The Adventure Continues...

Rants, raves and random observations from an itinerant epidemiologist.

100 in 1000
  1. Spend a week up a mountain learning to ski
  2. Visit Karoline's place in Moravia
  3. Hold a conversation in Czech (only)
  4. Drink 500ml of each of the following beers:
    1. Pilsner
    2. Staroprammen
    3. Budvar
    4. Velke Popovice
    5. U Fleku
    6. Gambrinus
    7. Krusovice
  5. Respond to at least one GOARN request (WHO and MSF are also acceptable)
  6. Travel across the Atlantic
  7. Return to South America
  8. Read a book to, or with, an impressionably aged child
  9. Participate in one NanoWriMo Challenge and come within at least 10,000 words of the goal length
  10. Have my nose pierced
  11. Have my next tattoo drawn
  12. Purchase the perfect jeans (x 2 pairs)
  13. Attend a spin class 3 times a week for 8 consecutive weeks
  14. Bake Viv's cheesecake
  15. Make David's casserole
  16. Make David's Chicken Cashew-nut Stirfry
  17. Invite 4 people who don't know one another too well to dinner
  18. Ride from Vienna to Venice on a motorbike (pillion acceptable, those less desirable)
  19. Attend a book group for at least two books
  20. Go on a choir weekend (learn and perform difficult piece in two/three days)
  21. Visit Madame Tussaud's (in London)
  22. Take an architecture appreciation course
  23. Join an all-girl group and sing a solo
  24. Publish in a scientific journal (top two authors)
  25. Cook a duck or other 'waterfowl'.
  26. Locate the Al-Timimi's from Doha Veterinary Practise
  27. Have a pedicure
  28. Maintain a Brazilian (ouch) for three months.
  29. Find a trustworthy Czech hairdresser
  30. Treat my inner-6-year-old twice a week (at least)
  31. Do the liver-cleansing diet properly (12 weeks)
  32. Don't eat out for one month
  33. Find a flat and flatmate
  34. Purchase one Joseph sweater
  35. Purchase one of the following pairs of designer shoes (they MUST also be COMFORTABLE, and be able to be worn with 4 different outfits and 2 types of occasion): Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blahniks, Christian Louboutin (Ebay or 2nd hand are acceptable)
  36. Send 5 books to the booksphere and track them.
  37. Go hanggliding
  38. Read 10 'classic' books (from 1001 Books to Read before you Die)
    1. Moll Flanders
    2. Everything is illuminated
    3. Madam Bovary
    4. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance
    5. Catch-22
    6. Odysseus
    7. On the Road
  1. Run (non-stop!) for 5kms outside (preferably in a street race thingy)
  2. Send Christmas Cards on time
  3. Make a collage/mural out of street lights on my wall
  4. Buy a bed, build it, and sleep soundly in it
  5. Go to Africa
  6. Host an 'event' (classified as and when)
  7. Organise a 30th Birthday Party
  8. Wear a costume
  9. Sing on stage
  10. Buy a painting that evokes memories of Prague (cannot involve queues!)
  11. Learn a god-damned card game that stays in my memory (other than fish/snap)
  12. See sunrise. Be sober. Have woken for it. Excludes months Nov-Mar
  13. Take a walk and flip coins at each intersection
  14. Win something
  15. Draft a will
  16. Take a roadtrip
  17. Go to Italy already
  18. Sea Kayak around Abel Tasman Park (NZ)
  19. Get plants
  20. Take a train to another Eastern European Destination (accession countries are acceptable) alone preferably.
  21. Get UK to give me a provisional motorcyclists license and simultaneously get a 'card' license.
  22. Go SCUBA diving again - at least two dives lasting 30mins each.
  23. Go to a dentist. *sigh*
  24. Do a Czech Wine Trail. And live to tell the tale
  25. Make an 'outbreak emergency kit'.
  26. Go to bed prior to 11pm every night (inc weekends) for four consecutive weeks.
  27. Marvel over lack of tiredness
  28. Dine at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant (or Nobu)- preferably for free.
  29. Bet on the nags
  30. Do something for charity (applying and getting a 'red card' will count)
  31. Walk along the Champs Elysee
  32. Do 100 sit ups in a row
  33. Do 50 pressups (arms in tight)
  34. Make branston pickle (or nearest substitute)
  35. Cook something 'new' and 'adventurous' at least once a month
  36. Find a mentor
  37. Be a mentor
  38. Learn what mentoring is all about
  39. Meet an online person in real life
  40. Resist the flirt. Once. Just one night. It's okay if people don't immediately succumb to my natural charm. Really it is.
  41. Spend time at a spa (spa towns in the CR don't count)
  42. Send a care package to someone
  43. Get a Tata Bojs CD
  45. Order new contact lenses.
  46. Make a list of things I take with me when I pack for different occasions
  47. Eat lobster. Prepared by someone else.
  48. Back up the blog
  49. Put everything onto an external hard drive
  50. Find a DDR mat and console and 'dance, I say dance!'�
  51. Go to the beach and lie on the warm sand. For an hour. (with sunscreen on, natch)
  52. Take and complete a course in either: Tango, Salsa or Flamenco
  53. Join the Municipal Library of Prague
  54. Move to another country
  55. Go to a live concert of a band I actually like
  56. Pay off debts (student loan excl.)
  57. Send thank you cards for every gift I receive (other than the gift of happiness, blah blah blah).
  58. Get an agent (literary or theatre)
  59. Go to a sports bar without cringing, by personal choice
  60. Ride a rollercoaster
  61. Hold a snake
  62. Spend a day wandering around a museum (not art gallery!)
Monday, 16 July 2007
I grew up (11-17) in a very hot city. I’m reminded of that place now, as my current city of abode heats, stretches, swelters and buckles under the ever-growing sun of the northern hemisphere continental summer.

But so much was different there.

Here, we have an urban concrete, plaster and brick jungle, with cobblestones underfoot – ankle/leg breaking terrain if ever there was– interspersed sporadically with leafy green parks; there we had dirt tracks, four-wheel drives and that silicon talc smell that I associate with the hot barren desert.

Here: it’s hanging baskets and window boxes with peonies and phlox while there: it was a rockery with some hardy succulents, beautiful bougainvillea and a solitary oleander.

Here: dogs (and their excreta) are in abundance, on leashes, off leashes, muzzled or not, racing, loping, lolling and much loved. There; it was haram to so much as touch a Saluki, that the animal shivered on our table and shied from our touch as we picked the tick infestation from its ears and vaccinated it against rabies.

Here we have parquet, the intricacies of carefully carved slivers of wood held together by little more than the artists tessellated design; a dramatic, busy underfoot backdrop to everyday apartment existence.

There: marble; cool to walk across, pale pink, streaked with blue and white, and extending in tiles through the lounge, dining room, out onto the patio, and up through the hallway that linked the ‘family’ areas to the ‘sleeping’ areas.

I remember the cats. One cat was almost the same colour as our marble (a pink cat?) with strawberry blonde ginger patches on her pale white coat. She (more so than he) would come into the house, out of the shade of some tree she’d been under, slink past the kitchen without so much as a glance at the food dish, wander through to the lounge, and then collapse on her side, stretched out across a marble slab to try to cool her body down.

I remember cleaning that marble after my mothers 40th birthday party. The Persian rugs had been lifted, shifted and stored for the celebrations, and there had been over 100 people traipsing in and out of the house from 7 in the evening till midday. There’d been a buffet as well as a continuous flow of alcohol. The floor was to sticky what the moon is to cheese (Monday Mensa throwaway there). And there was much swabbing and squeegeeing to be done. My job (since I am much enamoured of the makeover ‘before and after’ concept), carried out in my tutu: the leftover balloons, t-shirt, shorts and doc martens.

All jobs have an ‘outfit’.

But most of all, I remember the ever-present slight trepidation of walking across that floor. There’s nothing quite as slippery as a marble floor. Stilettos skitter like nervous horses, despite being worn by graceful individuals (we had well-heeled visitors occasionally). And if it’s wet, good gracious (er, who let Enid Blyton in?). The potential for calamity (especially for the awkward and deportment-free Nomes) was so huge that the safety officer of the house would bark that something be cleared up immediately.

And those slightly hesitant Bambi-style steps continue to be the ones use today. Sure, it seems to all and sundry (hello sundry, you really ought to think about that deed poll name change, methinks. This one is a bit indiscriminate, innit?) that I launch myself off the diving board straight into the pool under the sign that says “10,000 fathoms deep!”. Sometimes it might even seem to me as though I’ve added additional weights to my ankles – just to keep the odds of “sink or swim” a bit more ‘gaming’.

But in actual fact, I still slide my feet over the surface of existence. I still keep one foot firmly planted, just in case I should trip and fall. So when I do stumble and topple – and land hard – it hurts (marble doesn’t yield like parquet). Hard so it bruises. That fear of bruises has continually stopped me from taking as many risks as I may have appeared to have taken.

But maybe: just maybe, I’m starting (now that I’m 30, and, like, totally an adult) to have a bit more faith in myself. Perhaps I can start graduating from granddad slippers to wedge heels and lifting the back foot a little more. Perhaps this next step of my life (new job: new country, come October) will go as luckily for me as the rest has. Perhaps I need to lie down on some cool marble once in a while and chill for a bit.

I’ll try not to pant like the cat did.

*photo to follow once I’ve scanned in the tutu. Really, it's worth the wait!

Labels: ,

posted by Nomes @ Monday, July 16, 2007  
  • At 4:03 pm, July 16, 2007, Blogger the108 said…

    Wow! Great post!

  • At 4:40 pm, July 16, 2007, Blogger Jamie said…

    That is a wonderful story. You really brought both places to life.

  • At 5:53 pm, July 16, 2007, Blogger tegdirb92 said…

    what a great post!! Have a wonderful MM. Great story.

  • At 7:24 pm, July 16, 2007, Blogger Comedy + said…

    What a great job for marble. Have a great MM with Mo. :)

  • At 7:49 pm, July 16, 2007, Blogger Morgen said…

    I love the comparing & contrasting between the two sites, and the cat that was almost the color of the marble - very vivid description.
    As was the cleaning image of you in the tutu & doc martens!

  • At 8:36 pm, July 16, 2007, Blogger Villager said…

    This is my first time visiting your blog. You have a remarkable way with words. I enjoyed your story and wish you well on your October adventure.

    My Manic Monday post on the Electronic Village takes the marble theme into African American history.

    Happy MM! Villager

  • At 9:20 pm, July 16, 2007, Blogger homo_superior said…

    just echoing the praise...

    lyrical and redolent.

    artful application of memories to the present.

  • At 2:16 am, July 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi GNomes,

    So glad you enjoyed the photos I sent to you for your 30th. And I agree, seeing you in a balloon tutu is definitely worth the wait. You reminded us so much of the little girl in the Kiwi film "Vigil" - the one that was filmed in outback Taranaki, where she wears a mud spattered tutu with gumboots - priceless.

    As to the pink cat, did you ever see her curled up on my chair? I often didn't until she squawked her alarm - not by changing into a bird, but giving full vent to her outrage nonetheless. For a small cat she could certainly howl!

    Forget about the growing up - you will always have the trepidation of floors meeting you face on when wearing heels. For someone who's broken her ankle twice and twisted them many times perhaps this is a good thing?? Go with the flow - literally - it will be safer for your ankles. Parquet is fine, provided you don't gouge holes in it with your three inch stilettos. I think my name was still mud with a certain party, until the day she died. Kinda like your Father and the six inch nails and his uncle's brand new dining table!

    Better be off - got to pack for our trip to Brisbane. But it's not till this arvo, so I've got loads of time right? Poor you, to have inherited two lots of last minute leavers.

    Love you, Mamma

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