These are a few of my favourite things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

These famous words from Maria in The Sound of Music have somewhat become an anthem for my life. Full of wisdom, it taught me that when you aren’t feeling perfect, you’ve always got to remember the happiest and best parts of life which are often too easily forgotten. I remember in my preschool days, my mum and I would watch Sound of Music, every. single. Friday. It was our favourite. We’d sing along to “how do you solve a problem like Maria?” (which was a commonly quoted phrase in our household as my mum shares her name with this guitar-playing, clothes-making main character), we would get frightened in the escaping scenes and marvel at the puppet show performance. It was the movie of my childhood and was something special that my mum and I shared. As I grew up, I felt like I was moving through the characters, relating to a different character each few years, first Gretl (5), then Marta (7), Brigitta (10), Louisa (13) and finally Liesl who seemed so old and mature being 16 (going on 17).

The last week has been like a strong americano coffee. Bitter and quite unpleasant but not without its sweet and refreshing quality which makes the taste bearable. On Wednesday, the day after my transitional day into adulthood, I was met with the tragic news that a friend from home had passed away after falling off a lookout whilst hanging out with a few of his mates. I was not really close friends with the guy, but had hung out with him at parties and gatherings plenty of times and being so far away from home where I knew some of my best friends were a mess trying to come to terms with it all made me feel like an emotional wreck. Nobody should have to go through that, no parent, no friend and no family should have to receive a phone call to say that their 18 year old son/friend/brother has passed away. It is nothing but tragic and devastating. It makes you realise how precious life is and thankful for everything you have been blessed with. Hold your friends close.

Although this news put a darkening effect on everything that happened this week, I did however have an fun-filled and packed week listening to kids read, coaching netball, sorting through lost property etc.

On Saturday night I had my special birthday night out in Salisbury spent with some of the finest people I have met here in the UK. After some interesting banter and some delicious Masaman Curry at a Thai restaurant we made our way to the pub and then multiple clubs and bars to enjoy the traditional ‘first night out’. It was no kings cross but it was a cracker of a night.

But the real event was on Sunday where we went to heaven, I mean, Harry Potter World. The fact that I was jumping up and down in excitement in the lineup for the tour and nearly cried as I walked into the real ‘Great Hall’ of Hogwarts definitely disproved my new adult identity. It was nothing but amazing. I had that feeling in my chest that I remember getting as a kid on Christmas waiting for Santa Claus. Merlin’s Beard was it a good time, seeing the spectacular castle, Dumbledore’s study, the Gryffindor common room, riding a broom, tasting butterbeer and walking through Diagon Alley. If you are going to London and have your head screwed on right and enjoy Harry Potter, you have to go. If you’re going to London and haven’t read Harry Potter, then read it. That’s a life tip more than a travel tip to be honest.

Today is my day off work and as always, I started with a long run which turned into a really long run when my phone ran out of battery and I got very lost in the farming outskirts of Salisbury. I thought I had hit the jackpot of runs when I found this perfect 12km scenic route along the countryside. My delight was suddenly disrupted by a man on a tractor telling me that I’m on private property and kindly asking me to get back to a public road (woops). Guess I’ll be finding a new route.

After my favourite Monday combo of a bubble bath and lunch I diddle daddied my way into town via the post office to pick up a parcel that had arrived from my parents. I had expected the parcel to contain the retainer I had left at home and maybe a nice card, possibly with some words (it was my 18th after all) but woah was I wrong.

As I sat in my favourite cafe, I opened up the parcel to find a big birthday bag which said “brown paper packages tied up with strings, here are a few of your favourite things”. I saw 18 numbered brown little packages and that was it, the waterworks started and I sat in this packed cafe, sobbing my little heart out as I opened, one by one, the heartfelt prezzies from home. Individually wrapped, each had a few words which went with them.

1. bed socks ‘to keep your tootsies cosy’

2. the bucket list I had made: ‘dreamer’

3. a beach magnet: ‘beach girl’

4. lip gloss: ‘shiny’

5. vegemite: ‘aussie’

6. scrunchies ‘individual’

7. party popper ‘make some noise’

8. my bloody retainer ‘keep smiling dazzler’

9. a pen ‘writer

10. gold earrings ‘golden child, to keep you sparkly’

11. a fold up travel bag ‘traveller’

12. tim tams: ‘sweet’

13. foundation: ‘for down days, put on a brave face’

14, a pillow case ‘wherever you lay your head, thats where your home is’

15. an australian picture book, telling a story of a mummy kangaroo just wanting to hug its daughter

16. tissues ‘for happy and sad times’

17. a card (contents are too sweet to post online)

18. balloons saying i love you and 18

After having little to no homesickness this whole time, I am sitting in a cafe writing this being an emotional weakling getting weird looks left, right and centre. Never before have I been given anything so sweet and thoughtful and it encapsulates my mum and dad’s personality and caring nature. I could detect that this present was crafted by mother bear though with the included sound of music references which would have been Bruce Springsteen lyrics and fun facts if it was chosen by Dad.

This, and the events of the last week have left me feeling grateful for my favourite things. My family, my friends, Harry Potter and travelling. I know that hard times will come but holding on to these precious aspects of life will make it all the better.

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