or rather, Perth 🙂
Sunset in Bentley, Feb 2010
I’m flying out to Kuala Lumpur for three weeks on Wednesday morning, and I’ve done a little retrospection. Is that a word? What does it mean? For someone fresh out of the CELTA course (the Cambridge ESL teacher training programme), you’d think I’d know. But hey, teachers are not infallible sources of knowledge. We’re human.
Anyway, I was looking back at the last 8 months of my life, here in Perth, and there are plenty of things I’ve learnt, experienced, and gone thru. Laughed, cried, been numb, been happy, been sad, been disappointed, been excited, been nervous, and been out-of-my-mind delirious about.
Time for a list, a disorganised, unordered, completely (seemingly?) random collection of experiences I’ve had in this lovely city in the gorgeous state of Western Australia in this wonderful, complex, beautiful, strange, at times ugly, infuriating and downright tiresome, but always amazing, country.
1. I got hit by a car for the FIRST TIME EVER. Riding my bicycle to work, back in December. The driver of the Toyota Land Cruiser (a freakin’ four-wheel drive!) didn’t see me cycling on the bike path and reversed out of his driveway really fast, knocking me off. Hitting my knee in the process, resulting in a bone bruise which, to this day, hurts if I bump it. I heard bone bruises take a good 6 months to a year to fully heal. It didn’t affect my running at all, though – in fact, all the times I’ve gone running after this accident, my OTHER knee (the one that’s always been a bit dicky) is the one that aches if I’ve pushed myself a little too hard, not my ‘accident’ knee. Looking at the date that I lodged the report of the motor vehicle crash with the insurance commission of WA, I realised it was the 14th of December – exactly two months before my NEXT big accident which resulted in a more serious injury.
2. Fractured my spine. On frickin’ VALENTINE’s Day. That’ll be one V-Day i never forget, I tell ya. I wish I could! Hell, I wish I could press the rewind button on some magic remote and go back to the moments before I made the fateful jump. Some people I’ve talked to told me it took them 30 minutes to muster up the courage to jump. It might have been sensible of me to do that, too. Then I might have been a bit more coordinated, jumped more straight, and properly, instead of going, fuck this, I’m just gonna do it and jumping off the cliff. It didn’t help that my companion at the time told me to “just jump” when I asked if there was a proper way to do it, since I’d never done it before. Just jump? How about telling me how, and reminding me how my body should be and etc? I’m not a professional! I found out later that there used to be a sign there saying it was unsafe and prohibited, but some moron had taken the sign down. Thanks, asshole. Now I have two fractured vertebrae in my spinal column – one has a 30% compression fracture, and even though it’s been 4 and a half months since the accident/incident, my back still hurts if I stand for too long or lift heavy objects. I still take anti-inflammatories (Voltaren) due to this, and I still can’t really do any running (though I stubbornly do it anyway, but never for more than 10 mins at a time which seems alright so far). I have gone swimming, ONCE. I just didn’t have the time, due to reasons illustrated in my next point.
3. I completed the CELTA course. It is the Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, which spanned 10 weeks (part-time). I am so glad it’s over, because it stressed me out so much, yet I’m really sad and feel a little empty, because I really enjoyed teaching, loved my course mates/colleagues, and the students were just wonderful. When I first started (back in April), I was working 2 jobs (Technical Writer in Maddington and Pizza joint in Riverton and/or Hilton), and my classes, every Tuesday and Thursday night, were held in Leederville. Plus, I taught every Saturday. Imagine my commute, the cost of petrol, etc. Luckily, at that time, I had my car. Had, because, as the next point will illustrate, it is no longer with us (or me).
4. Bought, maintained, and then sold, a car. I have driven before in KL many times (and many different cars), but they were never MINE. I had never paid for a car, gone through the whole buying process and etc. It was new, and exciting to me. I was relishing the whole process, making sure I remembered everything about it for the future when I would hopefully buy a car of slightly better calibre. Not that my 1984 Toyota Corolla wasn’t a good car. It was my trusty steed, that unfortunately, had an engine that was about to breathe its last. It broke down early April (right before I left for my trip to Korea – see next point), which was due to filthy spark plugs, luckily. The mechanic who fixed it up told me already that the engine was worn out but that it wasn’t worth replacing with a new one because it was such an old car. He didn’t seem too optimistic when I asked him if he thought it would last me at least til November 2010. Oh well. It died, I sold it off for parts. Goodbye, Corolla. You were a fun thing to have. I was really proud to drive you around even if you were really old!
Freedom Bridge, DMZ, South Korea (with Lin)
5. I finally visited Lin in Korea. Seoul was great; the food is superb! Shopping is great too, unfortunately I didn’t have an unlimited supply of funds, and couldn’t really get everything I wanted there – but I was happy with what I did get anyway. Most of all, I was just happy to see Lin. I met Greg again, which was nice, and got to know so many awesome people that I feel priviliged to have in my life. Ahyoung, Alan, Andy, the triple As, LOL. As well as all of Lin’s awesome friends: Hana, Kylie, Logan and gang. Overall, I was really happy with the Korea trip – I saw the DMZ, and it made me appreciate Korea more, its rich history, culture and traditions. I would LOVE to go back and visit, teach English and live there maybe? 🙂
6. Finally, when I got back from Korea (and had the kerfuffle with my car which led to me selling it), I also found out my spine was fractured. I could no longer work at the pizza joint because it was aggravating the injury. I was always in pain working there, and my boss SB could see it. I’d always just shaken it off as my back muscles acting up, but when it was confirmed as being fractured, I stopped right away. It was SB who hounded me to go and get X-Rays taken – thank you, SB!! I owe you. I didn’t have X-Rays taken when I went to the E.R. at St John of God Hospital, Murdoch, because the doctor there assured me it wasn’t a fracture and I didn’t need any. GO FIGURE! When I stopped working at the pizza place, and rested my back more, what an improvement! Still sore but not like “I feel like I’m dying” kind of sore. Sadly, some people working there hadn’t been too sympathetic with my condition, even when I was in pain and really unable to lift heavy items, they just thought I was being lazy. Then I heard that one of the managers bitched about me not being able to work anymore, and had to be told, by SB, “Of course she can’t work. Her spine’s fractured!” I really don’t get some people. I bet if I was in a wheelchair (which thankfully, I’m not) they’d expect me to be able to work!
7. Discovering the awesome aquatic centre near my new place. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I moved house 🙂 From Bentley to Ardross, in April. BEST. THING. TO. EVER. HAPPEN. I have the nicest housemates, the location is totally awesome, the mall is 30 seconds away, grocery shopping is a breeze, the cinema is right across the road, and we’re located very conveniently between the city and Fremantle. It takes me 20 mins by bus to get to the CBD, and about 25 mins to Fremantle. The bus station is right near my place. It’s great! Bentley is so totally isolated compared to Ardross! And Garden City is by far a better shopping mall than Carousel. The ONLY sucky part is my gym is located in Carousel, the mall, itself. Which is a bitch to get to without a car. I also miss the coffees and dinners at Victoria Park, but then again, Applecross is so much nicer and more sophisticated, and Vic Park gets boring if you go every other day. Once in a while as a treat, it’s great! Back to the aquatic centre, I met a really nice lady who helped me with my freestyle swimming technique. I’m more of a breast stroke swimmer, freestyle used to be beyond me, but not anymore 🙂 I love that place. Clean, professional and not gross and deserted-looking like the one in Bentley.
8. Wireless Hill Park. To go running. Has the best view of the river. It’s an awesome place. So much better than the cricket oval in Bentley, which is actually not a bad oval, considering the location it’s in, but an oval isn’t a park with trees, paths and views. Wireless Hill Park has these towers you can climb up and see the river, and the surrounding area… and the city skyline. It’s great. I love running up the steps, up and down, and then at the top, stopping, stretching out, and just soaking up the sun’s rays. I could stay there all day.
Beautiful Freo Beach (near the Roundhouse)
9. Wonderful Freo. I will always love Fremantle. It has really special memories for me now. Private, special memories. I’ll never ever forget them.
10. My BFF Jason’s West Perth studio apartment. I love sleeping over because it’s always warm, and it’s a stone’s throw away from King’s Park and St Geroge’s Terrace. It is an AWESOME, awesome location.
11. The BEACH. Western Australia/Perth has some gorgeous beaches, I tell ya. And I come from a tropical country surrounded by gorgeous beaches, I should know 🙂