Author Archives: Angelique Bavich

It suddenly occurred to me – why do people love garlic so much?

In the way that certain smells can trigger memories, the aroma of garlic and onion frying in oil brings a smile to my face. It’s not a complicated food prep thing to do, yet it was these two fundamental ingredients which were at the beginning of my culinary journey.

Mum had always cooked for us.  She cleaned, she washed, she drove us to school and back. She fought many of our battles for us and she always put us first. She did teach us to iron at the earliest age possible – I’m guessing she didn’t like ironing. She was from the generation where the ‘lady of the house’ did those chores.  I never quite realised or appreciated everything she did for us, now that I am thinking about it. As entitled teenagers, our focus is usually on what we didn’t get! Anyway, whether it was a case of her never teaching me or me refusing to be taught…I can’t remember …but it was my ex-husband who taught me to cook. He was a firm believer that fried onion and garlic were a staple start to any meal preparation. So now when I smell frying garlic…that’s my memory…and I always smile.

A friend of mine from Manjimup made a deal with her family to grow garlic on their wee property and then to sell it. Firstly to teach their kids the value of working the land – important in a rural crop producing region, but also to realise their reward as a family. With the money they earned from their efforts, in 2010 they went to Queensland, and they have also been to Phuket, Thailand and Bali. Two things she was very clear on were that 1) the time to plant is crucial…And 2) If you want to harvest the best bulbs, you have to plant the best cloves.  Sounds like a lot of things in life, hey?

But what if garlic is not your friend? On a recent trip to Bali (to a retreat, actually, haha) one of the ladies had to request dishes without garlic as it played havoc on her digestion.  Now that is no easy feat in Bali as everything has garlic in it!  I think she still got a dose by osmosis, though, as I am sure the garlic we all ate was constantly seeping out of our pores!

There is even a religion beyond veganism which abstains from spuds, garlic and onion.  It’s called Jain and they exclude underground vegetables to prevent injuring small insects and microorganisms.

While we are on the abstinence of garlic, the holistic therapy movement called Ayurveda believes that onion and garlic produce excessive heat in the body, which could increase the risk of other health problems, so they recommend having them in low quantities.

Now I believe in each to their own just as much as the next person – but kill me now if any of that becomes the next ‘big thing’!!!

I also believe that denying yourself something is a sure-fire way to want it even more.  Every second. Of every day. It is most certainly a way to drive myself batty!  I end up having quite stern conversations with myself about why I should have it and why I shouldn’t have it. These conversations are usually between the little ‘itty bitty shitty committee’ on my shoulders.  You know the ones – the ones who think they know what is best for you. Ugh.

I totally get the whole ‘live for the moment’ and ‘you never know what’s around the corner’, but what if the path of abstinence led to something even better in your life? Do the ends justify the means then? That’s going to be my challenge soon.  I have just spent three and a half months eating and drinking what I wanted to and as a consequence, more kilos have piled on where I didn’t think there was even room! Now I’m not ashamed of my body, it has served me very well so far, and it is what it is. However, I really could do with getting a bit fitter, stronger and healthier. This is for my long-term health. So while I am not a huge fan of depriving yourself, or denying yourself or making yourself miserable because of a self-imposed restriction on something that brings you joy…the long-term health goals certainly means it would be worth it in my case.  So, I’m going to give a shot at getting fitter and healthier!

How I ended up in the UK writing this blog!

 

I had been thinking a lot about spaces.
You know, gaps … in-betweens… pauses….
the nothingness when one thing ends and before something else starts.

I think we are all just a teensy bit frightened of these ‘places of possibility.’

Some of us run towards them. Others desperately fill them up in case all the juicy potential ends up bubbling up and distracting them from their existence.

Are those spaces what some call ‘our comfort zone’? If so, is it a bad thing that some thrust our faces past it into the delicious unknown …. and some shy away, steady and comfortable in the knowledge that tomorrow … will be just like today.

I have so much newfound respect for the second sort of people.

The sort of people who are not me.

 

My contract as a customer service officer with a government department had not been renewed. The event which I ran was due to finish. I had no clinic from which to see clients. I had finished editing my friend’s book. It was finally published – with my name in print as the Editor. I was still painting, but hadn’t finished a painting in ages, and wasn’t close to finishing one, so there were no expected sales there.

What was I going to do?

I applied for about a dozen full time office jobs. Not one interview. Hardly a reply even to acknowledge my application!

One day I was chatting to the Front of House Manager of the Event venue. She had lived and worked in London in a pub and fondly remembered that time. I joked with her that if I didn’t find a job, then that could very well be my next option on the list! She spun around to look at me and said – ‘well why don’t you do it, then?’ I opened my mouth to list all the reasons I simply could not ‘just do it now’ and found more reasons to explore the possibility than to discount it.

When I travelled in in 1994 as a fresh-faced youngster, I arrived in Scotland and fell in love with it. I adored the accent, the landscape and the people. I have often spoken of this love affair with Scotland and that if I didn’t have my future husband waiting for me back home, I would have stayed. I have always loved pubs. I actually enjoy the sights and smells of a pub.

And I have always, always wanted to work in one.

 

I started to wonder.

I started to think that maybe … possibly ….  I could actually pull this off.

 

I promised myself that if there were any hurdles that were too difficult to overcome that I would reconsider immediately.

But they never came.

And so I made vague plans … always with the thought ‘I can still NOT do this’ in the back of my mind.

Until I bought my ticket.

Then shit got real.

And here I am, in the Highlands of Scotland, having not only achieved a dream, but with a tonne of new friends, amazing memories, awesome insights to who I am as a person, and some priceless photographs I can’t wait to paint when I get home!

The day I realised I had to change what I was doing – or I would shrivel up and die.

There were many reasons which contributed to why I had got to that point.  All of them not insurmountable on their own, but piled up all together, it was a mountain that seemed bigger than Mount Everest.  Unscalable except by the most resilient, strong and capable mountain hiker.  Certainly not by the fragile, broken creature that limped out of my house every day wearing my clothes.

I would get up early – from the bed I chose to sleep in alone -and head to my part time office job with an earthmoving contractor. After about five kilometres of gravel road, the road turned to bitumen. That’s when the tears would start. Sometimes they leaked silently out of my reddened eyes to fall unnoticed down my cheek.  Other times I would suck in huge lungfuls of air trying to control the sobbing which felt like it was being wrenched from deep down in my very soul.

Then after my five hours in the office, I would go to my clinic room and welcome five or six clients for massage therapy.  Then after dark, pack up my room and my linen and cry myself home.

Sometimes I would wail WHY? Why do I feel this way?  And I would check off in my mind the usual reasons why people are unhappy. My job? I loved both of my jobs. I had retrained myself at age 39 to be a massage therapist and I loved it.  I loved looking after people and I loved making them feel better. I loved that my business was successful and that it made a difference in the small town in the South West of Western Australia where I lived.

My house? We lived in an old general Hall which we converted to a home. I absolutely, completely and totally LOVED that home. I looked forward to the moment when I would walk through the door – even though the smile was pasted on my face – and feel that connection to my space.  I felt gratitude every single day I spent in that house. I cherished it. I loved it. I miss it keenly to this very day. So no, not my home.

My kids? Most people say they have amazing kids.  Mine are no exception. They were – and are – kind, considerate, polite and generally wonderful humans. If anything, I felt that my current state of disquiet was somehow letting them down, so perhaps I kept a bit of a distance, however I was always available for them when they needed me.

My friends? Well, I am eternally grateful that there was no shortage of them. I am so blessed with absolutely true and real friends, and that I have the capacity and ability to attract more and more.  In fact, in the moments when I felt completely and totally at my absolute lowest, it was the knowledge that if I was as ‘bad’ a person as I truly thought I was, then these bright, intelligent and well-adjusted people would certainly not be friends with ME. And I would re-group … and carry on.

My weight / health?  Hmm yeah sure – I had had a spinal injury quite a few years before and I had struggled to readjust both my gait and my general mobility.  I could certainly have done with losing quite a few kilograms. But deep in that mire of confusion, I saw my appearance as abhorrent and repulsive. My self-esteem nose-dived and my thought processes spiralled downwards in an alarming depressive pattern.

My marriage?  Ah. Jackpot. I was desperately unhappy. And when is the right time or circumstance to objectively examine that!? Just like a marriage is a two-way street, so is it’s decline. I’m certainly not about to point fingers – or to take full responsibility; however, the reality was that I was absolutely and completely terrified that it was over. My husband was a nice man – he still is – kind, often thoughtful, never violent, didn’t drink or smoke, a wonderful father. But I had lost just what it was that made every new day something to look forward to with him in it.

But what did all that actually mean? I had nothing to complain about. We even had a ‘holiday house’ on the beach.  Right on the beach.  Literally, a dream house. Nup. Didn’t do it for me.  I was still unhappy.

What an ungrateful person I thought I was.

Sometimes it was small realisations, not always negative ones either.  Like, ‘I am grateful I have a lovely home to live in’. But then, ‘I am not sure I want to spend another weekend at home washing and cleaning’. But then thoughts like this would creep in; ‘how would I be spending my days if I was no longer married?’ Those were the thoughts that scared me the most, because even though I am pretty imaginative, I just could not picture this.  I had no framework, no construct to build an imaginary scenario out of. Especially one like that.

I wondered if I could have a ‘trial run’. Like a tester period where I did not live in the family home and could experience what life would be like, but without the cavernous unknown in front of me. Of course, that situation would not be without its connotations also, as the very reason I would be doing it would be due to a serious fault surfacing in my marriage.

And just like that, the universe provided.

A good friend of mine was heading to Europe for six weeks and although she did not need a house sitter, she offered her house to me to stay in for that time.

The subsequent conversation was the hardest thing I have ever done. Both the one with my husband and the one with my children. We stumbled through the next few days. I gathered a few things. I made plans.

The first night at my friend’s house, I took a chair into her lovely garden with a glass of wine and I wept. I cried with peace. I cried with the realisation that I felt …. free. I cried because I knew what that meant. I knew where it would lead. But even though I was scared, I knew the alternative no longer existed. I could not go back. And however much pain I needed to cause would have to be metered out. And I wept for that pain too.

 

 

Enter “The Retreat”

A space. A place. A time away. A pause. No expectations, no requirements, no emotional agendas.

Deep breaths. Bright colours. Gentle sounds.

Time to think, time to process, time to be.

And at last. Clarity.

I gifted myself that space. And I honoured myself by respecting all the emotions and thought processes which surfaced in that time.

And little by little, more of ME has surfaced. Not totally without bruises. I still hurt when I think of the hurt I have caused the three most important people in my life. But I also hope they understand just a little bit.

I have learned that it’s okay to question.  To question your happiness, to question your daily routine, to question how you make money – and why, and to question what all of that ultimately means to you.  To ask the question is not to fail. To ask the question is not admitting defeat. To ask the question is not to give away power.  To ask the question lets in a little bit of light.  For wherever it may need to shine.

And when that light shined more and more on the most hidden parts of who I am, and I kept asking myself questions, I discovered a world that I wanted to explore.

And here I am in the UK ticking off my list of dreams…