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Diary

Lockdown Diary: Day 3

When I sat down for the Monday Morning meeting, the first thing discussed was the high probability of lockdown getting extended. Not a great way to start the week, eh?

I tried to push the speculative news aside, along with the thought that I most probably won’t see my parents nor go on Kumano Kodo pilgrimage this year.

Instead, I spent the day working, reading a few pages from the boring CPA textbook, running, practising yoga for runners, texting friends and gentle journaling.

Some highlights of the day include bed coffee, payday (I pulled the King of Pentacles), cozying up on the sofa with Fafa and watching The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel on Netflix, the smell of the burning candle ━ a gift from Jik, getting a package and Wood Frog’s pumpkin seed sliced bread.

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Diary, Travel

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 7

Happy New Year from a liminal space in Echuca!

Today is my last day in the farmhouse. Though I’d love to stay for much longer time (weeks if not months), I am grateful for the short time I had here.

I feel refresh, rejuvenated and recharged. Ready to conquer (no, not “slaying” my year anymore – from now onwards, I will be respectful of the new year) 2021.

I closed last year by eating 12 grapes and thanking the Universe all the good things and learning I got to experience in 2020.

Meanwhile, started 2021 by wishing Fafa and then my parents a happy new year, even though it’s just 8 PM of a different year on their time and went to sleep peacefully.

I woke up earlier to have one last breakfast made by Fafa at the farmhouse. Then I ran, meditated, fed the chickens, pulled the tarot card for the year (Ten of Swords) and did the new year tarot spread.

After writing this, the last part of my last farm stay diary series, I am going to pack and tidy up the farmhouse and bid goodbye the baby cows, the farm and the house before heading back to Melbourne.

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Rustic Bedroom Echuca Farm Stay Melbourne VIctoria Australia
Celebrations, Diary, Travel

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 6

Hello from the last day of the unprecedented year.

Today I woke up from yes, another great night sleep. After slathering my face with the pure luxe face oil I got as a free sample, I started reading The New Parisienne by Lindsey Tramuta in bed.

I was in the middle of writing the annual post of The Year I.. when Fafa called me for brekkie. Today he only made egg on toast anticipating the delicious lunch date in the town.

I published the above post, pulled a card representation for the year-end (King of Cups), went running, clocked 150km for the year, and started another new year routine; writing my new year intentions and goals, resolutions, and sharing the process with Jik.

2021 Intentions, Goals and Resolutions

By then, it was almost lunchtime. We got ready and drove half-hour in the scorching heat. We had lunch at the Monkey Coo & Asian Kitchen. My order wasn’t as good this time, but the crab spring rolls appetiser was yummy!

Before leaving Echuca town centre, we made a short stop at Candle Scents as I wanted to give a small thank you token to the farmhouse owner who has been so courteous throughout our stay, even when we broke the bathtub yesterday.

It was past 3 PM when we were back in the farmhouse. Since it was too hot to do anything and it’s a liminal space day anyway, after feeding the chickens, I changed into Pjs, opened a new bottle of wine and started journaling.

I wrote my last gratitude list for the year, tarot related goals for the next year and any random things I can think of in between, with the pink-sky backdrop which can be seen from the dinning room where I am writing this from. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

After this as my previous days’ routine, I am going to shower, watch Come Dine With Me on SBS Food, have steak dinner (Fafa’s new year’s eve speciality), drink more wine in the name of festivity, write a bit more, greet the cows, wish my parents an early Happy New Year, read, eat 12 grapes as another new year tradition, drink tea, watch Dexter, pray and go to bed early-ish so I can greet the new year in peace and gratitude.

Happy New Year’s Eve ━ hope you are celebrating it the way you want.

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Film Camera MjuII Kodak Colorplus 400 Mirror Selfie 2020 Meletos
Celebrations

2020 The Year I…

…Rang in the new year in Japan for the third time in a row. We had sushi and sake as the first meal of the year.

…Went to Bali for a weekend getaway. Now reflecting back, I am grateful we had the chance to travel outside of Australia this year.

…Started a new job in a new company.

…Practice with Miko, the first (second-hand) film camera I scored on eBay at the end of last year.

…Celebrated my friend’s, Liz, 30th birthday with a stay-cation in Mornington Peninsula.

…Self-isolated.

…Joined a witch coven.

…Bought my first ever indie tarot deck created by a female artist, then the second, then the third.

…Studied for CPA.

…Started liking black-coffee which no doubt is heavily influenced by Fafa.

…Finally enjoyed a good sandwich. It’s from Tivoli bakery on Toorak road which was introduced to me by Liz.

…Lived in lock-down for the most part of the year.

…Had a lengthy period of sadness from the combination of Covid and seasonal depression.

…Which made me pick up running.

…and cooking.

…and journal-ed as if my life depends on it.

…Got a tarot deck and oracle deck for birthday gifts from Fafa and Jik respectively.

…Had plenty of tarot readings.

…Deepen my tarot practice.

…Started a tarot blog then stopped because I thought I didn’t have that much to talk about in relation to tarot.

…Facetimed with my parents every single day from March onwards.

…Started this blog, a personal blog, but proceed to discuss mostly about tarot.

…Paid for a Google Photos account.

…Found out that Chiron has entered my chart since March and will stay there until the beginning of next year. Eek!!

…Finally read The Alchemist and generally read more books than last year.

…Stayed in a Mornington Peninsula airbnb.

…and in a Meletos winery in Yarra Valley.

…and in the farmhouse in Echuca where I took a boat trip along the famous Murray River.

…Went to an art gallery in Bendigo to celebrate our date-anniversary.

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Musings

30 going on 365

I started this blog only last month (the posts in the archive are loaded from various old blogs and written journal entries). The same time during the same month, I vowed to do daily writing. Committing to doing it at least for a month first. Privately reminding myself that if I fail to write every day about anything and everything I want for a month; I am not allowed to claim writing is my passion.

Harsh, I know.

But I have been mopping around instead of writing for the most part of this year (blaming it on Covid), that I felt a little bit of writing-self-discipline was required.

Today, WordPress reminded me that I am on my 40-day writing streak. I have passed the measly goal I set for myself early. By my own account, I am now allowed to call myself a writer. Woohoo!!

Now, my goal-oriented brain is taunting me with:

You did it for a month, can you do it for a year?

A tall order, I know.

Especially since I am hoping the next 300-ish days will be less grim than the past 300-ish days. Where I dream of sitting in my office cubicle, travelling to Fiji, celebrating my parents’ birthdays together with them and hiking Kumano Kodo trails. Even now, before doing any of it, all those things seem more important than committing to daily writing for a year. Or is it? I don’t have the answer yet.

What I know for now is that daily writing has been an anchor to my mental health. It has kept me sane and centered. And I can genuinely say that I am happier now compared to my pre-daily writing days. And I do wonder if it makes me feel this way only after doing it for more than a month, how will I feel in a year time if I commit to it.

Alas, here is me, committing to finishing my daily writing journey from 30 days to 365 days, starting from today (which, to my woo-woo side delight, is the 11th of the 11th), the start of the holiday season, mid of NaMeWriMo and end of lock-down.

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Tarot

Tower Moments

Of all the “bad cards” in tarot, the Tower is something I am comfortable with. Maybe even a little too comfortable.

The 16th card from the Major Arcana, the Tower is traditionally seen as the representation of disaster, sudden change, significant disruption and chaos.

Those are enough reasons for people to not want to see it in a reading.

It makes sense. We, human beings, tend to seek stability in our lives. I am no different. As I write this on top of my picnic rug, in the park soaking the sun, eating the cheese and getting a bit buzzed from the wine, I too don’t wish for the rug to be pulled from under my feet. Both metaphorically and literally.

But it didn’t start this way for me.

I came from a somewhat traditional Indian family. I say somewhat because my parents are smart people with kind hearts who want nothing but, what they think, as the best for their daughter. But at the same time, they are bogged down by society and at times dated and jaded traditions. Growing up, it had always been a constant struggle between following the social values and just being a child, and later, a teenager. For example, they would let me wear whatever I wanted, which was more than most Indian girls growing up in a traditional family could ask for. But at the same time, I wasn’t allowed to date.

I did both. With that, I turned into the rebel of the family and started what I called as my Tower moments.

My Tower moments started when I, as a teenager, laughed on the face of the priest who told Amma that he could magically make me stop rebelling. A major tower moment was when I cancelled my wedding a couple of weeks before the day. Another one, when I moved to Singapore without a job and proceeded to live there for almost a decade before uprooting the somewhat comfortable life I had built for myself to go back home because I wanted to heal my relationship with my parents. Again without a job. I also summoned The Tower when I migrated to Melbourne, and again when I married someone from a different background in Bali. This time without any priest.

The Tower is a shadow self that I have accepted. It taught me to be calm throughout chaotic periods in my life. From the period when my dad stopped talking to me to being bullied; even when I was made redundant. I went through these with a zen-ish outlook.

And I know I can go through similar shit moments in the future because I had deliberately chosen to walk through worse things, either because it aligned with my values or to chase my dreams.

I also learned that even though I always have plans for my life (Virgo baby!), sometimes the Universe grants my wishes in different ways. And based on my past experiences, it could just be in the Tower mode.

It’s good to remember that fundamentally the Tower is about radical changes. A reminder to:

“Be positive, it is time to replace the old foundations of the past with something that is more genuine and will serve better in what is to come”

Labyrinthos.


Not gonna lie, knowing that — if tomorrow, something happens and I have to uproot my life yet again — I can do it, feels pretty empowering. And I blame my semi-traditional Indian parents for it. They shouldn’t have instilled the value of resilience in the young rebellious me.

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Musings

What Inspires Your Passion?

What inspires you to write?”

— saged-traveling lady on the train to Beijing.

I was taken back by the question. Not many have asked me this before. I forget when or who asked me the same question before that day when I traveling solo in China.

My mind traveled back to earlier that month when I just started contemplating on changing my writing direction to focus on culture, which eventually birthed Kulture Kween a few years later — to 2012 when I started a travel blog — to 2007 when I started a blog after I read a classmate’s poetry blog — to 2004 when Erwin Tanudjaja introduced me to the concept of a blog. The same Erwin who introduced me to the internet in 1997.

But, it was two years before that, I realized my passion for writing.

On the day I forgot to bring my homework. I called Amma from a rusty (even for 1995) coin-operated payphone from my school begging her to bring my homework.

It was not compulsory. It was an extracurricular activity. My grade wouldn’t be marked. But for some reason, I put an effort to write an essay with a not-appropriate-for-middle-school topic. I spent the whole long weekend in August to write and rewrite it in longhand (it was 1995). Finally, I put my rebellious twist on it. I know it would be marked by the school principal and didn’t care if he was going to penalize me for it. I just didn’t want it to be a cookie-cutter school essay with a sprinkle of mundaneness.

Thankfully Amma refrained from executing a teachable moment that day. She took an auto-rickshaw and dropped the paper to me at school. Just in time for me to slip it to the stack of papers waiting in the Principal’s office.

My essay won. No gift. The acknowledgment was done and dusted in less than two minutes. But it didn’t matter. I felt such joy at the moment, more than scoring a solid 100 on an exam paper.

That moment topped my childhood happiness chart.

That was the moment that gave the answer to what inspires my passion question asked by the stranger on the train. The foundation for me slogging hours and hours on writing/blogging/journaling.

Thank you for not penalising me on that day Mr. School Principal. I hope my hoarder parents still keep the winning essay somewhere in the house.

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Musings

Fugu Me

Here is a little story about Fugu and my strange fascination for it.

When I was little, my parents took me fishing. Fishing was not a normal activity we did as a family. And from what memory, I only went fishing a handful of times, which made it even more special I guess.

Anyway, on one of those unusual occasions, Appa let me hold the fishing road for some time and I ended up catching a what-the-6yo-old-me=thought-as stone.

It was actually a Fugu.

Amma got very excited and went on explaining to me about the stone-like fish.

That it was a Pufferfish (Fugu) and that it’d puff itself if poked. She then told me to go ahead and poke it with my hand (which, apparently, is a not something you should do).

The 6yo old me did it, because why wouldn’t I?

And yes it puffed! Eventually, we then let it loose, back to the ocean because, as Appa said:

We don’t eat Pufferfish”.

At that time it made sense to me because it was small and looked so ugly.

But then I grew up, went to Japan and learned all about the Fugu dining experience. That fueled my childhood fascination for it.

Is it weird that I kinda want to finish the cycle — of catching, letting go and learning more about it — by eating Fugu?

Ps. On the same note, I also fished and learned about jellyfish on that day. Which I ended up eating in Beijing. Curiosity satiated. Fugu will be next. It’s on my bucket-list.

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