Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday 30th March 09 – Byron Bay.

Oh how the rain poured in buckets and shovels, and how the mean sea wind whipped thru the streets of Byron, turning the rain from heavy cumbersome drops, into bullets that could blind you if you happened to be cycling the wrong way.
But still, she taught on.
RAT A TAT TAT on the roof top like machine guns, and SWOOOSH as the cars dove headfirst into the gulleys of water collected in the road, sending fans of cascading water into the air.
But still she taught on.

I woke at 6am this morn to sound of the sky falling in. Over night god had forgotten to pull the bath plug, and the grimy bath water of the almighty overflowed on Byron bay. And it didn’t stop.
This is when you realise how much time you actually spend outside and with no shoes on. When you find yourself gazing out of the window thinking “how badly do I really need to pee/ get a drink/ food/go to class” etc.
“Morning!” I shrieked as I scuttled past my blonde bedraggled surfer mate this morn whilst trying to dodge the frolicking frogs and incredibly slippery patches of the boardwalk, and trying to get the studio both in one piece, and as dry as possible.
I threw myself thru the door into the sudden serenity that awaited. After wringing out my hair and vest, I squelched over the cd player. Someone had left a cd in there which made me smile, as this always lightens my mood at 6am in the morn to have a few Tibetan monks chanting at you while you cajole the tired, stiff body back to life. I lit the candles on the altar and a few incense sticks to get my yogic juices flowing.
I rolled out my mat and as I stood there with my eyes closed waiting for track 1 to click into action, I felt a pang of sadness. I suddenly realised how much I love it here. I will truly miss my early mornings of dodging frogs and other beasties on my way to the studio, swatting mosquitoes while trying to meditate, finding someone has stolen my yoghurts at breakfast time, watching the sun rise on the beach while giggling with Becky about “that dude that farted in my class yesterday”.
The worst part is that this place will always be here but my fellow trainees that are now firm friends and my surrogate family, will not.
At 3pm I climbed on my soggy saddled bicycle and peddled into town looking like I had just escaped from a wet t-shirt competition in seconds. I arrived at our second studio and rushed to the bathroom to get changed before any one of my prospective students could catch a glimpse of me in my unbelievably see thru attire. Dry and changed I set up my mat in front of the 15 pairs of eyes, smiled sweetly and told everyone to “lie back, relax and come to focus on the breath” a yogic time filler that works a treat. I toddled off to the front door just as Ethan and Sarah, the two other poor souls who were to be judged and have their teaching future determined with me, arrived. We all grinned nervously at each other and wished each other the best of luck as Sarah strode in and began the class. Ethan taught the second part and I was left to bring up the rear with part 3. The cool down.
I felt confident and launched into my lesson plan with my sugary sweet English accent that everyone seems to love here. As the rain got heavier I was forced to put on my best ‘ordering a drink in a crowded bar’ voice, that I have been practicing and perfecting for many years. After my 25 mins were up I lay my freshly stretched students back into savasana, the resting part of the class, and grinned from ear to ear as Ethan silently high fived me. We had done it. Our final assessment, the build up of the whole 7 weeks was over.
And to cut a long story slightly shorter, I passed. We all passed.
Which is why I sit here in my cabin, pleased as punch and with a belly full of liquorice, my number 1 treat of choice, listening to the water pouring out side and wandering why god doesn’t have an overflow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Friday 27th March 09 – Byron Bay.

My beloved boy came, as he promised, to visit last weekend, and it was bliss.
We met on the beach at 9am. I had set up a lime green kikoi to sit on, with plastic cups full of blackberry yoghurt, muesli and honey, with bananas and fresh orange juice (from a carton). I spotted him a mile off, trudging down the beach looking like he had just hopped off the boat. Barefoot, jeans rolled up, sun bleached cotton shirt and a battered leather holdall slung over his shoulder, complete with nervous grin and his trademark mop of roman curls. My man.
I skipped up to him wearing the very same nervous grin, and my smallest summer dress, and giggled “hey baby!” as he whisked me into his arms.
Que lazy summer guitar riffs, lots of highly inappropriate public displays of affection, and muesli munching.
We spent the weekend flopping around town, draped around each other, barefoot as usual. I brought the coolest bike (white and pink 1980’s mountain bike, with carrier.) and enjoyed showing off my new favourite place, to my favourite boy. He too, fell in love with the magical bubble that we are well and truly in here, and it wasn’t long before he looked as if he had been here all along and was chatting to my fellow yoginis as if he had known them for years.
Sunday afternoon came and he had to head back to “the real world”. I was in tears, predictable as usual, as he kissed me goodbye and hopped on the bus, reassuring me that it would only be two more weeks until he was here for good.
So here we are, 7days until I am released back into a world of alcohol, drugs, human beings of the opposite sex, and people who cannot touch their toes first thing in the morning.
This week is now a mad dash to the end, whilst trying to cram in last minute homework, final assessments, to see if we have learned anything in the past 7 weeks, and running around trying to find somewhere to live ready for 4pm next Friday when I am, very un yogically, booted out of the ashram and become the ‘Suppleist Hobo’.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wednesday 18th March 09 – Byron bay

I am on Karma yoga duties this week.
This means I am responsible for any cups, glasses, plates etc lying around that need to be washed, lighting candles and incense before each class, making sure there are fresh flowers at the altar, filling the hot water urn and sweeping/hoovering the studios daily. So im a pretty busy bee as you can see. This means that my frustration levels have skyrocketed somewhat as people seem to think it appropriate to leave dirty plates, glasses and cups around the place as “someone will surely clean them up”.
My duties this morning however, extended to a new realm of karma yoga, that I think should be renamed “sally yoga” and elevated to a higher status. As I spotted, and disposed of, a rather enormous rat that Silver had obviously had a whale of a time with last night, as he had no head and was covered in ants and, as Becky so pleasantly put it, “eeugh dude, whats that frothy stuff coming out of its neck?!”
After nearly treading on the rotting rodent that was lying in the middle of the garden, I went and found a shovel in the tool shed, which is a feat in itself as one has to have eyes in the back of your head in that place so as not to disturb a snoozing snake or two. I strode over to the crime scene with headscarf tied firmly over nose and mouth like some sort of yogic bankrobber, and ‘oh so carefully’ scooted said rat onto the shovel. This, the ants didn’t take kindly to, and started their march up the handle towards me, antennas wavering wildly. I worked swiftly and delicately and with a flick of the wrist the rat was flung, what can only be described as poetically, into the bushes and was gone. Phew.
Feeling very virtuous I strode back into the breakfast room after first rinsing the rat juice from my spade, and announced to all that would listen that the coast was now clear as I had removed the aforementioned chew toy, to which I received a small round of applause. I thank you.
After a celebratory cup of Rooboos tea with honey and soy, I went to my cabin to grab our bag of washing for the week. As you can imagine our load is plentiful but pretty light as we live in leggings of various sorts, and vests most of the time. I legged it back to the rusty but reliable washing machine, dumped the grimy garments in along with a rather generous scoop of washing powder, slammed the lid, turned the knob and sighed with relief as the water swooshed in to begin its load. It is somewhat of a trial to get in there and be one of the first to get your washing done, as we have discovered, if you don’t have it done buy 11am it wont be dry before bed. So there is always a bit of a rush after breakfast.
So I trotted back to our cabin, empty laundry bag in hand and grinned at my cabin mate as I came thru the door.
“you haven’t put the washing on have you?” said my Norweigan chum.
silly question.
“yes, I swooped in there before the others, how good am i?!”
She then went on to explain that it was infact Wednesday and not Thursday as I had thought, which is our allocated washing day. This may not seem like a big deal to some but in the small confines of an Australian Ashram on a 27degree summers morn, believe me, it is.
“Oh no. ill go and tell Dawn.”
Dawn is the ‘leader’ of the cabin next door. This title had been allocated to herself, by herself. A lovely lady if somewhat scary, she sports a hefty looking sovereign style wedding ring, wears fetching sloganed sports wear, and apparently enjoys an alphabetically ordered library card system in her house at home, in which to lend books to her other accountant friends.
So skipped up the wobbly wooden steps to her much larger cabin than ours and pushed the hammock aside to peek thru the door. She was in mid conversation and glared at me over her compadreys shoulder.
“Hi Dawn!”
I twittered
“umm.. im really sorry but I thought it was Thursday and ive just put our washing on.”
Her face dropped like I had just wedged a Roald Dahl book back in the Rudyard Kipling section.
“well, we had a plan. We had a washing plan so that we could all do our sheets today you know!” she hissed thru gritted teeth.
“I know and im really sorry. I didn’t realise untill Siw just told me. But it will only take 25 mins and its still only 8.30am, so you have plenty of time.”
“That’s not the point, if you are going to use our washing day that’s fine but you should tell us.”
I had a firm feeling that it was not fine at all, and after apologising a further 2 times and having my offer to do their washing shot down, I left, seething quietly under my breath.
So now I sit here half slumped against the wall of my cabin, trying not to scratch any one of my 150 mozzie bites, typing away.
Damm I forgot to wash my sheets.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tuesday 10th March 09 – Byron Bay

Im sitting on my bed in my denim dungarees, relishing having the day off.
I was one of the ‘lucky’ few who got to have their end of level 1 assessment yesterday, which means I have the whole day off today to do…well not much really. Like some sort of prisoner of war, I have become so used to being told what to do, at what time, where to be and what to bring, that I am actually at a loss of things to do on my, far and few between, days off. I tell a lie, I actually have to go into town in a few hours to attend yet another yoga class and also to post my dear daddy his birthday card, which, may I add proudly, I made myself, and also a gift for a dear friend of mine.
One of the girls has cracked under the pressure and has decided to move out of the compound. This sent a ripple of shock thru the camp, and sent us all clucking around like hens, adding our 2 cents worth to the conversation when ever it was mentioned.
I think its great for her, especially as I think she finds it hard being on top of each other 24 hours a day. I am very jealous but am defiantly holding her to her promise that I can go round and enjoy, an agreed, much missed luxury, of a sofa, whenever I like.
The rest of us are getting on surprisingly well. A few, shall we call them ‘fakers’ have emerged from the wood work, whom we have all agreed are putting on a bit of a show for the rest of us which hasn’t been received too well, but apart from that, we are having quite a good time. The evenings have drawn a small group of girls away from their dark dingy rooms, down to the bottom of the garden to our lighter, cooler cabin with a guitar, and we have whiled away many hours singing songs together like some incredibly flexible, hot pant wearing girl guides.
Most of my fellow yoginis on site have, by now, met the ever illusive Unyun. My dear and beloved 24 year old toy rabbit that now looks, as Siw so kindly put it “like a pig/hippo thing”, and they have all been very kind and gentle to him. I however did abuse my battered bunny in a most careless way just the other morning. I was rushing to get to class on time and couldn’t find a book I needed so was tearing my room apart in a frantic bid to find the blasted tome. As I frumfed the duvet up into the air in a cloud of sand, ants and skin dust, Unyun went flying thru the air with a bemused look on his one button eyed face, and landed head first in my camomile tea!
“Unyun!!” I screamed surprisingly loudly, as my cabin mate rushed in to see how big the snake was that I was obviously screaming at.
I felt awful as I lifted the soggy, water logged lapin from my mug and wrung him out. He then spent the rest of the day pegged to the washing line giving me evil looks every time I scuttled past trying to avert my gaze. We have, however, made friends again now and it turns out it was a blessing in disguise, as he now has a faint aroma of camomile and honey ingrained down his left side. I’ve said it before, and ill say it again “every cloud…”
I have another reason for such a good mood today, my beloved boy has just informed me he has officially booked his flight to come and visit me next weekend. As soon as I received the news I skipped, bare foot, down the road to the Beach House hotel and booked a room for 2 nights so we can have our own little love nest away from the tofu and incense sticks. I am so excited!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Totally forgot to mention to check out

Friday 6th March 09 – Byron Bay.

I cant believe its the end of another week. Week 3 to be precise, only 4 more to go. Everyone said it would go fast, but I always put those comments in the “does my bum look big in this?” box, ie they are lying to you.
I taught my very first class this very morn, well I shared it with 3 others girls so we all had 20mins each in which to embarrass our selves in the most un glorious manner, in front of a room full of strangers trying desperately to get their very inflexible legs behind their heads. Que the sound of straining underpants and bulging eyebulbs. But it went well surprisingly. I actually enjoyed it in a sick “what the hell am I doing” kind of way.
I even got a hug at the end from one of the slightly more flexible men that attended. This, I was not expecting but still, I accept every comment and criticism with open arms (literally, so it seems) so I guess that counts as positive feedback, and Matt, the young man in question, seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself, launching into each pose with a refreshing gusto that my fellow trainees lack somewhat at this point.
Silver has just swaggered in again to see me, and has taken up his usual spot in my suitcase full of clothes to bed down for an afternoon of snoozing in the sun. Hard life aint it. I am slowly falling in love with this self centred, lazy sloth of a creature. Like a slightly abusive boyfriend, he never pays me a jot of attention unless he wants his daily dose of affection or, more often than not, food, but somehow this has me still cooing “morning baby” when he saunters thru my door at 6 in the morning, after a hard night on the boardwalk, chasing frogs and hanging out round the kitchen to be thrown a scrap or two.
I have just finished up another heart wrenching phone call to my beloved boy. I miss him more each day and, tho I love our nightly chats, I cant help but be sickeningly jealous of the ‘normal’ life his is living in Sydney. Going for dinner with friends, the theatre, the movies, things that all at once seem like a life time ago. Even found myself tearing up when he said he was waiting for a bus.
He is coming to visit me in a week or two so, like a prisoner, I will be counting down the days until he arrives.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The weather beaten boardwalk, crime scene to many a stubbed toe and squashed frog. The view from my cabin.

Inside my ant and sand filled cabin.

Not sure why this ones up, thing i liked the steps!

Tuesday 3rd March 09 – Byron Bay

My feet are falling apart. Like a bad haircut, living a shoeless life has a certain faze one must go thru before obtaining a smooth, Mouwri like unfoot area. Mine feel like someone has krept in my room in the night with a rusty cheese grater, and mistaken my poor, unloved soles, for a wedge of parmesan.
I also have a feeling that I may be the illusive verooka culprit whom I have heard whispers about around camp, as I laugh in the face of those who don thongs (flip flops) to take a shower.
You have to admit that the image of a young, leggy, yoga toned, barefooted beauty, skipping gaily to take her mourning douche, is somewhat shattered when you bring a pair of grotesque, rubber shoes that make the most teeth grinding noise into the picture, and no matter how hard you try, you wont be skipping anywhere but into the nearest ditch.
I sit here with one ear phone in, plugged into my dear Topoll waiting for the joyous noise that means my beloved boy has come on line to have a good ol Skype. Note, this is the closest form of affection I have had in 3 weeks so is some what exciting to one cooped up with 24 females, 24 hours a day.
But lo, it seems he has more exciting plans as our ‘date’ was scheduled for 8pm and it is now 8.25.
I fear I have been stood up.
So now I will leave my slightly sandy, ant filled cabin, to dart across the garden brandishing my torch, the only weapon I have to protect against the snakes, frogs and wilder beasts, to meet my dear friend Becky to practice our yoga for tomorrows assessment where I will be told if I am ‘competent’ or ‘not yet competent’.
I think I know the answer already.