Time Flies When You're in Oz

posted on: May 21, 2012

I can't believe that I'll be leaving Australia in just 9 days.  I also can't believe I've been here for five months- where did the time go?  I've been instagramming, twittering, and facebooking as many updates as possible to fill the gaps between blog posts- so if you need to catch up at all - look in those places for more detailed accounts of my time here in Australia. (all photos below are instagrams from iPhone)

Architecture of Downtown Melbourne
View of Downtown Melbourne

What has Australia taught me?
Family is the most important thing in life.  Period.  I knew this before, but Brisbane has really cemented this for me in a way that just never happened in the capitalist-driven United States.  Last night, while watching Dark Shadows at the Blue Room Cinebar, it was the underlying theme of "family is the only true wealth" that stuck with me most as I sat with my mom on one side, and Nicky- my flatmate who I now consider a sister on the other side.  Brisbane is so community focused on creating healthy families and healthy neighborhoods, that I've been immersed in a love of family and community that I haven't really had when moving every one or two years while growing up.  Being so far away from family and not being able to easily pick up the phone and call at any time also creates an absence that really does make the heart grow fonder.  I'm grateful that Facebook allows us to stay in touch often, even if it is asynchronous.

Nicky & My Mother relaxing before the movie at the outdoor balcony of the Blue Room Cinebar

What has Australia given me?
A renewed sense of health and healing.  I really believe that Australia will lead the way in healthcare research and holistic healing innovations over the next decade- perhaps even over the next century.  There's such a strong focus on holistic health, natural foods, and healthy lifestyles- especially here in Queensland- that many other countries can learn a lot from.  There's a strong focus on mental health and caring for your mind and stress levels as an equal partner to your heart health.  While many people in the United States might rail against socialism, it's the high taxes that provide excellent city parks for kids to play in, great sidewalks and bike lanes to encourage people to move their bodies, great river water that people can fish in, very clean air standards, and an incredible public transport system that is unparalleled in convenience to any other I've ever experienced in the world.  I've lost at least 30lbs in 5 months by simply living in Australia and doing what I would normally do.  It's really incredible and I hope that I can maintain the same sense of healthy living when I return home to the over fertilized and high fructose corn syrup society.

Street Art Bottle Key
Street Art in a Melbourne Laneway
I'll never be able to blog every single one of my experiences here.  It just isn't physically possible.  I've saved as many amazing memories as I can on my iPhone and shared many through Instagram and Facebook.  Eventually I'll put them into a memory book to have and hold forever.  Until that time comes, I have another three months of adventuring ahead!  Alex and I will be traveling several different countries in Europe, mostly so that he can strengthen his international collaborations.  I've officially decided not to bring my professional camera gear for the rest of our travels (also because I don't have working visas for the other countries), but will still have my iPhone and will be looking forward to connecting with international photographers around the world when the fates allow.  Otherwise, I'll simply be appreciating all that each day and city has to offer when I have no agenda that I need to follow.  We gave up a lot to make this trip happen, but I believe that travel is the only thing that makes you truly rich in life.  We can't take anything with us when we go, so we should live to fully experience and appreciate every beautiful moment we have right now.

Anne Ruthmann in Melbourne Laneway Cafe
Me, drinking a morning smoothie at a laneway cafe in Melbourne

Ugly Betty to Betty Boop #3 - My Story of Weight Loss from the Inside Out

posted on: May 17, 2012

Fat is the modern version of medieval armor.  The more fat we have, the less other people's energies and negativities can get to us.  This may also by why fat people seem to be more "jovial" on the outside than our skinnier equivalents - as fat people, we can be perfectly content in our own inner world no matter what's happening outside of us.  We can choose to put another sugar and cholesterol laden cupcake in our mouth instead of spewing out hateful thoughts and feelings toward others.  A layer of fat is like a force field for any negativity we don't want to experience.  Some of us learn how to deal with negativity early in life, and therefor, never need a layer of protection.  Some of us acquire negativities and sensitivities as we just go about our natural life and encounter other people, who have their own issues, which they project onto us.

What I experienced as a teenager was typical for a girl who had full boobs, a long torso, a small waist, a booty, and long legs.  As I walked down the street, whistles would slide off the tongues of men sitting on the street, and honks would blurt from car horns rolling by.  Men looked me up and down like a piece of meat to be devoured, and as a teenage girl without a strong relationship with her father, I enjoyed every bit of this attention.  Somehow, even though it was a primal and animalistic response like a gorilla grunt and a bird mating call, it served my base need to be validated as beautiful and loved.  It was the attention I hadn't received from the man I had most wanted it from- but I was tall enough and appeared to be strong enough that no one actually dared to mess with me directly.  I was a frickin' Wonder Woman- an Amazonian Goddess with white freckled skin.

Shorts were always too short for my long legs, and therefore, I always appeared to be wearing "short shorts".  Shirts were also too short for my long torso, which was exaggerated by my larger boobs, so there was often a gap between the top of my pants and the bottom of my shirt- baring the keyhole to my body.  To many men, I learned that this was a neon "Hot Now" sign, signaling fresh Krispy Kreme donuts inside.  Unfortunately, this was not at all what I had intended by simply getting dressed each morning, yet it became my daily experience, especially during scorching hot summers in Arizona and sticky humid summers in Michigan, when my only other option was to dehydrate from sweating in long sleeves and long pants.  I traded comfort in my bodily temperature for cat calls, and at the time, I was fine with that.  I was a teenager- fearless with a rock solid ego like a castle wall.

The only time I needed to start developing an armor, was when I met someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  Some people lose their armor when they find the love of their life.  What I didn't realize, was that marriage was about to bring on a battle of epic proportions with the karmic male demons of my past.


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