giovedì, marzo 10, 2011

A house may be a home

So we made some offers and the vendor made some offers and we met, well, not halfway, but lower than I'd dared hope. And if all goes well over the next month or so a big lovely fucking house on a massive fucking lovely lot that is out of the flood zone next to a rainforest reserve will be ours. We have hit a big dip in the local real estate market, thankfully. This house is selling to us about $60,000 below its initial asking price, at a price that much smaller, shittier houses in the local floodplain were selling at this time last year. In fact, we're paying around the asking price of the shitty rathole floodplain rental that we're renting now, which is on the market, which is another reason to move.

But present conditions aside - and I do have the feeling what happened to the rest of the world a couple of years ago is finally happening to Australia now - I think there are one or two things that actually attracted us to the house that probably repelled other potential vendors. First, that it's right next to a massive flying fox colony (which means netting over the fruit trees and no parking without cover since their shit eats paint off cars). I'm quite fond of flying foxes. They are fucking enormous, and they squawk like birds, and they're fucking cute.

Second, it's an old house. We're getting all the typical inspectors in of course, but during our visits we brought around an architect friend of ours to tip us off to any serious shit, and it's in pretty good shape. I think everything charming about the house is in its age, frankly; high-quality timber in the hardwood floors, handsome old windows, a decent squat fireplace, understated moldings on the ceilings - and none of it is fashionable here anymore. It's all tiles and french doors here now. People just aren't into the old here.

One of the drawbacks of this being an old house is that the toilet is all fucked up - looks like the council put it in in the 1950's just out back of the house, far away from the bedrooms and the washroom. That probably repelled a lot of buyers, certainly of the older variety. Mummy La Spliffe has said she won't come visit until we get in a new bog close to the guest room so do that we shall, stat.

martedì, marzo 08, 2011

Jié xi kǎ kěyǐ zàicì yùnxíng

Ahhhh. Back to running again. That cold or whatever it was couldn't stand up to a day of kim chi brine and hot chicken bone broth. In fact I don't think anything except the human spirit can survive a day of kim chi brine and chicken bone broth. But that combo is the shit. I'm pretty sure it can fix most ailments if combined with a hot toddy the night before. Gosh, with this sort of home medicine philosophy, I am gonna have some drunk, smelly kids during cold-and-flu season.

Anyways, I'm running again, and after the three day break it wasn't harder than usual, and I've decided I'm going to do the one-hour-running programme since I don't really care about races or running fast or things like that. I'm perfectly happy with my stately little trot. Truth be told I'm scared of running fast. When I trot my stately little trot, I can pay attention to my dicky knee and to my posture and to not falling over on wet grass and things like that. If not running for three days was such a pisser, I hate to think what'll happen if I blew out my knee again and couldn't run for weeks.

Anyways again. Yesterday whilst interminably practicing the pinyin table, practicing counting to ten, drinking kim chi brine and making bin dae duk, I've realized the persistent lack of Asians in my life since leaving Toronto four years ago has finally made me crack and start wanting to actually be Asian. Sort of like how South Park did that great episiode about how Michael Jackson's whole problem was wanting to be an 11-year-old girl. This better not play out into some sort of psychosomatic lactose intolerance. We are negotiating to buy a house here - to really commit ourselves to a good four or five years in this town - and that'll be four or five years almost completely without Asians. There are a tonne of Chinese kids coming through town for university, but they're all young, transient, and none of them cook for me.

Part of what is helping me stay cool in the negotiations for this house, which I actually really really want, is knowing that if it doesn't work out our options are open in terms of moving to a different city sooner than that, which actually offers some fucking culinary variety.

lunedì, marzo 07, 2011

The Mandarin and the Fury

ARRRRRGH. I have a cold. Not my first Australian cold; when I first arrived here I was down with a vicious cold for about a week, and this feels a lot less worse than that. But the bitch of this cold is that it's accompanied by dizziness - not bad enough that I'm actively falling down, but bad enough that I know it'd be really, really stupid to go out for a run, and that is pissing me off no end. Today will be the third without a run. It is making me sick with fury. Like, not-being-able-to-have-a-cigarette-when-you-want-one fury. My brain is rationalizing the fury by saying things like "this is undoing all the great progress you've made" or "you've noticed how fucking hot your body's getting and if you stop running it will go soft again!" but actually this is a dull roar of physical fury from every bit of me that it doesn't get to go for a fucking run.

Friends who run have spent the last month or so welcoming me to the addiction - I'd thought they were being facetious.

Oh well. There's actually one part of my physical being that isn't anxious to go for a run, a patch of skin on my ankle that's been chafed by both my running shoes and my sandals over the last month or so, which is now busily healing. So I guess it's not all bad. I just better get better fast.

Probably what's making it a little more frustrating is that I'm not all that sick. Last night, for example, I had no troubles dragging myself to my Mandarin class, where we learned numbers and how to use them. Holy fuck, is that shit hard. I really need to go spend, like, two years in China to properly contextualize all of this information before I have a damn idea what anybody's saying about anything, I think. It's interesting though. Last night I caught myself staring at the whiteboard with the sort of slack-jawed fascination I usually reserve for spectating male full frontal nudity. Our teachers are just raw kids, university students here, who have never taught before, but since I'm starting from zero and since they're patient it's working for me well enough.

But for a clue of what I'm looking at, which really shits on all the European languages I've had any involvement with in terms of how fucking different the sounds are, check out this pinyin table - try to tell me how the fuck you make the final sound on the second table - who know 'er' could be that difficult?