12 de març 2017

You are not going to get on the way to my happiness

It has been some solid weeks of unexpected showers. But also an opportunity to connect with strangers (Random acts of kindness, sharing a cup of coffee made on a camping stove while keeping shelter under the pouring rain. Two strangers: me, on the scooter, him, coming from a boat at sea).
So there is sometimes a bright(er) side of rain, which is always great to our friends, the trees. So at least something wins.
Museum days, reading, eating soul food in company and a lot of laundry that never dries. In a place where rain is not the rule, everyone starts feeling down and apathetic. Kind of like when Dutch experience more than 5 days of +25 degrees, unbearable heat fills all topics and they doubt if there is life beyond the shadow line. 

And even then, when the patience threshold reaches peak and you even walk away before parading at Mardi Gras, even then... The love grows. 
Sydney has been voted as one of the least exciting cities in the world and I like the bad rap. Unexcitement: more daytime activities and business people too busy to see beyond their suitcases. Ergo: get a liberal job and enjoy the quiet outdoors on office hours! 
Now that kids are back to school and backpackers move north it is time to continue my love affair with this city. 
My happiness finds a lot of happy places here!

I felt the dopamine. I was high on love. In love. Enjoying my lunch at the Art Gallery, seeing colourful parrots being cheeky. Absorbed, hoping the moment never ends. Butterflies, warm fuzzies and all the shebang.

And then something happened. I was happily collecting graphic evidence of my blissful time. 
Per below, I took a picture of a wall size poster of a young Warhol, part of the exhibition. It impacted me at first sight.
Right in the middle there was a lady eating a pie. I was only aware of her presence after taking the picture, but she was part of the moment, I guess.
I don't remember what indigenous group it was that has an issue being photographed or caught on video because they think you take their soul. 
The lady seemed extremely unhappy of being caught on camera and it made me think of that immediately (and I wandered off in my mind again while she was addressing me...) 
She was unhappy. I understood. I wish she would have stopped shouting to listen to me. We all have been caught involuntarily on someone else's shot. With the availability of devices and the frequency we record things it has become a common fact to have our souls taken. We are more exposed and we take it as something that has come with modern times. 
So I was with her. But I also was flabbergasted at her exaggerated reaction seen my kind predisposition. I came closer, I smiled rather incredulous of the absurdity of the issue and at ease with the simplicity of its resolution. I was going to simpatise and ask her about her day. But she went on, and I really lost track of the ongoing blurb (mind wandering off and wondering what indigenous group doesn't like pictures...). 
She must have had a bad day...

And then, still shouting she asked me to see the picture. And I showed it to her. At that point I had a chance to talk and I offered to delete it. And she obviously agreed. In an upbeat tone I asked her if she would let me photograph the poster without her on the frame, then. 
And the shouting began again: "Oh, so now I have to be out of the picture?"
An argument gone wrong. I went silent and walked away, picture undeleted. I had a moment to look around and see people taking pictures everywhere. I couldn't agree more with the lady. I loathed being on the other side. And, most of it, I was in such a loved up stage I wasn't able to comply any longer, because she interrupted my dreamy state with an aggressive confrontation.

And here is the happy learning out of it. When in a confrontation, my body gets very tense and I always avoid conflict trying to find many ways to give the other party part of the reason, as I know, it is all a matter of perception. 
If the conflict goes on personal attacks I do try to find what I've done wrong, but it haunts me. 
We all make mistakes and we will never make everyone happy with our choices. We all get hurt in some way from verbal confrontation. We can also decide how much we want it to affect us.
So here's that. I shook the tension, the guilt feeling and made my way to a video art performance. I managed to calm the bad stomach. The dopamine was gone, but I also stopped the adrenaline to take over. I felt calm and more focused and promised myself not to let me ruin the day. It wouldn't have otherwise. But I would have finished it to sulk on how things could have been dealt better. But I didn't. And I went on to the video exhibition and the Aboriginal Art.

And that's how it works. 

01 de març 2017

see with your heart

Life in Sydney continues, and now it is same old new at my then-place of residence in Vaucluse: Clairvaux. 
I once attempted to keep a diary of the life in this house, but sheer amusement and happy times kept me rather busy from writing about what a roller-coaster it was to share your domestic life with 18 people under a hilarious pseudo-tyranny.

I am not going to look back, not on this post at least. Demographics have changed in the house and it is quite interesting how millennials view the concept of sharing. But, I am not going to lie, many of the originals stayed in a two-dimensional quest to saving money and in the meantime purchasing all those things they thought they needed. 
The happy moments outweigh the different views and the meaningful connections have made my life much richer.

Yesterday was a meh day. You know, you sometimes have those. You don't jump out of bed in excitement and want to make love to the world. The only idea of getting up was too hard to bear. Although the weather forecast said it was going to be rainy all day the day started so sunny and gorgeous I had to listen to my inner voice say:

"This morning is a gift, you will miss such days"  

subsequently, I peeled myself off the sheets... rather meandrous.

I have set an Instagram account (@selvetchen) and I am keeping track of a visual diary to record my life on the other hemisphere. A dream that came true in 1998 and has made me feel part of this side of the world. But yesterday I decided to ditch the camera and make it a "see with your heart" day. 
Choice of running field: The Hermitage walk with the idea of going for a run + swim - the perfect plan to wake me up.

I still have sore hamstrings since "the ripping" in September and I had tired muscles from the run the day before. The road was all downhill, thus heavy on the joints, so I decided to walk instead. 

All that I saw... 

Mushroom viewing! After some evening storms there were huge mushrooms everywhere by the trees. But, being in OZ, they couldn't be just regular shrooms, they had to be weird psychodelic phantasies. One of them opened to show an interior worth a sci-fi creature, but I couldn't google out what I saw. I did find a video of the colour-changing one. It was so much fun. Look!

quite amusing!

On my way to the beach a storm hit us. It was beautiful to stand there and see the sand get wet, my clothes get wet, the sea change its colour to a pearly grey, people running, the smell of the sea lurking strongly under our noses, the misty pavement. 
I took shelter in the old bath house and continued my trajectory. On the way to the southerly beaches I found a couple of big lizards and many baby ones, which are oh so adorable I always feel compelled to talk to them. 

When I arrived to Hermitage Beach the best surprise was there to greet me: The fun dance of a school of fish. 
As I was sitting on the dock, watching the clouds dissipate and the sky start its reddish dawn ceremony a baby manta ray decided to emerge and dance among the fish. I was there witnessing it all, thinking that the best things I have enjoyed have never been caught  on camera. 

I had been listening to Anita the day before talk about some holidays she took to Greece years ago and how dead the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas are.
While watching a manta gracefully swimfly with fish I thanked again being on this side of the world and being able to see so many living beings I unfortunately can't see in my sea any more. Go figure right in the city. 

Back home to a chai and no footage. Indeed:

                                           on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur