It's not a perfect metaphor.

Monday, May 17, 2010

All right, what are we having?

That blog title is mostly for Ash. She should know why.

I had a cheesecake day on Saturday. There was a lot of cheesecake. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As sorry as I was to leave Brighton I was very fortunate in Bath. It took me hours and hours and several train changes to get there which is always fun with a backpack the size of me, walking up and down stairs to change platforms. And then, upon arriving at the hostel, I discovered that my room was the top floor of a- four storey?- old house. Oh, and bathrooms are in the basement. So that made for a fun three days. However, shortly after arriving I met some cool people who let me hang out with them in their room (across from mine) which led to a comfortable first night.

The next day I did my wandering thing since it had been too late the night before to get lost without it becoming a *gulp* "help?!" sort of lost which was nice because no matter which direction you walk in Bath it is stunning. The weather was gawd awful so I started with an indoor attraction- the Jane Austen Centre- and stayed there for hours in the Regency Tearooms with a slice of cake and an Anne Bronte novel that strangely was like a little security blanket for me for a few days there. It was my company when there was no company and acted as a sort of love substitute when I had no real contact from anyone from home for a while. I really liked the Jane Austen Centre, well worth the price of admission, and had to practically force myself to move on.

Next up I did the Baths; overrated in terms of exhibitions and audio guides but great when you just sit down, shut up and look around you. Ignore the signs and everything and just accept the history when you observe the place and suddenly it's worth it to be there. At least, that's what I thought. The Bath Abbey felt strangely cluttered so I didnt stay long; I was underwhelmed. Maybe I've done too many Cathedrals etc. lately? Am I all Cathedralled out? We'll see. Anyway, the rest of my afternoon/day was just more drifting and eventually internet cafeing it which lead to tears by the river. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I sent something to someone and I didn't know how it would be received. And here I am in this overpriced little hole of an internet cafe in Bath and I get this message that just made me start crying. I didn't even cry when I left Melbourne, when my mother was crying, when I was walking away. What was this emotional thing that took me over there? I dunno, but I got out of there quick smart, crossed the road and ended up sobbing on a bench somewhere along that picturesque little waterway. Great story, huh? I just figured I should talk about the first really, really sad moment I had, that properly hit me, and all I can offer in terms of explanation is that I was so upset because, in many ways, that message had been so happy. Gawd, I'm crazy.

So I medicated with food ("Cheater, cheater, compulsive eater!") at McDonalds of all places- judge me all you want, they do good ice-cream- and later on went for a drink with the people from the night before. A truly fun group. They're opinionated and strange, well, the three boys were. The girl was just nice which was a good contrast to all the outrageous in-jokes with the others. Three of them were from Melbourne, while the fourth was from Canada. Funny how everyone I meet out here excepting one or two people is either Canadian or Australian. It's like nobody else owns a backpack.

It was an odd night that ended late in the basement with poles and vodka and me being sleepy- as always. The next day I was feeling significantly worse for wear when I did the Jane Austen tour- sorry, people, but she's like crack to me- of Bath and met a girl who was actually staying at the same hostel. She's French-Canadian, super friendly and super smart and a seasoned traveller who gave me all kinds of advice. The tour was nice and it was a beautiful sunny morning in Bath that really showed off the city in all its splendour.

I met the two remaining boys from the hostel group for lunch (the other two had gone onto their own adventures; excepting the two guys I was lunching with who were already travelling together the quartet had met the night before they met me but were amazingly close by the time they split up to continue their individual journeys. It was great to see four people who got along so well who'd had around 72 hours to get to know each other.) and, post-amazing-cookie-dough-cheesecake-dessert, had a lot of fun with them that arvo walking around the city, sitting by the river again and listening to a young female singer-songwriter singing in a marquee at the Bath Coffee Festival that was held in the recreation grounds and blighted by worsening weather. I love the irrelevant details I forced you guys to read through there, this blog is so much fun.

I actually ended up having dinner with the girl I met on the tour; we met up in the hostel and agreed that since we were both leaving the next morning we should get a last look at the city. So we did, we walked around for hours, had dinner at a Thai restaraunt and sat on the grass in front of the Royal Crescent eating an entire baked cheesecake at 10:30 at night while discussing travelling and Jane Austen and each other's lives. I want to point out that this time the cheesecake was her idea and I'm not turning into one of those troublesome children who will only eat one thing like foods that are red or grissini.

She's actually going to Ireland around the same time I am- hopefully. My flight was cancelled so I'm going to try and get a ferry from Wales tomorrow and see where I end up. But anyway, she and I have resolved to meet up over there so that looks like it will be fun. Ash cloud permitting I will be in Canada eventually, as will she, so hopefully we'll see each other then as well.

So Bath was a success and the six hours it took me to get from there to Manchester (long story; longer train trip) gave me time to reflect on exactly how much fun one can have in the south of England in a week or two. So I'm bumming around Manchester for a day, flightless, and figuring out my next move.

If I'm honest, I'm really happy out here and I've been meeting some great people . I'm not at all sorry about any of it. But I feel forgotten by those at home and at times when I'm on my own for hours and hours there is a feeling of contentment in just being here but also of curiosity. Am I gone from their minds already? It's been six weeks and I feel like I've failed in some way to keep people's interest. Notes and messages sent are only sometimes answered, calls are received with shock almost akin to a feeling of nuisance. Could it be that only a couple of weeks ago I was planning to come home early? Home to what, I ask now. I'm being melodramatic, I know, but it's frustrating that from day to day, fresh city to fresh city, new friend to new friend, I think so much of them back there and it's not the other way around. And now I'll discover that I send this out into cyberspace and it just floats around there, doing nothing except confuse me all the more about what I'm doing, where I'm going, and who will be there for me when I arrive.


  1. You know I'll never forget you, never have, and never will. I'm so jealous of your Jane Austen tour, I really wish Ash and I had made it to Bath, I loved it when I was there. Yes, the Baths are most definitely over-rated, but still pretty in a.. some kind of way... my brain is far to dead to think of an exciting and..metaphoric way of explaining things. I blame the fact that you're not here for my constant slippage into Hannah Speak. Gods I miss you, and love you. And am incredibly jealous of all that cheese-cake eatingness.

    Lovers you.


    p.s no crying any more pleaseandthankyou.

  2. Oh, I loved Bath, it was gorgeous. I wish I'd gotten to wander, but I was 16, and travelling with Dad.

    OOOH, made a friend. Thpethial.

    You know I'll always love you! I'm thinking of you everyday! Can't wait till you get back, but we'll see each other for like a week before I fly away.

    LOVE Tam.

  3. Hey Han
    I have just worked out how to comment!! Slow eh? Anyway I read your wonderful stories avidly and I am spell bound by your storytelling. All is as it should be here (dramas included) you are often thought of and of course Powell street seems very spacious and quiet without you. I don't get to see Michelle as often and of course our northland fuelled marathon's on the phone have melted away as well. Anne

  4. I've actually been thinking about you heaps lately... just don't say much to you since compared to what you're up to there's absolutely nothing interesting for me to say! But if I'd known you'd been feeling forgotten (as opposed to being too swept up in the amazingness of doing what you're doing) I definitely would have sent you a message of some sort... though it'd just be like "oh hey, I've been working and eating cheesecake*"... which by the by, is precisely what I've been doing. So.

    *what a coincidence... I didn't know we had this common love?!?! Why just the other day I devoured a monstrous portion. And wondering if I would lose my job if I got too fat**

    **I actually asked this. The conversation was as follows:
    "Hey S***"
    "Say hypothetically, if I got really really fat, I mean not just chubby, like REALLY FAT, would I lose my job?"
    "What if I was too big to fit in any of the clothes? They would HAVE to fire me!"
    "How could I do my job if I can't wear the clothes? You would have to get rid of me."
    "....ask G****"

    ***S = third in charge
    ****G = manager

    So the way I see it, the answer is: Yes. Yes, I would lose my job. But that's okay, because by this point, all I'd want to do is sit around eating cheesecake anyway*****

    *****Except for that a cupcake shop opened RIGHT OUTSIDE my work... they make gluten free ones. Also vegan ones, by the by. WHY DID THEY DECIDE TO DO THIS. They're so so good :'(



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