At the risk of sounding like Debbie Downer, life sure is challenging at the moment. I'm very, very grateful for the fact that part of what's on my plate is planning an overseas holiday which my boyfriend and I leave for at the end of this week, but outside of that things haven't been great. I have never planned my own holiday with so little build up time before, and I feel like life doesn't often just hand you these wonderful things without putting you through some difficult shit first, so that's just where I'm at right now. But there's just a few more days to go and then it's holiday time!
So the first and most difficult thing that has happened is that my last remaining grandparent, the mother's father, my grandpa, passed away on Monday. Without taking the focus away from him and his life, I will just also explain that at the same time my parents have been on holiday in Tasmania, my boyfriend in San Francisco for work and my housemate and his girlfriend on holiday in Bali. So I've spent the entire week on my own, packing up my apartment and moving everything back home in either pouring rain or 35-40 degree heat, while also helping with the funeral arrangements. To say it's been both lonely and physically and emotionally exhausting is an understatement. In a way being so busy has definitely helped take my mind off my grandpa's passing, but it also means I haven't really had a change to process it either. Though sitting down and writing this post is the first step. I'm not in the right headspace at the moment to write a lot about him, but I wanted to at least share some photos of my favourite photos of him.
Sidenote: I realise lots of people face far greater challenges than me every day and I'd hate to sound like I'm whingeing or begging for sympathy, but these In My Secret Life posts are about what's been going on with me lately, and this is the truth of it. Sometimes life is shit and although blogging is about escapism for a lot of people, I appreciate reading real talk from my favourite bloggers so I'd rather be the kind who writes it as well.
Anyway, this holiday I'm talking about - I mentioned in my post about moving to Toronto that my boyfriend and I are also going to the US for three weeks in Feb/March (we leave on Saturday the 18th!) We've got a week in San Fran followed by a couple of days in Vegas including a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon (his parent's birthday gift to him/for both of us). Then we've got a wedding in New Orleans and a night in Houston before driving to Austin for the last couple of days. This is our first time overseas together and we're both super excited. If you have any recommendations for any of these places (especially great vegetarian food or desserts) I'd love to hear them!
I realise this is a little late now that it's mid-Feb, but during the Christmas/New Years' break my boyfriend and I and a couple of friends went to Wattamolla beach. Although we didn't actually go to the beach part, we did jump off the rocks into the lagoon nearby and had a nice picnic and hung out with a friendly goanna who wandered by. I'm not much of a beach person but it was a really fun day and was definitely a highlight of the break for me.
Another highlight was going on a night tour of the Sydney Observatory. It was one of my Christmas presents from my boyfriend and we had such a fun night. We don't spend much time in the CBD so I scoured Jane's blog for somewhere good to have dinner and we ended up at Fratelli Fresh. I wasn't super into the pizza we ordered (unusual for me) but the polenta chips and arancini were excellent! At part of the Observatory tour we went to the Planetarium and looked through each of their telescopes and saw the Moon, Mars and Venus and most excitingly, the Orion Nebula. We don't exactly have retired space shuttles on display like they do in the States but our tour guide was really knowledgeable and it was really nice to do something different.
I also used my Mecca voucher from Christmas to pick up Pomander which is the perfect cinnamon scent and I can't believe I didn't know about this candle before or it would have been on my wishlist ages ago. I know buying candles is pretty dumb considering I'm moving to a different country in a few months, but my Diptyque candles will be coming with me in my carry on since airlines never weigh it, plus there was nothing I wanted as much as I wanted this, so as a wise man, Aubrey Graham, once said - yolo.
I don't generally watch much TV, but my boyfriend and I recently watched Westworld and really enjoyed it. It's a sci-fi show with a similar concept to Jurassic Park except the park is a western themed world where people pay to go on adventures and basically live without consequences because everyone else in the park (except for other guests) is a super realistic robot. Definitely worth checking out if you're into sci-fi, but even if you're not fussed either way (like me) it's still a really good series. We also watched Crazyhead on Netflix on a whim the other weekend and I liked it far more than I thought I would. When my boyfriend put it on I only half paid attention but soon we found ourselves glued to it and finished the whole thing that night since there are only 6 episodes. If you've ever seen Misfits (which I hadn't, but we're watching it now) they're created by the same person so they have a similar style/sense of humour, only Crazyhead has a cool feminist message since the girls in the show kick all the ass and most of the men are pretty useless. I would never have thought to pick it myself but I ended up really liking it. Let me know if you've watched anything lately that I should check out!