Saturday, December 30, 2006

NYE 2007

It's NYE here in Sydney. I'll be one of the first to welcome in the new year. How very exciting. OK, there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm in that last sentence. It turns out I'm not a huge New Year's Eve reveller. I don't really know why as I generally like any excuse for a party and some hoopla, but I think it's all about the build-up, it's just too much hype to live up to. So I enter with no expectations.

It's about 6 0'clock in the evening and I really should be getting decked out in my party dress but I'm just not ready to go there yet. I 'kind of' had a big one last night .well, technically it started around 2 in the afternoon which may have been a big part of the problem. In any case, because this will be my last weekend of drinking for the next four months, I kind of made the best of it last night, which means there's really not much left in me for another night of boozing and partying. Sigh. I am getting old. According to one of the guys we met last night I really couldn't be any younger than 28. He based this on my footwear. I had been planning to wear flat sandals. but wore some nice heels instead..I reckon if I had worn the sandals, I'd have been labelled a senior citizen.

Normally I don't make resolutions at New Years . It just makes sense that if you want to change something in your life, you do it when you are ready to do it.Well, it seems that I want to make some changes in my life and it just happens to be New Year's so I am giving in to tradition. Just this once. My resolutions are as follows (laugh if you must, but I can stick to anything I set my mind to).

Resolution #1 : No drinking of alcohol for the next four months

Resolution #2 : No eating any sorts of sweets or chocolate - including cakes, cookies, pastries, etc.

S yah. That's the plan Stan. Resoltuion #1 will be mujch easier than Resolution #2. Wish me luck.

Here is a picture from my Christmas potluck. I will post more in the near future.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A List of Books . Just That Simple.

Note to all that have lots of spare time on their hands - I've actually written THREE posts tonight, so if you want to read about Christmas on the Farm or my future life as a Farmer, scroll down to read the other two posts that follow this one!

So, living in Sydney has not been conducive to my education or mental well-being. Amongst other things that I have neglected (my body..ahem), I have not been able to finish a book since I arrived. Oh, I've started a few, but just have NOT been able to get through one. Or maybe I have. Oh wait, I did read 'Don't Eat This Book' from front to back, but that was an easy read. Good, but easy. Ok, so here are a list of books I am currently reading or planning to get through in the upcoming months. If anyone has additional suggestions for good 'on the road' books, please, by all means SHARE them!

Currently Reading
  • The Story of B - Daniel Quinn
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Pilsrig (thanks for the recommendation Michigan)
  • The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle (whoa, this one's a bit out there, but worth it I think)

Planning to Read

  • Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
  • The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (thanks Shannon!)
  • The End of Food - Thomas F. Pawlick (a huge thank you to Tash and her flatmate's Sugar Daddy for sending this all the way from France in record time!)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha -Arthur Golden
  • The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • The Hero With A Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell (thanks for the recommendation Rob)

So, yah. Hmmmm. Seems I am on a bit of a non-fiction kick. Only two in that list are completely fictional. I haven't been able to read much fiction in the last couple of years - it's like I have this insatiable appetite to learn more about, well, everything - the world, other people, myself. Yum!

Farmer Shan

Well, the countdown is on - only 12 more days at that absolutely wonderful place of work, Citibank. Oh, how I will miss sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day. Oh how I will miss having to do Run Rate reports, take minutes and be the unofficial PA of the team. Mostly I will miss being underpaid and doing work that does not utilise any of my natural abilities or developed skills. It's always great being an unappreciated resource - really character building!

Now, on a more sincere note, I must admit I will miss a few things about my place of work. First and foremost, the people. I've made some fabulous friends in the Cards department, most notably Mary, Sara and Shaz. And then, of course, there's Doug, the Tasmanian! I will also very much miss the gym. For the next four months I am going to have to be creative with my workoujts - no gym and no homebase, where I could build a makeshift gym. So yah..that's about all I will miss.

Farming will commence soon after I arrive in Melbourne. I've sussed out a few places to do farmstays in the area surrounding Melbourne, so just need to cement something now.

Ooooohhh - did I mention I saw my first KANGAROOS while at Mary's farm??? They were bouncing along by a fence, trying to get to the other side, then finally they went Boing Boing BOING and jumped clear over the fence! It was so neat to see!

I am debating whether to bring my laptop on my trip around Australia. It would be great to have it while I am on the farms, because I've been dying to write more and more these days and I reckon farm life would make good fodder for some travel writing pieces. On the other hand, I will probably be hostelling it at some points during the trip and don't really want to have to worry about my laptop while I am holed up in Byron Bay. Any opinions on this one?

K -well, I will keep you posted on Life as Farmhand! If anything, should provide some laughs at my expense!

Christmas on the Farm . . . and Other Random Santa and Non-Santa Related Things

I have a big head. Literally. OK, maybe figuratively as well, but right now I am looking at a picture of Mom & I out on a ski (back when we had SNOW in the winter on PEI). I have a tuque (sp?) on and my head still looks big comparatively, even without the hair. See for yourself

OK, enough talk about heads, on to the main course - Christmas in the country!

To sum up - my first Christmas away from home was absolutely brilliant. So much so, that I didn't even get a smidgen sad when I called home and spoke to my family on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. Sidenote: Dear family, please do not be offended, this is not to say that I didn't miss Christmas in Long Creek & North Granville, because I most certainly did, but hey, it's good to spice things up and after 25 years it was time! Anyways, I attribute the wonderful Christmas holiday I enjoyed completely to the company with which it was spent. Mary & her entire family (five kids, a couple of spouses and 4 ankle-biters, along with the matriarch & patriarch (anne & Ian) and a few furballs that got under feet on occassion) were hilarious and interesting and easy to get on with. Her mom cooked up a feast on Christmas Eve, then again on Christmas Day. Rabbit Turine, Goat's Cheese Roulade,Prawns, Oysters, Duck, Turkey, Chicken, etc. (a lot of etc. actually).

Mary & I went to Ballarat on Saturday to spend the night out on the town with her best friend, Petey. Ballarat is an old mining town about 1.5 hours north of Melbourne. It struck me as very very American - the sprawl, the street layouts, the big box shopping. Ugh. No thank you. The saddest thing was, as we were driving to Petey's house Mary asked where we were, because we hadn't yet passed the town's lake. Petey pointed to a large muddy field that we were passing and said 'That's the Lake'. It had completely dried up. Australia is suffering from droughts and bushfires far worse than ever before. It's obviously an effect of global warming, just as all the other strange weather patterns across the world are. Britain and Eastern Canada are having extremely mild winters, while British Columbia, normally a fairly mild part of Canada, is getting snow and cold temperatures. And, speaking without the authority of a meteoroligist, I reckon that is an effect of global warming as well. Sigh.

Anyways - note to anyone travelling through Australia - skip Ballarat.

The farm was lovely - a sprawling house, set far back from the road, with horses and cows wandering in the pasture (again, very dry grass). Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to ride a horse as it of cold and rainy the entire time I was there. Now, cold is a relative term, but it was around 15-19 the three days I was there, with a fierce, biting wind and intermittent showers. Hardly the summer in Australia one would imagine. In fact, on Christmas day there as a fire roaring away in the living room. It almost felt like I was back in Long Creek when I ate my dinner by the fire ! Oh and did I mention it hailed? Yes, that's right . It hailed in Australia on Christmas Day. In the middle of summer.

I came back to Sydney today. I can't wait to leave now. On Christmas Eve Mary & I popped into Melbourne for a bit of last minute shopping in the downtown area and I absolutely loved the city. I kind of wish I'd spent more time there and less time in Sydney. It was much more European, whereas Sydney is much more North American. At least I am going back, and who knows, with the way my finances are going I might need to stay there for a bit to make some cash!

All in all, it was a fabulous Christmas - thanks to all that sent Christmas cards, parcels and emails/e-cards! They were all very much appreciated and enjoyed. Note to Kenny/Father - more 9 page letters please - your last one cracked me up!

May peace and love be with you all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Lucky Me !

I am completely cheered up now. I was bummed out for the past few days as I really didn't know what I was going to do for Christmas/who I was going to spend the day with, as the plans I did have fell through. I really wanted to get out of Sydney, but it didn't look like it was going to happen. That is, until, my guardian angel came to the rescue. Her name is Mary and she invited me into her home for the Christmas holidays or, more specifically, into her parents' home, which is in the countryside..about an hour outside of Melbourne. Not only did she offer this hospitality, she also very generously booked my return flight using her Qantas Frequent Flyer points. Could you ask for a better friend? A better Christmas gift than the company of a wonderful family and Christmas on the farm when it's your first time away from home? No, I really don't think there is anything more I want for Christmas. Thank you Mary.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Anyone Have a Wheelbarrow?

Ugh - I am stuffed - like a turkey at Christmas. Except I am stuffed with banoffi pie, sausage rolls, lasagna and egg custard pie. Oh and maybe some wine. Maybe a lot of wine.

I am feeling slightly better than last time I posted with my 'poor poor sad sad me' rambles. It might have something to do with the fact that I spent this afternoon drinking sparkling wine all afternoon, having an absolutely fabulous Christmas potluck party, and calling North America yesterday.

The truth is, yesterday, I had a bit of a cry. First time since I've arrived (except when I cried about having bedbug bites which is totally ledgit). Anyways, the crying started when i banged my head really really hard on a cupboard in teh kitchen, then I just found myself crying about everything. As much as I absolutely LOVE travelling and living abroad, there are some things that are sometimes being difficult to deal with - like being away from your family at Christmas time, and wanting to be back in N. America but at the same time not wanting to forfeit your adventure, and not knowing which friends to count amongst your closest. Anyways,I eventually stopped crying, called North America, madecream cheese icing for my carrot cake and felt a lot better.

Last night I hosted a Christmas potluck. I made five dishes - Mexican lasagna, pizza, a huge salad, carrot cake and chewy chocolate bars. Guests brought an assortment of yummy dishes, although a couple did not seem to get the concept completely. In any case, there was more than enough food to go around and liquor to be drunk. We also did a gift giving game, where we drew numbers and then, based on numerical order, selected gifts from the pile that we had donated. I miraculously got the best number - Pick 1st but also, after everyone else has gone, get the chance to steal any gift from anyone. But I didn't,I stuck with the Fundies I originally unwrapped - undies for two with four leg holes. Peter and I tried them on and got some brilliant shots. I'll see I can get some from my friends who have better cameras than me!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Seduction Style

This is apparently my seduction style. I'm kind of cheered up now (see post below). Now do the test yourself at And thanks to Ann for posting this on her blog!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Sigh. OK, be forewarned that, as I write this, I am kind of bummed out for a variety of reasons, which I may or may not write about later on in this post. That being said, I will attempt to pepper this post with some positive and prolific thoughts so as to keep you all sane and tuned in.

K - I was doing SO well at not being homesick during this festive season - namely because it's freaking plus 30 degrees here and so it does not seem like Christmas at all. Additionally, I have just been way too busy to take the time to think about the fact that this is my first Canada away from, well, pretty much everything: my family, my old friends, PEI, Canada, the Northern Hemisphere, the season called get the idea. Well, a combination of things now have me absolutely longing to be back on the Island. Sigh. I might have to cry now but you won't notice because this is a blog post and I can just come back and finish it after my tears have dried.

On a MUCH happier note - today I rec'd THREE Christmas cards (my first three of the season!). And yes, I did open them :) Thanks to Mom&Jim, Nanny, and Gram & Grampie. I am thoroughly impressed that they all got my address correct. I. on the other hand, forgot to complete Nanny's address so her card was returned to me Monday. Apparently the Aussies couldn't suss out that Summerside, PE is in Canada. Oops.

K, the thing is ..I'm not as happy as I was when I first arrived here and I'm not as happy as I know I could be. I think, to be honest, that there are two BIG factors that are affecting my happiness factor and one smaller factor.

The biggest factor is, without a doubt, working at Citibank. I just know I am not cut of corporate cloth and I really find it hard to be around people day in adn day out who stress over things such as getting sales reports on time. Ugh. I am tired of being a part of something which I genuninely disdane. When I started at Citibank I convinced myself I could handle it for a short time and the money would make up for the compromising of my values. But I was wrong.

The second biggest factor is my physical well-being which I believe I have already written loads about on this blog, but that isn't going to stop me from carrying on about it again. OK, I am perfectly aware of what I need to do to stay in shape and keep the weight off - everybody knows - eat well and in moderation, while engaging in exercise on a regular basis.. The thing that most people don't ever come to realise is how much of an impact moving to a new place and embracing a new life can have on one's body. I have spoken to loads of fellow female travellers and I swear, 80% of them have experienced the same issues I have. Yes, I have to take responsibility for my eating and drinking habits which have not been perfect (altho my exercising habits are even more vigorous than they were back at home), but there's a great deal that I cannot control with regards to how my body and mind react to all the changes I am forcing upon them. I can only hope that the changes I make in the new year, wehn I leave the city and embrace the farm life, will impact positively upon my mind and body.

The final, smaller factor, is simple - I am not a big city girl and it's starting to take its toll. I don't really know what it is about citylife, but it drains me and puts me in a foul mood much too often. People tend to be rude, people tend to be in a rush and people tend to frown more often than they smile. Things are louoder and faster, but not necessarily better. I think it is all related to the fac t that I can't stand coroporate life and this is the life that many cityfolk embrace with open arms. (more on this - I am going to do some writing later tonight)

OK - so what am I doing about all the things that are causing me misery? Well, I am going to change the things within my control. I am leaving the big city life, quitting Citibank and, consequently, will be giving up drinking and overindulging in bad foods. I am going to go live and work on farms and vineyards around Australia - hopefully this will repair both my mind and my body because, oh boy, do they both need it!

Other Random Thoughts/Questions/Observations

The new James Bond film is excellent - a return to the classic Bond storyline - the action is still brilliant, but there's more substance and style to this latest installment. As for the new James Bond - I am torn. He can act and looks good without any clothes on, but he has the face of a villain (piercing blue eyes, no upper lip). Hmmmm, I'm just not sure - Roger Moore is still my fav.

Would it be wrong for me to go on a date with an Irish guy that I have absolutely no interest in simply so I can hear him talk? Good grief, that's sad isn't it? This Irish guy started chatting with me at the bar, convinced that I was from the Irish countryside andI just turned into Jello. He was from Dublin - what a lovely accent. But, to be fair, I have no interest in him (aside from hearing his accent). In fact, it turns out that I've not really be interested in anyone that I've met since arriving in Australia, which is not to say I am not interested in anyone... Ahem.

I recently saw a trailer for a new film which has Will Smith playing a single father struggling to make ends meet and pursuing the dream of working as a stockbroker. Looks like it could be a good flick, but I was a bit thrown by the film's title as depicted on the screen: 'The Pursuit of Happyness'. Please, someone please tell confirm that I am not the only one that sees something wrong with this!!

Tomorrow we are taking off from work early for the Credit Cards Christmas Picnic! Yay - a half day at work then lots of free food, booze and plenty of shenanigans!

K - that's enough for now. I'm still bummed out, but I don't feel like explaining why at the moment...

Saturday I am hosting a Christmas potluck dinner at my house - should be great fun. Afterwards we may all go down to the Royal Botanic Gardens to take in Carols by Candlelight which is supposed to be a brilliant show - stars singing carols and loads of families and the such enjoying the evening. The only hitch - it's supposed to rain.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Red & White Continued

There's Still Hope

OK, I am being overly dramatic -after all, I am only talking about Canadian politics and, less face it, that's not really the most exciting topic of conversation someone can engage in. That being said, I sincerely believe that our nation is in dire need of a real leader that believes in and will work towards creating a society that reflects the values of the majority of Canadians. I do not believe our current PM is that person, which is why I was extremely pleased to learn that the at the Liberal party elected a new leader whom I believe is genuinely in politics for the right reasons. His name is Stephane Dion and he was formerly the Minister of Environment. He was my second choice,. Ken Dryden was my first (who coul argue with a hockey hero/lawyer/all round intelligent and charismatic guy?), but Dion really does have what it takes to be a great leader - in my opinion. Firstly, he's got his priorities in order: economics, social & environment. Thank you Mr Dion, for recognizing that all of these things cand and must coexist in order to build a great nation. Secondly, my impression of this man is that he is not seeking any sort of glory - he doesn't have an ego - I believe he was described recently as 'the Geek who stole the Liberal Party convention'. Thirdly, he's a French Canadian. Now, maybe that's a bit biased of me, but for some reason I have an affinity for leaders that can speak both official languages and have a decent understanding of the unique position that Quebec holds within Canada. Finally, did I mention he has made the environment a priority and used to be the Minister of Environment???? YAY!!!!!

I truly hope that Canadians recognize the value in electing a leader that will not waste his time in office trying to defeat the Supreme Court's definition of a marriage and eliminate same-sex marriages, a leader who recognizes the value of creating a society that supports those in need - including women, minorities, youth and those that generally need a helping hand, a leader that will restore programs aimed at improving Canada's environmental record and, perhaps, offer a vision for the future that is positive, participatory and proactive. A leader who won't focus his energies on wars that don't need to be fought, borders that don't need to be protecting. A leader that won't spend his time trying to engineer fear into the citizens of his nation, but will provide them with information and inspiration.

Ok, maybe that's asking a lot of one man - what can I say? I am an optimist!

Horses & Saddles

I went horseback riding in the country this weekend past - Glenworth Valley to be exact. It was brilliant - two hours riding through forests a lush, green valley with streams running through it. There were 12 of us - myself and a gal from work organised the outing and there was a great mix of really wonderful people. Some of us had ridden before, some never. I would have to say I had 'little experience' and they gave me a horse accordingly. Ah, good ol Omegga - how he loved to bring up the rear of the pack. For the first half of the ride I have to say I was a bit bored - only got to trot a wee bit and plodded along for the rest of it with a view of a horse's behind as a constant.

Luckily, at the halfway point my friend, Sara,. who just happened to be an extremely experienced rider, took me to the front of the pack and we had a great time. Acutally we left the rest of the pack altogether and four of us trotted and cantered our way home. Must say, Omega really picked up his pace on the way home!

The after effects of riding were not so enjoyable and included extremely sore thighs and for some reason, sore biceps.

Max Brenner - A Man After My Heart

It turns out that horse back riding is very cardio intensive and you pretty much HAVE to refuel after a long 2 hour ride with some carbohydrates. If you so choose, you migh think about choosing chocolate as your source of carbs. Lisa, Craig and I made that very wise choice, ducking into Max Brenner's for a tasty treat which 'may' have included a strawberry & chocolate fondue, along with Belgian waffles drizzled in chocolate sauce and ice cream. the best solution to NOT overindulging (aside from not going to sucha place at all) is most definitely sharing with two friends. I highly recommend Max Brenners to any female that happens by Australia and any male that is in the doghouse or wants to impress a lady!

Life's a Beach

Yesterday I took the ferry to Manly for the second time since I've been here. My friend from work, Sara, is lucky enough to live on this little piece of paradise within Sydney. Manly is basically tourist heaven - beautiful beaches, lots of great little cafes and a chillaxed atmosphere. The main street kind of reminds me of Disney World's main street.I don't know why, it just does. The folks in charge of decorating the main drag for Christmas had gone all out and wrapped some garland around the palm trees. Priceless

Bootcamp is OVER !

Today was my last day at bootcamp and it was a fun one! No really, it was! We paired up with someon of the opposite sex and formed five two-person teams. Millie then got us to complete five races and there was a prize for the team that won the most races. I felt bad for Ben, getting stuck with me, as I pretty much suck compared to the ret of the mega athletes. Well, wouldn't ya know, speed was not an issue. We had to do teh ol egg & spoon race, then run a couple of laps while holding a balloon between us (no hands allowed). Turns out I can balance an egga and a balloon and we ended up winning three of hte races! The prize sucked though - a lemon-lime sports drink with calories. Yuck.

K, that's all she wrote for the moment.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Red & White

Notes from a Burned Out Shanadian

Christmas in the Summer

I know for a fact that PEI has already recieved at least one substantial snowfall (the fact that it was subsequently washed away by rain is inconsiquential to this particular observation). Now, I'm not going to lie, the weather in Australia is enviable in comparison - sunny most every day with temperatures ranging from the mid twenties to the mid-thirties, but part of me misses the white blankets of snow, the slushy sidewalks, the cold crispness and the deep darkness that settles in just as you are leaving work. Then there's the warmth of the woodstove and the valid excuses to stay snuggled under the comforter for an extra ten minutes in the morning and the radio announcement confirming that everyone must stay off the road (and therefore not go to work). And finally. how am I ever supposed to remember it's the holiday season when it's SUMMER?!?!?! That, by the way is my excuse for not doing any Christmas shopping this year.OK, I lie. I am trying to do some via the Internet right now., but it will be minimal. I figure most of you will understand if you only get a card from me . I am half way round the world after all!

Parties & More Parties

DId I mention lately that my social life here is like nothing I've ever had before and, quite frankly, I think I'm getting too old for all this hullabaloo. Not that this has stopped me from continuing to take part in aforementioned hullabaloo. I just think it takes me longer to recover than it used to...

So last Friday I met up with a Kiwi guy that I might go travelling with and we proceeded to drink a lot. Well, really he drank a lot and I pretended to drink a lot, but was really nursing the beers he kept pouring. So, we shall see. I'm not sure we have the same intentions in our travelling - I get the idea he's up for lots of surfing, seteak and beer. Possibly not in htat order. On the other hand, he's thinking of buying a car and seems to know loads of people around Oz to couchsurf with. Stay tuned for more on Shan's Adventures in '07

Last Saturday i went to a house party. It was good fun and I met some interesting people. I realised how rare it is to meet people whom I can actually have a genuinely engaging conversation with. I suppose if I were a little more mainstream ( and let's face it I watch The Biggest Loser, so I'm not a complete loss in that regard!) and a little less concerned aboout things like politics and the environment I wouldn't have so much difficulty. But, hey I am who I am. Afterwards we went to the center of dirtiness and Debauchery in Sydney - also konwn as King's Cross. Honestly, I didn't think it lived up to the hype, but that may be because it was absolutely raining buckets and the cover charge to the bar we chose was $15 and I didn't stay long...

On Tuesday night I went to another Christmas party - this one was at a bar and there were free drinks and nibbles. My kind of scene. Met another friend from the Northern Hemisphere! I think my circle of friends is about half North nad half South.

Baking Off

So the last monht at Citibank has been bloody gluttonness. Every Friday has meant another team bakeoff - two teams in Cards pitted against each other in a battle of the bakers! WEll, yesterday it all came to a gloriously gorging end. 4 teams competed in an 'Iron Chef' style finale - the ingredients to be incorporated into the four dishes (one ingredient in each) were: Chilli, condensed milk, almonds and lychees. I did not get a chance to bake this time round, but took my job as 'name card maker' very serioulsy and created some slightly corny descriptors for our creatiosn: The Pie Who Loved me ( Banoffi Pie), Bake on Through to the Almond Side (Almond Fingers), It's a Mad Mad Mad Madeleine World (Lychee & Rose Madeleine cakes) and Chilli Chilli Bang Bang. And what was the final result? Our team won by a LANDSLIDE (28 votes out ofa possible 33 - the other 5 were shared amongst the other three teams)

To Be Continued After I do Some Christmas Shopping...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Elton And I

It's been awhile. Things have happened, other things have not. For instance, one thing that has happened is that I've spent another weekend hopping from party to party, buying a dress here and a dress there to make sure I am properly attired for aforementioned parties. One thing that hasn't happened is weight loss.

Oh, before I go any further let me update on a couple of items:

1. Marathon training was put on hold back when I started bootcamp and I've not picked it up again. I realised somewhere along the line that I simply am too stressed about losing weight (or not losing it) to even consider being disciplined enough to train for a marathon. I also realised I may not be able to afford a ticket to NZ for the marathon. So...all that being said my current focus is on being healthy, destressing and making the rest of my time in Australia as productive as possible. I still plan to run a marathon, but maybe it will have to be on PEI

2. Hmm..actually I don't think I even have a two..oops. Oh well!

OK, so life continues to be hectic and I can't say I'm complaining cause it's all about the social life, but to a certain degree I am looking forward to getting away from it all and having some peace and quiet in the outback.

On Saturday I went to two parties - one involved a BBQ (Bring Your Own Meat is a big thing here..I brought a salmon steak). The other was a rooftop party - absolutely brilliant - you could see all of Sydney and there was even a DJ - they sure know how to celebrate birthdays here!

But, yes, as you may have guessed from the title of this entry, the highlight of the last little while was definitely seeing Captain Fantastic in concert. Shannon Courtney the male version, had purchased tickets the day they went on sale (I completely forgot until it was too late), but waited until Sunday to inform me that he was inviting me along!!!!!!!!

So there we were down at the ENtertainment CEntre in Darling Harbour, ready for a night of pure musical genius, when Shannon tripped and rolled his ankle. Having already torn every single ligament in that ankle, he was in a lot of pain. Somehow I spotted a St Johns Ambulance dude who had popped out for some razor blades at the local convenience store. We went to the first aid room, got Shanon all iced and bandaged up then plopped him in a wheelchair to be rolled to our seats. Unfortunately, we were sitting wway up in the nosebleeds and Shannon had to maek the last leg of the journey on a very sore ankle.

Once we were settled in, however, we were treated to a brilliant night - no supporting act - Just Elton, his band and his piano. The sets were brilliant, many of his classics sprinkled with some of his newer releases. By the end of hte night, I swear he'd played every hit he ever had..aside from the ones I assume he couldn't play because of movie rights (Lion King soundtrack & Pinball WIzard). Shannon pointed out he also did not sing Sacrifice, but what did I care. He sang my two favorites - Your Song & Tiny Dancer along witha heap of other brilliant Elton songs. TWo and half hours of pure Elton. Could it get any better? Well, maybe for poor Shannon with his injury, but aside from that, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

That's all for now - I feel my blogging is becoming quite boring. It's becasue I am always so tired when I finaly get around to writing this. Sorry!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Short & Sweet

I promised myself I'd go to bed early tonight and it's already 10.15, so I have to make this a really short post, so here goes:

Did I mention I am really starting to dislike my job? I could be more specific about the part/person I dislike, but I will attempt to digress. Thank goodness most of the people there are great company, thank goodness for the free gym, and thank goodness it's only 6 more weeks before I fly the Citicoop.

All that being said - Citibank knows how to throw a fabulous Christmas party. Friday night was, bar none, the BEST party I've ever been to. Not sure which of the following took the cake, but all in all it was a 'wicked' night and slighlty queasy morning..

  • the venue decked out in an 'arabian nights' theme
  • the smorgasboard of food at the buffet table
  • the gambling tables manned by professional dealers that were willing to give me starter chips worth $5,000 for absolutely nothing
  • the bumper cars free for all
  • the corn on the cob stand
  • the FABULOUS live band
  • the great company, or
  • the OPEN bar

Went north on Saturday to a little town on the CEntral Coast called Budgewoi. Invited by my friend, Lisa. What a lovely escape from the city. If only I hadn't been mistaken for an EXPECTING mother, it would have been a PERFECT weekend.

Was going to post some pics from the trip but having difficulties- will try next time I get a chance and my head doesn't feel like leadweight

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Where's My Canada?

Today was a good day at work, whichover is to say I was not stressed out by overload of work.


This afternoon I got a call from my friend Lisa, asking me if I'd like to go on a roadtrip with her up the Central Coast this weekend in her new car! Um...YES!!!!!! She & I will be heading 2 hours north to a little town calle Budgewoi, which is where her boyfriend's family lives (he isn't coming along on this trip). We'll be stopping along the way for a wee lunch and shopping at a little lakeside town called Toronto.

We'll be taking off early Saturday morning. Hopefully I will not be comatose from a Friday night filled with free food booze and partying Citibank style. It's the Global Consumer Bank Christmas party down in Darling Harbour. I splurged on a cheap dress (when you have v. little money, even a cheap purchase is a splurge). It's really cute and not at all my normal style. First of all, it's YELLOW. (Thee only person I know who regularly has the confidence to wear yellow and pull it off is Jen MacPhail.) It's a strapless piece with an empire waist line and a poufy bottom - remniscent of 50's style dress.I'll have to get pictures - can you tell how excited I am to have a dress? Too many race events where I found myself borrowing skirts and the such.

So, as to the title of this post. Today I had a bit of spare time at work, so decided to do some research into possible opportunities I can take advantage of when I go back to Canada. One thing I was really keen to do was the Youth Internship Program - this is for university graduates that are underemployed or unemployed and seeking an international work experience within their field. The placements are with non-profit organizations and can range from jobs such as economic develpoment officer in Bolivia to Environmental Researcher in Switzerland to Technology Development Officer in Ghana - endless and meaningful opportunities. I

I was SOOO disappointed to find a message on the website stating that the FED GOVT had cut funding to this program because it was identified as a non-core program. I am curious - what defines a CORE program? Is investing in our Canadian forces really more essential to Canada's future than providing opportunities for our university graduates to become competitive, valuable members of an aging workforce? And really, why the need to whittle out all these 'non-core' programs anyways? Canada's budget has been in surplus for the past four years! There are so many programs that have been cut by the Harper government, it genuinely makes my stomach turn. It seems to me the new federal gov't is only looking out for hte interests of a few elite citizens of Canada..oh, and Alberta of course.

So I decided to fill in the feedback form on the Government of Canada website, which, by the way, is quite sickening in and of itself what with its focus on recruiting for the forces and focussing on 'protecting' Canadians freedom. When did we turn into America?!??!

Here's what I wrote - it's not the most amazing prose - I just wanted to get my point across:

As a 20-something Canadian with a university degree and a desire to see and
learn as much about the world as possible while I still can, I departed Canada
shortly following the 2006 election. To say I am disappointed with the
direction that the current federal government is taking with our country would
be an understatement. I've never been passionate about politics until now. I
watch with great sadness as many of the core programs and policies that provide
support to average Canadians and those that need help the most are cut
completely. Literacy, the environment and opportunities for woman and young
people - thesee are apparently not important issues to Harper.

Now when I go to the Canada site, instead of finding a focus on
health care and social programs, I find banners encouraging Canadians to join
our forces, work for the RCMP and move to Alberta to work on the oil fields. Are
these really the only career options that we should be promoting to young
Canadians? What of opportunities to work in our social system as nurses? What of
chances to perform important research for he NRC?

The news items seem to focus on 'security' and 'protection' issues, which I've
never believed to be at the forefront of most Canadians' minds. It seems that
the migration to 'fear creation' is now being implemented - a blueprint from the
American administration I believe.

Program cuts to literacy, youth initiatives, environmental initiatives and many
other areas are not indicative of good financial management, particularly when
Canada has been in budget surplus for at least the last four years. These
actions strike at the very foundation of what makes Canada the country I am
proud to call home. Now I feel as though, when I return to Canada, I will be
returning to a place that is foreign, a place that, in too many of the wrong
ways, resembles the country to our south. Know that you have made at least one
Canadian, and I suspect many more, much less proud to be Canadian and much more
intent on actively getting involved in politics to ensure that this government
does not remain in power long enough to completely destroy the values that our
nation were built on.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

And She's Off ....Soon!

Another week of work, another week of gluttony, sin and stress. I 'almost' quit my job this week. Really, I did NOT come to Australia to find myself burnt out by the demands of a corporate job, ESPECIALLY when they are not paying me nearly enought to be as busy or stressed as I have been the last two weeks. If I wasn't just temping to make some money before I take off in January I would definitely be looking for another day job. But enough whinging about the job

The week was ALL about the horse races. Tuesday marked the biggest sporting event in Australia - the Melbourne Cup. It's actually a holiday in Melbourne, but most of Sydney's white-collar workers could be found in the pubs adn bars around the city from one o'clock onwards. Citi employees were no exception - our entire department headed down to Darling Harbour for a spit-roast lunch, bevies and some canapes. I swear I was only going to have ONE drink - the complimentary one - but somehow found myself being passed drink after drink after drink until I became suspicious that my coworkers had bets on how drunk they could get a Canadian before she did something utterly foolish or embarassing. The Australians will make a wager on ANYTHING.

Anyways, it was a great day, everyone was dressed to the nines again and I made some new work friends. Apparently I also lectured one of the senior managers on his work-life balance(as his wife lives in MElbourne). Oops.

The rest of the week at work was nuts and I sadly missed my half-way there fitness test for Bootcamp. I did, however, manage to sneak in a hardcore workout post-Melbourne Cup celebrations and determined that it is possible to throw a decent punch when one is hungover. Whether it hits its intended target is another story...

Friday at work involved another bloody activity aimed at making all us Cards employees become obscenely overweight. Yes, that's right, we hada bake-off. First up in the team heats was TElesales vs. Finance, which meant I was tasked with baking. And boy did I bake. In the end I went for the always well-recieved Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and went a bit risky witha batch of Peanut Butter fudge (didn't think Vegemite fudge would be all that tasty). Anywyas, our team kicked butt and ended up winning by a mile. THere was too much to sample though. Way too much. And what did we win for our efforts? The chance to bake again in the finals. Yay!

SO obviously by Friday evening I was ready to be carried home in a wheel barrow but opted instead for ONE non-alcoholic beverage with Sara (coworker who just happened to be on the losing team so was drowning her sorrows in alcoholic beverages. Oh who am I kidding? The british don't need a reason to drink!)

Anywyas, one drink turned into three (Diet Coke for me) and next thing you know we're being joined by two guys from work and heading to the Spanish quarter for Tapas and Sangria. Just what my waistline needed.

Saturday was brilliant. I ended up goin to teh Sydney raceway again - dressed to the nines and ready to make $2 bets. Was invited by another gal from work, whose birthday it was . She had a brilllliant group of friends and I had a wonderful afternoon in the sun meeting new people and losing small amounts of month of horses who had nice names, but apparently could not run for shite.

And that about sums up my weekend. Today I got my haircut - always an interesting event, but not tear-inducing this time! Yay!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Monkey Business

Apparently summer is approaching in Australia but you'd never know from the weather we've been having as of late. Today it was rainy, cold and dark. Much like PEI at this time of year.

Life in Sydney post -mountain revealations has been busy and confusing and exhausting. Work is getting busier by the day - I can't complain it makes the days fly by and it's good experience, but I'm not going to hold out for much longer. Come January I am OUTTA HERE!!

Basically my plan is simple -see Australia on the cheap by becoming a Helpxer (oh how i hate my sllooow laptop it' is giving me grief). I'll be leaving behind the citylife and all its sinful tempations (ie shopping, drinking, eating and Woolworths) in favor of the country bumpkin life. Basically I'll be doing manual labour (laugh now ) in exchange for room & board. I am looking forward to it. It will be different than a basic hostel and hurried holiday. Two months of that, then off to Melbourne to make some money pre-return to North America. So yah..just in case you were wondering..not tha you would be, but I guess I am in a sharing mood.. things here in Sydney are normal and weird. NOrmal things include work, friends, flat.NOt normal things include my state of mind, which would explain this crap post. I am soo distracted. Mostly I am distracted by my health and never-ending battle to lose some of the kilos I've put on. Bloody hell, it's frustrating to go to the gym 8 times a week, eat decently and forgo the liquor only to find you've not lost even a gram and, in fact, have gained a kilo. I gave up while in the Blue Mountains and have since been convinced I should see a doctor for reasons I am not going to share on my blog- but which may explain some things. But yah, I am frustrated to the max. I'm also losing interest in bootcamp - it is exhausting me to the point that I don't enjoy it. What I do enjoy thoroughly is kickboxing - oh what a lovely release for frustration and stress. I get to punch and kick a bunch of very fit guys.

My other distraction is a good one, but not something I care to expand on at the moment.

This week marks the biggest sporting event in all of Austrlia - apparently it stops the nation. It's the Melbourne Cup. Horse racing at its finest and most glamourous. My workplace is giving us tickets for a buffet and free liquor while we watch the race in a venue down in Darling Harbour. I guess it's a good thing I'm off the wagon of drinking and eating in moderation...

On Friday we are having a bakeoff at owkr - first up is our team against the Finance team. I will be making a carrot cake and maybe some peanut butter fudge..if Mom sends me the recipe (hint hint).

OK, I don't know if it's my computer or this website, but man it is going slow. Making it difficult ot write this blog post, so I will stop.

First, however, I have to extend birthday wishes to a few friends from around the world : Happy Belated Birthday to Miss Emily of the Burgh of Pitts. Happy Birthdady to Anee of Rocky Mountain House - not quite Green Gables, but close! And last, but certainly not least, Happy Birthday to my ever-aging, always bubbly bud Beth!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What a Difference a Day or Two Can Make

There have been times in the past that I've benefitted greatly from a mini-break - from escaping the city and enjoying nature. Most notably, my two trips to the Isle of Arran in Scotland. Well, my trip to the Blue Mountains this weekend was just as fruitful and refreshin - so much so that I really didn't want to leave and considered calling in 'too happy to come to work', but alas, it was not in the cards. Luckily I live a two minute walk from the train station in Syndye nad from there it's a quick and cheap journey back to the bliss of the Blue Mountains.

So the adventure began on Friday evening after a super hectic day at work. I met Shannon at my house and we quickly packed up and took off in his little Frenchmobile for Destination Relaxation. We were both badly in need of some R&R after stressful, long weeks at work. I had booked us into The Flying Fox hostel, as per Beth's recommendation. It looked lovely and cosy - the perfect hostel for my virgin-hostel friend, Shannon.

We arrived and checked into the hostel. The owner, Ross, innocently asked which of us was Shannon Courtney to which we both replied 'we both are'.Um..nope we're not married and no we're not related. The look on his face was priceless - absolutely priceless. And then he said 'that has got to be the weirdest thing ever', which, coming from a guy who owns and runs a hostel is pretty impressive. Hehe. Getting a lot of mileage out of my name twin :)

Spent the evening relaxing in the lovely living room, with the wod stove roaring away and the good conversation of some Dutch and Danish travellers. Up Saturday morning and off to Echo Point, famed for the Three Sisteres - a rock formation. The view was breathtaking - mountains and more mountains and canyon and rainforest. I really can't describe it. I was telling Shannon how I wouldn't go in the cable car because I am afriad ofcertain heights,and then as an afterthought mentioned my fear of stairs ..just as we approached a long, long, steep steep set of stairs that basically led us down the face of the cliff ot het rainforest at the bottom. Oh boy was that fun.

Once at the bottom we wandered around and made our way to the Scenic Railway. whichw as really a coal-mining railcar. It just happened to be the steepest incline railway in the world- picture the incline on a rollercoaster at the begining. Yah - I was happy when we got to the top.... after a quick stop at a chocolate shop for some free samples, we were off to Wentworth to check out a festival that we'd been told about by the Dutch people. It turned out to be a family type affair, but the setting was lovely so just laid out on the grass and enjoyed the afternoon sunshine. The evening was enjoyed at the hostel and then out with some fellow hostellers to check out the local bar scene, which was stellar. Ahem. Cough cough.

Today we toured around more in the car and checked out a load of lookout points. And it was some time when I was looking out at the unending beauty of the Blue Mountains, that I found some clarity. And that is exactly what I needed. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about mountains and islands, but they seem to hold the answers for me and they are extraordinary places where, sometimes, extraordinary things can happen. If you just let them...

Here are some of the things I learned this weekend:

- Chook is Aussie for chicken.
- Blue Mountains are so called because the gum trees that populate the mountains emmenate a blue haze
- Discussing both religion and politics with your friend , who also happens ot be your name twin, can be slightly hazardous to your mental health
- Hostels RULE (knew this already, but was reinforced)
- There are some things that are just not worth stressing about
- I am too hard on myself
- Barramundi (fish) is yummy
- I don't know much about anything (it's all relative, but I happened to be in the company of a guy with and IQ of 156)
- Daylight savings time is brilliant, but it also sucks. So we get more daylight here in Australia, as summer looms, but it is now 15 hours time difference between here and PEI, which means I will rarely catch anyone on messenger and phone calls will be even more difficult...not that I get many/any. Ahem cough cough.

OK, that's all she wrote for this space for more philisophical discussions in the future...

OK, I'm off to bed I have a lot to think about now. Will sleep on it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Blue Blue Blue

I am FINALLY leaving Sydney in the goa whole 2 hours into the wilderness that is the Blue Mountains! Am I excited??? YES!!! Do I need a holiday after working 12 hour shifts at work all week and still fitting in bootcamp and kickboxing? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Am I looking forward to the confusion that is inevitable when I book into the hostel with my travel mate, Shannon Courtney? YES!!

Oh dear me. It does not, apparently, take much to amuse me these days. I am kapooped. It has been a loooonnnngg week, and it's not over yet. Have been working until 8 or 8.30 every night this week...and going in early too. It's not been a bad as I expected- still able to get things done at home in the two hours a night I have had - turns out I just waste the rest of my time watching tv or playingon the internet, so better to just make some moeny so I can pay the CRA an excessive amount of money owing on income tax. As if I made a whole lot of money in 2005. Pffffft. Ah well, at least I was honest, which is more than some can say. Not that hold it against them, but damn it, I believe in karma so I had to be truthful.

OK,so theBlue Mountains are supposed to be amazing. Was thinking of going abseiling or canyoning but SHannon and I have decided to forgo the crazy stuff this time in favor of the cheap and enjoyable thing called 'bushwalking'. I also plan to do some bush dancing at the local bush pub. Maybe some bush eating too... And definitely some bush sleeping. Oh to sleep in...what a wonderful treat that will be. Mental note - my bedroom window needs a freaking curtainn..note the makeshift one that is just a pillowcase - getting woken up by the sunshine.

OK, is this is a bit discombobulated and I am off to bed I go...Goodnight all

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Uh Oh. I Won't Let It Happen...

I've become a lazy blogger, only taking the time to post when I am too tired to be creative or too inebriated to recall what I've been doing and thinking about lately. This time, it's the latter state I am currently enjoying..

I've been thinking about change a lot lately. It all started with my hair. I've had the same basic hairstyle for about four years now. Personally, I think it suits me and I get more compliments on it than I ever did with any previous style, although this may be simply because I DO style my hair now instead of letting it dry into a frizzball... Anyhoo, lately I seem to be enamoured with the idea of change - I've moved to a new country, got a new job and am challenging myself with Bootcamp and marathon training, so why not give the ole' do a revamp as well, I thought to myself.

Well when you've got short hair there's really only one viable option (unless you want to pull a Sinead O'Connor). So there I was trying to grow my hair out, I'd even got to the point where I was wearing it in a hairband and people were telling me it looked 'cute'. Oh the joy. Anyways, I inevitably got frustrated with it and decided to just stick with my usual style. I debated this decision a lot. I wanted to embrace change, I wanted to see what a new style would do for me, but then I realised I had that hair a long time ago and it was never good. And now, just because I've had this short spiky do for awhile, it doesn't mean I need to change it. Why change a good thing?

And so it should be in politics. Why did Canadians jump on that change train and re-invite a harsh form of conservatism back into our nation? I must admit, I haven't really been following the news from home as much as I should, but I did learn what Harper has gutted from our identity as Canadians and it truly made me sick to my stomach. Literacy, opportunities for youth to learn more about our nation, women's advocacy, and, of course, the environment.

I understand the desire for change (hello, I am living half way around the world), but really, should we not give more thought to whether change really is for the better. I know there are a load of cliches out there that basically encourage blind faith in change. Sigh. I fear that our nation has taken about five steps back with the election of a Reform government that is masquerading as Conservative. I shudder to think what will happen if we have another election nad they gain a majority government. I am not being an alarmist - there are serious implications for each and every Canadian if this happens. Already, I can see our distinctive Canadian values being whittled away - just take a look at the Government of Canada's website now - Where before the Liberals focussed on informing Canada about things like Health Care and Education and Immigration, the focus now seems to be on our Military roles, making Canda a 'safe' place (Im sorry - I missed the part where Canadians felt their country was an unsafe place) and maintaining a fiscal balance by cutting significant social programs that were in place to support all Canadiasn - not just the ones who are wealthy. Oh and by the way, when Mulroney (last conservative PM) left office he left a staggering deficit for the Liberals to deal with. That was in 1992. For the past 4 years or so, Canada has produced a surplus budget - we've been economically stable and strong for a few years now, so I'm not sure why Harper felt it necessary to cut so many programs to save our country from a deficit. Unless it was just out of spite or because the only way he believes in supporting the citizens of a nation is by giving them tax breaks.

So, yah, my point is that change is not always a good thing. So think twice before you blindly embrace it. Also think twice before you let things remain the status quo. Hm..I guess what I am saying is - we all need to think just a bit more critically.

K - there is my inebriated philisophical/political rant for the week. Good night.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Phew. I. Am. Exhausted.

I am making up for those five months of lazy unemployment I spent on the Island. My days have become long and exhausting, but it's all by choice, so I can't really complain.

Last weekend I spent most of my time prepping for a house party and cleaning up afterwards. I would give a synopsis of the shindig, but I am too tired. It was a success though!

This week I've been doing overtime. I'm not going to lie, it's all about the money. I owe the CRA a lot in income tax and I have a lot of places to visit before I make my way back to North America...and probably some places there too!

Bootcamp, gym time and prepping healthy meals takes up teh balance of my time.

Oh and I do get to sleep too..

OK, that was a reallllyyyy boring post. It's been a long day and I need sleep.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pledge of Tears

Here in Australia, spring is in full swing and the weather is lovely. Beneath the surface, however, the weather is already wreaking havoc on life here - the earliest season for bushfires ever has already displaced people from their homes and Sydney is officially in a drought. In Canada, I imagine the fall colours are making a bright and beautiful stamp on the landscape, but there too, I fear that just below the surface, things are not normal. Last year, winter did not come to Canada. And I wonder - will it come this year?

In January of this year I wrote something from the heart, which I am now ready to share with those who would like to read it. Please acecpt that it is not an argumentative piece, it is a very personal lament written completely from the heart.

As this piece is not something everyone will want to read, I've placed it on the Real Living Blog. If you want to read it, click on the link to the right (Real Living Blog) or simply click here.

Thank you and please be good to the Earth.

A Day at the Races

I am sore - it hurts to type, but I am a trooper, or possibly masochistic, so I carry on. Bootcamp on Thursday, Kickboxing on Friday and an afternoon in heels on Saturday - could it get any more torturous? Apparently it could and will.

This weeks' torture regimen goes something like this: Bootcamp (MON), Run (TUES), Cardio &Weights (WED), Bootcamp (THURS), Kickboxing (FRI).

Yay! OK, enough about my self-inflicted pain....yesterday I went UPPER CLASS!

That is to say, I went to the horse races. Unlike on PEI, where going to the horse races is most definitely not something you dress up for and quite possibly something you dress DOWN for, horse racing in Sydney takes on the British tradition of men in suits and women in dresses and fancy hats.

But let me back up here ... so a few of my friends were planning to go to the races and I was debating - the admission was $30 and then I'd have to buy a dress, cause I did not forsee the need to pack one for such an occassion. Well, by Friday night I decided I was going to pass on the Saturday afternoon activities. In fact, I had a sneaking suspicion I would be immobile and suffering from 'second day' pain of kickboxing.

Come Saturday morning I glanced at my phone and noticed 3 missed calls - all from Lisa, an English girl whom I've become friends with. Well, boy am I glad I returned that phone call! She was going to the races with her boyfriend and a few of his single mates and they had an extra FREE ticket. Oh, and this was a free ticket for the 'Lawn Party' section, which meant we would have access to all the FREE food and FREE booze (wine, beer adn Bacardis) that we wanted. The ticket was worth $170.

I thought long and hard...for about 2 seconds, then jumped at the offer! Lisa was kind enough to lend me a lovely white skirt and black halter top, so I 'kind of' fit in with all the women in their fancy dresses and feathered hats. Wow, there were a lot of beautiful men & women at the races that afternoon. there were also some men in Joe Boxer briefs - not sure why, but who really cares? The spread for the 'Posh' people was amazzing- loads of food booths with burgers, pizza, sushi, chinese, salads, sweets, etc. And, of course, the open bars..... There was also live music, performers and a pamper tent where they were giving foot massages and makeovers for free. Yeah, everything was free.

So, given that it was a FREE day, I decided to place a few bets on the horse races (you know, the official reason for the afternoon's party). On the first race,I bet on two horses to place and #4 came third! My $2 bet on 'He's NO Pie Eater' gave me a $9 return! The only the time I got around to cashing in my ticket, I'd lost it. I blame the small purse I was carrying - nothing to do with the two glasses of wine I'd consumed.

So, yeah that was the highlight of my weekend. i am really tired now and it's early Sunday evening. I have no reason to be tired, but I think it's got something to do with the exercise I've been doing.

OK - that's all for now folks!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hodge Podge

Yay! I made it through Bootcamp Day 1!!! That's the good news. The not so good news is I am not as fit as I hoped, or as I was about 6 months ago. Oh well., this is just a beginning and it just means I have lots of area for improvement ! So, bootcamp basically involved jogging through the city's parks and waterfront, stopping at intervals to do painful things like push-ups and ab work.

Today we did the fitness test, which was a series of cardio and strength tests. The only one where I faired decently was the quad strength test. Oh, and I guess I didn't do too badly on the sprint. On the other hand, running up a mountain of stairs was like facing one of my biggest fears head on. I hate stairs because I have a tendency to fall down them. And up them. It's embarassin, but also makes me afraid of stairs, so I did REALLY badly on that test. But I didn't fall and that is a good thing.

Tomorrow I am going to pay for more torture in the form of an intense kick boxing class. Lalalalala.

OK - so now I am going to attempt to upload more pics to this blog.

Brett & I at an AFL Game at the SCG Harbour

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Can't Believe I'm Going to Bootcamp

Tomorrow another chapter in my bid to get fit commences. The chapter is called BOOTCAMP. Yes, that’s right, I’ve voluntarily forked over $200 in exchange for ten weeks of intense, torture-like exercise. It’s time to hardcore.

The only problem is the growing feeling of trepidation and fear that has been building up inside me all day. You see, I blindly signed up for Bootcamp without getting any of the details upfront. As it is being offered via Citibank gym at lunchtime, I naively thought it was basically going to held in the workout room and probably be similar to a cardio class, except with progress reports. Hahahahahaha. Yeah..right.

So I was rather surprised when I finally got around to talking with the trainer (aka – woman I will come to hate) and was told we’d be running around the freaking city, doing random painful things at intervals. Ugh. Lots of abs apparently.

Mental note – check travel insurance to make sure ‘exhaustion’, ‘dehydration’, ‘collapsing’ and ‘keeling over in pain’ are covered.

Life has been pretty good as of late. Had a lovely long weekend here, as the Aussies celebrated Labour Day on Monday. Didn’t make any plans for the weekend, but ended up staying busy via some new friends I’ve made through Gumtree. As odd (desperate?) as it may seem to make friends via a bulletin-board website, I’ve met some absolutely fabulous people through it (and, admittedly, a couple of ‘interesting’ people).

Just for the record – I am off the alcohol for the time being – all part of the torturous regimen I seem to have concocted for myself.

Right, so Friday night was work drinks w/o the drinks. It was alright, but nothing to write home about (or blog about for that matter).

Saturday afternoon I hung out with a English girl (Lisa). We watched the first half of the AFL Grand Final – it was Sydney Vs Perth – a BIG BIG game, as these teams had played each other last year and the Sydney Swans won. Well, they weren’t doing as well this year (in the end they only lost by one point). Watched a movie, then had a BBQ and went to an RSL to listen to The Fumes play (great rock blues band). An RSL, by the way, is kind of like the Legion……meant to be for the veterans. Well, let me tell you, I didn’t see any Vets around, only lots and lots of guys that were…um….yummy J !

Sunday I went to the Botanical Gardens and had a picnic with a bunch of other people from Gumtree. Spent the afternoon eating and enjoying the sun, then carried on into the night with drinks (just Diet Coke for me!) down in Darling Harbour.

Monday was pretty quiet – just enjoyed some more sun, did some errands and slept in!

OK, so work is super busy these days and I’ve just been asked to do some overtime for the team I originally started at Citibank with. Yay – I need money for things like travelling…and rent.

Will post some more pics when the Internet connection is better!

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.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sleep Tight and Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

Easier said then done, that one is! It's been an impossibly crazy week...I'm surprised I can still function.

I moved into my flat on Monday of last. Spent Tuesday boozing it up with a workmate and finally unpacked all my stuff on Wednesday and Thursday. Another later night of work drinks on Friday and I woke up Saturday to discover I had six or seven rather large red bite marks on me. They didn't itch, but I was slightly concerned because, despite my state the night before, I was pretty sure I had no huge red bites when I stumbled into my bed. Of course, I know I've panicked in the past about bites and they've turned out to be nothing, so this time I didn't panic.

I went downstairs and nonchalantly showed my bites to my German roomate and asked as casually as possible if he thought they might be bed bug bites. The look on his face said it all and next thing you know, he's telling me that they did have a bed bug problem a few months previous, but that he'd used an over teh counter bug spray that killed them all. Uh huh. Apparently not. We went on a hunt and lo and behold we found a little red bed bug all alive and well - probably digesting my blood at that very moment. Suffice to say his life did not last much longer.

So, after getting my hair massacred (made the appt before I knew I'd be dealing with bed bug crises), I did a lot of research into bedbugs and determined that the only way to ensure they were gone for good was to get an exterminator. Luckliy my flatmates were on board - Jeanie's lived here for three years and never had a problem until one of the former flatmates came back from travelling and had bed bug bites and a sleeping bag she'd borroed from the German guy (Marco). So there you have it -that's how they made it in here.

We are getting exterminated tomorrow. In the meantime have had to launder and dry ALL my clothes and am sleeping on the pullout couch downstairs. I 'may' have sprayed bug poison in my room and it 'may' be a bit smelly in there....I figure it's no worse than the pesticides I've breathed in on PEI over hte past 20 years or so!!

Yep, so that's about all the news...the weekend was basically a write off due to bed bug infestation. I've started hardcore pretraining for marathon and so far so good (ie. I have not collapsed on gym floor from exhaustion).

SO yeah, that's kind of a boring post. What can I say - bed bugs are boring and bite.

Sleep Tight and Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

Easier said then done, that one is! It's been an impossibly crazy week...I'm surprised I can still function.

I moved into my flat on Monday of last. Spent Tuesday boozing it up with a workmate and finally unpacked all my stuff on Wednesday and Thursday. Another later night of work drinks on Friday and I woke up Saturday to discover I had six or seven rather large red bite marks on me. They didn't itch, but I was slightly concerned because, despite my state the night before, I was pretty sure I had no huge red bites when I stumbled into my bed. Of course, I know I've panicked in the past about bites and they've turned out to be nothing, so this time I didn't panic.

I went downstairs and nonchalantly showed my bites to my German roomate and asked as casually as possible if he thought they might be bed bug bites. The look on his face said it all and next thing you know, he's telling me that they did have a bed bug problem a few months previous, but that he'd used an over teh counter bug spray that killed them all. Uh huh. Apparently not. We went on a hunt and lo and behold we found a little red bed bug all alive and well - probably digesting my blood at that very moment. Suffice to say his life did not last much longer.

So, after getting my hair massacred (made the appt before I knew I'd be dealing with bed bug crises), I did a lot of research into bedbugs and determined that the only way to ensure they were gone for good was to get an exterminator. Luckliy my flatmates were on board - Jeanie's lived here for three years and never had a problem until one of the former flatmates came back from travelling and had bed bug bites and a sleeping bag she'd borroed from the German guy (Marco). So there you have it -that's how they made it in here.

We are getting exterminated tomorrow. In the meantime have had to launder and dry ALL my clothes and am sleeping on the pullout couch downstairs. I 'may' have sprayed bug poison in my room and it 'may' be a bit smelly in there....I figure it's no worse than the pesticides I've breathed in on PEI over hte past 20 years or so!!

Yep, so that's about all the news...the weekend was basically a write off due to bed bug infestation. I've started hardcore pretraining for marathon and so far so good (ie. I have not collapsed on gym floor from exhaustion).

SO yeah, that's kind of a boring post. What can I say - bed bugs are boring and bite.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The 15 Minute Woman...

Phew. Life has been exhausting lately. Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely LOVING that my life now involves waking up to an alarm, going to a place of work, socialising and not having enough minutes in the day. Somehow it beats puttering around the house all day and spending countless hours on the Internet day in and day out.

So, what has this Shanadian been up to over the past wee while?

Well, let's start with the wonder of 15 minutes! I've finally moved into my new flat. It's brilliant in every respect - great flatmates (1 German guy, 1 Aussie girl, 1 Korean girl), it's super duper clean compared to the last place I was, it's got a great kitchen with an electric stove (no more fire hazard!!) and dishwasher. Best of all, however, is the location. I can step out the front door of my flat, walk for 15 minutes and be at the revolving doors of Citibank! Oh, how I heart walking to work and NOT relying on pbulic transit.

I had a few days of homelessness, but was fortunate enough to be offered the wonderful hospitality of Shannon Courtney. Ha - I still get a kick out of that and, apparently, so does he because he seems to thoroughly enjoy introducing me by my name(and his!). Anyways, it was nice to be out of the city centre for a few days.Shannon lives in one of the nicest areas of Sydney and, if it weren't for the travelling involved I'd love to live in that area.

Had a great weekend at his place, which basically involved doing a whole lot of nothing...aside from baking a carrot cake for the BBQ party he had on Saturday night. Good fun was had, cake was devoured and I made it through the night without doing anything too riske.

So work is going splendidly. I really should be leaving my temp position at the end of the week, as the woman I was covering is back from holiday BUT everyone seems quite taken with me, so they've found me another holiday cover for the next three weeks and after that I've been told I can move into another role for a few months thereafter. And all because I actually do things when people ask me to! Nothing I do is rocket science, but it does involve juggling a lot of different things. Anyways, I'm super happy to stay on with Citibank for the following reason:

1) 15 MINUTES!!!
2) FREE Gym access in the building (esp important given my plan - see below)
3) LOVE my fellow workmates (more about this later)
4) Will look GREAT on the resume
5) Steady income, steady hours
6) Lots of fun, social things organised - like last Friday when we were all given mini massages at our desks by professionals

Anyhoo, am so glad to finally be in a work environment where I can see myself becoming good friends with my workmates. Not that I haven't had brilliant workmates in the past - I've always been fortunate in this regard. This time, however, they are brilliant AND near the same age AND single. Went out for one drink last Friday night after work and left the bar three hours later. Last night we had an all-staff quarterly update at the Sheraton and many glasses of free wine, followed by more drinks at various bars in and around the city centre.

All the drinking is coming to an end though. More importantly, all the eating is coming to an end because I have a special announcement to make (this is where you insert a drum roll).....

I've Decided to run a Marathon.

I started training today. Acutally I am in pre-training mode because I am sadly, just that out of shape that I need to get back to a place where I can push myseld day in and day out without injuring myself.

Anyone who knows me well is probably surprised and more than a bit skeptical of my plan to run over 26 miles. Well, that's fine. I am doing this because I need to start challenging myself again. I've come to a point in life where I need to prove to myself that I can do something that seems impossible to me. I'm also sick of yo-yoing weight and not being careful with my eating habits.

I am giving myself 6 months to train. I've already found the marathon I will be running - it is in New Zealand. Actually they have a half-marathon option too, which I might consider if I think I need more training time. There will be a marathon in Canberra in April. Anyways, the NZ marathon is called the Buller Gorge Marathon - if you want to check out the website, go for it!

Well, me thinks it's time for bed, gotta get up tomorrow and start training for a marathon.

Life is Great. Remember that every day when you wake up.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I've Done it All

Wow, where to begin? I've discovered the great cunundrum with blogging - when one has all the time in the world to write blog posts (eg. when one is unemployed and lviing with one's parents ), one has nothing of interest to write about. When one FINALLY gets a life (ie. job, new place to live and social engagements to attend), one does not have time to write about it all.But I digress, that is just my lame attempt to excuse my poor blogging habits of recent. I will try to make amends now...

When I say I've done it all, I am exaggerating, but not by much. The past couple of weeks have been laden with new experiences - some breathtaking, some hilarious, some embarassing, all absolutely brilliant!

Let's take AFL. AFL stands for Australian Football League. The Aussies have decided to creat their own game, endearingly called Aussie 'No Rules' Football, From what I gather, the basic premise is that the players are meant to kick the ball between the two goal posts and can use any means necessary to do so. Now, this in and of itself would make for quite an interewsting game, but no the Aussies couldn't stop there. They had to throw in a ROUND field and give the teams names like the Sydney Swans and the Magpies. The topper, however, has go tto be teh unifroms these tall, muscular, delicious male players don. Take a basic jersey, pair it with some satiny short shorts and finish off the look with striped knee high socks and voila you have yourlsef a uniform that is, if nothing else, a fashion statement in professional sports.

I went to my first AFL game last Saturday night with Shannon and some of his friends, as wel as a few of my friends. It was quite the mingling. I scored free tickets thanks to being employed with Citibank!! I didn't really get the rules of the game (or lack thereof), but I did ge a beer and a glass of disgusting wine. It was great fun!

The next night, in keeping with the sporting theme, I joing Brett , Garth and two English lads for Gay Bowling at Fox Studios. Now I know what you are wondering. What is gay bowling? How is it different from normal bowling? Well, it's not reallyTHAT different...unless you happen to be a girl and then you notice that you are very underrepresented as genders go. You also notice you have no worries whatsoever about how dorky you look in your bowling shoes cause it's not like there are any guys that you can impress. OK, but really - the main difference was the visual aids provided on the screens at the end of the lanes. Scantily clad men provided a constant distraction..

On Thursday I went to Mongolian BBQ in Darling Harbour to celebrate the fact that I am getting older. It turns out the promise of all-you-can eat stir fry made before your own eyes is not as great as it sounds, but I had the company of six men, so I can't really complain can I?

Friday night Shannon kindly invited me to se/hear the Sydney Symphony at teh Opera House. We went out for dinner first and I had a spectacular salmon fillet - my fisrt since arriving here! They are so bloody expensive. Anyways, after dinner we were walking to the opera house in a hurry when my shoe fell off my foot. I'd bought new heely shoes just four days prior and they'd already broeknn. So there I was digging through my bag for my spare pair (don't ask) when my mobile rang (it never rings). A few minutes later I was jumping up and down with glee on one heel and one bare foot. I'd just recieved news that I'd been chosen as the new flatmate for a flat I really really wanted to stay at!! Anyways - the symphony was brillant and the opera house as impressive on the inside as it is from the outside (well..almost).

Last night I was supposed to go out on the town for my birthday, but I just didn't feel up to it. Instead I hnung out with Brett and Peter - ate horrendously and watched a couple of movies.

Today we went to Bonid Beach - my first time there! It ws a typical beach town - with lots of tacky shops, restaraunts , etc. The beach, however, was quite lovely - the sand is sssoooo soft and the waves were huge .

Hmmm...other stuff has happened - I can't recall what though. Old age setting in...This weekwill be bus - I have to move twice and do other things like work and train for a marathon.

On that note, I shall hit the sack. I can barely keep my eyes open...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Gay Bowling, AFL and Getting Older

I will make this post longer at some poin - so be prepared ! The title pretty much sums up points of significance since my last post. Today I am 26. Looking forward to the next few days - Mongolian BBQ tonight, Sydney Symphony at the Opera House tomorrow night and going to straight clubs on Saturday!!! Letting myself eat chocolate today too :)

Like I said, will update this asap, but priority is finding a new place to live and maybe some company . . .

Monday, July 31, 2006

Men at Work and Manly

Phew. I made it through my first week of employment without any scratches (although maybe a bruise here or there!). Granted it was a three day week, but those are minor details. Minor!

So I'm working for Citibank in their Credit Cards division and more specifically, the Insurance Distribution section. I'm filling in for the Marketing Coordinator. It promises to be a hectic job, but I don't mind too much. I can handle it for the next four weeks !

The weekend was brilliant! It started getting fun on Friday at lunch. One of the women on the team was going on Mat Leave so we went to this very very posh French restaurant at the Hilton and had a lovely 2.5 hour lunch complete with wine and the such and paid for by the company. This was AFTER we had already had cakes and sausage rolls in the morning delivered in by St Michel's. After a couple of hours back at the desk we went to the monthly staff meeting where there were free booze, candy, chocolate bars and chips.

After work the drinks continued to flow, with workmates heading to the Coronation Hotel across the street. I swear I only intended to have one glass, but somehow one turned into two and after that I was being handed glasses of wine so I really couldn't refuse. The night got even more interesting when I randomly accepted an invite from a co-worker to go to a birthday part at the Coogee Bay Beach Hotel. Oh OK, twist my arm. So I danced some more, drank some more and eventually found myself left to my own devices. And that, of course, always spells trouble for me.....

Saturday I tried to repent my sins from the day before (the eating/drinking ones) by doing a long sessoin at the gym with my workout buddy, Brett. Of course later in the evening I had some more bevvies, so not sure how much the workout session helped. Saturday night Brett took me along to a club called Mylk, where he was to meet some 'straight' girls that he'd made friends with at a football game. There was $20 cover, but we were able to get in due to being on a guest list and the first round of drinks were also free! After awee while Brett got tired of teh straight club and we headed to Stonewall. My first gay clubbing expeience in Australia. It was brilliant, but there are way too many good looking gay guys. Very disproportionate representation of good lookin gay men vs straight men I say!

Sunday I was woken by Garth, my other flatmate who decided it was alright o barge into my room and jump on my bed at 9.30am. Not impressed. The three of us went to Chinatown for Yum-Cha (aka Dim Sum) and proceeded to pig out on copious amounts of eveything that was presented to us. Of course, after that Brett & I decided we might as well continue to be gluttons, so we bought candy and chocolate at Woolworth's and stuffed ourselves some more.

It's awonder they let us onto the boat to Manly - we probably posed a threat of sinking it, but anyways. Right,so I FINALLY saw the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay, and I am glad I waited. The sunshine was brilliant yesterday and it was definitely a 'wow' moment when I realised that I was indeed in Australia, far far away from everything and everyone I know. But I'm not homesick in the least :)

Manly is a kind of posh area of Sydney and you have to take a ferry to get there from the city. It has it's own beach and a great shopping area. It kind of reminded me of Miami, except there were loads of surgeres in the water and the sand was soooo soft. It was like walking in talcum powder. I waded in a wee bit, but the water was still kind of cold. It is winter after all. Capped off the night by having wine adn wedges with Brett and Peter on a balcony overlooking the ocean. It was the perfect way to end a magnificent weekend!

Of coures now I am sick. I know I have only myself to blame but it's no fun!

Oh - final note.I WAS going to send postcards to people whose addresses I had but somehow managed to misplace every single postcard I had bought. Sorry for the delay, I'll get on that asap.