on fifth grade.

"sometimes brave looks more like staying when you want to leave, telling the truth when all you want to do is change the subject..." 

- shauna niequist

we do not celebrate our relationship anniversaries. we do not exchange gifts. we go out to dinner because restaurants give free cake, and we bask in our cleverness at getting that cake. we celebrate birthdays, we celebrate birthdays for a whole week if we can. anniversaries? not so much. sometimes we toy with doing something special,  but nearing the date we always change our mind. i mean, it's (only) been five years.

our relationship is in fifth grade. 

and i barely remember being in fifth grade. 

one of my favourite memories of our relationship happened during an argument. years ago, probably three years ago, during an argument that stemmed from something silly, one where we used our words without truly saying what we feared, which was do you truly understand me? i don't think you do. and midway through that argument i threw out a question. what does succeeding in this relationship mean to you? when would you think we've 'made it?'

and he answered, well, i guess when the first one of us dies. 

which would have been my answer. because i truly do not believe that one year, two years, ten years is worth celebrating. as though they are milestones to hit, or a ladder to climb. and at that point i truly expected him to say something else. to say that marriage was making it. anything else, except what i also believe. when the first one of us dies. 

i do not measure the days and years gone by. instead i remember the little moments. the many times one of us would climb up or down the stairs to the other, closing the gap between two separate beds and attempting to bridge the gap between our hurts. swallowing pride and ego. walking back through the door. going for days without speaking but still silently helping the other iron shirts before work, or still doing the pick up after a yoga class. sometimes brave looks more like staying when you want to leave, and i remember these moments knowing that while date nights and surprise flowers are lovely, the staying is what matters most. the choosing every single day to stick around, to find common ground between two fiercely independent people. blindly stumbling through life without a guidebook but still holding hands, especially when you really really don't want to. 

hopefully the first one of us dying is still many years away. decades, i hope. and hopefully when that happens we leave behind the people who will celebrate our relationship making it. and i hope the one left then raises a glass to toast to the sweet taste of success. but right now, i'll be proud of the fifth grade lessons. learning to put sentences together in ways that make sense to the other, and learning the simple skills that are needed to answer the bigger questions down the track, and to build a bigger life. 

on adulting.

I am twenty five. The young adult section in the library no longer welcomes me (the sign reads for twenty four and under). The Eurostar won't give me discount tickets by the time I show up. I get hit on at the bar by people with actual real jobs. I still get carded, but I am for all intents and purposes an adult. 

Except I still feel nineteen. Or at the very most twenty one. Sitting in the business class lounge at the airport alongside men in suits and wondering when i'll be a part of that club. Then realising that I am. 

I sit in my little business class suite and nibble at food. I drink tea. Watch an action movie, watch another movie. People type on laptops around me and I decide to take a nap. I wonder if being an adult means never leaving the office, even while in the air. I decide that as an adult I reserve the right to fully soak in the miracle that is soaring in the sky thousands of feet above the ground. So I take pictures of the clouds. 

I tell my best friend I don't know how to adult, and she points out I've been doing it for a while now, and I clearly know how. Maybe I'll never be that sophisticated person who doesn't feel the need to make long conversations with the personal shopper at the Burberry store, and instead waltzes in and out. I don't think I can be. But I have regular facialists and my favourite health food store owners recognise me. I have too many credit cards (for frequent flyer points, not debt). And maybe that is my version. 

Maybe my version is yoga pants and sweaters on weekends, bare feet and always carrying a notebook in my bag. I am embarrassed about my inherent flexibility - all these 'real adults' look stiff and inflexible and my ability to put my foot behind my head makes me feel like a child. I still look for reassurance from a crowd - a sign of insecurity and low self-esteem that I equate with still feeling mentally twenty one. I know that these are adult problems too. Somehow I thought being an adult meant leaving those fears behind. Different scenery, same worries. 

I wonder when I will stop thinking about what it means to be 'grown up'. And I wonder when I'll realise for sure that no one ever quite knows what it means. We're all just making it up - slowly but surely finding our way. 

my california.

LA is a funny place. it's too big, it's too smoggy, and nobody walks. 

we also love it. i love it. it is a place that takes a while to fall in love with, and makes me thank god for australia every day. but life in los angeles does something for me that life nowhere else does. it feeds the idealistic, wellness-loving, wind-in-my-hair part of me like no place else. it feels fast and slow, all at once, intimate and expansive. it is an injection of life and energy that keeps me going for another year until i can come back. california is my favourite state, and LA its idealistic, hippie epicenter. 

this is my california. 

love yoga. a blend of nevine michaan's katonah yoga, iyengar and vinyasa, love yoga is like the los angeles version of nyc's sky ting, which basically makes it one of my favourite yoga studios in the world. i cannot say enough good things about how much my few classes there have expanded my practice. {i have been seriously thinking about doing my 200-hour ytt, and living abroad to do it at sky ting or love yoga. so this is serious love.} i love how it feels secular and doesn't dial into any traditional yoga 'religion'. as a religious {christian} yogi, this is very important to me. 

rose avenue. one of my favourite streets. it has everything on it i love. a crystal shop, cafes, ice cream, close proximity to home, love yoga, gjusta, santa monica and...

... abbot kinney. hands down my favourite street aside from disneyland's main street u.s.a.. if i could live here, i would. i hate the sudden injection of mainstream labels and i haaaate that adidas is opening a store here. but some of my all time faves have their home on a.k. and i could happily spend a full day here. heck, i spent several full days here. if you're seeking ippodo matcha, tortoise general store sells it. and also sells about a billion other things i want. kinney is just inspirational, it is a freaking dream. 

malibu. a short lyft ride away, malibu is stunning and oh-so-quiet. in jacob's words, 'there's nothing here'. which is why i love it. long and quiet beaches, loads of surfers to entertain you with their tricks, and there's nobu. and a whole load of nothing except a great view. no wonder all the celebrities live here. 

spellbound sky. i've been getting into crystals, and spellbound sky is my new fave. i hate crystal/spiritual shops that feel exclusive and... for lack of another word, bitchy. some spiritual shops in l.a. can be filled with people that make anyone not 100% into healing and magic and crystals feel like a fake. and i hate that.  i personally don't believe in the 'energies' or 'healing powers' of crystals {although i keep an open mind!}, but i do believe in the fact that things that carry beauty, and purchases that carry good intentions, can have power over our moods and our intentions. and spellbound sky is a crystal shop that feels welcoming and friendly, regardless of what you believe these rocks can do. good vibes. 

all the food + drink. happy hour is what we live for in l.a. my favourites are misfit in santa monica {they have the best free chocolate chip cookies behind the bar. ask!} and wabi sabi in venice - happy hour is the only time i ever feel like we can afford anything. these are nobu malibu prices here. and speaking of nobu, it is fabulous too. 

venice beach wines is great for tapas and wine flights and has such a great beachy vibe. rose avenue is one of my favourite roads in los angeles - total coastal vibe, and just a short walk away from the best whole foods i've ever seen. 

gjusta, part of the frank camaj empire, serves up some of the best biscuits, jams and a killer porridge waffle. and, of course, i have never had a bad meal at gjelina. hands down one of my favourite restaurants in l.a.. if only it was easier to get in. 

one of our favourite restaurants this trip was locanda positano, an intimate italian restaurant down the road from us that we tried for the first time (and then promptly went back a few days later). it is simple, flavourful italian comfort food with a stunning wine list. who serves barolo by the glass?! they do. 

it is a twelve-ish dollar lyft ride away from us, but destroyer la is worth it. order everything on the menu and stuff your face, you will be amazed at what jordan kahn can dream up. if i could choose one person to cook me breakfast for the rest of my life, it might just be him. 

i wouldn't be me without a list of hippie wellness places. the butchers daughter serves our favourite prosecco cocktails and mimosas, and also does eggs and soldiers which i looooove. sit at the bar - the bartenders are great and you'll have much more room. cafe gratitude is bougie wellness and so pricey but fun nonetheless. i love true food kitchen, but don't bring any meat loving friends. 

and caw-fee. i'll admit, intelligentsia is not my thing. and alfred's is just so cliched and attracts so many tourists, i avoid it now. but blue bottle has some of my favourite coffee beans and i haven't had a bad coffee there yet. 

heading much, much further away to orange county is my favourite taco place in all the land. in all the world. the chef behind pour vida latin flavour is cordon bleu trained and those brussels sprout tacos are reason enough to want a green card. they are a local secret and ughhhhh just so good. they also serve some really great horchata. just across the road is colony wine merchant, one of my favourite wine bars. they have curated a great local community, and have a great wine list. 

last, but not least... if there was one place in los angeles i'd bring home with me it would be erewhon. a grocery store, a wellness hub, a sushi bar, a bakery, a cafe. it is my second disneyland and never fails to make me smile. from the sun potion tinctures to the gjusta loaves to the amazing sushi... it is the store i spend the most money in without fail every single time. if erewhon were to come to australia, i'd buy my house within a five block radius and call it home forever.