Thursday, 21 January 2010

Showing my Age (or trying hard not to)

How old am I? Like seriously - 15?

If you don't have this album you should get it. There are about 8 great songs on it and I have listened to at least one of them every day since I got the album in November.

I would even consider taking C girl to a concert - as that concert is definitely not likely to be in Indonesia or Singapore (read - totally homophobic countries - and he is just way too out there for them), then it would have to be Perth or Hong Kong. That doesn't sound too bad now does it?

Favorite TV show - Dexter. This is dark, funny and very weird. He's a serial killer and the main character - who you actually like. I can't watch this alone (or should I say, J does not like to miss out). Still on Season 2 - but catching up really fast. Love it.
Note - just saw that the actor won the golden globe award for best actor - how cliche am I to even mention it now (and talk about late onto the bandwagon (it's at season 4)).

Favorite Book to Movie - The lovely Bones. It is a scary, sad movie and I have read the book. It is slightly different (as in I can't remember having the same feelings about the ending). I had to stop it twice because I couldn't watch it alone (and had to go get J, but was shaking so much it took a while for him to work out what I wanted). All he could say is - you've read the book, you already know what is going to happen.
Looking at the list above. I seem to be a very strange, dark person don't I?
Don't care I'm afraid. I am what I am.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Venice - Jakartarocks style

I have over a thousand photos to go through. I will write about the trip in a series of sections. Venice is first because it was the most recent great experience.

We went to visit Venice on the Wednesday before leaving Italy. We stayed in Bologna on the night before and after the visit - we didn't want to kill the atmosphere with 5 suitcases (not to mention 2 coffees, 3 hot chocolates and 2 croissants cost 40 euro (but we were served by a man in a dinner suit).

We travelled by train there and back. Had an issue with the train on the way back, but the trip was not too long or short. Got a water taxi down the grand canal to San Marco square. Walked around, got a gondola ride, took the lift up the bell tower, walked around all the shops buying this and that, and walked back to the train station (which was breathtaking, easy and a lovely way to look around). Kids didn't moan too much about the walk - too impressed by the buildings.

Our first view of Venice. Water bus from Train station to San Marco.

The official family photo - in front of the church we didn't take our children through and didn't get them to climb (we have mercy).

Jenny Pose - don't we look glamorous

The girls got along brilliantly on the trip. Poor Munch was unfortunately dropped like a sack of potatoes when we got home, but they were very close on the trip.

Do you think these kids have any idea how lucky they are? Poor kids were looking for a gondola like the ones at the snow (which explains why they kept saying - where, I don't see a gondola, where - there is absolutely no gondola where I am looking)....

I know we don't look like we are on a honeymoon, but don't we look "in love"?

It's a pretty unique situation to be on one - the kids discussed honeymoons on this ride........but I intend to be back on my "no kids" moon (you know, when all the kids leave home and you get a really cool holiday).

The water was amazingly clean. The buildings amazingly beautiful and old.

The view from the bell tower. Very beautiful view - you can imagine how beautiful it must be in summer (and how crowded).

On the walk back to the station.

Another bridge - another breathtaking view

Beautiful buildings around every corner

The last view of Venice (on bridge on the way back to the station)

C girl room

Sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of.

C girl has been in her room for less than a year now and only now am I showing what we finally did to make it her own. As you can see from the blobs on the wall, we had to paint over the blue tak stains on the wall (they don't come off over here), paint is useless.

Her medals are finally somewhere that can be expanded easily (see curtain rods). She isn't really a pink girl, but I didn't realise that when I made the quilt and valance for her 3rd birthday (yes all of the outside edging is hand embroided and there is a very positive life message on it (or it just wouldn't be from me). The small white picture on the wall is something I made her when she was born (so again, she probably doesn't want it but is putting up with so she doesn't offend me).

I also love the planes, come on - it was the lego room.

I especially love the bookshelf. The books have all been categorised and numbered. But she doesn't have a list of all of the books in her collection, so she could be worse.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Farewells to friends

We've had very emotional week. While we were away our very best friends (who we could drop in on at any time and who organised 100% of our non school socialising) moved into our house after their furniture was packed.

We got home from holiday on Saturday morning totally jet lagged and unable to sleep at night, but with our friends staying with us.

We really made the most of the week. I spent Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Jen. The kids missed school on Monday and Friday (for extra play time). Everyone had tears in their eyes these photos.

One last Jenny pose (for a few months anyway). You've got to admit - the Jenny pose does work well. Unfortunately this is part of living as an expat. It hurts like a pain in the chest, but friends in these places are so precious and so a part of surviving (and thriving), it would be horrible to not have such great friends to start off with.

Monday, 11 January 2010

10 things I love about Italy

We just got home on Saturday morning. I will give a much more detailed account (with photos). But I will give my love/dislikes now to get the dislikes off my chest so I can write objectively. Overall we loved Italy, wondered why it took us so long to get there. Very glad I was born in Australia though.

10 Things I loved about Italy

1. The weather – snow, light rain, refreshingly cold, when you breath, you could see it (and not just because you were standing in front of the freezer counter at Sogo).

2. The old buildings – for the areas we saw (and yes – it was only 3 weeks), mostly old buildings, picturesque (but I’m not sure I’d want to live in them).

3. The food – lunch and dinner were a pleasure – for the first time in my holiday lifetime, we bought both lunch and dinner every day and it was a pure pleasure. Who cared how much it cost, it tasted fantastic (to the point the C girl is eating real food now).

4. The diet. 3 weeks of at least 1 bottle of wine a day and everything I wanted to eat – no difference in weight.

5. Did I mention the food – well the pasta was magnificent (I only had risotto or pasta for dinner), favorite – pumpkin ravioli with balsamic sauce. It was magic 3 weeks, 2 dud meals.

6. Ability to walk everywhere. The maps were good, the locations were close and we managed to walk a minimum of 5km a day. Yes we did the bus/train thing where necessary, but we mostly walked (big improvement on last year – mostly because Munch is now 6 ¾ and could cope (until the last few days when she kuplunked). Plus in Rome you could get on a website and it would give you the public transport/walking that you needed to catch/do to go from A to B. Easy peasy.

7. Rome – this is a city I could happily live in (in the old section), there is something amazing around every corner. Old ruins, cafĂ©, every street, everywhere. I loved it. Loved Venice and Florence as well for same reason.

8. The shopping centres – we saw a total of ZERO big supermarkets (only saw small ma and pa ones), ZERO department stores/shopping centres. All boutiques and small shops.

9. The coffee – I am now a convert (we even bought home a percolator for the stove to have one very morning on way to work).

10. The Australian tourists – there I said it. We were the ones in the restaurants at 6pm (in Rome), usually every group in there at that time was an Australian and we always had lovely chats. Also ran into some groups in Florence, Pompeii (same group), Venice and Milan – all of whom we loved talking to (maybe just for the accents). Granted I wouldn’t have loved this if I hadn’t been out of Aus for 3 years, but for us it was really lovely. One group from Ballarat – now there is a freaky coincidence considering we both lived there for 4 years.