The Year the World Didn’t End: My 2012 Recap

If I could describe 2012 in one word, it would be … hectic.

Given I’m not one for stopping at just one word when describing something, I’d say it was also tiring. And demanding.

2012 may have been busy, but it was always pretty darn remarkable. I grew more than I realised possible in a very short timeframe – it was a year of pushing my boundaries and venturing outside my comfort zone.

Celebrations in Sydney

Sydney

We started 2012 with a trip to Sydney – to celebrate my Nan and Pop’s 50th wedding anniversary, and also for the baptism and 1st birthday of a dear friend’s very special little boy. We spent two weeks in Sydney in January, and had a glorious time. I wish I could bottle the love, laughter, warmth, excitement, and happiness that filled the rooms for each of the celebrations – it’s the stuff that makes your heart feel so full it might burst.

I wrote a 30 by 30 list

When I first started thinking about what I wanted to achieve over the next few years, I thought my list would be short – get married, move to Sydney, finish a half marathon. It wasn’t until I really started to think about it, and put pen to paper that I realised that my list was long. Very long. Much longer than what made the final cut, but I figure I can only achieve so much in the next few years. What comes after that, time will tell.

I chopped off my hair

It might not seem like a big deal, but for me, it was averybigdeal. I felt such an overwhelming sense of relief, and like I had just shed years and years of unwanted thoughts and emotion. It wasn’t just a hair cut, it was somewhat of a spiritual cleansing. Or an exorcism.

I took up a new sport

When a work colleague asked if I would join her beach volleyball team (indoor), with people that I didn’t know, my internal reaction was a resounding “hell no”.  The words that came out of my mouth were another story, however – “Sure! I’d love to!”. Funnily enough, I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’ve made new friends. I am not the most skillful player, but I am getting there. I can hit the ball, so I figure that’s a good start. It has also been strangely cathartic, belting that ball back over the net, particularly after a bad day in the office.

Another Sydney trip

From Nan's kitchen

June saw us take another trip to Sydney, and then down to the Sapphire Coast (it truly is God’s country), for another special occasion – my grandfather’s 80th birthday. It was so nice spending time with all my family, and for Mr Posy to visit my Nan and Pop’s house for the first time. It is the place that has always felt most like home. I could stare out Nan’s kitchen window all day.

Mr Posy

We also managed to squeeze in a brief stopover in Canberra – Mr Posy’s first trip to our nation’s capital.

More family festivities

Melbourne

This time, the celebrations were for Mr Posy’s family – we flew to Melbourne to celebrate Nephew Posy’s baptism (in the same church Niece Posy was baptised, and my brother-in-law was married).

I never really understood people who went on holidays with their family, but after all the family holidays we’ve had over the past couple of years, I finally get it.

We celebrated our ten year anniversary

Mr Posy and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this year – a decade together. Ten years! It really doesn’t feel like ten years. Gosh we’ve had some seriously amazing adventures together – I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us.

I finished studying

It was about bloody time. I’d had a semester off here and there (for Mum’s cancer etc), but it was still such a bloody long slog. Two degrees later, and I’m done. Only, I’m not – I’ve been browsing course catalogues, and it’s taking every ounce of rational thought that I have not to enrol in another course. At least, not just now. I’ll give myself a study break in 2013, but I can’t promise the same for 2014.

Work was crazy

No, really. It was C-R-A-Z-Y. Sometimes good-crazy and sometimes bad-crazy, but always one hell of a ride. I have grown and learnt a lot this year, and I’m very fortunate to work with such amazing people.

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Looking back, it is pretty clear that family and festivities were the overall themes for me in 2012. I am surrounded by such wonderful family and friends, both near and far, and I feel so blessed to be so lucky.

I was sad to see the end of 2012. There were days of pain and sadness, and days where tears were shed, but I wasn’t ready for this year to end – on the whole it was a good year. It was a huge year.

2013 will be another big year for Mr Posy and I, starting with a trip to Sydney later this month – for a special little boy’s 2nd birthday!

2012, it’s been grand. 2013, please be kind.

Table for One

Today I did something crazy. Something that I wouldn’t normally do. Something that would normally terrify me.

I sat in a cafe (okay, a coffee shop’s seating area in a food court, but c’mon, slim pickings in PosyTown) by myself, while I had a coffee and read the paper.

Sure, this seems like no big deal, people do this all the time, but for me, this is a Very Big Deal.

I am a little skittish when out in crowds. I feel unsettled and exposed. I think the defining moment for me was when I was 16 and waiting by myself at the bus depot after school to catch my bus home – I was randomly approached by a group of four people (that I didn’t know and had never seen before), and punched in the face. When I tried to run into the shopping centre to find my friends to see if they could drive me home, I was attacked again. Having rocks thrown at me and being spat on as I walked home from school when I was eight years old and lived in a remote community probably didn’t help much either. The thought of that incident must be more traumatic than it actually was, however, as my parents tell me I was quite unperturbed about it at the time.

For a long time I was scared of my own shadow. I avoided crowds – shopping centres, markets, festivals, the cinema on a Tuesday or Saturday night. I never went back to that depot and it took me quite some time before I would catch a bus again. To this day I still startle very easily, if a friend sneaks up or somebody quickly races up behind/past me. More than a decade on, while I’m fine when out and about on my own, I’m never really at ease, and I tend to rush through whatever errands I need to run.

I’m not averse to my own company – it has taken time, but I’d go as far to say that, to an extent, I enjoy it. If I spend too much time alone, I do tend to think too much, and can wind up a little emotional – but that is another post for another day. It is a good thing that I enjoy my own company, because Mr Posy works a lot, and there is only so much that you can expect your friends to babysit you on weekends. Now that I’m finished with study, I’ve found myself with a lot of extra spare time on my hands. And I’m starting to go a little bit spare, sitting at home on my own. This morning, I decided that I was going on a coffee date with myself.

It was bliss. I sat and flicked through the newspaper at a leisurely pace while sipping my coffee. I people-watched. I checked Twitter. I had a quick chat with a friend while she waited for her coffee. In that moment, I sat there in my own little world. And I started to make plans for my next solo coffee date – in a cafe with actual crockery.

Groundhog Day, The Sequel

The Blackmores Running Festival was held in Sydney last Sunday, and with it, the half marathon that rain, hail or shine, I was going to run, stumble, walk or crawl to cross the finish line, as you might remember. I was so looking forward to running across the Harbour Bridge, finishing up down at the Sydney Opera House, collecting my medal, and ticking an item off my 30 by 30 list.

I think I severely under-estimated just how much of my time would be required in taking on three units for my final study period of university, on top of my full-time job. I would battle through 10-hour days in the office, drive home, set myself up with my journal articles and my MacBook, work on essays through until around 1am, finally fall into bed to sleep, only to wake up and repeat again the next day. Weekends involved trying to juggle essay writing while babysitting Niece and Nephew Posy.

Thirteen weeks, three units, twelve essays.

Mr Posy picked up the cooking (it felt like there was barely time to eat, let alone time to make dinner as well!) and cleaning duties, my sporting commitments fell by the wayside, I got behind in all my television shows, I couldn’t remember the last time I opened a book to read for fun and not for an assignment, and my friends started to forget what I looked like.

I’m not sure when I thought I was going to train for a half marathon.

I handed in my final essays for the study period a fortnight ago, today. I can’t even describe the overwhelming sense of relief, the delirium, that I felt when I pressed the ‘Send’ button for the last time.

By the end, I was up to three coffees a day (from my usual once a day, only in the morning routine), and it was still a struggle to keep my eyes open. I was wrecked.

Now, I’ve had two weeks with so much ‘spare’ time, and I feel a little bit lost. I’ve found myself researching Masters programs, downloading training plans for a half marathon, searching vendors and suppliers for our wedding next year, and coming into work on weekends.

This not-studying-thing is going to require some getting used to. In the meantime, I need to decide on a new half marathon race to run…

A moment in time

I’m currently drowning trying to keep my head above water in a sea of journal articles and assignments, but I couldn’t let the weekend pass by without a post to celebrate this milestone.

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary for Mr Posy and I. We’ve been together for a decade. I can hardly believe it – time has passed by so quickly. It certainly doesn’t feel like ten years… this can only be a good thing.

We have had some amazing adventures together – holidays overseas, holidays interstate, a proposal, fancy functions, puppies, kittens, buying a house, family celebrations… We’ve had ups and we’ve had downs. Mr Posy has always shown me nothing but unwavering support – with my parents splitting, Mum’s cancer, new jobs, my university studies. Life is so much more enjoyable, and even the darkest moments are tolerable, knowing that the person that I love most is always by my side. We have so many laughs, and we have both grown so much. There are so many new adventures on the horizon for Mr Posy and I, and I absolutely cannot wait.

My favourite photo of us: Boxing Day 2007 – the day Mr Posy proposed.

It’s been one heck of a ride, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us next.

It’s a very rocky road

When I was small, I was so fascinated with Church that my mother used to tell my dad that she quite seriously thought I would be a nun when I grew up. They were never quite sure where my interest came from, having not been born into a particularly religious family. My dad was baptised in the Catholic Church, and my mum in the Church of New England; they had me baptised as Catholic (and I later went on to celebrate my Holy Communion and my Confirmation through school), and they would occasionally take us to Church for Christmas and Easter, but that was about the extent of a religious upbringing in our house.

I don’t know if it was the sense of community or the feeling of belonging (particularly when we lived in isolated communities where my main interaction with others was via radio for school), or just the pretty windows, but from the ages of about 6 – 10, I would insist that my dad take me to church.

Over the years, my attendance at church became less and less, but Lent has always been the one concept that has stayed with me. Perhaps to try and appease the healthy dose of Catholic guilt (that was instilled in me through school) of going to church less than five times a year, for the six week leading up to Easter I choose to give up something that is a true sacrifice for me. The past couple of years, this has been chocolate – my one emotional crutch.

When I say I give up chocolate, I’m talking all things chocolate – including, but not limited to: milk, dark and white chocolate, chocolate icecream, chocolate topping, chocolate in my coffee (i.e. mochas), chocolate on my coffee (i.e. cappuccinos), chocolate lollies (chicos, eclairs etc), lamingtons, chocolate cake, chocolate spread (nutella), chocolate milk/hot chocolate, chocolate mousse/yoghurt, chocolate biscuits… You get the idea.

Given I gave up chocolate for Lent, you might wonder what it was that possessed me to whip up a batch of Snickers Rocky Road at 9 o’clock on Wednesday night… I stupidly volunteered to make what I knew was a favourite treat for one of my staff member’s birthday morning tea on the Thursday. It was torture.

I used Not Quite Nigella’s Original Rocky Road recipe, but added extra Snickers bars and chocolate, partly because more is more when it comes to chocolate (and when you haven’t had any for weeks), and partly because I’m lazy and couldn’t be bothered measuring (in the interest of spending the least possible contact time with the chocolate).

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 400g milk chocolate
  • 200g unsalted peanuts
  • 8 regular sized Snickers bars (I got mine on special for a buck each)
  • 200g mini marshmallows

Method

  1. Line a tin with foil – I think I used an 11 x 7 inch tray.
  2. Melt the 400g milk chocolate and three chopped Snickers bars in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
  3. Roast the peanuts in the oven for approximately 5 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the mini marshmallows and remaining chopped Snickers bars – add the roasted peanuts and stir what I can only liken to“rubble”. Spoon into the lined tray.
  5. Pour the melted chocolate/Snickers mix over the marshmallow/peanut/Snickers rubble. Refrigerate until set, and chop into pieces!

We first made this dish at Christmas, and it was delicious. I can’t tell you how this batch tasted, lest I be struck down for even considering a bite, however my team ate every last piece, so it must have been a bit orright.

Lord, lead me not into temptation…

 

2011 – A Year in Review

Much like 2010, for me 2011 was a year of growth.  There was change and heartache and uncertainty, but there was also much to celebrate.

When I was much younger, I always thought that life would be better, easier, when I was “older”. Then I got older and it wasn’t any easier – in fact it was harder – and I would tell myself that life would be better when [insert reason here]. Now I’ve realised that this is just life, and with the great losses also come great wins – that life is sometimes incredibly painful, but it can also be extraordinary.

This thing that I’m living, this is life.

And so I present my wrap-up of 2011 –

There were babies born

2011 was the year that some very special babes came into this world.

In January, a dear friend had a very special, brave little boy – a little boy that I am very much looking forward to meeting in a week.

In September, my lovely friend Little Miss Moi had her little Harrie – and just as I do her big sister, I completely adore her.

In October, I found myself with a nephew – a little brother for Niece Posy. Nephew Posy is the most handsome little man, and I am smitten.

Friends moved away, new friends were made, current friendships were strengthened

Living in PosyTown, people come and go frequently, and 2011 was no exception. We said goodbye to friends throughout the year, and while it was sad at the time, I know I will see them again – and I know that one day soon it will be our turn to move away. We made some wonderful new friends throughout the year, and I feel that current friendships (both near and far) have gone from strength to strength.

There were trips interstate

Mr Posy and I didn’t take a lot of time off in 2011, but we did manage to get down to Melbourne in March/April for Niece Posy’s baptism, and to Sydney in June so Mr Posy could attend a work conference, with a couple of extra days on the side to relax. Both trips, while short, were exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries.

The C-word, Part II

While 2010 was the year that we discovered my mum had breast cancer, 2011 was the year that we beat it with chemo. It is of course still early days, but the worst of the battle is over.

There were great achievements

After four years in my current workplace, in April I finally won a permanent position – the position that I had been “acting” in for nine months at the time. I have a terrific team, and together we had an incredibly successful work year – cyclones and all.

I completed a second triathlon (the same beginners triathlon that I completed in 2010) – but I managed to shave FIVE MINUTES off my previous time. I felt like I was going to die on the last leg of the run, but, somehow, I stumbled over the finish line.

Weddings were celebrated

My childhood best friend got married in August, and I had the honour of being her bridesmaid. The wedding was a beautiful affair, held on their family’s property.

I was also fortunate to watch another dear friend get married, in a gorgeous ceremony, with a fairytale reception outside under the stars.

A new addition

Always one with my feet firmly in the dog-loving-camp, nobody was more surprised than my cat-loving Mr Posy when I finally agreed to us getting a cat. PosyKitty arrived in July and wormed her way into my heart. She is truly the sweetest little thing, and Niece Posy is completely obsessed with her.

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2012 is already shaping up to be another big year. Mr Posy and I are heading down to Sydney this weekend – for a very special little boy’s baptism and 1st birthday, and to celebrate my Nan and Pop’s 50th wedding anniversary.

There are big things on the horizon for the Posy family this year, and I cannot wait.

The C-Word: Part II

Click here to read Part I

Do you know what other word starts with C? Chemotherapy.

Chemo is a funny beast – you’re grateful for it, because it’s saving your mother’s life; but it’s this hideous poison that “cooks” her from the inside out, kills off her healthy cells, and makes her so sick you think she might die.

The first round is the worst. You don’t know what to expect. There are doctors and nurses everywhere. You’re surrounded by patients who are at all different stages in their treatment, and you don’t know where to look, or what to say. Do you say hello? Do you smile and give them a nod? Is it rude to watch the nurse hook the patient before your mother up, because you’re scared and want to know what to expect?

The pain on my mum’s face on that first day is still very clearly etched into my brain. I thought I would pass out when I saw the needle.  Mum screwed up her face and cried out in pain when they inserted the needle into her vein, and I felt an ache deep in my heart. “I don’t know how I’m going to get through five more rounds of this,” I thought. I choked back my own tears. It was awful, terrifying, overwhelming. But you have to be strong; you’re not allowed to fall apart.

In the movies, it looks like it’s a quick process, having everything hooked up. I thought they’d insert the needle, attach the cocktail of drugs, and away we’d go. But it’s not like that. It’s painstakingly slow. You feel like it’s never going to end – and you’re just watching. You have the easy part.

The session does end, though. Days later, Mum tells me that she can’t continue with chemo, that it’s too awful, too painful, that she feels like her brain is fried. You don’t want to tell her what to do, force her into her treatment, because you know she’ll resent you for it later, but you think back to that day in her surgeon’s office, where he shows you the numbers. She’s had the surgery, so her odds are better than if she hadn’t gone ahead with the mastectomy, but… the numbers aren’t great without chemotherapy. You tell her you’ll support her, whatever she decides, but you feel sick inside, and you (somewhat selfishly) go through the numbers in your head. She’ll still be here for my wedding – check… but what about when I have kids?

Mum’s first round of chemo was two weeks before Christmas. Hair loss usually occurs two to three weeks after treatment – Mum hoped hers would fall out closer to the three week mark. It started falling out a few days prior to Christmas. I bought her a beautiful Hermès scarf for Christmas. I was devastated when she told me months later that the colour had run – she’d. put. the. silk. scarf. through. the. washing. machine. I’m quite sure Thierry Hermès turned in his grave.

When she calls the day before her second scheduled chemotherapy round, the treatment you thought she’d cancelled, and asks if you’ll go with her you breathe a sigh of relief. You don’t want to ask why she changed her mind, but like she’s reading yours, she tells you: “I thought of your Godmother.  I thought of the day her mother came to tell her that she was stopping treatment. She called and asked us to be there, to give her support, and I still remember the look on her face. I saw what that did to her. I saw what that did to her when her mother died. I couldn’t do that to you and your brother.” You’re not thankful that your Godmother’s mother died, but you’re thankful that because a conversation over twenty years ago, your mother won’t give up the fight. “And,” she adds, “I’ve already lost my hair, so there’s no point giving up now.”

Words that you don’t want to hear the Cancer Nurse say to your mother when she’s in the middle of chemo – “I know this drug stings, but you can’t move. If you move and dislodge the cannula, these drugs could spill all over you, and you could lose your hand.” You don’t know if he’s joking, exaggerating. But he gives you a look that tells you he is not, and you wonder what that heinous concoction is doing to her insides.

The chemotherapy cocktail that my mum was on had a cumulative effect. She was tired all the time, she had mouth ulcers and sores on her body that wouldn’t heal, some of her nails split and fell off, she lost her appetite, she had wicked nausea, she couldn’t sleep, she developed what we call “chemo brain”… The intensity of the side-effects grew worse with each cycle. We went out for coffee on one occasion, and walking around the shopping centre, I was so worried she was going to faint – but she insisted she was fine.

After Mum’s third cycle, and just before her fourth, she had a PICC line inserted after all her veins collapsed. That central line was a godsend – there was no trying to find a vein at the beginning of each session, no more needles, much less pain. The PICC line combined with the scarves on her head made her look sick – I know that she was sick, but it was such a visual reminder.

Mum’s final chemotherapy round was a cause for celebration. She made a lemon meringue cake to share with staff and patients, I brought along a batch of cupcakes. I was so happy, so excited that we were at the end of the road, I thought I would cry. I wanted to kiss my mum’s cancer nurse – I am forever thankful to him (and of course, also to her surgeon). Mum’s Cancer Nurse made cancer and chemotherapy “fun”. He was kind, compassionate, and he dealt with her intense fear of needles – but most importantly, he was always positive, and he made us all laugh. He made a very difficult time for our family much easier, and when I think of how I feel towards him, “grateful” just doesn’t seem to cut it.

As we walked out of the Cancer Centre, the staff cheered.

The story ends well for my mum – of course it is still very early days yet, and I feel terrified just writing this that I’ll somehow jinx things, but her Surgeon and Oncologist are happy with her progress. There is Hormone Blocking Therapy, as well as gene testing (which will give an indication of the likelihood of the cancer coming back), to get through yet, but the worst of it is over.

I think the fear will stick around for a long while yet – finding out my mum had cancer completely knocked me for six – but it’s no longer debilitating. I can breathe again.

The C-Word: Part I

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There are a few choice c-words that come to mind, but I’m talking about The Ultimate – The Big C – Cancer.

It was exactly one year ago today that everything changed; it was one year ago today that my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer.

When Mum called me a few days prior to her diagnosis, asking me to come over that night so that we could talk, that she didn’t want to talk over the phone, I knew something was wrong, but it never occurred to me that she might be sick. I thought that maybe she and my dad were finally finalising their separation, or perhaps that my Pop was sick again – mothers don’t get sick, right?

I sat on the couch, bracing myself for her news. She’d found a lump. She’d been to her GP. She’d been sent off for an ultrasound. She’d had a biopsy. She’d been referred to a surgeon. She would have the results in a few days. “Do you understand what I’m telling you?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied, seemingly unmoved. “You’re saying you have cancer.” I tried hard not to choke on the word; nobody was dying here, that word would not break me – I would not cry.

When the results from her biopsy came back, the diagnosis came as no surprise. Surgery was scheduled in – a lumpectomy – my mother would be fine.

It was nearly two weeks from that afternoon on the couch before I cried. I sat at my desk at work as hot, angry tears spilled down my cheeks. I am not a pretty crier. My eyes swell up, and the surrounding skin goes red and splotchy. People walked past my cubicle, stopping to offer concerned looks – I waved them on. I’d not long managed to stop the tears when Little Miss Moi appeared at desk to ask a question – she took one look at me, and gave me a hug; I tried not to soak her shoulder. She’ll never know just how grateful I was, how much I needed that hug.

The day of Mum’s first surgery, I went to work as normal. I waited anxiously for my phone to ring all day. What was taking so long? Why hadn’t my dad called? What was wrong? I don’t know how I managed to drive myself to the hospital after I’d received the call that Mum would soon be out of recovery and back on the ward. Did I speed? Did I run any red lights? Did I drive my car or Mr Posy’s? Wait, did I even drive? What I do remember is how green my mother looked when she was out of recovery. Green, and fragile, and sick. I felt nauseous. Hot. Dizzy. I had to get out of the room. When my dad called the next day to tell me that Mum was going back into surgery, because she had a blood clot, I couldn’t breathe. Another surgery? A blood clot? People died from blood clots, didn’t they? My stomach was in knots. When I arrived on the ward that afternoon, my mum looked a much better colour when she was wheeled into her room. Still fragile and sick, but not so green.

The drains caused her pain, and turned my stomach. The smell of the hospital became comforting. Mum had to stay longer than anticipated, but I was grateful – it meant that the nurses were only a few steps away should she need them, and that her pain was effectively managed. I was terrified when the time came for her to go home.

We breathed a sigh of relief when her lymph nodes came back clear – the cancer hadn’t spread. But they’d found pre-cancerous cells close to her lumpectomy site, and that meant more surgery – a mastectomy. Fucking cancer. My mum appeared calm, but I could see that she was crushed. The only upside was that following the mastectomy she wouldn’t need radiotherapy – but she’d still need chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

Her surgeon plugged different scenarios into his computer, with treatment, without treatment, with surgery, without surgery, and the computer spat out numbers – her odds of being alive in 5 , 10, 15 years. Her surgeon scheduled in her surgery – Mum changed her mind a few times before that date, but in the end she went ahead with mastectomy.

The hospital began to feel like home.

Green

I’m at the “business end” of the university semester, and consequently I’ve found myself bunkered down in the uni library the  past two weekends. I’ve had a couple of assignments due that I actually enjoyed, and found myself getting carried away with searching for journal articles and later poring over them. I haven’t spent that much time on campus since I was studying for my first degree… and back then, I tried to avoid the university grounds where possible.

It got me thinking about a time when life was much simpler, even if it didn’t always seem like it at the time. My study came first, and work (nannying for a family {that I loved} during the day, and working in a cafe {that I didn’t love} at night or on weekends) was considered an optional extra (but let’s face it, it wasn’t really optional – it was a necessity).

If I had too many assignments due at once, I could swap a shift at the cafe, or study while the children I looked after were napping, or I could slam a few sugar-free red bulls as well as some No-Doz and pull an all-nighter without having to worry so much about whether I would be able to function the next day. These days, I can’t just take a personal day when an assignment is due, work always needs doing (I wish some of my clients would nap…), and if I get less than six eight hours sleep, I’m a crabby mess.

Study is such a luxury these days. Something I fit in between full-time work and domestic duties. I didn’t realise until I sat down and actually thought about it, really thought about it, how much I missed it. Missed actually studying, researching, writing; not just finishing an assignment for the sake of getting through it, but really immersing myself in it.

I feel sad that when I was at university full-time, I just wanted to get it over with; it was a means to an end. I didn’t really soak it all up like I should have, I just wanted to finish and get out into the workforce. Now that my priorities have shifted, now that work comes first, and study is an optional extra, I find myself green with envy. Envious of my younger self, envious of those who have so much more time to study than I.

I suppose the grass really is always greener, isn’t it?

Travel Snap Tuesday: Boxing Day in Central Park

Cabs on Central Park West

It was Boxing Day, 2007.  It was absolutely freezing outside, but not quite cold enough to snow (something that I still have to stop myself from complaining about), and I was coming down with some kind of holiday-exhaustion-meets-plane-germs lurgy. Not one to rest while on holiday (I wouldn’t want to miss out on anything!), I was adamant that we were spending the day in Central Park. It was on the schedule, after all. I had spent at least six months agonising over every little detail, planning our trip with military precision – we were sticking to that bloody schedule.

We grabbed a map from the Visitor’s Centre (the Dairy), and made our way around the park. I will never forget how cold I was that day. Chilled-to-the-bone cold. I bought a hot coffee from a cart selling snacks and beverages by Wollman Rink, but it barely warmed my insides. I couldn’t understand how it could possibly be so cold, yet not snow. I was freezing – and there was only one thing that kept me going. Squirrels.

Squirrel-spotting

Much to Mr Posy’s dismay, I was more interested in chasing squirrels than I was in the beautiful park that surrounded us. I squealed with glee when one particularly bold squirrel came right up to my shoe, but with nothing to feed him, he quickly ran off.

We hiked around the park, taking in the sights, stopping occasionally to snap a photo when I would spot a squirrel. After a few hours of this (and a lunch break), I began to grow tired. I was sick, I was freezing, and my clothes were damp thanks to the mist and a light sprinkle of rain. I wanted to go back to the hotel room. I wanted a hot shower. I wanted to crawl into bed and sleep.

Mr Posy had other ideas. He wanted to find Strawberry Fields.

We were somewhere in the middle of Central Park, and I had no idea which way was up. I couldn’t work out where we were, or how to get to where Mr Posy wanted to be. I was tired and cold and starting to whinge. But still, Mr Posy was on a mission.

Occasionally I would spot a squirrel, and I’d perk up a little. For a few minutes. My feet were starting to hurt, and I was getting more tired by the minute. I didn’t think we were ever going to find where we needed to be. Or our way out of the park. Eventually we hit Fifth Avenue. Awesome. We were blocks and blocks away from Strawberry Fields. I begged to go back to the hotel. We could come back tomorrow. I just want to sleep. We have the ballet tonight. I don’t feel very well.

Mr Posy would not give in. I began to grow suspicious. And a wee bit nervous.

It took us two hours, but we found Strawberry Fields.

Stalling, I pointed out a vendor selling gloves. “Look! You’ve been saying all day you wanted gloves! These are like mine!” Mr Posy exchanged a few greenbacks for the gloves. He lingered around the Imagine tribute, taking a couple of snaps (I refused – people might think I was a tourist…), until the crowd thinned out a little.

“Miss Posy? Can you take a shot of us both by the tribute?”

I was a gun at taking self-portrait shots and he knew it. I knelt down beside him; my stomach had butterflies. He was on one knee. Was this it?

Imagine – Strawberry Fields

It was here that Mr Posy whispered into my ear, asking me if I could “imagine” spending the rest of my life with him. It was here that I giggled nervously, not really believing that he was asking, asking me, despite knowing that a ring had been in his luggage for over a week. It didn’t feel real.

It was here that I said “Yes”. I no longer felt cold.

Travel Snap Tuesday is ALL Little Miss Moi’s – it’s about sharing a moment in time through a photo (or three). If you want to join in Travel Snap Tuesday, simply post a pic of anywhere you’ve been in Australia or abroad – perhaps even at the end of the street! Head on over to her blog for more (and to share your links)!