Australia – Part One

Ameezing Travel Companions

So Much Blue

I’m not so good in aeroplanes.  I get the ration of it, more chance of dying in a car crash or being swallowed by a zebra etc.  But the other side of the giant tin can coin is a whole bunch of strangers, in the air, together in an enclosed space, mostly travelling ACROSS THE OCEAN.  Even thinking about it makes my knees go wibbly and my throat go small.

But, 7 rescue remedy tablets and 2 plastic bottles of aeroplane wine later (I managed to skip the Valium, woo hoo), we landed in Australia.  And so began a trip so spectacular that I would fly across one meellion oceans in one meellion tin cans just to do it all again.  Really.  As if being reunited with the wonderous Jacqui and Ryan wasn’t enough of a joy, meeting their friends, spending time with them and falling a little bit in love with all of them was such an enormous, special part of the trip.

Happily, there was very little shopping done.  A few presents aside, I came back with a hair doughnut and some magical velcro thingys that allow you to hang pictures without making holes in the walls (thanks Bernie Chin).  Our time was spent eating dinners, hanging out, going into the city for drinks, hanging out, sleeping in, hanging out, reading (The Hunger Games, The Grazia – only the finest literary material) a party or two and a wonderful, perfect, extraordinary wedding day.

I am so, so grateful to everyone that we met, spent time with and hosted us.  Your generosity was overwhelming and well, just ameezing.  Thank you, thank you.  And Jacqui and Ryan, you guys are rays of light in all of our lives.  And the glue.  You guys are gluey rays of light.  And we love you.

Travel Companion with Beanie

Sign at the Airport

Brisbane City

Tourists and The City

Bells

The Metcalfes

Walking = Love

Dusk

Part Two coming soon. Yesssss.

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A Little Spooked…

Gumboots -  Tiny, nameless shop at the Oriental Plaza. Puddle – Nature’s Own

A little spooked…  is the reason I have been quiet over the last while.  Let’s leave it at that and instead say ‘Hello Again! Holy Panda’s Toenails, I have missed you!’  (One day, one fine day ‘Holy Panda’s Toenails’ is going to catch on.  Oh, what a day it will be).

So what’s been happening?  It’s Spring up North, pastel colours, walks in Central Park, ditching the snow boots, etc.  Whilst here we stock up on stockings, eat soup (even though it’s still sort of salad season) and watch the sun go down way before 7pm, which is strange, but kind of delicious.

In two weeks I hop on a plane to Australia.  Travel is so surreal.  And always feels completely like it is never actually  going to materialise until the moment you are fastening your seatbelt, swallowing your Valium and watching the safety demonstration unfold.  I’m busy reading Bill Bryson’s ‘Down under’ and learning all kinds of fascinating things about Australia.  Like the fact that it is the ‘world’s sixth largest country’ and ‘of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian.’

I have also learnt that the Australian friends that I am about to meet are some of the most caring, loving and ameezing people I have come across (that’s all me, not Bill Bryson, although I’m sure he would agree).  I cannot wait for when our skyping finally turns to hugging and ‘So good to meet you’.

Let’s talk about going to the Doctor during a power failure.  Walking down a very dark corridor, following a man in a white coat who hopefully takes his oath very seriously.  Having that little temperature thingy under your tongue, whilst the Doctor takes your blood pressure, all by candle light, is beyond bizarre.  And yet, in the moment, and mostly just because this is the reality you have, you go on as though the lights are on and it’s just another Friday morning. I am happy to report that Doctor Power Failure took his oath very seriously and also prescribed some lovely virus reducing meds that had me fever free and out of bed the very next day.

On an unrelated note, if you like girls who wear spectacular librarian glasses for realsies, dress ameezingly and sport the best top knots ever, please see this girl immediately.

Thoughts on what to say when people ask ‘Where’s your other half?’ … You mean belly button to shoes or belly button to top of head?  Mostly this weekend I went with, ‘Oh, I don’t have one’.  Friends, there must, must be a more witty, graceful, Joan Holloway way to answer this that doesn’t leave everyone red like a blister the moment after it pops.

I’ve recently started following Alexa Chung (@alexa_chung) on Twitter, she’s the bees knees.  (I am @MsAmeezing on Twitter.)

To end, a new-found secret:  Rye Toast with Nutella.  Ameezing.

PS. Nuns and rude mannequins.  And the loneliest whale in the world.

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Since last Friday…

I have been:

Still dreaming of getting a keyring sized dog/companion/best friend.

 

Cooking.  Okay, it was just the once.  But it involved prawns and it was deeeelicious.

 

Getting a bit crafty.  Yes, it’s a bouquet made of vintage brooches.  Yes, I am collecting brooches for a bouquet for our lounge.  Yes, the bride and groom are not what I’m talkin’ bout.

 

Buying Mr Ameezing this wonderfully dorky cap to celebrate our trip to Australia next year.  Yesssss.

 

Lusting after a cool bicycle and an ameezing sheer dress.

And you?

[Last Image]

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Message in a Bottle

My friend, The Ameezing Jacqui, recently moved back to London after spending two years in Joburg.  In the short time she spent here she became one of the best and truest Joburgers I know.  I miss her every day.  She has written a letter to Joburg about her time here.  I am honoured to share it with you:

Hello Joburg

I left your shores just over a month ago and now that I’ve had a little time to reflect I think maybe it’s time to share my feelings with you. After all I spent two crazy roller coaster years in your presence.

I arrived on your shores as a token Australian who had endured most people she knew questioning why in hell she would want to move ‘there’. That place where people get murdered all the time and apparently cars have flame throwers built into their wheels to ward off the thieves.

But I like to think I have changed those people’s perceptions because you’re actually a pretty amazing place. You’ve taught me to find beauty in the most simple things. Sunsets like I’ve never seen before. Gorgeous farms just a short drive away. A city centre that shows the promise of a new era. And a community spirit that goes beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.

Yes it wasn’t always pretty and I had a fair few days where I really hated what you showed me. But you taught me that there are a lot of people in the world who don’t have anything at all. And as much as I might want that new copy of Vanity Fair it’s really not the end of the world if I can’t afford it. Because it’s nothing in the scheme of things. And I think there’s a lot of people in this crazy world who need that lesson.

Most of all you taught me that, maybe because of how you are, you breed some of the most incredibly loving, giving people I have ever met in my life. People who will go out of their way to make you feel welcome, show you the best bits of the city, and save you when you’ve broken down for the third time in two weeks. Without complaint. They are people who will buy you coffee and pretty earrings and share Ameezing photos with you. Just because they want to.

These people changed the way I see life in more ways than I can mention and that’s pretty damn cool.

I may not live on your fair shores forever but you’ll always be in my heart. And I hope more people get to know you like I did.

Lots of Love

Jacqui xxx

(Ameezing: Thank you Ryan for the beautiful photo)

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Jacqui

This is my friend Jacqui. Jacqui moved to Joburg about a year ago from Brisbane, Australia to be with her beloved, Ryan.  She is an amazing cook and one of the best Beatles Rock Band drummers in town.  I am constantly so inspired by Jacqui’s grace, magnetism, love for Ryan, warm spirit, board game skills, view on South African politics and knowledge of all things Joburg.  Yesterday Jacqui said to me: “I always wonder, what would Audrey Hepburn do?”.  I loved that.

She has taught me the importance of really listening to someone, how to be better at living in Joburg and that my way below average drumming skills can be honed with loads of practice. Thank you Jacqui, you are ameezing.

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