Taking Stock: September

September 21, 2017

I have to get up at 4am tomorrow for my flight from Port Vila to Sydney. Which is in 7 hours. So what better thing to do than Taking Stock for September?

Making: plans for Saturday night. Escape room + Chinese hot pot for a friend’s birthday
Cooking: nada
Drinking: Tasker beer, Vanuatu’s nambawan brew
Reading: A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre (did you know that ‘Le Carre’ is a pseudonym and means ‘the square’? John The Square. Steve told me that)
Trawling: through old photos in a long-forgotten folder. I once worked in an extremely boring and way-too-easy job where I had to collect and scan magazine covers for an online survey. I hated that job, and my only friend was the receptionist, Vinh, who had a similar creative bent. On my birthday I came in to my sad little desk and Vinh had decorated it with butterflies.


Wanting: a crystal ball. And some new clothes. Please, if you know about clothes, leave me a comment and tell me where to get simple but nice things that don’t cost a fortune. Online, in a shop, wherever. I don’t have a sister and I need one. I feel like this:

Looking: forward to summer
Deciding: whether to watch an episode of Outlander after this or not.
Wishing: I would stop being so envious and competitive. Stop it already! Maybe it’s just natural, but it annoys me.
Enjoying: the fact that I bought 3 litres of coconut oil at the Au Bon Marche supermarket for $15. That stuff is pricey back home!
Waiting: for certain things to crystalise
Liking: the fact that once I finish the Le Carre book, I have Virgina Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary to read on the plane. Excitement!
Wondering: if my plane/s will crash tomorrow. I hope not. I don’t like flying anymore. I used to, but now I just feel scared, like I’ve tempted fate one too many times. Which is unfortunate, because I do like going places, especially overseas.
Loving: being able to sit on the bed in bare feet and short sleeves and not feel cold.
Pondering: whether to keep doing this kind of short-term development work, as well as writing. I think so.
Listening: to trucks honking on the road
Considering: the differences between the generations. I had an interesting chat with an older Vanuatu lady today about social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. She had heard of only one of them, Facebook, and said she was scared to use it. ‘I’m a traditional woman,’ she said. What we consider normality is not normality to others.
Buying: coconut oil and ground coffee
Watching: Outlander. I don’t love it, but it’s good enough for the time being. I like the theme song.
Hoping: that this Vanuatu church partnership program I’ve been working on goes from strength to strength.
Marvelling: at nature. I saw a tree here in Port Vila, a mango tree, covered with a puffy, ballooning spider web with about ten different spiders all sitting and waiting for prey. Amazing.
Cringing: at the memory of the scary dream I had last night. Something to do with Walter White and a knife and a watermelon. Ugh.
Needing: to shower and brush my teeth
Questioning: technology. It’s great and all, but is it separating us from one another? I don’t know. I think it connects and it separates.
Smelling: not a lot, my nose is blocked.
Wearing: flowery black and white pants, black t-shirt. Technically they are pyjama pants, but I DID wear them out to dinner #sueme #wheninvanuatu
Noticing: a new confidence in myself. Less apologetic. I like it.
Knowing: that things happen for a reason. Actually, I don’t know that. But I hope they do.
Thinking: that I should probably go and pack my bag so I don’t have to wake up even earlier than 4am.
Admiring: people who regularly get up very early. I would like to be such a person, but I’m just not. Also, the hard-working and dedicated community development workers here in Vanuatu. Especially my pal Rucinta. She is a gem of the sparkliest kind. So smart, genuine and committed. Inspiring.
Getting: excited about an upcoming trip down the Bellarine.
Bookmarking: the Le Carre book with my old boarding pass
Opening: my dilly bag to put things away. And liking the term ‘dilly bag’.
Closing: the door on another trip to Vanuatu
Feeling: a bit sad about that, for some reason. Vanuatu is a place I never intended to work or visit, and yet I have, I’ve been here quite a few times now, and I like it here. I like the people. And it’s beautiful. Next time I’ll come for a holiday.
Dreaming: of Wilson’s Prom, white sandy beaches, granite rocks, wallabies, magpie calls
Hearing: traffic
Celebrating: my health. This time a couple of weeks ago my throat, ear and eye were being overtaken by a gross bacteria. I had to go to hospital! I will write about that some other time. It was an interesting evening.
Pretending: I know what I’m doing. I have no clue, but who does? Feel your way, day by day, and keep listening to that deep internal voice. That’s what I’d tell the young woman who worked that boring job scanning magazine covers. But, actually, I think she already knew that.
Embracing: the journey.

I’m off to shower, pack and get a few hours of shut-eye. Are you an early morning person? Have you ever had a crushingly boring job? Do you know about clothes?

xx Iz

More about isabelrobinson

Isabel is a writer from Melbourne. She loves long train journeys, Vegemite toast and cryptic crosswords, preferably all at once.

2 Comments
    1. Ah yes, I can relate to that scene with JLD! Gosh that bacteria thing sounds a bit gross! Pleased to hear that has been shoo-ed away! I can relate to your ‘wishing’ observation. Sometimes get a bit like that and it doesn’t make me feel very pleased with myself. Need to give myself a bit of a stern talking to!

      1. It was really gross. So glad to be healthy again. Being sick is the worst! Definitely, I’m all for the stern/kind self-talk, especially when I start on the ‘negative thought spiral’ and end up in a dark place. Comparison can be debilitating, and it’s so pointless. xx

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