Remember me? I am still alive and well, for those that have been missing your regular update from the land Down Under.
It has been a while, and I can lay the blame at the door of a number of things, but let’s just say that the old adage of “time flies when you are having fun” is very much true. Much fun has indeed been had.
Since we last caught up I have been through a birthday, Xmas, and another Sydney New Years Eve firework extravaganza. Which were even better than last year if that is possible. Admittedly, my birthday and Xmas were on the same day, but still.
I have had my summer holiday, with 2 weeks off work over Xmas and I’m not sure there is a better place in the world to spend it than Sydney. The city comes alive with numerous pop up bars, festivals, street art, (very) long boozy lunches, and long leisurely hung-over brunches.
As if four bottles of the best sauvignon blanc wasn't enough, some people had to then move onto the cocktails. Little wonder we managed to get asked to leave. But by then we had left the Opera Bar and moved onto The Argyle, quite a classy establishment in The Rocks area of Sydney. Had we been in the Salvation in Halifax I’m sure it would have been a very different story. All in all, another great day.
I can't speak for the night though. Due to not actually remembering much of it! I’m not sure if this was a result of the aforementioned bottles of wine, or just too much sun. But, strangely enough, I keep having dream like flash backs (and being kindly reminded) to performing some kind of nosedive. Hmm, very strange :-)
Talking of my birthday, my friends, in their kindness, tried to secretly buy me a birthday cake in Woolworths. I’m not kidding you, it was like a military operation planned by Benny Hill. (Australian readers may want to check out You Tube). I could almost hear the music playing as we chased each other around the aisles. But what a lovely thought, the flaming galahs!
Last year, for my birthday, the weather unceremoniously pissed on my parade. Almost quite literally. Poured down all day. Surely lightening couldn’t strike twice. Right? So big plans were made this year. Little cute wine glass holder type things, for sticking in the sand holding your glass, an esky, new beach chair. The whole shooting match.
And yes, you guessed it! Following being initiated into the Xmas Eve night tradition that is the “Home Alone” movie marathon (keep the change ya filthy animal) we once again ended up on Xmas morning with Bucks Fizz and a wet, distinctly British, BBQ. I had very gratefully had some presents brought over from my family back home, and with my friends in my adopted country looking after me I managed to really feel like I could celebrate, despite being thousands of miles away from family. That is one thing that is so important as an expat, making very good friends, who then become like a second family.
So we had rain again on my big day, but all is well that ends well and it did indeed end up being a fantastic day, with me cleaning up in various competitions including video games, and that old classic, charades. Ok, I may not have actually won at Mario Kart (or even come a close second), but my efforts at charades took the limelight. I think I should have been a thespian. Never has there been a better mime of the film Psycho.
I’m pleased to say that the sun gods did shine on us for the rest of the holidays, enabling me to get my tan on. And the weather was perfect for another trip into the Hunter Valley vineyards. Although it is quite possibly the first time I have ever heard a wine tasting trip up there described as thus, "by 'eck, its like a white knuckle ride!". Shurrrup! And despite there being an abundance of good wines in the Hunter, I just don’t think there will ever be enough soda water for some people ;-)
I can’t end without saying that this time of year is usually a time of making resolutions. I’m sure a few of you have made them. I’m equally sure that some of you will have even broken some of them already. Be honest.
I’m not making any as I feel that things are going good right now. Through parts of last year you saw me sharing my homesickness with you. Even deliberating about whether to return to the UK or not. But for now, I am a lot more settled, and have even just accepted a 1-year extension to my contract at work. Apologies to my long suffering work colleagues but for some time yet you will have to cope with my Monday morning moans about how badly my beloved football team have done over the weekend. And surely you can’t dine out on your lucky Ashes victory for much longer, *crosses fingers*.
This doesn’t take the homesickness away, but I am having another trip home in 6 weeks so this will continue to alleviate it whilst I determine my rightful place in the world. I’ll be having a flying visit for a couple of weeks, catch up with family and friends, including my gorgeous little niece who I unfortunately have not seen since I left the UK in 2012. Then, rather excitingly, I will be returning home, with Ma Cormack in tow for her visit tour of duty in Australia.
My only concern for my trip to the UK will be the weather. I have not had a European winter for 3 years so will need to put away my thongs and remember where I put my winter clothes. The UK weather in March? Anybody know the long term forecast? Will I need to be hibernating in front of a roaring log fire with copious amounts of whisky? Or will I be able to sip champagne in a hot tub?
Answers by return please.