One year complete.....

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September 19th 2008
Published: December 13th 2017
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Geo: -33.8671, 151.207

3rd Sept.
Monday was 1st Sept. and 1st day of spring, I read in the citizenship test booklet it is also "Wattle day" but there is no mention of it in real life. Lovely spring weather so far.

Was all cocked to go to Canberra for le weekend but C is dosed with the cold aka 'man' flu. So I made mulligatawny soup for the first time and didn't poison us, yay.

Started updating my visual bookshelf on facebook (yes I have little to do) and am now obsessed with books (think I may have a slight form of OCD) but anyway have also realized how much I have not read, so many books so little time, starting with quite a few books already in our collection, ahem. But at least I tried many authors once so that shows balance, no? But then there are 6 or 7 I have obsessed on (see OCD). Anyway am reading "My year of meat" now so far v.g., and have a few unfinished books on the go too, must watch less TV.

8th: Torrential rain Saturday, a real day for bed and a book. Have gone all Japanese as after I finished the excellent (am so glad am a veggie) 'My year of meat' by Ruth L. Ozeki which is half set in Japan I then read 'Norwegian Wood' by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami - his "must read" book - which was all set in Japan and is a bit depressing actually. And meanwhile back in Afghanistan I am in the last 100 pages in the 'Kite Runner' now, God the main character is despicable, selfish and, now (9th) that I finished it, careless. Afghani families values sound a lot like Irish catholic families of our grand-parent's generation.

Saw 'Le tour d'Irlande 08' on TV (SBS funky free to air channel) from the last week of August or should that be the 'An camchuairt d'Eireann', see when did we get a pro-cycling tour? I love that we have 'An Post cycling team' like 'US Postal' and that we have a jersey 'Irish Ferries King of the mountains' (aka Kerry hills). I suppose if I was French I'd think 'Credit d'Agricole' was funny and colloquial too.

And I found out they have doctors here called 'bulk billers' who are free, hard to find but none the less exist, and it wasn't full of skanger patients like you'd expect in say Dublin. Pretty amazing.

· Hellboy ('04) - why?
· Goldfinger ('64) - according to Halliwell's film guide is the best Bond movie
· And a bit of Talladega Nights ('06) - at least now I know where "Bake
and Shake" comes from
· The Namesake (06) - really good and reasons not to have kids maybe
· The Kingdom - kind of like a human version of 'Team America.. f**k ya'
· Running with scissors - mental isn't the word.
· The bicycle thief ('48)
· The girl with the pearl earring ('03)

9th So I went back to 'Eat love pray' which I abandoned in July at pg. 150, the 1st part in Italy was slightly boring but ok (apart from the whole if you ask the Gods & everyone including the Clintons out loud for something you'll get it), the 2nd part is in an ashram in India and really some of the stuff she reveals she found out about herself should have been left unpublished in her diary, she could have saved herself a lot of trouble if she'd read some Ken Kesey. And some really obvious stuff like how she has no stick ability when she had to say a 182 verse prayer, couldn't she see it as a metaphor not being able to stick at anything long and sometimes unwieldy like say ditching her marriage for no good reason. Like can you imagine going to that ashram only to encounter her and loud mouth Texan Richard (who seemed to know everything so am not sure why he was there) engaged in non stop talking (by her own admission) sounds hellish. And God she is soooo self absorbed, all I can say is I think her dumped husband was better off out of it, and I would love to know what he makes of her reconciling with his spirit when he won't reconcile with her in reality. He should be canonised. Plus all this mystical crap about her prayers directly affecting her nephews sleep problems. I forced myself to finish section 2 and on page 208 I was rewarded with a paraphrased bloody REM lyric (can't tell you how awful I think everything about REM are, them and McDonalds). So I got this book as a birthday gift last year and only got around to it 14 months later but I think I should have left it as I just find her annoying. The 3rd part she's in Bali and there's all this pretence that she had no plan and didn't know how to get a taxi at the airport and then on the next page she tells us she was in the same exact place 2 years ago, so she did bloody know! She narcissistically thinks this old healer guy is going to remember her, does she really think she's that special over all the other American tourists? Egotistical shallow cow.
I just ranted all this to my sister and she says the most annoying part is yet to come with the rest of Bali, Oh my GOD.

10th Met my (not related to me) friend JA for walk to the lovely McMahon's point which she tells me reminds her of Wimbledon village.

11th In a karmic twist of events I now have bloody 'man' flu including dry retching while brushing teeth! So serves me right for calling it that. Apparently all of Sydney has it, there's some crazy epidemic bubble in the air now it's officially spring.

12th My going away do a work - Lunch in Greenwood Hotel, outdoor table which was nice but what's with the glaring sun (no wonder they all look so old) & drinks in 'Rag and Famish' N. Sydney, where I outdid my flu and get very enibriated and then had no voice for 2 days, but it cured my flu (ancient cure as advised by my sis). And they all said & wrote lovely things at my going away presentation (book token thank you very much). My sister when she saw my card questioned if the people realised who they were writing these sentiments for, cheeky cow. But I cannot say I am sad to go as they restricted internet access yesterday at work and Monday the new crazy, restrictive, like your are in prison or at worst in school is coming in. So hopefully I made some lasting friends and it was a good 1st job as an introduction to how it all goes here.

13th Sunny 27 degrees, hip hip hurray, luckily we went out to the market so hungoverly took the air (as they said in Victorian times.)

14th My nieces confirmation which is weirdly before 'First Holy Communion' and not a big deal here, we (or no-one in the extended family) are not even invited to the church, how is she going to make a small fortune so?

15th New job, yay, so far so good, very busy though only have time for 30 min lunch or even no time at all. No more gym at lunch time then. All good though. Have met 23 of the 50 employees (software house possibly peddling porn! not creating it just providing the technology for the service providers to send it to peoples mobiles phones - who request it.) Have met 15 nationalities so far, no Chinese this time but even more exotic Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, S. Africa, Pakistan, India of course & Aus & NZ, Malaysia, and on the euro side N. Irl., Croatia, Greece, Italy, Spain (possibly) & Germany (possibly).

17th Saw Bill Bailey with my sis & JH & C in State theatre. Very nice venue but both gothic and art deco and even baroque too. Bill was very wry and is good at using music as parody.

18th One year anniversary of arriving here - had dinner out last night to celebrate. Went to a new gym - bloody massive, spinning wasn't as ravey (aw). Nice weather all week but still more spring than summer, I wonder if they have the saying 'don't cast a clout til September is out'.

19th So I cannot believe one year is over already. And wait for it ...... I like it well enough. In some ways of course it seems a looooong time ago since the day we arrived and had done 'big trip' but in other ways it's flown.

Highlights of my 1st year in Sydney:

Life stuff that could/would have happened anywhere
1. (Un-enviably) experienced the intricacies of opening a bank account/getting into the system, renting a place, getting utilities and mobiles sorted (amazingly the phones, inet & tv connection were the biggest ordeal) and getting a job (twice).

2. Bought loads of new furniture and what have ya.

3. Have made new friends.

4. Have lost 15kg and am way fitter, know how to spin!

5. Have been dentist-ized to within an inch of our lives, we have 'caps' and all now.

6. Caught up on many movies.

7. Have tried new hairdressers!

8. Been home and back via US & HK and saw many many friends.

9. Start a new (better I hope) job.

Family stuff
10. Got to hang out with my sister properly for the first time in a decade.

11. Got to know my brother in law better.

12. Got to know my nieces & nephews.

13. Got to know my brother in law's family.

14. Have been here for the birth of one of my nephews.

15. Have seen two nephews be de-heathenized.

16. Have been to all my nieces & nephews parties/sacraments (a novelty).

17. Have become proficient child minders.

Aussie stuff - Stuff that only could have happen me here
18. Lived in Wahroonga for 5 weeks - part ku-ring-gai council and most desirable place to live in Aus according to locals.

19. Lived in "happening" Crows Nest for the rest of the time (which now we are told by the post office is actually North Sydney, personally I don't care but I just know that Crows Nest tag is costing me more.)

20. Have encountered some shockingly crooked and yet stupid estate and job agents, and why are they all British?

21. Experienced a 'Melbourne Cup day' which is amazingly big in every state.

22. Have found out what and where 'Bobbin Head' is.

23. Have seen a good bit of NSW by road\rail - 666km North to Yamba and back, 32km South to Caringbah and back and 112km west to Bowral and back, 155km N to Newcastle and back, 250km NW to Blue Mountains & environs and back i.e. Jenolan caves etc (think Ailwee), 300km N to Forster/Seals Rock and back.

24. Watched 'bush cricket' and saw "The Bradman oval!"

25. Been in a ute!

26. Seen some good lightening storms (storms here are almost biblical).

27. Didn't get murdered Wolf Creek style after taking a lift from a yokel in Yamba.

28. Have seen the Opera house tonnes of time (my own particular fave world landmark)

29. Have been to many Sydney neighbourhoods - Balmain, Bondi, Pyrmont, Erskineville, Surry Hills, Newtown, Watsons Bay, Manly, Kirribilli, St. Ives, Chatswood, North Sydney, Lavender Bay, Darlinghurst, Darling Harbour, Hunters Hill, McMahons Pt., St Leonards, Mona vale, Avalon, North Ryde, Pymble, Turramurra, Waitara, Hornsby.

30. Been on ferry from Circ. Quay to Manly

31. Been to Doyle's on Watson's bay for a second time.

32. Have been to a couple of gigs in the city.

33. Been to a few fancy do's in the city.

34. Have hooked up with old friends who live here.

35. Appeared in a calendar for work.

36. Saw fruit bats, possums, pelicans & many cockroaches.

37. Broke a 10 year drought in Sydney, hurray for us (in fact wettest summer in 16yrs & coldest in 8yrs).

38. Been to many Oz style parties i.e. starts in afternoon with or without BBQ - mostly without this year.

39. Had some fantastic Indian dinners in Crows Nest restaurants.

40. Have had some fantastic other dinners too - Asian and Italian, but not Mexican (they haven't a clue, it's awful awful crap here).

41. Have been to a few Sydney Markets

42. Have been to a record fare.

43. Saw some good Aussie tv series.

44. Have had an aussie Christmas - No beach though!

45. Been to Tasmania (which rocks).

46. Been to Sydney's oldest known residence - Don Bank.

47. Been to Sydney's first Saint's resting place - Mary MacKillop.

48. Walked across the harbour bridge many times.

49. Discovered aussie designers 'High Tea with Mrs. Woo"

50. Been to my first (and hopefully last) baby shower.

51. Have learned new skills incl. hoolahooping.

52. Participated in Earth Hour.

53. Been to Anzac day celebrations, played 2-up.

54. Did a great wine appreciation course.

55. Drank some fantastic Aussie wine.

56. Saw on tv the aussie government apologize to the Abo's.

57. Experienced some lovely autumn weather (driest May in 150yrs, yay).

58. Know what a jacaranda, a frangipani & a golden wattle is like.

59. Know the sounds of birds like kookaburras.

60. Have played poker in a poker classic - with strangers.

61. Have been to a performance in the Opera House (have already done the other must do's of Sydney in the past - Climbed the bridge, Been up centrepoint tower etc)

62. Witnessed pope-mania 00's style.

63. Seen all 4 seasons of NSW and they do have distinct seasons more than I thought.

So that's it a year and a day, there's a public Holiday coming up if I go anywhere exciting I'll travel blog it, otherwise this is me over and out. And the office is closed at Christmas so 11 days off, need to think where to go next now.... Started book 'Shantaram' so that'll keep me quite for ages.
I just read over a lot of this, I really need to do a creative writing course.


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