Thursday, September 28, 2006

Monumental Events and (Finally) Pictures

On September 26th, my OLDer sister, Sahra, turned the big 3-0! Wow, how does it feel to enter a new decade sis? I hope you had a wonderful time on PEI - I am envious of you, being at home when Mom is harvesting fresh vegetables from the garden and the apple orchards are open and the fall colours are just starting to make an appearance.

In other sister-related news....CONGRATULATIONS TO SAHRA & HENRY, who are engaged (finally, as if there was really any doubt!). Anyhoo, looks like I will have to come home in 2008 for the ceremony - looking forward to it :) Oh, and I know Sahra won't agree, but I believe that since she will most likely be the first to get married (unless I find myself desperate for an Aussie/European passport..) the onus is on her to provide the first grandkids! I want to be the jetsetting aunt who feeds the kids all sorts of candy, makes them hyper then gets to leave the scene of the candy crime!

PICTURE TIME (I hope). Thanks to my friend, Brett, I actually have some digital pics from my first two months (wow, how time has flown) in Australia.
Here are just a few to start with:

Shannon and Shannon at an AFL match

OK, want to post more pics but having trouble at the moment. . .

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Prost, Slainte, Cheers!!

Another month at Citibank has been secured. I am starting to question the path I am leading myself down. Before coming to Oz I made a promise to myself that I would push the boundaries, try things outside of my comfort zone. Because, really what's the point of going to a different country and living a life that you could basically lead in your home country? Argh. And yet I have fallen into the trap and am relatively happy with my day-to-day life at the moment. Yes, I am working for a big corporation and yes, I do spend most of my weekends going out on the town and being somewhat lazy, but I'm happy to be doing that...for now.

The question is - for how long will this routine cut it? Am I to spend my entire time Down Under living in a big city that's so American it has Krispy Kreme outlets. Of course, I know I can't let this happen. So I won't. There. Easily said and easily done. Just have to decide when to break loose. Of course, I just have to decide when to leave Sydney and Citibank in the dust.

OK sorry that has been weighing on my mind a bit. ..

Another week has passed by, another week closer to summer. Not that it really matters as it's already bloody hot here and am starting to realise why so many people decide to immigrate here....

This weekend I had a blast (again). Friday night was usual drinks/workmates then I went out w/some new friends to the Opera Bar. Eventually we found ourselves in The Rocks. ( Yes, folks, there is actually an area in Sydney called 'The Rocks' and it's a pretty posh area just under the Harbour Bridge. The AUssies are so unpretentious that way - they just call things as they see them The ski resorts are simply referred to as 'The Snow'. You will randomly hear Aussies saying they are going to 'The Snow', as if it's some sort of event)

At The Rocks we found ourselves at an Irish inspired pub/hotel, complete with a two person Irish band. A good time was had and then it was time to go home. Walking throught the Rocks we passed three bars just about to close and all three were closing their doors to the tune of Sweet Home Alabama. I kid you not.

Saturday I tried to jog but it was too hot, so I went to Paddy's market and bought a pineapple and ate it all in one go. Yummy. Spent the afternoon wandering down towards the harbour and eventually found myself back at the Irish pub - this time alone. I decided it was time to take the plunge and have a drink at a bar alone. My drink of choice, pathetically, was Diet Coke.

After a lonely drink at the Irish pub, I was happy to head to the German restaurant where I was meeting some random people for dinner and Oktoberfest celebrations. And yes the celebrations included big big glasses of German beer and a three man band that played lots of 'Umpa' inspired tunes, including the chicken dance. I dragged another girl up and we did the dance with the staff - the ones who were getting paid to dance around like fools!

Eventually ended up at another hotel/bar in the Rocks and danced my butt off to some brilliant live music - many Australian songs were learned (but not retained).

Sunday all I could do was go ot the beach. It was beautiful. That's all I have to say...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cruises, Brothels and Other Fun Things

Another brilliant week has passed by! I celebrated my two month anniversary of arriving in Australia. Obviously the only way to properly celebrate was to indulge in some local produce (aka vino).

During the week I went to see two movies. This was more in an attempt to be social than anything else. On Tuesday I went to see a teen flick (the one with Jesse Metcalfe from Desperate Housewives) and on Thursday I went to see Nacho Libre with Shannon. Jack Black rocks (see High Fidelity), but I wasn't so sure about this particular film. Well in the end it turned out to be hilarious, but I'm still not sure if it was the movie itself or the fact that I was sitting right beside that person in the theatre who has a wonderfully loud, unique and contagious laugh. Shannon could make millions in voiceovers with his evil laugh. Really, I am serious.

Friday night I decided in advance to be slightly sinful. Went to the local Citi infested bar with Mary and Amanda at 5.00, met up with a couple of new gal friends later on and then hit the town in slightly stumbling style. Went from the Retro to Cargo and managed to sober up enough to convince the doorman I was worthy of entry to Cargo. All in all it was a great evening!

Saturday I spent some time on my own. It was a gorgeous day, so after my morning jog I took a wander into the city, bought some things I didn't need and headed down to Darling Harbour to enjoy the waterviews. Spontaneously decided to treat myself to a harbour cruise which included complimentary drinks and canapes. I was the only one cruising solo, but quickly made friends with a wonderful couple from COlorado and became the onboard photographer! Sydney at dusk, from the harbour is amazing. We passed under the Harbour Bridge and by the Opera House.

Spent the rest of the evening in and took it easy. After my flatmates had gone to bed I heard someone shaking the gate outside our house. We have two locked doors - one is basically a gate, and then there's the interior door. Anywyas, I went to investigate aned found a midldle-aged drunk guy standing outside the door. He asked if this was the 'Men's Store' and I replied no and slammed teh door shut. Thank goodness for the gate between us though. This morning I told Marco of the encounter and he mentioned that before Jeanie's brother bought the house, it was, in fact a brothel. When she first moved in Jeanie was constantly having to tell men that the Me'ns Store had closed! What a colourful history this place has had - you would never guess by looking at it! Kind of like most people I guess. . . appearances are decieving!

Today I went jogging again and then hung out with Brett & Peter for lunch. a non-eventful day, but a brilliant one in any case. This evening I watched 'What the Bleep Do We Know'. What a mind bender of a film! I am still digesting the implications of its implications. If that makes sense...

And so it is. How much does time matter? How much does disance matter? Can we control our destiny? Should I listen to my gut instinct or do the expected thing? The sensible thing? What is there to lose? What is there to gain?

I need to know something. And the only way I can know is by being somewhere else. Somewhere very far from here. At least I think so. But then, after watching that film, maybe distance doesn't matter. Maybe addictions to emotions are what need to be cured. Quantum mechanics/physics aside..what if distance does matter...can it wait another eight months? That is what I need to figure out. I need to sleep on this one.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Bollywood Baby

I’m starting to get into a routine and as much as I’ve shunned this at times in the past, I am actually enjoying the predictability of my life as of late. My work days begin at 6.30 when I wake up, have a quick soy shake and make my way to the gym in the Citigroup tower. Sweat up a storm for 50 to 60 minutes, then it’s up another 5 levels to my desk on Level 10. Usually I go back to the gym at lunch to do some weight lifting then, after a productive and engaging afternoon back at the computer, I head home to my mostly not bed bug infested flat. Often I take a detour to see if pineapples are on sale at Coles. I’ve become a bit of a pineapple addict, which is bizarre because I used to shun pineapple and now I carry one home almost every night. If you want to make amends with someone, give them a pineapple – it’s the international symbol of friendship. Of course, it doesn’t seem like many people know this so you might want to include a wee note so the recipient recognizes the gesture! Evenings are spent prepping healthy suppers, chatting with flatmates, watching bad television (Australian Idol takes the cake in this regard) and writing emails and blog posts!

OK, that’s the end of boring ‘day in the life of Shannon’. Although, really I don’t find it boring at all!! Suppose this is because I like my job, enjoy working out and LOVE eating good food!!

I had a great weekend, which started a bit early. Friday was an off-site for work. This translated into a boring morning of presentations followed by a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon of team-building activities and an evening filled with wine, food and fun!
The theme of the day was Bollywood. One of our team building activities was to do a team song and dance, Bollywood style – we decided to do a skit at the beginning and I somehow ended up being one of the leads. Oh dear. I did not dare try an Indian accent. Later on we had to do the voice and sound over for a Bolllywood movie (dubbing it). It was soooo funny.

In the evening we had a 4 course Indian buffet – everyone came dressed in Bollywood style. It was hilarious and overindulgent and I loved every minute of it!
Saturday was a bit of a write-off. We had a rainy rainy day, reminiscent of Edinburgh. I spent the day getting new bedroom stuff – mattress, sheets, quilt, etc. In the evening I went out with a few friends, but chose not to drink due to the whole ‘marathon pre-training’ thingie

Sunday I went for an hour long jog in the am, then ventured out in the afternoon to visit the Powerhouse Museum. This is Australia’s biggest museum and its focus is on science and discovery. I went specifically to see the EcoLogic exhibition, which is all about creating a sustainable world – starting at home and looking at all facets of everyday living. It was very interesting, enlightening and, well, disturbing too.

Finally, late in the afternoon I went to Paddy’s Market in Chinatown – this is a place where people sell their wares- mostly knockoff items like perfume that smells like toilet water and ripped CDs that are of subpar quality, however there is an adjacent fruit and vegetable market like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It was massive and crowded, but totally worth it for the prices and selection of yummy, fresh veg. A pineapple for $1!!!!!

And that is how I ended the weekend, with a pineapple under my arm.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mara-thongs and 'Work'nights Out

Another week has flown by. I spent a good deal of it laundering my clothes in an attempt to eliminaet any possibilty of them being infested by bed bugs. The rest of my week was spent namely working and pre-training for marathon. I ran about 40 kms this week in total, which is nowhere near what I will be running when I actually start training program, but for now it seems to be doing the trick as I've lost weight already and can run longer and faster.

This weekend was absolutely beautiful. Yesterday is was 29 degrees and super sunny. While I was tempted to go to the beach and just soak it up in the sand, I opted instead to lie in the grass in Hyde Park and then mosey on over to North Sydney to have drinks with Amanda and Mary. Non-alcoholic drinks mind you. I'd already been out with Mary the night before - it seems to have become the norm on Friday nights to leave the desk at 5.00 and be in Arthouse scoping out the talent by 5.05. I can't complain, it's a far better way to spend one's Friday evening than I was used to back on the Island. Not that I can complain about sitting out on the back deck in Long Creek enjoying BBQ salmon and new potatoes, but, well, what can I say? I like socializing :)

Saturday night I joined Shannon and some of his friends for a birthday dinner. The view from the restaurant was breathtaking and the salmon was yummy! Took it relatively easy on the eating and drinking and had a great night.

This afternoon I took in an AFL game with a friend of Shannon's and then we checked out Fox Studios, which is this huge entertainment quarter with loads of restaurants and shops. The Cirque de Soliel has set up tent there and is performing for two months. Tickets are pricey and probably sold out by now. Oh well, I will just have to buy tix for the next big event that hits Sydney - like Elton John performing in November!

Tonight I made a lot of food, cleaned the bathroom and watched two German guys eat yummy pub food while I sipped a Diet Coke. All in all it was an exhausting but enjoyable day.

As for the bed bug situation - we got exterminator in, but when I went to sleep in my room I was woken up at 5 by an itching sensation on my ankle and discovered I'd been bitten again. The guy did tell me I could get bitten for the next six weeks as the poison used stops the bugs from reproducing, but doesn't necessarily kill them immediately. Argh. I was thinking of moving out, but after a good night's sleep, some thought and some advice from others I've decided to tough it out for at least a few more weeks.