Archive for June, 2008

Parting ways.

At the last minute, Sybille ignored the German part of her and decided to move out of the apartment. She put up an ad for her room, found a new place to stay, signed the lease, and signed the papers releasing her share of this apartment to some random Korean dude, effective 1st July. She did all this in a day, today, before leaving for Europe for the holidays tomorrow.

This whole thing has felt like a bad break up, stemming from an easily avoidable misunderstanding, which grew way out of proportion into a full-blown cold war, a close-the- door-in- your-face, you-avoid- me-I-avoid- you-back, oh-fine- don’t-say-hello-to- me-you-wench, Thing; which died down eventually, in favour of a silent confrontation. I say silent confrontation because the entire ‘argument’ took place via email, which included smileys and teary (or so I imagine) confessions of you’re-the- best-flatmate-I-ever- had-even-though-I-was-g rumpy, let’s-be-friends -even-after-we-move-out, oh-how-I-loved -living-with-you- and-I’ll-miss- you-so-much.

The random Korean dude will move in on the 1st of July, I think, which is when the apartment I was interested in (has potential, right in the heart of the city) is available. Said random Korean dude has a friend to take over my share of the lease a week or two later. It looks like things are working out, and may possibly be the best thing to happen to us.

Tonight, as Sybille frantically packs – both to go home and to move out – is our last night together as flatmates.

We went to the supermarket earlier to ask for boxes. Ended up with five boxes each, formerly home to bananas and potatoes. The boxes didn’t actually fold, so they were stacked on top of each other, my stack coming up above my head and I had to carry them sideways to see where I was going.

We made dinner, watched The Simpsons, talked.

Afterwards, around midnight, she knocked on my door to ask if I wanted to go to uni with her, to return some books to the library.

“Only if you want to, because I can go by myself,” she said.

Of course it crossed my mind that the library would be closed, at midnight, but I thought it’d be nice to go for a walk. It was always a Sybille thing to do, taking random walks around campus at midnight, usually to talk about random things and laugh at possum sounds that scare the crap out of me. Since the cold war started it’s been a while since we did so, and it was nice to talk again.

Of course the library was closed.

“I’ll really miss our random walks,” she said.

And I said “Yeah.” But I really mean ‘Me too.’


Tonight we’re working out who keeps what, of the random things we bought together. Tomorrow I’ll decide on the apartment I’ll move into. And hopefully, someday, my flatmate and I can be friends again.

And hopefully, hopefully, after all the packing and dividing is done, we’ll be so sleep deprived it wouldn’t even cross our minds to cry.

(Stupid, juvenile fun, like blue tongues.)

Because despite (or maybe because of) everything, she really is the best flatmate I ever had, too.


24 June, 2008 at 11:36 pm 3 comments

A visitor!

Guess what guess what.

Syira’s coming to visit me tomorrow!!


Omg omg it will be so much fun. Thhhheriously. 🙂

Stay tuned for retarded cam-whoring pictures, stories about Shopping Way Too Much, and in all probability, getting sick of each other after a day. This should be interesting.


24 June, 2008 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment

The interview.

On Thursday, in the midst of my cold war with the flatmate, I had to go for an interview (or, as it is called in my head, The Massive Decider of How I Would Meet My Doom). I had been worrying (or, more accurately, FREAKING OUT) all week about it, because 1) I’d never been to an interview in 3 years or so, 2) I’d never done an interview in Oztraylia, 3) this is a very cool internship that I really really want, and 4) I have a habit of placing my entire self worth on events such as this.

To top it all off, the interview was conducted by a Branch of Government (big deal: business attire + Those Shoes I Never Wear, compulsory), with three other Seniors from various media organizations. Two days before the interview, I got an email telling me where to go: corner of Colins and Sprung* Streets, as well as the names and details of the Interviewing Panel, which I had meant to google, but decided not to. This information will be relevant later on, so it would be good if you pay attention.

Thursday morning, I set my alarm at 9 (really, really early by Nadia’s Standards) and the interview was at 11:15.

Nadia snoozes for half an hour.

Nadia wakes up in full-blown dread at 9:30, switches on computer, makes coffee and takes a shower.

After her shower, she leans over the tub to reach for her towel, as she does every day, after every shower. This time, however, she slips, falls forward, and lands with her knees and elbows tangled together, precisely on the curve of the bathtub where, if you drop a bar of soap, it would slide to the other end of the tub, with the sound effect swiissh. Nadia, being slightly heavier than a bar of soap, slides back and forth in the tub, at least three times, with the sound effect squeeg, squeeg, squeeg. She stays in the tub for a second with the shock of the fall, half expecting more squeegs to come, then she gets up, not noticing the bruise on her leg that’s about to appear, and thinks, “Huh. Isn’t inertia funny?”

At 10, Nadia checks the relevant email again, confirming the address of the interview. Then she decides she really should print out those articles Mom had sent her via email, for the purposes of showing them off to the Interviewing Panel. Nadia is torn between asking the flatmate if she could use her printer in the midst of a cold war, or taking 10 minutes to walk to the nearest printing shop and doing it there. Decides that decision could wait while she dries her hair.

At 10 past 10, Nadia decides to go to the printing shop. Gets stuff printed.

At 10:30 Nadia gets on the tram with 45 minutes to get to the city. Plenty of time!



Just before 11, there was a great conspiracy involving all the trams on Colins Street. They’ve all decided to be simultaneously late, and mysteriously unavailable.

With little more than 5 dollars in her wallet, Nadia decides to hop in a taxi.

Now this is where Nadia makes Colossal Mistake Number One. Pay attention now, you ready?

With full confidence and near perfect enunciation, she tells the taxi driver to go to the corner of Colins and Spence Streets*. Which is the wrong street altogether. Which is, coincidentally, the other side of town.


At the corner of Colins and Spence I asked the taxi driver (Hussein from Egypt, nice guy) where the Relevant Street was. He didn’t know, so we checked the massive Melburn Directory together, and realized it was on the other side of the map. Did you know, it takes a lot of time to get from one side of the city to the other? Well it does, you’ll have to take my word for it. Of course all the traffic lights were red and all the other cars on the road were being stupid, all involved in the Great Conspiracy Against Nadia. But Hussein gave me a pep talk for my interview, and wrote an Arabic word on both my palms, ‘to give me calm and courage’. He drove me to the other side of town, without any charge. Then he wished me luck, and I was relatively calmer, but I was already 8 minutes late.

I walked in the interview room, hair frazzled, panting, trying to smile but more possibly squirming, oh gawd oh gawd four pairs of eyes staring at me.

I apologized for being late, in the most charming way I could muster, while the butterflies in my stomach made babies and multiplied themselves to a million times infinity.

To their credit, the Panel was nice, and smiled, and told me to catch my breath and “Relax, you’re here now.”

Then the questions began.


For the purposes of Not Jinxing It, I won’t detail the questions or my answers here. Suffice to say I answered most sufficiently, with minor stumbles and mental blanks.

An embarrassing moment came when one of them asked what, in my opinion, was the biggest news story of the day. I had to admit that I hadn’t had the chance to read the news that day. (But a few days ago, blah blah blah).

I was also asked if I’d noticed any positive portrayals of Muslims in the media (we had been talking about negative portrayals earlier). And I said I hadn’t noticed any in the news, but there is a breakthrough television show on the Public Channel called Salaam Corner*. There is an approving smile and nod from the Interviewing Panel… I feel assured that it was the right answer.

(Note: Salaam Corner is a panel format talk show which tries to portrays Muslims as intelligent and with a sense of humour, but in my opinion it tries way too hard.)

One guy in the panel remarked, with a smile, “That’s a terrible show!”

And I said something along the lines that I agree, the idea was good, but the execution could’ve been better, but maybe I wasn’t the target audience because I don’t find it funny.

I said all this without realizing that the guy who said it…

is actually a panel member…

on the show.

And his remark was probably meant to be a joke, thinking that I knew who he was.

Soon after I said that, a click went off in my head that I’ve seen him somewhere before. Then my brain just went Owhhh…. SHIT!!

SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT Headdesk, headdesk, headdesk, melt to a puddle and die.


“Minor stumbles”, she says. COLOSSAL DOOMIFYING MISTAKES, she thinks.

When it was over I thanked them for meeting me, they said thanks for coming, and the Representative from Government walked me out, and on the way out I saw the next candidate already waiting outside, in his business suit and business shoes, 15 minutes early, making me look bad, the bastard. In the lift the Government Lady asked what happened, why was I late, and I told her the story and showed her my hands. She laughed and was sympathetic. Then we shook hands, said goodbye, and she said I would get a call within the next two weeks if successful or not.

It wasn’t until I was already at a safe distance awaaaay from the building that I realized: I didn’t even remember to show them my articles that I’d printed earlier.

And it took a Japanese lunch with Chris, Chris and Linda, and another couple of days of junk food, bubbles and muzak, before I could even mention the interview without physically going Headdesk, headdesk.


Oh well.

And now, I guess we wait. Whatever happens, happens, and I tried my best under the circumstances. It would be awesome if I get this internship, but if not, I will try not to be completely devastated. Also, if I do get it, I think I will take out an ad in the local paper thanking Hussein from Egypt, who drove me across town for free, and wrote Arabic words on my hands, to give me calm and courage.

9 June, 2008 at 12:25 pm 3 comments

Uncharted territory.

We’ve entered uncharted territory: a fight with the flatmate.

Over the last few days I’ve come to realize a very fundamental part of myself and Sybille.

It is in my nature to give in, always. I think maybe this has to do with being a big sister, which involves the ability to recognize when someone is less mature than myself, and the patience to let them grow in their own time. I think it maybe has something to do with my dislike of conflicts or confrontations of any kind.

On the other hand, it is in Sybille’s nature to take, always. And I would always give in, because I couldn’t be bothered to disagree, and all this worked fine for over a year, we had amusing times and got along great. The kitchen was always kept clean, the living room was filled with things she wanted to buy at Ikea (all of which I paid half for) and the hallway was filled with pictures of her and her friends (which I thought was narcissistic, but couldn’t be bothered minding). We still became good friends; she could always count on me to check her essays or lend a supportive ear, and I would always have someone to watch Desperate Housewives with. All was fine, until a misunderstanding last Saturday triggered in me a great wave of all the things she did that annoyed me, followed by a deafening pang of I-am-so-stupid-for-taking-all-that-crap.

On Saturday night, she wanted to go to a birthday party. But before that, she wanted to get a pizza and a dvd. We had Mariam and Chris over. I paid half for the pizza (because if I hadn’t, she wouldn’t have gotten it, even though I didn’t want it, classic Nadia Giving In Scenario) and after a “discussion” at the video store, we came to a “unanimous decision” to get a particular movie, which of course she’d wanted all along.

All was fine; the movie was watched, the pizza was eaten. And then she decided she didn’t want to go to the birthday party alone.

She asked Mariam (the second most anti-social person on the planet, after me) to go with her. Mariam didn’t want to, but said she would if I went as well. Better to be anti-social together, maybe. So Sybille asked (by which I mean not the least bit politely) me to go.

Since Chris was over and she had canceled her own plans that night to hang out, I thought it was incredibly unfair that Sybille had asked me or Mariam in the first place, at the very last minute before she wanted to leave.

Now, if it was aaaanyone else, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Anyone else would ask half-heartedly, maybe out of politeness, Heyy do you wanna go to this party? No? Okay then, see ya later!

But because it was Sybille, it was a matter of What It Means To Be A Good Friend. Come with me to this party! Pleeeease! I know you don’t like parties and don’t even know the person whose birthday it is, but you have to, HAVE to come with me because That’s What Friends Do! PLEEAAAASE?!

I said no anyway. But because Mariam had agreed, I didn’t want her to suffer alone. So I reached a pursed-lips-compromise with Chris; she would work on the computer, I’d go along to the party and be back in a couple of hours.

I’d already gotten dressed, and then Sybille, in a hissy fit, suddenly called Mariam and told her that I didn’t want to go and she didn’t have to either. “It’s fiiine,” she said, in a most victimly manner, “I can go by myself.”

And then, as if we had done something wrong, “It’s supposed to be a fun night, not one (whines) full of drama.”

Like, hello? Excuse me? As if we had ruined her night?


And this just annoyed me so much we’ve barely spoken ever since. I’ve mostly been out of the house, at friends’ places, on their couches. Two days ago I went home, said hello and she said hi, very curtly. Eventually I asked if she’s mad at me. She said yes, but she wanted to talk about it tomorrow (Tuesday).

I knew her boyfriend was coming over on Tuesday and we probably won’t talk, so I opted to leave the house again.

Yesterday I sent her an email explaining my side of the story and detailing most the things that upset me.

I don’t like being expected to be available for her every whim. I don’t like being told to clean the kitchen. I don’t like being made uncomfortable in my own home. I don’t mind the pictures, the traces-of-Sybille everywhere (her calendar in the kitchen, her pictures on the walls) but then don’t remove my things from the dining table and put them in my room, just because you happen to be cleaning at the time. I don’t mind your loud (bad hip-hop) music in the afternoons but then don’t tell me to turn down my music. I don’t mind you using my slippers without asking– hold, on.. actually, I DO mind, very much. And for gawdssake get your own reading lamp.


I sent her the email, she hasn’t replied, and I hate the idea of going home tonight, but I kinda have to.

I kinda have to go back to the apartment tonight, because I have an interview tomorrow.

The interview is for a media internship program, launched by a branch of government, and if successful, I will be working in a journalistic role, under supervision in a mainstream media outlet.

The interview will be conducted by a panel of five, consisting of senior management professionals from four big media organizations.

I kinda hyperventilate every time I think about it.

Watch me get so nervous I can’t sleep, and then show up to the interview with bloodshot eyes, possibly stopping at every bathroom on the way to throw up.


4 June, 2008 at 2:35 pm 5 comments