Re-entry. Still from the movie Gravity.

367 days after re-entry

Ten years ago, a lady named Debbie asked me if I was studying Spanish because I wanted to be a missionary in South America. At the time it was a seriously long bow to draw – I in fact had no better reason for studying Spanish other than Age of Empires and the Spanish national football team.

Once I started learning the language, I discovered how beautiful it was to the ear, the mind, the tongue. But even then I didn’t have any particular interest in Latin American culture. I had even less interest in becoming a missionary.

Debbie and I are unlikely to cross paths again, but what she said turned out to be rather prophetic. Continue reading 367 days after re-entry

80% Australian

Approaching this Australia Day, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Australianness. Or lack thereof. It’s not that I’m experiencing epic reverse culture shock now that I’m back in Australia (just a little …), but certainly the relationship between my personal identity and my country has undergone significant transformation. As a child I felt more foreign than I should have. Probably because I went to a really … Continue reading 80% Australian

How South America messed me up good

People always ask me about my time in South America. Some are genuinely interested, while for others it’s the polite and logical thing to ask. In either case, the truth is that these conversations have started to get a bit repetitive and I’m often left wishing I could say more than: that Latinos are warmer; that Andean dishes contain too many carbs; that working with survivors of child sexual abuse was hard as you’d imagine but so rewarding; that I’m not sure how to answer your question about how good my Spanish is.

The worst thing is that I can’t seem to do Bolivia and Ecuador justice – not in a brief conversation that could turn to a different topic at any given moment.

So below are a few noteworthy things I don’t generally get to share about the impact that my time in South America has had on me as a person and who I am now. Continue reading How South America messed me up good

2016: Resolving me

I’m an anti-resolutionist. I’ve always been sceptical about the value of New Year’s resolutions. Occasionally I’d humour my sister when she wanted to be accountability buddies – I’d scribble down some random objectives and then conveniently lose that piece of paper. After all, New Year’s resolutions are something I don’t need. Why should I buy into this lame tradition? (I don’t get why this is a thing) … Continue reading 2016: Resolving me

Next stop: Sydney

Tomorrow will be my first day in Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, paid employment in Sydney. There is so much “normal” in that one sentence it’s not even funny. Don’t pretend you’re not disappointed. I’m trying not to be. “So when are you going back to South America?” “What are you doing here? Just here for a break?” These are things people have actually, literally, … Continue reading Next stop: Sydney

Still twentynothing

Almost-no-longer-twentysomething. That’s how I described myself a month ago. Since then, I’ve done some soul searching, some job searching and some Google searching. All of which suggests I’m more of a twentynothing. Linked In shows me former classmates with fancy jobs at top law firms. Selection criteria for jobs I’d like don’t align with my skills and experience. Career blogs tell me that to get said skills … Continue reading Still twentynothing

Almost-no-longer-twentysomething

“You’re not 25 anymore, y’know,” my sister says. She’s being gracious. After another year abroad, I re-enter my bedroom where the posters, postcards and photos plastered against the back wall are peeling off, the Blu-Tack tired of supporting them. This is interior decoration befitting a 16-year-old, and I am now (sigh) an almost-no-longer-twentysomething. But what does the bedroom of an almost-no-longer-twentysomething look like? Probably a … Continue reading Almost-no-longer-twentysomething

Travel delusions

Note: I was pleased and privileged to have this post published on A Life Overseas. In that process, I was able to flesh out my original post, which I now consider a draft. This “draft” appears below but to be honest, I am much happier with the slightly amplified version and I encourage you to read it here: http://www.alifeoverseas.com/travel-delusions/ * It cost me USD436 to renew my passport. … Continue reading Travel delusions

Backside Beach, Dili, Timor-Leste

Turning points in Timor-Leste

January 2011 was the month I spent as an intern in Dili. It was an amazing experience: I got to write a super interesting report for an NGO (the Judicial System Monitoring Programme). I got some fascinating insight into the life of an expat community, specifically the expat development community. I met a bunch of cool people. I got to practice my Indonesian and Tetum. I … Continue reading Turning points in Timor-Leste

Is that MY voice?

So there is this hilarious line from The Emperor’s New Groove we always quote. The villainous Yzma turns into a cat and suddenly her voice goes into chipmunk mode. “Is THAT my voice?” she exclaims, confused. “Is that MY voice?” I am increasingly feeling like this little feline. What’s with that accent? Sometimes I hear myself and am surprised by my own speech. Now this is normal when, for example, … Continue reading Is that MY voice?