All Quiet on the Western Front

When my friend lent me her copy of All Quiet on the Western Front (along with a couple of other books), she told me that it was pretty depressing. At the time, I was just finishing reading David Copperfield, so I was kind of keen to read something a bit shorter as my next book. But, taking her advice, I held off, and read other things while mentally preparing myself for AQWF (plus there were a lot of other things going on at the time).

All Quiet on the Western Front, written by Erich Maria Remarque, had been on my to-read list for quite some time (it was just lucky coincidence that this friend of mine had a copy to lend me). To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I actually knew what the novel was about when I put it on that list – I just knew that it was something about war, and that it’s a classic. Yeah, I never even bothered to Google it before adding it to my TBR list…

Well, anyway, as it turns out, AQWF is about World War I, and is told from the perspective of a young German soldier (Paul Bäumer). It is both gut-wrenching and heart-rending, and I kind of wonder if it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make this compulsory reading for high school students (except for all the graphic details…)

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eating my way through Launceston

So now it’s been three weeks since I first set foot in Launceston, and here I am still trying to get through writing about everything I want to write about my visit… Life has been busy, but perhaps it’s also a good reflection on my holiday if I’m still in the process of drifting down from it.

One of the things I was weirdly excited about when I returned home was being able to eat Weet-Bix for breakfast again. I mean, I could have eaten Weet-Bix during my holiday – it would’ve been as simple as walking to a shop and buying some – but there was so much other food; and even when I was just staying at my uncle and aunty’s place, they always had toast for brekkie, so I went along with that to save them the inconvenience of keeping cereal they don’t eat.

That was actually a bit of an unexpected/unplanned tangent. Maybe that was coz of the conversation I had with my assistant/student on Saturday about how she was looking forward to eating Weet-Bix the next morning after finishing the 40-Hour Famine… Well, either way, I can’t remember what I was going to write originally, except that it was supposed to lead into this post about food I ate on my holiday… I guess that’ll do.

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many thanks

Taking a solo trip to Launceston, I had expected to spend a lot of time in quiet contemplation. Well, I did spend a lot of time in quiet contemplation, but I also ended up having plenty of good conversations with perfect strangers. Other than the general feel of the place, what impressed me the most about Launceston was probably the people.

Of course, not everyone is super eager to chat to everyone, but those that do strike up a conversation certainly make you feel very welcome. I didn’t always get names for these friendly people, and there’s probably very, very minimal chance that any of them will ever stumble upon my blog and read this post, but I wanted to dedicate a post to them nonetheless.

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blue sky thoughts

Yesterday morning, I was watching the Today Show, and they interviewed adventurer Alison Teal. I’d never heard of her before, but apparently she’s been dubbed a “female Indiana Jones” alongside other fun nicknames. From what I gathered from the interview, she basically travels around the world for a show, through which she tries to raise awareness of how beautiful and precious our Earth is. She’s a big advocate of conservation and all that.

This particular interview was prompted by a recent trip she took to Hawaii. While she was there, she went surfing around an active volcano (the first woman to ever do so), and footage of this is supposedly going viral on the internet. In the interview, they talked to her a lot about what it was like to be so close to the volcano as it was erupting, and she talked about the extreme temperatures and the inherent dangers; but that wasn’t what really impressed me and made me actually stop and watch the entire interview.

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Launceston: overview

After surviving two days back at work (two very long days!), I thought this would be a good time to reminisce about my trip to Launceston. Also, I suppose I should write about it all before work life and normality make me forget the details.

In the three days that I was there (or technically two and a half days), I feel like I explored quite a lot, but also feel like there’s a lot left to be discovered in Launceston and the surrounding area. There seemed to be a sense of tranquility and calm about the place, yet, at the same time, there was something very exhilarating about being there.  Continue reading

south for the winter

Alright, here we go… I’ve decided to start my series of holiday-related posts with what was probably the highlight of the trip: Launceston. (Keeping in mind that I’m probably not going to write a post about my cousin’s wedding, since this is not really the sort of place I’d write about it if I did.)

For those of you unfamiliar with Australian geography, Launceston is a town (or small city?) in the state of Tasmania, which is that island at the bottom of Australia, just south of Victoria (which is where Melbourne is). Being the southernmost state, I suppose it is the coldest, and, apart from seeing my friend who lives there, I was probably looking forward to that the most. Well, that, and exploring a place completely new to me.

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