Life Lessons

Last month, I went to Hawaii, and I think I may have tapped into the meaning of life while I was there. For real. I’m like a modern-day Gandhi now. Pull out your textbooks, because you’re about to get schooled…

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Stop asking – I have the answers.

1. It’s important to slow down, stop and restore yourself…

It’s like Ferris Bueller said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” We all need to slow down and actually enjoy life, otherwise what’s the point? It’s so easy to get caught up in all the mundane things – work, babies (they’re so needy and demanding)… I didn’t realise how burnt out and exhausted I actually was until I stopped.

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Lying on the beach all day… Someone’s got to do it.

2. Live everyday like you’re on a holiday…

This is something I told my mum while we were in Hawaii, and she told me, “You can’t, Demeter. Life’s not a holiday.” Lies! Who’s going to stop me? Are you? Are you, Mum?

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Everyone should wear cocktail umbrellas in their hair EVERYDAY.

3. The best things in life really are free…

As much as this pains me to admit it, I realised that maybe I didn’t need that third blush from Sephora. Or the fourth. Surely two would have been enough. When you’re looking at the crystal clear beaches and natural beauty surrounding you in Hawaii, something happens. You realise you really don’t need anything.

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The view’s not bad.

4. There’s a lot to be said for keeping things simple…

I realised this while sitting on the beach with the green sea turtles. All they need is the ocean and a sunny spot on the sand to nap. All I need is a rocking chair on a patio, the gentle breeze and a bag of Hawaiian Luau BBQ chips. They’re delicious. Yeah, ignore what I just said about not needing anything.

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Turtles – they get it.

5. Everybody needs alone time…

As much as I love you all, it felt great to take some time out. “It’s so nice not having anyone here to annoy me,” I often found myself telling myself. Now leave me alone.

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Just me, Diamond Head… and the homeless guy napping in the background.

6. Live aloha…

This is a hard one to explain. Aloha is more than just a greeting in Hawaii – it’s a way of life. It’s the Hawaiian spirit. It’s the old man who was sitting on the beach, not a worry in the world, playing his guitar and watching the ocean. Maybe I should get “live aloha” tattooed on my ass so I never forget. Thinking about it…

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Peace out.
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Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts

The world was a better place for having these couples in it. And then they broke up. If you want my opinion, these three celebrity couples need to get back together, stat… Don’t make me beg, because I will, and then you’ll have to take out a restraining order.

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Ryan Gosling + Rachel McAdams

The Notebook, anyone? These two were too adorable for words! Even Ryan thought so. “I mean, God bless The Notebook,” he said in 2007. “It introduced me to one of the great loves of my life. But people do Rachel and me a disservice by assuming we were anything like the people in that movie. Rachel and my love story is a hell of a lot more romantic than that.” Yeah… That’s a great story, Ryan. You know what’s even better? NEVER BREAKING UP. You know who didn’t break up? The couple in The Notebook. They grew old and died together.

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CUTE.

There were even rumours they had started talking again (hey, it’s a start, people) when Eva Mendes discovered she was pregnant with Ryan’s genetically blessed baby. GODDAMMIT. Can someone please deport Eva back to Cuba?! Donald Trump, this is your time to shine.

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Sigh.

BJ Novak + Mindy Kaling

To be honest, I don’t know why these two aren’t together. After dating for a couple of years while filming The Office, they decided to be “just friends”. Best friends. Seriously, these two do EVERYTHING together! “We are pretty inseparable best friends with a lot of chemistry,” BJ said last year. Chemistry is for science, BJ – make it happen. “I love him,” Mindy said last year, adding that she would have married him if he’d asked. As far as hints go, that’s up there with pointing out engagement rings, BJ…

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What is this?!

They even call each other “soup snakes”, which any Office fan would know is a fancy word for soulmates. “The main reason I’m reluctant to get married to Mindy is that every single person in our lives and Twitter feeds would say, ‘I knew it,’” BJ once said. “I just couldn’t f***ing deal with that. But we know. We know what’s there.” Still not a good enough reason, BJ.

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Just get married already!!

Harry Styles + Louis Tomlinson

Look, I’m not saying these two dated, but working in the media, you hear things. Compelling things. Like reports they were the loves of each other’s lives. You know, stuff like that… After meeting on The X Factor in the UK back in 2010, when Harry was just 16 and Louis was 18, these two immediately became inseparable. They moved in together shortly afterwards, got a series of complimentary tattoos, and despite never openly confessing to a romantic relationship, rumours were rife. Also, just one day before it was announced Louis had a girlfriend, he took to Twitter to write, “Always in my heart @Harry_Styles. Yours sincerely, Louis.” Coincidence? Hmm…

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Uh, we can see you…

It didn’t help that they would always find ways to subtly touch each other when they thought nobody was watching or that they would be caught out gazing adoringly at each other. They still look at each other like they’re hiding the world’s biggest secret…

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How bromantic.

Every Picture Tells a Story…

Earlier this week, I posted an old photo I’d found of my grandfather with a friend on social media for his birthday. I knew nothing about the photo or his friend, who was clutching a walking stick in the picture.

I jokingly captioned the photo something along the lines of, “Happy birthday to my papou who doesn’t even have social media, which means he’ll never see this post. Whatever.” It turns out he did see the post though. My mum and my sister, Patrice had gone to my grandparents’ house for lunch that day, and my sister had shown it to him. “I showed Papou the photo and now everyone’s crying,” Patrice messaged me. Great. Happy birthday, Papou…

I come from an emotional (okay, melodramatic) family, so it didn’t really surprise me that the photo had induced tears from my grandparents, but what did surprise me was the touching story behind it…

The other man in the photo was called Jimmy, and my grandparents befriended him shortly after they migrated to Australia from Greece in the 1950’s.

At the time, my grandparents were living in the inner city suburb of Redfern in Sydney. They didn’t know many people, having recently just moved here, and to kill time while my grandfather was at work, my grandmother would take my mum – a baby at the time – to a park at the end of their street. She went there everyday, and noticed a man who would also go everyday. Each day, he’d sit by himself on a park bench, drinking milk and eating cookies.

My grandmother mentioned this man to my grandfather – who, let’s face it, probably asked her what she wanted him to do about it – and then encouraged her to go and talk to him the next time she saw him.

The next day, she walked over to the man and struck up a conversation with him. His name was Jimmy and he was also a Greek immigrant, living just a few doors down from my grandparents.

He’d been working on the trains in Sydney (the same work my grandfather was doing at the time) when he’d had an accident. A train had hit him, leaving him paralysed down one side of his body. Because of this accident, he was no longer able to work, and because the Australian government refused to give him a disability pension, he had no income. He also had a hard time taking care of himself.

They struck up a friendship, and Jimmy would eat dinner at my grandparents’ house every night. My grandmother would help him out by doing his washing, and in return, he’d sit loyally outside her bedroom door if she was ever sick, asking if she needed anything.

One day, my grandmother – who is easily one of the feistiest women I’ve ever known – wrote a letter to the Queen of Greece, explaining Jimmy’s situation. (This is a woman who once chased down a random guy when she was nine months pregnant, threatening to burn him with a candle after he picked a fight with my grandfather, leaving him with a dislocated shoulder – the fact she went straight to the top does not surprise me.)

A few months later, two government officials from the Greek Embassy in Canberra showed up on my grandparents’ doorstep asking for Jimmy. My grandmother ran down to his house and got him. The officials told Jimmy the Queen had read my grandmother’s letter, and the Greek government would start paying him a pension.

Jimmy eventually returned to Greece, got married and had two daughters, but he never forgot my grandparents. When he died a few years ago, they found a framed photo of my grandparents hanging on a wall in his house, a reminder of the two people who had made his difficult life in Australia a little easier.

I was talking to my mum about it, and she said this is just one of many stories of the things my grandparents have done for other people over the years… I always knew my grandparents were kind, good-hearted people, but I’ve never been prouder to call them Yiayia and Papou.

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Jimmy and Nicholas (or as I like to call him, Papou).