Tuesday, January 23, 2007

We know him!

Go impress the world Scott!!!

A friend of my sister has been selected by the BBC to review the upcoming Oscars. Very exciting. Why don't you read along and keep up with the gossip too. Look out for Scott Williams.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A summer nap

Most cats in Japan seem to be a bit feral and mangy. This one was so sweet that I could have taken him home... kawaii ne?

A little flash back

Last April, I bought a bunch of slide film. The quality of slide film is far finer than regular film though more of a hastle to develop, view and gain prints from. I ended up with 11 films, so you can imagine the cost inviolved. I eventually received a lump sum payment from my time in Japan so I rushed down to get the films processed. Mum and Dad have a very retro slide projector and I have been having a blast looking through the 11 films that are almost one whole year old. They are all smack bang in the middle of cherry blossom time and a majority were taken in Kyoto (my fave place). I will include my fave shot within this post. Enjoy...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Here it is... A retrospective

I debated over doing this but here goes. I want to catch up on all the things that have been happening to me since I have been home, there have been a few sad occasions but mostly all has been busy happiness. Well at least here is from November to now...

SARAH - How lucky can I be. I knew that Sarah (a good friend from Japan) was planning to back-pack around Australia and New Zealand before she even left Japan. I knew she planned on coming to Melbourne. I knew she planned on sticking around for about 2 weeks but hey, that turned into about 7 weeks. See...lucky! The fact that she stayed so long for a guy doesn't matter... I feel lucky (and the boy is lovely). Sarah turned up just before I moved into my own place. She fell in love with my friends very quickly and became fast friends with AJ and Milla. She helped me move house (I will always be in her debt particularly as she made quite a bit of my furniture). She moved into my house alongside me and made a fab house mate. She even got a part-time job around the corner. She meet my parents quite a few times and spent Christmas with us. She even came to school a few times and helped out at field day. I regret that she worked every weekend as I planned lots of day trips but I am happy that she experience 'real' life here. Sarah, I hope a little piece of your heart will always consider Melbourne another one of your homes. You will always be welcome here with open arms and open hearts. We miss you!
HOME - I am now officially settled and officially a resident of Kensington. I couldn't be happier unless I owned my house and it was a bit bigger. I love living in Kensington. I am in the older area and my street is tree lined. At one end of my street are lots of cafes and 'trendy' shops and at the other end of my street is 'multi-culture city'. There are lots of different (predominantly Asian) restaurants and even an Asian supermarket that I can buy some Japanese food at. I love it. It will be hard to move from here when the time comes!

CAR - Well I bought Mum's car and Mum bought a new (well practically brand new) second hand car. I now have the last of the Mazda 626s and she had a new model Mazda 6. You might say we are both tickled pink. I love being able to jump in the car and head off to Benalla, the beach or anywhere I like. I am even thinking I could make it up to Sydney for a few days next holidays. Anyone want to come? Anyone got a spare bed?

CHRISTMAS AND VISITORS - School finished on the 21st of December and on the 22nd, Kyoko and Tomoko arrived. We had planned this visit before I had even left Japan. I feel so lucky to have friends who want to travel so far and visit me and experience Australia. Kyoko had the typical Japanese holiday and stayed with me for 4 days. She then headed to Cairns to meet up with her brother's family for 4 days. Pretty good really; Benalla, Aussie Christmas and Tropical Cairns all in 8 days. Tomoko stayed for around 20 days - definitely not your typical Japanese trip. She had the once in a life time chance to stay away so long. She probably won't get that again until she retires. Honeymoons are not even that long! She went off to Adelaide for 4 days and spent the rest of the time exploring with me. We had a wonderful time. I hope to get back to Japan in July to see everyone and for a friend's wedding.
Here is a photo of what we ate for Christmas lunch... YUM!

SCHOOL - Next year (well I guess it is this year now) has been sorted out and decided. I am actually going to be teaching in my old room with my old year levels. My school is multi-age and my class is a 2,3,4. That means my students are aged between 7 and 10. I really love this age and I am pretty excited. I am also really lucky to be teaching with an old friend, Annie. I know we will have lots of fun and laughs so even though I am not ready for the holidays to be finished just yet, I am looking forward to the school year.

SADNESS - believe it or not, I have attended three funerals since my return. All terribly tragic and sad but stories of pain being over. I had to say goodbye to my mother's younger brother after years of fighting cancer, goodbye to an ex student who was 14 and suffered a brain tumor and goodbye to my dear old uncle whom we thought would live forever but who's body just gave up.

HOLIDAYS - To end on a much happier note, I will think about some of the things I have done during these holidays. Many of my outings we due to sightseeing with my visitors. We had a lot of fun!
I have driven down the Great Ocean Road twice. Both times were just day trips. The first day I drove exactly 505km. We drove inland to Port Campbell and then back along the Great Ocean Road and stopped at every tourist attraction. Lovely but tyring day. I got quite sunburnt. The second day I drove along the road there and back. We got as far as Lorne. This day was far more relaxing and we even managed fish and chips and a swim at the beach. I took so many picturesque shots. I will post some soon.
I also managed to get to Phillip Island for a few nights with my friend Andrew. Now that was relaxing. Nothing to do. No need to do anything. Hot weather. Beach and fresh seafood. I wish I had stayed much longer.
Lunch out with the old school gang at Bimbo's. Great company, delicious pizza and Lucy is now home from America. What a great day!
I have also done lots of day trips out of Benalla. I am headed back there Saturday morning. A last minute effort to do nothing and relax. Too bad about the fire worries and stress. I hope each day for rain. We'll see.

So there you go. All caught up. I hope to blog a little more often when the thoughts inspire me or when something interesting happens. Please keep reading, spreading the word and of course, commenting. I have been missing you!

Too close for comfort...

The fires are big enough news to make it to the BBC website. Benalla is my home town and the place Mum and Dad still live!!! I am in Melbourne and whist we are safe here, we felt the brunt of the blackout yesterday. 40 degree heat and no air conditioning... head to the pool, I say!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

As close as can be...

A photo from Mum's blog. The new Tatong fires are really close to Benalla but more importantly, really close to loved ones and friends. It just doesn't end. We sit here, safe in Melbourne, and complain about the smoke in the air. The smoke is horrible but worse is the danger behind it and the knowledge of where it is coming from. People are losing homes and farms. Native wildlife are losing lives and habitat. I hope it all stops soon.

So totally scary!!! The news just doesn't capture the desperation of the situation!

Smiling all the way to the bank...

Are blessed mail. The kind that isn't a bill. The kind where I don't owe more money.

A letter arrived for me today outlining my Japan pension refund. Now it isn't in the bank yet, but it is literally on the way. I will expect that cash to make it within the next week. Woohoo....fantastic timing.

I am so happy!!!

Are you still there?

Surprisingly, I am still here...

Where to start? Where to stop? I think I will try to do a quick over view to catch everyone up and then go on from there.

Firstly, I haven't had the net all holidays and I can't actually blog at school. So, I haven't vanished from the face of the Earth, I am still here and trying to keep in touch as much as possible. Keep reading and commenting so I know that you are right there too.

Miss you all...