Monday, 28 October 2013

Memories are made of this!

Recently I've discovered that a couple of old friends of mine have headed to Asia traveling and are now based in Vietnam. Looking at their facebook updates and instagram photos has left me reminiscing about my tour in NAM man. After a year, I've certainly rocked up some favourite moments.

Seeing my little brother for the first time in months as we landed at the airport, our clothes already sticking to us and tears pricking the backs of my eyes. Who knew? Ironically I spent most of my childhood telling him to leave me alone but as I saw his lanky late self appear in the sea of Asian heads I suddenly realised I had missed him. 

The first sight of the ocean heading along the coast road towards Mui Ne. Bear and I had hung out in Ho Chi Minh city for months, we had toured the city, checked out museums and the nightlife but now, it felt like the city itself was closing in on us so we booked ourselves a weekend at the coast. No, we didn't know it was 8 hours away but seeing the glistening ocean was like Christmas morning. 

Speaking of Christmas morning- our Christmas dinner in McDonalds at the airport in Kuala Lumper was particularly epic. A celebratory feast of mcnuggets and fries was definitely a memory. Not that I didn't miss my parents and Gran sitting around the Christmas table and of course presents and stockings, there is something awesome about wearing shorts and a vest on December 25th. 

And of course Christmas trees and sunshine! 

Hue was another piece of fantastic, like stepping back in time to a century or more ago. With gas lit lamps and no wifi! A simpler time, with simpler food and a curfew. Hue was where we took our trip to the DMZ and Bear got some Khe Sanh sand and I felt like an extra in a Vietnam war movie. We sweated buckets for three days and I developed an unhealthy addiction to cornettos. 

Waiting for Papa to arrive was like waiting for Santa- I had a countdown to 'Daddy Day' and I don't think I'll ever feel so overjoyed again, the way I felt when I saw his head bop head and shoulders over all the Asians at arrivals. I could have clung to him for hours like I used to as a child but I knew he'd be be embarrassed so I choked back tears and led him to a taxi. Some of my favourite memories of being away are from the two weeks I spent with him. Bussing it through Cambodia, crawling through the Cu Chi tunnels and climbing to the top of temples at Angkor Wat- I mean how many of us get to see the one the ancient wonders of the world with their Dad!!? 

Boys and their toys! 

Celebrating my birthday for the first time without my parents should have been melancholy but thanks to Bear, his visiting parents and my super friend Kyla- I had the most awesome time. Dinner at a French restaurant where on Miss Kyla's assistance they rang a bell in my honour and afterwards to a jazz club for a saxaphone fix! 

Hoi An is one of the most special places I have ever visited. The entire town is trapped in a time warp like so much of Vietnam but Hoi An has something more enchanting than any of the others. Specialising in tailoring and lantern making, I bought three beautiful silk lanterns that I can't wait to put up in my new home. 

Naturally, I can't talk about my time there without mentioning some of my kindergardeners. So many of my classes were the best fun and most of the time they were such fun. Most of the time. But who can resist these faces?! 

But the best thing about going away is the coming home- and one of my favourite life memories is the look on my Grans face when I surprised her coming home. Bear and I had some great adventures i Asia- now on with the adventures back home! 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Home Sweet Home

We're finally in!

It's been a busy few weeks for Bear and I- both of us are back in student mode studying and I have teaching placement as well ESOL classes and grinds but somehow Bear managed to put his back in (and out!) into building our little nest.

I can hardly believe I'm sitting in our little love nest which, was once Little Bro's workshop. Only two months ago what is now our kitchen was a mass of angle griders and chopsaws and our bedroom was once a flowerbed.

Papa and Bear put in trojan work making it right, Little Bro put his furniture designer hat on to come up with designs- it hardly seems real- from simple CAD drawing to walls, floors and windows.

We've had apartments galore in the past five years but this place is ours- we picked our own colours, fnishes and could debate about worktops and features. As I said, we've had apartments before but now we have a home. Before we lived together- now we've created a home.

When I say we- I suppose I really mean Bear. I made coffee for the workers, brought breakfast and made sambos- my physical contribution is neglible but Bear and Papa made it for us.

I honestly never knew how much work was involved in building a house- foundations, plumbing, heating, electricity, waste pipes and supporting beams. It's like speaking a foreign language but somehow the men in my life managed to learn the syntax fluently, discussing joining angles and mitering over coffees. What's more- they did it part time.

Moving Day was like Christmas as I rediscovered my dusty artefacts from times gone by in boxes in sheds and attics. Arranging them on our new shelves was the ultimate in satisfaction and joy.

I would like to take this opportunity to publically thank Bear's parents for having the serenity and  patience to put up with us much longer than they bargained for and for welcoming me into their home as one of their own. And to my own parents without whom this would never have been possible. Without family so much would never be possible.

Now the only thing left is to think of a name, but what's in a name? Can you ever put a label on something that encapsulates so much?