2017 in review

The general consensus on 2017 was that it sucked. We’re glad to see it go, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. It’s understandable; American politics has been a trash fire since Trump got elected, the world is heating up and no one wants to do anything about it, Australia wasted billions of dollars on a non-binding postal survey about marriage equality that made a part of our population a constant target of hate and bigotry. House prices are still rising, the rich are getting richer and Millenials are still somehow being blamed for everything. If you’re not rich, white, and powerful then this year has been pretty tough.

My 2017 wasn’t that bad, on the whole. Sure it wasn’t all sunshine and roses, but some people out there had it much worse. Mostly it just seemed to simultaneously feel like it would never end and sped by too quickly for me to keep up. My main achievement of the year was that I got a promotion at my job. I’m still not really sure how to do my new role affectively but I have been trucking along and working hard in the hopes that if I am not good at least people will see that I’m trying. It seems to be working, because people keep getting me to do more work. Because of this promotion I’m now earning the most I have ever earned. I have to pay my HECS debt off! I never thought I would make more than minimum wage, so I’m pretty pleased with that.

2017 was the year I turned 30. It still feels wrong, like there was a mistake and I’m not that old. I don’t feel 30; 30 year olds always felt like they have their life together and know what to do. I feel like a kid playing dress ups a lot of the time. It also was the year I celebrated my 10 year anniversary with Ben. We’ve both been through tough patches this year, and it would have been infinitely harder for me without his patience and support.

But for all the positives, there are always negatives to the year. 2017 was the year I realised my anxiety had gotten to the point that I needed help again. I went back on medication and am seeing a new psychologist; it’s frustrating to feel like things are out of your control again, but at least I recognised that I couldn’t handle things myself and asked for help rather than letting it overwhelm me. I’m still struggling, my journey with anxiety is far from over, but I’m learning ways to handle it a bit better. Now I just need to stop having so many work dreams and I’ll be happy.

I think my main regret for 2017 is that I did basically no creative work other than crocheting scarves and blankets. No writing, no photos (apart from Instagram), no drawing. Work and anxiety has made me so exhausted that all I did when I got home of an evening was sit at my computer and watch videos. I have definitely stagnated on the creative front, so I feel like that is part of why it feel like I’ve wasted time all year.

I think that is gong to be my main resolution for 2018 – be creative. Use your brain for something other than just work. I think 2018 is going to be the year I take care of myself better; I need to get my health in check, try to not be so hard on myself when I fail at things, start doing things I enjoy again and hang out with my friends more. I should probably also eat better and exercise, but we all say that at the start of the year. I realised just recently that 2017 seemed to only focus on work, so now I need to focus on myself more. If I keep going the way I am I’ll burn out pretty quickly so I need to take some steps back, and hopefully writing again will be a good start.

So here’s to 2018, may it be less of a train wreck than the last year!

Earworms: Hyukoh

A lot of the music I listen to on repeat is loud and poppy, especially since I started listening to Kpop on a regular basis. It makes me feel good when walking around listening to music; I can block out all the annoying sounds of the public and listen to cheerful and energetic music instead!

But the weather recently has been more sombre, seeing it’s started going into Autumn, so I’ve been listening to more slow, chilled out music that fits with the atmosphere a bit better. The band that I’m really enjoying is Hyukoh, a Korean indie 4-piece band. I know, another Korean band, but hear me out.

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Memories From Japan

It’s been almost a year since Ben and I went to Japan, and I’ve finally looked at the photos I took while we were there. There were a lot of terrible ones, but I managed to take some that I liked enough to post here. We went to Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya and Tokyo in the 2 weeks we were there and ony barely scratched the surface of all those places.

We saw a lot of impressive buildings and monuments.

Osaka has Osaka Castle, standing proud and tall with all its golden detailing. There we learned all about the different struggles the different Shoguns had to control Osaka. We had a lot of fun discussing how the different political powers were all as terrible as each other. There was a school group that cheerfully said hello to all the tourists (including us) as they barrelled around the exhibits.

Fushimi Inari has an abundance of fox sculptures, big and small, as the Kitsune is the guarding spirit of the shrines in Fushimi. They all looked different, and I couldn’t help but stop to examine as many as I could.

In Tokyo we saw the statue of Kusunoki Masashige, a samurai who was known for his great leadership skills and for fighting for the Emperor. The statue was very big and imposing, with so many details that I wanted to try and take photos of.


Most of my photos focussed on the small details that caught my attention, rather than picturesque views. I’ve always been drawn to seemingly random aspects of places, and I always try and capture this curiosity in photos, but a lot of the time I’m not that successful.

Fushimi Inari was full of these little details. Throughout the walk up the mountain there were small shrines off the main path, with buildings covered in moss and worn from the elements, slowly going back to nature. We also found a number of graves which were incredibly interesting; some were very old and dilapidated, but others were very well kept, with offerings of food and alcohol, and strands of bright origami cranes hanging off them. That area was so quiet and peaceful and I could have just looked at the different graves for ages.


I also took seemingly random photos at Osaka Castle when things caught my eye.

The castle was full of gold detailing, from the murals and protective decorations, to gilded caps on the ends of structural parts of the castle. The gardens surrounding the castle were also very impressive, with gorgeous massive trees and orchards full of crows, as well as historical monuments dotted about that made me wish I could read Japanese so I could find out what they were for. There was also a shrine nearby that I ended up taking lots of random photos of. The wooden plaques were something you could buy and write a wish or message on, and there were stands full of them with messages in all different languages.


One thing that I often try (and fail) to do is get candid photos of people as I’m walking along. Most of the time they are blurry or someone gets in the way, or just generally bad photos, but I found two (two!) that I liked.


This kid and his Dad were both ridiculously cute together. The kid didn’t seem very sure about the situation as his Dad got him to stand with the weird ice cream mascot things, but once he worked out what was going on he went all out in posing for the photo.


This lady was at Fushimi Inari. There was a Japanese couple getting their wedding photos taken in their traditional outfits at the shrine, and I think this lady was with their party. There were a few ladies wearing kimono walking around Fushimi that we saw on the way to the shrine, so she may not have known the couple. All I know is that she looked beautiful with her ridiculously detailed kimono and intricate obi that I felt very shabby in my boring travel outfit.



Looking at these photos has made me want to go back. The photos of the shrines reminds me of how quiet and peaceful they were, and there is so much we didn’t get to see on our trip that Ben and I both feel that we need to go back. It took us 6 years (at least) to get organised enough to go this time, but it definitely won’t take us that long to go again. Maybe by then I’ll be better at taking photos.

Late to the Party: Learning to Drive

In ‘Learning to Drive’, Wendy (Patricia Clarkson), a self-absorbed New York book critic, is shocked to reality by the sudden end of her marriage. Always dependent on her husband for driving, she must now learn to take the wheel on her own. Her instructor Darwan (Ben Kingsley) is a Sikh Indian who watches with alarm as his pupil falls apart at the seams. He himself is contemplating an arranged marriage with a woman he has never met. As these two lives intersect, both will change in unpredictable ways.

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Earworms: Tiger JK, ‘Forever’

There are times where, sometimes for no reason at all, my anxiety spikes and it feels like my skin is a size too small and I just want to peel it off to get some sort of relief. Obviously that is not possible, so instead I end up trying to lessen the feeling by blaring some music and singing along. I feel bad for me neighbours when this happens.

Sometimes I play happy poppy songs to cheer myself up; sometimes it’s shouty angry songs. But other times the only thing I want to listen to is a sad song on repeat to sing along to while trying not to cry (and  most of the time failing at that). Forever by Tiger JK falls very squarely into that last category.


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