8 June 2015

no weddings & three funerals

I have attended three funerals in the past year: one for each of my paternal grandparents and one for my elderly neighbour, whose passing still came as kind of a shock despite her age and declining health (she just always seemed to pull through everything, you know?  I still miss seeing her pottering around in the garden).  One of the things that struck me on all three occasions was how much I learned about each of them when listening to the eulogies.  I had no idea that when my Nonna was younger, she had belonged to an Italian women's group that got together to knit clothes for those less fortunate, and that she was still friends with some of those women - for as long as I could remember, she was all about family.  I learned that my Nonno left Italy to set up a life in Australia when my Nonna was pregnant with my dad, and that my dad didn't meet his father until he was four years old; my uncle recalled how the family was walking home from a festa in the village one evening, and my dad kept asking his mother why a strange man was trying to hold his hand.  And as for my neighbour … well, amongst other things, I learned that she once won a bikini competition at one of Sydney's beaches, which I thought was so awesome but also weird, because I only ever knew her as an elderly woman (albeit a very cool and funny one).

The whole thing really made me wonder about the tales that people have to tell … the everyday and not-so-everyday events that combine to create their life story, and it made me sad that I had never made more of an effort to find out all my grandparents' stories before they passed away - they are all gone now.  So I have decided to try to gather as many tales and photographs as I can in order to create a big, crazy family record … I'm thinking that a couple of gatherings with wine and my laptop should kick things off nicely and then I can go from there :)

2 June 2015

the cottage | kangaroo valley

Last week, I took a couple of much-needed days off work and treated myself to a long weekend at The Cottage in Kangaroo Valley, around two hours' drive south of Sydney.  Owned by talented artist and stylist (and, as I discovered through emailing, generally all-round lovely person) Lisa Madigan, The Cottage is beautifully photogenic and full of gorgeous little vignettes and thoughtful touches - in short, I was in a wee bit of cozy heaven, all warm and happy despite the cold outside :)  I also loved having a kitchen bigger than a matchbox (unlike my teeny tiny galley kitchen at home), and those benchtops!  The white walls!  The rustic floorboards!  The linen sheets!  The Aesop toiletries!  The exclamation points!  Sigh!  Here are a few photos ...

5 May 2015

hong kong | lantau island

I booked my flights to Italy (way back when ... this post is super overdue!) on such short notice that I had an unavoidable seventeen hour stopover in Hong Kong on my way home.  Oof!  Upon landing in Hong Kong, I unsuccessfully tried to get on an earlier flight but it was not to be, so I decided to head over to the airport hotel to hire a room so that I could shower, change my clothes, and head out to explore.  I was pretty jet lagged and opted to visit nearby Lantau Island, primarily because getting there required minimal effort (I really was just so sleepy!).  Upon setting foot outside the airport's air-conditioned goodness, I discovered that it was approximately a thousand degrees out in the real world (and the humidity, good grief!).  Wow it was hot.  I caught the hotel's free shuttle bus to a nearby shopping centre, wandered around in circles trying to find the ticket office for the Island and then, upon finding it, proceeded to queue for a very long time to buy my tickets, and then joined another massive queue to catch the Ngong Ping cable car across the bay to the Island.

Lantau Island was lovely but to be honest, I was so hot and miserable that I didn't love it as much as I otherwise might have.  My camera seemed to weigh an absolute ton, schlepping around in the heat just felt like a massive, unreasonable effort, and I was hungry but having trouble finding something meat-free to eat (I gave up eating meat just over a year ago ... I am now a pescetarian, though saying it makes me cringe somewhat as it sounds a little precious).  And oh, the endless stairs to get to the Tian Tan Buddha ... Basically I was just a bit of a whiny crankypants that day, though I had no-one to whine to, so I just whined to myself on the inside ;)

Anyway, in amongst the internal whining and searching for food, I did manage to take a few photos with my inordinately heavy camera, and here they are, if you would like to see.  Overall, I am very aware that I only saw a fraction of what the Island has to offer, but that's ok.  I felt much better after going back to my hotel room and having a nap (probably would have been wise to nap first, explore later but eh, lesson learned!).

The apartment buildings in Hong Kong are incredible!

I took this photo out the window of the cable car.  Readers who know me in real life will not be surprised to learn that I developed motion sickness whilst on the cable car, and spent most of the interminable (okay, 25 minute) trip praying that I wouldn't throw up on the family who had the misfortune of sharing the cabin with me.

Make a wish ... (I did not, although I wish that I had ... oh, see what I did there??).


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