Being an adult, I sometimes feel a sort of nostalgia for my youth- those heady days of no responsibilities and no consequences.

When you are a kid the most stressful thing you have to deal with is where your next chocolate bar is coming from and if you will get that toy you desperately want for your birthday.

Everything is done for you- the cooking, the cleaning, the bills and the social organisation of your life. But then you begin to resent it and want to do things for yourself and make your own decisions.

Until you realise that there are so many choices and so many decisions that it’s almost easier never have to make any at all.

In high school, all I wanted to do was get out. Then at university, all I wanted to do was graduate and start working. But now that I face another 30 odd years of working life ahead of me, I wonder what all the rush was.

I really didn’t appreciate the freedom and search for fun that I had in my 20’s until it was gone.

But then I think, in my 20’s I really did not know what was going on. At times, I drifted a bit aimlessly, searching for direction and wondering what it was all about.

Now, I know what I enjoy, what I want and who I want to share my lifetime experiences with.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could have our 30 something brain put into out 20 something body? Who knows where life would have taken us and where we would all be now?

For now, I might just have to settle for putting my 20 something brain in my 30 something body every now and then- a much more achievable aim and hopefully one that will lead to a bit of fun without the consequences.

Related post: Emotion vs Logic, Toys, Discovery, Kid at Heart, Dreams vs Reality, It’s the simple things, All things Disney, You spin me right round, What’s in a number?, Cocktail Hour in Sydneytown, Get your groove on

South Korea, 2008

On the way back to Australia from Canada, my husband-to-be (HTB) and I stopped in Seoul, South Korea. He had been before for a conference and said that the city was worth a look.

We stayed in a very small apartment in a very tall building with a very small bathroom and a view of city. The floor was heated to a higher level than I found comfortable, but was definitely nicer than the bitter cold winter outside.

The metro system was easy to understand as they had cartoon signs and pictures of sights on the carriage metro map. We sat next to an older gentleman who spoke English and told us he was a Vietnam veteran.

The first stop on my HTB’s tour was Tapgol Park which I loved as it had a tall pagoda and a giant tortoise. We also went to the old area of Insadong which was an interesting place with its mix of old wooden and new concrete buildings. We visited a traditional pottery shop to stock up on vases and teapots for unique gifts.

My HTB loves a market so we went to the Namdaemun Market near the impressive Namdaemun Gate. The market was full of coats and I saw a pig’s head or two as well. We also went to Dongdaemun Market and the visual and sensory delight of the Gwangjang Kimchi Market with pancakes and dumplings galore!

Heading back to our hotel as night, the streets became a neon wonderland with red leaves on the trees and flashing signs everywhere.

The next day we went to Gyeongbok Palace and were greeted at the main gate by the colourful changing of the guard. We walked through the courtyard to the throne hall whose entry was flanked by many stone animals. There was incense burning in the hall and the roof detail was amazing.

I thought Gyeonghoeru Pavilion surrounded by a frozen lake was the most beautiful part of the palace and the Amisan garden terrace of chimneys was also very interesting. We went to Sajeongjeon Hall that had a huge tapestry, the queen’s residence, the king’s residence and the queen mother’s residence.

Outside the National Folk Museum there were stone guard statues, a mobile traditional medicine shop (a cart on wheels) and traditional pots. I liked the look of the wishing poles and the stone animals of the zodiac.

On our last day of our holiday, we opted for a bit of fun and headed to Lotte World. Lotte World is a large amusement park located in a shopping centre along with the Lotte hotel (flanked by an imitation Trevi fountain) and an ice skating rink. The mascots of the theme park are two squirrels called Lotte and Lorry.

And boy do those Koreans know how to do a theme park. There was the Adventure balloon ride, the French Revolution train roller coaster and the Conquistador ship. The best area was outdoors at the Magic Island that had a castle, the Gyrodrop and my favourite ride the Gyroswing that would spin you around while swinging you.

Best way to end a holiday ever!

Related posts: New Year’s Eve on the Island, 2007, Christmas in Canada, 2007, Seattle, 2007,  San Francisco, 2007, Part 2: This is not the endSan Francisco, 2007, Part 1: Falling in love againUSA Road trip, 2007: Part 2Grand Canyon, 2007Las Vegas, 2007USA Road trip, 2007Disneyland, 2007Los Angeles, 2007

Emotion vs Logic

Also known as being impulsive vs think first.

We are taught to use the logical part of our brain to make decisions. Take the emotion out of it, write a for and against list and make the right choice according to the numbers.

This is especially true in the business world. Emotion and the work place definitely do not mix, especially when it involves an emotive email that you send in the heat of the moment without thinking and regret later.

Being impulsive at work often means poor planning and bad preparation which may ultimately lead to a lackluster delivery. Thinking first with a creative approach will almost always lead to better results and then you can just leave the being impulsive decisions for the last minute hiccups- this is called thinking on your feet.

But does this theory work in the real world and in your personal life?

Whenever I try to write a for and against list for a personal problem, I always figure out that I have already made the decision in my heart anyway. And what’s so wrong with that?

I find that trusting your inner intuition is always a good idea, especially when it involves whether to walk down that dark alley or not. And wouldn’t our personal life be boring if we made all our decisions logically?

We’d never date that bad boy, go to that rave party or jump out of that plane.

I think adrenaline junkies must always make impulsive emotional decisions and never think first! (Unless it’s about safety first perhaps).

Thinking first means coming up with all those reasons that you can’t try something new or step out of your comfort zone.

Being impulsive in life often leads to much fun that you may have not had otherwise or travel to a place that you may not have been planning to go to.

And I for one am always up for that (as long as finances and responsibilities are in order of course).

Related posts: Pride vs The Fall, Discovery, People vs Place, Dreams vs Reality, Adventurous vs Risk taker, Kicking goals

New Year’s Eve on the Island, 2007

The day after Boxing Day, my husband-to-be (HTB) and I caught the ferry to Vancouver Island. We were met in Victoria by Geoff and his brown Labrador Ruby. After a walk on the beach, we met up with Genevieve, who was now Geoff’s wife, at a local bar to catch up. They were kindly letting us stay in their house for New Year’s Eve and we were very excited.

Celina and her friend Balki took us up Bear Mountain the next day for a view of Victoria and to see the outdoor skating rink at The Westin. The boys then dropped us in town to meet up with Genevieve for a girl’s shopping trip while they played golf. They saw wild deer on the course!

My HTB and I did the usual sight-seeing round of Victoria- the Parliament Buildings, Empress Hotel, Hemlcken House, St Anne’s Pioneer school house, a totem pole and a squirrel. There were lots of statues of killer whales, bears and moose around town that we liked posing in front of.

Celina and Balki drove us to Jordan River and to see the iconic China Beach one day. It was cold on the beach, but beautiful.

We met Kim and Jeanette for dinner and ice tea one night and met Geoff and Genevieve’s friends Lisa, Rochelle, Kayla and Sean one night at their house.

And then, before we knew it, it was the night before New Year’s Eve and a mini Heineken practice keg was purchased. Not deemed big enough, a 40-litre keg was bought in preparation for New Year’s Eve, which was consumed in entirety by 8 guys on the night.

Also at the New Year’s party at Geoff and Genevieve’s house were Celina, Balki, Kim, Nina, Kayla and Sean, Lisa, Rochelle, Rob and his girlfriend and a random New Zealander called Steve. It was Lisa’s birthday on the night so we had cake to go with our drinking games.

We played a funny game of Twister, had lots of dancing and the countdown to New Year’s Eve on the oven clock. People kept passing out on the bed and then getting up to drink more- that 40-litre keg had to be finished!

All in all, my HTB and I agreed it was one of the best New Year’s Eve’s we had ever had (ok- it was THE best, just don’t tell anyone else we have ever spent New Year’s Eve with alright?).

Related posts: Christmas in Canada, 2007Canada, 2005Canada, 2002Canada 1997- 1998Canada, 1997Canada, 1990Seattle, 2007, People vs PlaceThe Seven Year ItchFriendship: Great Expectations?

It’s a water thing

Growing up five minutes from the ocean, perhaps it was inevitable that I have an affinity with water. I love swimming in the ocean, particularly with dolphins, turtles or any other safe sea creatures I can get close (but not too close) to, and will take any opportunity to go for a dip.

I always enjoy going to the beach, walking along the sandy shores, dipping my toes in the water and running from the waves. I remember long summer days by the sea and had my first kiss on the beach.

Wide-open spaces leave me feeling restless for the feeling of the sea breeze in my hair again. I feel land locked and only sighting the ocean shore makes me feel at ease again.

I have been lucky enough to grow up near some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches in the world in Jervis Bay and visit other beautiful beaches in Mexico and Malaysia.

Even if you can’t get in the water, getting on the water by boat will do, or a walk down a promenade, or even a bar with a water view.

All of the best road trips I have been on have been along the coastline, like Big Sur in California, the Great Ocean Road in Victoria and pretty much the whole of the South Island of New Zealand.

My search for waterfalls is a bit obsessive. I have been to Iguazu and Niagara Falls as well as countless other less famous waterfalls. I plan not to rest until I see Victoria Falls, Gullfoss and a waterfall on the beach in Norway.

I also love a fountain, which is probably a lot of the reason why I love Spain, Rome, Versailles and all those other big gardens with lots of fountains. I mean, how can you not admire the Trevi Fountain?

Unless you were unlucky enough to go when they were restoring it, in which case there is always the Fountain of the Four Rivers and all those other gorgeous fountains in practically every square in the city.

So, yep, that’s me, water baby in search of any beaches, waterfalls or fountains I can find. I wander where my search for water will take me to next…

Related posts: It’s a French Thing, Random Public Holiday Ramblings, USA Road trip, 2007: Part 2, Malaysia, 2006, Canada, 2005, Argentina, 2005, Europe, 2003, Italy, 1997, Part 1: From Rome to Florence, Spain, 1997, Part 2: Beyond BarcelonaEngland, Singapore and Malaysia, 1988

Christmas in Canada, 2007

It was the first time my husband-to-be (HTB) had been to Vancouver, so our first stop was Prospect Point with it’s view of Lions Gate Bridge, the local mountains and west van. We saw an eagle at Capilano salmon hatchery and went over Lyn Canyon suspension bridge (sober this time for me).

My cousin Glen took us to Stanley Park to see the totem poles and Gastown to see the steam clock and the railway station. We also went to the Granville Island Brewery for a paddleboard tasting and a cheap sushi restaurant where we had 50 pieces of fish for next to nothing.

It was a Canadian family tradition to see a British Pantomime, but my uncle insisted that my HTB needed to see an ice hockey game. So while the two of them headed to the ice rink, I went to see Jack and The Beanstalk at the Metro Theatre with my aunt and cousins Kate and Glen.

The next day, my uncle took us to Mount Seymour where we had lots of fun tubing in all the snow. He also took us skiing at Grouse Mountain on another day. I wore my terrible aqua eighties snow suit again and found that I was still just as bad at the sport, so went to watch a documentary that was showing about two bear cubs growing up in a wildlife refuge on the mountain instead.

Even though my aunt and uncle now lived in White Rock, on Christmas Eve they headed back to their old neighbourhood in Richmond to catch up with all their friends at a sort of open house party. It was nice seeing familiar faces from the past.

Christmas Day dawned cold, but we still all took a family stroll along the pier to spot the white rock on the beach. Yes- we were crazy to go out in the silly temperatures of a chilly Canadian winter. Rover the cat didn’t join us- he was older and wiser and didn’t even bring in dead animals anymore.

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My favourite toys growing up were a pyjama rabbit called Rabbit and a wombat puppet called Wombat. Very imaginative names I know.

I was only allowed to have one Barbie doll, so I got tropical barbie who lived in a white house with a red roof (which was modelled on our house) with Inspector Gadget who had spring arm legs and a helicopter that came out of his head. Their regular relations produced a daughter called Penny.

Having too many soft toys and collecting everything under the sun from stamps and coins to rocks and erasers; I was devastated to find out that my entire shell collection had been dumped in the backyard creek after a clean out of the shed and still feel guilty for stealing an eagle feather that a boy brought to school for show and tell.

I never received board games as an only child and was always every jealous when my cousins received Guess Who and Twister for Christmas. No, it was books for me- fortunately I loved to read.

My English connection meant that I received Beatrix Potter’s complete collection and all the Rupert books from grandma. I was also into watching Blue Peter, Noddy, Sooty and Sweep and the Punch and Judy show at the beach in summer.

I developed an early interest in science fiction by watching Doctor Who and in Japanese anime before I even knew that was what it was with Astro Boy; but my favourite show was the Lost Cities of Gold. I also liked Snoopy, Felix the Cat and Bugs Bunny with his Looney Toons.

There was always some craze at school- skipping ropes, then marbles followed by elastics.

Strawberry Shortcake, Snow White and Mickey Mouse were childhood staples and Archie double digests in my teenage years; but it was nothing compared to the Frozen mania that has swept the world of today. Disney has sure worked out how to capitalise on a brand there.

What was your favourite toy as a kid?

Related posts: Discovery, Kid at Heart, Dreams vs Reality, It’s the simple things, All things Disney, Books, books and more books, I first started writing

Seattle, 2007

My husband-to-be (HTB) arrived in Seattle and headed straight for the easy to spot Space Needle. The view of the snow on the mountains and waters of Pugent Sound was beautiful. The outline of Lake Washington and the houses of Queen Anne Hill could clearly be seen.

We passed the futuristically shaped Science Fiction Museum building on the way out and walked to the famous Smith Tower. Pioneer Square had bronze statues of firemen, the Merchant’s Café and Yesler’s sawmill.

Meeting at Doc Maynards pub, we embarked on the most bizarre tour I have ever been on- a tour of the underground. When Seattle was flooded with mud and sewerage, instead of excavating, they just built a new city on top of the old one.

Our first lesson was that the glass tiles on the ground used to be skylights for residences underneath and I have never looked at those tiles on the street the same again. We went found the hardware store under the Denny building and a red circular couch which was the only remaining identifiable debris from the Occidental Hotel located under the Corn building.

Under the Pioneer building we saw a temporary door, the original water system and tin walling made to look like stone. There was also an original crapper toilet, washing and coffee machines and an old cash register.

Back above ground we headed for the famous Pike Place Market with its plethora of fruit, vegetables, flowers, baked goods and seafood with added thrown fish. There were cute little hoof prints on the ground leading to the money box pig statue.

We found a sports bar that served real hot wings for dinner and a small pub close by that played live music and had gangster pop artwork on the walls.

The following day was another excursion to where my HTB wanted to go- the Museum of Flight. I actually really liked going on the actual Air Force One plane and the Concorde to learn about its contracting design. It was also interesting to see the car plane, stealth bombers and the dune buggy. My HTB enjoyed sitting in a jet plane and trying out the flight simulator; while I was much more partial to the World War 1 balloon and the old war planes painted with faces.

I wished we had more time to explore the islands of Pugent Sound by boat or drive up the Pacific Northwest coast through Oregon. However, we had run out of time and it was the bus to White Rock for us so that we could make it to my uncle’s house in Canada before Christmas.

Related posts: San Francisco, 2007, Part 2: This is not the end, San Francisco, 2007, Part 1: Falling in love again, USA Road trip, 2007: Part 2, Grand Canyon, 2007, Las Vegas, 2007, USA Road trip, 2007, Disneyland, 2007, Los Angeles, 2007, USA, 1990