Thursday, May 14, 2009

Soft spoken with a broken jaw, step outside but not to brawl.

Photo: Fergus Padel

Last Australian Post. This is it, it is here, oh my god ohmygodohmygod. Breathe breathe; spaz out. I have a couple of days now to pack and spend time with my family and then I'm off, into the world. So the deal is that I have a one way ticket and 4 thousand dollars; Australian dollars, not Euros. The vague plan is to learn how to be an English teacher, work a couple of summer jobs and then hopefully settle down with some permanent hours of work in Madrid until at least June of next year. After that who knows, maybe I will stay in Spain, maybe I will skip over to France or Italy. The future is completely open right now.

Let me tell you something about myself..on my blog, who would have thought? I used to work in a nursing home. These folk were beyond regular interaction, they would lie in bed all day, be fed lamb which had taken a spin through the food processor, and have their adult nappies changed by my 19 year old hands. I wasn't a stranger to care work, having spent a very hard six months in the UK looking after disabled adults and children, but the nursing home broke my heart. These people had been lucky. Nobody had shot them, they hadn't fallen victim to disease, they hadn't been killed in an accident; they had lived to old age, something most of us aspire towards. In this home there was no dignity in old age. Very few of them could speak, most had dementia to the point of not recognising even the function of a spoon. Have I mentioned it broke my heart? There was a point to this; I haven't just decided to depress you all with my last post in Aus. The residents would die fairly often, usually in winter and usually in threes. There was a lady there who had long golden hair, maybe it was really white and had somehow taken on a yellow tinge from old, but it was her pride and joy. Some days she'd ask me to plait it for her and other days she would snarl at me if I went anywhere near it. She died at the beginning of a shift, they came and collected her body and took her away, I was handed a garbage bag and told to put all of her personal items in it. They didn't even fill the whole bag. It broke my heart.

I quit my job there, but it is the reason I am going to Spain, with such little money and big dreams. If I'm lucky I might live into old age; I might have to lie on those beds and stare at the ceiling all day and overhear the care workers talk total crap. At least if I do, I will have my memories to live back through, I'll have 'that one time in Spain' or 'the perfect moment in Italy' maybe even 'when I was robbed in England' or even 'when that drunk dude flipped a hair-tie at Flower on the metro in Paris'. I want my life to be so full that I can live it over again in my memories. I hope I can hang onto them. I guess the point is that walking past that home every day reminds me to live my life, but let’s not get corny.

I feel like I have cheated you of a patriotic final Australia post. Right now I am deleting all of my favourites from my parents' computer. Oh wow. Oh wow. Thank you for reading my blog and actually being interested in my ranting, or atleast the pictures I post. Next post from...


  1. Bon Voyage! Safe travels - can't wait to hear more!

  2. too dang right! Love Snoop

  3. Keep us all updated on your journey across the great lands. I wish you nothing but luck, safety and good travels!

  4. Wow! I'm so in awe of your courage & determination to do this. It's finally here! I hope you have an absolutely AMAZING time & when I see you, you have a whole lifetime worth of stories.

    This is a very sad post but also the end of a chapter for you. Can't wait to hear everything!!

    Liv xx

  5. Thank you Kez and Orhan Kahn :)

    Bam, thankyou for the post on your blog, you are gorgeous. I was a bit worried this post might be a bit of a downer, but it's one of the reasons I am 'brave' enough to do this thing, so I thought it worth writing. I'm sure I'll have loads of tales to tell you when you visit Spain.

  6. oh and snoop, ROCK ON LOBSTER GIRL. I will warn the Spanish men you are coming to date them.

  7. I was you once.

    It's funny, I posted recently on an experience with an old man I knew at my work (I worked in a retirement community), the idea I got from another blogger who also told a tale of working in a nursing home. Maybe there is something about us people who have worked with the oldest ones among us.

  8. Good luck fellow braindancer, You seem like a lovely, honest and insightful person. I really do hope you have an excellent time filled with love & laughter.

    This post brought a little tear to my eye (first time a blog has touched me in this way) My grandfather died in a home when I was 8. My mother and I went to pick him up, and bring him back to our house by the sea,but we were too late. He was helpless and leggless after paving the way for 10 children in a time when it was hard for black folk.
    I always remember him as strong and smiling, a true reminder of why it is important to be brave and to feel the life force rather than experience.

    Good Luck Te, may the force be with you. xxx

    May 16, 2009 6:07 AM

  9. awww. i'm shedding tears for you. lets be all emotional together and let me give you a virtual hug yeah?
    TAKE CARE! make those memories! one day maybe i'll meet you in the same nursing home and we can share stories of our youth...and you can tell me about that 'one time in spain'.

    happy travels! be safe! ...write a book? ...coz i'd buy it.

  10. take care of yourself, be safe and not reckless, but take risks too. have so much fun, i wish you all the luck in the world.

  11. buen viajar! see you on this side of the pond!
    and so the adventure begins...

  12. hey
    I am Liesbeth and I have to tell you,
    I practicaly just read your entire blog in one breath.

    I am going to Madrid on Erasmus next year and I came upon your blog.I really really hope you are having a good time there.
    I was really stumbled about all your thoughts and by all the photographs. You talking about old people in this article and thinking about living today and remember tomorrow,it is my own opinion too!

    Or that glasses give you a geeky mask hehe,I sometimes put them on to see who talks to me and who doesn't,you know?
    I'm sorry I m so open,
    I think you have a lot of courage to go live in another continent like that,
    I wish you all the luck!!!
    Liesbeth( from Antwerp;Belgium

  13. Hi Liesbeth, I saw your comment when I was approving comments for my latest post and then I ´went to reply to it and couldn´t find it! I´m glad you like my blog :) Içm surprised you´re coming to Madrid with Erasmus, I thought all the Erasmus students went to Barcelona and it was just like that movie The Spanish Apartment hahaha.