have you ever seen the rain?

What is this shithole my boyfriend brought me to?
(Ok sorry for the swearing – that was Matt’s suggested title to this blog post).

With over 48 hours of straight rain and “battering winds” (per the news) we’ve been housebound this long weekend, so I thought I would take the time to do a bit of reflection.

Before I begin, though, I thought I should mention something that got me thinking today. I posted something on FB about the rain and my Aunt Shawn commented along the lines that I should know how to keep myself occupied what with being a Portland girl and all. The thing is though, I haven’t really been somewhere (like Portland) with constant rain and nothing to do (the exception being winter nights in Cuzco, but I lived close enough to the bar that I would just drink and listen to live music, so the rain wasn’t so much of a worry). In high school I was either focused on homework or rehearsals or something along those lines; once I was older, work would keep me occupied or I could go to coffee or drinks with friends or go to a movie or had rehearsal. And now that I’m here I’m still usually at work during these long stints of terrible weather, so when we have nowhere to be and nothing urgent to be working on, I don’t really know what to do with myself. If it were just Matt and I we would have played Scrabble and watched movies and drank and played the Wii, but with Samara it’s a delicate balance of keeping ourselves from going crazy and keeping her entertained. There has been a mix of playing dress up, watching movies, cleaning her bedroom, playing Scrabble while she plays on the computer, reading stories and playing games. It’s been educational, especially when I would love to sit down and color or draw or do craft stuff and Samara wants to do her own thing. So you can never take the Portland out of the girl, but you can definitely provide her with a new perspective on Portland weather while in Australia!

Anyway, I realize that we’re already 1/12 of the way into 2013 but I wanted to recap a bit of 2012. It wasn’t quite as adventurous as 2011 was – no huge trip overseas – but it was momentous in other aspects!

The year started strong with Matt and I completing a short course, receiving our RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificates; attending a few great (and not so great) concerts, including Soundwave (saw Marilyn Manson), Belinda Carlisle, Roger Waters, Duran Duran, Roxette, New Kids on the Block with Backstreet Boys; seeing some fantastic live shows including Kitty Flanagan and “Daughters of Heaven” and treating ourselves to a night at Palazzo Versace for our anniversary! Samara celebrated her 4th birthday and had a very cute party with her friends and an Iron Man Mask birthday cake, and got enrolled to start school. Matt and I also took a trip to Melbourne for a few nights to see a few footy games and a gorgeous drive along the Great Ocean Road!

Our travels extended to a few nights in Fiji and, of course, a visit home for my 30th birthday! I also won a trip to Hawaii/California with Hawaiian Airlines for a few nights in June (I missed my bubs but had a good time, especially catching up with Jeff and Toby and the boys!). While Matt and I were in the US we got to spend some amazing quality time with my mom and Dean, Matt got to meet my brother Scotty and we even took a road trip up to Seattle for a day, experiencing the view from the top of the Space Needle and a wander through Pike Place Market. We’ve taken short trips to Kirra and Coff’s Harbour and branched out with tastes of new restaurants and hang-outs on the Gold Coast.

I tried my hand at a few capoeira classes (and by a few I mean two) – a great way to get fit but my problem is that I never went into the classes with the intention of becoming a master of the art which meant I wasn’t really giving my all. It was absolutely ass-kicking and all the respect goes to those that are true “black belts” in it, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. It has definitely gotten me thinking more about where I want to direct my energies in terms of getting fit. Would love to find an adult gymnastics class here and get flexible again, but the truth is I haven’t encountered a gym I’ve been impressed with yet. I also really want to get back into yoga and might give running (gasp!) a try.

2012 saw me slack quite a bit with my writing, both online and personally, which is something I hope to rectify in 2013. More journaling and starting to compile stories from my time working as a Tour Leader are two of my focuses. Matt and I spent the weekend of the 17th of Jan in Perth for a friend’s wedding and, while there, I met up with a friend who was a passenger on one of my tours. We had a good laugh reminiscing about the people who were with us and their little quirks and eccentricities. Just chatting about that really inspired me to get pen to paper (maybe not literally) and note these stories before they’re all forgotten.

One of our big goals this year is to get into some volunteering locally. Since we have just made the decision not to move to a new house – something that has been consuming a lot of our time over the past 6 months – we will be staying quite close to a local Animal Welfare League and might see if they need some extra help. By staying where we are we can also really focus on continuing to save and update our current home as opposed to spending heaps of money moving somewhere new.

Samara is currently sitting behind me on Matt’s computer using a “Learn to Read” program and it’s really cute – I can’t believe how quickly she’s growing up! Starting to put little sounds together and discover new words. It’s amazing!

Matt and I have a trip planned to Singapore/Malaysia/Brunei in March which is something to look forward to, but we are really excited about possibly doing a big 6-12 month trip around the world in 2014! Lots of big plans, none of which set in stone, but we definitely want to hit Asia and possibly the Trans-Siberian Railway, visiting Russia and the Balkan countries. We can’t wait – especially as we’re watching all the horrible messes on the news as more and more cities in QLD are being flooded. Gold Coast airport is closed (glad I’m not at work today!); we are ready to escape!

2012 also saw me earn a promotion at work, so now I’m in charge of a team and their coaching, motivation and training, AND I was also lucky enough to win an iPhone 5 back in November because of an incentive that was running in our office. How exciting!

Thanks to Jen for her visit to kick off 2013 – it was an amazing day hanging out and catching up and drinking wine and having her get to meet my family. We all went for a swim, had a yummy dinner and getting to spend that quality time with a true, dear friend really started the year on the right foot!

Ok well enough of me. Nothing too exciting to report just lots on the horizon. Have the rest of the day to fill while it’s continuing to rain outside and plans to put in place to make 2013 one of our biggest years yet!

Much love and many hugs,

PS Congrats again to all my friends who got married in 2012 and also those to welcomed little ones into this crazy life! And a super-duper-special shout-out to Autumn and Conor for their little one on the way! Love you guys!



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