Friday, 31 July 2009

Home is....

not just where the heart is....

We have just got back from a surprise visit to Kenya for Shams cousin Bhavins wedding (we had sooooo much fun - there will be a seperate blog post for it!)... it was so nice to see Shams mum, dad and brother - and of course other members of the extended family.
As we had suspected, saying goodbye again was just as hard - although knowing we will see them again in a few months should have made it easier - it didn't.
Having said that, we are both glad to be home. Yep, Sydney feels like home (even though its really cold!)
I have to say its taken me by surprise - especially because I have been feeling particularly unsettled without a job and the uncertainty of the residency application etc.
Don't get me wrong, we are both still having the occaasional wobble when it feels like everything would be easier if we were back in London, but then we remind ourselves that this is where we hope to have our future...

So, for me, home is definately where my heart, head,and more importantly, dreams are!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Keeping in touch

I recently had a conversation with one of the other expats about keeping in touch with people at home... we decided that we were both surprised at who we did hear from... the people who we thought we would never lose touch with are the very same people we have hardly heard from!

Since we have been here, I have spent a small fortune on cards, learnt to use Skype as an accepted form of communication, and of course, started a blog!

Now, I know lots of people read this blog - some of you even subscribe to it! Please, please, please let us know what you are up to and whats going on at home - I miss the gossip!!

So, whether its an email, a Facebook or Twitter message, a card or a Text... don't be strangers!


Sunday, 12 July 2009

Sydney stone... as in 6.35kg!

"Oi fatty - what you been eating?!" That was pretty much the first thing Shams sister said to him when she visited last week! I put it down to the fact that he has shaved his hair so looks more like a pea head... but Sham then came out of the bathroom to check if the scales were right... and if the tracksuit bottoms and tshirt he was wearing might add a stone to his weight!!

They say weight gain is a sign of contentment... I say weight gain is a sign of too much beer, cheap take aways, a compulsory pie on the way home from a night out and his wife finally learning to make yummy indian food!

It is all balanced out at the moment - we walk a lot due to not having a car, and Sydney is quite hilly so its pretty hard to avoid a cardio workout almost everyday! Sham is also playing football once a week with Arsepool United...the team that is made up of the husbands and boyfriends of my friends. He also manages some golf and even an occasional game of basketball!

I on the other hand, have lost half a stone since we have been here and have developed some muscles in my legs!! My fitness level is still pants, but I am certainly moving more than I have for a long time!

so, we are eating more here, but are also getting more excercise... that can't be bad can it??

Oh, I forgot to mention the British Draw in the kitchen full of goodies B brought us... Wispas, Toffee Crisp, Hula Hoops, Prawn Cocktail crisps.... oh dear!!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

The calm after the storm...

... or at least whirlwind!

We are still recovering from my uni friend Selina and her new husband Chris and Bansi's (Shams sister) visit!
The Edis' were with us for a week and B's was a flying visit - just 2 jam packed days!

Its been fun being a Sydney tour guide, but as I said to Sel, I felt more tired than Sham who was working the whole week!

It has been great fun - and they managed to cram a lot into the week - Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains, Shopping, Sky tower, Manly ferry, Botanical gardens as well as various drinking holes and restaurants in Darling Harbour, The Rocks, Manly and the City!

We even managed to introduce them to the Aussie tradition of a barbie...

We got to meet some of their other friends that are living/ visiting Sydney too!

Sel and Chris - hope the rest of your travels are awesome... and hope we might have convinced you to come and live in Sydney!!

Bansi, hope you had as much fun as we did! And thank you sooooo much for bringing us all the goodies!!

It has been really nice spending some time with everyone - its been hard saying goodbye, but hopefully, we will have some more visitors soon??

Thursday, 2 July 2009

The weekend of Hunter Valley - warning! LONG post!

Last Friday began with a very early morning text not so gently breaking the news of Michael Jacksons death: "MJ dead"... thanks Sham!

So after watching Sky News in my PJs for about 2 hours, I got showered and ready to pack for our weekend in Hunter Valley. We had planned the day in great detail (Helen doesn't do late!). At midday, I got a phone call from a friend of a friend of a friend...(I kid you not!) asking me to come in for an interview in 2 hours!
As most of my friends here and at home will be able to tell you, I am going mad sitting at home, so am not in a position to turn down any interviews!
So it was all change... Hels was a star and raced around the mall with me while we did our food shopping for the weekend and then took me to my interview! I haven't heard back yet, so will keep you posted as to whether I got the job!

So we finally got back home at 4, finished packing and left ours at 5.30 - picking Chris on the way!
An amazingly clear run got us to our cabin in Pokolbin in about 2 hours.

We were the last car to arrive, but all the rooms in the cabin were the same so we were ok being the last ones to pick! The log fire had been started and we set about making pizzas! Pizza/ wine/ beer/ ipods/ drinking games went on till 3.30am!

Up we got on Saturday morning only to realise that Helen had a flat tyre!!

as luck would have it, the garage in the town got it fixed up in 30 minute - for $30!
So, all piled in to 2 cars (thanks Helen and Naz for volunteering!) and headed off to the McGuigans wine making tour... the guy taking the tour was a FRUIT LOOP! It was like he had stumbled across the vineyard and fancied a go at being a tourguide!
We all survived the tour (due to a LOT of giggling!)

Next stop - De Bortoli!
This was the maker of the yummy pink fizz we discovered at the Manly Food and Wine festival!
Here we were greeted by an Italian version of Victor Meldrew! He was hilarious!! He was brilliant at telling us lots of useful stuff, but we were too scared to actually ask him too many questions! So loaded up with bottles of the pink fizz and some 2005 semilion which can apparently be kept for up to 9 years - like it will last that long, off we go! So, we get outside, and there were some people with a camera... filming. We decide that we would quite like to get a group picture, and so, Paul asks one of the guys if he could take a picture... he misunderstands, and decides he wants to be in the picture rather than take it for us!!
Apparently, he is a famous guy... John English?? No, none of us had a clue who he was!

Time for lunch! off we go to the Blue Tongue brewery.

Average food, strange beers for tasting, weird live music, strangely dressed travellers and a VERY drunk man proposing to his girlfriend in front of 100 people... that was lunch!

Its now 3.30, we have been drinking since 11 and will be drinking for a while yet! So Helen and I decide we could do with a sit down, a cuppa and a slice of cake before the evening drinking begins! So we dropped the others off to what looked to be the one pub in Pokolbin and went back to the cabin. We get back to the pub at 6.30 - having spent 2 hours trying to start the log fire, and everyone is HAMMERED!

The pub seems to be the wedding reception venue for a couple that couldn't afford to get sole use for somewhere... it was very strange to see a bride trying to get peoples attention when everyone is watching the Rugby! It gets to 8.45, and we are in a minibus on our way back home!

An evening snack of cheese and crackers and another 3 hours of trying to get the fire going (we think the logs were just damp!) and we are all tucked up in bed by about midnight!

Sunday morning - breakfast, cheese factory, chocolate factory!
We decide to have spot of lunch before we all head off back to Sydney... we ended up at a pub version of Fawlty towers!
My bean nachos arrived with beef, then came out as burnt nachos with cheese and half a tin of kidney beans thrown over them.
Jo have sausage and mash with stone cold lumpy gravy, the boys had a roast beef with veg that had been boiled to within an inch of their lives and more cold gravy. Sarina had a stinky prawn cocktail! It really was so funny, you couldn't make it up! But I guess it was the landlord who had the last laugh as he still got paid for it all!

That was our eventful weekend in Hunter Valley!

My university house mate Selina and her husband Chris arrived in Sydney on Tues and are here for a week!
They have been travelling around Australia for 5 weeks. I am their tour guide in Sydney!

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