Sunday, 28 April 2013

#BFFLS

What is a best friend?

I've had several best friends in my supposedly short life; some have let me down, some have drifted away, and me sadly, well yeah. Now, aside from the inevitable drunken slurs of "you're liiikke, my besteststtt friend foreverrredrerrrvvvre" that happen with multiple individuals at uni and at home, there has to be a crystallizing moment when you realise that someone is truly the very best of a friend. It may not be the first time you call them as such, but it's the first time you are made aware of it. What I'm trying to say, in my own obnoxious rambling typically British way, is that I love my best friends and there have been several key moments when I have realised just how much.

A best friend knows you want a cup of tea without having to ask. A best friend calls you during a Blink-182 concert because they're playing your favourite song. A best friend walks you home after you've slipped on ice. A best friend gets more excited about your life than you do. A best friend Snapchats you before they've had a shower or put makeup on. A best friend messages you with boy advice from Japan. A best friend sits in the car eating pizza with you. A best friend listens. A best friend gets just as crazy-excited about May Day. A best friend reads all your silly Read More posts on Tumblr. A best friend stocks up their fridge with Babybel and tropical mixer because they know you're coming round. A best friend freaks out with you in the toilets of a club on a night out. A best friend invites you along on their family holiday. A best friend cries with you when something doesn't work out. A best friend agrees to meet up with you in London, even when they're crazy busy with their own lives. A best friend is someone you can go weeks, months even, without seeing and things are still the same when you do finally meet up. A best friend is someone you cannot effin' wait to see, and someone you feel honoured to even know and get to hang out with on a semi-daily basis.

19.

Hi, my name's Gracie. I've just got back from Australia, I have tonsillitis, my hair is now silver, I wear 11 rings, I Snapchat my cat (Snapcat), I'm a YouTube whore, I miss hearing the Australian accent every day, vegetarianism is a lifelong thing for me, John Green books are one of the reasons I want to write, Macklemore is my latest obsession, being called 'baby' is my new favourite thing, Jack In The Green is something I look forward to every year, I hate the fact that I've been neglecting my blog for the last month, something very big is happening very soon, Imagine Dragons are my latest favourite band, someday I will either play or BE the Doctor's companion, I give the best presents, I'm over the worst, things are looking up, and life begins now.

I do one of these posts every month.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Happy Hangover.

The Happy Hangover is a term coined by... Well, I wish I could claim it as my own, but I'm sure it's been said a million times before. However, it may mean something rather unique to me.

For me, a Happy Hangover is something I realised and uttered at the same time when describing to a friend just how fantastically beautiful my 'recently' had been; it comes about after three weeks in Australia, a night laughing with friends, some eased unease, kisses as the kettle boils, and a walk in the sunshine. It tastes like soy Chai topped with cinnamon. It calls for patterned Docs, apple-scented conditioner and minimal makeup. 
Its soundtrack is 'Hey Ho', by The Lumineers. Hangover days are spent not on the sofa feeling sorry for onself, drinking orange juice and eating greasy food, hating the world; they are spent wandering around town buying books, visiting rummage shops in the Old Town, going for a walk across the fields, and watching Rent on DVD.

The Happy Hangover lasts for a few days maximum, and is sadly vulnerable to petty arguments and extreme tiredness. However, it is still a beautiful and welcome anomaly in an especially unlucky young girl's life.



Thursday, 11 April 2013

"Australia tomorrow."

Along the balcony walkway; looking down at the pebbles and vast grey expanse beyond. Beaches should be fun and beautiful, even awe-inspiring, right? White sand and aquamarine waters, surfers and snorkelers having the time of their lives doing what they love, kite surfers flying high while trying not to get swept away, holiday-makers laying down towels, little kids going nuts with their buckets and spades. No, not here. This is one of those basic barren British beaches, totally dead and disused this time of year, when summer is so achingly close but not yet waking us from our three-season sleep. All we get is grainy brown sand smothered and barely seen under the pebbles, damp air with a biting breeze running through it; the ruins of the once-wondrous pier serve as a constant reminder that we destroy all that we are in the end.

That poor metaphor.

There was once a naive, hopeful girl living in the most light-filled and luxurious recesses of my mind. She believed in love, romance and magic. She had a dream that someday she’d have an outlet for her heartfelt beliefs and beautiful thoughts; someone to understand her, to listen, to share with.
Since coming with me to university, however, she’s lost heart. Her unfailing and at times foolish hope, the unwavering candle of faith, has been crushed and extinguished time and time again. Her beautiful optimism is long gone, that glimmer of trust she placed in every kind soul who offered her a cup of coffee and complimented her eyes has been proven wrong a couple hundred times.
   She’s been battered, bruised, kicked, tripped up, fucked hard and left crying on the pavement.

She believed in love and miracles, fortune and movie moments, until she met several significant individuals that very skilfully taught her otherwise.
   There was the boy who taught her not to hope, that relentless and incredible fucking for over a year does not necessarily mean love, or commitment, or anything but... That. There was the time she was whisked away on a romantic adventure which actually had nothing to do with romance. Then the time she was used as a means of transition; a pair of blue eyes to forget the brown, chubby legs to forget the skinny. Then she learnt the hard way that no matter how hard she tried to be everything to someone, she was utterly forgettable and easily replaced.
Poor metaphorical girl. Hopefully someday someone will come along and restore her faith. Until then, she’s in hiding and waiting for the all-clear.


Minor cliche smackdown.

Absence doesn't just make the heart grow fonder (and the body get hungrier), it makes the mind race; restless, replaying, romanticizing, and relentless over-thinking. Every little gesture, every look, every insignificant thing they said becomes pivotal and poignant. Only returning home and locking eyes with them again, seeing that empty unfeeling stare and hearing the charming excuses, gives us that beautiful slap of reality that we so badly needed. 

Just doing what's write.

I just have this yearning to write. I love having the pen in my hand, the laptop open, the paper on my desk. Buying new notebooks is my ultimate weakness; in fact just the sight of an exceptionally well-designed journal makes me slightly weak in the knees and has these crazy aphrodisiac powers that draw me to the shelf and pull money from my purse... Waldo Pancake, Bright Side and Kikki. K are close friends of mine; Parker pens are my kryptonite; Paperchase is my paradise.

Discovering blogging may have been one of the best things to happen to me (dramatic and slightly tragic as that sounds). It gives me the opportunity to grow; to reach people, develop my style, get an idea of what I want to say, and most importantly... Write whatever the hell I want.



Friday, 5 April 2013

OZ: Week One.

Aside from the fact that the first week of any holiday is a time for adjusting, relaxing and getting a semi-comfortable routine sorted out, when you have travelled from one hemisphere to another, you also have to factor in the jet lag/crazy sleep patterns (call it what you will). Waking up at 5:30am is the norm for a few days, and your bedtime is at 7pm promptly; only halfway through the week does the madness simmer down and gradually the bedtime gets later and the waking time gets less ridiculous. Right now, I am pretty damn pleased with myself for sticking it out through the droopy eyelids/hallucinating phase and getting to bed at 10:20pm last night – however, given that as a lazy student I am typically waking up at 11am most days at home, 8am is a serious shock to the system.

Sleep matters aside, I can say that I am loving this trip so far; the bright fresh sunshine coming through my window every morning is as unfamiliar as it is welcome (which is VERY, oh my gosh THE SUN), and the ability to walk down the street barefoot is just magical. Now I’m aware that I say this every time I come out here, but it never stops being true – the people are so wonderful; chilled out, laid back, relaxed to the max of course, and just OTT friendly, but in a good way rather than a creepy way.


   The unfortunate habit of mine to unintentionally imitate the accent or vague quirks in speech of the person I’m talking to is out of control here in Oz; those of you who hear me chatter away on a daily basis will know that my voice is already slightly unusual, in fact it is a unique blend of Sussex gal and Australian chick, but when I’m over here the Australian chick sees her chance to silence the Sussex gal. My funny little words that I “don’t say quite right” like ‘exciting’ (ex-YYY-ding), ‘vitamin’ (VY-damm-in) and ‘yoghurt’ (YO-gurt) are lost in a sea of upward inflections and extended vowels. I hear myself doing it, but I can’t stop. It’s fine, though, I’m sure a week or so after I’m home I’ll be back to saying ‘bloody good’ and ‘oh my gosh’. I may keep on saying ‘how you goin’?’ and ‘darl’ though.
One of the great things about being here is, oddly, the fact that I’ve been here before. It’s strange, because normally I love seeing new things and exploring new places, but I love how familiar everything is here. Surfers Paradise is just as cheerful as ever, and it still holds those good memories for me; the club I went to with my cousins when I turned eighteen is still there, as is the pizza place where I had my first ever drunk food. Australia Fair shopping centre is as tacky and crazy as I remember, however it is still the awesome place where I bought a bright pink poncho when I was eleven, and for that it will always be special. Mount Tambourine is Heaven if you want souvenirs, wine, dream catchers or fudge. Marina Mirage and the Spit beach are relentlessly beautiful, Main Beach is half washed away due to the floods and storms, but it’s still a little bit of paradise. Kurrawa Surf Club does good chips and has the best views, Southport surfers are the friendliest, Mermaid is fabulous, and Byron Bay is a wonderland of market stalls and hippy chic coffee places. Vegetarian cuisine is abundant here, and gluten free food is a new craze, with so many choices on the menu and several specialist restaurants just a short drive away. Ferry Road market is the best place for boxes of stuffed olives, bags of tea and a cup of coffee; actually, the coffee here is just generally awesome. My beloved lattes are typically served in glasses with that heart swirl done impeccably in the foam on top.

Now, tomorrow is The Wedding, and tonight is The Girly Prep Sleepover; my auntie gets married on Burleigh Heads beach (incidentally one of my top 5 beaches) at 10:30am tomorrow, and the last few days have been a flurry of pre-wedding activity and last-minute favours... I’ve been asked to do photography (no pressure), we were running around the Reject Shops yesterday to find kids’ bow ties and a flower basket, we’ve been informed that the wedding dinner will consist of pizza (hello, genius!) at The Crust, Burleigh, a venue which we have booked from 11am ‘til midnight, and Sangria cocktails are the drink of choice for the guests (I can roll with that). The bride herself seems remarkably chilled, which means we’re more chilled.
   I’ve realised just how little wedding stuff I’ve encountered before, how few people I’ve known have got married since I’ve known them and how few family members have had weddings... I know I’m nearly twenty, practically a baby, so the fact that none of my friends have gotten married yet is probably a good thing and so completely normal, but still. Also, babies. I have hardly any experience with babies and little people in general. There are no wee ones or toddlers in my immediate British family, and (thank goodness, again) none of my friends have kids yet, meaning when my baby cousin is handed to me for ‘cuddles’, I am flying completely blind and at the same time loving the novelty of having this tiny person in my arms. My two year-old cousin is running around singing ‘Wheels On The Bus’ and watching Dora, and rather than it irritating me (which I’ll be honest, kid stuff normally does), I find it insanely awesome and cute, and I’m even joining in. It’s a revelation. Also, I don’t know, it’s just cool having a little kid run up to you and shout your name like they’ve been waiting to see you forever, when really you just left the room for five seconds.
Anyway, *clears throat in a slightly manly and totally carefree manner*, that’s this week. Sunday, post-wedding, we hit Byron Bay for some market browsing and sun worshipping, also hopefully to revisit some memories of my eighteenth birthday – whoa, that feels like a while ago. Drive-in movie theatres are actually a thing here, and we’re hoping to go next week. Also, we’re planning sleepovers with the relatives and girly nail-painting and facials. Stay tuned.

I wouldn’t call this a holiday; I’d say it’s an epic family trip.

Conflicted.

Who do I trust?
   Do I trust the wicked brown eyes and the soulful voice that sings songs just for me? Do I trust the perfect cup of tea and cigarettes smoked out the window?
   Do I trust the best friend, protective and sincere, very convincingly saying all the right things; “you two seem perfect, I’ve never seen him as happy as when he’s with you...”
   Do I trust the mocking, all-knowing eyes of the ex-girlfriend, passing me a drink and keeping her mouth shut?
   Do I trust the kind and excited friends chatting over coffee and exchanging essay messages, who love seeing me so happy?
   Do I trust the sharp intake of breath, the averting of gaze and awkward shifting in the seat at the mention of a name? Do I trust the words “he’s actually getting on a mate of mine...”?
   Do I trust the sinking stomach and the heavy heart, or the butterflies and the blushing?
   Do I trust the sea breeze, the cold, harsh streets of this town? Do I trust the alcohol and the dancing?
   Do I trust my instincts and my rules, or the one who’s been making me break resolutions since day one? Do I trust my head, telling me that he’s no stranger to this sort of thing? Do I trust my heart, insisting that he’s always waiting and wishing for this as much as I am?

Who would you trust?
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