25 December 2014

Merry Christmas

We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

We will be enjoying a rib eye steak today with a bottle of D'arenberg and we have port to go with our cured meats and cheeses (including cheeseball). Not only that but I've made our own "Baileys Irish Cream".

Thanks to everyone who sent parcels to help us celebrate here. It means so much to both of us. 

You'll be pleased to hear the temperature has dropped a bit so it's much more comfortable and ever so slightly chilly in the evenings though not enough for long trousers!

Stay tuned in the New Year when I'll be playing catch up on a number of things we've been up to. In the meantime take of yourselves and each other. Thanks for sticking with me. Much love to you all.

23 December 2014

I'll ride with you

It doesn't seem right posting anything frivolous before mentioning the tragedy the occurred in Sydney last week. As the funeral for Tori Johnson and memorial service for Katrina Dawson take place it reminds us all how fragile life can be. I cannot imagine what their families are going through at what is meant to be a joyous time of year.

I watch the event unfold with horror last week. I'd not had a great nights sleep and was up before Mr John's alarm even went off. As he was getting ready, I put the tv on which automatically came up with Australia Plus network. Almost the first thing I saw was the hostages hands on the windows of the Lindt Cafe. A terrifying sight. Needless to say, the channel remained on all day.

Seeing two of the staff running for their lives into the arms of a policeman and the subsequent relief on their faces tore at my heart. I just couldn't believe this was happening in the country I'd grown up in and still, despite many years of living away, call home. The danger with being an "expat" is that your knowledge of your home country is stuck at a moment in time. Inevitably this is the day you left your homeland.

Despite frequent visits home, your hands on knowledge is limited despite what anyone else may tell you. My Australia is a gloriously isolated, young vibrant country trying to grow up and out of the British empire.  A land of opportunity where, with hard work, anything is possible. A country struggling to integrate indigenous Australians with immigrants from all over the world into a just society. Where the most recent arrivals can find themselves at the bottom of the pecking order - kept there mostly by the those who arrived in the previous wave until the next influx. It isn't perfect but my Aussie passport is one of my most treasured possessions.

Getting ready for bed that night there was suddenly flashing light on our tv screen and then the noise. The police were moving in. Then paramedics converged on the cafe and people were being carried out. It was over. At that stage no one knew the death toll. Already there were so many questions that I'm sure, in time, will be answered.

The bright light in all of this was the "I'll ride with you" hashtag on twitter. To say I was proud of this Aussie response would be an understatement. I read somewhere and I'm sorry I can't find the piece and credit the writer that saying all Muslims were represented by this scumbag was like saying the Klu Klux Klan represented alll Christians. I was also grateful for Muslim leaders in Australia publicly condemning this act. I've been waiting for this reaction from a lot of countries and have been frustrated in the lack of condemnation by the people who have the authority to do so and have their views listened to.

So hold your loved ones tight this holiday season. Think what you're saying before you argue with someone - is it really worth arguing over or can you let it go? Mr John says the key to our successful marriage is that he picks his battles. If it doesn't bother him he lets me have my way otherwise he voices his opinion. Of course, this just means that I really listen to him when he does this. He's a pretty smart guy.

09 December 2014

General news

After posting about our cost of living, I had a whole other post in mind to balance out the positives of living here. Then I saw a few newspaper items and read some books quite a feat here as a few books have been banned lately and having looked at this post everyday last week, have chickened out for the time being. I don't fancy being arrested for any implied criticism. So on with general news.

Pii Kob was in the Scouts
Last Friday was a national holiday so on Thursday evening, Mr John & I walked over to the Hangout. It's about a 20 minute walk so we stopped on the way to have some dinner. The reason for walking? Well, Mr John didn't have school the next day and neither of us have ever taken to drinking and driving. 

Mr John & Mr Han
This was a good opportunity to see Pii Kob and have a few drinks. We were also joined by Pii Noy and Mr Han. These guys can really use English and we had one of the best nights. I felt so bad that our Thai is not better than it is, but also very grateful to everyone for speaking English. We were quite prepared to walk home but Pii Kob dropped us at our door at 2.30am. Oops!

I decided to put the Xmas decorations up this week, It was lovely getting out our little collection of decorations which was greatly enhanced last year from friends and family. The weather has cooled down every so slightly recently which has been a welcome relief. We've also booked ourselves into Pattaya for a night to spoil ourselves with "foreign food" for Xmas.

It's been busy by Tom's the last few days. There's some filming going on that Mr John was involved in on Sunday they wanted some western men. It was a long day for him but he found it fascinating. It'll all be over tomorrow though, which is another national holiday - Constitution Day. That means Post Offices will be closed so I best make sure there's some things ready for posting on Thursday or else Xmas will have come and gone!

Finally, I just want to say a big thank you for the calls and messages of support after I 'fessed up to feeling a little low. It meant the world to me and I'm sure you'll all be pleased to know that my "mojo" is slowly returning.