Canadian Down Under

Saturday, February 27, 2010

God love Australian liquor laws!

So james squires pub is opening at 6 am for the canadian/us gold medal game AND THEY'RE SERVING BEER!

Bring it on!


Friday, February 26, 2010


I'm so excited I can barely contain myself - Canadian women won gold and the men's team are in the semi-finals - game tomorrow!!

Expat group meeting at a pub on King Street Wharf where the pub has reserved space for us - our own big screens and control of the volume!!!!!!!!!! (Unlike the last game where it was hard to hear anything....)

Just keep away the nasty American who crashed the last Canada gathering to watch the Canada/US game. Him we can do without.

Got my Canada shirt.
Extra Canada shirts going to adopted Canadians.

I'm so there.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And all things nice..

So I've managed to tell you all my grumbles - but between all the miserable there were some nice things that happened and its probably only fair to share (and a little more balanced...)

So part of my year off is about doing the things I love, so that's what I've been doing: writing, music and even exercise (yes, I love it - even thought I resist it and procrastinate around it every day....). Now I know that just because you love something it doesn't mean you're good at it (go back and read about me and exercise again for an example...) but sometimes its awful nice to find out you might be...

So Saturday - the course was a bunch of muso's and me. All these well trained professional singers and me. Just a tad intimidating. But given this was my year to just try anything - and given that I'm leaving soon and will never see any of those people again - I volunteered to be one of the ones who sang to demonstrate some of what we were being taught. I mean its great to hear some of the suggestions - but unless its actually you being coached - its had to apply what's being taught.

So about halfway through the day it was my turn (to be honest - almost everybody sang at least once...) but as luck would have it - I'd brought my material on something they weren't technically set up for so I was standing there all ready to go and yup - had to sit back down. It took them about 45 minutes to get set up (there were others that went on in between) and then it was my turn.

Do you know what its like to have to sit and wait like that? Torture! But the instructor spent a long time with me - which was cool - but the best thing by far was as I went to sit back down she said "Laura, that was worth the wait."

Pacifying me? Unlikely, given her style, but you know what? I don't care. I'm just taking it at face value.

And then to top it off? I was the last one to sing in the evening class and as I was collecting my stuff, the instructor's assistant (also her nephew) quietly said to me that I'd done good - that I had a really nice voice.

A few quiet words and he'd made a bad day have a touch of wonderful. If could have hugged him on the spot!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Strike 2 Australian Canadian relations....

You'd think after my humbling encounter with the car wash guys Saturday,I'd have retracted my claws for the rest of the day, but no, apparently I'm not a quick learner... Crappy mood does not lend itself to being a good conduit for learning....

So I finally got to my course almost an hour late. An hour. That's almost a new record even for me... And man was I in good form when I got there. (You can hear the sarcasm can't you?) That anyone spoke to me at all that day is a little bit of a miracle.

Really - its only because I had already paid for the course (I did truly want to go) and that it was a one-time event to have this woman come in from the States to teach this music class that I didn't just pike. Besides, I needed to occupy myself so I didn't mope. I thought it could be a distraction for me from my own misery.

Well, I occupied myself - but in the end, I didn't really distract myself from my own misery - I ended up spreading it around....

At one point the professional from the States was teaching us all a technique - and she went through the group one by one to ensure that we all had understood and could do it ourselves. Seeing I was in the back row - she'd gone through almost everybody before getting to me - and as luck would have it - I didn't pick it up very fast - so she was kind of working with me for a few minutes. Embarrassing, but okay. Well okay until...

Okay - I'm going to have to interrupt myself and give some context to the set up before I tell you what happened next. See - these events are run by some local music organisation - which is cool except primarily its the members who attend the events. People like me are the exception - and not only are we the exception, we are not part of the clique. Which, again, is cool by me because I hate cliques and just ignore them - but in these music courses - its not always that easy to ignore.

Like with what happened next. The teacher of the course was working with me - but given she'd already reviewed everything with the clique group (who of course sat in the front row) they now considered themselves experts - and given some of them were music teachers - they now felt they should be teaching me.

Like they knew better then the real teacher.

(Can you tell something ugly is about to happen?)

Anyway, I found their verbal encouragement and instructions coming from over the shoulder of the actual teacher not only annoying - but also distracting. Mix that with a person who has no patience on a good day? and before I even realised it I shouted "Stop it" ( inthe same tone a kid responds to teasing from elder siblings..)

The course teacher kind of looked at me in shock so I clarified "No, not you - the 17 teachers sitting behind you."


Four words you can't use to describe me on Saturday.

Well, at least it worked. The clique appropriately retreated to their corner. Perhaps it may have worked too well though - not a soul spoke to me for the rest of the day.

Not a bad thing really.

I did manage to relatively behave myself for the rest of the course (which didn't end til 10:30 that night). Well, almost. I slightly cracked it again at about 9:30, but for the most part, beating my forehead with my pen helped me control the snark.

Nice dent on the forehead though....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

There wasn't enough chocolate in the world yesterday to make it a good day....

And can I say- I did absolutely nothing for Canadian-Australian relations? Okay - maybe I did - but none of it good. With every passing day I truly realise that a life in diplomacy is just not a road I should ever consider...

So to start off with - although I was up early - I still managed to be late for my course. Not only that - but I managed to forget a few things that I really did need. But it wasn't only my delayed departure that made me late - it was what happened once I got to my car.

So - I'd been to this place before, but it was months ago and although I've lived in Sydney for 6 years, I still get lost; almost daily in fact. So my Sydney street directory is like a lifeline for me and when I got in the car, I reached for it to check the best way to get there but it was nowhere to be found.

And in the mood I was in - although that could be construed as a minor problem - for me it was a catastrophe and I handled it as such.

After a few brief moments of angst, I realised that it must have not been replaced when I got my car washed the day before. I didn't think they'd done a very good job anyway - so I went straight to self-righteous indignation about the lousy service and the carelessness that they had treated my car with...

Really - I'm a prize some days.

So trying to find the car wash I made a number of wrong turns, so by the time I found it I was near mental in rage. Although still managing to keep a cap on it - when I'm that mad, the simmer is visible to all...

I did manage to keep this side of accusing them of stealing it - but I was heading in that direction when they said they didn't have one from the day before. Mixed up in it all was the panic that I was now well and truly late for my course. Not their fault - but my rational mind had switched off.

The manager offered to help me go through my car and see if he could help find it.

Can you see where this is going?

I said of course he could look, but given I'd already gone through my car a number of times - there was no way he was going to find it. I was right - he didn't find it - I did.


No fucking kidding.

I tried to be graceful in my apology - but lets face - there is absolutely nothing graceful about grovelling.....

What till I tell you about the special moments I had in my course. I need a break before telling those ones - but will get back to you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Speaking of heartbreak....

I had dinner with Mr. Heartbreak himself tonight. You know what it made me realise? He's actually a bigger part of the reasons I'm leaving than I originally thought.

Now this could be incredibly embarrassing - seeing as I have an inkling that he has stumbled across my blog before and might actually read it - but hey - what the fuck - this couldn't possibly be as embarrassing as what happened earlier this evening....

What I confessed:
- that he was part of the reason I was leaving
- that I had loved him

It wasn't pretty - especially considering I'm usually extraordinarily articulate - but tonight I stumbled, stuttered and generally just sounded stupid.

It was months ago that I last really spoke to him and it hadn't been particular pleasant for me - but the last little while I got over it - was even happy again. But he found me again and asked me to dinner. I thought I'd be okay with it - and you know - dinner was great. It was so nice to see him again - and that one meal had wiped away all the hurt and angst. I'd even stayed strong enough to say so but say that was enough for me.

But I weakened the next day when he text me and only a day later I completely caved.

The rest is all my fault.

I thought I could accept that he didn't want anything. After all - there's only a month left. I thought maybe we could continue with the nice times. That we could just enjoy each other's company. If he couldn't love me - I had hoped that maybe he could care about me - well, I do believe he cares - but that maybe he could show it.

I try to talk to him - but its just so hard. I know its not something that comes naturally to him - but maybe its more than that - maybe its just that I'm not that person to him - not the person who he can talk to.

I can't even begin to describe how awful I feel.

This is likely to be far too long for a comment box....

...and although being written mainly in response to Melodie's comment yesterday - its probably something I should have said a long time ago.

So to recap for everyone - the following is a direct copy of Melodie's comment (sorry Melodie - it'll all make sense in the end..):

Hi, I just came across your blog a few days ago and read the entire thing except for May and June of 2004, lol. (Not sure why, lol).

Anyways, sounds like you've had a rough time in Australia, sorry to hear. Kind of makes me think twice, since I've been considering going there (I'm Canadian and from the same neck of the woods as you, lol.)

Well, I'm just curious if you'll still be blogging once you come back to Canada?

Also, I'm just curious to know what your original allure was to Australia. Was it the beauty, the climate, the ???

Well good luck on your course, and good luck on your way back to Canada!


First off - I gotta say - reading the entire blog? That's impressive! I'm pretty sure its not something I have done - nor really have any desire to attempt to do (thank goodness for search functions on blogger....) Not only is it impressive - its also flattering - so thank you for being interested enough.

Reading your comment I really got the feeling I may have been mis-representing myself in my writing -so I think I need to explain what this blog was meant to be and what its really become.

The blog itself was the brainchild of a friend of mine who thinks I can write and thinks I needed a plan to do so - hence blogging. I'd been writing journals while travelling and stories out of events that had happened and so when I finally settled down, a blog about living abroad seemed the next natural step.

A great idea - however it does unfortunately reveal more about me than I would have originally thought. See - if you were to meet me in person (extracting the last two years from this proposal) - most would think I was a pretty happy person with an abundance of confidence, upbeat attitude and lots of energy. I think that perhaps I show another side when I write - a slightly skewed side. While I wouldn't disagree that perhaps I tend toward being the 'glass half-empty' type of person in my head (and therefore in my writing) I think I also used this blog to vent out anything and everything that was bothering me.

Perhaps that is a function of moving overseas on your own - without those old friends to vent to - you need to find another outlet. And yes, I need an outlet - as Meyer Briggs tests have shown - I am an extreme extrovert - almost nothing stays in (and that will be a surprise to no one....)

So why the long explanation? Well the truth is I have enjoyed Australia. Its been frustrating at times and a lot of other not so nice things - but it has also been wonderful. My time here has meant that I have met many wonderful people (and yes, I know I used the word 'wonderful' twice - but its the right word) - and I have made some friends that I think will last a lifetime - no matter where I live.

As well? This country is beautiful. And it requires time - not only to see it all - but to truly appreciate the many differences that make Australia Australia.

My time here has only made me better. Does that make sense? I wouldn't give up the last seven years to live another way as I would have missed out on so much. Leaving is giving it all up - which is not easy to do - which is why I haven't decided with any finality.

As the time I have left here slowly diminishes - there is excitement about what I'm going to do - but with it comes a sadness for I will really miss it here.

The truth is the last two years have been exceptionally hard for me. I had a job that was tough which I initially quite liked, but soon the politics were beyond what I had any appetite for. In tandem, I hurt myself with a broken arm and bad back which has plagued me and on top of that I ended up with - although easily fixed - a fairly overwhelming thyroid issue which clouded and fogged up everything. But the real thing that has been the problem over the last few years is that I was heart broken. Sounds corny, I know - but it did really colour everything and with all those things: work, health and love not working - I just needed a break.

This year off is meant to be my break and its the time to do the things I really love (I wasn't talking about guys - but hey, I probably wouldn't be saying no....). So I'm getting better at guitar (not good yet, but better), I'm still singing and I'm loving my writing course and for once feel truly capable of doing something with that. And to top it off - I'm slowly getting back into shape. I'm no great athlete but nothing really beats feeling physically fit. Its not just good for the body, its good for the soul.

So I realise this is quite long - but I felt that your comments hit home in a way that I felt I needed to provide some context .

Living abroad is an experience - whether you love it or hate it - it is definitely something you won't forget. But it truly is what you make of it.

For Melodie specifically - please don't let what I've been writing influence you into staying put. I probably show the harder side rather than all the good things that have happened (and I'm not so good at writing while inebriated or hungover - so there are many fun things not recorded...) You wanted to know what originally attracted me to Oz? All of it - the beauty, the climate, the people, the distance, the thrill of something new. Really - Australia has all of that and more.

So will I be blogging back home? Most likely - but unlikely under this blog. A friend and I have been joking about potential names and so far "The Prodigal Canadian" is winning - but we'll see...

Thanks again for reading through. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it doesn't keep you from coming yourself - the Australian in me would feel truly mortified if that were to happen!

Oh and yes


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremonies-where's my tissue?

Canada you did good. I stayed up til the wee hours watching the second showing and you made me feel proud to be a Canadian.
Hallelujah. (you'd get it if you'd seen it..)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Warnie kissed me!!

Okay - it wasn't the real Warnie but his shirt said Warnie and it was a cricket shirt.... I guess he thought that was working for him.

Anyway - I'd just gotten off of the ferry (you SO meet the strangest people on the ferry) and the heavens opened - chucking down rain. I'd bought myself a new guitar case earlier that day and wasn't 100% sure I was going to keep it - so was pretty hesitant about walking through the rain unprotected so I stopped just inside the wharf. I just stood there and watched the water come down, thinking about how to best time my dash across the road.

Standing there - I noticed the low wall that had "Manly" carved into it and from the angle where I was, the lights along the walkfront backlight the cement wall - and that with the night rain caught my eye and I as I seem to do of late - I pulled out my camera. Photo ops are not to be missed these days...

So not being the best photographer in the world, the pouring rain at night front of the wharf made taking a good picture difficult, then adding to that was the fact I still don't quite know how to work my new camera... anyway - imposssible!!

So there were many pictures being taken. Many, many, many being taken (and I don't think any turned out....) but as I was taking them suddenly the frame filled with Warnie and one of his friends. The drunken louts so wanted to have their picture taken.

The one known as Warnie then came over and introduced himself then gushed " I LOVE your accent. You visiting? What you live here? How come I've never seen you before?"

Yadda. Yadda.

"Tell me to go away if I'm bugging you."
I just laughed. He was so harmless.

More nattering and then he said to me "I really love your accent, your hair and you have nice boobs."


"Oops, was that rude?"

"Yes" I answered - "but then you're an Aussie."

And in such good humour he said "Ooooh, we are rude aren't we?"

Such a typical Aussie bloke: drunk, gregarious, funny and oh so inappropriate but with just enough charm to get away with it.

His friends called him to go, so he turned to leave, but at the last minute ducked back and kissed me.

Yet again inappropriate - but he seemed to get away with it....