Saturday, 27 October 2012

Week 24 - A Break in Beautiful Brisbane.... & a trip down memory lane!

Leaving Wellington ...
Hello Everybody! 
Well after a week away, I'm back and raring to share a little of my week's holiday in Brisbane, Australia. You may have noticed that there was no Week 23 blog post. I'll fill in the gaps now!

WEEK 23 = BUSY! Just preparing for my week's leave meant I was very stretched at work, finishing very late Friday evening, but I do want to mention a lovely end to the week, as I had the pleasure of entertaining a student OT for the day - Gracie - who was just as informative about student life, as I was about work life (hopefully). So thanks Gracie for coming to visit and helping me understand a little more about the process here, for when I get my first student placement in Feb/March next year! 

10 years ago I was traveling trough this city as a fresh-faced 23 year old, with a group of people I met on the 'OZ Experience', including my long time Canadian friend Kevin, (who's wedding I went to in Winnipeg, and who I have seen in 4 different countries, across 3 different continents in total...) -and my first real love - Stacey Kwiatkowski, (and good friend of Kevin). So many memories came flooding back to me of that time, though my life is vastly different now! So ten years on, and back in this large working city in a hot, sweaty climate, and no real schedule = time to reflect....

After being here for over 5 months, and significantly changing my life in the process, I thought it would be a good time to have my first paid holiday in 5 years!!!! Some time away would help me reflect on everything and some warmth was much needed, as the last 'summer' I had experienced was back in 2011 in England - so not much of a summer at all! The obvious choice was Australia, not just because it's the only decent sized country anywhere near here, and it does cost the earth to get there... but at around $800 (£400) it was pricey enough!  The other main reason for going to Brisbane was because I had two friends there. 1) Madeline (and husband - Dan - yes very confusing for Madeline!) , and 2) Maree, a more recent friend who I worked with in my last job in he UK just a few months ago. Both friends are actually Australian too! Madeline & Dan had so kindly offered for me to stay at their very nice home in the suburb of 'Sherwood' - 20 mins train ride from the city centre... (Here'a a few pictures from around Brisbane city....)
Brisbane City....
City Sculptures
Man-made beach by river at Southbank....
Southbank walkway...
Go (Wellington) Phoenix (vs Brisbane) - it was 1-1
City sunsets...
It's hard to know how to break this blog up into sections, so I can best describe one of the most relaxing holiday's I've had in years in two easy ways.... A daily diary or a list of things I did:

I can best describe the week in a list;
- Karaoke
- Shopping ( x2 jeans, x2 t-shirts, LFC shirt & Trainers)
- (daily) chic mint ice creams
- read x3 books on kindle
- x3 movies (Looper, Taken 2 & The Bourne Legacy)
- x3 massages (one at airport) - 1st massage one of the best I ever had - still have marks to prove it!
- x5 dinners - both home cooked and restaurants. (Chinese, Tapas, Italian)
- Botanical Gardens
- Man-made beach / riverside resort
- a fair few beers
- x2 random meetings - one with OT Matthew, and meting Liv's boyfriend Richard for 1st time!
- Open air cinema and beer Friday night (with bean bag!) 

BOTANICAL GARDENS.... as mentioned earlier, my memories of the botanical gardens from 2002, were walking around with Kevin on a hot hot day, who began to tell me about this girl (Twyla - his now wife), that he had just began to start dating. This time around, I lacked the human company, but was able to appreciate all the animal company the place had to offer.. see below! 
all over town! 
Spot the wildlife...
Spot the wildlife...
Bird families...
Big lizards!
sun bathing lizardrs
 The actual plant life wasn't too shabby either!

Funky trees!
As well as reliving memories from the past, I was keen to just wander around the city, which seemed so familiar to me, without a map or guide, and just laze around in the sunshine... I also had two rather random appointments! Firstly, with an OT Facebook friend, who recently met face to face for the first time at the recent NZ OT conference - Matthew Molineux. Matthew met me in town, on the Tuesday, we went for coffee as Matthew explained some of the current politics and economical issues affecting OT's and the health sector in the state of Queensland (all the different states. have control over how things are run at government level...). Whilst Australia and NZ are not quite as badly affected as Europe with the economic global situation, they certainly have some issues of their own!
The previous day, (Monday) I had an even more random meeting with Richard (Boyfriend of my very good mate Liv). I never had chance to meet Richard, prior to me leaving for NZ, So I never got a chance to 'vet' him. I have to say (and not just because Liv reads this blog), but he seemed like a really decent guy - even if him being so tall made me look like a 12 year old! We had a few beers, and he let me interrogate him sufficiently, before we said our goodbyes! Cheers for the beers Rich!

I loved walking into the city each day, the town hall square (City Hall) had difference events on daily, from food markets, to 'indie' night' markets, and best of all a totally free 'Games Night'. What is that, I hear you ask? Well, it's all kinds of different games, from board games, to giant, jenga, scrabble, chess, draughts and much more... had to imagine/ well here's the proof.. and check out for some horrific school uniforms! 

Games Night @ City Hall
Board game specials!
Free Fun & Games
That's a big piece!
Ultimate Jenga! (not sure about the uniforms)
An equally beautiful and people friendly city by night, Brisbane had lots going on every night. With such warm temperature, I frequently sat outside to eat, without being attacked by mosquitoes. The waterfront was particularly well utilised and with an open air cinema having started up the day after I arrived, it seemed the perfect way to end the week. Madeline and Dan, begrudgingly accepted my gift to take them to the cinema as a way of saying thanks for having me. With some fantastically comfortable bean bag loungers to sit on, we watched the Bourne Legacy, after eating some gorgeous Tapas food at Ole restaurant! A great way to say bye and enjoy the evening entertainment on offer! 
The Palace Hostel from 10 years ago - hasn't changed!
City Hall night markets
Southbank by night
Open air movie by the river!
My Hosts... Dan & Mads! 
Post movie discussion on the bets bean bags ever!
The only thing left to say is a huge thanks to Madeline & Dan, and Maree for showing me your city and making me feel very welcomed. I can't remember the last time I felt so relaxed after a holiday, and I even have a bit of a tan too!
I have some online teaching to do this week, which is always a great experience and it's NZ's Got Talent Semi-final tonight too! I wonder if the neighbors are around to watch it with? Getting back to a wet, and windy Wellington felt almost like coming home, maybe I am starting to feel more settled now! 
 I'll just share a little picture from the plane on the way back to NZ.... 

Coming home above the clouds...
Regards from New Zealand

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