Surround yourself with what you want

January 31st, 2012 § 3 comments § permalink

Since I’ve moved back to Sydney, I haven’t been able to find a perfect yoga class. I was feeling lethargic, out of shape and unmotivated.

Out of habit, I subscribed to Yoga Journal as soon as I had a steady address. Just doing that little thing made a huge difference to my home practice.

As I read, I practiced. And after I was done with the magazine, I still kept it around as a reminder to myself.

Surround yourself with the things you love and you want to do more often. In that same frame of mind, go around your house and omit things you feel no longer serve you.

I know as a fact that if I buy a pack of ice cream, I will justify eating one a day. So I choose not to buy them.

It’s the little things like this that make up a life.

Easy Stop motion: Great Ocean Road Trip

January 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

This was an easy stop motion video because I didn’t use a tripod, the summer storyline was simple but effective and it came together in an hour. Here’s how:

Most of the images were shot when I was bumping around in a car or on a beach. It was a great project to have on a short vacation.

Firstly, I set my camera to continuous shooting. Google your camera brand and type with “user manual” and figure out how to do this, if you don’t already know how to.

I put all the images into Lightroom and then did a batch export at something like 900 px wide. There was a lot of heavy vignetting and vibrance in Lightroom, cause hey, that’s how I roll.

That stopped Final Cut Pro from crashing when I added all the images. Even then, I found that I had to 50 images at a time otherwise my mac would freeze up. Consider yourself warned.

I played around with the image duration and settled on a twentieth of a second for each still. To edit image durations in Final Cut go to:

Final Cut Pro > User Preferences > Editing. Look out for the “Still duration field” and have a play around with what looks best for you.

I then played around with music options and settled on a beauty by LadyHawke. To add music, just drag and drop into the timeline.

Final Cut Pro has some great title options so I normally spend an hour going through them. I then exported the final product to Vimeo.

This would be a great, simple, easy project if you’re going to have an interesting day or week trip. Let me know how you go!

Be a pain in the neck

January 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

“Jobs has a great native sense of design and a knack for hiring geniuses, but above all, what he has is a willingness to be a pain in the neck about what matters most to him.

– “How Apple Does It, Oct. 16, 2005”

Taken from the Times.

How to feel at home when moving countries

January 17th, 2012 § 3 comments § permalink

I’ve been on the move for the last nine years. From the small country town of Bathurst to the bustling political base of Washington D.C, the longest I’ve lived in one place has been two years.

Moving around can be quite stressful. You feel misplaced, reborn, a fish out of sea. These are the ten things I do to calm me down when travelling:

 

  • Paradoxically, get really close to the people you’re going to leave behind. This will motivate both parties to keep up the long distance love for a greater duration.

 

  • Pick a passion other than your job and embed yourself in that community. I assisted at a yoga studio in exchange for yoga classes. By doing that, I became friends with the yoga teachers I admired and there’s nothing better than having friends you admire.

 

  • Stay curious. Find new nooks and crannies that excite you. Isn’t this why you moved in the first place? Remind yourself every now and again.
In Washington D.C

Exploring museums in Washington D.C

 

  • Don’t look back too often. This was my biggest mistake. My first year in the states was spent comparing everything to Australia. For example, I was drinking sub-par Australian beer at the Outback Steakhouse when there was beautiful locally produced beer at a pub down the road.

 

  • Keep a piece of sanity. Your figurative home. It could be a watch your father gave you, a statue of your chosen religion. A boomerang or bag pipes. Choose to believe that as long as you have that object, you are home.

 

  • Cook for yourself, especially if you’re backpacking or moving around every week. You’ll reap the benefits and it will remind you that “hey, somewhere people are still doing laundry.”

 

  • Listen to music from your home country/city. It will keep you in touch with your culture and you can introduce bands to your new friends.

 

  • Skype often with your family, but not so often you forego a social life.

 

  • If you’re moving for work, make friends with the people you find interesting. They’ll introduce you to their network and before you know it, you’ve got a warm, loving group of friends. I find with work mates these things take time.

 

  • Have a coffee shop where they know you by name. My husband swears by this. Nothing makes him happier than walking in at the same time every day and saying “the usual”.

 
Any tips you would like to add? Have you moved lately?

Third Culture Confusion

January 13th, 2012 § 4 comments § permalink

My parents were living in Dubai when I was conceived. A month before I was born, my mother moved to Sri Lanka to give birth, a common thing for expats living in an Arab country. Within six months we were back in Dubai. When I was six, we moved to Australia. Through some gentle teasing, I lost my thick Sri Lankan accent and went to school and university in Australia. I turned 21 and in a hunt for adventure moved to Washington D.C for 2.5 years.

I came back to Australia with a strong American accent and a mish mash of a dictionary. My taste buds had evolved from craving simple meals to strong contrasts of sweet and sour i.e blue cheese and spiced walnut salads.

To add a splash of confusion, I went to an American school in Dubai, which meant people were asking me if I was American even before I lived there.

My husband had basically the same upbringing but ten years apart. He thinks it’s our constant moving that allowed us to assimilate to American culture in such a short amount of time.

I suppose that’s why I employ a Sri Lankan head wobble when I talk to my mother.

My cousin in Dubai told me empathetic people are more likely to lose their mother-accents. I like that reasoning.

I’m always in the quest for belonging. Some placement.

On my most recent trip abroad, after I had been back in Australia for 1.5 years, I met three lots of Australians. Each one asked why I sounded American. It’s confusing for all involved. A big gray area.

I wonder if I would have a stronger Australian accent if I had lived here my whole life.

I wonder how I can feel a part of one country.

A possible solution is to keep on moving. Always be an expat, a foreigner. Easier said than done, moving can be heart-wrenching stuff, as joyous as it is.

This section will be my exploration of all things third culture. The world is getting smaller. So definitions should get bigger.

Swimming with wild dolphins

January 2nd, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

While we were in Hawaii we made an effort to go swimming with wild dolphins. Largely because the last time we tried it was in a little dingy on the waves of Zanzibar. I spewed five times in the span of an hour and Wendell felt so bad he proposed.

This time, we were in a bigger boat. We were dropped a couple of kilometers away from the island and started swimming towards dolphin pods. There’s nothing like looking down into the ocean and seeing pod after pod of dolphins flash past you. We could hear their clicks of speech. It was amazing.

Our snorkelling leader explained that dolphins have a protective layer that stops bacteria. When humans touch dolphins, that layer gets removed. Dolphins at Sea World etc be on antibiotics their whole lives because of this.

I find dolphins particularly moving after watching the Cove. I’m not one for cutesy dolphin tattoos and stuffed toys, this documentary really opened up my eyes to how we treat the animal that everyone thinks of quite fondly.

I’m inspired by the Hawaiian people. They take it on themselves to save their culture and environment. There’s a real pride in their feeling of responsibility. I admire that.

We’re half made of water. We can always do more for the ocean.

I’m thinking about more that I can do.