Friday, April 24, 2009

Moving On Up

So, I have some exciting news... I have moved to my own self-hosted site!

Please join me and update your readers:

Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 20, 2009

What Do You Value?

DISCLAIMER: This may read a bit jumbled, but welcome to my brain.

I'm fairly certain that it's no secret that I'm having a mini identity crisis.

"What am I doing in Australia?" (Getting away from Philly)
"Why did I decided to come here again?" (Mythos + Greek Salad + Santorini Sun)
"Where am I going to go from here?" (Only time will tell)

Part of this anxiety is coming from the fact that I don't have a real job. The thing is, I can't seem to make myself look for a job because I don't know what I want to look for. I am working on a side project at the moment, so that is providing some income for the time being. My job dilemma isn't really about money though (I would work at a cafe in a second if it was about paying my rent), it's about where I'm going now that I don't have my college crutch to hang on to.

A few years ago during a time when I was having a crisis about one thing or another (I believe it was the What-The-Hell-Is-My-Major-Going-To-Be Debacle of 2006), I was given a task to complete that would help me sort out my priorities.

I was given a list of 100 values, ranging from family to integrity to rationality. I was to sort these values into 3 categories:
  • Not Important to Me
  • Important to Me
  • Very Important to Me
The hard part was limiting my "Very Important" pile to 10 values. It's not as easy as it may sound. After evaluating my choices, I was able to simmer a bit and refocus my mind. It's kind of an indirect exercise to organize your life.

Anyway, for some unknown reason, this listing of values ended up in my bag of miscellaneous shit that made its way with me to Oz. I decided to try the value sort again to see what I currently deemed to be most important.

Lindsay's Top 10* Values (in no specific order):
  1. Passion
  2. Compassion
  3. Courtesy
  4. Automony/Independence
  5. Purpose
  6. Dependability
  7. Friendship/Family
  8. Solitude
  9. Acheivement
  10. Integrity
Sometimes I get carried away and think that because I got a B.A. in Public Relations I am obligated to get an agency job. How else will I ever get anywhere in PR? After looking through my list of values, I've decided to pursue getting my Dive Instructor certification.

Now, I'm aware that has nothing to do with PR, but diving is one of my passions and becoming an instructor is something that I've wanted to do for about 10 years. It's easy for me to get caught up in black and white thinking and convince myself that I have to do X because of Y, when really I can do whatever the hell I want. I do eventually want to advance my career in public relations, but honestly, what's the rush?

What values do you hold important to you? Have you ever consciously thought about them?

*Okay, so I may have cheated and grouped a few together, but I'm indecisive. Sue me.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quote of the Week - Seneca

There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.

It's too true.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Run Melbourne

If you follow me on Twitter, you have have most likely heard me mention joining a gym and hiring a personal trainer (yes, I'm that bad ass). It's all part of my mission to develop myself this year, both personally and professionally.

Ignoring the fact that my cardiovascular health* is apparently equivalent to that of a 37-year-old (do NOT even get me started on how depressed I was to see that my heart is 15 years older than I am!), I have decided to sign up for Run Melbourne. Actually, I had been planning on registering, but getting a Biggest Loser-style** wake-up call has pushed me to officially commit to the 5K.

Run Melbourne allows you to sign up in groups or run for a cause of your choice. I have decided to raise money for The Butterfly Foundation. The Butterfly Foundation is "dedicated to changing the culture, policy and practice in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders."

Eating disorders are misunderstood, deadly diseases. The effect that they hold over their sufferers (and their families) often last a lifetime. I feel very strongly about raising awareness and re-educating the public about these mental illnesses. I am hoping to raise a minimum of $500 for the cause.

I would really appreciate the support! I know that in times like these it may not be possible to donate. However, if you could take the time to post a link on Twitter or make a mention on your blog, every little bit will help!

Example of Tweet: Help @lmchugh raise money for eating disorder treatment and awareness by donating to her 5K run!

Please visit my fundraising page and pass the word along!

72 days until the race!

*In case anyone was wondering, my overall fitness age is 25, which isn't bad considering my lack of exercise as of late.

**Did you know that they play The Biggest Loser six days a week? Six days! It's complete overkill.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Lindsay Holidays: Passover

Last week I hosted my first of many "Lindsay Holidays" in Australia: Passover (stay tuned for the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and of course, Halloween). Do you know how hard it is to find Matzah in Melbourne? Now, I did venture out to St. Kilda this weekend where all the Orthodox Jews live, but Brunswick is like Turkey by way of India. Subsequently, I was unsuccesful on the Matzah front.

Anyway, I was able to find egg noodles and I made a damn good pasta sauce to go with. I know they weren't "Kosher for Passover" noodles, but I tried. It was as Kosher as dinner was going to get at that point. I am still unequipped to cook an authentic Jewish meal full-on, but one day my kitchen will have all the necessary supplies to do so.

Traditionally during the Seder, The Four Questions are asked to help remind us "Why this night is different from all other nights." During our dinner, one of our guests turned to me and asked "So, what do you Americans think of Australians?" I had to stop and think about it, and after a minute I said "Honestly, we don't."

When there's any mention of an Australian, there are one of two images that comes to mind:
  1. A mixture of a Crocodile Dundee, Steve Irwin, Outback-living hick; OR
  2. A tan, blonde surfer dude.
I prefer the tan, blonde surfer dude.

I turned the question around to the Aussies: What do you think of Americans? In asking this question, I braced myself for a response along the lines of "fat" and "redneck" and "obnoxious" - but that was not the case:

"I think of Sex and The City"

"Is it true that everyone in America has a therapist?"

Um, what? In Europe, I was told by a (now) friend that she was surprised that she liked me because I was American (meaning she didn't think I was overtly selfish - shocking!). In Israel, I was told by Israeli soldiers that all Americans "eat McDonalds, own guns, and drink Miller Lite."

It was refreshing to hear some not-so-negative perceptions for a change. I much prefer the funny ones.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What Next?

From a young age, by family and friends, we are always asked what our next move will be:

What are your plans for the summer?
What are your plans for after high school?
What are your plans for after college?

It's commonplace to ask these sorts of questions and to be looking toward the future. I have always felt a lot of pressure to have a concrete answer because, damn it, I feel like I should know what I'm doing.

I feel guilty when I don't. I also feel like a freak if the right thing doesn't come out of my mouth. My move abroad "just because" didn't exactly get me the most welcomed of reactions (more like an abundance of confused stares). Obviously, reactions didn't impact my decision, but I'm at a point where I pretty much have no idea what I'm doing. At all. In any capacity.

I may be having a freak out, but I do know what I'm going to do next: I'm going to try and enjoy today.

I'm going to practice living in the present because what comes next isn't as important as what comes now. And right now, I'm going to continue my Monday TV on DVD marathon and not feel bad about not reading up on the latest business trends one bit.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Satisfying my Inner Tourist

I have booked my first official "holiday" of the year! I am heading up to Sydney in May to meet up with a girlfriend who is coming to visit me (invasion of the Yanks). It will be so refreshing to be able to act like a tourist, which is something I usually avoid like the plague. As I mentioned in my last post, it has been a bit frustrating trying to communicate to my friends that I am (unfortunately) not on a year-long vacation. Come May, I will have the chance to take as many obnoxious photos as I like and act a fool because, well, I don't live in Sydney! I am beyond excited, if you couldn't tell.

My agenda so far includes goal #37 - completing the Harbor Bridge climb, catching up with some more friends from my Contiki tour, a Bondi rendez-vous with Daisy (I hope!), and a meander around Kings Cross (I missed out on the Red Light District in Amsterdam, so this will have to do).

Anyone have any suggestions for what to see or do in Sydney?

Also, I need some inspiration for post for a rainy day:
What do you want to know about life in Australia?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Traveling v. Moving

I have the feeling that most of my friends think that my journey "Down Under" is just a repeat of my European travels. To their dismay, the pub crawls with strangers have been lacking, the new friends from around the world aren't as plentiful, and every day is not filled with new experiences. Traveling by yourself to a new part of the world and moving there are two wholly unique experiences - especially when you are not moving for a job or school or something that puts you into a network.

Traveling alone is an adventure. A constant adventure. Your accomodation fosters interaction, especially in backpacking and hostel environments. The people that you are surrounded by are, for the most part, in a similar situation as you. Everything is fun! and new! and over the top! and deserving of an exclamation point!

Moving is static. Moving somewhere new is not all fun and games. It forces you to put yourself out there and trust people who you don't really know well enough to trust. You have to push yourself to your limits and step outside of your comfort zone. It gets lonely. It gets boring. It fosters freak-outs instead of interaction.

I'm not saying that I'm unhappy with my decision to move or that I'm thinking of coming home anytime before my visa is up (that would happen over my dead body). What I am saying is that the perception that I'm sitting on the beach with a drink in my hand being fed grapes by tanned men is getting old because that is just so far from the case.

I'm managing.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Art of Picking a Footy Team (or Why I go for Carlton)

I am a loyal sports fan and I believe whole-heartedly in home team pride. That's why I am a huge Philadelphia sports supporter (and I accept all of the good, bad, and ugly associations with that statement). When I got to Melbourne, I was excited to cheer for my new home team.

In footy, there are 16 teams (soon enough to be 17). The thing is, 10 (I think?) are from Melbourne. That made me wonder: how do people choose the teams that they go for? It's not as simple as being a Phillies fan (2008 World Series Champs!) or an Eagles fan because there are so many teams in one area.

After asking around, I found out that many people either follow who their family goes for, follow a certain player that they like, select a team based on their colors, or (as I was instructed to do by many people) "just look at the team rosters and see which team has the hottest players."

Now, I'm all for watching good-looking guys run around for two hours, but I was also pretty certain that there was bound to be at least one attractive man on each team, so I decided to do a little more research. Plus, I actually like to watch sports games for the GAME. Beautiful people are merely a bonus.

I live in a suburb called Brunswick, and the nearest home team to me is the Carlton Blues. I literally live up the street from their grounds. As they say in our famous baseball song "root, root, root for the home team!" (as per earlier discussions of the word root, I will not be singing any version of this song while in Australia). I was set on buying my Blues scarf.

My friend had different plans. I was instructed that I had to go for her team upon arrival in Melbourne. I "wasn't allowed" to choose my own team. I didn't like the sound of that game very much. I would never make someone be a Philly fan - I would respect their team decision and then proceed to explain how much their team sucks. I'd probably say something like "Oh god, I HATE the Cowboys. Almost as much as I hate the GIANTS. We're so going to kill you. I can't believe you actually LIKE that team. My Eagles are going to kick your ass on Sunday. Fly Eagles Fly!" We'd have a fun rivalry and when I lost I'd probably pout and have a beer and ignore my calls for a day or so.

However, after humoring her for a game, I understood why she didn't want me to be supporter of any other team. She is a die-hard Demons fan. Yes, the wooden spoon of the league. The team that is dead last. The team that cannot hold onto the damn ball for the life of them. I give her credit for sticking with her team even in times of awful play, as I would do the same thing (and have - before this past October, I had never seen a Philly team win a championship... no one had for 25 years). After a painful game at the G, I decided to go and buy a footy scarf to show my support... for the team that I had originally intended to go for.

Plus, I personally think that navy blue and white look great on a girl with dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin. Can't beat that. Go Blues!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Note on Fashion

Last month there were tons of activities and festivals going on around Melbourne: The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, The Grand Prix, and Melbourne Fashion Week.

The fashion in Melbourne is something that stood out to me immediately upon arrival. I think that the trends and attitude toward fashion is what I expected while I was overseas in Europe this past summer. What I mean by that is there are no rules. Anything goes. You can walk outside wearing something that you think is just totally ridiculous, only to pass about 20 people walking down Elisabeth St. wearing outfits that are ten times more outrageous.

Note: It has been pointed out to me that something I think is completely normal and tame may be off the wall for someone else. I get that, but I hope you also get my point.

In Europe, I expected people to take more risks with their attire. I expected people to be really put together. They weren't for the most part. I remember being pretty shocked with the sloppiness that I observed. I was also prepared to see more diversity in style. I do acknowledge that the areas that I visited were primarily tourist hubs, but still. I definitely thought that all the hype about Europeans being chic and Americans lagging behind was a crock. (Just to clarify, this is in regard to normal people, not designers).

It's kind of nice being able to experiment with different styles and atypical trends that I would never be comfortable enough to try at home due to scrutiny (real or imagined - I am quite paranoid). I'm still pretty J. Crew at heart, but there's a flair waiting to come out. So I say, take out those liquid leggings, layer twenty mis-matched items, wear those ripped tights, button up that cardi, and bring back the catholic-school-girl-gone-punk thing and the 80's. Melbourne is ready for it.