So far over the last three weeks I have come home covered in glitter, glue, fabric dye, food dye and flour. I have certainly had a blast at this kindergarten teaching practicum and I have been lucky enough to be working with an amazing mentor teacher and co-educators. Life has been full on this week with completing an essay for a fourth year uni subject and having to go to work plus keep up with my other two subjects – I have to say I am feeling pretty tired. But tomorrow night I get to go out and have a drink or two with my work mates – yay!!
Oh and the cute bear on the glitter chair is one of the completed bears from the Year 5/6 cohort at my daughters school that I volunteer for, it came out so well.
So the kids have been so busy crafting and the windows are covered in so many Chrissy themed items, I am a bit of a fan of these stained cellophane windows which I had to cut out the other day with a scalpel, one of the joys of teaching! There has been so much glitter everywhere I go that I have had to dust it up and recycle it for another project, the kids go crazy with it!
Also the time we have in the arvo together to reset the class has been fun too. Recently we have been putting on music and getting everything prepped for the next class! I cannot believe I have been on my prac for 3 weeks already and it is nearly over. We were very lucky to have a dragonfly visit our classroom the other day when we were prepping the class, there are so many critters that come be as the creek surrounds the kinder. Across the road from my work, at the lake, is this amazing tree in bloom. It is a Silky Oak and I just love the flowers it produces as the colour is incredible. I had to look it up as I had no idea what it was and the flower reminded me of a grevillea so I did a internet search and finally found its name. Going for lunch by the lake, it is full of life with so many water birds and a perfect place to recharge when I am at the kinder for a full day.
Last Friday I met my friend in the city for a couple of drinks at an old favourite water hole in the city – Hells Kitchen. We used to head over there every week, when we worked in publishing and hang out and drink the night away before heading on the train – feeling quite happy! After our drinks we went across the way to have some delicious dumplings before checking out Federation Square and the Xmas tree and all the cool decorations. Its so good to be back in Australia for a hot Chrissy, though it is not feeling like summer at all with 18 degree celsius days.
And an update on our house, the carpenters have been super busy and have framed most of the house and now the scaffolding is up for the roof. Also there are a couple of windows in place with the curved walls downstairs, it is so close yet so far!! We are so keen to move in 😀
Last week was so nice just to hang out and catch up on my Uni work and have a little bit of freedom to meet a friend for lunch and do some volunteering at my daughters primary school. I am back to Uni again this week and after being caught up, I now have two more assignments to complete in the next two weeks. Still it keeps me occupied and I enjoy it.
See those delicious rice paper rolls up there – they are from a local vegan Vietamese cafe in Coburg that I was really excited to check out. The food was so fresh and the tea was divine so I am looking forward to going back again soon!
Apart from chilling last week, I enjoyed some time at the gym and seeing the blooms of spring appearing – bring it on I say! I do miss the sunshine of California but it is winter, so it is to be expected. I have also been uploading DVDs from way back when and they are hilarious, if you want to check them out and see the kiddos and the cats back in the day they are on Vimeo.
And more exciting news on the house this week, with the bobcat excavating the back yard getting ready for the concrete foundation. We got a call the other day that these guys said they were digging out massive rocks and as you can see there are plenty. My hubby went out to have a chat with our architect and they decided that there’s enough stone underneath that the concrete can just go around them. So hopefully come Saturday we will see some concrete happening.
With all the excitement of moving into our new pad I totally lost it last week with getting an assignment in, meeting our architects and builder, going to the chiropractor and the delivery of our stuff from California! Yep it was a big week but at least we managed to go out for lunch with our friend to the Boot Factory for a delicious chai. For lunch, I had Cauliflower Black Turtle Bean Felafels with Beet Hommus and Smoked Bocconcini, amazing – I am so in love with the food there and the bonus is that this cafe is only a 10 minute walk away from our new digs 😀
Saturday was my early Mothers Day lunch at Smith and Daughters, a place I have been wanting to visit each time I have visited Melbourne and finally my wish came true. An all vegan menu and so delicious I will so have to go back for the Feast Me set menu next time! This time I enjoyed food from the brunch menu with the Meatball Sub, a Holy Basil cocktail and delightful little balls of sugar donuts, bombolini as a shared dessert – I felt so good after that incredible meal complete with a sugar high!
So on Monday we met our architects and builder to tie up some last minute changes before the contract papers go through. I am so excited that things are moving along – the colours for the interior of our house are above, as well as the black charred timber for the exterior and the white stone for the kitchen with the terrazzo for the bathroom and the colours for the kids rooms in the foreground – whew it is a huge project that is going to take 12 months to completion. And the pic next to the new house is The Great wall from America in our garage from our house in California. We went through many boxes over the weekend and all I can say is that it is time to donate more stuff to the Brotherhood of St Laurence – why did we ship so much stuff back?!? My craft supplies have to seriously be culled, boo hoo or I gotta get making 😀
And last Saturday was election day – the first time I had voted in Australia in 12 years! I remember I did a absentee vote for Kevin 07 when I was in Vancouver, Canada but since then I lost the privilege of voting! Anyway we went out to lunch with friends at my favourite place in Melbourne CERES at the Merri Cafe and I enjoyed a lovely flat white and the most amazing bowl of goodness the Merri Poke Bowl, so so good! The kids enjoyed the playground and they took me up into the treehouse and down into the termite hole and bombarded me with bark as a surprise – not cool! The weather was 21 degrees and it was an absolutely divine day.
As for Sunday the results of the election were appalling but sure if the fear drives the masses to vote for conservative governments then we just gotta keep fighting. We have to block that stupid mine up North and make sure the forests and land is taken care of in Australia that is why I have volunteered for the Greens – seriously we need the people power to stop this madness, climate change is real people and we do not need to blast the earth for more coal! Australia has plenty of wind and sunshine, the investment in renewables would be the best thing this country could do – but no, again thinking of the short term gain with no foresight for the future. Well there are enough people who have had enough plus I have seen this madness in America while I was living there when the Dump was elected and how depressing that was! What I saw was the energy in people to rise up in response to the bullshit that was being spouted, we just have to kick against those pricks and the time is now!
The weather here has been brutal with the heat but now we have finally had a cool change and I am now wearing a cardigan – that is Melbourne weather in a nutshell, four seasons in one week, well it used to be one day! I thought last week was my last week to create but as it turns out I have another week of creative fun! So this week I have made a denim skirt from a $10 pair of massive mens jeans and a dress out of some stretch fabric (my friend gave me a whole roll of red stretch fabric) and I found some cotton fabric at the Salvos, also some hair bands for the gym from the stretch fabric scraps and a hat from kimono fabric. It is incredible how resourceful you can be when you have a minimal amount of fabric to work with.
Next move is in the works for this year and I started looking at rental properties last weekend as builders are checking out the house to give us a price for the extension of our 2 bedroom to extend to a 3 bedroom with open plan living and dining. I am excited about it all, but living in this current state of flux is difficult. We have just moved back here and our stuff from California is in the middle of the ocean on a container and we have to think about moving house again! Lucky this house is all clear of all the stuff from 12 years ago (thank you Brotherhood of St Laurence and Red Rabbit rubbish removals) and we have a few boxes to move but the arrival date of the furniture, clothes, books, craft and kitchen items are arriving end of March, yikes! We have one month grace period, where Allied International can hold our stuff at their warehouse – so I have to manifest a new place for us by the end of April. Again depending on the schedule of the builder is whether we will stay here or be moving in the next couple of months. I hope the extension starts sooner rather than later as we started working on this huge project in August 2017!
I am thankful that I have my machines to keep me company as the move back has been way harder than I imagined with the integration into a new community as a new migrant to Australia. I imagined that amazing little island paradise I was living back in Mountain View with our incredible parent community so it would be easy to come in and make friends. But that was a community I was a part of since Kindergarten – so that made sense I was fully immersed within it. Here it is a lot harder to make friends even though Aussies are super friendly! I have met two 5th grade parents which is something but everyone has their own lives so it is tricky to be the newbie and try and even hang out with local folks. Even at the gym, I say hi to a bunch of people but again it is not the same as the wonderful ladies I spent a lot of time with over there. The peeps at the gym are friendly and we chat about how hardcore the classes are and have a good laugh at our lack of fitness which is a lot of fun and great for my mental health. I have friends here who I catch up with on the weekends but generally it can get a bit lonely during the week but once I get back into study it will be best that I keep to myself and get my butt into gear. It is good to get out and socialise so we went to the city over the weekend to go to the art shop to gather supplies and track down some Mexican food at Guzman y Gomez. Nothing as good as Mexican food in Los Angeles and SF but the tacos were pretty good with the tasty chipotle salsa, yummo!
The kids have found some friends at school and I am happy as long as they come home with a smile on their faces, so I am feeling good about their schools and their time here. It has been just over 2 months back here and our routine is set with walking to school in the morning and I am off to the gym for some exercise and time out. It feels like a natural transition now and I am feeling at home but each day as I look around and listen to the birds and the trams I think, wow it is real – I am back in the inner city of Melbourne complete with the disgusting smell of cigarette smoke! BTW hardly anyone smoked cigarettes in the Bay Area so I got used to the lack of smoke in the air there except when there was bushfires and bad pollution days 😦
It has been one month back home in Australia already and the time has flown by. This relocating business has really been intense! I have completed my draft for my last assignment which is two lesson plans for Teaching Science and Technology, so now to proofing and getting it submitted while the kids are at school so I can enjoy some free time. Nope, the kids are still at home on school holidays as the school has two pupil free days and the kids are back on the 31st! Sounds like I am counting down and yes I am as the time is coming that I will really lose my shit as this solo parenting this is getting stale!
I have had to get up early and take morning walks around the neighbourhood to keep my mind in a sane state of being and my Qi Gong really helps but not having one minutes peace is really starting to grate on me. Even when I try to get them to bed early they are still chatting, god help me when school starts and I have to get them out the door in the morning?!?
As I am walking around these gorgeous streets of my hood full of so many homes with character, I am taking pictures of how I imagine our garden to be when our remodel is underway. The succulent garden above is just superb as an addition to the streetscape outside someone’s house, the little rocks super easy to care for but not so good for scratching chickens in the garden? I have fallen in love with the princess gum tree as we need to choose a tree for our garden as part of the plan, the flowers on the tree are stunning. Hopefully, it will work out though at 6 metres tall it may be too big? We will see – I am so excited about the remodel and being back at the house is really making me think how amazing it will be when it is finally done.
We have a little venomous friend out the front of our house – she is a Redback Spider – here she is with her little woolly ball egg sac fully of 250 spiderlings. She is a very protective mama of her little spiderlings and we see her come in and out of her hiding spot about 8 feet above us in the eaves of the front of the house. One day she will die (they can live for up to 2 years) but for now, I am respecting her space and letting her be, the Redback will bite if disturbed but otherwise they live in peace and we can leave her alone. I was a bit concerned about the spiderlings so I contacted the Melbourne Museum and they said the spiderlings take to the wind on little threads of silk and find other places to make webs and survive – that is if they survive. It is funny when I first saw her I wanted to kill her but now I am protesting for her life and the kids were trying to buy bug spray at the supermarket today, thing is you can kill this one but there are more spiders out in the garden and around the house so they will always be there. At least we can observe her and see what she gets up to in her little safe haven – catching other insects for us while she is up there.