WHAT a start to the year. So many people I know have had a really, really tough start to the year, and that's the case here too. But there have been good things. Things to savour and look forward to. Even things that can only be described as a leap of faith.
It is a leap year, after all.
I WENT TO… Melbourne. I was there for work but went early and took a weekend to see friends and explore. It was just what I needed, a 'not-really-a-holiday' holiday. I spent a day with a friend going through a tough time. We wandered and window shopped. We ate. We knitted. We bitched. We whined. We let it all out. Another friend I hadn't seen for years - so long ago I was meeting her adorable pre-school age son for the first time. We chatted over dinner preparation, walked around her garden and her neighbourhood and late in the evening we bid our farewells with promises not to leave it so long until next time.
I ATE… While I was in Melbourne and whenever I am away from home I like to eat breakfast and make it a big one. Then I'll hunt out a fruit smoothie for lunch, and eat a light dinner. The Huevos Sucios, or Dirty Eggs, breakfast at Archies, in Fitzroy, was capital 'B'-Big with an egg, hash browns, avocado and spicy bits. It's not clean, green, Paleo, sugar-free or anything close to a fad diet. Eat it and enjoy, I say. Closer to where I was staying in the CBD was The Mess Hall. Simple fare with a bench to prop yourself up at and watch people passing in the street. I also stumbled upon the hipster haven Seven Seeds. It was next door to where I was due for a meeting. I dunno. I love flavour and something a bit special for breakfast - it is, after all my favourite meal of the day - but this menu was completely overdone for my taste, as was the price.
Thank you too for all your Melbourne dining suggestions. I found Vegie Bar and will be checking out Gazi on my next trip.
I OP SHOPPED… I've been to Melbourne for many a weekend but never been to Camberwell Markets, despite people telling me I'd love it. They were right. It's a great rummage of a weekend market. I picked up a 1970s corduroy jumpsuit, cute Italian-made leather boots and a fistful of vintage sewing patterns, all for under $50. I also picked out a couple of lush looking chilli plants to gift to that night's dinner hosts. Camberwell Markets, I'll be back.
I MADE… A change. A big change that I hope will lead to more making. I quit my job. Gulp. Yup. I quit my steady pay-packet, uber-professional, UN agency, city-based job. An out-of-the-blue offer was made and it ticked all the boxes for where I am at right now. It's a short-term contract, four days a week, close to home, working with a grass roots NGO dedicated to serving its local community. I've missed working in my local community and with people who are both professional and pragmatic, but also creative and innovative. It's always sad to leave behind work you're proud of and a family of people with whom you share your working day, but my long commutes were starting to take their toll and when the opportunity came knocking, I grabbed it. I leave in a week and can't yet get my head around the extra time I'll have to run, garden, read, volunteer, spend time with family and friends... and make. Watch this space.
I READ… Audio books are pushing me through my reading. I sped, quite literally, through Liane Moriaty's The Husband's Secret. It was a book club recommendation but I guessed the major plot points pretty early on, so doubled the speed at which it was read on my iPod and zoomed through. A bit ho hum, really. Not one to speed through was Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. Her writing is stellar, but it's not likely to leave you with much faith in the human race.
#image: With all the changes, my garden has been neglected, but even a neglected garden bears fruit. Tonight's lentil fritters were served with tomatoes and cucumber straight from the garden.