too busy bonding, cuddling and sleeping to notice much. Our fourth was a slightly less purgatorial version of this one just past. And this one just past Christmas - well, thank heaven it was the last. The F-word is the only person in his father's family that the F-word's father still has a relationship with after many bitter fights and fallings-out. That would make it so ironic if the F-word's old lady - that is, I - would be the person who would finally snap and throttle him.)

BTW, Australia has given me asthma, which is sort of shitty, but at least it means I should be able to get my marijuana on prescription from now on. Merry Christmas to me. 

martedì, dicembre 09, 2014

giovedì, novembre 20, 2014

Moving to, moving away

Well, I won't say everything has been going absolutely seamlessly with the preparations to move to Krautland, but they have been remarkably smooth. For example, I've come across a nasty little catch-22 where full-time contractors moving there can't get public health insurance, but it's illegal to not have health insurance . . . a private insurer would probably take me, but being a child-bearing-age woman, a mother and a pinko, that option is both too expensive and too contrary to my blah-blah-blahs. But I get to override the catch-22 with that special-statute-for-journalist thing. Fancy.

Anyways, things have been moving so smoothly that to be honest I'm sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Job, they say, is the oldest book of the Bible, and I'd say certainly the one nearest to my heart. I'm conscious of having led so far what would be considered by billions to be a charmed life, and fuck me if that doesn't make me nervous. When you've done nothing to deserve it, when there are so many better people who don't have it, how can you not be scared of it being taken away?

Another thing, not unrelated to my ridiculous angst, is that my application for Australian citizenship is also chugging along fast. There is every chance that when I fuck off out of here, I will be doing so as an Australian . . . and I can say it's just a potentially useful piece of paper, but A) I've spent longer here now than anywhere besides Canada and B) last night I had an erotic dream about Crocodile Dundee, and he left his hat on. I'm still breastfeeding, by the way. I don't have erotic anything about anything in the normal course of things.


 At least that's what it would have sounded like if anyone in Australia could play the bass.

I do wonder what my time here has done to me, and that is a question I won't be able to answer until years after I've left, probably. I do know that I've never felt so much like a trespasser anywhere, even in countries where I didn't speak the language that well. There isn't much nice you can say about what happened to the native people in North America - probably, at best, that if a bunch of busybody immigrants on the make headed to Europe right after the plague killed most of the population, something similar would have happened, so it's nothing personal. But there's something a little spookier going on here.

Australian aboriginals have been in situ basically longer than anybody has been anywhere. 70,000 years, by some reckoning. 70,000 years ago, if you wanted a bit of rough in Europe, you could fuck a Neanderthal, and go on fucking Neanderthals for the next 40,000 years or so. 70,000 years is basically an unfathomable amount of time in human history.

And here aboriginal people have been, on what is by global standards quite the fucking dump of a continent. Always catching fire, or flooding, or sending up swarms of poisonous things, and mostly desert at the best of times. They made it work for 70,000 years in this fucking dump. That is fucking insane. If anywhere "belongs" to anybody, this place belongs to them, and when you are, like me, fundamentally a south-of-Eboli-Catholic - about three catsprings away from a straight-up voodoo animist - ignoring that belonging is fucking creepy. Sure, you can do it legally. We own a good square kilometre of the place. But spiritually? Oh dear me no. Spiritually, being here creeps me the fuck out. Crocodile Dundee I am not. Even if I've now seen his spirit dong. 

martedì, novembre 18, 2014

Happy snotday

Ugh. The boy's second birthday has come, as has colds.

Melbourne, you fuck. Under an ozone free sky and sandwiched between the desert and a deep blue sea - a deep blue sea where the next continent over is fucking Antartica - the weather is the physical manifestation of the emotional state of a 12 year old girl. It hasn't been uncommon for the mornings to start off just a few degrees north of freezing and peak around 3 pm close to 40 degrees. Nor is it uncommon for that temperature to plummet so fast when the wind stops blowing from the desert and starts blowing from the sea that your lower body is still warm from the baked asphalt and your upper body is twitching in the chilly breeze. And then on a normal windless day there's still a good 10 degree swing between sun-in and sun-out.

I actually don't mind it too much. 85% of the time, it's better in most ways than a lot of the places I've lived - I'm really having to gird myself up in weather terms for moving back to northern Europe, for example. But I do believe these big temperature swings make it easier to catch colds than it should be. And the big heat is really unbearable here. We're going to get quite a lot of it this summer, I think, what with everybody in Canada complaining about how the cold and snow is coming down on them like the wrath of God and these things usually going oppositely.

You want the wrath of God, beaverbeaters? Try weather that can't decide whether to kill you fast with fatal heatstroke and poisonous cold blooded creatures, or kill you slow with skin cancer and respiratory disorders from all the fucking air conditioning. And then cover it in flies. Fucking millions of flies. Who get caught in your toddler son's snot bubbles on his second birthday. Poor kid.

Anyways, the boy is two and the best thing ever. 

martedì, novembre 11, 2014

Throwing shit out

Things are ticking along amazingly fast towards departure. I really like this practice I've got going of only putting a few things on my to-do list - things I can reasonably accomplish within a few days - and then scratching them off. And making them bite-size. For example, "Throw Shit Out." That I can do. If I throw out one box of shit once a week between here and February, I'll hardly have to pack a bag at all.

Talking with a good accountant there has also helped. German tax law. Hah! The three words together look so funny on the page. It's like writing "God is good" or "Life is hard". Three words with whole fucking universes of meaning behind them to the degree that even saying them is at best meditative or mantric and at worst totally fucking incoherent. Anyways, he seems to be a good accountant and was able to quantify for me what I do before we leave and what I have to do right after. The Byzantine nature of German tax law looks to be working out for me at the moment too, since they have a special, obscure statute for self-employed journalists that seems to promise to make life rather easier for me.

And maybe I'm counting my chickens, but I think that this move might be a relatively easy one based on the fact that we know it's going to be fucking devastatingly hard and we started - okay, realistically, I started intensive preparations for it back in September. We've both done the trans-global moves a few times before, together or singly, and I think have both tended to leave stupid, stressful amounts of time to ourselves to get everything done. But now that we have Godzilla, we're not quite so dumb. A little better, I hope, at managing our time.

We'll see. I'm curious myself to see how much of my own hair I've pulled out by the time we leave.