I can’t wait to fall in love with you

[Summer Love – Justin Timberlake]

So I am aware that I haven’t written much for a while. Mostly, life has been pretty routine – I meet up with Mela, I go to work, I have some shifts that are terrible, some that are fun. Mela and I have had a few small arguments but nothing close to a fight. I’ve gotten her Christmas presents and she’s gotten me some as well.

As you can imagine, last night was NYE 2011. Putting aside the “oh my God it was only, like, yesterday that I went to the city for NYE 2010”, I was pretty excited because we’d gotten a hotel room together in the city. Awkwardly, the room was right next to my work, the very place where I can’t be seen because I was “home sick”, so I spent a lot of time cowering behind Mela when we passed my work in case the managers were about.

We met up at Glen, as usual, and took the train up. There was still time before check-in, so we had lunch at this Vietnamese place, except I felt like fried rice, so of course I ordered a Pad Thai Fried Rice at a Vietnamese Pho restaurant. After eating our fill, we took the tram down to our hotel room, checked in, got all excited at the prospect of a night together in a decent for how much we paid hotel room. But not 10 minutes into our honeymoon beyond the threshold mania did Brendan call for me to pick him up from downstairs. There was a bit of a whinge on Mela’s behalf who, understandably, seeing as we hadn’t seen each other properly in a few days, wanted some time alone first. But I got Brendan, and we hung out in the hotel room for a bit watching TV until we went to Coles at Melb Central to get some snacks because I remembered being hungry the year prior. Took almost an hour to decide what alcohol to buy and ending up buying a tiny bottle of butterscotch schnapps which I will say now, sucked. We passed by Dani and Ben eating crepes outside of Harajuku crepes, thus seeing a 2nd year of accidentally coming across Dani in the city on NYE. We went back to the room and watched Man Vs Wild until Brendan had to go see his friends. So then Mela finally had her time alone with me.

At around 7:50, 8, we headed off to go have dinner with Jen in Richmond, seeing as it was also her birthday that we were counting down to. We went to Pacific House on Victoria Street, and since we arrived late, they ordered already. It was fine, because the food was amazing. Once again, we ate our fill and with bulging stomachs hugged Jen goodbye to catch up with my uni group in the city.

Caught up with Jacky who was standing waving his arms in the middle of Swanston Street looking for us, and we went to Gin Palace (a small bar just off Lt Collins) for a bit. Jacky brought along an entourage of our lunch group, including Clare whom I haven’t seen in what felt like forever. We didn’t stay in the bar for long, seeing as it was already 30 minutes to midnight. We went back to Fed Square, and on the way, Mela, Little Sam and I lost the rest of the group. After a good quarter of an hour desperately pushing through crowds and trying to get calls to go through, I finally got through to Clare, who told us where they were. Running like mad people and hurting, I am sure, numerous merry-makers, we managed to run from Fed Square, through the crowd and down to Southbank opposite the Langham in around 5 minutes, arriving to where the group was a mere 2 minutes before midnight.

Missed the countdown, as we always do on Southbank because we don’t have speakers there, but we knew that we’d ushered in the new (and final?) year when the fireworks flew into the night sky. We watched in awe as this year’s (which was much better than last year’s) fireworks lit up the Melbourne skyline, and then we watched in amusement and some degree of horror as the top of the Art Building spire caught on fire, sending massive flaming debris down.

Mela and I trudged back to our hotel room, somehow managing to get there before 1am. We had our showers, then snuggled up in bed with the schnapps which were quickly abandoned. We ate some bread and ham that we bought, even though she was still full. We hugged a lot and told each other many sweet things before feeling fatigue pull its veil over our eyes by 2, and going to sleep.

Sleep was a bit difficult, for me at least, because it was quite warm, but it was nice to be able to cuddle the one you love at any given time during the night. We woke up and had some more cuddles and sleepy talking before her phone went off to let us know that we had to get ready for check-out. Quick packing up, a few moments of Ben 10 on TV, and we said goodbye to our first hotel room together.

The day was already heating up monstrously, and we ate congee at the same restaurant as I had last year with Annie, Anna, Josh and Julia. Then we took the Cranbourne back to Oakleigh, and said a long and sad goodbye as we took our respective buses. But the goodbye wasn’t for long, because I can feel that 2012 is going to be the year where I don’t (and really shouldn’t) feel like I am alone at any time.

Alex.

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Tried My Best To Leave This All On Your Machine

[Such Great Heights – The Postal Service]

Slightly late but here’s the documentation of my first NYE in the city, and first night in a hotel room.

Walking out to the bus stop in the morning of the 31st was hard, because the weather had already gotten to around 35-36. But after getting on the bus, it was pretty smooth sailing bar the 40 seconds’ walk from bus to train (oh nu).

Anyway, met up with Annie at Melb Central, and decided that we should spend the 3 odd hours we had to waste sitting and eating. We went to Melb Central’s upstairs foodcourt and, after some considerable hesitation, got Maccas for the first time in months, and sat down to watchย Nickelodeon which was playing on the TV screens.

Nick shows are…scarily bad. And predictable. There is a formula: You have the main guy who’s cute but not hot, with a mop-top haircut. You have the socially awkward girl who’s actually really pretty, but no one realizes it. You have the guy who’s actually hot, and he’s either the love interest, or the “best friend” with sexual tension. You also have a funny witty little sibling. Then the rest of the cast is ugly and 2D. Or 1D, seeing as the main cast is 2D already.

Met up with a bunch of younger MacRob girls because I had to give one of them a disk, but the rest just followed naturally. They sat with us for a moment or two before going off to have lunch at better places than a food court.

After we finished eating, Annie and I decided to find somewhere to hang out where we won’t be told off for hogging a table. We were in Borders when, out of complete coincidence, I turned around to find Dani standing behind me.

So Annie, Dani and I sat around for a while waiting for Joshanna to call us to tell us when they’ve checked in, but they never did. In the end, it turned out they’ve already checked in and were waiting for us to call.

Walking from Parliament station to Park Hyatt in the near 40 degree weather literally was hell. It made our suite just that much more amazing – because it had aircon.

Not wanting to go outside to Hell again, we stayed in the hotel room for a few hours playing Big 2 and talking. Now, I don’t say that I’m good at Big 2, but in all the 4 games we played, I won each and every one of them. I really don’t think I’m good at Big 2, so either my hand was fantastic, or the others just sucked something awful.

Big 2 was played with stakes – loser has to do a Truth or Dare from the winner. I suck at thinking up dares or even truths (well, mostly I can think up truths but I knew these people pretty well) so I had others think up things for me. Annie lost twice, and without going into too much detail, I found out things about her that I’d only known half of for over 4 years.

Anna lost once, and her dare was to go into the bathroom (or what we called the Cone of Silence from Get Smart) and shout out a dirty word (she’s the kind to never do that). After a few minutes of silence with her just standing in the bathroom without knowing what to say, Josh prompted, “What do I say when I’m having a bad day?” “OH!” exclaimed Anna. “I KNOW! FUCK MY LIFE!”

At around 6, we deemed it timely for us to go eat dinner, to beat any rush later on. It was the hottest of the day at 6, and we had to walk from Collins to Bourke for Red Silks. Josh was, for some reason, in a longsleeve black shirt, and he was starting to feel too hot. So he went into the Cotton On right by Red Silks and snagged a singlet. Being the manly man that he is, he decided to change right outside the store. So he pulled his shirt off and tried to change into the singlet really fast to act all cool, except in his bravado, he managed to get his head and arms into the wrong holes, and spent a good 20 seconds standing outside Cotton On with his arms haywire and his chin tucked into his chest. Now, why would the rest of us help him? We stood there and laughed.

Red Silks was not air-conditioned, much to our dismay, but it was too late and too hot to change our minds and go to Crown. We ordered up our iced drinks, and I had the less-than-ingenious insight to order wonton in noodle soup. Drinking hot soup definitely was too hot, but on the other hand, the sweating made me cooler. And smellier.

We ordered up a round of beers (not too much because Josh was feeling really sick and figured he shouldn’t drink), and in between using it as a cooling device, we each proposed our toasts to each other.

Having sufficiently sweated through dinner, we decided to split up. Josh was feeling too dizzy (and he was really pale) so him and Anna went back to the hotel, while Annie and I went to Crown to meet up with the Melb Uni lunch group. Crown was blissfully chilled, and the boys all decided to go to Galactic Circus and do what we did last time with the hour-long-pass.

Annie demanded that we play the zombie game I played last time with Lily, but remembering how much my arms ached afterwards, I passed the gun off to Elaine, who apparently stuck around long enough to die, and then left Annie to fend the zombies off herself.

An hour later, and all the girls had grown tired of watching the guys drive and shoot (gender roles, yes, but to be fair we did try to encourage the non-active girls to get into it). Swang was bitter after being defeated by me in a game of table-hockey where the table never registered her goals but registered mine. Fi decided that it was the perfect time to get Slurpees, so we all trekked down Clarendon (Annie was regretting wearing heels at this point) to go to a 7/11.

There was still a good 2 hours until midnight at that point, so it became a matter of where people wanted to spend that time. We couldn’t go to Hungy’s apartment because there were 18 of us, however for some reason it was okay for us to hang out in the lobby of the building. We spent an hour there playing Mafia (wherein I stuffed up the role of the narrator and revealed the Mafia’s gender), and got so many death glares from people going in and out of the building.

At 10:45, according to Asian time, it was time to go to Southbank and start waiting for midnight. Luckily we left early, because in the end we walked up so far up Southbank that by the time we found a spot that we agreed on (which wasn’t Alexandria Gardens, I don’t know why anyone thought that the Gardens would have space at that time), it was well past 11.

Then came the harder-than-it-should-have-been process of finding Mandy and her CGS friends. Communication problems aside, I was pretty sure she just didn’t know how to receive instructions. If I said to you (assuming you know Southbank) “walk on the side of Flinders Station towards Crown, we’re on the bridge that right opposite the big red steps”, you’d probably at least understand the general direction to walk, if you don’t know what I mean by the big red steps. (P.S. these are the big red steps, LEARN IT.) Yeah, no, Mandy just kept saying “we’re on a bridge” and there are 5 bridges along the Yarra in that area.

Finally agreeing to meet them under the “big angel with the swirly square head“, and talking to two other guys who were with her, we met up with Mandy and her friends, with 15 minutes to spare until midnight.

At 5 minutes to midnight (cue song), I couldn’t find Josh and Anna, who said they’d come back out to meet up (by the way, the weather had cooled down significantly and was actually really pleasant). For some reason, Josh’s number was hidden, and I couldn’t call him back, so I couldn’t find him anywhere. While I was walking around at the end of a bridge, I felt someone tackle me from behind.

Lo and behold, second time that day, Dani managed to find me under the biggest of coincidences. Granted, I’d texted her whereabouts we were (she knows what the big red steps are, WHY DON’T YOU), but still, crowd, NYE, 11:55 pm, she found me.

Brought Dani back to where we all were, and while we were sitting on the pier/dock waiting for the countdown to happen, the fireworks began. Midnight and passed and we’d all been just sitting there talking. So instead of getting a massive countdown, we all just went around hugging everyone and watching the fireworks (which weren’t ASTOUNDING but they were pretty damn good looking). We kept on yelling “refund refund!” whenever the fireworks seemed to have ended. I guess it wasn’t a bad effort considering they were just coming out of the Eureka Tower, and plus it was a total fire ban that day.

At around 12:15, 12:20, Annie and I decided we’d go back to the hotel. We went to look for Joshanna but since we couldn’t call them, we couldn’t find them. It was a long and painful walk/trudge back to Flinders St Station (trust me, it hurt me heaps, so it would have killed Annie’s feet), whereupon we bid goodnight to Dani who was taking the tram back, and we started walking towards Flinders Station trying to get our way back to Parliament.

The road to the station was, unsurprisingly, packed. As in, I had time to shoot off a few text messages while walking without danger, packed. Some guy in front of us threw up beer, and Annie and I had to walk around him since she was barefoot. Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream started playing over the loudspeakers (over some signs that read “NO STOPPING ON BRIDGE”) and I suppose the smallest consolation to throbbing feet and exhausted eyes was that a girl behind me did a sort of impromptu duet ย of the song with me.

Finally breaking free of the station crowd stranglehold, Annie and I gritted our teeth and hurried our way up to Collins St for the tram. Miraculously, Josh and Anna were right behind us and we held the door for them to get on the tram with us (they’d fallen behind us to go to 7/11 for instant noodles and lollies. Man 7/11 is a lifesaver sometimes).

We made the final painful journey back up to our room, and collapsed onto the bed and chairs, caring not that we hadn’t showered, or that it was nearing 1 am. Josh cooked up the instant noodles which were PRETTY DAMN spicy, and since the noodles didn’t come with plastic forks, Josh and I ate ours with coffee spoons, and Anna and Annie shared one using two coffee stirrers as chopsticks.

After consuming a fiery midnight snack that had Josh swearing metaphors I really shouldn’t repeat here, Annie and I took (turns taking) a shower and changed into our PJs.

Anna was, for some reason, uber energetic. She demanded that we play I Never Never. We cut some Red Bull with vodka – but only allowed Anna Red Bull, considering it the lesser of two evils – and started the game. It wasn’t as energetic as Anna probably wanted it to be, but, once again, I found out things about my friends that I sort of didn’t want to know. Let’s just say that from now when I call a friend who’s not single, and they say they’re busy, I will be a lot more suss.

Finally at 3, when Josh and Anna were getting a bit too cuddly in the bed, we decided to call it a night. Annie was adamant to stay in the bed, because it was a King and there was really no where else for her to sleep, me having called the couch (I can’t really sleep in beds with other people save Jen, apparently, and it was too hot anyway). So, an hour after we turned off the lights and I was in the next room on the couch with a little jacket as a blanket (which probably contributed to me getting sick after sharing Josh’s drink by accident), their giggling in the bed finally died down.

I couldn’t completely sleep for most of the time, because one shoulder was sort of hitched sideways and the couch was, amazingly, too small even for me. I was more than aware of the fact that Annie started wheezing-snoring halfway through the night, and then either Annie or Anna started phonetically sneezing “atchu atchu”.

At 9, I decided it was too bright and I was too cold to sleep, so I got up, put on my jacket blanket, and put on Josh’s really awesome Dr Dre headphones to play Monster Dash with. Man those headphones were something. The Pacifier had the most satisfying WHOMP.

At 10, I saw in my peripherals Anna crawling around in her morning ritual to wake up. The others got up, which made it okay for me to be a bit noisy and brush my teeth and pack my bags. While Anna and Annie were loafing around, Josh and I watched some TV (I’m well aware I keep lumping myself with the guys), and That 70s Show came on. Collectively, we all got ready in 2 episodes’ time, and at 11 am on the dot, we left the hotel room for check-out.

The weather was a LOT colder on the 1st compared to the previous day. We went to Melbourne Central to meet up with Julia for brunch. At first we were all mmm-ing over the prospect of pancakes, but the moment Josh uttered the words “congee”, our Chinese heritage came crashing back, and we managed to persuade Anna and Julia to go to congee instead. There was a momentary lapse in decision when we were given coupons to Pancake Parlor, but a flip of the coin saw us sitting down to some Century Egg and Salty Pork Congee.

Since I’m coming in at 2400 words now, I will cut my story short and just say that we stuffed our faces full, then I went home. Got home at around 1 pm and hopped onto the computer, because I missed internet so much.

Now I’m sick, and I’ve been sick for a few days. It had to happen, though, because I haven’t been proper sick for almost 10 months.

Alex.

P.S. I actually started writing this post on the 2nd but I went to shower, saved the draft, and promptly forgot about it til now. OOPS!

P.P.S. I also made a new friend in the last few days. Oh my god 2500 words okay I’m stopping.