All posts filed under: personal

Damn you, solo beach walker

I’m pretty lucky here in Australia: I live less than 10 minutes from a beautiful long beach, and walk and/or jog down it at least twice a week. This morning was no different, although the stormy sky was threatening rain, so there were a lot less people than usual. I power walked along– away from the break wall with its dots of fishing folk and pram pushers avoiding the sand- watching for the spouting of migrating whales, listening to great music, and enjoying feeling stronger and energetic again after surviving my week on refugee rations. I passed a few dog walkers, who have to turn back after 500 metres, to protect nesting birds.; I challenged myself to run as fast as I could for 30 seconds, and felt the push and stretch of my muscles. I smiled at the rolling waves, the odd seagull, the wind whipping my hair under my woollen hat and hoodie. It felt good to be alive, and I didn’t want to stop walking. Then I saw a lone figure further …

Without doubt, the most beautiful road sign I’ve ever seen in Australia

I get teary every time I drive past it. Which is quite often, as it’s near the end of my street on the way out of town towards the highway. That stretch of road becomes long and narrow, without pavements or overhead lights, and cars can drive at 80kms (or faster) after leaving the slow limits of suburbia. It’s officially Winter now, so despite my tropical address, it’s dark by 5.30pm, as everyone hurries home to their families and snug houses. Except Alfred. I can’t remember exactly how long he’s been around, but it’s years. Years and years of just walking in sandals on the road’s edge, leaning more and more to one side in his spine as time passes. Who is he, my son and I used to wonder? And why is he always walking, sometimes wearing a garbage bag as a jacket, whatever the weather. Nut brown legs, stained clothes, occasionally carrying a stick with litter impaled on the end of it; always walking, no matter the weather. A couple of years ago, …

So how much did we raise for refugee food, education & medical care?

I was part of a team called Hungry for Peace, aiming to live on the official rations for a week here in Australia. We set our original fundraising target at $2,500, and were hoping to have 5 of us raising $500 each… Hmmm. Turned into 2 of us aiming at $1,250 each. That’s OK, I can rise to that. My fellow campaigner is a very experienced fundraiser, having done the Oxfam Trail campaign twice, and regularly participating in various community drives, while I would say I’m usually just an enthusiastic-friend-being-supportive-of her-ongoing-great-ideas-like that-damn-hike-in-Tasmania-remember? This time, I had to put my money where my mouth was. Or rather, other people’s money where my mouth wanted to be. And DRUM ROLL…………… our team has raised $3,829.00 so far! Fundraising closes June 30, so don’t hold back now if you forgot 😉   WOOHOOOOOOOO! Such a fab feeling. It costs approx $64 to feed a refugee for 3 months on these rations, so that’s 54 displaced human beings no longer being hungry; totally worth my pitiful ‘rice brain’ whinges. On …

‘Give me avocado or give me death’; oh what the hell, give me both

Today, Sunday in Australia, is my last day living without my beloved avocados. I have two waiting for me in the fridge, seducing me with their perfect green curves every time I open the door. Which I’m trying not to do very often, surviving on official Refugee Rations as I am. Last day today! OMG I am SO READY for this to be over. There is a part of me that feels lightheadedly content to drift along in this new, vague, low energy, who-needs-to-really-eat-food-anyway kinda cult mindset… but the other 90% of me really misses the energetic, dancing, beach-jogging, feast-cooking, sharp-brained, nut-eating, green-smoothie-making, utter-food-pleasure-loving G. Seven days isn’t long I know; many refugees live for years in camps of uncertainty and severe restrictions. My Western privilege has stood up in front of my face for this whole week, don’t you worry, as well as my complete addiction to greens, as I mentioned before in last post ‘I want to eat my lawn’. I’ve also really missed the sheer simple pleasure I get from food: dreaming …

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme

‘I want to eat my lawn’: craving greens on a week-long ration challenge

I’m heading into Day 5, and after this week of eating the same food as a Syrian refugee, will be avoiding rice for at least the next 3 months. Day 3 was hard: I felt really foggy in my brain, and almost angry that I was making myself do this. Thank goodness that passed. Today has been better, apart from fighting my ridiculous urge to eat anything green, including grass. On Facebook, other Ration-Challengers have been moaning about no caffeine, sugar, or alcohol; I’m just having serious fantasies about superfood green smoothies, bunches of fresh spinach, and steamed broccoli heads with olive oil and cracked pepper.I made falafel-type patties for lunch & dinner: remember I only have salt, flour, veg oil, one spice (cumin), no garlic, no onion. But oh boy, they still tasted delicious!   If you feel like helping me reach the final fundraising target of $1500 (I’m on almost $1300), here is my Donation Page link. And thank you so much. Or please send parsley and kale, express post… 😉 In utter gratitude …

America, where’s your goddamn empathy?

I cannot believe I’m watching footage of crying children in ‘cages’, and reading comments that say their parents shouldn’t have broken the law anyway. What the f*** is happening over there? I’m hungry as hell here in Australia, brain a bit foggy on Day 3 of Refugee rations challenge, and today is World Refugee Day. I’ve raised over $1200 through my donations page HERE, and am therefore helping to feed 3 Syrian refugees for a year. That feels amazing, and thank you to my fellow bloggers, including The Lockwood Echo. But you Americans? You need to donate to an organisation in your own country, helping out these traumatised kids. Here’s Brené Brown’s endorsed link, and this recommendation from my journalist sister-in-law in New York. Take action. Spend twenty bucks on someone else, not yourself. Spend fifty. Send only two. But please DO SOMETHING!  

Day 1 of Refugee rations challenge done. And Pay Pal makes it easier

I missed my morning pot of tea, it’s true. But I’m less than $20 off raising $1000 so far for refugees, so I’m confident I won’t be starting every post of this week on rations complaining about my lack of favourite hot beverage! There’s my cup of hot water first thing though, still so sleepy it couldn’t quite get itself into focus for the photo 😉 We’re having incredible winter weather here in Australia: bright blue clear skies, warm sun, but still a cool nip to the skin in the shade- believe me, it’s a divine treat after all the humidity and wetness of our summer months- sipping my water on the verandah still felt full of privilege. So onto breakfast: a portion of my rice allowance, with a sprinkling of pre-soaked then boiled chickpeas. I only added salt. I’ve decided to start quite plain and strict, then ease myself into more tasty meals as the week progresses, and I get more uncomfortable/hungry/hangry. A big thank you to the 3 Anonymous donors, in case you …

How do you start your morning- tea or coffee? Well, neither if you’re a refugee

My official Refugee Rations box arrived for the Ration Challenge, and it feels weird to know I’m getting to ‘play’ at such a serious situation for only a week- the privilege mocks me. Thanks to lovely friends and my network, I’ve raised almost $900 so far, which feels awesome; having reached various ‘fundraising targets’, I’ve ‘earnt’ myself 50g of salt (instead of sugar), some milk, a spice (I’m choosing cumin), and now a small head of broccoli (170g) plus yesterday an egg! Very exciting. These rewards don’t come out of the fundraising donations of course; it just means I am able to include them in my refugee diet. It works on the honour system, and it’s a lovely feeling to know that all over Australia, thousands of us are doing this together to raise awareness and take action in support of our vulnerable brothers and sisters around the world. I’m about $100 off being ‘allowed’ 2 teabags, and if there’s one thing I love it’s my pot of peppermint tea in the morning… PLEASE donate …

Tri This: One Year!!!

Originally posted on Curious Steph:
One year ago today, I began my triathlon training adventure. I had been inspired by a report in my local newspaper about a sprint/mini-sprint race held at a rec center the previous weekend. I looked at the distances involved and thought “I can do that”. More importantly, I wanted to do that. Starting out, my goal was to do a sprint distance race about a year from when I began. I’m on track, with that race scheduled for a week from Saturday. I’ve done two mini sprint races in the interim, one last August, and an indoor time rather than distance based race in January. As I’ve mentioned before, this upcoming race is a leap both in terms of distance covered and the swim is open water, in a reservoir. Open water adds some challenges; a more congested group start, staying on course without that black line on the bottom of the pool, and wearing a wetsuit, which will need to be removed before starting on the bike leg of…

My ‘Refugee rations’ box has arrived, & I’m a bit scared

Next week, June 17-24, I’m going to be hungry and grumpy. How do I know already? Because I will be trying to survive on official refugee rations for that one week. Right now, there are more than 65.5 million refugees and displaced persons around the world, according to the UN Refugee Agency. This means elderly people who’ve lost their lifelong homes, sick or injured people with no access to medical care, loving families crammed into thin tents in cold winters, and of course children with no option to go to school. I live a wonderfully privileged life here in Australia, with fresh water in my kitchen, organic produce at the Farmers Markets every week, and sleeping safely in my bed each night. But if I’d been born in Syria, I would have a different story. Right now, I could be living in a tent with my son, with minimal prospects for employment or education, and trying to feed ourselves with only the official weekly refugee rations: 420g white rice 170g lentils 85g dried chick peas …