Monday, March 12, 2012

C - eh - N - eh - D - eh!

It feels a bit late to say Happy 2012 so we'll go with Happy Leap Year, but even that has come and gone! How do I even begin to describe the gloriousness of the last 2 months.  What I can definitely say that its been a whirlwind and the only thing unfortunate is my body hates the crazy shock it's been through. Its been a while since I've written but since this journey is far from being over, I feel the need to still share how insane, crazy, stressful yet fantastic the last little while has been. I write this back in Melbourne, still in a surreal daze that I've relocated here. I still wake up in the mornings trying to get my bearings realizing that I'm not in Vancouver anymore and that I'm in yet another new city, but this time with the intention of making it my home. With that comes a certain amount of trepidation, fear and excitement mingled with the fact that I have to start building a life. 

I'll start at when I left off:

I have to say that interestingly enough, Christmas 2011 was the holiday season that I got into the most. Thanks largely to the crew at the Hub. We indulged lazily every day making sure that my last days in Brissy were pretty much characterized with the gang hanging out on our balcony, legs up on the rail with a cider and smokable on hand. 

Special thanks to:

Natsuki - You were the best roomate that I've ever had and I will always be thankful for your support. You know how much you mean to me. Patrick and our insiteful chats about everything including our obsession with the Japanese Evil Genius. Ryo for actually finally letting me taste home-cooked Japanese food! The Germans for always keeping their door open and beer flowing. Jo for always being there. Ian for being a great friend. Jason you were a wicked manager. Nicole and Corey for always having a spare smoke to share. Paul for taking me on wonderful random adventures all the time. And of course my "lil brother" Nick, who made sure I was always with family.

Flying to Hervey Bay on Paul's plane meant that I got to end the best and worst year on record literally on a high. There is nothing more serene than looking at the world from above. It was beautiful and picturesque to soar in the sky looking down at the beautiful coast and the Glass House Mountains. And I finally got to see a Koala and pet a kangaroo. It was a great way to end an other wise turbulent year. I'm glad to put 2011 to rest and look forward to the new adventures that 2012 brings...

Clearly the cutest most chilled out creatures in the world!
On Paul's plane!
The views of Fraser Island from above!
NYE 2012 was wonderful incorporation of all our different cultures filled with traditions of what we would do/cook at home. So we started the night with a traditional Swiss/German fondue, some Japanese chicken teriyaki, Filipino pancit and Peri-peri chicken with copious amounts of bubbly. There was something magical about missing the beginning of the fireworks because we ended up celebrating the stroke of midnight outside The Hub. We eventually got to the Story Bridge and meandered the streets of the Valley  bar hopping along the way. There may have been some donairs, free dances and making random friends in there. The best part was just hanging with everyone, walking  back after sunrise, lighting firecrackers and chatting til 8 am about golden cages and hand feeding Natsuki berries. I also got to see Jiggy in our 3rd country, who gave me an awesome luggage tag that appropriately reads "Not all who wander are lost". 

Bring on 2012!!
As sad as I was to leave the Hub, Melbourne was definitely worth exploring. As the 2nd largest city in OZ, it seems like a wonderful combination of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver but more vibrant and hotter! But more on my new home later...

C - eh - N - eh - D - eh!

My much needed trip back home! I naively thought/hoped that somehow 6 weeks was going to be enough to see everyone...but alas, I was sadly mistaken. I did try to fit as much as I humanly could, crossing the entire country (all 7,000+ km) in an attempt to hug everyone I miss so much! I flew into Vancouver during a beautiful sunny day, the stuff that makes BC winters legendary. Then I excitedly loved it when few days later, I was blessed with gorgoeus snow - at that point it was such a welcome surprise and a gift. After catching a cold going from Australian summer to a Canadian winter I wasn't so sure about that anymore! 

My flight in was gorgeous!

  • Being there for one of my best friend's last chemotherapy. I can't begin to explain how great it was to be there for her. Even better was being able to celebrate it with drinks!
  • Seeing Astrid & Shannon pregnant! Gurjit getting engaged. 
  • Family time!!
Best Gelato in the World!
  • Set B reunion with the girls - every get together marks a new phase in our lifes. 
  • Mini Career Services get together - wish everyone had been there! 
  • Random night out in Gastown with Yasmeen. I'm glad you're second 29th birthday at Chill Winston was so unexpectedly more fun! 
  • Cuddles with Ate. Yes, I do miss the spooning and the chats and the YouTube!
  • Working out with Ate and Yasmeen even though I wanted to kill them at one point. So hardcore and ridiculously strong! 
  • Sleepovers with Yuko, drinking way too much wine and talking about everything and nothing at all.
  • Yummy food with the Malelangs.
  • Drinking 3 bottles of wine with Christina and having a blast at the Casino - "Wheel of Fortune". 
  • Hard to admit it, but stressing with Mom and Dad is also part of the wonderful times ;P
  • Finally getting my condo rented (singed on my very last evening)...although this should be in my LowLights for taking up so much time and stress!
  • Playing tourist to one of the most beautiful cities - I do love Vancouver.
  • Valentines at the Afghan Horseman and guzzling the Mighty Horseman.
  • Chilling with Duazel and having brunch at our fave German restaurant. 
  • HANGING OUT with people!!

  •  Way too much Patron with KC, Mark, Matt-matt, my parents, Ate and getting to meet my adorable Goddaughter.
  • Getting some good pics of the city!

LowLights: I didn't get to see everyone that I wanted to. It was a bit heartbreaking not to be able to hug and hang with people that I miss so much. Alas, there is next time... 

St. John's, Newfoundland 

And, just to confuse my system some more, I jumped into another plane for 9 hrs to go to the Eastern most point of Canada. All worth it because I  went to go visit my sister and Dean and Kalli for a week. We got to enjoy a snow day where I got do the ultimate challenge (it involves a hot tub, a bikini, jumping out into the snow and doing an angle and then back in). Hard to believe but I really enjoyed shoveling the driveway for a couple of hours and got to go cross country skiing for the first time with only one face plant but I felt impressive! I played tons with the kids - toboganning, and sweating it up with Dean on Dance 3 on Wii - let's just say that it's far better exercise than you think! I even got to celebrate anya's mini Stagette - Hope is holding out for the right one to come along and then drinking martinis and dancing the night away to celebrate. It was wonderful to bond with the kids but my gosh my body was hurting from all the fun and games!

Best part of snow days!

Happy Stagette T girl!

Toronto, Ontario

After that, it was off to Toronto for a much needed catch up with my university best friends and my gosh has time certainly kept moving. Alex and Jeff are now parents to 2 wonderfully cute and adorable kids, who are shockingly uber white (we were thinking maybe their 25% Filipino genes would be more evident). LOL. Fed is the gloating dad that I knew he would be. I got to see Mona happy and optimistic about life.  There was even a catch up with Kunal about the last decade and his path to career success and a random homage to our teens by getting invited to an after hours party. I got to hang out with Jopet and Jezza, who were, as always wonderful family support. There were yummy dinners, too much good food actually...thanks to Alex (and Jo) my pants are even tighter! I have truly become that friend that blusters in and out, who people use as an excuse to indulge in dinner and drinks! But, I do wear that role well! ;)     

Every single day was spent doing something, seeing someone, getting things done - I don't think I actually had any spare time whatsoever. I certainly didn't have time to reflect, relax or process anything. It was more of a go, go, go and go even harder type of visit. I'm also very thankful for everyone who made/had the time to come and see me. It meant a lot. Although I'm gutted to not have gotten a chance to  see everyone, there will always be next time! 

And for now, my next adventure is to find a job/opportunity that's the right fit and build a life in Melbourne...I'm  lucky that I had a good base to start with - Whitney's friendship, Nina's Canadian Crew and Dean's wonderful hospitality. Wish me luck, I'm pretty determined to have an awesome time here! 

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