Tag Archives: routine

Belgium, 2013: The People

My husband, daughter and I flew from Hong Kong to Brussels via Helsinki. It was a cheap flight and the worst flight we have ever had with our daughter. At one year old, she was at that in between stage where she didn’t just eat and sleep and wouldn’t just sit and watch TV, so all she wanted to do was walk up and down the aisles. She didn’t sleep the whole way, so neither did we. Lesson learned- sometimes it’s worth paying a bit more for a shorter flight with a little one.

After a 3 hour stopover in Helsinki, she finally lost it on the internal European flight to Brussels and just screamed. We were all tired and over it so I can understand her reaction and I now know what its like to be those parents that everyone tuts as at, but there was simply nothing we could do.

She finally fell asleep when we landed and slept in my arms in the brightly lit Brussels airport while we waited for our bags. Our friend Bill picked us up to take us back to the converted farmhouse that we had stayed in before and were to do so again. We hadn’t seen the family since our wedding in Thailand and it was the first time they had met our daughter.

Between them and their partners, Bill, Isabelle and Ben now had 8 children- 5 boys and 3 girls- almost all older than our daughter, so she had plenty of kids to dote over her and keep her entertained. Being a social child, she very much enjoyed being part of such a huge family. The girls were very gentle with our daughter which was lovely to see and the grandparents had a room set up especially for the grandkids with lots of toys and a cot.

The mornings were dark until 8:30am, which didn’t help with the jetlag when our daughter still got up at 4am. She gradually got later everyday, but never slept past her usual waking time of 6am, so had already been up for at least two hours by the time everyone else rose for breakfast.

Our friend Flo visited from France one evening with presents for our daughter. It was so nice to see her. Another night we went to Bill’s house for dinner. The house was lovely and interior decorated to perfection.

The next night we went to Isabelle’s for dinner where they lived above her husbands personal training business. On another night we went to visit Guislane and George- another family that my husband had stayed with when he had been living here on exchange. I ate the biggest piece of foie gras I have ever seen.

We kept her in her nightly dinnertime and bath routine that has always been useful for sleep time no matter where we were. Her adoptive grandfather sometimes read her books and she always had a bed or cot to be put to sleep on wherever we were visiting for dinner. Then when we were ready to leave, we just picked her up and drove home while she kept sleeping. It was awesome.

Related posts: Europe, 2006, Belgium, 1997, Destination ThailandPeople vs Place, Belgium: On Exchange

Small town vs Big city

Small towns are cute, quirky and green. They are safe, comforting and friendly.

Everyone seems to know of one another and celebrate the same things in the same environment.

But this means that small towns can also be gossipy, stifling and routine.

Big cities are different, fun and challenging. They are tall, concrete and filled with endless possibilities.

They take you out of your comfort zone into a sometimes overwhelming place where you can make new friends and have new experiences every day.

But this means that big cities can also be fickle, lonely and expensive.

I grew up in a small town, and whilst I appreciate it was a nice little place to grow up, I think I was always a big city girl at heart.

Being an avid traveller doesn’t always mean you are necessarily a big city person, although it probably helps. Sometimes it’s the small towns that really show you what a place is like and who the people really are.

But I am a big city person and just the thought of going to a global city like London or New York gets me excited. Big cities are also big enough that they contain many smaller places to explore.

Being in a big city that you are familiar with gives you a sense of achievement and conquest, especially when you can navigate to your favourite places without a map.

But big cities are so big, that even in my home city of Sydney I often need to whip out Google maps to find out where that new restaurant is.

Small towns have their place and perhaps I wouldn’t be who I am today, or get that big city buzz as much, if I hadn’t grown up in a small town.

I still enjoy visiting my hometown of Berry, all the memories I have there and I am looking forward to taking my daughter to my birth town of Weymouth hoping that she can see what I see.

But I also can’t wait to take her to Central Park or a show at the West End; to see what she makes of the big hills of San Francisco or the mountains of Vancouver.

I wonder if she will be a big city girl with small town values like me, or just be a sophisticated city chick with no time for small town matters. I guess only time will tell…

Related posts: Sydney vs Melbourne, It’s an English Thing, Cocktail hour in Sydneytown, Home is where you make it, Travel Rememberings

Adventurous vs Risk Taker

I consider myself quite an adventurous person. I like to travel to new places, try new food and will put my hand up for most new experiences even if they are out of my comfort zone, like stand up paddle boarding or zip lining.

But I am not a risk taker.

As much as I am adventurous, my OCD nature towards list making also suggests I like planning. Risk takers don’t plan.

They make big philosophical leaps that leave all us average people in the dust. They take chances, think outside the box, get promoted and become entrepreneurs.

As much as I hate the idea of routine, I actually find myself comfortable in my weekly routine with the little milestones and rewards along the way.

Risk takers don’t do routine. It would inhibit the possibilities.

The definition of one who is adventurous is someone who is willing to take risks or to try out new methods, ideas, or experiences.

But the definition of a risk taker is someone who risks loss or injury in the hope of gain or excitement.

And therein lies the rub- I am happy to take on new experiences, but I won’t risk loss or injury in the pursuit of excitement.

Which explains why I would love to try hot air ballooning, but would never jump out of a plane.

I also like to be in control of new experiences to some degree. Which is also why I will never be a good skier.

Risk takers are gamblers of sorts. And I don’t gamble either. I come from the school of you don’t get something for nothing and have to work hard for great rewards.

But with great risk comes great rewards. But only if it’s the right risk right?!

Related posts: What’s your obsession

You spin me right round

The only remotely risqué thing I have done (that I am willing to share on the blog anyway!) is take pole dancing lessons.

I was bored after two seasons of taking salsa lessons and not really learning anything as the men have to lead; so I convinced a friend and took us to Bobbi’s Pole Studio in the middle of Sydney’s CBD.

I had already had a taste of what the studio had to offer after attending a hen’s night (bachelorette party or stagette do for those from other countries) where we dressed up in cute outfits and I was complimented on my spinney pole skills.

It was with trepidation and a bit of dutch courage from the pub next door that my friend and I walked into our first lesson. The class was girls only, which immediately put me at ease and the teacher was blonde, friendly and bubbly- kind of like a cheerleader.

The beginner’s course was good and they eased us into the moves slowly. The idea was to teach us some basics and then put together a simple routine to boppy music.

We were advised to purchase shorts that were short enough to keep our thighs bare to grip onto the pole and stiletto heels to make the moves easier to perform. Stiletto heels?! I couldn’t even walk in normal heels, let alone heels that are thin enough to break.

Pole dancing was surprising more athletic and less stripper-like than I thought. Don’t get me wrong- they still made us wear what is basically underwear and perform a Kate Moss- but I actually had to quit after the taking the beginners course twice over as I was not athletic enough to continue.

Sure- I can spin around a pole just a good as the next person; however I lacked the core strength and abs that are needed to hoist your body up a pole whilst upside down only holding on with your ankles. I was also completely scared of landing on my head onto the wooden floorboards.

My friend, on the other hand, was addicted and went on to progress much further than I did. She may have even suggested that she was going to have a pole dancing themed thirtieth birthday party and rope me into performing on the night (thank god that never happened!).

We did put on a show at the studio at the end of term for family and friends only. Our boyfriends were suitably impressed with our newly purchased outfits and the result of our efforts, even though I had to do a couple of extra spins while everyone else performed upside down acrobatics.

Credit to all the pole dancing teachers out there- it is a sport and these ladies are truly athletes. It was fun for a while, but I think I will stick to the sports I can actually do, like taking a nice walk in the park. But at least I can now do this in five inch heels!

Related posts: What’s in a number?, Cocktail hour in Sydneytown, Get your groove on, By special request