Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A Christmas Story and Snow Globes

Is that gorgeous or what? Too bad they won't ship to Australia. I love snow globes; have a collection started that includes only 4 so far but this one is a must have. If you're a fan of the very best Christmas movie ever made, A Christmas Story, this article titled Cinematical Seven: Ways to Watch 'A Christmas Story' is a must read. I can no longer benefit from number 1, and 7 occured two years ago, so I now stick to number 3 (this year it was on Boxing Day with the hubs and a cheese and pate platter).

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Happy New Year

I found this on another blog and I'm not sure where, although I suspect it may have been Expat Women. (If you are an expat and haven't yet discovered Expat Women, regardless of your gender, it is well worth some investigation.) Anyway, I thought the below was worthy of a New Year's post. They all seem like difficult questions for me, to be honest, but here goes.

(1) What brings you and yours pleasure?

Someone I feel this is very close to question number three, although perhaps pleasure is more superficial than meaning hey?

(2) What are your inner gifts?
These seem to be constantly changing these days. I so feel that becoming an expat has made me a better person and helped me to be able to look outside of myself and develop more of a concern for others. At the moment, and at the risk of being immodest, I would say my gift of late is in bringing people together and helping others to feel more settled here in Adelaide. I'm also really chuffed with something someone else said about me on another blog. Alaskan Dave has this to say about my blog:

"How did #5's blog change your life?
I think that
Suzer's blog has inspired me to get a bit more connected with folks around the world. As there is a great many cool people out there and it's nice to get to know a few of them."

How nice is that? I'm glad my ramblings inspired someone---really great:)

(3) What gives your life meaning?
At the risk of sounding cheesy, my marriage, as well as my connections with others, are what give my life meaning. That and travel (although I don't seem to be getting much of that in lately).
All of that being said, a Happy New Year to all, although I don't put much stock in this holiday. Steve and I will be going out to a couple of parties tomorrow night, and it will be nice to catch up with some people. Will be my 1st time being a designated driver in Adelaide, on the one night of the year I prefer not to be out on the road!

Monday, 29 December 2008

The Whispering Wall

We decided it would be nice to get off our arses and see something over the xmas break, so took a drive out to the Whispering Wall today. If you speak on one end of it, the person on the other end can hear you. (I think they have some technology hidden away to make this work, but perhaps my non-technical brain just can't understand how acoustics work.)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Aussie Christmas (Eve)

We went to see the Lobethal Christmas lights last night (pics below). When I said something to hubs about how so many people had stars up, and it seemed more Jewish/Hanukkah than Christmas to me, he said: "Nah, the star just represents those dudes that followed it, you know."

Lobethal Christmas Lights

This is a yearly thing and at least 2/3 of the homes in the town have a lights display, some larger than others. We spent almost 2 hours there last night. It was jam packed.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Hiking at Belair National Park

Went on a 4 hour hike Sunday in Belair National Park (was meant to be 2 hours but we kind of got lost). My legs still ache today, but it was well worth it.

Monday, 22 December 2008

I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged by Alaskan Dave. I must list the last ten commenters on my blog, say a bit about each of their blogs, and then (in part two) I answer a question about each one. I'm not yet sure on how part two works, so will clarify that later. A slight difficulty with this is that not all of the persons who have commented lately have their own blogs, so some of the last ten commenters will be skipped. Sorry, if you don't have a blog, you don't get to play:( All of you listed below, consider yourself tagged.

Opinioneater: I met Jen through the Expats in Adelaide group. Well, actually I met her because someone else I met through another blog and subsequently invited to the Expats in Adelaide meet up sent Jen. Anyway, Jen is a fantastic writer and fellow foodie, and sadly (to me anyway) she is repatriating to the US soon. I haven't had nearly enough time to get to know her:( Hopefully she keep up with her blog and share more stories about food, politics and places.

A Free Man: I haven't had the chance to meet this fellow in person yet. He is another fellow Yank expat in Adelaide who writes about life in general and shares his favourite music with his readers. His take on things is blunt, honest and humourous at times, and he either has more time or better writing skills, or both, than me.

Carrie: Well, in all honesty, I don't know who she is. She must have found me randomly.

Debbie: Debbie is one of the creators of Blog Around the World, which is well worth checking out. That is about all I know of Debbie at the moment.

Ella: Ella found me through BatW (above). Ella is crafty; have a look.

Erin: Aussie Erin is another expat from the US, although she lices in Sydney. I'm quite sure we met through Yanks Down Under. She writes about her expat adventures as well, and her Thanksgiving pics are to die for!

Lilly: Lilly found me through Where the Blog are You, which is a site for Australian bloggers? (Hey I'm not an Australian, yet, but I live here and I blog, a lot of the time, about Australia.) I don't read her blog often enough. She has a lot of insights worth reading.

Elsja: And on to another American expat in Oz. Elsja is great although I haven't had the luck to meet her in person yet. I follow her blog, which are the witty and very humourous updates on her life in Sydney with her pilot.

Louisa: Louisa also found me throuth WTBAY, in fact I think she may be the creator. Go have a look. It's a good project.

Dina: Dina is the writer behind This Marriage Thing, which I absolutely adore. Who knows how to be a wife, I say? How many of us had proper role models, or had enough insight into our parents' relationships even if we did? I'm pretty sure that I found Dina's site through a google search for sites about marriage.

Honourable mention:
The below peeps don't have blogs but they deserve a mention anyway.

Muddiah: This is my mom and she has consistently followed my blog from go.

Steveg: A buddy back in Leeds who I wish was here with his fantastic wife Paula.

All being said and done, my commenters belong to a small world, but that's ok. Perhaps that's the wrong way to say it. Most are Aussies or Yanks who live Down Under, but our world view is certainly not small.

Have You Ever Had to Beg?

I'm re-reading Rita Golden Gelman's Tales of a Female Nomad and there is an instance where she has to beg for bus fare as she's accidentally left her wallet at home. It reminded me of the one time I had to ask strangers for money. I was 17 and had driven into the city for a haircut, parked my car in a pay lot and come out of the haircut to realise I'd given the cute hairdresser so much of a tip that I hadn't left myself enough money to pay for the parking. Back then, I didn't have a credit card or atm/debit card, so it was either ask someone for the $2 I needed or...well, there really wasn't any other option. Luckily for me, the first people I asked, two middle aged women, were very sympathetic and happy to help.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

International Migrant's Day

Well, it is International Migrant's Day in 2 days. I'd never heard of it before. It is described by the UN as:

"On 4 December 2000, the General Assembly, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed 18 December International Migrants Day. On that day, in 1990, the Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations are invited to observe International Migrants Day through the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and through the sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure their protection."

There is even an entire website dedicated to this day. Migrant, by definition, means to move from one country or region and settle in another. To whose of us who have always counted ourselves amongst those more privileged, becoming a migrant can be a humbling experience and on this day more than others, it's a good time to reflect on this. It's a time to "express support and solidarity with all migrants", according to Diversity at Work:

  • "Worldwide, an estimated 130 million people live outside their countries of origin.
  • In 2004-05, Australia's population increased by 110,100 persons through migration, representing 46% of total population growth for the year.
  • In Australia 25% of the workforce was born overseas. "

To all my migrant friends (and myself at the moment) I think the most important issue at the moment is finding work. It's more of a challenge for many of us as employers are put off by visa issues and concerns, a perceived idea that non-native English speakers are not as capable, and a general bias and passive (and sometimes active) discrimination against foreigners. Survival comes first and with an entire host of issues immigrants have when arriving in their new country, first and foremost in importance is finding a means of sustainability. My best thoughts and wishes that those of us who are looking all have some luck with employment in the new year.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Right Speech

My husband and I have different ways of handling situations and saying things. I like to think that most of the time, I practice right speech. By right speech, I mean making sure that what comes out of my mouth is at least 2 of 3 things, when possible: kind, true, and necessary. Right speech is a Buddhist concept and is divided into 4 components:

  • to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully,
  • to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others,
  • to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others, and
  • to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth.

It's not always an easy concept to live by, but as words have such important effects, it is something to keep foremost in one's mind. I can think of two incidents that happened this weekend where right speech was not used; one by me, and the other by my husband, neither to do with each other. Not using right speech can waste time, energy, and cause unnecessary upset. Thinking about what you say along these lines, even just a little bit more, can make a world of difference.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Fixing the Porch

Gotta love having handy men around! Phase 1 of the porch project has begun. This is one instance where the hubs actually asked for his photo to be taken;) Today the roof, railings, and tiles came off. It's now 4pm, they began at 9am, and I would bet they have another 2 hours or so left. Now we just have to do some concrete work, put down waterproofing and new tiles, repaint the railings and re-attach.