Driving in Australia

Well, that was the second most terrifying thing I’ve done in Australia. For the first time in my life, I just drove on the left side of the road in a left-handed manual vehicle. My heart still pounds. I have been house and dog sitting this weekend for the parents of my Tsunami friend Joel (also a member of the sailing party), in the hinterlands of the Gold Coast. I was hoping to explore, maybe …

Building a Trailer

Kane is moving out, back to Sydney, rejoining his long-time partner Jean, and her two kids. He’s been a solid housemate, joining me on a mission to buy ultimate cleats, inviting me to a board game night with his friends. I’m sorry to see him go. But life carries us each along our own plot lines, some intersecting just briefly, others tangling up for good. His path takes him south. And that means packing up …

Sailing on Moreton Bay

I startle from my dream, afraid I’ve overslept my alarm and struggle through tangled sheets in a half daze. With my body hanging over the foot of the bed, I grope for my charging phone. The screen, shockingly bright, reveals the time: 5:30 AM. My body is early, eager by fifteen minutes. Sailing today! As I arrive at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron boat launch, the brilliant white sun rises and deep azure of pre-dawn …

Mutual Joy of a Plastic Disc

We warm up, jogging, stretching, loosening our throws. Lit by field lights, white plastic discs float, bright against a deep charcoal grey sky, cloud layer tinged slightly red. Just before we start our game, rain begins to fall. Tip. Tip. Tic. Tic. Tah-tah-tah-teteteteteh sounds from the disc we hold in the center of team huddle. Watch out, it’ll be a slippery game, says captain Casey. At the opening throw, distant lightning flashes. As first substitute, …

Tim Tam Slam

The Tim Tam: encased in a hard chocolate shell, two crunchy, rectangular chocolate wafers sandwich a creamy chocolate frosting center. In short, three exquisite textures in one bite-sized assembly. I am a huge fan. The composite cookie features one particularly notable engineering feat, facilitated by the glory of the porous chocolate wafer: the unique ability to act as a terribly flawed straw, but wonderfully efficient sponge. Allow me to elaborate. Here, we have a Tim …

My Morning Walk to Work

I slide into my white topsiders while I unlatch the door, swing it open, step through and close it behind me. The summer heat draws water to my skin like a pumps pulls water from an aquifer. I lock the wooden door behind me. Three steps later I turn left out the stubby driveway, travel uphill just briefly, and the magnificent old Queenslander home to my right catches my gaze as usual. Today, a pair …

Learning to Surf

It takes two hours to get down to Coolangatta from Brisbane, a heavy hour on the train and a scant hour more on the bus – plenty of time to feel the slow roll from distracted calm to rushing adrenaline. I remember these nerves from bus rides to soccer matches and track meets, heart pounding, chills radiating from spine down the limbs and up the scalp. Anticipation. I’ve surfed before, twice, back in Hawaii in …

Origin Story: Part 2

In 1987, I was born … [edited for brevity] … and we finally found the hidden treasure behind the bookcase. That pushed me toward my current path of mechanical engineering – because everyone knows there’s no money in the treasure hunting business. As I mentioned in my welcome e-mail, I’m a grad student at University of Washington. Experience gained as a researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution taught me that funding is always a concern …

Origin Story: Part 1

A Long Introductory Aside As I invited people to read my blog last week, I realized that I have been incommunicado with people who have played major roles in my life. I find regular correspondence a difficult task – admittedly Facebook plays a major role for most of us. But I’m not the most committed digital social network member either, not by a long shot. My interactions are superficial: I see faces scroll by, snippets of …

First Impressions from Down Under

Not one day has passed without drenching my shirt in sweat. Only for brief moments in my AirBnB, while sitting directly in front of the fan scanning Flatmates.com.au for a more permanent home, do I find myself no longer dripping. But then I want a snack, or need to relieve myself, or have someplace to go, so I start rustling around in my bags. The sweat starts rolling down my back. Perhaps Seattle built up …