Dear Nephew

Dear Nephew,

I adore you.

You came into my life when I was only a few years older than you are now. I find that so hard to believe.

Where have these last eleven years gone?

I still remember the day you were born. I was thirteen, and I was so excited at the prospect of being an aunt. I couldn’t wait to be the role model that I had seen my parents be to my cousins.

When I first held you, I melted. The smile my face broke into just about pulled muscles in my cheeks. I couldn’t believe that you, the perfect specimen in my arms, were related to me. I felt (and still feel) a responsibility in helping to make your life better.

As you have grown, you have developed into the most opinionated, educated and amiable young man that I have ever met … and you’re only ten! I love that about you.

Even when you were two, you had more confidence and social skills than I had, being thirteen years your senior. I was so proud that you could make friends of all ages within seconds. All you had to do was sight someone, say hello, and BANG! you had yet another person eating out the palm of your hand.

Your sister annoys you, I’m under no illusions that all of your interactions are amiable, but the love that you show her is truly admirable. Do you remember when you, your dad, your sister and I went to mini-golf with you and they had a game arcade attached to it? Your dad allowed you both to have coin limits on the machine and you won so many tickets to be redeemed. Your sister began to get upset that she hadn’t earned enough tickets to redeem a prize.

With your own initiative, you marched up to the desk and you handed your tickets over and asked if you could split the tickets in half and, if so, what could you get with half the amount of tickets you had handed over.

You didn’t have to do that. You had won those tickets on your own, yet you felt obligated to be the awesome big brother that you are, and share the spoils with your little sister. I will never forget how proud I was, in that moment, that you were my nephew.

Though I am not always there, you are always in my thoughts.

From the day you were born, you have been a source of light in my light that I cherish every minute of every day.

I can’t wait to see the man that you become, because I know that you will be the most amazing you that you can possibly be.

Love,

Your Aunt.

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Dear Books,

Dear Books,

I love you.

I don’t say those words lightly. Usually you would at least need to buy me dinner. But it’s true. I love you.

You provide me with hours of entertainment. You drown out the world.

I need you.

I don’t know when my obsession with you began. You’ve always been there. 

No matter how hard life gets, no matter how much I can’t handle it, I know you’ll be there with a new world, a new love interest, a new story, for me to sink my teeth into.

10 words.

Short.

Confusing.

Battlefield.

Mundane.

Depressing.

***

Glorious.

Adventure.

Amazing.

Joyous.

Unpredictable.

These 10 words describe something. Something that a lot of us take for granted. It relates to every single one of us, yet all our experiences of it differ to the extreme. We need it. We get frustrated with it, but it’s ours. That’s what makes it all the more special.

So what is it?

***

If you don’t forget to follow me on social media, I won’t forget to post on Tuesday…

I’m planning a hypothetical holiday. 

Why “hypothetical”, you ask?

Because that’s just what I do.

I’m the type of person who needs to think things through…thoroughly…probably, in some cases, too thoroughly…

By planning a hypothetical holiday, by the time everything is planned, I will have a holiday in the palm of my hand that I don’t have to commit to, but if I only book it, it could be all mine.

I could go in 3 weeks, I could go in 3 years.

So… I’m planning a hypothetical holiday. And it’s thrilling!

I own too many books. 

… Said no booklover ever.

My bookshelves are overflowing, but I can’t seem to stop buying them. I have 4 bookshelves in my house. Each holds quite a large amount of books, and still I have no room.

What is it about a book that says “buy me”?

Just this weekend I bought at least six books.

I’m not even a fast reader.

The other day I read an article about how many books we can realistically read before we die – a morbid thought, but one that hit home.

Apparently I am going to be able to read about 3000 books with the time I have left. I haven’t counted lately, but I think I am close to closing in on that number of unread books at home.

That means that, if I keep buying books at this rate, I am never going to read all of the books I own.

How depressing.

Somehow, this has not deterred me. It has not slowed me down with my book buying or made me consider getting rid of any of the books I already own.

I’m not sure that it should.

For me, books are not just an entertainment thing. They’re a calming instrument. Put me in a room with books and I instantly feel a little bit calmer. Plus they look pretty and make me look smarter than I am.

I think I own too many books.

But I’ll let you in on a secret…

I. Don’t. Care.

I didn’t post last Tuesday.

I didn’t post last Tuesday.

I’m sorry.

With the reintroduction of 11 hour work days after the Easter period, and next to no sleep, my body was not feeling great. Thus I decided to cancel the last post.

It’s Saturday now, though, and I am very much back into the swing of things.

I thought, today, I would give you a book review. I read it about two weeks ago. It’s called Read Me Like a Book.

Author: Liz Kessler
Year: 2015
Pages: 304
Genre: LGBTQ+

Read Me Like a Book follows Ashleigh Walker, a young high school student who could not care less about school. She hates class, the teachers and the subjects. She doesn’t see why she has to be there, or what the point of it all is.

She meets her dream guy at a party – Dylan – who makes her nervous and seems to actually want to talk to her. They start dating, and life is great, though he wants to go a lot further with her than she’s comfortable with.

And then her English teacher leaves, and she gets a temporary replacement – Miss Murray – who has this thing about her that sucks Ashleigh in. Ashleigh starts caring about English and her grades, and suddenly Dylan seems less important.

But is Ashleigh’s like of Miss Murray more than she originally thinks?

This book had me captivated from the start. It had controversy and intrigue attached to it. It was enthralling.

Miss Murray is a thoroughly likeable woman whose passion for English and literature I saw mirrored in myself, though I question her morals quite a bit.

The controversial relationship between Miss Murray and Ashleigh plays on readers minds in a will the, won’t they sense until the novel reaches it’s pinnacle.

If you love a book that provides food for thought, I would recommend this one.

***

See you Tuesday!

Dear Easter

Dear Easter,

You’re an excuse for everyone to binge on food that’s bad for you. You’re an excuse for us to stuff our faces with a year’s supply of chocolate.

When I was younger, my parents learnt very quickly that buying chocolate for me at Easter was pointless. It’s not that I didn’t like chocolate or that I was allergic or anything like that, but for some reason I just didn’t eat it.

I’ve always a been a person who hates permanence. You have to give me a very persuasive argument with multi-faceted reasoning for me to actually agree to do something that is permanent. So when someone gave me a gorgeous duck made of different coloured chocolate for Easter, I couldn’t do something as permanent as destroy it and eat it.

It sat on my bookshelf in my bedroom for at least a year, if not more, in its sealed box, before my parents had finally had enough. They took the box from my room, placed it on the kitchen table and told me that it was time. Time to open it, destroy it, eat it and say goodbye. Incidentally, it tasted awful. I guess we left it too long.

After that, they didn’t buy me chocolate for Easter. It was a pointless and unhealthy exercise, and a waste of money. Instead, they began to buy me a gift that I could appreciate a lot more (and was much more permanent than chocolate).

In saying that, my family has a lot less focus on chocolate at Easter than most. Instead of finding chocolate eggs as an indicator that the Easter Bunny had been, there were old sheets hanging on the washing line with streaks of different coloured dyes on them.

My mum’s side of the family, from German heritage, would hard boil and dye chicken eggs. They would be all different colours of the rainbow, some with Easter themed transfers put on them. I thought they were the coolest.

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So, instead of finding chocolate, I’d be searching for the real thing. This worked out better for me and my permanence issues, because I don’t like hard-boiled eggs. I just gave all the eggs I got to my parents and that was that.

***

I’m sorry this is a little late. But I will see you on Tuesday, I promise!

The Meaning of Life.

I rifle through paper after paper
Trying to make sense of a life
I have never remotely understood
How? Why? When? Where?

How am I meant to know?
Why does it have to be that way?
When is the right time?
Where do we go from here?

Adults utter words like
“You’ll know when you’re older”
So we wish with all our might
We were just that right now

Then we get there
And we’re none the wiser
The intricacies of life
Are just secret as before

The thing that we learn
The thing parents refer to
Is not some secret for adults
It’s a realisation:

No one knows what they’re doing
They don’t know the how
Or the why, when
Or even the where

We all stumble blindly
Hoping for satisfaction
A blissful answer to that
time when we first thought:

How am I meant to know?
Why does it have to be that way?
When is the right time?
Where do we go from here?

***

I’ll see you Saturday.
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W is for Words

I am in love with words.

I love the way they sound like music when used in poetry. I love their power in a motivational speech. I love how they can entertain.

It wasn’t always this way. Not at all. I hated English classes once upon a time. I felt like they were a waste of time, and that the technicalities of learning how to write “a proper sentence” or how to deconstruct the themes and symbols in Wuthering Heights really was not the most stimulating subject matter. But, oh, how times change.

When I was fifteen, I got an English teacher that made me fall in love with the written word. I don’t know what exactly she did, but somehow I just started appreciating everything about English an the components that make up a truly amazing piece of writing.

In second year university, I wrote a piece of creative non-fiction from the perspective of Katherine Parr, sixth wife of Henry the Eighth. In this, I tried to remain as true as I could to the language she would have used during the time period in which she lived. This was when I fell in love with etymology.

Basically, I love everything about words and the power that they have over a situation, a person. I love how they create rhythm and that their meaning changes with intonation.

I mean what’s not to like?

***

Day 5: Going Home

No. of wrong buses I got on: 1

Time I got home: 2am

No. of times I pretended I was Snow White talking to animals: 14,000

I’m sorry I didn’t write yesterday. I guess I could have told you sooner. A part of me had this ideal scenario playing in my head where I, through some miraculous chain of events, would have enough time and energy to write a post last night. Tough luck.

Yesterday morning, I spent getting ready for the day, cleaning up, packing, making sure I had everything, and then checking out of my room. Leaving my suitcase at reception, I made my way out in search of a place to write … I mean, have breakfast … but really, write.

I found a place that was open, overlooking the street below. I had fresh air, a view, food, and a notebook. I couldn’t have asked for more. I spent the next hour or so, eating, sipping a chai latte and scribbling (and, yes, I mean scribbling. My handwriting is atrocious) in my notebook until I felt that I had, again, outstayed my welcome.

Grabbing myself a venti tea from Starbucks, I headed back out to the botanic gardens. I loved my time there the day before and I hadn’t fully explored the place.

After walking round for a while, enjoying the breeze—feeling like I was an additional character in the secret garden—I found park bench overlooking the river and began to read Liz Kessler’s Read Me Like a Book. It’s a good one. You should check it out. I’ve already finished it.

I lasted about half an hour before I moved, and found a park bench to write at.

From there, I made my way back to the hotel to pick up my suitcase, and then to the shuttle bus to the airport.

Of course, being me, the journey home was not at all smooth. Once I landed and collected my luggage, I got on what I thought was the bus to the car park where I parked my car. As it turns out I got on the wrong long term car park bus, and got a lovely night tour of the wrong car park before arriving back exactly where I started.

After disembarking and being directed to the right bus, I was finally one step closer to getting home.

The drive home was pretty smooth. Long, but smooth.

I arrived back at 2am where I promptly passed out on my bed and stayed ‘til morning.

Thus, my April trip 2017 ended.

***