Mrs. Gallo

March 27th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

I ran into my year three teacher today. When I say “ran into”, I mean we were at opposing tables at a restaurant and it took me an hour to build up the courage to say hello.

She had a pivotal role in my genetics and I often thought about writing her a letter. I’m better with paper. When she was sitting two meters away from me, I felt like an eight year old girl. I might as well have put my hand up to get her attention.

<flashback time>

One day, Mrs. Gallo held me back at lunch. I was a shy girl fresh from Dubai that didn’t feel the need to participate in class cause it was easy as pie for me. I read novels under the table while my teachers dictated things I thought I already knew.

So the day she held me back as my classmates filtered out for lunch, I was shitting myself. I was thinking “How could she hold me back when I haven’t said anything?”. I also though she had caught on to my book-behind-the-tabletop ways.

She spoke to me very sternly and frankly. Said my grades were good but being silent and floating on “just enough” was a cop out. She scared me beyond words and told me that I should talk more in class or she was going to ask my parents to hold me back a year. School suicide. I went home that afternoon and cried my guts out.

But as the weeks went on, I started speaking in class about Emily Rodda and was giving ideas in science group projects. Mrs. Gallo pushed me into the Advance English class and encouraged my writing. And suddenly, I couldn’t stop giving my opinion, for better or worse.

As the rain drizzled in a little town called Windsor, I approached Mrs. Gallo on a Sunday afternoon and in a very blustered and blushing way, I tried to tell her how much she meant to me. I think I said four sentences at most and they were running on top of each other, racing to escape from my brain and getting all jumbled in the process.

She held my arm and said I looked familiar, asked how old I was and what I was doing now. It lasted three minutes and was lovely.

On the way out of the restaurant, my brother-in-law yelled out to her “So you’re the one we have to blame for Tash not shutting up”. Yes, yes she is and I am grateful I got to say thanks.

Things I have learnt from backpacking:

March 14th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

It’s been six months since our backpacking globe-trotting adventure. Looking back now, I can remember some universal truths that I learnt.

  1. Bread will surprisingly sustain you, even if you don’t get four servings of vegetables a day, you will survive. Cheap carbs can sustain you.
  2. A badly packed 2kg backpack will feel like 10kg. A properly packed 15kg backpack will feel like 2kg.
  3. Every big city is kind of the same.
  4. Every small town is uniquely different.
  5. Never be afraid to ask for directions. Strangers will not bite your head off.
  6. Wifi is very, very important.
  7. You can get by on a lot less. Don’t buy things that you don’t really need.
  8. Brightly coloured clothes will fade in a short amount of time when worn every second day.
  9. Travel with someone you love – cause even the love of your life will piss you off over extended periods of time. At least with them you can be frank.
  10. You do not need a plug for sinks. Most hostels have such disgusting sinks you’re going to be washing clothes close to the tap and brushing teeth on tippy toes.
  11. Take thongs everywhere. (edit: flip flops, people)
  12. Bring headphones and music.
  13. Planning will save you money and time.
  14. Newspapers make you feel connected to the world.
  15. Parks make you feel connected to the earth.

Soft selling and wedding dress hell

March 7th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Today I went wedding dress shopping. Apart from my fear of wearing white, I had to deal with saleswomen that should have been promoting used cars. I found myself being squeezed into Disney-sized dresses while being handed business cards and my subdued protests were generally ignored.

At the end of the day, the only person I really wanted to give my business to was a woman* who turned me away. She encouraged me to look around, she gave options, she didn’t rush me into purchasing her product. She asked questions.

She chose to inform, rather than make a quick buck.

Because of that – she had staying power in my mind. She differentiated herself.

While I would love to draw comparisons to her style and using blogging as a vehicle, I think this is a more general concept that surpasses social media.

It is distinctly human to give business to people we like and trust. And you earn trust, ironically, by informing others of your competition and letting them know all their options.

I now have an appointment with her in two weeks.

*Her name is Leigh Tang and she has a store called Paris Bridal Boutique. I would link to it but she doesn’t seem to have a site.

At 8am

March 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Technically, this is second breakfast. First day of Autumn here in Sydney and it’s going to be 32c (89F).