Saturday, December 30, 2006
I'm about to move house... well only for a week ;) House sitting again! :)
Having a veeeeery slow day...had a great session at the gym, and then everything has been crazy or slow... it's already 1.30pm and I still haven't moved house!
Ok, I'm going now.
Have a great New Year's Eve! :)
Friday, December 29, 2006
We had about 16degrees celsius... apparently another record since about the 1930's...
At least it made it a better Christmas for many firefighters! :) :) :)
We went from wearing tshirts and skirts to wearing our jackets! I guess it's better than sweating in the heat and not wanting to eat much of the Christmas feasting because you're too hot! ;)
I just figure the cold Christmas was a huge gift to many people this year :)
Friday, December 22, 2006
I bought 2 chocolate sticks in Dublin airport - 1 for an O'Brien :p and one for me to see what I was giving ;)
It was the BEST Chocolate ever!!!! It was so good I was sad I would have to go back to Dublin (or at least outside Australia) to get more... so I managed to savour my 5 small chocolate blocks (in the packet)....
and about 2-3 weeks ago I was in Safeway Mill Park...and A WHOLE SHELF OF LILY O'BRIENS CHOCOLATES was staring at me!!!!!!!!! WOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! abt 4-5 different varieties! :o
So yeah, if you see them, even though they're not cheap....they're tying with Lindt at the moment in my favourites list ;)
A nice lady held up the line yesterday because her item had no tag... they had to get somebody to confirm the price...she apologised! That was a pleasant surprise. I wouldn't have thought anything of it if she had said nothing... I just take it as part of the joys of shopping...
Before that I joined the slow line...and then realise the product I was purchasing wasn't in good enough condition so went back and exchanged it... THEN I joined my 2nd bad line...which was the one just mentioned... It seemed it wasn't my day for good line choosing! haha!
I think maybe people are beginning to relax...
Its coming so fast to Monday...Christmas Day... the day where JESUS is the focus... all this craziness is for Christmas...but how much of it is about Jesus? I think we get so caught up in the craziness we forget to acknowledge the REASON for the season...the REASON we celebrate Christmas...the reason we buy gifts for each other...the reason for the love and goodwill... and he patiently waits for us... to acknowledge him... and if we don't, he waits til next year, on the chance you may remember him... and if not then, the next year...he just waits... and waits... he's a gentleman. He won't force himself into your life, but once you decide to acknowledge him, he is so excited to be a part of your life.
Christmas holds so much more meaning when you know the reason for the celebrations. It's not about presents and trees and food... all these things help us enjoy each other more, but its simply about that baby born in humble circumstances... the son of God... and with the love of this amazing man comes the joy of gift giving and trees and food... we WANT to celebrate and enjoy each other. But without this ONE simple foundation, Christmas seems to lose its meaning...
Ok...I could type forever!
Have a specaial Christmas remembering the one who made it all possible...and enjoying the festivities and love he gives.
Just all the thoughts of this time of love and goodwill towards man... and the thought that if I used my car horn EVERY time I was cut off or tailgated or just following another car whose driver's brain is not screwed on properly... my horn would have worn out by now!!!! hahaha!
But fact is my head also hasn't necessarily been screwed on properly either... but I won't drive if my head is that loose!! Everybody is in such a hurry...or in no hurry at all...
My head is so full! I have heaps going on in this brain of mine...commitments here, commitments there.... gifts to buy...wondering if work will call me in... break up parties...work... another friend to catch up with... another card to write... I just seem so BUSY!
But I'm sure that's how most people are feeling at this "festive" time... and when it comes down to it, even though we're so busy, I still value all the people I have to find time to see. So I enjoy the break up parties and card writing and gift buying etc... it just seems that after Monday so many peoples bodies are going crash...
and....I'M ON HOLIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :)
I go back to work on 2nd and start house sitting Saturday week.
Monday, December 11, 2006
I remember going shopping and hearing Christmas music everywhere... seeing Christmas displays... just FEELING Christmas... and this year it seems people are too afraid of offending people who don't believe in Christmas... the shops seem to have MINIMAL decorations...even Bourke St Mall in Melbourne city seems a little 'drab'...
I was in Kmart the other night with David, and to get into the 'spirit', he found all the singing Christmas toys on the top shelf and pressed all the buttons.... so we had reindeer singing in rounds for us! Was embarrassingly fun! :p (this was a Kmart in an area where many muslims live, so its understandable Christmas isn't very big there...)
So yeah...where did Christmas go????
I've felt like punching everybody who crosses my path in the shops... it's like they're all too busy trying to shop to care about respecting anybody... I've had my handbag pushed many many times by a person too interested in moving through me than asking me to move aside...
I've had numerous pedestrians walk out in front of me while I was driving...
and then there are those few shop assistants who I am able to have a laugh with... they don't have "I hate this job" written on their faces... what is going on in this world...people are too busy to smile...
Is that what it is... people are just too busy trying to survive that they forget to live...
I just miss the Christmas feel... I love finding gifts for friends and family... hearing the Christmas carols/songs in the shopping centres... just the festivity of it all...and this year it seems people have forgotten to enjoy it...
Oh well...it's not over yet :)
One good thing that I've experienced is the Myer Christmas Windows Display was actually based on the Nativity this year :) It was about an Australian book about a Wombat who couldn't find his part in the Christmas Nativity play because he was too big, too small, too this, too that...until eventually the last role was baby Jesus...and after all that waiting to find out what he COULD do...he was given that role. I thought it was a cute story.
Maybe people are just tired at this time of year...
Personally, I'm tired and would like some changes in my life, but I still want to enjoy Christmas! I'm looking forward to going to church with David and his 'mum' (his real mum is in another state, so this lady is like his mum too), then going to my nonna's for an Italian family lunch... then going to his 'mum's place for a visit and to give gifts...then who knows! It will be an exciting day!
My favourite part is giving gifts :) I love being in that atmosphere where everybody excitedly gives their gifts, and waits for the receiver's reaction. That's the fun part... then we all just enjoy each others' company.
Actually, since my nanna died Christmas hasn't been the same...she was the one who had the Christmas RECORDS playing, the tree up...the 'traditional' Christmas dinner... although the cold version ;) And just the family getting together and enjoying their company...then the cousins would excitedly give presents to everybody... that was fun... and nice... but she's been gone nearly 2 years now, so that is a memory... but a good memory :)
Ok, I should stop talking... have a great day ;)
I've told my friends in a Christmas letter I will be posting about my holiday soon... just seem a little too busy with all the commotion (or lack!) of Christmas at the moment....but rest assured, I have plans on writing about my adventure!
Oh well... my current thoughts are about the bushfires in Victoria... apparently they are the worst since the 1800's! And not going to stop burning for "a few months".
It's really sad when you walk outside your front door and all you can see is smoke... and the fires are about 2-5hours away! Couldn't see the sky for the last 2 days...in which we had one of our hottest days on record! 40+degrees Celsius... so we're in the worse draught in decades, the hottest day in decades.... and the worst fire in decades... and all we want is some rain...
It's even sadder when we've had many firefighters come over from New Zealand to help control the fires...which could possibly all join into one big fire...
Well, what can you do apart from pray...
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Be prepared for travel delays if using the bus system…they are generally on time, but don’t be surprised if your bus is an hour late… it took me about 4-5hours to make a 3 hour trip one day! But nobody seems to mind… or they are just so used to waiting they’re just happy to see the bus! Haha!
Try and Irish Coffee
Experience the Ring of Kerry
Visit the Waterford Crystal Factory and take the tour (the staff pose for your photos if asked!)
Worry about anything… Ireland is relaxed… can’t really think of any DON’Ts expect don’t forget to remove your suitcase from the luggage area of one bus before boarding another bus! The bus rides can be long, it’s easy to forget your luggage!
Forget an umbrella…
And don’t expect it to last long with all the wind and rain!
and don't forget Dublin is very different to the rest of Ireland (from my experience)
It is more of a busy city, compared to the laid-back countryside... both are awesome ;)
Try the coffee and pizzettas! (Autogrills serve great espresso!)
Try the gelati (personally I couldn’t tell the difference between home and Italy, but the flavours were great)
Buy souvenirs at Burano! (near Venice) They are sooooo much cheaper!!!
(But you have to discover this for yourself ;))
Run away from the men! Haha!
Be aware of gypsies and beggars in all the tourist attractions.
Be aware of street vendours… apart from invading your space, you can be fined up to Euro1500 for purchasing “genuine copies” from these people.
Climb the Duomo in Milan
Not as difficult as St Paul’s in London, but awesome when you’re at the top!
The view is magnificent, as are the ceiling paintings inside. I have to give credit to my travel friends Mike and Phyllis for suggesting this experience!
Buy products from factories visited as part of your tour. They may seem cheap…until you find something around the corner (same or similar) for up to a third of the price!
Trust Venetians in tourist shops! As mum says, “They rip you off with a smile”
(Although I must admit my grandparents were born in this region and I would trust them!)
Expect value for money from Italian hotels.
Apparently they are renowned throughout Western Europe as the most expensive, but also the worst kept hotels…but have a high tourist turnover, suggesting they don’t need to improve since the tourists will come anyway!
Drink the coffee in hotels! Buy it elsewhere!
Be afraid to stick up for yourself! Sometimes it pays to be 'rude'... if you're a young girl, the men will target you, so running away from them is not such a bad thing ;)
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
- Take sunscreen and summer clothes
Most Aussies I met packed for cooler weather, but luckily added a few summer clothes too…which we lived in!
Stay at the Highbury Centre (Formerly the Foreign Missions Club) http://www.thehighburycentre.org/
It’s an historic building, on the outskirts of London. It is simple, but nice. They offer amazing facilities – laundry, cheap internet, phone cards etc, close to public transport... (although I would not recommend this place to people with mobility issues. Due to the age of the building, there are many stairs and no lifts).
The atmosphere is awesome. It was originally for missionaries, but they offer guest rates for non-missionaries. The receptionists are wonderful people who make you feel welcome :)
Climb the 520 Steps of St Paul’s Cathedral! It’s POSSIBLE and awesome!!! How could you go to London and NOT take up this challenge! :p Plus it’s quite pricey just to get inside the building! Work-out value for money! :p
Take a ride of the Hop On Hop Off us Tours. They are great! You see more of the town that you’d want to walk alone, and then realise it’s not that hard to get around after all :p
* Be afraid of getting lost! The tube is amazing! As long as you know which station you need to get
of at the end of the day, you’ll be fine!
Even though it’s a big city, it’s virtually impossible to get lost! :)
(It took me 2 days to realise this!)
Ask directions from somebody who looks young… or from newspaper sellers on the streets!
Most have no idea, give you a funny look as if directions are an alien concept, or ask if you speak English…(uhh…DUH! Hehe!)
- Believe an older person’s directions are “a long walk”
as my friend correctly pointed out, what they perceive as “long” is only a 5-10minute walk – nothing to us Aussies who are used to waiting at least 20 minutes for a bus! Not to mention the half hour walk to the train station which is sometimes quicker than waiting for the bus!
Ask a Tube employee at Heathrow, ‘Is this the tube?”
(ok, I admit I’d just come off a plane and my brain was tired!)
- Take your mobile/cell phone!
Even if you don’t intend to use it, it’s security!
(and helps cure your loneliness at times)
When you are lost and are meeting a friend, use your mobile phone to call them! ;)
- Buy an international phone card BEFORE you leave home!
I had to use my mobile to call home to tell them I had arrived… when you’re jetlagged and dodging people, its hard to find a phone card! It’s even worse when ur in a non-English speaking country and the person is telling you the card DOES call Australia, but it doesn’t SAY so On the card.
- Travelex Cash Passport Card for Aussies www.cashpassportcard.com
This is the simplest way to use cash overseas! You pre-purchase your desired currency (Euros/Pounds) and just use it like a debit card at any ATM! I purchased Euros and was able to obtain pounds in London with the same card. You can top up the card any time online! My parents did this for me – the only disadvantage is your transactions do not show your current balance. You have to go online to view your account.