Dear Australia, we need to talk…

So I’ve been mulling over this for a few days, wondering if I should or shouldn’t post this. A quick disclaimer, this post isn’t up beat like most of my others – it’s rather the opposite in fact. The event that I’m about to talk about brought about a range of feelings for me – fear, anger, disgust, sadness and disappointment, just to make a few. I don’t want to make this about something that happened to me either, because as I’m sure you’ll understand, I’m certainly not unique in this circumstance.

Something happened on the weekend, something that shouldn’t happen, to anyone, ever, wherever they are, under any circumstances what so ever.

I was at a music festival on Saturday and let’s just say it wasn’t the nicest of days – mud everywhere, wind constantly whipping around and rain continually falling from the dark clouds above. That didn’t mean that it wasn’t a brilliantly fun day – just marred by a few blemishes from Mother Nature! That being said, there was also something else that detracted from all the good stuff. Here’s what happened.
Like I said, it was raining, so in a last ditch attempt to stop my hair getting too wet, I wrapped my heavy scarf around my head and over my hair. There it stayed for a while, without me giving it a second thought. That’s when it happened. I was waiting in the (insanely long) line for the toilet with a friend and I was approached – no, actually, I was rushed at, by a complete stranger – an incredibly inebriated young girl who, all of a sudden began pulling at my scarf. The words that were coming out of her mouth were heinous; “Take that scarf off your head, people will think you’re a Muslim – don’t be a Muslim, Islam is bad” – and on it went. A girl (who I guess was a friend of hers) halfheartedly appologised and tried to pull her away – but she came back. As she aggressively pulled at my scarf, which, in my panic I refused to remove, she yanked at my hair, even pulling some clips out.

Just for context, this is the scarf and how I was wearing it (although I snapped this photo the following day, and yes I only half removed my make-up / face paint)
Just for context, this is the scarf and how I was wearing it (although I snapped this photo the following day, and yes I only half removed my make-up / face paint)

Immediately afterwards I was visibly shaken. Luckily my friend talked me down; “She’s obviously the kind of girl that gets her news from commercial TV and reads the Advertiser” – but that didn’t exactly help. The fact that anyone, regardless of how drunk and beyond their own inhibitions they were, would deem it okay to do that absolutely shocked me – especially a young, ‘normal’ enough seeming ‘lady’ – it was basically disgusting. Additionally, it thoroughly rattled me that this event coincided with ANZAC Day – a day on which we commemorate the sacrifices that were made in the past so that we could now live in a free country, filled with opportunity for all.

For me this really hit hard, you see three years ago I was fortunate enough to be selected to travel to Turkey (a secular nation whose predominant religion is Islam), and attend University with some amazing Turkish students. I spent ANZAC Day 2012 with them, and was able to learn about the experience of war from their perspective – not that different from ours, actually. I guess when I say ‘I have a lot of Muslim friends’ – it’s not just a token comment, it’s genuine. The guys and girls who I met in Turkey were some of the best people I’ve ever had the oppourtunity to work, and yes, party with – as I’m sure many uninformed Aussies may be surprised to learn, young Muslims aren’t that different to us. My friends and I danced the nights away in bars and clubs and my friends wouldn’t have been out of place at the music festival on Saturday – bar the attitudes of other attendees, that is. I pains me, in fact, that I just used the term ‘us’ to describe my group of people in order to differentiate us from the ‘other’ – because if I’ve learned anything, at the heart of the matter, we have a lot more in common with one another, than we have differences.

I don’t want this to be about ‘something that happened to me’ – because as a white Aussie, whose reason for having a scarf wrapped around my head has nothing to do with my religious belief, this didn’t have as much affect on me as it could have on others. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult, how horrible this would have been for any of my friends, who choose to remain covered due to religious or cultural beliefs – and just as much, I have many friends whose religious or cultural beliefs you wouldn’t be aware of unless they told you – as such, not knowing someones background does not excuse bigoted or insensitive behavior.
As educated Australians it is important to recognise that this isn’t who we are. That although one drunk girls idiotic behavior isn’t the reflection of our entire nation, it is the symptom of many under lying problems.

This should never have happened. I’m almost glad that it happen to me – like I said, better it happen to me than anyone in a more vulnerable position, however it just makes me deeply sad that any one would have such narrow minded thoughts in the first place. I’m not writing this because I want to be a voice for anyone else and I’m more than happy to be corrected however I do feel that when people act in a racist or bigoted manner, it is vital that we bring attention to it, talk about it and work together to try and stop it ever happening again.

With some of my amazing friends on the day.
With some of my amazing friends on the day.

The rap battle to end all others.

Sooooo the weather is coming in a little bit average – that cold wet stuff is falling from the sky and many people are retreating indoors, my friend Moe included. The other day, I ‘innocently’ tweeted him – something about catching up that night or what have you, however, possibly in this chilly, indoor induced boredom he took my friendly tweet as a threat. What followed was an intense all out rap battle (via Twitter). I feel that there was no clear winner (I’m saying this, but deep down I feel that I won) so I’m sharing this with the word to help find a winner. Feel free to comment and let me know who you think won – my comments are in bold (because I’m the boldest, duh). Also to help give you a better idea about who we are, see these pictures that help represent us – first up, Moe;

He’s the one in the Snow White one and all the ladies make-up, with the drunk guy passed out on top of him…
Here he is (once again) partially dressed in women’s clothing…the rest is just….frightening
Here he is, making fun of a culture that is not his own…what a jerk.
and here’s an image that may explain what happened to all those missing back packers…

And just to remind you of who I am….

Here I am, literally carrying another human person on my back, because I am just that selfless.
Here I am, voluntarily delivering an inspirational speech – it was so moving that at the end, a wheelchair bound woman who hadn’t walked for ten years took her first steps…
Look at me, I’m classy yet I am still ‘one of the people’…
This one time I brought a dead fox back to life, just by patting it.

Now without further ado, see below for the battle to begin…..

@MoeLiebelt pal, mate, friend, buddy you are so off the mark it’s not even funny

@AliNorts oh daymmmn dis turnin into a rap battle now?! Don’t put your ass on the line, you got no class, if class was in you’d be schooled

@MoeLiebelt ouch that burn was hot but you are not and your rhymes? Get with the times. Mess with me, you’ll fail the test.

@AliNorts test? Please. Don’t mess with the best. You wanna measure up? Get in line with the rest. I’ll watch from the top, feeling blessed

@MoeLiebelt the best you say, don’t make me laugh, your rhymes are so bad even street dogs barf who even writes em? Slave labour staff?

@AliNorts Slavery? That’s all u got? Time for the cot. U think your rhymes r pretty funny? I’ll send u to mummy she’ll give you your dummy

@MoeLiebelt you mentioned my mother, how bout I give a shout to your brother?! Even after tinnies he’s more coherent than you, do I stutter?

@AliNorts dunno if you stutter, nobody’ll notice. It’s me they want surely you know this? So please sit down, enjoy the show miss.

@MoeLiebelt a little bit of modesty can go a long way, it’s a lesson you better learn fast or this miss will make you pay.

@AliNorts miss I think you’re mistaken. These rhymes got you shakin’? Thanks for participatin, but it’s me you’ll be payin’

@MoeLiebelt it ain’t over til I say so, when I’m done you’ll be wailing like you subbed yo toe!

@AliNlorts u stil here? Thought I was alone. Bout time you were shown to the retirement home.

@MoeLiebelt says you old man! You tryin’ to give me the flip? I’m worried you’ll break a hip.

@AliNorts if you weren’t so young I’d flip you the bird. Now have you heard? It’s nap time, hush child, don’t say a word

@MoeLiebelt With youth on my side, I’ll take all your challenges in my stride. I’ll bring the truth and put a dent in your pride.

@AliNorts youth is fine, but on this stage youth ain’t worth a dime. You rhyme so bad it should be a crime deep down u know I ain’t lyin

@MoeLiebelt cut the bullshit and get to the point, I wanna throw your sad sorry ass, outta this joint.

@AliNorts lame, tame Alicia Jane. Don’t be a pain, go play in the rain.

@MoeLiebelt Moe rhymes with hoe, got spend that money on one named joe.

@AliNorts *rolls eyes, face palm* must your rhymes be so calm? All you get is burn like chillies in your lip balm

@MoeLiebelt you want crazy? Well I can go loco, you talentless little mofo.

@AliNorts your sanity we need not mention, knew u were crazy from the moment u stepped in, best step back out and quit your frettin

@MoeLiebelt I’ll never step back, I’ll never back down because unlike you I ain’t no clown.

@AliNorts true. I open my mouth, it’s laughter you’re hearin, but it ain’t at me, it’s for you they feelin

@MoeLiebelt bitch at what you even playin?! If you spoke less words maybe more girls you would be layin…..

@AliNorts and if you think less bout me layin and more bout your words you’d be more than just playin you’d be here to be heard

@MoeLiebelt hear me loud, hear me clear, if you don’t get a lady soon, we’ll start to think you’re queer

@AliNorts I hear hate speech, please mate don’t preach. Your homophobia ain’t adorable it’s dumb’n damn deplorable

@MoeLiebelt fine, for that I apologise but quit kiddin, no more lies. You need to get it together bro, not soon but pronto!

@AliNorts I’m together, I’m with it, you see for me the sky’s the limit. But from you I hear no wit just tired tit bits

@MoeLiebelt You call me tired? I’m wide awake and with what I could drop, you should be ready to quiver and shake.

@AliNorts a shake would be nice, and some fries. It’s comfortable here watching you try

@MoeLiebelt either way I”m doing better than you, it’s as if you’ve given up, admit defeat, you know it’s true.

@AliNorts I’m not defeated it’s you who’s retreated. You’re nothing more now than deflated and depleted

@MoeLiebelt please mother licker, I’m faster stronger and fitter, than you or anyone else who dares think they can rap quicker.

@AliNorts I spit quick running backwards up Lofty. So fit you can’t stop me, believe it, just watch me.

@MoeLiebelt think you can beat me, you’ll need more than your fitness, I’m whippin ya so good – just ask God, he’s my witness.

@AliNorts you can’t whip what you can’t catch. I’m so far ahead and you’re no match. Ain’t your fault, I’m the best of the batch

@MoeLiebelt attacking my skills? At least I pay my bills, I’m climbing up hills and returning loans on time, making me pretty damn sublime.

@AliNorts your skills? There’re none to attack. My accounts are all in the black. Get back to work, quit talking smack out your crack

@MoeLiebelt work you say? like it’s something u know, your lazy ass sitting out while you watch my rhymes flow, easy just like a Hindley hoe

@AliNorts I’ve never met a hoe from Hindley, nice to meet you, thank you kindly. You say you’re easy? Must charge a low feeeeeeeeee

@MoeLiebelt oh no you did not, you filthy foul rot – but I’m surprised, I see through your lies – aren’t those the gals giving you ur highs?

@AliNorts I don’t need no highs my skills tower over you. You think you’re all that but you got no follow through

@MoeLiebelt I would follow thru but i’m not into physical violence so when I hit u with my rhymes and I hear only silence that’s my triumph

@AliNorts your hits all miss, you’ve met your measure, but I’m here to educate, it’s my pleasure

@MoeLiebelt learning from you? Couldn’t think of anything worse! You’re so bad it makes me wanna curse!

@AliNorts listen fool you’re being schooled. So far you’ve just drooled, at your feet it’s pooled and every rhyme you’ve spat I’ve overruled

@MoeLiebelt You’ve had your fun, but it’s time this battle was won, admit defeat, son you’re all done – back to mummy you should run

@MoeLiebelt You been silent a while, looks like I’ve won by a mile! I’ll see ya at 5.30 for dinner, then you can gaze on a winner!

@AliNorts she’s stupider she’s from Jupiter

@MoeLiebelt he’s a prick apparently he has a small dick

So who do you think won? Comment below or tweet either of us #rapbattle to let us know!

Running up that hill

Over the weekend I ran up a hill. No not metaphorically like this;

But that was as good an excuse as any to have a sing along – I mean who doesn’t love a bit of Kate Bush? I know that I’ll always feel all the feels as I ponce around to her tunes – I mean I’m more into Babooshka but we’ll save that for another time. Now that we’re past that I should probably confess that most of the running actually occurred when we were going downhill, and I’m gonna go with it being more of a mountain than a hill (if only to make myself feel better)…

If you’re from Adelaide, you’ll know what I’m talking about – the old Mt Lofty climb, sure it’s no Everest but it’s just as busy – if not more so (based on my extensive knowledge of the foot traffic on Everest *cough*). For the young and young at heart, the fit and the non-so fit, the Lorna Jane clad and the curiously clothed (yes, I saw a dude wearing skinny jeans and a chick in a maxi dress and runners) this fitness trend is one that all Adelaide-ians seem to be getting around. You’re hard pressed to find a car park at Waterfall Gully -a.k.a base camp, so you might need to park a bit further away and extend your journey a bit – but that shouldn’t really matter if you’re there for the fitness. If it’s just a selfie at the top of the hill for your Instagram account (with the words #blessed and #fitspo in the description) that you’re after then you might just want to drive to the top – yes, that is actually an option, although you may be forgiven for thinking otherwise considering how busy the path can get. This walk isn’t one for the faint hearted. Sure, by all means give it a go – but don’t come crying to me when your legs feel more like jelly than human flesh and even the most basic daily tasks are an arduous chore. I mean you can, but I won’t be giving you sympathy.
I should know – my weekend stroll was my first attempt in around three years – it took that long for the trauma to fade. Sure, my friend and I took the long way (via Chambers Gully) and yes we did actually run down part of it, so I have no one to blame except myself but let me have a moment…MY WHOLE BODY WANTED TO CRY TEARS OF PAIN FROM EVERY WHERE IN THE AFTERMATH OF THIS ‘WALK’.
So now we’ve dealt with that, let me say that it is indeed a lovely walk – a bitch to every leg muscle (and some other muscles as well actually…) but whatever. I do like to think I’m fairly fit, so please don’t judge me too much for my little whinge. I’ll do it again but lemme say a few things first;

People (mainly ladies) who are nearing the top, wearing full make-up and barely a drop of sweat – SCREW YOU

People – some as old as my grandparents, overtaking 24 year old me as I crawl to the top – SCREW YOU

The ones with beats pumping in their skulls, tackling it on their own – SCREW YOU

Annnnnnd I guess it’s time to be adult because when I say ‘screw you’, it’s actually ‘good on you, you’re flippin awesome’ – it’s just that when you’re covered in sweat, every muscle is screaming out in pain and your stomach is rumbling with hunger pains, then ‘screw you’ seems to be the best response to anyone coping better than you. Except for the women wearing full faces of make-up, they actually need to check themselves before they, y’know, wreck themselves.

Call me crazy but you know what? I think I might do it again next week – or at least some kind of physical exercise…stay tuned for more (and yes, I will also do a write up of The Art of Asking at some point…)

The view from the top of Mt Lofty - not too shabby at all!
The view from the top of Mt Lofty – not too shabby at all!

I’m going to tell you a secret…

I just got back from Melrose and I’m already fantasising about going straight back. Melrose, never heard of it? That’s okay, I’m sure you’re not alone – it’s one of South Australia’s best kept secrets.
I can’t remember the first time I went there – it would have been when I was pretty young. My parents have always loved this little gem of a town – and who can blame them?! It’s about a three hour drive from Adelaide, located in the Southern Flinders Ranges with a population of no more than 500. Idyllic, spiritual, relaxing, warm and inviting are words that spring to mind when describing this gorgeous town – but it’s also absolutely thriving. As a mecca for the Australian mountain biking community with some of the best (so I’m told) trails in the country, barely a weekend goes by when there aren’t tourists in town for that very reason. Expertly supported by the team from Over The Edge, mountain biking is going great guns in this town. This is the thing, (apart from the general serenity) that drew my parents here. Just over a year and a half ago, my somewhat unconventional parents decided to have a bit of a ‘tree change’ – sell up their near city home, quit their jobs and move up to Melrose full time.

Isn't it glorious? The view from atop one of the nearby hills
Isn’t it glorious? The view from atop one of the nearby hills
Tiff making her way across the swinging bridge as we adventured off!
Tiff making her way across the swinging bridge as we adventured off!

It’s been a bit of a process, it certainly hasn’t happened over night – there’s been a lot of hard work, sacrifice, sweat, tears and deliberation throughout the journey (which is still a real work in progress) however things are finally starting to take some kind of recognisable state. Many of their friends have called them crazy – why sell up a successful business and a nice house, quit a good job and move three hours out of the city?! Especially now the kids have finally moved out?! Good thing my parents don’t pay too much heed to the opinions of others – if they did then they probably wouldn’t be chasing their dreams and how dull life would be! Mum and Dad are planning to build accommodation specifically for mountain bikers – Dad can go on epic rides every day and Mum can indulge some of her artistic talents (she’s always been fantastic at whatever art or craft project she decides to take on; spray painting, stenciling, water colour, lead lighting – the list is almost endless! )

Mum and Dad's yard - there is still work to be done but I have no doubt it will be amazing before we know it!
Mum and Dad’s yard – there is still work to be done but I have no doubt it will be amazing before we know it!
Did I mention that they fed us well too?!
Did I mention that they fed us well too?!

Me? I’m stoked. I can go on holidays to one of the most beautiful little towns in the world (big call, but valid) and I’ve got parents who aren’t afraid to do what makes them happy – which is surprisingly rare in a society where people are constantly striving to impress one another with their new boat, fancy sports car or new fangled electronic device. They’re bold and brave but certainly not crazy. Inspiring is a word that springs to mind. Sure, they don’t know that it’s going to work out but they’ve got a drive and passion that many would kill for. I envy the faith that they have in themselves to follow their dream and know that if they simply love what they’re doing, and do what they love, they’ll find a way to make it work.

Cards Against Humanity - the least appropriate game to play with family. Luckily my family aren't like a normal family!
Cards Against Humanity – the least appropriate game to play with family. Luckily my family aren’t like a normal family!

We had a great time there this weekend; drinking (a fair bit…there are some great local wineries!), playing card games, going for relaxing walks and not so relaxing bike rides (there are very family friendly options available too!). We drank at both pubs (there’s plenty of variety!), had coffee at one of the three little cafes, browsed some of the gorgeous little shops and very quickly got in to the laid back swing of things. I couldn’t think of a better way to have spent my long weekend!

Mum and Dad’s accommodation should be ready later this year – I’ll post links once they’re up and running because this gorgeous little town is one that absolutely everyone and anyone should pay a little visit – we can just pretend it’s a secret!

P.S. – I spent some of the weekend reading the amazing book ‘The Art of Asking’ by the wonderful Amanda Palmer – I’ll probably talk about that in my next post so stay tuned xx