#523 Meeting like minds

It’s been 9 months and 1 week since we moved here. A lot has changed in that time but also, very little.

On our first night we slept on solely the mattress on our bedroom floor, and I felt what was the first gust of cold seaside wind as it wafted on by from under our ensuite door.

Tonight we are freezing our arses off, because our heater has broken.

Like I said, same same. (You can be sure I’ll be damn grateful when that ancient monstrosity of a heating system is repaired).

But then, other things are beginning to change. Have changed. Hubbie found his groove, and a group of locals from the area, once he found work here. Likewise, baby girl started her first year of kinder by the beachside, and has also found little playmates here and there. They’ve both solidly positioned themselves in our new ‘hood, and meanwhile, here I am.

Here I am.

I work on the city fringe which took any meet-the-locals opportunities away from me immediately. And though I know Hubbie’s workmates, and I sometimes chat to the kinder Mums, I really wanted to find something for myself, here on my own, FOR ME.

A while back, I very accidentally stumbled across a local bloggers group on Facebook. I’d joined many local FB groups, for that whole intention: to learn, be in the know, and perhaps learn something novel, or even make new friends along the way.

I didn’t even think a group for local bloggers existed: but, so it was.

Cue today. Today I met up with some of these bloggers and their kiddies, in a post that will appear over at SmikG very soon. The kids ran amuck, while we as bloggers, positioned our cameras (who am I kidding, my phone) into every nook and cranny of the establishment we were in, taking shots here, there and everywhere. 

It was out in the open, nothing at all like any of my previous posts based on life experiences or food, or anything ever that I have written ever was.

I was OPENLY OUT as a blogger. It was fantastic. And made even more so, by meeting people, who like me, had turned online to promote a medium, for whatever art they deemed interesting to themselves: whether it was life, children, providing a service, or promoting a business, I came in, with nothing to lose, no one who knew me, and I felt as light as a feather.

Not nervous. Curious.

Not scared. Excited.

Not shy. Questioning.

Not only a blogger… but a Writer.

I loved the day, and the meeting of all of these people. I don’t know what will come of it, and how this group, or these people, will play a role in my life, or if they will play one AT ALL… but I’m excited at this new beginning our Sea change has brought us, and am hopeful that after today, many more experiences of being OUT as a Writer/Blogger, will abound.

Actually, I’m pretty damn sure this is only the beginning.

I am exceptionally grateful, indeed. 🙂

 

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#513 The joy of coming out… as a Writer

This post has absolutely nothing to do with proclaiming that you are interested in the same sex… and yet despite the differences, I think, same same.

Because there is still fear attached.

Fear of being judged.

Fear of criticism.

Fear of gossip.

Fear of being told you’re unworthy.

Fear of people treating you differently.

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I took this pic tonight near my work. I don’t know why. I like the Ferris Wheel symbol – a huge manufactured orb-thing, shining brightly in the night, despite the shadows of black surrounding it. It is huge, and sometimes scary, but always shiny.

Wherever it shines, here it is bright.

And that’s how we should be with ourselves too.

Wherever we shine, here it should be bright.

We should not fear what others think or say about us. It is none of our business firstly, just as it is none of theirs what we think of them.

We all have our own opinions, but simultaneously, we should try and choose our company wisely, and keep those with our best interest at heart, close to us.

We should live our authentic selves, staying true to who we are and what we are here to do, and live this passion of ours as fully as we possibly can. We don’t know how long we are here for, so we should do whatever makes our hearts sing, now.

Where is all this leading?

Well, I’ve been super silent about my writings and my blogs, for many years now. Say 6 years. And in those 6 years, there are 7 people who have known what I was doing.

Only 7 people.

From last Saturday, it was 8. And from the weeks progressing forward, I will hit double digits… and keep the numbers moving up,

And you know why? Because I am ready. I’ve been thinking about telling people for a while now about what I do. But intense fear has stemmed from the almost certain  questioning and criticising that I would undoubtedly receive… and also, having people both close to me, and not so, who know who I am, reading every single one of my private thoughts that I’ve ever posted online… is terrifying.

I’ve been scared. I always knew this day of release would come, and I had to be ready for it, but I always told myself that I would ‘come out’ when I was published. When I had some kind of outside, literary confirmation that my work was good enough, then and only then would I say to everyone “hey! This is what I’ve been doing. This is me, and I am now officially “A WRITER.”’

But this is complete bull. Because you are not a Writer only because your work has been published. You are a Writer because you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and decided that this is where your passion lay.

This is what you would devote your life to.

This is what you want to do, above all else, even if you got no rewards for it.

That, is what makes you a Writer.

So, something I have feared for so long, I am getting really excited by. Because I am choosing wisely. I am choosing people to tell, who either understand and have an appreciation for the writing/reading process; those also doing what I do; and highly supportive family and friends.

I don’t need everyone to know just yet, I just need my circle to know-all. And I think that is what excites me. The fact that supportive people will be ‘in on it,’ and that with the release of the private information I’ve been guarding so closely to my chest, knowing it will be out there, well…

It scares me, excites me, and thrills me, to no end.

I don’t just write food reviews, and I don’t just write book reviews. I write about myself. My family. My fears, and my day-to-day life. My goals, my dreams, and every shit moment I have. I write about all the in-betweens, and knowing that people will be able to access this at whim, without the necessary “how’s things?” question to me at face value, does intensely freak me out and have me palpitating with sweats.

But it has to be done. I have to proclaim myself as a Writer, and I’m damn well excited about it.

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And as I came closer to the Ferris Wheel, I realised there was not much to be scared of, and it was smaller than what it seemed from afar… it was actually quite beautiful.

#437 Petrol cashier’s kindness

 

My gratitude came to me today at the insanely early and God-forsaken hour of 5:45am.

Godly indeed. Blessings certainly came my way.

Are you one of those people, where upon waking up, sudden thoughts and ideas and reminders, just pop into your head?

Pop, pop, pop!

Well as I was getting dressed for work this morning, I realised astutely, and begrudgingly, that I was fairly sure I had to fill up the car with petrol.

Damn it. The cons of working so far from home. I knew the tank would take me there. But the one time I tried pouring petrol in the city before my trip home, I was stuck in further traffic for so long, that I swore I would NEVER do that again.

I would have to do it then. Now. 5:30am.

Which I’ve done heaps of times before. No biggie. My car dash confirmed what I dreaded as I got in – yep, need the juice. Off we go, driver.

Standing in the freezing cold, rain whipping about me despite the elevated shade, it didn’t occur to me. Then, as I finished filling up the tank, it still, didn’t occur to me. Then, getting my wallet out of my bag, still, it didn’t occur to me.

As I opened up my wallet to get my card out, to make my walk across the petrol station to its indoors, I stopped.

Shock. Horror.

My card wasn’t there.

And just like that pop!

Another memory. 15 MINUTES TOO LATE.

The night before I had swapped the money Hubbie had in his wallet to take with me to work, for car parking, and put my key card in his wallet, just because, in case. I knew he probably wouldn’t need it, but you know.

I was being nice.

I didn’t even have a credit card. He had that too.

(Face palm).

I went back to the car, and got my mobile too. I didn’t know what I would do, other than I think I needed all the back up and technological gadgets I could get, for some unknown reason.

As the man at the counter called out “number 6?” with a smile, I grimaced.

“Yes, but I don’t have my cards! I’ve left them at home, and…”

I started rattling off random things. Should I call my husband? Should I get him to drop off the card? Both ideas were inconvenient – if I went home I’d most likely have to leave my driver’s licence with him, and that was if the cashier let me drive home. The other option involved Hubbie having to take baby girl with him to the petrol station down the road, just so he could give her scatterbrained Mum a freaking card from his wallet that HE DIDN’T EVEN NEED THAT DAY.

I waved my phone about. “Can I somehow pay, with this?” I racked my brain, realising that I didn’t even think our credit card had a mobile app, and even so, I didn’t have the card number on me!

And then as I was rattling off things sporadically, I came to some kind of end result…

I showed him my bank app, and asked “Can I pay the business through my account?”

Well, it wasn’t the business account I paid. But the man had given me his personal account number, and I transferred the funds into that. He didn’t explain, but my perception was that he would fix up the till, from the money I had put in there.

He held up his phone when it was done, and said “it’s gone through” with a smile. I didn’t step forward to check, as there was a queue of people in front of him waiting to pay for their items the normal way. I just thanked him profusely and left quickly.

But I wondered. Should I have taken a photo of his phone’s image, ensuring I had proof I had in fact paid? Would he report me to the cops and keep my money for himself?

Would my writer’s mind just shut up???

It’s sad that as we get older, we are often told to watch our backs, be wary of other’s intentions, and make sure we are not taken advantage of. I reminded myself of the facts – I had needed his help, and he had come through for me, going out of his personal way to do so.

And then, I said “breathe SmikG. This dude saved your arse.”

So, at 5:45am, I was grateful to the petrol guy. I think that station has gained a constant income from our family, from now until FOREVER.

#435 New library

I think, when we collectively call ourselves avid readers and writers, surely then we must be a member of more than a few reading institutions?

The first library membership I got was when I was about 10, and that was a school incentive since they had built a local library in our suburb, up in the North.

I loved it, and thrived on my library membership, for ages. I would bring home the maximum amount (back then 10 books only) of Goosebumps, The Babysitters Club, and then Sweet Valley High series books, up until my mid-teens. This phase lasted long, and had me happily perusing through the library shelves for years on end, maybe until I was 15 or so.

Then boys kind of became more prominent. I would still visit, but much more infrequently, and later in Uni days, a lot of material from my essays would come from those aisles. I would walk up and down, and reminisce about the good old days, where I could read 10 books well within a few weeks time, and come back to borrow more earlier than I needed to, thirsty for more.

Fast forward many, many years, and a brand-spanking new library opened near my work. It is a work of art, and it is my belief even a non-reader would find interest, solace, and a renewed sense of appreciation for the written word, in here.

Of course, I became a member. I borrowed a few books, and then when I realised that reading, taking notes, and then reviewing the book within a few weeks span became a bit too much to take on, I kind of stopped borrowing from there.

It’s temporary, and it’s only because I’m awaiting the day I can devote much more time to fiction books.

However, today baby girl and I ventured to our new, local library. The first time we went there was right after we moved, and so I didn’t have the proper I.D. with my new home address to subscribe. Today however, different story.

At the Mornington library, I am told I can borrow unlimited books at any one time. Woah. Up to 10 DVDs, and there’s a bunch of other benefits of becoming a member too. Baby girl enjoyed the kids nook, sat in a reading booth, and I just happened across (this stuff seriously jumps out in front of me) a couple of books that I just HAD to borrow.

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You can totally tell which are for me, and which are for baby girl, right? I mean, I’ve been hanging to read Dr Seuss’ take on fish for yonks now.

😉

Seriously though. Am I the only writer that has tonnes to read and write, a whole book shelf at home just crying out to me “read me! read me!” and yet I still go out and borrow/buy MORE books?

I think the novelty of the library, is the fact that if you do not read a book in your borrowed time span, not to fear – just re-borrow, or read it at a later stage. There is no commitments, and I think in my case, for now, with so much fiction for me at home just STARING at me whenever I go past my shelves, I can happily borrow reference books and the like, and then pick what content will serve me best from within its pages.

And while there, I registered baby girl for the ‘1000 books before school’ challenge, where she will aim to read up to 1000 books, and track her progress on a chart with stickers, with little incentives as she hits big milestones along the way. This number can include any books read at home or school or her grandparents house, and even the re-reading of favourite books. They can all be counted, starting from today. If you’re interested in doing so for your littlies, I understand many libraries are partaking in the challenge.

The end of the challenge is either the commencement of school, or when she hits 1000.

Do you seriously think I will let baby girl, the daughter of a writer, not get to 1000 books within these two years?

To answer your question… she already has 4 stickers today.

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God Bless the Library.

#416 A Writer’s Dream

Today, I officially became a writer.

This is because I lived out a dream. The dream, of all wannabe writers out there.

It all started a few days ago.

During the week my boss had asked me if I could do a 9-5er on my next shift, being Saturday. I usually work early shifts on Saturdays, for 2 reasons:

Getting to work early means I get out earlier, therefore having more time to spend with my family later, going out/shopping/dining/coffee-ing/

Also, leaving the house so early means that baby girl is still sleeping when I leave. She wakes up, MIL is there, they cuddle in bed, and all is good in the world. Hubbie and I both usually work Saturdays, and this routine is great. There are no tears, no tantrums, no pathetic displays, from ANYONE. And baby girl is unfazed too… because she doesn’t see us leave.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Likewise, don’t rock the boat. Having her still asleep when I leave the house is MORE than perfect.

Working a 9-5 shift however, posed a conundrum. Would I get up later? Undoubtedly so. This would cause possible issues. Would baby girl cry as she watched me leave? Would she have a hissy-fit, therefore making the rest of my MILs day exceptionally hard?

Simultaneously, as all this was circling around in my head, a work friend of mine was telling me about how she loved the bakery, Banjo’s. Being Tassie-born, the bakery there is prevalent, a part of most people’s upbringing, providing her with much nostalgia and sweet (and savoury) memories. However where her old grounds has a Banjo’s on every corner, in Victoria there are only two: one in regional Victoria, and the other in the town of the Morning, my new home turf.

I was telling her how I would bring in some special requests next time we worked together, saying I would drop by the bakery before my work shift to satisfy her Banjo cravings, when suddenly, an idea started to emerge.

It crept up and up, like a flower rising to face the sun’s beams, ’til suddenly, everything was perfect and the thought was standing there, alone, shining in all its immaculate glory.

This morning, I got up with Hubbie, and left the house almost as normal. By 6:30, I had parked minutes away from home.

Across from Banjo’s.

And inside I walked, with my…

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Laptop.

Ding!

It has been my long-held, deeply sought after ideal to write in a café. This dream of mine was so strong, it was there even before I realised I wanted to be a writer. I mean, the dream kind of came with the lifestyle choice. The vision of being cosied up in a café, writing to your heart’s content, eating food and sipping on coffee while the world rolled on by, and idling there like you had nowhere pressing to go, well that just looked so absolutely unreal and fantastically special for me.

I didn’t think I could get to do anything like that, ’til long long long after I had another kid, and then they were both in school. So like, 5 years or something.

But, it happened.

I sat in Banjo’s for over an hour. It wasn’t the kind of café I had dreamed of writing in, but today, for my first time, it would have to do. I ordered an egg and bacon toastie and while I waited for it (they were still opening so they couldn’t make my order straight away- I had been warned) I sipped on some oj, and I typed.

And typed. I wrote personal stuff. And I reviewed my story, squinting at the screen critically and re-reading several passages 15 times, ’til I realised, I NEEDED TO EAT.

Driving to work on an empty stomach is far different to writing on an empty stomach. The former is a default activity that requires little effort when it is a regular route. The latter requires the head.

Head requires food.

I didn’t have a coffee either (some coffee snob I am) since I can’t drink it on an empty stomach  – the beans just rattle my head. When my toastie did come, I scoffed the deliciousness down, and then all was good.

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I had still been productive though, and written about 45 minutes of the time. As I headed off I took some things with me: some snacks and some lunch for work… and also, a 6 pack of hot cross buns for my work colleague.

They’re currently sitting at her desk, waiting for her surprised face to turn up. She didn’t work today, but she sure as hell will get a lovely Happy Easter surprise tomorrow on her work shift.

And there you go, 3 events coincided brilliantly together this morning to create a happy harmony. I left the house early as preferred to keep baby girl in her happy routine; I got some memory-making buns for a work colleague; and I lived out my fantasy of writing in a café.

Gratitude done, by 7:50am. Is that a record? No, of course not 🙂

Now that I’ve broken the café-writing seal, I think a lot of re-occurrences will now follow… I may just volunteer for more 9-5 Saturday shifts… and I do have to get the café food arrival timing correct, and make sure I get coffee next time, and a proper window seat…

We can’t get these things right the first time… that would leave out the fun now, wouldn’t it? 😉

#361 The note

I didn’t realise there was such a thing as a ‘sad surprise’ until it was staring me in the face early this morning.

It was a really weird feeling.

After spending 20 minutes going through work emails, at about 7:30 I headed on over to the communal kitchen with my cereal container and fruit to organise my breakfast. Alone in there, I set about getting a bowl, spoon, knife, and then opened my container with my weetbix inside….

And staring back at me was a note.

I just stared, shocked. I read it. And then I read it again.

I stood there, still waking up, still unsure of how to react to this surprising note Hubbie had left me.

After standing like that for what seemed like a while, I finally took out my phone and took a quick snap before anyone ventured in to see me photographing my dry breakfast biscuits.

It was this:

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And my bittersweet feelings and confusion were so, because when I traced back the events of last night, I realised with a heavy heart, that Hubbie must have written the note and snuck it into my container…

before we had our very decent argument.

Sigh.

It made me so sad. I loved surprises like these. I lived for them. I do things like this for Hubbie, setting up unplanned events and leaving notes and gifts for him in places I know he’ll find them, sometimes to see his face when he discovers it, and other times with the knowledge that even though I’m not there, a smile will spread over his face and will touch his heart with the realisation that I’ve gone to such effort to make him happy, even when I am not around.

I couldn’t even enjoy the note properly, because as it was, we hadn’t really resolved anything from our disagreement. We had gone to bed dissatisfied and angry, and really it wasn’t a lovely way to go to bed on a Saturday night.

Still, I sat back at my desk with the note, my phone, and my breakfast, and messaged him a heartfelt thank you, expressing my surprise and love. Despite the fact we had not cleared the air, I was still touched.

And hours later at the end of my shift, when I got home, we solved things fairly quickly… that’s because we compromise well and choose peace, over our stubborn stances of being right… but maybe the note that ‘Future’ Hubbie left me had a role to play in that too.

It was as if ‘Future” Hubbie had gone back in time, planted that note to help ease our future woes, and then jumped back into the present to wait for the air to clear.

A bit Back to the Future-esque I know, but an interesting thought none the same.

It certainly explains why he added an ‘e’ to the end of ‘wait’… you know, ‘Future’ Hubbie rushing and all to leave the note before present-day SmikG and Hubbie walked in, making an unforgivable spelling error that all partners of writers should NEVER make.

But, I forgive him. The note. I had felt sad when I first saw it, but earlier as I dated it and tucked it away to keep forever, I cherished the thought of love and happiness that he put into it.

And I am so grateful.

It is the little things… for they are, the big things.

All is good again 😉

#309 My town folk and Rain / Bestie’s surprise tree painting

A special edition. I had two interesting and special incidences today, and so I absolutely have to post both.

Lucky me. Double the gratitude:)

Part 1: The Rain.

I had just driven through the most hellish storm imaginable. I actually had thought to come to a complete stop while on the freeway going home from work. Many, many times, I found it almost impossible to see from the white sheets of rain in front of me, sweeping  across my car and enveloping it in a blurry fog of white. It was scary to endure, and I was relieved when after the longest drive, it started to lighten up.

And this, after the most incredible sunset last night. Ahh Melbourne.

Nearing home, the rain lessened. Finally. It had been a tense drive. I had to stop at the shops first, and got out of the car to light, wispy rain settling on the edges of my stray pieces of hair. I walked calmly into the centre.

After my post office stop and before I got to the supermarket, I heard it on the roof: the intense rattling.

Surely it wasn’t raining so hard, again, so soon after the hour of intense downpour I had just experienced on the way home?

15 minutes later with my bag of groceries in one hand, I was standing under the shelter out the front of the centre, looking in dismayed disbelief over the buckets of ran being heaved upon the car park.

My car was so close, yet so, so far.

I stood with others also holding out for the rain to ease. There were about 7 or so other shoppers, and I looked out at the car park, wondering just when and how long it would be until the rain gave out. It was heavy, and unrelenting.

The rain slowed, but only the slightest amount, not enough to brave the weather and walk through it… and yet, people did. Almost all the people who had been waiting decided to head on out to their cars. I watched, curious, as one by one they left, while I stood there, waiting, watching the Rain.

And then more came. I observed as people wandered in to the centre, soaking wet from the car park; and vice versa, as people exited the centre, and after a brief pause, a reshuffling of bags or searching of keys, kept on walking into the heavy rain towards their car.

The rain had lessened, ever so slightly. But I could tell what kind of deceiving rain this was, what with its big drops and generous weight. I wasn’t going out there, and getting soaked in 3 seconds time. I would keep waiting.

A man walked out of the centre with his son. They walked out and into the rain with little hesitation. A young couple walked out towards the car park as if they were taking a leisurely stroll.

Holiday-stayers, I observed. They don’t care if they get wet – they’re on holiday time.

An older man walked past me from the car park in his shorts and singlet, losing his thong in a deep puddle of water. He slowly stopped, walked back a few steps, his bare foot splashing through the puddle, before grasping the thong with his toe and balancing it back on. A nearby man smiled and they exchanged some words and a laugh before the man walked on, feet soaking, into the centre.

Ok, he mustn’t be driving. He can’t drive like that.

A woman walked out with her son. Flowy dress, telling him “now, don’t run!”

Run, why would you run? Ok it’s easier for her, he’s like 10, she doesn’t have to put him in the car herself.

Still I watched with how casually they made their way into the rain.

They’re all on holiday. I stood there in my wedges, pondering this fact. Skinny black jeans and a stripy singlet top. I was coming home from work. I had to drive home. I wasn’t on holiday time, not yet. These guys were not fazed at all if they got wet. They were moving about without a care in the world. I considered every justification possible.

Then, a woman walked towards the centre from the car park. As she moved forward, she too like the man earlier, lost her sandal in a puddle of water. She paused, her other foot hovering, as she fished it out of the water. I heard the splosh as it was brought forward and onto her foot. Her long flowy dress barely touched the deep puddles beneath her as she kept on going.

It hit me. My justifications were suddenly unworthy. These weren’t ALL holiday-makers. More than half were locals. And here I was, newbie in town, the girl from the ‘burbs looking on and wanting to avoid getting wet.

Screw that shit.

I waited for a slight break in traffic in front of the busy centre, and then started forward. Within seconds I could feel the warm drops sinking into all parts of my clothing, and it squeezed itself between my toes. My car was barely a minutes walk from the shopping centre shelter, and yet by the time I got to the car and plonked down in the driver’s seat, I looked down to rain splattered dark drops all over my clothes, saw the water on my arms as if someone had thrown a bucket on me, and felt my matted hair sticking in sections to my head.

And I loved it! I felt invigorated, refreshed, and alive.

Why the hell did I not do this earlier? We had moved to the beach for the lifestyle, which meant I had to live, LIKE the lifestyle. The locals had inspired me.

I wanted to live on the beach? Then live like I’m on the beach.

I genuinely, do love rain. And I also love my townsfolk 🙂

 

Part 2: The Painting.

I headed over to the parcel as my MIL was putting down baby girl for a nap. I had noticed it before getting changed out of my wet clothes, but hadn’t bothered to investigate further, feeling sure it was the coasters I had ordered a long time ago. Surely, most definitely, it was them. But as I picked up the parcel and the envelopes that read “card only” indicating the late Christmas arrival, the name at the head of the label jumped out at me.

SmikG.

Hmmm. I didn’t remember putting down my author’s alias when I had ordered the coasters. In fact, I don’t remember putting it down anywhere at all. As I looked at the parcel some more, with my actual name and address underneath my alias, the writing grew so familiar to me, that by the time I had turned the parcel around to see who the sender was, I was absolutely definite on who it was from, even though I had no idea what it was.

Sure enough, I was right.

I first opened the Christmas cards, wanting to save the intriguing and exciting surprise package from bestie ’til last. As I opened it, my very slight suspicions, and my judgments based on the weight and size, were confirmed.

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My very talented best friend has recently started painting again, after a long hiatus between high school and now. I actually had NO IDEA how talented she was until she started posting her work on facebook. I had commented on a painting she had done of a similar tree, as I love trees, and all symbols and images associated to them, as mentioned here, and here. However I didn’t think she would ever send me an actual, original painting of hers.

I immediately fell in love. It was perfect. The vibrant colour was reminiscent of our friendship too, an ode to high school, Prince, Purple Rain, and so much more. It was so personal of her to give me something so beautiful and creative of hers, and I immediately felt emotional.

I called her up to express my profound thanks, and later I placed it up high in our bedroom, until we find a more permanent home for it.

…When I walked into the room hours later, the painting of the purple tree was a sight for sore eyes. I didn’t realise how much colour was lacking in our room, in our house, and I was sick of seeing beige boxes shoved into corners all over the place, only I didn’t know how much until this masterpiece entered our home.

I love it. I am really grateful for this personal present gifted to me by a very dear friend, the heartfelt meaning behind it, and the sincere generosity of bestie to even think of giving it to me in the first place.

 

Dancing in the rain amidst friendly townfolk and purple trees by bestie. Not a bad day. Not a bad day AT ALL. 🙂