Monday, January 01, 2007

2006 - The Unofficial, Uncensored, Unreliable Review of Shan's Year

It's that time of the year again - time to remember, reflect and reminisce about all that the past 12 months have brought you. Well, I am adding another 're' to the mix by recording all my recollections in what will basically end up being a recycled version of all my blog posts from '06. I apologise now, as I realise I have overused the prefix 're' in the above sentences, but I really could not resist.

It's New Year's Day. I slept through until noon, having spent the wee hours of the morning walking, pushing and dancing my way through the streets of Sydney after ringing in the year 2007 with friends as we watched a spectacular fireworks display down on the Harbour. It was absolutely breathtaking! Anyways, while we were waiting for the fireworks to start, Craig, Lisa and I shared all the highlights of the past year with each other. Now, I shall share them here, for anyone who doesn't already know about the many debacles and denials I recieved in 2006. Hmmm. Come to think of it I could really label 2006 Year of the Denial. Yes, it has a certain ring to it....

The Short & Sweet Review

  • Lost my job on PEI
  • Went to WDW in Florida
  • Went to Miami & Pittsburgh on spur-of-moment holiday
  • Attempted to go to Scotladn on a planned (but apparently not planned enough) holiday.
  • Got denied entry to the United Kingdom upon landing in Glasgow airport, sent back to Canada
  • Waited with baited breath to see if Australia would provide me with a working holiday visa.
  • Got my visa and flew to Australia
  • Set up shop in Sydney and snagged a job with Citibank. Spent balance of 2006 living sinfully in the city and making some great friends.
  • Did bootcamp but didn't lose any of my booty
  • Spent Xmas on the farm with Mary's family near Melbourne

Now for the Longer..much longer..version

Going Places
3 countries, 2 continents

I started the year living in happenin' Long Creek, Prince Edward Island (on the East Coast of Canada). Population in the double digits.

I celebrated the close of the year Creek, in the Southern Hemisphere's most famous and,possibly, beautiful city, Sydney. Australia is smaller than Canada, but it has more kangaroos. And possibly more sunshine per annum.

In between January and December I went to the States three times. The first time I went to see a big mouse and a brilliant friend in an undiscovered area of America called Orlando, Florida. A blast was had with Natasha, Jen MacPhail and Thomas, the French apertif in the group.

The second time round I was living in some silly world of taking uncalculated risks and encountered my first big denial of the year, but it all ended well enough as I made it to Miami and hung out with high school friend, Schemida and then poppped over to Pittsburgh for some partying with Emily Smith.

The third time round I fell in love...with San Francisco. On my way Down Under, I booked a stopover in this wonderful flower power city . If I hadn't been going on to Australia, I would have hid out there for a very, very long time. Maybe in Al Capone's cell on Alcatraz. Erm..or maybe at the Gree Tortoise Hostel - the BEST hostel one could hope to find in North America. Seriously.

The Life of Riley

I really have to thank Canada's current PM, Stephen Harper. Not because he's ruining our country and not because I believe his views of the world are in line with the majority of Canadians. Nope, the only thanks Harper will get from me is for providing the catalyst for me to go travelling again. Really, it was a two-fold catalyst. First, when the good folks of Canada, who'd obviously been consuming too much maply syrup and Tim Hortons MSG laden coffee, decided to vote the 'Conservatives' in as our new federal government, I lost my job with Shawn Murphy's office. Thank goodness Shawn is still the MP (and, a s it turns out, has also become quite the blogger) for Charlottetown, at least us Islanders didn't succumb to the blue fish. Anyways, with no job to go to after the Jan 26 election, I had a few decisions to make. Namely - to stay on PEI or not to stay. A number of factors made that decision v. easy - I could not stay on the Island and, considering the new government reign, I figured it might be a good time to leave the country again.

It took a few months, but I did eventually pack up my bags, sell my Toyota Echo and say my long goodbyes to family & friends, who I did not intend on seeing for at least a year, probably two. My plans were somewhat vague, but I decided to start my adventure in the UK, being a tourist and visiting friends. From there planned to head to Oz for a working holiday. And who knew after that....???

The Big Denial

So yah. I made it as far as the Glasgow airport before I ran into big (read HUGE) trouble. Apparently I was not of acceptable standards for the British Immigration Office, thus I was swiftly and uncompassionately informed that I was being denied entry into the United Kingdom. This was, of course, after they made me wait ages in an uncomfortabe detention room, searched all myu luggage, read my journals, copied every single card from my wallet and asked me a million questions. Then they put me on a plane back to Canada. And I burst into tears. I still miss Edinburgh every day.

Moving On

Wow I'm sure Mom & Jim were glad to see me back so soon, after they'd finally got me on my way and out of their lovely abode in Long Creek, here I was back for a little longer with no job and completely stressed about whether Austrlia would let me into their country now that I was marked as unwanted by the freakin' Brits. As luck would have it, turns out the Aussies will take anyone - understandable given their convict history. So I packed my bags again (I am becoming an expert in the packing and unpacking of baggage if anyone requires assistance or advice) and flew half way round the world to land of Kangaroos, Koalas and Fosters beer.

Meeting Shannon Courtney

In a world of 7 billion people having a name twin may not seem that fascinating, but I am easily amused and, quite frankly, I think the Shannon Courtney name twin saga is a bit unique in comparison to John Smith's Shannon & I met via a third party by the name of Tiddy, one of Shannon's friends who took it upon himself ot email me in 2005 and tell me of his friend who had the same name as me. And so commeneced a messenger based friendship between Shannon Alice Courtney and Shannon Mark Courtney. Yes, that's right, same neme, different gender. There's the twist. Oh, and we're the same age too - although I look younger ;) Then it turns out he lives in Sydney, Australia so. of course, we decide to meet.

I don't think either of us considered the possible ramifications of having two Shannon Courtneys within such close proximity - we may have shifted some quantum fields or caused whole galaxies to impode, but if so, we remain oblivious. It turns out we are freakishly similar in some ways, but in other ways quite dissimilar. For instance, Shannon has the most infectious laugh ever. He is also quite..erm..confident of himself. Yes, confident ;) Meanwhile, I can cook, while he keeps claiming he can but still hasn't proven it to me. with any invite to dinner.

Sydneysider Life

After bouncing from country to country in the first part of 2006, I decided to take up residence in one place for the remained of th year. I got a job working in the Credit Cards department of Citibank and found a fabulous flat within walking distance of work. Well, fabulous except for the bed bug infestation, which became my nemesis for much too long. I am now also an expert in bed bugs if any requires advice in this department.

I spent the rest of 2006 making a fabulous circle of friends in Sydney, checking out the local sights (aka the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, Darling Harbour, etc.) and drinking a lot of Australian wine.

I also tried to reign in my weight gain, first by starting to train for a marathon, then by joining bootcamp. Meh. It's like I can only lose weight on PEI. What a cunundrum that will be for the rest of my life if I don't get it sorted! The irony is that PEI is the fattest province in Canada.

I made a few escapes from the city - one fabulous weekend in the Blue MOuntains and an enjoyable weekend up on the Central Coast.

All in all, it's been quite the fabulous ride living and working in Sydney, but it's time to pack those bags again and get ready for more adventures on 2007. I can only hope it brings as much adventure and happiness as 2006 did. Actually, hope is great, but really it will take effort and iniative, both of which I have and am willing to apply! It turns out effort pays off in abundance .

Here's wishing you all a wonderful, exciting and enlightening year. Take care of your life and all will fall into place.

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