This first week in Melbourne has seen me deathly tired, supernaturally pumped yet regrettably without the undead’s necessary apathy to spiders. Insects so far have been minimal but there are fruit bats abound and I swam into a be-barnacled glove in the sea which I believe to have been Poseidon’s own.
I have ice cream, coffee and watermelon 10 times daily; I spend hours staring at new flora and have started a collection of seed pods. Amongst all of this I have my first Australian commission for an article and begin my first cheffing stint at the glorious Kinfolk on Monday- she’s a social enterprise cafe who uses local, organic produce and shall be my hostess for a while. This mostly means me being back in a kitchen (OH GLORY BE!) and many photos of the delicious from Monday through forever. All this wonder, however, has defined fully the very obvious failings of my British Brain. Here are a select few of my biggest failings so far:
1. I am very ignorant about artsy culture outside of Europe, probably even outside of London. From David Gulpilil to Rosslynd Piggott, I have no idea. Look up Piggott’s painting, ‘Tattoo’ – it’s how I’ve felt when I’ve told people I love them for the first time: gruesome, bare and theatrical.
2. Birds stand still and open their beaks because they are hot, not because they’re trying to speak to me.
3. Olive oil is an ice-cream flavour. It is delicious, unless you don’t like olive oil in which case you’re already a fool.
4. London’s hipsters are but Hairy Babies.
(Read: Fitzroy is terrifying and beautiful and the locals here have their own coffee bean-based barter system because money doesn’t grow on organic, worker’s Union farmed trees. Or even little bushes).
5. I must refrain from having more than one coffee a day. Makes me mental. And poor. And like I’m going to vomit up a physical form of Limerick.
My sister, however, wrote me a letter which she stole into my rucksack as I left. It is such a beaut of a letter that the envelope is already wearing soft from my re-readings. On the occasions I’ve felt a little alone or unsure, I’ve spoken- as loud as I dare- the mantra she’s gifted me: FEAR ME FOR I AM STRONG. I come from a veritable dynasty of strong-ass women. We can crack walnuts between our cheeks. And by walnuts, I mean chauvinists. But everyone’s predisposed to feeling a little delicate now and again.