Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Service off-air

I'm readjusting, which is proving to be an adventure in itself. Tune in here.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

End of the road

I'm back, if you can call it that as I'm not sure what to or where.... but I'm in the UK, or to be more precise, at my Dad's house in Montrose. What a journey. Ten hours late into Edinburgh after my first plane's left engine failed on take off and my second plane pottered around in Atlanta for a little while, causing me to miss the next onward connection north. It took around 30 hours which I think is longer than the flight to New Zealand! But it did mean I went into Paris yesterday morning; I headed to the river and to Notre Dame on what was a beautiful spring day. Here are the pics.

The first thing that hit me was how busy the streets were, there were people everywhere. After five months in the land of the motor car, it was a real joy to see all the street life. I've missed it so much. Just walking around the streets of the Ile de France, you can sense all the history and culture. And there's so much style. Instead of an enormous cookie-dough blizzard ice-cream in a plastic cup from Dairy Queen, you get real glace, one small scoop in a waffle cone, served from a small cafe on a street corner where you can stop and watch the world go by.
I love Europe. I got used to Salt Lake, but it's not a city, it's a 30 mile long suburban sprawl with a few malls dotted here and there. Here are a few biased pictures to illustrate my point, including drive-through ATMs. They should be banned! Truly, you never really have to leave your car in Salt Lake.

There's a saying, I think attributed to George Bernard Shaw: "we are two nations, divided by a common language." I reckon there's way more that divides us than just the language. It's been interesting to live in the most individualistic country in the world - and I say that having lived in predominantly Mormon Utah. I'd love to see more of the USA. It's just so vast. I can understand why less than 30% of Americans hold passports: just seeing and knowing their own country would take a long time. I found some interesting comments on this when trying to find the exact stat for US passport holders, have a read if you're interested. I agree with Johnathan.

And so, there ends the adventures for now, although I do feel there will be more to come in the not too distant future. It's been so interesting. Life-changing, no; perspective-altering, most definitely. I guess that shift in perspective has the potential to be life-changing though. We shall see!

So, time for a new blog; it's going to be about the attempted rehabilitation into 30 something life. I'm going to need something to occupy my time whilst unemployed in Montrose, so just indulge me..... this is where the fun really begins! http://hannahgsrehab.blogspot.com/

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Being 35

Feeling reflective this morning. Everyone else is still asleep, I've been woken up by the smoke alarm "peeping". I'm just trying to isolate which one of them is doing the peeping as I sip the last of the coffee.

I'm working this afternoon, got another 3 days up at Snowbird and then a couple of days to pack up before I fly out. So it's all pretty much over and I will begin my return to 30 something life in less than a week.

I can't believe I'm 35 and still behaving like a rock star. I was given this label earlier in the week by a very lovely guy called Ben and I like it. There's been a little bit of misbehaving since my birthday and it's been so much fun, I'll always have it in me.

And it's got me thinking: age really is a state of mind. If I compare life now to four years ago, although I'm making about ten times less than I did in London, I haven't really worried much about money for a year. I know I need to make some again, but it doesn't keep me awake at night. Nor have I worried about Mr Right/ Mr Wrong. Well, not strictly true, but the minor worries I've had about boys (boys being the operative word) are nothing compared to the hours I used to spend fretting about Rogan's lifestyle and how I was going to cope with it. I'm bored senseless at work but I no longer feel it defines who I am; there is no longer the continual sense of failure for not being a "professional" i.e. a doctor or a lawyer or something requiring blood, sweat and tears to qualify. And as for flat prices, I think they've been mentioned in passing, but no more than that. Mind you, I'm still worrying about how fat I'm getting, that anxious behaviour persists and probably always will, it's what I do to try and have some control.

I wonder how long it will take for me to get back into the full-blown anxious groove. I hope I won't go there but I know just how easily we mould ourselves to fit the environments we find ourselves in.

I think I'm going to start a new blog when I get back, something about assimilating into real life when I have none of the trappings I should have by this age. Might provide an outlet for that anxiety if I turn it into something humorous!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Road trip to the desert

I'm going to let the pictures speak for themselves. Really, there is so much more to the US than rampant consumerism and you don't have to look too far to find it. We've been to 3 national parks in the last few days, the Arches, the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon. Truly spectacular. The camping was fun too although I will be pleased to get to my own bed tonight!

There was more than one moment where I was delighted to have my down sleeping bag and thermarest. Probably the best one though was seeing Spencer emerge this morning, having got up three times during the night to blow up his 3 dollar lilo. Oh my, he looked a very unhappy boy.... Lots more pics here.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Mormon Mums on meth?

I'm at home tonight feeling a bit hot and woozy. Hoping some Airborne will fight it off, that and the slug of Canadian whiskey. So I thought I'd share my thoughts on the latest crazy Utah story; the high incidence of drug use in the Mormon State.

My friend Jane's mum is head teacher at an elementary school in St George, South Utah, and she has been specially trained to detect signs of meth use in her staff. Apparently, meth abuse can happen amongst Mormon women in particular. What other drug allows you to stay awake for days so you can manage to be the perfect Mormon wife and look after your husband and many high-achieving children? I've been looking for evidence to support this anecdote but so far can't find much. It sounds like a bit of myth, although the incidence of meth use amongst women in Utah does appear to be high. The state ranks 2nd nationally for the percentage of females arrested who test positive for meth. But I'm sure they're not the religious married Mums.

One of the entries in urban dictionary defines Utah as: "home of the 4 Ms. Mormons, meth labs, mountains and mini-vans." Funny.

What I am more willing to believe is the abuse of prescription drugs amongst these women. They're acceptable. You go to your doctor to get them. They help you get through the day. Wasn't Valium always mother's little helper? And doctors just encourage the use of medication. I found this extract in a Mormon magazine.

My friend recently went for a physical and her doctor said her problems were stress-related. He suggested a muscle relaxant and a tranquilizer.

Isn't it a crazy world when we think that some pills are going to cover up what's actually going on? Well, they do. But that's all they do. The problems are still there.

The article then goes on to advise: Look for ways to get to the source of your problem instead of covering the symptoms with medication. {My friend} declined medication and instead tried relaxation tapes, meditation, and counseling which helped get the underlying problems under control. She also finds daily walks therapeutic and has decreased the number of commitments that were causing her stress. Jan Jones said that watching a river or the waves on the lake is wonderful therapy for her. Hobbies such as ceramics or water-color are also good. Mary Smith said, “I used to be so caught up in service I ignored my own needs. Now I add to my list the question ‘what am I doing for me?’ A little pampering is a must for any woman! “

Now, whether ceramics is really the answer is another question.... but what is good about a religion that encourages perfection and overdosing on good deeds? You have to look after yourself before you can look after others.

Doing my homework for this also led me to this blog, Living Behind the Zion Curtain. In this entry, she's talking about the church's campaign against alcopops, amongst other things. I liked this bit in particular.

FYI, the above article I quoted notes that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined THE FIGHT AGAINST ALCOPOP. I swear, what would we do without the Mormons? Meth use is RAMPANT in Utah, but by all means put your very large, very rich shoulder behind the INHERENT DANGERS of alcopop, which despite anyone’s belief is VERY STRONGLY REGULATED, and forget that children are being raised in hazardous waste bins–aka homes that are used for meth labs–in a very REAL and actually dangerous phenomenon. Where is the LDS CHURCH in the fight against METH? How about the fight against AIDS or CANCER?

No, by all means, let’s take a stance against alcopop.


Friday, 21 March 2008

Never mind the what, let's just deal with the where...

My navel-gazing at what I'm going to do next has of course produced some interesting commentary, which is really making me laugh.

Why do we humans have a tendency to look at things as black and white, as absolutes, when they are almost always shades of grey?

I definitely do this. I wanted to share Greig's thoughts on location which are still making me laugh now. He is of course correct.

All I can say is it's not necessarily london = decadence, the mother country = healthy living, and certainly not much sign of healthy living during my sweep of the 'hotties' galumping around Glasgow Central yesterday... HANNAH GRANT YOU'D BE APPALLED!!! Or are you going to tell me you've become less judgemental during Utah time?

Of course I haven't.

I've met this great guy from Bridge of Don here, he's spent time in Peterhead and Fraserburgh, he grew up in the north-east too. And of course it's not all rolling hills and fishing communities and ceilidhs. Oh no. The north-east of Scotland has one of the biggest heroin problems in Europe. Lee knows a couple of people who've died from shooting up. That's the reality. Poverty, boredom, few aspirations in life..... a life on the rigs or on the boats followed by blowing it all on a cheap escape when they're back on shore.

Maybe Brighton is indeed a better option for a bleeding heart liberal like me. (That's the Republican view of my politics!)

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

What next?

All I can think about at the moment is that I'll be back home in another 6 weeks or so. And then what on earth am I going to do? Something shifted after the Vegas trip: before then I was fully engrossed in the fairy mountain world experience, life had shifted down to a simple pattern of work/ski/work/ski/a few beers/'hang out' /ski/ repeat. I think part of the thrill with skiing is you get so focused on it that you forget there's a world outside the mountain.

But there is, and it's rapidly approaching. At the moment it feels a little bit like this. A huge black hole. I'm scared as opposed to excited, although that does depend on how tired and emotional I'm feeling. A little less emotional at the moment because I cut out the source of the confusion post-Vegas (Tamsin: I know that last post was boring... and so obviously a gloss! I've been forgetting I'm not 25 anymore.)

I'm not even sure what I want. I've had enough of the transient travelling life - yet again, I've met some wonderful people here and yet again, I'm leaving them. It's too heart-breaking to continue. At the same time, the thought of the end of the adventures seems so dull.

I guess the trick is to view the next part of life as an adventure too as I try to get settled somewhere other than London, most likely the motherland. It makes sense. Outdoor living, my little nephew, all my siblings and my Mum and Dad are there. And I'm sure I'll be able to drag the urbanites up for some weekends of healthy living. Or they'll drag me down to the smoke for weekends of decadence which is more likely as I try and fail to live up to my self-imposed good girl standards.

What am I going to do when I can't ski 5 days a week? I've been so spoilt. I couldn't do this forever though; it's far too self-indulgent. Life is bigger than just me and what I want to do.

In a month's time, Toby would have been 30. I've been thinking about him a lot recently and about the whole Borneo experience. I'm not quite sure why I was spared and he died. He was way more committed to doing something bigger than him than I am! I think the universe got that choice wrong somewhere.... well, we'll see. I promised myself I'd make my time on this earth count after being with him when he died, and the time is approaching to fulfill that in some way.

So, answers on a postcard please!