Vegas

Le Reve Theater at the Wynn (end of the show)
Image via Wikipedia

So what did I say? Vegas.

Right…

Let me first state that the fauna loving New Zealander was supposed to be flora loving – a lot less exciting and I am very sorry to have to let you all down guys.

Still, Vegas.

It started with a five-hour road trip – again, GPS was a great investment – it was absolutely gorgeous. Sand, rocks and Joshua trees, blue skies; we were ready for the sun! So when the icy cold wind hit us in the face as we got out to fuel up, it was a bit of a surprise. Pictures to come where we bravely smile into the camera, freezing our legs off.

Vegas wont appear until three or four hours in, so there really is no need to expect it before that like we did. It did make every corner a little more exciting 🙂

Our hotel room was on the 56th floor of a tower. Amazing just starts to cover it, the view over Vegas, the Strip, the casinos.  Huge bed, sofa and jacuzzi style bath.We might have done a little happy dance in the mini suite but if we did, we would be too cool to admit it. Obviously.

We went for lunch by the Eiffel tower, then saw a show at the Wynn: Le Reve by Cirque du Soleil. (The concierge lady pronouncing in it with such an American accent, quatre-lingual Sura had to ask her to repeat it. ” It’s Le Reve, it means the Dream in French “) It was gorgeous. Air artists and water acrobats  and a set to match (Jelmer T, you would have loved it.)

We went for dinner in Venice, where Sura fell in love with the most expensive wine on earth. The two drops that cost her a tenner nearly made her cry with joy.

The club we signed up for, close to Cesar palace was busy and apparently the dirty cocktails (Dude it needs to be a mix, a cocktail not just straight alcohol with a splash of juice for colour!) set my freak’s invited sign off.  As we were dancing, I got approached by an overweight Mexican, a black dwarf and an old white man. All at once.

Sura meanwhile was fighting off a New Zealander who collected really rare plants. No Really.

Nice night though, bouncers even did customer service and were very kind in letting us escape through VIP areas.

Grand.

Vegas, no debauchery as such – but if we did, we would be too cool to admit it.

Obviously.

For everything else…

Eurostar ticket to Antwerp.

Night at theatre drinking Cava in celebration of premiere.

Eight hour flight to Philadelphia with a tiny Boeing, being served dirty sandwiches by grumpy flight attendants.

Over booked flight to LAX.

Last minute golden GPS purchase decision.

Sura’s second time in an automatic.

First time on LA’s freeways.

Nick of time closing time take away 18″  pizza

But face of guy at customs to his question ” So ladies, what are your occupations?”

“I’m an actress”

“…and I’m a writer”

combined with  the 10 sec silence:

Priceless.

The perfect bag

Hermes Birkin Purse.
Image via Wikipedia

The perfect bag, and I am not taking about handbags here ladies, I am talking weekend bag, suitcase or backpack.

For someone who likes to travel, the perfect bag is pretty essential. Ask any backpacker who had an ill-fitting bag. Or one that only opens at the top, that gets really boring after 4 weeks in the jungle. 

My bag had to fit three weeks of clothes for two climate. I am a pretty light packer, I have been known to go to Paris for the weekend with just a handbag ( a passport and a credit card), so the worry was not that the bag was big enough, but small enough. Whenever I pop home for a long weekend I only take hand luggage  and for some reason I also have a proper suitcase . ( I bought it in France after spending a month there to learn the language; the only words I could utter was ” Je cherche une valise eh, comme ça.” and point. Not my finest moment.)

Still I don’t really have something in between, so I borrowed an inbetweeny bag of my sister which I thought might be the right size. It was not, or it was but I had so little stuff in it, the content kept shifting down when I wheeled it around. ( I did have three pairs of shoes in it as well.)

This evening I tried to change everything over to a smaller bag that I could borrow from Sura’s mum. After an hour of selecting out-fits and rolling up shirts to save space it finally fitted perfectly. Happily I skipped back into the living room with my announcement where Sura’s sister looked at me from the sofa and asked: ” But what about shopping?”

Ah.

Another hour later, the first layer of clothes is now more securely fastened in my sisters inbetweeny bag – no shifting, more space: LA bring it on!

What a difference a year makes…

A year ago, I wrote about how I had left my boyfriend 6 months before and how I tried to get my life back on the rails by pursuing my theatre dream. I described how I was dealing  with a serious soul-hangover after another rejection.

365 days later (well 366 days, I cheated a day for poetic licence) and I am in Antwerp with Sura who encouraged me to write every day a little bit. Keep trying until you stop or until you die, you just keep on going.

Quite different than dealing with a soul-hangover, I am actually on a soul-vacation: I have taken time out to think about what my next move should be. Tired of waking up on Ground Hog day and being stuck in the classic quarter life crisis, it was time to move on. It seemed that I needed to stand still to proceed to the next level (and collect 200 points).

This might seem airy-fairy but it is not meant like that, not having a plan is not some cosmic healing – I am constantly swayed between excitement and fear. The recession isn’t over yet and like you I do like to eat, but I had to look at the facts: I kept going and going to pay the rent and I wasn’t happy. Keep on going only works if you are pursuing the thing that you want. Why else pursue it?

 Happiness is not complicated; on the contrary it is quite simple, inspiring and very easy to recognise when you are there. On year on and I’m happy: I am in the middle of something even though I am not moving and suddenly good things seem to be able to find me.

Happiness is not just for the fortunate, but it sure makes you feel fortunate.

Flashback

On my way back from my sister’s I spotted a man on the Tube who seemed a little uneasy; as if he had the feeling people were looking at him, and obviously I was, until I noticed  his left hand:

In a flash I got propelled back in time to about a decade ago:  in a classroom where a white-haired chemistry teacher was staring out of the window. There had been recent changes in the school system and it was known that the ‘old school’ crowd was less than happy with it.  Under the new rules the secondary school student should get used to working on its own, to prepare them for university, so should be allowed more independence to work in their own time  A teacher should only be there to teach say two out of four classes and during the other two he should supervise and help when needed.

This particular teacher interpreted supervision as “being in the room” and made a point of staring out of the window out of principle. Sometimes he would be in the mood to muck about with the rest of the class – let’s face it when a class of 15 year olds is left to their own devices, chemistry is not necessarily a priority. This day though he seemed quiet and oblivious to the noise around him. Suddenly a bright but annoyingly loud girl shouted from the back: “Sir! Why do you wear two wedding rings on the same finger?”  It went quiet, a friend wacked the girl over the head with a chemistry book and our teacher looked up but pretended he hadn’t heard.

Double wedding ring: the tradition to wear the ring after a death of the spouse. There are no rules as to whether to wear it or when to remove the wedding bands all together. It is all about a state of mind or perhaps better –  a state of heart.

The death of a lover ironically complicates the end of a relationship. When is it ok to let go of what you once had?  Yes, the man on the tube, the memory of the bands,  it put my recent thinking in to perspective.

Suddenly all the voices that had been placing subconscious fear and irrational reasoning in my head were shouting the same thing: Oi lady, stop overcomplicating and move on already!

15 things I learned since I last wrote

1. Don’t run on an injury, even when you pretend you don’t have one – running 13 miles on an iffy foot is going to bite you in the arse. One week later I am still hobbling.

2. The distance London-Glasgow can be done by car in 6 hours and a 30 min lunch break, even with two children in the back.

3. There are only three steps to heaven: two scoops of ice cream, two choices of topping and a choice of sauce. It’s that age kept me from jumping up and down like my fellow  seven-year old sugar-lover but my vanilla-tablet ice cream with marshmallow and smarties and raspberry sauce got me very (very) excited.

3b. Some commercials at the cinema during a U-film are just unnecessary: no seven-year old wants to have a toned bum Mr Reebok.

4. Being nine going on ten is hard. For you. And for anyone else in your near proximity.

5. Cocktails are much cheaper outside London. Luckily so are taxis.

6. I cannot have a baby because I do not have a boyfriend. ( Sorry mother, but a nine-year old told me so.)

Josh Duhamel photographed by Jerry Avenaim 2006
Image via Wikipedia

7. Scottish interpretation of petit fours  is two bits of shortbread, a chocolate chip cookie and a piece of tablet. It did not stop me from making an attempt to finishing them – the sugar won.

8.  In Life As We Know It, Josh Lucas is just not as hot as Josh Duhamel – which is a shame, like the fact they are American.

9. The US Dollar exchange rate is not what it has been.

10. Los Angeles is a very big place and there are a lot of hotels to choose from.

11. Apparently I am very indecisive.

12. A baby born in Finland can legally go unnamed for two months.

13. Wine at lunchtime with your (ex)colleagues is even better when you don’t have to return to the office.

14. I must have been temporarily deranged when I booked my train ticket to Brussels at 07:30. AM Ouch.

15. It is easy to not write for a week. Must do better!

It was amazing!

So many people being so incredibly supportive: shouting, clapping, encouraging: keep going guys!

Keep going we did. Even Team Purple here, the official slow coach managed  to keep running.

No caterpillar dress or tandem-run as a fish perhaps but still managed to make it over the finish line in 2:22:29 (things technology can do these days: it got send via the chip and then they text your time to you…)

Hoorah! Very very pleased. Understatement of the year: euphoric (and a little bit in pain.)

May I give a shout out to my crazy colleague who didn’t train and still ran the race in 1:38? On a hangover. Mental.

Well done everyone who was running and a massive thank you to all who came to watch or who volunteered on the event.

It was amazing.