It has been a long hot summer in Sydney and we have barely hit the halfway mark. As much as I love sunshine, fresh air and the great outdoors, I also despise heat. For anyone sitting in colder climes reading this, you are probably ready to throw darts at me or, worse still, just stop reading. Moving on.
I am lucky enough to live within a short drive of a beautiful beach in Sydney and as the heatwave continued to drive us out of our minds, I decide to head to the beach. Normally, my beach bag consists of sunscreen, beach towel, hat, and whatever book I am reading. As I was only planning on spending a couple of hours there, mainly to take my first dip into the ocean to kick off 2017, I decide to leave my book (currently catching up on Winston Graham’s Poldark series) at home.
With many locals still on their summer break, the beach was busier than usual for a weekday. After dumping my beach gear on my small patch of paradise, I jumped straight into the ocean. The water temperature was perfect. I look up into the clear blue sky with barely a whisp of a cloud that resembles a very long, fluffy piece of fairy floss. I look out to the ocean to find a few small sailboats taking advantage of the wind conditions.
All around me are people of all ages – swimming, sunbathing (me being concerned they may not have enough sunscreen on their backs!), sleeping, chatting, playing. I am not a particularly good swimmer – I just enjoy being in the water – so when the waves start to become a little big for me to manage, I decide to swim back to shore. Continue reading →
I love meeting new people whenever I travel. As soon as I open my mouth, they recognise an “interesting” accent and the question inevitably follows: “Where do you come from?” I refrain from breaking out my Men At Work impression and I reply “I come from Australia.” That is the answer I have been giving for the past thirty years. Yes, it hardly seems real that it has already been thirty years since my parents packed up the family and moved us halfway across the world from Hong Kong to a city in a country we had never been to.
I never fully grasped the enormity of such a move back in 1982. At the time, I knew nothing about Australia – not even about the koalas and kangaroos that people ask me about nowadays when I travel abroad. The only people I knew who had even been to Australia were friends of my parents who had come here on a family holiday. I remember going to their house for a slide night but taking very little interest in what was on screen.
The only thing I remember thinking was that they spoke English in Australia. Having attended an English private school since kindergarten, I was not afraid of the language barrier, though if anyone had warned me about the accent, things might have been a little different! If only I had read Nino Culotta’s They’re A Weird Mob back then, I may have had a better understanding of the Australian slang!
The prospect of leaving behind all my friends and my grandparents, who I was extremely close to, never truly hit me until we were at the airport on August 15th, 1982, when I saw my grandfather cry for the first time in my life as we bade our farewells at the departure gate. Having always been an extremely sensitive and sentimental child, the sight of my grandparents and my parents in tears was the first sign that my life was about to change in a major way.
2011 has been a bittersweet year for me. As I struggled to look for work, I was suddenly faced with something I had never had this much of before: time! Time to do many things I had been putting off doing but was always too busy to do before. Although the opportunities of the “paid” variety were lacking, I was also given opportunities to do other things that just may one day lead to a more fulfilling life.
And so, as another year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on some of the things and events that have impacted me in whatever capacity. Many have been happy but some, not so much. So here we go…
Retiring Swans Co-captain Craig Bolton takes a lap of honour around the SCG
The year in AFL has been a mixed one. My team, the Sydney Swans, spent most of their home games in Sydney playing in wet conditions, which means I spent a lot of time trying to stay dry in the stands. With the well-respected Paul Roos now retired after a very successful 8 years in the senior coach’s position, the reigns were handed down to his former assistant, John “Horse” Longmire. It had been six years since the Swans won a Premiership and with many of its Premiership players retired or retiring, many critics did not give the youngsters on the 2011 playlist much chance to make the finals series. As usual, the Swans showed their “Bloods” spirit and proved the naysayers wrong and we made it as far as the second week of the finals, finishing sixth on the ladder. Not a bad effort at all. Go Swans!
In four weeks’ time, I will be celebrating my birthday, and there’s nothing like being reminded that you’re another year older to make you reflect on the little things in life.
Since I am not one to be backwards in coming forwards, so to speak, I thought I’d share with you some of my little “pearls of wisdom”, if you will. You may not agree with them but that’s OK. I’ve learnt to accept that I can never please everyone 🙂
These are a mish-mash of things that came to mind but are in no particular order, and by no means an exhaustive list. However, you can probably guess why I have chosen to list forty 🙂
So here goes nothing!
My mother may not always be right, but she always has my interest at heart.
Family always comes first and will always be.
You can choose your friends but not your family, so it’s best to accept them as they are.
Words are mightier than the sword, so choose yours wisely. The saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is rubbish.
There will always be idiots doing and saying idiotic things. It’s better to ignore them and walk away. Don’t let them ruin your day.
Choose your battles carefully. Some are just not worth the effort.
Look at the big picture but don’t ignore the details
Common sense is not common, otherwise there would be no such thing as planking or the Darwin Awards
It’s not nice to call someone stupid, no matter how much you want to. People do stupid things. There’s a difference.
I believe in God. Having Faith helps get me through the days – good and bad. Continue reading →
Twelve months ago this week, I dared to annoy and bore my friends and family by starting a blog and then making them read it. It all began because I had always wanted to write and, quite frankly, I was not about to be outdone by my then-seven-year-old nephew who had started his own blog, Kids’ Movie Guide. This is now my 44th post on this site, not counting the two travelogues I wrote for my photo blog Thursday Has A View which I created in March 2011.
It has been a long time since I read my earlier posts but when I look back at the titles of the earliest writings, there is no doubt they were all about how I could put a funny and positive spin on my work life which was pretty much making me miserable. A friend of mine said she liked that my posts were always so positive. The reality was that by writing, I was forcing myself to focus on the positives rather than the negative things that were motivating me to vent in public.
In case you hadn’t heard, apparently the world is coming to an end (again) on Saturday 21st May, which, as at time of writing, is only hours away for me. I am not sure exactly what time the world is supposed to end but I sure hope it’s not till late at night, say, after 10.30pm AEST, because one of my favourite episodes of White Collar (the one where Neal and Peter switch roles – seriously epic in how much fun it was) is scheduled to be on the air in Sydney at 9.30pm and I would like to be around to watch that again before I die. If not, well, at least I have seen it before, and I feel bad for those who have not seen the Season 2 finale because it was a really good one. Is that why all the shows have their season finales in the US this week?
I have another question…which timezone is the end of the world supposed to happen? Because, New Zealand is two hours ahead of me so if the world is ending in their timezone, then that means I actually have two hours less, but if it based on Pacific time, then I guess I have an extra 17 hours, in which case, I might even get to the SCG to watch some of the Swans game against the Hawks on Sunday…
On Friday 29th April, 2011, an estimated TV audience of 2 billion tuned in to the “Wedding of the Century” as Prince William of Wales married commoner Catherine Elizabeth Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. They had met at university and had been together for 9 years (bar a short period of separation) and for almost as long, the world had been asking “when will they tie the knot?” Once their engagement was announced and a wedding date set, then more questions followed: “who is she going to wear?” (making it sound as if she will be wearing a person), “who will be invited?”, “where will they have their honeymoon?”, etc. And now that the ceremony is over, the next big question to the happy couple is “when will they have a baby?”. And when that question is eventually answered, no doubt the next one will be “when will they have another one?”. Ah, so many questions!
We are all fascinated to some extent by people who lead very public lives and, of course, the British royal family is one of the most famous and most public for many reasons. Like all newlyweds, we wish the happy couple much joy and happiness. But when all is said and done, the confetti has been cleared from the London streets and royal wedding memorabilia have been sold out, we return to our normal day-to-day lives, and our reality is a very different picture.
Although I was not among the invited guests at the royal wedding, I was fortunate to have been able to attend another wedding a few weeks ago of an old high school friend to her partner of some 15 yrs (or more?), and the father of her two beautiful daughters. It was a much smaller and more intimate affair – something that I am sure Will and Kate wish they could have had, being surrounded by close friends and family. There were no formal invitations sent – a simple message on Facebook announcing to friends the wedding date a mere 4 weeks ahead of the special occasion, followed by another one announcing the time and location of the ceremony and reception. No formal RSVPs were received other than some messages posted on Facebook. For Rodney and Mary, this was their perfect day.