Thursday, October 17, 2013

this week in canberra

on monday afternoon after work, I sped down the highway and listened to music and podcasts as the sky changed colours. I had a few days off, and I was going to visit tony in canberra.

this trip was particularly special. in my bag was an elaborate felt box, which housed my engagement ring. it had been ready just in time for the trip. I told tony that I'd wait for him to put it on, and had not so secretly hinted at a proposal re-enactment.

tony politely declined but we did go out for a really yummy japanese meal to celebrate. since then, I've been trying to do lots of things with my right hand, so I don't damage the ring or get moisturiser in it. it's surprisingly difficult and I've realised just how rough I am with my hands.

in lots of ways this little trip to canberra felt a lot like the week we got engaged. it was totally relaxing and fun and we were super excited to be in each others company again and ate all of our meals together to celebrate.

tony's just over a week into his 5 week drawing stint at the national portrait gallery. in that time he's managed to draw over 50 portraits, and have people sit for him for anywhere between 5 minutes and 2 hours.

on my tuesday I sat for a one hour portrait, and unlike his drawings of me at home in my daggy pjs, I dressed specifically for the occasion. a few other people were lurking while I was sitting for him, so I left a little earlier than I'd liked, I really like my portrait but wish I'd stayed longer for a bit more hair :)

I managed to sneak in a 15 minute sitting on wednesday afternoon just before closing time.

we sought out brodburger one night and we both agreed that the burgers were the nicest we've ever had. the buns weren't buttery or brioche like many trendy burgers and everything was spot on, from the giant pickles to the juicy medium-rare meat patty. the fries were also super hot and salty, which is surprisingly hard to come by.

next time I'm going to order a few baby burgers so I get to try a few different flavours.

and here's a few shots of hotel life. my mother would be so proud of my economical supermarket breakfasts. and I always eat the free hotel biscuits, these shortbread ones were especially nice.

on my very last day in canberra, I walked to the national library of australia and put in a request to see an item from their collection. it was a zine that I'd made in 2008, for my very first for the annual zine fair at the museum of contemporary art in sydney.

I'd only recently discovered that it was in the national library and so I decided to visit it. I mainly wanted to see it, to check whether it was really there and also to take a photo because I am stoked that one found its way into the collection.

the zine is kept in a special reading room and arrived in an archival plastic bag. I was given a blue sheet of paper and instructed not to photocopy it (so ironic) and to handle it with care.

it is unreal to think that I'd touched every page of this wonky little publication when I made it. it was a painful and last minute process. when I took the zine out of its special bag, I turned it over to see a sticker of its collection on the back of the book, and a barcode and National Library of Australia stamp on the inside cover.

my ten year old self high-fived me in that moment. and I ended up staying, to leaf through the zine and see what was in it. it sounds kind of silly and vain to read something you've written yourself but I have to say, reading this zine was like going back in time.

the zine was very much a best-of book of a blog and project I'd been working on at the time. I was in my final years of uni when I started it, and reading over what I'd written, I found myself cringing a little. but at the same time, I was in awe of how excited and lacking in self consciousness I'd been at the time to write like that. it reminded me that I do really like to write and that I should do it more often, without worrying about who might read it.

there were also a few milestones contained in this cardboard cover. I'd documented the day after my sister had gotten married, the day I met tony over lunch to pick up a lego man for the project - I hardly knew him then and later found out that the lego man was a ploy to hang out. there are new, fleeting and lasting friendships documented too.

after taking a few sneaky photographs I left the library in a daze, I felt proud of myself but also in awe of just how much has happened in the last 5 years. I decided to treat myself to a tea at the very fancy hyatt across the road. I had an orange peoke tea, a miniature passionfruit swiss roll and read my book while I waited for tony to finish work.

the hotel was a world of its own. classical music played loudly in the bathroom that smelt strongly of flowers. the porter wore a ridiculous outfit, complete with puffy hat and puffy knee length shorts made out of the same intricately patterned fabric. people ordered white wine at 3pm, others had important looking meetings, some were pilots.

I was on the road by 6am this morning, bound for home and work. I was sad to leave tony again, and managed to miss my turn off.

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