Relationships: My five (per)cents worth

My first crush was a boy in a lot of my classes at school. I carved our initials in the tree outside of my house.

I met my high school boyfriend when I was 17 at my debutante ball after party. We had our first kiss on the beach.

The first time fell in love he was ten years older than me, we only dated for three months and it hurt like hell when he dumped me. He said that I was too young and needed to live my life, which I of course thought was ridiculous at the time, but now I realise he was right.

Some time afterwards, I met my own “Mr Big.” It was hard for a country girl like me to make friends in the city. If you didn’t go to the right private school people did not want to know you. But this guy was cool and he knew all the right people in all the fun places. If you ask him, we were never actually dating, which we did very well for about three years.

During the periods when I was single I dated a lot of different guys. I never had a list and would give anyone a chance. I had pretty much given up on relationships entirely when I met my husband to be. After ten years of dating in Sydney which is 70% gay and 25% selfish arrogant boys, I was over it, happy to stay single and seriously considering becoming a lesbian. Until I remembered that women can be super annoying too. And isn’t that always the point when you meet a man who belongs to that elusive 5%?

What I have learnt about relationships:

  • Relationships are all about compromise. If you don’t want to do this, then don’t be in one
  • There is no right one for everyone, but many different people that could be the right one and a hell of a lot of good timing for both parties involved
  • I don’t buy the whole if it’s meant to be it will happen one day or if you love someone set them free and they will come back to you. If you want to be with someone you make it happen
  • Nobody really knows what goes on between two people in a relationship, except those two people in that relationship
  • If I was single now I think I would give internet dating a go. It beats meeting people in noisy bars and if everyone is honest with their profile and what they are looking for I think it is a good way to make a start.

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India, 1987-1988, Part 1: The Road South

In 1987, when I was nine years old, my parents and I spent three months in India travelling from Madras to Bombay. I am happy to have been so young when we went as I experienced no culture shock and had no real concept of poverty.  It remains one of the most different places I have ever been to and one that I remember quite vividly.

Madras in Tamil Nadu was filled with Hindu temples. One beach temple in Mahabilipurum had elephants that were walked inside.  I purchased a statue of Ganesh the elephant god for my Tamil uncle back home and a necklace of intricate pieces all carved out of one piece of ivory.

In Madurai I loved all the brightly coloured temples and the many different and interesting gods like Shiva with the many arms, Hanuman the monkey god and Vishnu.  Shankar, a rickshaw driver whom we had met the first day, was waiting for us each morning to ferry us from temple to temple.

We met a couple from England who were travelling after meeting on the internet before internet dating was really heard of. The woman was pregnant so she had to make sure that she drank fruit lassi’s (milkshakes) not the bang lassi’s that were laced with marijuana.

I remember a very long and bouncy overnight bus trip. Dad and I slept on the back seat which was like trying to sleep on a trampoline. There were no toilets on the bus and there were few rest stops, so the men peed out the windows and the women had to wait. When we did stop, the toilet was a plank over a pit. There were Bollywood posters on the side of the road and mum bought me a hand painted circular fan to keep us cool.

Christmas and New Year’s was spent in Kodaikanal. Being in the mountains, it was a cool break from the heat of India. Unfortunately, the president had died two days before Christmas so there was a four day official mourning period when everything was closed over Christmas. Fortunately we had already made friends with a local café owner, Israel, who opened to serve us porridge for breakfast. We had to shut the wooden window shutters and be quiet in case a passing mob heard us and stoned the café with us inside.

Israel took us to an excellent view point near his house on Christmas day which was mostly shrouded in mist. There were many walks around the lake and to a waterfall. One day we saw a rabid dog that had his insides on the outside after mating with another dog. India was the one place I was not allowed to pet the animals.

On the road south in Nagercoil there was a completely white temple that only allowed men to enter.

We arrived at Cape Comorin– the southernmost point of India. Here we saw the sun set and the moon rise at the same time. The sight was as unbelievable as the amount of people and faeces that covered the area.

Published as part of A Memorable Journey on Story2Share.

Friendship: Great Expectations?

In high school, my female best friend and my male best friend became friends and I could not handle it. I cut both of them out of my life. Not one to ever be jealous in relationships, I had discovered that I was an amazingly jealous person in friendships. I did not have a best friend again until ten years later, well into my working life.

In my twenties it was easy to make friends. Everyone was single, had enough energy to go out all the time and with no high responsibility jobs, mortgages or children it left more time for socialising. But as I left my twenties I realised that a lot of these people were merely acquaintances that I saw out or at parties.

As I moved through jobs, I was often surprised at who ended up staying in touch once I left a place of employment. That’s life, it wasn’t meant to be and you can’t stick around in the dead end jobs just because of the great work friends you have there. Sometimes you were only friends with people because you worked with them and then once that reason is gone, the friendship is also gone.

Having friends all over the world in the UK, Canada and Asia; I find that wherever you are you miss people. My best friend is currently lives in Baku, Azerbaijan but that does not mean that she is not my best friend. And one of the women I most relate to is in Canada with two kids to keep her busy so I don’t know when I will chat to her again; but that doesn’t mean that I don’t value her friendship.

In my opinion, friendship can only be enjoyed if it is two way. Otherwise what’s the point? This is a lesson I learnt early on in life. If you really want to see someone, you make the effort and you make it happen.

Or maybe it’s about expectations? Maybe my own expectations of friendship are too high? Or maybe my expectations of friendship change as I change as a person? Maybe being different to your friends actually equals longevity of friendship? I have learnt that by letting go of some friendships, I have made room in my life for new friends which have opened me up to new experiences and challenges.

I have been lucky to meet some great people along my journey through life, learn the value of quality over quantity and hopefully ended up with friendships that last a lifetime.

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Travel rememberings

My parents had been married and travelling for 10 years before they had me. They travelled to Afghanistan before there was a Lonely Planet guide for the country, went to the Black Forest in Germany when the Berlin Wall was still up and got my mother’s engagement ring in Turkey. Or was it that I was conceived in Turkey? Or maybe that was the second time they went back?

Either way, they travelled A LOT. So much so that even they have trouble remembering where they have been in what year, let alone wether I was there or not. This was also before the time of digital cameras with locality devices recording every time, date, place and memory.

Therefore, it can be hard to piece together where I have travelled before my own memory kicks in, but I will endeavour to give it a go. A lot of the stories are snippets of memories that have been retold to me over the years or photo’s that have been unearthed and referenced.

When I was three weeks old, my parents left me with my grandparents in England and travelled to Corsica. Apparently it was a pre-arranged trip- not child abandonment as it would be labelled today. Perhaps due to this trip, or maybe because of it, I was henceforth deemed old enough and dragged on every trip that came after.

There were trips to England where my father lived, Australia where my mother lived, Canada where my uncle lived and Sri Lanka where a lot of mum’s family lived. It was a time when maybe they were trying to decide where to live or maybe they were making the most of the flexibility they had until I started primary school at age five.

My parents remember me riding a red scooter down the driveway at my grandparents’ house in Weymouth.

My mum remembers that all I ate on the European combi van tour when I was six months old was Boots powdered baby food.

We went to Yugoslavia before it was renamed.

There are pictures of me holding natural cotton flowers on a hill in Scotland.

My dad remembers going on the Matterhorn roller coaster with me as a toddler in Disneyland.

There is a picture of me sitting on Chacmool at Chichen Itza with a nappy on.

There is a photo of me as a baby with my face full of chocolate in high chair in Maui.

The two places that I am sure we never went to are China and Japan as they have never held any interest for my parents.

Calling any friends or family who can fill in the blanks to please comment below!

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