Sunday, September 27, 2015

Inside out

Nathan and I caught up with some of his former work friends for dinner the other night. They are a lovely couple who work at the Cabrini Hospital in Malvern. Nathan became friends with them when he was working in the hospital's cafeteria.

The dinner was actually a birthday celebration for the guy. Unfortunately, his wife didn't tell us so it was a little embarrassing that we didn't have a birthday present. We weren't the only ones caught out by surprise so that made the situation a bit better.

The restaurant we went to was Japanese and it specialised in wagyu beef that you get to cook yourself at the table over hot coals. One of the people at the dinner, an elderly gentleman, put his fingers on the grill to see if it was hot. I guess he didn't see the glowing red coals below (which the waiter had only minutes before lowered with a special handle). Not surprisingly, he burnt himself.

Towards the end of the evening, I struck up a conversation with a gay Vietnamese guy at the party who was asking me about my coming out experience. The guy still lives at home with his parent and younger brother. He hasn't come out to them yet (though he suspects his parents know because they have stopped asking him about getting a girlfriend). Apparently, when extended family members ask him about his love life, he tells them he has a girlfriend. Not sure if doing so will make things even more difficult if (and when) he is ready to come out. I can appreciate that the cultural element could complicate things. He tells me about a friend who is in an even worst predicament: not only is the friend gay, Asian and closeted, but he is also HIV positive. I cant even begin to imagine how difficult that conversation would be.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Back to Melbourne

I'm now at the airport waiting for my flight back to Melbourne. The Qantas Club is desserted. I'm the only passenger in here at the moment.

Nostalgic Saturday

It was an unexpectedly nostalgic day for me today.

After lunch, we went to Floriade for a walk. This annual spring flower festival has been going on for many years. I hadn't been for quite some time though (probably not since I was a teenager). It was nice to walk around the garden beds at Commonwealth Park. It brought back a lot of childhood memories of family barbeques and riding my BMX bike with my cousins.
In the afternoon, I visited the National Gallery of Australia specifically to see one painting. I first saw it more than 10 years ago and, since then, the painting has been in storage. Only recently has it been brought back out for display. It is by one of my favourite aboriginal artists, Peter Skipper, and his wife, Mona Chuguna. It is a collaborative work called Husband and wife that tells their love story and how the couple first met. You can see a single pair of black foot prints moving north from the middle of the picture. That's suppose to be Peter's. Then, at some point (to the right of the yellow trees), he meets Mona and the couple, now depicted as intertwining footprints, meander upwards and off the top of the canvas.  How romantic.

To cap off my nostalgic day, we went for dinner at my favourite Vietnamese restaurant. The restaurant closed suddenly about a decade ago but recently reopened in another part of the city centre and they still had my favourite dish...stewed beef with rice noodles in five spice flavoured broth. Yum!

Saturday, September 12, 2015


I'm back in Canberra this weekend to visit family.

Melbourne airport was crazy busy yesterday when I left. I guess a lot of people go away for the weekends on a Friday (duh). So...armed with my club membership card, I headed straight up to the Qantas Club after clearing security to try to escape the crowds – only to find the area completely awash with people (and kids).

I joined the Qantas Club last year in desperation when Nathan and I had a 7 hour lay over in LAX (and the complimentary lounge access cards my sister gave me were no longer being accepted). I'm not sure if the club membership is really good value for money for me, especially as I'm a non drinker (everyone else in the lounge seem to be making the most out of the free booze).

The flight was quick. I was transfixed on an episode of River Cottage Australia. The show makes me want to give up academia and move to the country to grow vegetables and raise chickens and own a jersey cow called Besse. Plus, the host of the show is very handsome (there is something alluring about a guy who can wrestle pigs, go hunt for venison and make rhubarb jam drops...all in one episode).
I was impressed by the food offering on the plane. The impossibly young (I estimate he was probably between 12 and 14 years of age) flight attendant was giving out pork belly buns. Unfortunately I had gorged on ham and cheese toasties and beetroot dip at the Qantas Club (to compensate for my lack of drinking) so was too full to try the buns.

Canberra airport is looking quite spiffy. They are even building a swanky hotel. I have to admit, I have a soft spot for the airport, especially knowing that the owners are huge advocates for marriage equality.

Mum picked me up and we headed home. Dad was making dumpling. even though I was still feeling kind of full from the toasties and the dip, I managed to gobble up quite a few dumplings for dinner.

Sunday, September 6, 2015


We were waiting for my friend for brunch this morning and I got a text 5 minutes before the scheduled meeting time to say that he had missed the train and will be running late. This is not the first time this has happened and mostly it had not bothered me, at least not enough for me to say anything (even though, in the past week alone, we had already waited 30 minutes for him....twice!).

On this (third) occasion, I decided to say something. When he showed up (25 minutes after the arranged time), I politely reminded him how much he gets annoyed when he has to wait for others (although, in reality, this happens very rarely since most of us are punctual).  He was clearly unhappy. His defence was that  he sent a message. I told him that a text 5 minutes before the scheduled meeting time is useless if we have already arrived at the destination. He needs to leave home earlier.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Saturday flowers

It's time for silver gum nuts again. They last for ages. Today I put them into my Alvar Aalto vase.