I was brought up under the ‘if you don’t eat your main you won’t get dessert’ regime. I have to say, it worked quite well for me, because I love a bit of dessert, even if, for the most part growing up it wasn’t very exciting. Stewed fruit, for example, or bread jam and cream. But I got used to eating up my plate, even if I didn’t really like it. And because of this, I think, even to this day, I tend to eat the bad stuff on the plate first. I’ll eat the vegetables I am less keen on, and save the bite of lasagna for the end.
Generally, if I am eating something I am not familiar with, I taste a bit of everything and then almost subconsciously eat the thing I like least first, or at least most of it.
But this is not without its problems.
“Sometimes homesickness feels like getting stabbed in the chest.”
That’s a direct quote from me. But let me be very clear – I wrote this in a highly emotional moment when I was throwing the dark thoughts out of my head so I could rid myself of them. I’ve also never been stabbed in the chest and in reality, can’t imagine it would feel similar.
What I was referring to is the homesickness surprise attack. Because when I return to Austria after a few weeks in Oz, or when I wave goodbye to my parents at Vienna airport, or when I get off the phone from a friend enjoying their warm summer on the other side of the world, I expect the homesickness. And because I’m expecting it, and I’m ready for it, it doesn’t seem to hit as hard. I can have a cry, I can get a hug from hubby, or I can sniffle a bit and remind myself that this was my decision.
‘Sneak attack’ home sickness is the one that stabs you out of the blue.
Coming up to Christmas the year I finished high school, I was met with a shocking revelation – I had no money to buy presents for friends and family. My once-weekly evening job saw me earning more than enough to get by, in a time where my parents were still paying for my essentials, but the office closed over Christmas… and my pay checks would dry up. I had been thoughtless with my money. It’s not that I spent a lot – but I sure spent a lot on things I didn’t need.
I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I did not want to admit that despite pocket money and a job, come Christmas, I would be broke. In that moment I vowed that never again would I put myself in such a position. And I did what anyone would do… I concocted a lavish internet scam.
Just kidding… the internet was barely a thing back then…
The first weeks with a newborn are brutal – exactly like they say. Brutal in ways not even thought possible. It’s just everything rolled up together – emotion, hormones, recovery from birth, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, learning to keep a small creature alive, him learning how to be alive, and just coming to terms with the fact that you’re now stuck with this guy forever.
When Sam was between 2-3 months, it got a little easier. There was a noticeable shift. And again it was a combination of a lot of stuff; both of us were better and faster at feeding, so despite the 2 hour nightly wakings, there was more time between to sleep; we were both learning how to survive so could just cope better; he was still sleeping a lot during the day, so I had more time and flexibility to myself.
When I was growing up a friend and I invented the word Cabanossi. Or at least we thought we did. I don’t actually remember what we thought it was, just that it was a word that came out of nowhere and was… kind of amusing. When I questioned said friend on this recently, she gave me some insight I had forgotten. Apparently we renamed the old ‘Fags’ (you know the fake cigarette sweets) Cabanossi, and fed them to our Barbies. Yep. True story.
Perhaps the more tragic thing is, I actually didn’t realise that Cabanossi was an actual thing until I moved to Austria and found Knabber Nossi and Kaptn Nossa in the store. I thought… woah… that’s really close to that word we invented. And then it hit me… we didn’t invent the word. Cabanossi is a type of dried sausage.
Facepalm. But hey, sometimes it takes some time for these things, and sometimes it takes moving to another country.
With baby Sam due at the end of June, I was ready to forego the veggie garden this year. I would have neither the time nor the physique to deal with it. But hubby kindly stepped in and with some slight variations and a reduced crop we still enjoyed eating from our land.
I did a lot of research before Sam was born on what babies needed. In particular I researched what was not necessary. You always hear about how half the stuff recommended is just marketing and I figured a minimalist approach would be the way to go. But of course, some of these things that you don’t really need can be gold… and the key to saving your sanity. So read on for my top 10 products that I’ve used in the first 3 months.
There’s something that happens when someone from Australia comes to visit me in Austria. I’ve observed it myself when other non-Austrians have visitors from their home country. The talking moves quicker, the accent gets thicker and the slang starts rolling out. It’s the same with me. It’s unintentional but almost unavoidable to switch back into Aussie mode.
Going into pregnancy I already knew about the (allegedly) hellish fourth trimester and had made the decision that for the first three months after birth I would be making no fixed plans and having no expectations on myself or my child. So when my parents cancelled their September trip due to Covid I was half glad. Sure, it would have been great to see them and for them to meet the baby, but I wasn’t sure I wanted guests in the house in the first three months, even my parents!
No one was more surprised than me, when, five weeks after birth, I resumed my almost daily swimming regime at the pool. It was an important step for me, mentally, and physically, and although I wasn’t pushing myself to go every day, it just happened that I could, so I did.
I tried not to have too many expectations about what would happen when baby came home. The one thing I knew was that every child is different, and every parent’s experience is different. In fact, I was expecting the worst, and so far, apart from the first difficult weeks, things have not lived up to my dire expectations.
But when it came to pumping, it turns out I had very unrealistic expectations.