Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Skye's 1st birthday invitation party:
Last week, Skye was invited to her first birthday party at an Australian friend. We met so many nice people and had a barbecue. They even had a ranger coming in with animals to entertain the kids.
By the way, that is not a dog next to Skye, it is a dingo, a wild dog which is, and that is what the ranger said, a relative to the wolf. They also had a snake, a couple of tree frogs, some blue tongue lizards and a frog mouth which looks like an owl.
Birthday parties are wildly fun in Oz!
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
We finally have internet...
You cannot imagine how much we miss you all. We keep talking about you (only the good stuff, of course). I hope you are well and back in your routine by now.
I just wanted to keep you up to date to how things were going around here...here as in Australia!
Staying with Oliver was hilarious every day, between sharing the baths together and dinners; they had a ball, kissing each other good night every night and waking up first thing in the morning to shout each others’ names.
Moving on...Landed safely, had a very good flight. Skye was delighted with all the kids’ channels, cartoons and movies to watch. It was a good day flight but little one here did not have a nap which was alright. Skye kept saying that she wanted to show Oliver the plane and Australia. I kept nodding...
Where we are staying is quite spacious and very practical with everything in it. They even had a starter package with pasta, tomato sauce, coffee, milk,etc... Our first night, we cuddled all together, hugging each other in one bed in this strange city. The city is busy! You cannot stop on the pavement without causing a traffic jam behind you while walking. People are going to work, to lunch, busy, busy, busy! It still intimidates us especially during the lunch hour rush. Oh, and yes, Skye saw her first town lunatic...a man with his head in the clouds, wearing very wide pink trousers, with large red star shaped glasses and singing loudly off tune in the middle of the town square. “Mummy, mummy, what’s that?” she says. “Oh, it’s just a happy man singing.” Skye is entering the “questioning ever thing” phase. What’s that? Why? How? What for? She is very clever and brilliant! Both, Michael and I, have to make sure our answers are correct all the time, there is no short cut or changing it, she will quiz us again later, she does, believe me, she is a funny, one this one!
It took us a few days to recover from the flight and the different timings, I got rid of my nasty cold and thankfully no one else caught it.
We went to the zoo the second day. Skye loved it! It took us half a day and we even skipped a few areas as well because we were tired. So we have not seen any koalas nor any kangaroos yet. Maybe next time. But we did see the African animals like the elephants, lions, etc...Skye was speechless. It was mother day that Sunday and mothers got in for free and kids under 4 are always free!
Parks are everywhere and free. It is the law for any construction/building to have a space for children to play, which means if you want to build something you have to have some space for the children...Very respectful to humans those Australians.
Food is a bit expensive but we need to find what is in season, it would be cheaper and this Saturday we are going to explore the farmers’ market and the fish market, which is every Saturday in an open area, sounds very nice and fresh! Our first cooked dinner was smoked cod in the oven with sweet potatoes and veggies on the side, delicious!
Skye and I spend the mornings at home, between breakfast, colouring, playing with play dough, etc... anything to keep us entertained then after lunch we go out for a walk so she can sleep in her stroller. We spend every afternoon in the park. People are enjoying the company of their own kids and playing with them in the park and having barbecues, which are everywhere by the way and free, just bring ur own meat and press the switch button for the gas! Some restaurants have signs: BYO which means bring your own alcohol if you want! How civilised!
We have not seen any wild animals yet except for the birds, which are some colourful parrots, beautiful colours and the big crows which are the size of a medium sized dog, they utter a horrible sound like someone strangling a cat!, and guess what there are not afraid of humans. First morning thought it was Skye sobbing in her bed but it turns out it was the horrible crows. We went shopping for bread yesterday before going to the park and they stole half of it even though it was hidden in the bag inside the stroller! They even stole my hot coffee! I left it for 2 min to go to the toilets with Skye. They steal things and fly with containers even! We have to be more careful, at least Teddy is safe and Skye stays close to me.Driving on the beach coast is stunning, trees, grass, parks, slides everywhere. Even in the centre of town, everything is green, we are surrounded by giant trees that sways with the wind and you can hear the autumn leaves ruffling...Not like Dubai and its sand storms.Beautiful in its own other way. It is just very beautiful, very peaceful once you are out of the city. People are cycling, jogging, walking with their kids, family, dogs...It is so alive and natural!
The weather is still warm for autumn but occasionally you need to put on a thin cardigan, but it is not warm enough for us to swim. The leaves of the trees are changing colours like the colour of a flame, it is different here, I am actually enjoying the change of weather and getting exposed to the seasons!
Wish you all well, big kisses and hugs...
Book: Expat Women: Confessions 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad
Expat Women: Confessions. 50 answers to your real-life questions about living abroad, by Andrea Martins and Victoria Hepworth. Australia: 2011 Expat Women Enterprises Pty Ltd ATF Expat Women Trust, 2011. 267 pp. Reviewed by Sandie Mirfield.
ExpatWomen.com is the creation of two long term expats; Australian Andrea Martins and American Jill Lengré. An established and reputable blog with around 11,000 members, it provides an insight on living away from home in the form of interviews and articles delivering invaluable support for expatriate women, both the new and the experienced. The co-authors of Expat Women: Confessions, Andrea Martins and Victoria Hepworth, have used their own extensive expat experiences together with those found on ExpatWomen.com to create this book.
Being Australian, Andrea has lived in various parts of Australia and further afield in Malaysia and Mexico. As an international guest presenter she has guided thousands of expat women living abroad in Houston, Washington, Mexico City, Amsterdam, The Hague, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Marrakech. With her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland, Australia and a Postgraduate Diploma in Electronic Commerce from La Trobe University, Australia, Andrea has worked in strategic human resources, workplace diversity and project coordination.
Victoria Hepworth, a New Zealander, has lived in Japan, China, Russia, Sweden, India and most recently in the United Arab Emirates, working as a global career consultant. Through Victoria’s experience with supporting expatriates, she was well prepared when establishing Lifeline Shanghai, a non profit telephone helpline. Victoria holds a Bachelors Degree in Business & Human Resources, Master of Arts in Psychology, both from Massey University, New Zealand, and a Diploma in Clinical Nutrition from Stonebridge Associated Colleges in the United Kingdom. Victoria has also been involved in Expatwoman.com.
Expat Women: Confessions is well presented as a collection of questions and answers, collated from the website’s discussions. The book goes beyond expectations with the breadth of issues deliberated, from the day to day issues you will most likely face, through to some issues one might consider out of scope, not being specific to expatriate life, but the Q&A format leaves the reader to choose.
The book lets the new expat skip years of learning the hard way. It holds her hand while showing her that the new world outside her door is actually not as terrifying as it may seem; the language might be totally different, the culture surprising or even shocking, but all around the world people are generally friendly when presented with a smile and, more often than not, don’t actually bite. In showing the newfound world of the expat as a bright colourful place full of new experiences, it turns ‘this isn’t my home’ from a fear into an opportunity.
The timing for me reading the book was perfect. Though I have been an expat woman myself for the last ten years, both in Oman & the United Arab of Emirates, I have just moved to Perth, Australia, two weeks ago with my husband & three year old daughter and so am expatriating all over again. Despite the fact I’ve no sense of direction & can’t even read a map, I have managed to get involved in two local playgroups & a toddler gym, found story time sessions at a local library, found a street farmer’s market downtown, explored the local parks and, most importantly, filled my SIM card with new contacts in this strange new place, all in less than two weeks. I did get lost (as always!), but I laughed it out and when you’re smiling and confident your new world welcomes you. That’s where this book will help you too. Support and knowledge builds confidence & confidence leads to a warm welcome.
This is a unique work, an encyclopaedia into the souls and private lives of all expat women. Andrea and Victoria identified the diversity of expat life, considered the various ups and downs which women might encounter & shared a wealth of information. It de-victimises the expat women & enables us to make the best of our new experiences.
Expatriation seems daunting and terrifying! As humans, we just don’t like being outside of our comfort zones. The easy option is to pack your bags and go home, or even not leave in the first place, but thanks to Andrea and Victoria, you’ll know almost every trick to make this work for you.
My advice for a first time woman expat is: “Forget packing your toothbrush, this is what you need by your side when embarking on the first expatriate journey.” The world is your oyster, you have a clean white canvas, be bold!