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nisaba: (Default)
Though like the old biddy I apparently am, I have no fucking idea how this thing works. How do I find everyone? And there's so much pink.
nisaba: (Diamond Ring)
Long time no post, but last night was just one of those nights, and LJ is the place for just one of those posts.

It started with leaving work and meeting Will, then walking down to the river by the Botantical gardens.  A fearful walk, as runners zoomed past on the narrow path with no guardrail.  But a nice walk, by the water, in the fresh air, as the sun set pink behind us and turned the cliffs ahead a blazing orange.

We crossed Brisbane river at Goodwill Bridge, a pedestrian only bridge that should have been lovely to amble across, except for the frighteningly fast cyclists and the barrelling runners.Twice I crossed the oncoming traffic lane, more in fear of my life, or at least my current state of reasonable health, than any road. On that side however was a brilliant view of Brisbane, lights coming on ahead of the dimming sunset.

A line of posh restaurants edge the river on the south side.  We poked at menus, but eventually ended up a little back from the river, at Mado, a Turkish place my brief googling had found earlier in the afternoon.  Mado is lusciously decked out, the full Turkish experience with rich reds and golds.  The food was equally luscious - a starter of fried halloumi, a dish hard to get wrong but this was a particularly good example (and believe me, I've had a few), followed by ali kalik - chicken shish in a gorgeous sauce of yoghurt and garlic and "secret" spices, served with warm turkish bread.  I love turkish bread, and the latest fad for most sandwich shops to serve it is one I approve of highly.

From dinner, we walked through the South Bank parklands to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), stopping only to fight with the Cold Stone Ice-Creamery (and lose to a generous scoop of mint choc-chip icecream with chocolate sauce).

We were at QPAC for my birthday present from Will - the Bolshoi Ballet performing Le Corsaire.  The Bolshoi haven't travelled to Australia since 1994, and it's also unusual that for this trip, they're only performing in Brisbane.  Before we moved to Brisbane, a friend in the UK once asked what kind of cultural things there were to do here.  Will and I looked at each other blankly... there's probably a museum?  An art gallery?

We've been proven wrong and delightfully so.  The Bolshoi Ballet is a superb feather in the cap, but we've also treated ourselves to an array of dance and acrobatic performances during the Brisbane Festival last September, a symphony under the stars on a warm night, national and international comedians drop by (of the big names we've seen Stephen K Amos and Ross Noble, and Adam Hills is lined up for July), Heston Blumenthal graced us with his presence (at vast expense mind), and Professor Brian Cox is hosting a night of science in August (already booked!).  There's much much more, this is just what we've picked.  It's not London, but it's not bad either.  Certainly not the cultural desert we were expecting.

Anyway, we walked into QPAC to find tutus hanging from the ceiling and worn pointe shoes tied by their ribbons to the bar.  Ah, the ballet.

It was no surprise to find a full house.  Our seats were in one of the many balconies, second row... from the back... but the view was pretty decent.  The ballet itself - well, the plot leaves a lot to be desired.  First performed in 1856 based loosely on a poem written in 1814, the plot features slavery and rape with a dollop of racism.  Fortunately, the choreography didn't concern itself with the plot for most of its two hours and forty minutes.  The more enjoyable plot went like this:

  Act I
  Scene I
  Look how well we can dance in a market place.

  Scene II
  Look how well we can dance in a cave.

  Act II
  Scene III
  Look how well we can dance in a garden.  Bunches of us.  Really good garden dancing.

  Act III
  Scene IV
  Look how well we can dance at a wedding.

  Scene V
  Look how badly we can attempt to emulate a shipwreck on a stage, complete with comedy Titantic moment at the prow of the ship, and the ship listing about and breaking up.  Minimal dancing.

I loved it.  The dancing was truly superb, extremely technical and complex.  Le Corsaire isn't perhaps the most beautiful of ballets in that ethereal soft grace way some ballets have, but it looks one of the more difficult and I was completely impressed with the execution of the steps and the cleverness of the choreography.  From the solo performances to the scores of corps de ballet, every step just looked stunning.  It was interrupted by each principal and soloist coming forward for applause at the end of each piece, but this is a very traditional ballet and frankly, they deserved it.  Although I suspect the dancers were used to the applause running on a bit longer than this Aussie audience was willing to give them - occasionally a ballerina was left acknowledging a single hand clapping, and we finished ten minutes early.

Still, just gorgeous.  Le Corsaire is a real feat of precise athleticism draped in elegance.

It may be another twenty years before the Bolshoi return to Australia.  I'm grateful to have had this chance to take in one of the best ballet companies in the world.  One of those nights.
nisaba: (Silly dining)
A facebook app for foodies, stolen from facebook because I don't trust any apps there and there's no space for rambling. And where's the fun in that?

100 foods to eat before you die, compiled by someone on the internet. Foods I've tried in bold:

List beneath )

40 in all. I'm not sure there's much on the un-eaten list that I'd want to try - I'm not a big fan of seafood, nuts, spicy food, or raw meat, which rules out a bunch that I have come across in my travels but not eaten. There's a lot I've never even heard of though. Pretty sure that for all I like good food, I basically fail as a foodie!
nisaba: (Diamond Ring)
A total solar eclipse. Now those buggers don't come along every day.

Two weeks ago, Will and I flew up to Cairns for the eclipse. We'd both been at the solar eclipse in Cornwall in 1999, although we didn't know each other then. Will had been lucky enough to see totality, whereas all I got was crazy light and a surreal atmosphere. That was still enough to make me want to go as soon as I learnt there was another eclipse so relatively close to home.

The timing turned out to be really awkward, with us needing to save money for the new house and deal with piles of paperwork for same, but I'm still so glad I went. The area in general is gorgeous, a wealth of natural beauty to choose from ranging from the outback to the ocean, and the eclipse itself was just fucking awesome.

If you're interested, I've written a full account of the eclipse with heaps of photos on my photo blog. Livejournal's scrapbook upload is really broken and sometimes I phaff about to circumvent it, but I can't be arsed today.

In other news, less than a week until we complete on the house... scared that something will go wrong at the last minute, but so far, so good...

I see

Nov. 22nd, 2012 01:03 pm
nisaba: (Madness)
I meant to mention this when I posted about my leaving the UK anniversary the other day (which I got wrong by a day in the end as well).

I see UK people.

When I'm walking the streets of Brisbane, I see UK people. I see former colleagues and current friends and people I haven't seen in years and people who were at my leaving party. If I've met you in person a few times, I've almost certainly seen you on the streets here. Crossing a road off to the left or disappearing into a crowd to the right or ducking into a shop just in front of me. The ghosts of UK people past. What are you all doing here?

And it's been months now, but I still see UK people. When will you all go away?
nisaba: (Home)
Queensland generally lives up to the Australian stereotype of being a land of surf and sand and sunshine, where beaches rule, where everything is hot hot hot and humid to boot. Queensland's moniker used to be "The Sunshine State" (it's now "The Smart State". Wtf?), and it includes the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, and some of the world's most beautiful tropical rainforests, living up to its reputation.

A lot of people forget, or don't realise, that Australia is a bloody big place, and in areas we get snow, we even have a snow season and ski resorts (plural. Just). We have cooler climes. And Australian landscape is not just about the beach, or the desert, as there's miles and miles of beautiful green-grey bush. The mountain areas especially tend to be stunning and great for walking.

This weekend, Will and I spent three days in the Granite Belt area of Queensland. It's a complete gem of a place, and totally different to my expectations of the state. You climb 1000 metres above sea level up the Great Dividing Range, and you don't come down. Due to the elevation, temperatures hit below zero in winter and barely broach 30 in summer.

I knew there was Queensland wine, but I thought the vineyards were few and far between, and nothing special. How good can Queensland wine be when most of the year it's scorching hot? In the Granite Belt there there are over fifty vineyards and some seriously good quality wine, primarily red. A mere three hours drive from Brisbane.

Will and I didn't know much about the area except that it had wine, so we didn't take advantage of the three national parks nearby, aside from a short jaunt to Granite Arch. We did try a lot of wine, eat fresh prawns we'd brought from Shorncliffe (five minutes drive from our house, you buy them straight off the boat), taste the most amazing garlic balsamic vinegar ever, and lounge around our little cottage playing yahtzee. Despite the zero degree temperatures outside, we lounged in next to nothing due to a wood fire and a slightly pyromanical Will.

And if the heat in Brisbane gets too much for Will, I've found somewhere to migrate us to that's still near my family. The Granite Belt is easily a new favourite place.
nisaba: (En Champagne)
Went for an early lunch down at the Brisbane markets. The Brisbane markets are held every Wednesday, and are primarily all about food. Strawberries are in season at the moment, and I had to buy a punnet of the sweetest strawberries I think I've ever tasted in my life. I've always maintained that Britain does the best strawberries, and they certainly grow the largest, but I don't think I've ever tasted any so sweet. But then I don't think I've ever eaten any that were grown up the road and picked the day before.

The strawberries were next to a honey stall, complete with a display of actual bees on their actual honeycomb. I don't really eat or use honey or honeycomb much, but that stall makes me want to buy kilos of the stuff. Then we have the macadamia nut stall, and the macaroon stall, the funny-coloured lil tomatoes stall (mixed bag for a fiver bought), two chocolate stalls, Australian olive oil (small bottle of truffle oil, can't wait to try it), home-made ginger beer, hand-mixed middle-eastern spices (three for a tenner, can't go wrong) and the little tiny baby herbs stall (garlic chives, thyme, and sage bought for me to kill). Garlic biltong, Italian-style sausages, and fresh veal and bunny ravioli all also made it into our shopping bags.

The bread stalls looked delicious, but we only really eat bread on the weekends. We haven't used our breadmaker since we moved to Brisbane however, so we made a resolution to change that this weekend. There's also lots of mixed fruit and vege fresh food stalls. These guys primarily buy from Rocklea then re-sell to us city folk, so I'm not sure how different the produce is to what you see in the supermarkets. Doesn't look heaps different, I have to say. It's the small stalls of the funny little things I love though. There's an obligatory why's-the-line-so-long stall, selling dim sums. At Hammersmith's farmers' market, this was a falafel stall. I tried one once, never understood why the queue for that falafel was so much longer than any other food stall, and I suspect the dim sum food is the same.

We passed paellas being freshly made on humoungous round hot plates to buy German bratwurst for lunch. Smoked cheese for me, Swiss veal for Will, which we ate in the nearby park in the sun.

Come summer the oppressive heat will probably keep us in our offices eating salad for lunch, but I'm loving this winter lifestyle.
nisaba: (Boating)
It's where all my friends live.

Winter's finally here; the days only get up to 20, maybe 21 degrees, and the nights are down to 10. It's sunny most days, and lunchtimes will often see me sitting outside in a t-shirt. While the damp and lack of central heating means that 10 degrees is something you really feel, I can't complain about the days. I'm fairly sure I've seen more sunlight in my six months that I did in several years in the UK. I highly recommend it.

In the absence of friends, Will and I are powering through The West Wing. Neither of us saw it first time round, because, as we came to realise pretty early in season 1, we're bloody idiots. We're now up to the part of season 3 with Winnie Cooper in it. No spoilers please! The downside is of course that in the real world, the US president isn't actually Martin Sheen, or Aaron Sorkin for that matter. Stupid real world.

We also have our second kitten. This is Taala, a six month old grey tabby Maine Coon.

And here's a photo of Elska with her eyes open, cause they're so beautiful, even if the cat herself is being inelegant.

We had some hissing and fights in the first two weeks, but the two of them are getting along well now. Perhaps a bit too well, with Elska sometimes nuzzling Taala's belly for milk... I'm a bit worried we've got some weird feline psychological disorder going on here, but Taala accepts having her nipples licked until she's soaked quite happily, so I leave them to it. What goes on between two consenting cats...

I am LOVING having cats around again. They're a pain but being pinned to the couch by two sleeping cats is a pretty good feeling. Taala's going to be a giant, she's already 3.5kg and normal adult cat-sized. She has a very owl-like turn to her head when something catches her interest. Elska is simply the easiest bounciest most malleable kitten you've ever met.

Unfortunately my solution to the "but they don't match" issue was rejected. We won't be getting another two kittens any time soon.
nisaba: (Baaa)
Also from March, but this time from [livejournal.com profile] sushidog.

1. How's Straya treating you so far? Do you think you'll stay forever?

Love love love living here. I can't imagine moving back to the UK. I could be persuaded to move to some parts of the US, and France, given the right (and highly unlikely) conditions, but moving country is not something I envisage happening any time in the next decade.

2. If someone offered to fund two years' travel, where would you go?

"Someone" would make my dreams come true. I wish I knew a "someone". In no particular order, Iceland in the summer for the landscape and spend several weeks driving around the country. Then back again in winter for a week for Northern Lights. Africa, for the wildlife, for 2-3 months. South America for the amazing hiking through jungles and ancient ruins, probably 6 months there. Another USA RV trip of more National Parks for a month or more. Antartica, I have no idea how long that'd take aside from "ages" but it'd be the trip of a lifetime. A good few months travelling the interior and the coastline of Australia. And several more places as well but those would be at the top.

3. What did you want to do when you were a kid? If you hadn't gone into IT, what do you think you would have done instead?

I never really knew what I wanted to be when I was a kid. When I was really little I wanted to be a bus driver, just like my mum. Then a prima ballerina. And when I realised those dreams weren't realistic for me (too good for one, not good enough for the other!), I just hung out at school until I was too old to go any more. I read the course synopsis for Psychology in my last school year, and that inspired me to complete that degree, initially to go into child counselling. Then just counselling. Then working at Lifeline (similar to the Samaritans) made me realise that I wasn't cut out to do that sort of thing as a career. I'm really not sure when I would have ended up without IT. Perhaps in retail, I'd gone a little way up the management chain before I moved to the UK. but I've had a lot more management experience now and found I don't enjoy it, so... who knows? Professional bum?

4. Do you think about what your dreams mean? What was your last memorable dream about?

I think my dreams are just reflecting my subconscious and processing my day, either fears or desires or making sense of some crazy circumstance or sparking some creativity. Sometimes the meaning is obvious, other times not so much, but I enjoy experiencing dreams. Thankfully I rarely have nightmares.

My most recent memorable dream isn't really for public consumption... but the one before perhaps says a lot about my current aspirations. I dreamt I was lying in bed snuggled cozily up to Will, except he was on the opposite side of me in bed than he normally is. I dream big. Then I woke up and had that sinking "bugger, this is reality" feeling you get when you wake from a really great dream. But for the first time I can remember in my life, I realised that for once I could actually make that dream a reality, so I rolled over and there Will was. That was pretty ace.

5. What's the best thing you've got out of the last few months, since leaving your job?

My creativity back. My stress levels have dropped below a point they haven't seen in years, and it's wonderful. And from that I was inspired to build a little internet presence for my photography, and I really enjoyed that and I've had some very minor success already. If I could earn the money I work in IT doing photography, then I'd have my dream job. Sadly, for now I need the IT money to fund other important things in my life.
nisaba: (Baaa)
Way back in March, the five questions meme was going around. These are from [livejournal.com profile] magfish. Better late than never, right?

1. Have you learned anything about yourself from your recent in-between-homes travels?

I learnt that I love travelling in an RV, at least in a country that is geared up for it. I learnt that I was more of a tidy freak than I thought I was, since not being able to find stuff when I want it is even more annoying than putting it back in the right place in the first place. This did diminish as time went on however. I learnt that you can do too much touristing, and that's it's ok to spend a night in a city that never sleeps playing cards in your hotel room. And I learnt that I appear to like hiking, at least when it's in stunning surroundings.

2. Cheese or wine?

Wine! I don't actually like cheese that much. Melted on other food, yes, infused with a whole garlic field, yes, but sitting alone on a platter with naught but some dry biscuits to keep it company? No thanks.

3. Do you look back now and wonder how on earth Peta-from-the-past was (initially) so resistent to the idea of the "quiet geek"?

Not really, I know why I was resistant. I analysed the changes in my feelings plenty at the time, and I haven't had reason to change my theories. I clearly had bad character judgement, but I was quite happily single at the time. In many ways the lack of internal pressure to make this relationship work, because I wasn't expecting it to go anywhere, meant that we were better able to communicate very honestly with each other right off the bat, and air our differences to each other, and thus work through them and find our compromise points. And it was through this communication that Will showed me many of his characteristics that I still love him for to this day: that he genuinely listens, that he really understands and "gets" me, that he adapts where it's sensible and challenges me where it's not, that we can meet happily in the middle. The quiet geek had hidden depths!

4. Skiing or sunlounging in a bikini? (I think I already know the answer!)

Can I have a good book and some beautiful views while sunlounging? Because then I'll take that. Otherwise, skiing, as just sitting in a chair for hours, even a lovely warm chair, isn't that exciting.

5. What has surprised you most about moving back to Australia?

Just how much I'm absolutely loving it. There was a lot I was afraid of, and there's substance for those fears (eg casual racism, check), but the almost daily dose of sunlight, the feeling of space and freedom, the job that doesn't have me feeling like I need to work 50+ hours a week and stress over it 168 hours a week, being able to easily spend time with my family, Will's happy and adjusting far better than I could ever have dreamed... it's just ace. I can't tell you how fortunate I feel. Not everything is perfect of course and there's some things I have a stress about from time to time, but overall I'm so much happier and content with myself than I was in London. Everyone should move to Australia.
nisaba: (Home)
Da da da da da dum

And... found that life felt pretty fucking awesome. It was 07:05, the light was tinted purple and green through these old windows, and I'd slept so well on this new bed, with a lovely dream that ended with a kiss. I was alone, I must have slept through Will's alarm and he'd snuck out of bed to his shower without disturbing me. My brain started to register the sounds of morning, the cars and lawnmowers mixed with caws and chirps and whistles of so many birds. This is a world away from our life in London, and it's all coming together, and it feels great. Really great. Will returned, hugged me good morning, and I got up to share breakfast with him. How lucky am I.
nisaba: (Castle love)
I'd forgotten that it's near impossible to find furnished rentals in Australia. So along with the finding a job and somewhere to live, also comes buying all the usual stuff for a house, ALL AT ONCE. Poor ole bank balance. Still, there are a lot of charity furniture places around here that we'll be raiding real soon now.

Things we have so far:
  • house

  • bed

  • fridge/freezer

  • vacuum cleaner

  • BBQ

  • outdoor table for two

  • steamer

  • kettle

  • Australian mobile numbers

  • Things we don't have:
  • jobs

  • car

  • washing machine

  • aircon

  • lawnmower

  • umbrellas

  • every other bit of furniture and household electricals

  • friends
  • nisaba: (Sydney New Year 2009)
    So, UK and US peeps, I've ventured into 2012 for y'all, and so far it's pretty fucking good. For example, now we're back after the fireworks, it looks quite a lot like this...

    Wally Wally

    Yes I have a dog on my feet. He's a cute dog though, so he gets away with it.

    Happy New Year!
    nisaba: (Christmas 2006)
    I wasn't going to post a Christmas post, although it's nice to use the word "Christmas" without LJ concatenating my post into every single other bloody person's, but then last night we had Christmas Eve guests that I thought a few people here might appreciate. We're bound to get more tonight too, and every night through summer.


    With or without bats, I hope those in tough times find peace, and we all get some joy and fun and frolics in our day.
    nisaba: (Christmas 2006)
    Will and I put up mum's tree tonight. All our presents are bought and wrapped. My brother-in-law has sent me a poinsettia for Christmas, which is now centrepiece of the table. I'm sitting outside on the deck in 20-something heat (mild, not melting) with the wind rustling the palm leaves and geckos squeaking in the eaves above me. I stink of insect repellent (my mozzie bites have mozzie bites) and there's a glass of very nice Margaret River cab sav to my left. I think this'll be a good Christmas.
    nisaba: (Sunnydays)
    Our travelling time is nearly up. Tomorrow we fly to Brisbane, and back to a world where we have to think about things like jobs and housing. Which is kinda good since it turns out that the extra money that used to appear in my bank account on a monthly basis doesn't just happen by magic. However despite nearly three months of ruminating, I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up, which makes finding a provider of more magic monthly money a bit awkward.

    We're in Florida now, Sanibel Island on the Gulf of Mexico to be exact, and it's a balmy 20 degrees outside. This place has the shelliest beach I've ever seen, and huge dark pelicans. So far my time here has been weddingweddingwedding - not mine, but I am a bridesmaid - but the wedding went off perfectly yesterday, so I'm going to go walk the shelly beach and watch the diving pelicans and see if I can keep the real world at bay for one more day.
    nisaba: (Autumn stag)
    I'm looking out the window at the craziest looking town I've ever been in. Las Vegas. Faux New York, faux Venice, faux Paris, faux Rome, really faux pyramid - why do Americans travel when they can just come here, and it's all a hell of a lot cleaner too!

    Driving the RV across crazy high mountains, through icy snow and glaring sun, has been heaps of fun. It's mostly been cold, really cold (-11) some nights, it's always been cramped, but to look out your window at twisted juniper trees, deep red rocks, and cobalt blue skies makes a great change from the usual bricks and mortar of your average hotel room. And unlike the poor buggers in tents, we had heating and enough space to play gin rummy while sitting comfortably with our feet up.

    A few nights ago, my laptop, where I'd been dumping all my photos - as you may know or remember, I like to take a couple of photos a day when travelling - complained of an imminently failing hard drive. Joy. I've mostly ignored it until now, but this morning's exploration of Las Vegas has been limited to staring out the window while I save and copy and chkdsk and research how to get a Dell laptop harddrive fixed when one can no longer just ring one's friendly Dell account manager. The view is from the 41st floor so it's not entirely bad.

    We saw Cirque du Soleil's Mystère last night. Stunning displays of physicality and grace as always from Cirque (oh my, really quite something in some cases), but I feel the only "mystère" was wtf was with the giant multi-coloured snail with a human face. Stuff of nightmares, that thing.

    Chkdsk is taking forever. I suspect it'll die or fail or bluescreen the minute I leave it alone just like everything else I've left for the laptop to complete, but it's time to escape the hotel room. Will has a rollercoaster he needs to visit, and I need to walk off some of 3 huge meals a day I've been consuming.
    nisaba: (Light side of the moon)
    Inside a warm RV, tired from a crazy hike today where we walked up 21 switchbacks then climbed our way across a ridge to the top of Angel's Landing (Zion National Park), full of chicken and excellent chips, glass of Sonoma Valley pinot noir. Life being unemployed and homeless is pretty darn good.

    Utah is totally where it's at if you're into outstanding scenery and all the beautiful nature you can soak up. It's less good if you like any booze more than 4%. We struck gold with a great little brewery in Moab, but it's been dry since then. Least it would be if we hadn't stocked up.

    Although, Utah is DRY. As was Colorado. I'm literally dehydrating as I sit here; my hair, nails, and skin will have withered away with a few more days of this, I'm sure.

    We've driven from Denver, the mile-high city (joining the mile-high club here is cheating, I'm sure), over the snowy Rockies via the most scenic (and switchback-crazy) road, to Mesa Verde (National Park 1), then onto Moab and The Arches (NP2), short walk in Cayonlands (NP3) and Dead Horse State Park (GREAT views over NP2), then down through Capitol Reef (NP3, and a whole load of deer. The deer game is getting silly. We saw so many dead deer by the side of the road we had to start counting them as 5 points, and in the parks real deer can easily net you over 100), onward to Bryce (NP4 and fucking cold, ice inside our windows that morning) and finally Zion (NP5). Tomorrow we head to the Grand Canyon North Rim (NP6), then the South Rim, and finally, Las Vegas. I don't actually want to give the RV up, it's absolutely great and I could easily spend another week or more travelling further. I wish I'd had more faith in Will's idea, and in the ease of finding RV parks in this fabulous place. Not a bad lesson to learn though!

    Will and I will both miss fireworks tomorrow night however. 5th Nov is one of my favourite days in the whole calendar.
    nisaba: (Snowcat)
    Um, we're kinda sorta supposed to pick up an RV today then driving it over the Rockies! Not convinced this is ideal driving weather.

    Yesterday, for comparision, looked like this:

    nisaba: (travelling time!)
    We lifted up into the setting sun, chased it west halfway around the world, and left it in the air over Denver. The sun sunk with a fiery farewell, blackening the rugged profile of the Rockies. Then we landed into a huge grid of lights and blinked our way sleepily through the queues and questions in the bright glare of the terminal.

    Today is day one of an itinerary that looks like a toddler scribbled on a map of the USA. The sun is shining, the weather forecast looks frightening (snow tomorrow, high of 2 and low of -5!) and my body, having had what it thinks is dinner, now wants to go to bed again.

    It's been a long month, packing up my life in the UK and saying farewell (not goodbye) to the people who've made the last 12 years such a great adventure. I'm living out of a suitcase (and several bags) for the next two months and already it's annoying me. Small price in the grand scheme of this thing, this big experience.

    Time to get out and about before this pillow beside me gets just too tempting!