From the Back of Bourke to Uluru via the world

This time 8 years ago I was in Bourke, I was young, naive, and a long way from home.  I was out there for a final year uni placement after expressing some interest in indigenous Australian health and closing the gap that exists between indigenous communities and non-indigenous ones.  At the time I had no idea how life changing this trip to the outback would be.  How much it would shape my life, ideas and opinions.  How much I would appreciate the experience and insight I gained while I was there.  Or how much the red dirt would get in my heart, and the hole that it would leave forever after that.

Fast forward to now, and as sad as it is to admit when I came home from Europe I was a little underwhelmed about being Australian, I was ashamed of my history and feeling a little lost, but this week, I have had my feet back in the red dirt and it feels like home.

Last week Dave and I spent our time exploring Uluru on a family holiday with Dave’s family, a trip unlike any we have been on before and my first trip to the Northern Territory.  But this trip to heart of Australia has refreshed my soul. There is still a lot of my identity as a white Australian I am uncomfortable with, but I have been reminded of so much that we can be proud of.

The outback is magical and majestic and I have never experienced anything like it.  The vastness of the desert, the size and scale of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon, the simple beauty of our beautiful country and the incredible ability for life and culture to last even in the toughest and most extreme circumstances.  I have found a new appreciation for our Aboriginal forefathers, and renewed my passion for bridging the gap between Australia’s two currently separated communities.

It is humbling to walk around the rim of Uluru and parts of Kata Tjuta, their overwhelming presence a reminder of how small man really is.  It is incredible to think of the time they have stood and endured, almost as long as Australia has been Australia, these amazing structures have been here.   As we walked through and along the rim of Kings Canyon it is impossible not to be impressed, where else in the desert can you find ferns and permanent waterhole? Or frogs and tadpoles who have waited for rain just for this chance to survive on the top of a desert rock.  I was reminded that while Australia may not have the ‘white’ history of Europe, with buildings and statues from a long heritage that is familiar and , Australia’s history is rich in a completely different way.  It has been around for a lot longer, as has its people.

So while there is still a lot to be done to reconcile all that is Australian, I am proud of this land, it’s people and to be Australian.

Uluru Sunrise

Kings Canyon Sunrise

Kata Tjuta

Kings Canyon

Uluru Sunset

Kata Tjuta Sunset

What I learnt from my month at the gym…

It feels like forever ago already, but less then two months ago I was on a trial at fernwood fitness. A friend of mine put the offer of a months free pass out into the world of Facebook… And even though I didn’t think I was probably one of the friends she had in mind when she put it up, I expressed my interest. The truth was I had always been a little curious about whether or not I would like the gym… Whether or not I would get much out of it… Or whether or not the reasons I had for not pursuing it earlier were true. Yet here I was with a Facebook message that said the 30day pass was mine… Enjoy. Now even though the trial finished in February and I haven’t continued at the gym, I did learn a thing or two from the experience…

1. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you can do, people will make assumptions and judgements based on what they see first…
This was probably the low light of my experience, but thankfully it was just a couple of people… just because I am bigger than you think I should be doesn’t mean I am lying about my exercise routine, my weight and what I do… I do exercise regularly, I know my weight and height… if you want it and I am a dietitian whether you like it or not…

2.  I could get used to the gym routine…
I have to admit I really started to get into the grove of squeezing it in around everything else, mostly first thing in the morning, but every now and again before or after something in the evening…

3. I am stronger than I thought…
On my weights intro session I had to use a piece of equipment called the ‘captain’s chair’… I am not really sure if that’s the real name for it… but that;s all I got… Anyway, it required me to lift my legs up while supporting the rest of my body weight with my arms and back… when I looked at it my initial thought was ‘no way… I haven’t been able to lift my own body weight with my arms since primary school and even then I was rubbish at it’. But feeling the need to prove myself I gave it a go and surprised my self… sure I wasn’t amazing but I could do it… more than once… and even if my trainer wasn’t… I was impressed.

4. ‘Free’ is a good motivator…
Because I had the 30day trial and I had already decided I probably wasn’t going to pay to continue I wanted to get as much out of the trial as I could… that meant cramming in session after session, all with the motivation ‘it’s free so you may as well make the most of it’. I have to admit the time limit also helped as I already knew it wouldn’t last forever… all I needed it to do was to kick me into gear again… get my exercise for 2013 rolling… and it worked… I think the fact that it was free made it feel like it a challenge and an opportunity… a gift that I could take and use or waste and I am glad I used it.

So there you go… my month at the gym… worth it, even with the good, the bad and the ugly.

fernwood

New Beginnings

So tomorrow is my new beginning… I know it’s day 7 of January, but I was lucky enough to have a few extra days off last week so I feel as this week will be my first full week of work for the year it’s time to get the year started… So tonight I am starting my new night regime… Something that I am hoping will become a series of good habits and tomorrow morning I start my new morning routine, something I haven’t had for a long time.  Tomorrow I also go back to regular exercise and being a little more fussy with my eating as I try to stop that holiday snacking.  This is one of the many reasons why I really love January because it feels like a month of fresh starts, time to get established and started but because you have the whole month it isn’t too much of a rush… It will happen as it happens and that is ok, but I am hoping that for me it will start tomorrow, well kinda tonight… But definitely tomorrow.

So what do I have in mind? Well I have been reading this book called ‘one bite at a time: 52 projects for making life simpler’ by Tsh Oxenreider which as the title suggests is little bite size projects to simplify, and even though it is written for busy mums… one of which I am not, I am still busy and I could do with some simplifying… And routine is something that is suggested to help this. In fact there are a few things on this years list from the book that I have decided to have a go at… but I guess we will get to those as I do throughout the year.

Anyway… To the point is…. even though I often deny it, I actually do love routine and structure so I am hoping that this will be a positive addition to my life… So as of tonight/tomorrow I start my night and morning routines… and for now they look a little like this:

weekly_habits_pad_vs2

Before I go to bed I need to:
Make my lunch for the next day
Get my clothes out for the morning
Do a 15 minute quick clean
Write a to do list for the next day
Do my devotions

In the morning I need to:
Exercise
Shower
Have a proper breakfast
Have a cup of tea
Make my bed

I know they seem simple but they are a far cry from my current mad rush in the morning… I am hoping it will help me start the day in a better way and therefore I will have a better day… that’s the theory anyway… so here we go… Structure and routine

I want to ride my bicycle

Yesterday I got a new bike… and I am quite excited.  I haven’t really ridden a bike all that much in the last couple of years, in fact I usually avoid it at all costs, but recently I have found myself looking at people’s pictures of the places they have just ridden to and being a little bit jealous, just like the way I feel about pictures of people who have just completed fun runs.  These are both things that I wish I could do.  Now I know that technically I can do them, I just don’t… but I think I am actually at the stage where I want to, but my body hasn’t quite caught up to my brain… I am going to have to practice and train… yuck…. but I will get there.

Anyway, yesterday in a moment of weakness, when Dave asked me what I wanted to do I suggested we go for a bike ride.  Sitting in my garage was a bike that my Dad had kindly given me when he returned from China.  It wasn’t anything special, but it was a bike, no gears, no normal pedals, but two wheels and a frame.  Once we got it back to our place Dave put some new peddles on and it had lived in the garaged until yesterday… when we dragged it out, dusted off the cobwebs and attempted to ride.

All was fine until I wanted to go up hill… no gears… no stamina… no can do… so I got off and walked.  At the top of the hill I got back on and started to ride again, a little bit downhill and then more up… this time I tried to persevere… but no… the bike broke… the pedal snapped clean off.  Luckily for all in the area I was in a ok mood by this stage… I didn’t cry… I didn’t throw the bike… I just got off and walked back home again.    

Once at home I mentioned that I would never ride that bike again and Dave… who loves to ride… decided it was time for me to have a new bike of my own… So off we went bike shopping… and here is my new… cheap… pink… but much more effective… bike with two well attached pedals… I then attempted the same ‘track’ again… and despite my lack of fitness, it was much more enjoyable… although hills are still hard… lucky Dave can give me a boost if I need it.  Oh and my new bike looked pretty awesome the whole way.

Oh and I got to cross no. 26 off the list.

Magical Haircuts

This week I have had a little time for pampering… well, when I say time I mean I crammed some appointments in to my week to make me feel human again.  This week has been nuts… but because it was the same last week and the week before and the week before that my hair has been slowly growing into a tangled mess which was almost touching my ever-expanding eyebrows.  So this week, between running around to different commitments, I managed to get my eyebrows waxed back into submission and my hair cut and coloured.  Too much information perhaps, but this is what happened.  Why am I telling you?  Well there are two things I find amazing about these experiences…

1.       How just doing something small can make you feel brand new.  I have been super exhausted all week, but these two little trips to the salon have somehow rejuvenated me, I feel like a real person again.  This is a far cry from the pretend girl I once was, who had an annual hair cut and not much else, I now really look forward to these experiences because I know they will make me feel better, like a functional member of society.

2.       The other thing I find amazing about getting my hair done or going to the ‘beauty salon’ is that for that half an hour to an hour that I am there it almost feels like time stops.  Sure the people who work there are buzzing around, but I just have to sit with a cup of tea, ready a trashy magazine and catch up on what’s happening with my favourite couple… Wills and Kate, while I just enjoy the music that is being played.  I can just check out for a little while, I am not expected to do anything or say anything… although hairdressers are always amazing at starting conversation, but that’s a whole blog in itself… but I can participate as much or as little as I like.  Sure as soon as I walk out the door life goes back to the full on pace it was moving at… in fact it’s kind of like merging back on to a freeway from a side street… it also always costs me more than I think is necessary, but I still love it.  Just a few moments where my whole purpose is to stop while the world continues around me.

So, having said all that, I am still tired, but my hair is great, my face is clean of unwanted hair and I feel like at least a small part of me is under control in my crazy busy life.

Creating Cookies

Day 28: Love creating

I wish I was more creative, I often look longingly at the creations of others and think, how did they do that? what a great idea why didn’t I think of that? Maybe when I am a mum I will be better at being crafty… maybe it’s just practice, or perhaps, I just don’t have it… I can on the other hand create in the kitchen, granted nothing original, just things out of recipe books, but creating all the same.  So that’s what I have done today, loved creating in the kitchen…

At the beginning of the week I rotated to a new site with work, one which is much closer to home which is very exciting. What is also exciting is the fact that my new site has provided me with the perfect opportunity to cross something of the list…

Today was my first team ward meeting and as the roster would have it I was on for Morning Tea, giving me the perfect opportunity to create and cross ‘number 83 – Bake something for work’ off the list. So here is my proof, a fresh batch of my choc-chip cookies…