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25 May 2016

Hong Kong and the New Pad

These UK - Australia flights are killer. They take forever and is it just me or is airplane food getting more and more inedible?

This one was particularly brutal. Our 11 hour flight to Hong Kong landed, just as we realised we had an 8 hour layover before the 9 hour flight to Brisbane.  What are you suppose to do in an airport for 8 hours when you can't leave? Well, I'll tell you....

You observe the way American capitalism has absorbed the local culture.

You find cute signs to take photos with. 

You sample the local cuisine.

And you go on an adventure following the enigmatic "hot drinking water" signs. 

It was actually much more fun than I had expected, but by the time we finally got into Australia we were totally zonked. Little did we know we'd be going through the most grueling immigration/customs experience yet. It took over two hours... so long that baggage had reclaimed our checked suitcases from the carousel and they were about the be shelved. It involved four separate checkpoints and drug dogs. 

Finally we got our car (which was also a strangely difficult endeavor) and made our way to our new flat. Let me tell you, after a flight like that, this was a pretty exciting thing to come home to.

Our new home is in a heritage listed building and has not only a gas range, oven (our last place didn't have one) AND dishwasher, but also has a closet that is almost the same size as our bedroom. 

This is by far the nicest place we've ever lived. We were in complete disbelief when we arrived because of how nice it was. How was this possible?

Well, we were about to find out.... it turns out that we actually live in the red light district. And not only that, but we live directly above a salsa club, which on weekends is open until 5am. It is so loud and there are so many drunk morons singing and screaming outside our house, it has made sleep completely impossible on Friday and Saturday nights. 

So, yeah, there was a catch, a big one. 

However, armed with earplugs and a white noise machine, we are prepared to conquer this weekend, one night a time!

12 May 2016

New York City

While we were in Australia, I found two rolls of film at the bottom of one of my bags. One was black and white and the other was some old colour slide film. I wasn't exactly sure when I'd taken them, as I haven't used film in awhile. So, as soon as we got back to London, I had them developed.

When they came back, it was really exciting, because I realised that these photos are really an emotional snapshot of my life back when we were living in New York. I had taken the two rolls while walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, and through Chinatown and Little Italy. In them I see my awe and admiration of they city, but also fear and a little disquieting tension. 

I've never been shy about my feelings about NYC, and that city and I have definitely had our ups and downs, but I feel quite lucky to have had a year and half with her. New York is a glorious, iconic city. (Also, colour slide film... I gotta get me some more that!)

07 May 2016

Facing Sadness

Ok, I think it's time to talk about the bomb I dropped in my last post, and specifically how I've been dealing with it. 

Lately, I've had a major case of the sads. It's hard not to let that fear and doubt seep into those tiny fissures in your heart-- especially if you current state means you do nothing in your quest to get pregnant for at least the three moremonths. Infertility really sucks sometimes (really, ALL the time). 

I've gone through an emotional dip like this before-- the LAST time we were told that needed to extend our Australia stay. Back then, I had myself a good, long ugly-cry about it.  And (after a date with a box of ferro-rochers), my bro-in-law, Andrew, called with some of the best advice I'd ever received. He said:

"Jess, maybe you should consider what it is that you *really* want. Yes, you want a baby, but what PART about having a baby are you actually wanting? What is it that you want to FEEL?"

That struck me as a pretty profound question, so I gave it some serious thought. What I really have wanted is something small and cuddly-- something whose little mind I could mold, someone that I could name, and whose story I could be apart of. Those were the things I wanted to feel. 

Earlier that year, my sister-in-law Mary had shown me how to make waldorf dolls. They were these beautiful natural fibre dolls, but I never thought I would have enough time to learn how to make them. The more I thought about it though, the more I realised these little dolls would satisfy most of those things on my list.

No, a doll is not the same as a baby, but it was something. And in that moment I needed something real to put my heart into. 

After researching, and buying, and stitching, I began to see just how healing the creative process could be. I really believe there is something divine about our ability to create and transform simple materials into art. The more a felted, and sewed, and knitted, the more regulated I felt, and the more I felt those little fissures in my heart starting to close.

So now, I'd like to introduce you to my first doll, Molly. I designed her after a cloth doll my mom made for me one Christmas when I was about four. My first Molly was beautiful and simple, with hair made out of strips of white muslin cut with pinking sheers. Mom had made us matching black and white dresses with red ribbons and watermelon buttons. My Molly doll was perfect.

This is the only photo I have of my original Molly. We're wearing our matching dresses, hair ribbons and bloomers.

My new Molly took me many, many, many hours, especially since I decided to do all the patterning for the doll and her clothes by myself (seriously would have saved so many hours if I'd just bought one). I also opted to weft my own wig from loose fibre, which, in hindsight was painfully naive. Still, I'm rather happy with how she turned out. She's made out of tightly felted English wool and organic Swiss tricot. 

Anyway, this little cutie is headed to my mama... My mom has always loved and collected dolls and it only makes sense that she should have her. 

One of the many things I've learned (or really RE-learned) in the process of making these dolls is that when you are faced with sadness, create. 

Create, create, CREATE!