Some of our students used to think Australia Day is April Fool’s Day! Finishing work on Friday afternoon, we tasted a sizzlin’ lunch, tested the Blue Mountain coffee in the newly discovered campus cafe, and toasted to our survival of another week, (ignore that the bus driver nearly killed us, starting to drive away as we alighted!)
Easter was next on the calendar, and our crew were doubtful the bunny would find us here in the big smoke. More likely a dragon would. In true Aussie style, a little holiday was planned, and we headed for the seaside town of QingDao. Our train had obviously been updated with a wonderful TV and no volume control. The “find a hotel” project got derailed as our stomachs began to rumble.
Last Thursday night I enjoyed dinner with 1 of China’s top 5 people, a meal of the top 3 dishes ordered from the restaurant’s top 10 list. Time for a little variety, there’s only so much great Chinese food one can handle. The posh hotel buffet lunch certainly filled our bellies. Just one more choc-coated marshmallow stick for the road…
With 3 Chinese kids, I played some hacky sack out front of the St Michael’s church on Easter Sunday morning. Mornings in China start from 6AM for me! Somehow it’s easy for others to get up and practise their tai-chi, a sword version, fan dancing, and similar physical activities at the crack of dawn. I spotted an elderly man practising his thrusting – use it or lose it, that’s his motto!
Fruitless shopping is a popular past-time for many locals. I have to admit, I’ve joined in, but like most males, my shopping is exclusively results oriented. The latest success was an incense burner and a few sticks. At long last, my days of showering with drains stinking of sewer stench are over!
In my job, the office isn’t always the office. Sometimes its a cinema, a cafe, a sound studio, a winery, a news printer, a gallery, a museum, a bowling alley… I have to admit, teaching English rocks! Check this out for just a few reasons to like work:
- with my previous class, we went out for coffee and yacked about soccer and watched Bend it like Beckham
- in my class at Victoria University we are studying films, so we get to watch movies as part of the course! (Last Friday we saw Gorillas in the mist)
- sometimes we listen to music, like Cat Stevens (unfortunately not his best song)
- at Melbourne University our class excursion ended up with wine tasting at the Rochford winery
- students brought a rich chocolate cake to class for my birthday last Monday
To top it all off, next month I will be taking up an invitation to work in China! Nothing has been confirmed yet but the details so far sound pretty good to me: a free return flight, free travel insurance, free accommodation, 1 week of holidays between the two blocks of 6 weeks. So stay tuned and catch me hanging out in Shandong province. I wonder if I can wear Chacos on hot days… [wp_geo_map]
And whatever you do, don’t work too hard!
Flickr: Tara and James’ wedding is a group for anyone who can contribute or is interested in the photos from Thursday. Let’s go! I swear she’s doing it just for the Canadian permanent resident / citizenship thingo
Why not, I would!
All of Tara’s wishes came true on the day: the weather was stunning with blue skies and golden warmth; her dress was amazing; Bill walked her down the aisle; the ceremony went off without a hitch; her husband is a great guy; the venue was just marvellous; the catering was simply to die for; and the most excellent company of family and friends. What more could you ask for?
Here’s a few little video snippets. Enjoy! Congratulations to Tara and James. I wish you all the very best in your future together.
Please remember to bring a plate of yummy food (it can be anything, so long as it tastes good) and whatever you want to drink (we have plenty of water!) Also, the way the weather is looking, it might pay to bring your warm clothes. See you at our house! Merry Christmas!
Christmas morning! Time to open the presents. Kate of course received a game of Postie Kate! Gill received the penguins cup, and I have started wearing my new Union Jack boxers.
Afternoon feasting began shortly after everyone arrived. In a spookily similar fashion to last Christmas, this year we spent the day with international friends and one of Kate’s family members. Last year it was her brother Matthieu, this year it’s 100% Gill, the flamenco dancing, kangaroo-ears wearing, often shopping and always fun loving mum of Kate.
chucking Christmas chocolate on Vimeo
A recent trip to the Robot Bar included more than I bargained for. On Tuesday nights there are free Japanese animation movies projected onto the window curtain screen. I was rather impressed at the quality after watching Appleseed with a couple of friends tonight. This isn’t just bug-eyed Astroboy on steroids. Perhaps an overdose of visuals stolen from The Matrix, Aliens, and two bags full of US military in a post-global nuclear holocaust setting nothing at all like Mad Max, but the message was unique and quite humane. If you haven’t for a while, try some Japanese animation.
Two new friends from Japan made a bet on the Melbourne Cup. What are the odds that two Japanese competitors would win and place second? Highly unlikely, nevertheless it became reality.
Japanese raider Delta Blues has just held out Katsuhiko Sumii-stablemate Pop Rock to win the $5.1 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Our friends Takako and Takeshi had a wager on their national steeds and won!
The next day they brought their luck to our house, cooked a delicious okonomiyaki and watched Raiders of the Lost Ark together. Nothing but the best of great food, excellent company and fun entertainment.
A blessing in disguise or just my usual inappropriate spending? After helping out my auntie last weekend, she helped me remember the good days. Great, now I can hear a Jerry Maguire quote running around in my head. While I was in Japan, she had taken care of (perhaps a little too much) my acquired espresso machine. After the work was done, she gave the little caffeine contraption back to me.
Back home the beast spluttered out a few final cups before giving up the ghost. Burning the grinds in our stove-top percolator is easier done than said. Same goes for spilling boiling black liquid all over the kitchen and anything, and anyone, in its way. Occupational Health and Safety would have shut down our operation long ago if they caught a whiff of the scorched bean mess.
Today I lashed out and ignored the onslaught of upcoming bills. With the recent piddly amount of paying work I have done, I spent the lot in one foul swoop on a replacement espresso machine. Out with the old (dead) and in with the new.
I crossed my fingers that the wiring in our old house would handle one more electrical appliance…
Yay! Anyone for a cuppa?