Tuesday, 28 October 2008

What are we going to do?

Ric and I have been putting off changing our return flights to London via New Zealand, the Cook Islands and America. Back in March when we booked our round-the-world tickets, STA's system wouldn't allow us to book beyond December even though we are entitled to so we always knew we would have to change them at some stage. With this on my mind and not being able to remember when our flight to New Zealand was I checked this morning. To my horror we were supposed to go on Saturday 25th October - last weekend! We missed a flight! Panic!

That could have meant that we'd forfeited the rest of our ticket. However, after much begging, excuse making and white lying to the nice lady at Air New Zealand she told me that all was not lost and that we could change the flights for $50 per head per flight which STA should cover.


The question now is when do we want to go and for how long. Is Ric's suggestion of 8 weeks in New Zealand too long? How long do we want to spend in California? Do I even want to go back?
What will become of us?

Ric is suddenly aware of all his recent spending and has lined up another job interview tomorrow (he thinks the last agency was put off by his travel plans) so we'll wait to see what they say, but the trouble is that he has to tell employers that he'll only be around for another 7 weeks before his family comes over. And then once they and visiting friends have left he wont want to sit in the flat by himself all day again until the lease expires in February. I don't blame him. It will be so hot then too - not nice in without air-conditioning. He'd love to be motivated enough to write his film or code from here but he just isn't. It's been so long since he worked.

It's alright for me. I can stay at work for as long as I like and quite frankly, I don't look forward to returning to London to search for employment with the economy as it is. Neither have I figured out what I'm going to do there.

We went to see How To Lose Friends And Alienate People at our local cinema this evening (cheap Tuesdays so only $10) which was well made, excellently scripted and hugely enjoyable. It included some extremely funny lines, hilarious comedy scenes (some with animals), a great cast, a and a smattering of Englishness (though not a whiff of (Hugh Grant) to keep us Brits happy.

Ric had to see Saw 5 on his own earlier. I can only watch those gore fests from behind a pillow.

I was then treated to a delicious dinner of Teryaki Salmon with stir-fried leeks, beansprouts, tofu and Enoki mushrooms, Japanese style. I didn't think I could manage a whole steak but Ric watched in pleasure as I ate it all. Am just trying not to think of it's little face or eyes. Was very tasty though.

It's raining here again tonight. I amazes me how quickly the weather changes in Sydney. It was scorching only yesterday!

I can't wait for Helen's Halloween party on Friday. I've invited a couple of girls from the office and have gone overboard with my outfit - even bought some glittery false eyelashes today!

I have drifted in to the pattern of going to bed too late again. Must stop it.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Bands, birthdays, booze and a snazzy new bag

I've had a great week at the office this week. I've crossed lots of tasks off my list, had a giggle with V and B and got the whole team helping me find a fancy dress costume for a Halloween party next week.

Yesterday Danny, the company's caterer, shopper, driver, handy man etc., even drove me to an out of town shopping centre to find my ultimate costume. We didn't have any success unfortunately but it was nice to see something new. I must add, since she is now reading this blog, that V took me to Lincraft the day before but it was a bit crap as it was closing down.

I ended up finding the perfect outfit in the absolutely brilliant Chinesey 'everything store', Hot Dollar in World Square, 10 mins walk from the flat! They really do sell everything you can think of, from hair accessories to coat-hangers, kitchen utensils to art and craft supplies, slippers to sewing kits, candles to Christmas lights and even loo roll. I love it in there even though you have t wade through the crap and push past people as you go down the tiny aisles.

I wont spoil the surprise by revealing my outfit yet but let's just say i was be very red and very devilish.

I also bought my first Crumpler bag this week; a little treat to myself for working so hard and with a view to using it on my next holiday and of course as soon as I get back home and on my bike. I just love everything about this brand and the bag is going to last a life time, so they say...

It was the boss' birthday on Wednesday so today we all went out for a meal at the totally gorgeous Catalina's in Rose Bay. We enjoyed an exquisite four course lunch and didn't leave until 5pm! Any anxieties I had about consuming so much food at lunch time soon dissolved as I tucked in to my goats cheese and spinach risotto, hand made pasta and floating islands with Cointreau parfait and creme anglaise followed by petits fours. I couldn't move. Check out the menu.

Tonight I was taken on a blind date (sort of) by a flying nurse (what a cool job!) to The Forum near Fox Studios to see the excellent Bamboos who are an Aussie funk/soul/hip hop outfit. I don't usually go in for this genre of music but I'm always game for someone to have a go at converting me from Indie and I'm so glad i went. They were in themselves a great way to round off the week with their snappy suited look, positive lyrics and boundless energy. They even wowed the crowd with a Kings of Leon Cover. However, nothing prepared us for what was to come (we hadn't bothered to read the tickets). I didn't know what to expect as Roy Ayers and his band came on dressed in an unusual mixture of baggy suits, Africa robes and T-shirts and placed a xylophone in the centre of the stage. I was soon jumping up and down like the rest of the crowd as Roy's smooth voice filled the hall and each band member had their 5 minutes of soloist glory. What made the evening for me was definitely the drummer who did the most incredible 15 minute set I have ever seen or heard. He drummed one-handed, backwards, cross-handed, fast, slow, loudly, quietly, broke a few sticks, jumped up and down, and at the end he even left his stool and started running round the stage drumming the floor, speakers and every other surface he could find. He didn't even break in to a sweat. Amazing.

After a week of rain and cold, the weather is much better today and we're off to a beer festival in The Rocks tonight. I'm sitting here in my running gear trying to muster the will to go out. I usually do three laps of the park at the weekend but perhaps I'll just do one and get a paper and coffee on the way back...

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Spring comes to Sydney (or is trying to)

Hello! I haven't given up on the blog yet. Have just been busy.

I had a pretty difficult time without Ric but he returned after 5 weeks of travel up the east coast and now we're together again in (mostly) warm and sunny. He's definitely got the nomad bug now and is keen to do some more, soon. As for me I've loved hearing all his traveling tales and think it's great he's done it but feel it's been great for me to have the opportunity to stop and be settled for a while and make some dosh, even though neither of us anticipates staying here beyond January when the lease runs out.

Sydney has grown on me and it's an easy place to live. China Town is on the doorstep so I've been cooking mainly Asian food when I get in late from work. Another thing that happened while Ric was away, partly out of my desperation to make our lives easier and better on his return was that I stopped mucking about with food. I really have had a breakthrough with it. The use of Charlotte and Paul's pool has been a real God-send too. So relaxing after a day in the office. As for the OCD, things are much improved and I'm nothing like as irrational as I was on my travels and even just a few weeks ago. Both of us worry it could flare up again when I start traveling again but I at least I know what to do about it if that happens and Ric wont be with me when it does this time!

I have also been having a bit of fish. I know! Why couldn't I have started in Asia??!! I'm not a fan of sushi mind you- slimy, tasteless, stinky - but cooked fish is fine. Ric made me a delish tuna bake the other night.

Other news...the job is going well, so well in fact that they seem not to want me to leave at Christmas. I will miss it. Well I'll miss Virginia my Office Manager. I have really enjoying the varied nature of my role. Funny to think how long it's lasted considering I was only supposed to be there two weeks.

I could say more about the rest of the team but I'll leave that for another time many months from now, or another continent!

I enjoyed a lovely family reunion the other week in honour of my uncle's 50th. It was so good to be there with all my cousins, uncles, aunts, dad, sister and even my grandmother.

I am getting very excited about going away with my friend from school at the end of November. We're going to do a mini version of what Ric did; ie. a ten day jaunt, skipping out everywhere except Fraser Island, the Whitsundays, Rainbow Beach, Hervey Bay and possibly Cairns. Plus, the fact that we are short of time and are classy ladies who don't fancy roughing it to the extent Ric was prepared to, means we'll fly as much as possible (I know, I know, not very 'green', but this place is HUGE).

I also really looking forward to seeing Ric's parents in December as well as our friend Jas who gets here around the same time. I've missed my morning runs around Brixton with him and on a rare wet day in Sydney (today is a shocker) I even feel a little homesick.

I hope we can all go away together if our schedules, budgets and desires are an accordance with each other. For the time being, though this is subject to change every day, Ric's inclination is to look for work. Hurrah! This makes me a very happy girl indeed.

I think he's realised how beneficial it might be stop here for a couple of months (as we always planned to) and to meet some new people here in Sydney, as well as earn some money for the next leg of our travels next year. New Zealand and America wont be nearly as cheap as Asia after all. Ric has also found that he's pretty out of practice with his coding so wants to brush up again; get back to his geekery though I do worry how long it will last. After all, I alone can't create the fun engendered by hanging out with dozens of backpackers.

We don't have a madly busy social life by any means but things are also a lot better between us now that we've had a break and more specifically, now I am so much calmer and better with my eating. That makes us both happier.

Today we went baby clothes shopping for our friends Andrew and Chris who are expecting their first born in December. We spotted an AC-DC hoodie some months back and couldn't resist. Well the child will be going to Glastonbury at 6 months old after all. Speaking of which, we have registered for tickets. Something to look forward to next year.

Tomorrow we are getting up early and going on a 'Wobbly Wine Tour' to the Hunter Valley. As the name suggests we will be cycling AND sampling wine. Crikey! Not sure how we'll bring it back if we decide to buy any. The weather has been glorious today and will hopefully remain so tomorrow. The place is supposed to be beautiful. Can't wait.

Although these are worrying times for the Aussies, we're enjoying the fact that the exchange rate has jumped so much. Our £ is worth AUS$2.5 today! Time to shift some dosh over. I just hope it goes down again when it's time to move my hard-earned money back.

Yes, I am missing certain things back home in London now. My mother, my dog and my friends AND all the weddings and new babies. Just wish it was a bit warmer over there and that both my parents lived in the same country.