Winter in Melbourne

August 24, 2017 at 6:05 pm (Australia) (, , , )

This year I decided to swap my summer holidays for some winter home time.  I hadn’t been home for eight Melbourne winters!  It was quite a challenge packing as I wasn’t exactly sure how cold it was going to get.  It’s funny how easily you can become out of touch with your own home city.IMG_5073

I kept a pretty low profile back home and in fact, most of the time when I rang they were surprised I was even home.  I’m sorry I didn’t get to see everybody and I didn’t get in touch with everybody.  It’s not that I didn’t want to, it’s just that I needed time for myself too.

The trip began with two musicals one night after the other!  I saw the Book of Mormons with Erica on Wednesday and then Aladdin with mum and Annie on Thursday.  I loved both of them, but the Book of Mormons really made me laugh.  The choreography, the story line and the songs were just fabulous.  To top it off, I know the man playing the General as he is married to a friend of mine.  It really was a wonderful evening.

I was lucky enough to be able to play four games of hockey while I was home.  God I miss it!  I was a bit rusty but slowly I could feel the old ‘Top Sleeth” coming out and I absolutely loved having a run round with Lis and Sue.  The club was brilliant with allowing me to play and be a part of the action while I was home, I just wish I could also be around for finals!

IMG_5091I headed down to Hobart for a couple of days to escape Melbourne and catch up with family.  My brother James was on placement there and I stayed with my Uncle Charlie and his partner Paula.  It was guilt free movie watching, reading, sleeping with no need to catch up with anybody.  🙂  Paula and I went and visited the Mawson’s Hut replica on mum’s suggestion and of course we ate at Franks!  I also got to see my Aunty Jane after many years.

IMG_5160The main reason for coming home was to attend Kate’s wedding.  As a special bonus, I was also able to attend her hens day which was heaps of fun.  We started with brunch in South Yarra, went on a winery tour and finished up with drinks, dinner and some dancing.  I think we sent her off in style!

The wedding itself was absolutely beautiful.  Kate looked stunning and both her and Chris radiated with happiness.  I’ve missed so many events living overseas so it was really special for me to be a part of the celebration.  Congratulations Kate and Chris!  I hope you have a lifetime of happiness together.

IMG_5059I don’t think many people can say that babysitting was one of their summer holiday highlights, but it was seriously one of mine!  I got three whole days with Mya, which was just brilliant.  She is such a bubbly little personality and her smile and laughter is infectious.  I’m already missing our Monday babysitting date.

It’s truly getting harder and harder to leave Australia.  I love that I can pick up many of my friendships so quickly and I am lucky that I am so easily welcomed back into old friendship groups.  And then I remember all of the wonderful amazing people in my life and how they are scattered all over the world.  It might be hard to leave Australia, but it’s also hard that I haven’t been back to Germany in a year and even harder knowing that it will take me another before I finally do get back.

I left Australia with a heavy heart but also one excited for another year in my current home country.  China was certainly a whirlwind first year but there is a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to.  There are many people here who fill my heart with joy and bring excitement and adventure to my life.  Leaving here will be hard, where to go next even harder.

xoxo

P.s  More photos?

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Part Five – Tiger Leaping Gorge

August 14, 2017 at 8:56 pm (China, Travel) ()

Day Eighteen

It was a relief to finally go walking in an area that was not stone paved!  Tiger Leaping Gorge took us through the wilderness on steep and crooked paths with the earth below our feet.  This river gorge is one of the deepest river canyons in the world with 3,790 meters from the river to the mountain peak.

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I struggled up the first incline but quickly got into the swing of things and thoroughly enjoyed the leisurely pace.  We were followed up by locals trying to convince us that horse back riding was the way to go.  They were quite persistent even when it was obvious that neither mum or I were having a bar of it.  We bought a snickers from a man and his hut perched on a lonely turn and were offered Chinese ‘marijuana’ at another makeshift stall.

IMG_2271We stayed the night at the Tea Horse Guest House and were allowed to have dinner in the family room away from the other Chinese guests.  It was cosy and warm with a big fire, and not quite as loud.  We got to share their Naxi style potato pancake, and much to my delight, home brewed Baijiu served from a big plastic canister.  It doesn’t get much more authentic than that!

Day Nineteen

IMG_5037We continued our walk taking in the scenery in our stride.  We have both done more spectacular walks in the past, but there was something truly wonderful about being out in the nature and walking far from other people here in China.  To our absolute wonder it didn’t rain THE WHOLE walk.  As a result, we were rewarded with some beautiful views of the gorge and surrounding landscape.

IMG_5041We stopped on our way out of the gorge at the place where the tiger supposedly leapt over the river.  Our tour guide said that normally they didn’t stop there unless the tourists insist but this time it was him insisting!  Even our driver came down to have a look at the thrashing river.  The power was quite something and well worth the ridiculous amount of stairs.  If a tiger really did jump over the gorge via a rock, I cannot tell you… we couldn’t even see the rock due to the amount of water.  At least all the rain we experienced helped us to see the river at its mightiest.

Day Twenty

We travelled back to Shanghai via plane and then braved the crazy train station and managed to get ourselves back to Suzhou.  Our last day of travel was spent having a lovely dinner with my little German family.  I’m glad mum got the chance to meet Oliver, Thorsten and Doris, and I finally got to meet Oliver’s wife Elke too.  They are such a big part of my Suzhou life and I am looking froward to another fun filled adventure seeking year with them!

xoxo

P.s  More photos?

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