My families adventure on the road to oz via Germany

Update from RAK! - 12th September

Posted by Crazy Orange One
10:53, Tuesday 25 May 2010 .. 0 comments .. Link
Well so much has happened over the last couple of weeks, I’m sorry I’ve been too busy to update my blog but at least I’ve managed to upload some photos on facebook!

So we’ve had a 2 weeks teaching now and 1 week left before the holiday. Classes are fine etc. Loving everything about being here. Spending plenty of time down at Hilton Beach club and just generally enjoying life.

Last weekend Becky made dinner for a few of us to celebrate the end of the first teaching week which was really nice. There was me, Becky, Poonam, Tracy and Patricia. We had a really nice laugh and it was just nice.

This weekend we had a new teachers meal at Al Hamra with all the governors of the school. We ended up at the top table with management, which was interesting. Then we went to Sailing club as it was Patrick and Nancy’s birthdays so we went to celebrate. R was there playing in a band and he kept talking to me. It was the first time we’d really had a proper chat.

But then on Friday me and Linda were heading out to go to the Golf club for Internet when Maureen came home with her son. And OMG he is lovely! So I was thinking OMG he’s so nice. And when they went inside I expressed this to Linda. 5 minutes later Maureen came back out to get her house keys from the car. Linda said he’s got a nice car and I was like yeah nice car for a nice guy! We started giggling so Maureen asked what she’d missed. Linda said ahh Melissa was just saying how good looking she thinks your son Gareth is. I tell you at that moment I wanted to ground to swallow me up. Maureen said he’s got a good heart as well. Then as if it couldn’t get any worse she asked is he single then pointed directly at me. Maureen then put her hands together and was like oh we shall have to see about getting you two together.

So that night we were at the Sailing Club and he spent the evening flirting with me. Part way through the night he was getting money out of his mams purse as she kept telling him to get money out for her to buy drinks and he looked at me and went I’m raiding my mams purse I said isn’t that what all children do. He said I’m not a child I’m a real man! So then later on he got someone to take a photo of the two of us. Then a little later still he pulled his mam into a photo on one side of him and then pulled me in tight on the other side. He seems really sweet and he along with Michelle and Becky came back to mine for more drinks. I was then ill in the loo for a while as I had drank too much and when Michelle kept suggesting he could go he kept saying no not till I know Melissa’s ok! So eventually I pulled myself round and he was dancing round my living room like a mad man dragging me up to dance and I was actually really impressed by his ability to dance.

After Michelle went home he came and cuddled up with me on the sofa and it felt sooo right. He eventually kissed me and I was on another planet because it really felt good. He did try it on as is to expected he’s a man after all. But I calmly told him no not while we were drunk and that when that sort of thing happened we’d both be sober

Then when he finally left my flat about 3am he kissed me goodnight and I told him I would like to see him again as I liked him and he smiled and kissed me again. This means that hungover I’m not sure if this is the possible start of a relationship or not. Unfortunately he went back to Dubai today before I got a chance to speak to him.

I went to see Maureen to try and find something out and she told me he was back in Dubai and that she would catch up with me later in the week as she was off out. But he’d told her I’d been ill as she knew and that means he must have spoken to her about me. I hope she tells me he feels the same! I’ve added him as a friend on facebook so I am hoping that just maybe he’s already accepted me as a friend and sent me a message. I know its early days but I do really like him so fingers crossed everyone that he might like me too. He really seems sweet and I enjoyed being with him and well I reckon he’d be pretty cool. As he’d not be in my face all the time as he works away quite a bit with him being an air steward for Emirates and of course living in Dubai. But at the same time he has somewhere to stay here which isn’t mine in the early days plus his mam seems to have given us her consent, so she’ll be fine if he’s coming over to see me and staying with her. OHHH!!! I’m really going to have to keep myself busy so I don’t think about him too much until I know what’s happening. Going to have to catch up with Maureen as well as soon as possible. Really hope he gets in touch soon! It’s gonna drive me nuts otherwise.

Anyway, today we went to Spinneys to buy Pork as its the only place you can buy pork in RAK so I now have pork chops, bacon and ham! YEAH!!!!

Then tonight we were heading to Tower Links to use Internet and trying to find a taxi when a lovely family pulled over and offered us a lift part of the way. They seemed ok so I agreed. The guys turned out to be Australian and the wife and her part of the family were living in Abu Dhabi. So we got chatting and I said probably a small chance but not sure which school my friend works at do you know by any chance a Mr Cooney. And you will never guess the youngest child was like thats my teacher. So tomorrow Steve will get one of his children say I gave your friend a lift last night in RAK and she said to say hi she’s fine!

But what are the chances of that?

Anyway, I must go to bed now as really tired after 2 nights going to bed after 3am and still waking up at 6am! So need to try and catch up a bit of sleep for work. Last week before the holiday week! YEAH! Hoping to go to Dubai during the week either with Poonam to see her friend Shannon or to see Gareth if its a green light! Also hoping that my VISA is through in time so I can sort out a car and that Les manages to get across from Oman for a few days!

Will keep you posted and will try and not let it be so long in between postings next time!

RAK Days 12-14 My Hard weekend and First Teaching Day!

Posted by Crazy Orange One
10:46, Tuesday 25 May 2010 .. 0 comments .. Link

Well, Thursday night was pretty random! First went to Golf club to meet up with everyone and everyone was quite happily chilling out. Most staff were there and we all settled down for a few drinks. Then the guys from the Kayaking turned up and joined us. Rick and Bob, spent most of their time chatting with us whereas the younger lads headed off earlier. Between them they drove us all to the Sailing club which is a shack in the middle of nowhere close to where we live. We had a laugh there before eventually making our way home. I managed to get a lift with Rick at 2am, but others finally made it home, some walking back at 4am! So it was a good but pretty random night. I got a shock at how old Rick was as I thought he was mid 30’s and he turned out to be at least 46! But he was a good laugh and he’s going to arrange my PADI (diving) qualification once I have a group of 6-8 of us arranged.

So what did I do the on Friday, the first day of the weekend? Well, I got up late then grabbed a taxi with Dean and Michelle to head to Home Centre, got there to find it was closed until 7pm due to Ramadam! So we walked to Carrefour, then got a taxi back. Headed down to Hilton Beach club around 3pm which on foot was quite a challenge. Its only a 10minute walk but in the mid-day heat its a challenge and makes you feel like you’ve done a workout by the time you get there! Spent a few hours just chilling round the pool and feeling sorry for the poor people who were only here on holiday. Its mad when you sit surrounded by tourists who are trying to max their sun time before they go home so that they get a tan when we can go everyday and enjoy the facilities, sun, beach and pool! It’s such a hard life here!

Then got back home around 6:45pm and headed out for a taxi to Home Centre with Dean, Michelle and Tony at 7pm! I managed to pick up a few bits and pieces to help make the apartment feel even more like home. Managed in particular to get a wicker style drawer system, as I had no drawers for underwear and socks. But paid AED 90 for it which is about 17 euros! I reckon the same thing back home would have been at least 50 euros! Also got some really nice bedside lamps for AED 50 each which is about 10 euros! Their orange and now I no longer have to keep getting up to turn light off

Was back at apartments for around 8:30pm and headed straight out with Paul and Tony to head to the Corniche for food at Casears. We had a really nice meal here and there was soo much to eat and it came to around 13euros each! So eating out here is quite cheap as this is one of the more exclusive establishments in RAK! Then headed to the Hilton Town Hotel for drinks and bumped into John there! Got a shock at John’s age! Maybe its just me but the men here who are in their 40’s look like their in their 30’s! Maybe international teaching is the way to stay looking young! So we had a few drinks and left there around 1am!

Saturday (day 2 of weekend) was spent first being indecisive, as Michelle and Dean wanted me to join them at the Golf club to use the internet but I knew Roger and Kay had said they would ring if they were heading to beach and I was torn as I knew it wouldn’t be long before they rang. So I started walking to find taxi with them when Roger rang and said he would pick me up in 30mins. So I ended up heading back. Hence still no Facebook activity since I got here!

Roger and Kay picked me up around 1:45pm and we drove to the Hilton where I finally signed up and paid my membership fees! I then headed to the beach to spend time with them. We swam in the sea and saw fish swimming round us. Then as they were getting ready to leave, John turned up looking for me as he had brought his diving book down to show me. So we chilled out and then swam more in the sea. Finally, we headed towards the pools and there we bumped into a load of the others. Karen, Nancy, Tom (our principles son), Tony and the couple who live in our building who have a 7 month old baby, but whose names escape me at the moment. (Update: Vicky and Patrick)

Finally, around 7:30pm I headed back to the apartments with Tony.

So finally, today! Well today was my first teaching day. I had my tutor group all day. But it started with assembly and guess what! I hate the way new staff are always introduced to the school! Last year it was me mis hearing Claude’s surname this year it was another teacher who had Mac...... as a surname. Thankfully it wasn’t so obvious today! As we were standing up anyway I kinda went to wave and then realised and stopped! But I really hate how they do that and wish they would learn to speak more clearly! Bloody head teachers! LOL!

Anyway, I have 7D who are a really nice group. Although I do have one who I can see as a potential nuisance! He reminds me loads of Mark Sweeny! For those of you who are not Pennywell staff. Mark was in my GCSE class the 2 years I was at Pennywell and was always my nuisance not because he was nasty or a particularly naughty but because he was the class clown! I will never forget Sweeney and all his pranks..... grabbing my hand to his neck and pretending I was strangling him to him pretending he was masturbating in my lesson! And now I have this little un in year 7 who I wouldn’t put past him to turn into Mark in a few years time. So we’ve already had a little chat about the time and place for his humour! But I like my group and I reckon they’ll do me proud although they do have a hard act to follow after I had 8.1 last year!

Well, I got to go as off to Hilton for a swim before heading to Home Centre and Carrefour. Also, going to go to Starbucks to see if I can use their wireless internet so I can access Facebook and post some photos and email you all!

RAK Day 9-11 Tuesday-Thursday

Posted by Crazy Orange One
10:38, Tuesday 25 May 2010 .. 0 comments .. Link

Well lets start with Tuesday and the dreaded 4:30am pick up! OMG! That was sooo bad! It was like 3:30am and I was getting up thinking what on earth am I doing? Am I mad? But no this day was the team building exercises day! Fun Fun Fun! So we all met downstairs at 4:30am and were then driven by school drivers to school where we were met by the instructors..... who were all Fit! Proper well and truly Fit! Girls the day had just got better and it was only 5am! 

So we were divided into teams for the activities and as expected I was with Roger, but I was also with Paul (the sexy French teacher) and he was being really sweet, but then they split our group further and so I was no longer going to get the chance to suss him out!  But to be honest I was quite distracted by the instructors who were really nice! Did I already tell you that? LOL!

Anyway, we were driven to the Police Training Grounds on the Corniche where we would be doing our Kayaking! So we all got ready and headed down to the side of the river. In our teams we were then challenged to get all members of the group through a piece of rubber in the quickest time. We thought we had it but were beaten by another team, then the guys said that we were rubbish that the quickest time the day before had been just over 2 seconds. I knew then that my initial suggestion that maybe it would stretch round us all must have been right. So when we did this our team got the quickest time.

It was then time to get water shoes on and whilst doing this I found out that you should never pick a fight with a palm tree! I started to loose my balance trying to put the shoes on and managed to wack my wrist off the palm tree leaf. Probably your sitting there thinking yeah and big deal. Well put it this was it instantly drew blood and I now have a bruise which is around 3 fingers wide in both directions! So the moral of the story is that they might look pretty but their viscious!

Anyway, we went to the water and there was an odd number of us so I volunteered to go alone in the kayak as I’d done it before at LJS. So it was about 6am in the morning by now and off we went down the river. We played British Bulldog and I won Then we started to play tag with a ball and as I leaned to get the ball ..... yes you guessed it..... in I went! Well someone had to be the first to fall in I guess, but I wish it wasn’t always me! At least the water was warm! And cleaner than the Tees was when I fell in there! Anyway, we had a good laugh playing all sorts of games and then when trying to stand up on the Kayaks I ended up in a few more times! LOL! Unfortunately climbing in and out of the Kayak caused me to have a small asthma attack so I had to get the speedboat back to dry land!

When back on dry land everyone was coming up to check I was ok as they were worried about me, which was really nice. As soon as my principle found out he came to check up on me too, and then opened up about how he was also asthmatic and he’d found he needed his inhaler after falling in a few times the day before. But I thought it was really nice that he is so down to earth and cared enough to check up on me, and he kept doing so as the day went on!

I really find it so settling how much everyone here cares about everyone else and everyone is really caring and friendly!

So that night I got back and was still suffering from sunstroke which was what stopped me taking part in the mountain biking and climbing. But the guys at the place when we got back to their base kept feeding me orange juice with salt in, because they said it was obvious that my salt levels were low. But they were really sweet about it saying that I shouldn’t beat myself up over not taking part in everything, when I hadn’t been here that long and so was probably still acclimatising to what is extreme heat from the UK. I mean its nearly 5pm here and its still 42.5 degrees Celsius. So when I got home around 2:30pm I fell asleep on the sofa and woke around 8pm had some food and went to bed!

Next day we were back in meetings which departmentally were fine as Roger is laid back and pretty much giving me free rein to do as I want with the classes I have. I also got to meet Shammee (UPDATE: Shammi) who will be my assistant tutor with my year 7 tutor group. Who I will meet on Sunday!

Dean and Michelle arrived looking completely knackered, but it was good to chat with them. There are now 4 Mackums in the secondary staff here I did my best to give them help finding their feet filling them in on what I knew about shopping, phones, net access etc. Although talking to Michelle earlier today I think their finding the different pace between here and the UK quite a shock to the system. Thing is as I told them International Schools are a different world and so much more laid back about everything so they just need to chill out a little as things will happen eventually! But they seem happy enough and that’s what matters!

Today, was a planning day and so I spent the day in my room which now doesn’t have any chairs suddenly! But I got loads of planning done and have now completed a whole scheme of work for year 7 for the next 4 weeks, which will take us up to Eid break at the end of Ramadam. Chris has said he wants to follow my scheme not the old one and Roger said he liked what I had done! He also seems to have this false impression that I’m actually really organised! How wrong could he be? But I suppose I am being quite organised at the moment. No idea how long it will last!

Anyway, its the weekend now and everyone is going to Tower Links Golf club tonight. So I need to be ready for 7:30 when we’ll head out to find taxi’s! Need to make an effort tonight aswell as I’ve heard that R (a nice Ozzie guy) is going to be there and Tony told me that he’s definitely single so need to try and get some time to chat to him as I really like him. But at the same time I really liked some of the instructors from the team building exercise who are also going to be there tonight. This I know as I bumped into one of them in Carrefour last night!

So better go have a shower and decide what I’m going to wear! Might have a quick kip first though!

RAK Day 8 (August 2009)

Posted by Crazy Orange One
10:33, Tuesday 25 May 2010 .. 0 comments .. Link

Yes, I’m now officially into my 2nd week in RAK!!!!! And you know something I feel really content here. I have made a number of good friends, the management are all good people who have already gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and valued. My apartment is slowly looking more and more me And I am gradually getting used to the call to prayer from the mosque behind our building. Thankfully its on the opposite side of the building to my bedroom which means I don’t get woke up by the 4:30am call!

Roger, my head of department is great. He’s quite a silent man, but what I really like about him is that he is straight. He says things as they are and that gives me a feeling of comfort, as I believe that he would say something if I did something wrong so I’d know and be able to put it right. As you all know this is how I prefer people to be with me. He’s also a really good bloke, he’d been and cleaned out my room from the previous member of staff and sorted a lot out for me. All the resources I need are sorted and available to me. He’s also giving me pretty much free rain to plan what I teach to KS3 (yr 7 and 8) as I’m the only person teaching yr 8 and then in yr 7 I’m teaching all bar 2 classes. 1 of which is being taught by Roger and the other by Chris. So I’m looking at implenting schemes for KS3 this year. Just got to think of some themes now Also, as I’m the only one teaching the 3 yr IGCSE course, he’s leaving it up to me to work out how I will spread a traditional 2 year course over 3 years. So I’m pretty happy with the set up, my timetable is fine! I like my classroom, although it is a slightly odd layout because I have the stairs in my room. Its kind of a fat L shape! But its fine and its nice to be out of the closet rooms I’ve had in my last 2 schools! So work wise all is well! Although it has to be said that I think some of the staff need to stop complaining and take a reality check! It appears from some of the meetings today that we have a few wingers on staff, who want others to do their classroom management for them! I can’t help thinking that staff like this need a week in Pennywell!!!! 

So it’s 4pm here and Roger dropped me back at my apartment as I missed the bus due to emailing friends back home. But it was really nice of him, and just another example of how willing he is to look after me. I’m heading out to Carrefour soon as need to get some lunch in for tomorrow. Tomorrow is the dreaded team building day out in the mountains. It has the potential to be really good but at the same time I’m not really sure about it due to the heat. I mean its 46.4 degrees C and its after 4pm! Plus the bus is picking us up at 4:30am !!!! AGGGHHHH!!!!! I don’t do mornings!!!!!! But sure once I start to wake up in the morning I will enjoy it! Will get loads of photos if nothing else!

RAK Days 6-7 Saturday and Sunday (August 2009)

Posted by Crazy Orange One
10:29, Tuesday 25 May 2010 .. 0 comments .. Link

Well Saturday had a very slow start. I think the tiredness is finally starting to catch up with me. Maybe the 3 ended candle is burning low.

Anyway, I was chilling watching Shopaholic DVD when my new head of department turned up to see me. He’s a really nice man called Roger and he’s a man of few words but seems friendly enough.

He was off to the beach with his wife and son and asked if I would like to join so off I went to the beach. His son Jordan is yr 8 and seems like a nice enough kid. His wife Kay was really nice too. They all made me feel really welcome and apparently they only arrived this time last year. But it was really nice, chilling with them, swimming in the sea and the swimming pools. Although I did manage to get a little sunburnt 

Other than that, I spent the rest of Saturday finally cleaning my wardrobe and unpacking my clothes. Before sleeping some more. On Saturday night Poonam gave me some Indian tablets to settle the stomach upset which was still a little bit of a problem and thankfully by the end of Sunday, I was feeling much better.

Sunday, was our first day of work where all staff would be present. It was the whole school in the theatre all day...the usual boring first day back talks. But once it was over it was nice to escape back to the apartements to chill. I however, chilled too hard and fell asleep loosing the rest of the day! It was gone 8:30pm when I finally woke up, so I went to see Tony who told me all about our French teacher. His comment: Have you seen the French teacher, he’s a good looking bloke – you should get in there before the other single girls do. Well of course we all know I have a little soft spot for French men, something about the accent! So I told him to point him out to me next time, but was still a little taken back that he’d pointed this out to me in the first place.

Not long after that I headed to bed after we’d had a short walk to the local shop, to see what they sell! And as a corner shop it isn’t too bad!

RAK Day 5 (August 2009)

Posted by Crazy Orange One
10:25, Tuesday 25 May 2010 .. 0 comments .. Link

Well, last nights social event at Tower Links was ok. The club laid on food and I had a few games of Pool. One against Tony (my Oz friend) and two against Chris (a fellow Mackum who will also be teaching ICT). Then got a taxi back with Karen. Taxi’s here cost between 5 and 20 AED depending on time of day and where in the city you travel from and to. 5 AED is about 1 euro or 80/90pence. 20 AED is about 4 euros £3.60. So taxi’s are really cheap here, but the main problem is getting one. You have to collect numbers from drivers which are good as there is no central point which you can ring for a taxi from. Hence, getting one from our apartments can be a little tricky. On the whole during the day you can easily flag one down as were on the main route to the Hilton Beach Resort. But getting one in the evening we found tonight is difficult. So me and Tony set off for Carrefour around 8pm to get a few things. We decided to walk in the direction of Carrefour with the intention of being able to flag a taxi down along the way. We got about 5 mins out of the place when I managed to mis-step and yes you got it I had my first accident. I have a nice shiner across my left shin and I’ve slightly twisted my left ankle during the fall. But I’ll survive, it just annoyed me that I had managed to hurt myself yet again!

Anyway, we managed to flag a taxi down soon after and I hobbled around Manor Mall and Carrefour getting the bits and pieces I needed before getting a taxi back to the apartment. Now we know our way around a bit its getting easier to explain to the drivers where we live. But next week I’m going to go sort out car hire. It will give me my independence back a little more as although taxi’s are cheap, I wouldn’t want to be catching them on my own at night. So a hire car will be the first stage before my residency visa comes through and then I can buy a car of my own 

I was meant to go on the bus to Dubai today, but I was so tired when I woke up and felt a little sick with tiredness so I stayed at home and actually slept most of the day, so next weekend when I’ve got my car I’mj going to drive to Dubai to have a look around the place and maybe go to IKEA for a mattress topper for my bed!

Tomorrow, I’m going to have a lie in and then complete my unpacking as I now have coat hangers to hang my clothes up. Plus I have cleaning fluid to wash the wardrobes out first as their a little dusty. Might have a walk to the beach in the afternoon if its not too hot. Weather today reached around 45 degrees! So there’s no sign of it cooling down yet although humidity I think is dropping which is making the heat a lot more bearable! Need to get my membership to Hilton sorted next week so I can start going for a swim each day!

Off to bed now, got a bit of a jippy stomach. Everything I eat goes straight through me today.... but I guess short term its good for weight loss! LOL 

RAK Days 3-4 (August 2009)

Posted by Crazy Orange One
10:17, Tuesday 25 May 2010 .. 0 comments .. Link

First of all, yesterday we had a very busy day. Starting off with a trip to Al Hamra Fort hotel, where we were given a tour of the facilities available to members. This was a very nice resort but it was also the most expensive of all the resorts which we have been shown. We then headed across the car park for a tour of Al Hamra Golf Club, which is a nice resort  but again very expensive. However, I did get a free golf lesson in the mid-day sun! Which was very mad dogs and English men! Best of all I managed to just about hit the ball with a good projectile to 100m reasonably consistently. So maybe my previous experience of this has been not so good because maybe David just wasn’t such a good teacher and thats how he ended up being clubbed round the head the last time he took me to the driving range!

Did get a little sun stroke after the golfing as I had forgotten my hat! But I was fine after a couple of paracetamol.

Oh I haven’t mentioned yet about Poonam. Poonam is a lovely Indian girl who I have met and we have become quite close. She’s about 2 months older than me and we just seem to have jelled really nicely! Then there’s Becky who is Canadian (update: American), nice enough but I can’t always work out what she’s thinking. Maureen is an older version of me when it comes to being a Japanese tourist! She’s definitely taken more photos than me so far! Ellis is a nice Scottish lass who was here last year and has been doing some of the tours, she’s a really good laugh and has now made me social co-ordinator for my building.

Update on the men: J is married with children who are joining him later. But last night I met the principles son who is really nice. He’s only 27 and apparently his girlfriend is back in London but he doesn’t want to go back. But anyway, its looking very much more like I will have to go up to Dubai to meet myself a nice single young man! Luckily I have plenty going on anyway to keep me busy!

Roy our principle had spent all morning with us out and about in the bus at Al Hamra which was nice as it was good to chat with him. He’s Australian and very nice, genuine guy. The total opposite it has to be said to Mike! Last night he had a party/BBQ at his house for all new staff. There were tons of people there and he was so hospitable. His wife Marleen is lovely as well; a really nice woman. She’s organising us a trip to IKEA at Dubai tomorrow, so we can get a few bits and pieces in that we feel we still need. I’m going to look at buying a mattress topper as I will never get used to how hard the mattress’ are here!

But yesterday afternoon I got my aircargo.... yeah!!!! It was brilliant as I now have all my gadgets and so it feels more like home! I’m sat here just chilling in my flat playing Shania Twain. Home sweet home 

Then finally yesterday we went to Cove Rotana, which was amazing views and really nice pools which were built into the side of the mountain, looking out to sea! The place was lovely and the gym was actually quite nice. So I now have a difficult decision to make about which to join. As Cove Rotana is further away but has a better gym than The Hilton. So think I will probably just wait to see where everyone else in my block is moving to and then go with the flow. At least that way I will be sure of company.

Today, was a very early start. We were picked up by bus at 7am! We were then taken to the RAK medical centre to have blood taken for HIV testing! I was not looking forward to this considering how much hassle I always have getting it done. Amazingly/Impressively the UAE nurse was able to find a vein and take blood for my arm in the normal place without any hassle at all! So either our nurses are crap or UAE nurses are amazing or maybe the heat of living here just means my veins are nearer the surface.

I did check the temperature when I got my baggage yesterday and at around 4pm it was 42.5 degrees with 77% humidity! It’s nearly 5pm here at the moment and temperature is 43.5 degrees but thankfully humidity is down to 23% today which is far more bearable. Even if my flat is still 33.5 degrees even with the air-conditioning throughout the apartment on!

Also went to get finger prints taken today and that was sooo funny! First of all the guys who were with us for the blood tests were told they couldn’t get there’s done before the blood test results were back, but the lasses were able to. Then we had to go down a ladies only section in the police station. Then 3 of our group were standing and this quite scary looking police woman told Karen to sit down and made 2 children move so she could. Karen who is lovely but of the quite bubbly, chatty type. Sat down silently, without any delay like a naughty school girl. We all found it quite funny as we’ve never known Karen to be silent since we got here but she said the woman was scary! Lets hope Karen can be scary with year 7 and 8 as she will be my head of year! Then we were all called behind the desk to get fingerprints done. But we kept getting told that as men had to walk through we had to stand well back in case they touched us!  We of course found this concept a little amusing. So then one of the gentleman officers got cross with the female officer so we got sent back to the ladies waiting area to keep us safe! Fingerprinting was digital, but now that and the blood tests are done we should apparently have our VISA’s within about 3-4 weeks! YEAH!!! Because then I can buy a car!

Then it was back to school to be shown the school network and introduced to the IB Diploma programme.

Then we went to Spinney’s where we did some food shopping but were most importantly able to buy pork products from a special room at the back of the shop!

Now, got to get dressed to head out as being picked up at 6pm to go to Tower Links Golf course, for a tour of facilities then an evening social event!

RAK Day 2 (August 2009)

Posted by Crazy Orange One
10:04, Tuesday 25 May 2010 .. 0 comments .. Link

First of all, what did I forget to tell you yesterday. Well, I forgot to tell you about the fun and games I’m having every time we get a taxi back to the apartments which are named Sunrise Apartments. Problem is that none of the taxi drivers know where it is and when you recognise where we are going they don’t listen. Also many of them speak very poor English so my Mackum accent is certainly making life more interesting. But hey its not all bad! I’m apparently 5 mins walk from the beach, I say apparently as I haven’t found the time to walk down there yet! But I’ll see the sea tonight as we’ve an outing at the Hilton Beach club later after a tour of RAK.

So today, we were picked up by school bus from the apartments at 8:40am insula, which means that the driver finally turned up at around 9.20am! But we arrived at school and although Roy (Principle) didn’t know who I was, having never spoken to me before. He seems quite nice and appears to know what he’s doing. Monty (head of secondary) however recognised me straight away and came over to talk to me and make sure I was settled. He said that when he called yesterday and I wasn’t there he was impressed as it showed him I was independent and confident enough just to go out and explore on my own. But Monty is a really nice guy and has a similar Ora to John (for non BSA friends that was my head at BSA) and of Tony (head at LJS). He knows what he is talking about and is very very open and approachable. So I feel quite confident that I will have the necessary support available to me.

This morning we had intro to phone systems and I should have broadband in my apartment within the next week! YEAH!!!! Then we had a talk about cultural awareness and there wasn’t really any surprises. However, I think you may find I’m one of the calmest people you know when you see me next as the following things are illegal

  • Road Rage
  • Gestures
  • Swearing

And it is socially unacceptable to loose your temper and to shout! So hey the new me begins now! Only other thing we found out was to do with the British couple who got arrested the other week for having sex on the beach. They deserved it more than the British media allowed to be known. I mean firstly they were being pretty stupid to be doing something like that in Dubai anyway, but they were actually asked by the police to stop, the police then walked away and came back a few minutes later to find them still at it. Hence, the police choose to arrest them, and they then proceeded to insult the police man. So they were very silly people who quite frankly deserve to be banned from entry to UAE! Also found out that emirates don’t believe Israel exists. Full stop as far as they are concerned the place is non-existent!

So anyway, I saw Roger’s classroom on the tour and was told mine was next door so had a very quick peer throught the window of mine which appears to be the same just a mirror image of his. And they are huge! It will definitely be my biggest room ever. For BSA staff you could fit 222 into the room about 3 times. For LJS friends try fitting C4 into it about 15 times and for my Pennywell friends about twice C9. So its pretty big and the layout appears to be pretty good too. The secondary section of the school only has 340 students with a total of 1200 across the site.  But the school site is huge!!! It feels bigger than any of my previous school sites. The corridors are the widest I have ever seen.

But I’m back at the apartment now just having some lunch as at 16:00 we are being picked up for a tour of RAK before being taken to The Hilton Beach Resort for a tour of facilities then a chill out by the pool!

I should explain also that there are 2 schools called RAKESS in RAK. They are sister schools, mine has been running since 1975 where as the sister school has only been open 2 years and is one which is only just getting a yr 8 this September. They have different principles but we share accommodation with them. Hence, I know I’ve got the right one as I was chatting to them about their interviews in London and they seemed very similar to our Amsterdam ones. Plus, they have been given no itinerary, visa’s were not ready for collection when they arrived etc etc. So definitely got into the right sister!

My boxes are apparently being picked up from the airport at the moment so hopefully I shall have them by the end of the day! But hey no-one knows as their not sure if my letter of permission for the school to collect will be good enough yet or not. I may end up having to go up with the driver to get them tomorrow otherwise.

Oh, so far the heat means I don’t feel like eating much. So I think the possibility of loosing weight here is high especially as I seem to do nothing but sweat when I’m outside and they say that going from hot to cold all the time makes your muscles work harder to keep your body at the right temperature etc. So hey up, you could be seeing a slimmer me very soon!

Girls: (boys may not wish to read this sections)

So far we seem to be far more women than men, but there is plenty of people from Oz. The guys all seem to be accompanied except 1 who has caught my eye. He teaches PE lets call him J. So we shall wait and see if there are any fit single men in the existing staff!

Lads (you can start reading again now!) LOL!

So how am I settling in, well the answer is really well! I think I could easily be quite happy here. I look forward to meeting Roger my head of department, and then the students the following week and then hopefully I will be still as happy and settled as I strangely feel now!

Hey ladies, sorry lads..... just had a few staff from the sister school knock to say hi and there was this really cute guy lets just call him A, so J Watch this space while I find out more over the next few days.

Anyway, I think I’m going to go and find my bikini and get ready to go on my bus tour of RAK and then to the Hilton Beach Club..... ey its such a hard life here! LOL!

Back from the Hilton Beach club...... well its beautiful but at the same time I think it costs a lot for what it is. But hey, I’m gonna look at all the options and then decide. Because the deal is membership free to RAK hotel, but not many staff use it partly because all the arab men hang out down there to watch ladies in bikinis. So if you don’t go there the school gives you the cost of the RAK hotel membership towards the one you choose and you pay the balance, which seems fair. But apparently the one we are going to tomorrow is planning to match the RAK hotel price, so we wont be paying anything for it either, so I’ll have to wait and see what I think.

Update on men, A has a girlfriend who works in my school but I can’t work J out! And men before you say it..... no I can’t just say are you single!!!!

Eating habits, think this place is definitely gonna help me loose weight..... with the heat I just don’t feel hungry at all. All I’ve had today is a pot noodle for lunch and I’m now sitting at 22:39 eating a cuppa soup, apple, glass of orange juice and some green tea. But I don’t feel hungry at all!!! Oh but you should be  proud of me because I actually ate breakfast.... yes it was a struggle, but then you cant beat coco pop cereal bars..... and they have them here yeah!!!!

Can’t wait to show you all the photos I’ve taken, when I can get them off the camera, only problem is that I can’t find my USB lead..... Kath it isn’t still in Amsterdam by any chance???? Will have to try and get hold of one because the card reader I have won’t let me access the card and wants to format it. This is a problem I’ve had before when using 1GB cards in card readers, so really need to find a lead for it pretty quickly! But I think you will like them. There’s some of the flat at its different stages of unpacking and sorting. Then there’s some from tonight at the Hilton Hotel where we were swimming by moonlight! All very nice!

Anyway, that’s about it! Going to sign off for today and finish this food before bed. As got another busy day tomorrow! With a party at the principles house afterwards! Oh and an all important run to the booze shop before it closes for Ramadam!

RAK Day 1 (August 2009)

Posted by Crazy Orange One
09:57, Tuesday 25 May 2010 .. 0 comments .. Link

Well, I know it maybe a few days before I can connect to the net and send this, but hey, I may aswell write it anyway so that you can see how my days have progressed!

Flight from Newcastle was good, even if it did feel quite long.... wish I had the ability to sleep on planes sitting up. Unfortunately as I had twisted my back a few days prior to flying I just couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep. But watched Ghosts of Girlfriends Past which was pretty good! Food was fab I had a lovely lamb curry, delicious..... then about an hour and a half before we landed we got ice cream, which really helped refresh me after my useless attempts at sleep. Was a little unsure about the flavour at first (sticky toffee pudding) but it wasn’t actually sickly. Conversation on flight was non-existent I must have been sat next to the most unsociable old fart ever. I said hello when I boarded and didn’t even get a response!

Arrived at Dubai airport, and as I stepped off the plane OMG the heat hit me! It was apparently only 34 degrees but it felt a hell of a lot hotter, more like 44 degrees. The heat here is very humid, although as its not too hot my body is slowly adapting. Although the changes in heat between indoors and outdoors is enough to make your glasses mist!

Anyway, the shuttle bus to the terminal took 30 mins and then once in the terminal I went to collect my visa from visa control which wasn’t too difficult. Had to go for a iris scan, but was able to use the ladies only lane so it was nice and quick. Then went through immigration and got everything stamped. All the emirates where really friendly. But when it came to going through the baggage scan.... I hit my first problem. And no Kath it wasn’t anything to do with my toys they got through without any questions asked. But they were a bit concerned about my hard disks which looked apparently like a machine. So everything in my orange hand luggage bag was taken out and I was asked to say what all the bits of IT equipment were. Then picked up bags off luggage belt and headed to find my driver. Headed out looking and then found the area and spotted my driver quite quickly.

Driver informed me that we were awaiting 2 other flights and I should go wait in the seating area for him. Well here lay the start of torture I was tired and just wanted my bed! I spent the time trying to work out if anyone looked like a teacher. Ended up talking to a few consultant teachers who were heading out to Abu Dhabi. Then finally about an hour later (2am UAE time) the driver came to get me saying everyone had arrived.

So off we trot to the school bus, our transport for the day. There was Lindsey, who is KS1 teacher from Inverness. Similar age to me I think but this is her first teaching job abroad and I think she’s only been teaching a short time. Then there was Frank and Kay, at a guess their in their 50’s as they’ve got one child mid 20’s and another just started Uni. It took about 1hr to get to RAK from Dubai and we were dropped off at the apartments, handed keys and told welcome packs were in the apartments.

I’m on the 1st floor of the building and the apartment is bigger than my Amsterdam one but is really missing a balcony! Never mind, the beach is 5 mins walk from here with the Hilton Beach club not far from that. My only complaint about the apartment other than the missing balcony is that the beds are solid! They really are harder than your bed Roland! And I thought that was impossible! So considering getting a thin mattress topper from IKEA when I get up there as I doubt I will get used to how solid this one is.

Anyway, school appears well organised, there was even a bunch of flowers waiting for me! Missing a few promised articals like pans but sure they will arrive as most things seem to be getting sorted quickly like my washer and cooker were only plumbed in today!

Been to Carrefour twice today at Manor Mall! Picked up food, cleaning stuff etc. And I also now have a UAE mobile. Got a good deal on it. Basically got a phone plus sim for 165 dihrams but I get it back in international call credit over the next 3 months. Effectively meaning I get a free phone and sim!

As for how I am..... the answer is fine! Calm, relaxed and I have a really good feeling about this as school seems organised.... Monty (Head of Secondary) called to see me today but I’d gone out. And everyone so far seems really friendly!

Anyway, getting picked up at 8:30am tomorrow for a day of orientation etc. And its now 1am! Oh well! Got to write these each day as so much is happening that if I don’t by the time I get online I’ll have forgotten it all! LOL!

More tomorrow...... well today really as you’ll have got the first few days in the same day! LOL!


Posted by ohippy
02:39, Sun 9 August 2009 .. 1 comments .. Link

Every year the main Body Shop conference is held in August in Mebourne so, as I am doing quite well, this year we all decided to go over for a weeks holiday.

We flew Tiger which was basic but at $90 each one way, not to be sniffed. Did the red eye flight over (aptly named for a 1am flight) and it took 3.5 hours. Got the skybus from the airport to Southern Cross Station and didn't see the best of Melbourne on the way through. It reminded me of old Market/ Easton in Bristol with lots of very old decript buildings, very built up, lots of tagging and high rise flats. Not a great start. We then got a free shuttle to the head office of where we were to stay to pick up the keys and then a taxi to our appartment. Taxis are plentiful in Melbourne which was great to see as in WA you really don't bother with taxis as there are so few of them. Our apartment was fantastic. Two beds, bathroom, and open plan kitchen and living room. There was a pool and gym too at the base of the building. All clean, modern and on the 20th floor so we had some fantastic views too although the balcony was scary !!

We spent a few days shopping (and didn't get anywhere near round them all - I could shop there for a year I think and still not see all the shops!) and also went to the visitor centre (which is really good!), gaol, DFO (outlet centre) and hopped on and off the free tourist shuttle and tram. We never really got to grips with the trams which run down the centre of the roads and had a few narrow misses !! We also, at night, went up to the 88th floor of the Eureka building and did 'The Edge' and have the photo and wristband to prove it !! Fantastic views - just wish we could have got the binoculars on the stadium Pink was playing in !! We even tried out the krispy creme doughnuts that everyone raves about but, I have to say, I don't get what is so special about them. Still, I must be missing something as on the flight home people were bring back boxes and boxes of them !!

On Friday  I had the Body Shop Business school so Paul and the girls hired a car and headed off to Philip Island where they saw the penguins, chocolate factory and spent many an hour (and $!) at the go karting circuit, they even stayed over night and came back via the aquarium on Saturday. I had my conference on the Saturday and was proud to be nominated for the Values award. I didn't win ... but there's always next year ! Then Saturday night was the gala masquade ball. Very dressy, must have been the first time I wore a dress since my wedding day but it did feel good to get all dressed up for a change.

Although the drink was free and flowing all night, Paul and I paced ourselves so Sunday morning we were able to get up and out without so much as a headache and we spent the day at the markets. There were three markets on that day but we only made two with my favourite being the one at the Arts Centre. Here there were all locally made arts and crafts including some fabulous cupcakes, beautiful pictures, scarves, jewellry etc etc. If we weren't already close to our luggage limit we probably would have bought more !

On the Monday we headed up on the train to Berwick where we met my online pal Hevs. We spent the day being shown the sites around the Dandenongs including lots of little villages we could have spent hours wandering around, feeding the wild parrots who ate out of your hand (and landed on your head !) and admiring the views. We saw areas where the bushfire hit in the summer and you just wouldn't believe it now. Obviously Hevs can see the difference as there used to be loads of trees there but, for us, it just looked like normal green fields. It is amazing how things grow back so quickly. Hevs was fab and even cooked us a lasagne for tea, it was great for Nakita as she met up with Niall who also has dyspraxia and ADHD and Flynn who was so much in our thoughts and prayers for such a long time when he was born.

On Tuesday we checked out and left our bags at head office before spending the day at Chapel Street (more shops) and finished off with a meal at TGI Fridays (we don't have one in WA) before heading back home.

My overall impressions ? I loved it. In the end I likened it to London, so many things to do (I didn't go with a list of things to see but I have returned with a long list of things I want to see when we go back), so many shops, so many people of different cultures which was reflected both in peoples' attitudes to you and in the food at the thousands of cafes and restaurants ... finally decent take aways and loads of vegetarian food to chose from. There were lots of the little birds everywhere, not full of magpies and rooks. Although it was colder temperature wise than where we lived, it didn't 'feel' as cold as there wasn't a wind, the sky was grey most of our time there but it didn't bother me as there was so much to do. It was busy, anytime, day, night, Sundays, there were loads of people everywhere and I loved that. However, that was the CBD of course,. When we ventured out I noticed that the houses were very much like UK ones, closer together, less garden etc but we only saw a small part of VIC obviously. What I did see though made me want to go back again, soon ! Not a place I'd want to live as yet though .. that search is still on !!


Posted by ohippy
01:16, Sun 12 July 2009 .. 1 comments .. Link

Just thought I'd check in here and realised that I hadn't written anything for a couple of months ! So, sorry, but I have been a tad busy and there shows no signs of this letting up anytime soon.

So we (the girls and I) went back to the UK for a flying visit  and it opened my eyes a bit. All the bad stuff we'd left behind just didn't seem to exist anymore. Other than petrol everything was cheaper especially food and clothes and the quality was so much better too. We stocked up on food and clothes and ended up bringing back three times more than what we took. Luckily Emirates had upped their baggage allowance to 30kg or we'd have been stuck ! There was no real traffic and the sun shone too so it was lovely. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances, we didn't manage to catch up with many friends but the girls want to go back again in a few years and, hopefully, next time we'll be able to take Paul. It was nice to see all the family again though and I do feel bad about the girls missing out on a relationship with the family but they slotted back in like they'd never been away and I'm sure Emma and Amanda welcomed the rest when we left !

It did make me more unsettled when I got back but the 'shall we move' thoughts I had were firmly put out of the way by Paul.Not that I want to move out of Oz but I do want to move states as WA irritates me in so many ways. However, the girls are in good schools and Paul is set up for work so no move is on the horizon ... yet !!!

Since then we've got the new car, a Honda CRV, it's bigger and less fuel economical than I'd like but you do need a car like that with all the travelling I do. So far I have done 500kms in three days so cruise control is a must to save your legs, tiredness, and all those speeding fines ! The girls have been on school hols and I think we must have been up to Perth every day for over a week but all the calls to live closer to Perth have fallen on deaf ears too so looks like it's Mandurah for a while.

We've also decided on the high school for Nakita. She gets an automatic place at Freddies but my gut told me it wasn't the right school for her. When we got back from the UK she had an interview at the Baptist College and was offered a place there and then so we have taken that. It is also a private school but seems more relaxed and friendly in some ways and they are very strict on bullying with two expulsions so far this year (just over 5 months) so I think Nakita will be happier there and, sad to say, think she'll do better without Tallulah around !! Paul did need winning around as we'd be losing the 20% discount we'd have got at Freddies but I do think that high school is more important than a discount !

Things have got colder now and the fire has been lit more. Today is beautiful and sunny outside but it is cold out of the sun, in fact I think I'll get the fire lit now as my fingers are freezing.

Am bound to have forgotten some things that have happened. I am always busy so there must be more ! If I remember I'll add them in at a later date.



Being Dutch!

Posted by Crazy Orange One
11:08, Tuesday 23 June 2009 .. 2 comments .. Link
Today, was quite a new and interesting day... well the evening was at least one!

With my time nearing the end of living in AMsterdam, my friend Val had signed me up to visit a new spa which had opened at her gym. SO withouit thinking I said yeah I'll come along!

It wasn't until yesterday when it suddenly dawned on us that this is Holland therefore it was liekly to be nude! Well that was the start of a very giggly discussion.

Today we phoned the gym to enquire and discovered that yes this spa was dutch... ie nude!

I had decided that as I was leaving Holland it was about time to experience this so was fine but the look on Kaths face was worth so much as she looked stunned!

Anyway, we all arrived and other than having to get over the fact that all these men were walking around in the nude with their bits hanging out. I actually started to feel self concious of wearing a towel while we had our tour of the facilities. So once the tour was over it was time! The showers which you have to use first was my first challenge and their the most exposed part of the spa... brilliant starter!

So once the shower had been tacked its surprising how quickly I lost all sense of feeling awkward and swimming in the nude outside was so liberating. Its definately something I will be doing again before I leave but I do feel I've shocked myself today!

Well better get some sleep now!

Preparing for the move to RAK

Posted by Crazy Orange One
10:11, Tuesday 16 June 2009 .. 1 comments .. Link
Well, last night was a success in terms when it comes to accommodation moves. Kath has been accepted by my landlord to take over my apartment when I leave. So a little less stress on me to get completely out before I fly. I was going to sell my furniture to her but on second thoughts have decided to rent it to her for the year then I can access it at the end and decide whether to sell it or not next June when I've been in RAK a year. Which I think is probably the best idea???

As for my preparations to move to RAK I have manged to pack 2 boxes... Guess what they are?????????


.... OK I'll tell you its my wolly jumpers! Don't think I'll have a need for them in the Middle East!

Reports from friends are that it was 50+ degrees C at the end of may when they visited RAK!!! Think the temperature change might be rapid, I mean today in Amsterdam it rained again! Although it isnt staying wet and gradually seems to brighten up as day goes on it never seems to reach more than about 18 degrees C. I think the best I've registered so far this year has been a couple of days at 26 degress C. Guess I better make sure I have plenty of salt replacement fluids and things when I go out in the middle of August to mass heats!

Really starting to look forward to going out and starting at RAKESS, even if it does mean my summer will be very short! I have a holiday week in September and thinking of going to Taiwan to try and catch up with Mariko and then maybe China to catch up with Wang Wei in my December break..... before ultimately returning to UK for a freezing Christmas and maybe New Year with friends here in Amsterdam!

I have to say that so far I have been very impressed with RAKESS. In just over a week, I applied, was interviewed, offered the job, contracts signed and I've even had a timetable for next year! I have to say my impression is that they are very efficient!

Anyway, year 12 are arriving very soon and I suppose I have to teach them.... lol so I better go!

OMG It's really happenning!

Posted by Crazy Orange One
11:35, Friday 12 June 2009 .. 1 comments .. Link
Well, yesterday I signed my contract to work in RAK. I still can't quite believe I'm moving to the Middle East.

However, life here at Faulty Towers is not fun.... staff are becoming more and more divided each day and its just not a pleasant atmosphere to work in. When I think back to the last year here its been nothing but one mad management decision after another and every time we think it can't get any worse it does.

Weather here is nicer today after 3 days of rain.... guess that's a problem I wont really have next year :-)

Bought packaging tape yesterday to start the packing process, and landlord is coming to see me and Kath on Monday as she's hoping to move into my place. Boxes need dragging out from under the bed and stuck together as boxes instead of flat card! Oh the joy this will be my 4th move in just over 1 year!

Mam seems to be coming round to the idea of my move and was singing the praises of Dubai after chatting to an air stewardess. Haven't had the heart to remind her I'll be living outside of Dubai in a much quieter place, but hey maybe I will just let her see that for herself when she visits.

Really loosing the motivation to do much here at Faulty Towers...... I just keep counting the days till I leave..... 25 working days but with trip week and sports day and a half day final day its only...........................\
...................................................18 1/2 teaching days and of course the last week of term is all chill down anyway so really I'm looking at another 13 normal teaching days. Which isn't long really but in the current climate of Faulty Towers that seems like a life time.

At the same time I'm looking at 9 weeks till I fly to RAK! 9 weeks in terms of moving country feels like no time at all but at the same time seems ages when your exicited! So much to do before then but at the same time I wish I was off tomorrow!

20minutes till lunch time...... yeah an escape from the depressive atmosphere for a while! I just can't believe how much life here has changed it was such a happy place in Sept..... then things gradually went down hill after that...... major downfall was John resigning.... he's the best chance this place had of ever being a successful Secondary!

VISA application thankfully is being dealt with mostly by the school, but the amount of paperwork that has to be sent and I have to go to the hassle of solicitors, foreign office and embassy to get my certificates attested is mad! From the sounds of things its also going to cost a packet!

Anyway, I'm going to go and dream of the sun and sand of RAK! It certainly helps you keep going when you have something to look forward to.

The new job.... I'm moving to RAK

Posted by Crazy Orange One
01:38, Tuesday 9 June 2009 .. 3 comments .. Link
Well, I would never have dreamed that I would today have accepted an offer to work in RAK. Having only left the UK for the first time last year and before that having never lived outside the North East of England, I am in shock at where I am today!It all feels very surreal at the moment, I just can't believe I'm moving to the Middle East in 10wks time!


Leaving Faulty Towers

Posted by Crazy Orange One
11:07, Tuesday 9 June 2009 .. 0 comments .. Link
Just realised that it was this time last year when I last blogged. Seems like a lifetime ago.

Since then I have been working in Amsterdam in a place that is a cross between Faulty Towers and The Britas Empire. Its a complete mad house. Decisions are made which do not relate to the companies aims and objectives. It's mad! Plus management are bullies and intimidate staff. So I resigned.

Since then work has been more tolerable. I suppose it always is when you know an end is in sight. Now unfortunately its getting a little stressful as I havent been able to sort out a job yet.

The UK ignores me because I don't live there and the International market is very slow in comparison to previous years. I'm now applying to live in Middle East as it seems to be the place to go these days. Have to say I'm actually less nervous about that then I was moving here last year. I guess its because I have done it once, left my home country and at least this time accommodation etc is sorted for me. Although that is assumming I get a job there, although I have had 2 parts of an interview with one place and it looks hopeful. Else I'll have to return to UK and find temporary work for a bit. Which is the last thing I want to do.

Anyway, its lunchtime now so I can escape this place for a bit.

'That' call

Posted by ohippy
03:02, Sun 24 May 2009 .. 1 comments .. Link

You know as an expat that at some time 'that' call will come but I have to say I wasn't quite ready for it yet.

Wednesday was our wedding anniversary and a very busy day. We had Tallulah's parents' evening as well as loads of other stuff so the day was a bit manic. We finally made it out for a meal at 7pm with kids in tow and got home to collapse in bed when there was a major storm. Now we haven;t had any rain for about 6 or 7 months so the rain was welcome, however the wind wasn't and it was strong !! I did think we were going to lose our roof at quite a few points !! Nakita's bedroom window isn't at all sheltered and her bedroom is slap bang in the path of a couple of palm trees so she came in with us. After many hours of flailing arms, smacks in the mouth and kicks I retreated at 4am to the spare room (why didn't I think of that before ??) Then at 5am the call came. 5am, only UK calls could come at that time. My stepdad had died whilst on holiday with my mum in Germany. It was a total shock. For all the chats and plans you put in place nothing does prepare you for the moment the call comes.

Paul and I had always discussed whose funerals we would go back for but when it came to it, it's not about the funeral after all. It's about being there for the ones that are left. So the girls and I are off back to the UK on Friday after nearly three years away. Paul wants to come but he can't as he's self employed so it'll just be the three of us ... that's scary in itself ! Tallulah is missing her exams but, for some reason, doesn't seem bothered ! I don't think she's realised that she'll have to sit them when she's back after more than two weeks absence !

Now I am encountering the blood sucking companies who make money out of people like me who have to go back. You'd think that they'd be glad to have someone sat in an otherwise empty plane seat but it's not the case at all. Instead they want even more money from you. We meant to keep savings for something like this but it didn't happen, the house sucked all of that from us, but needs must so you find a way. Now I am just running around like a mad thing, trying to clear two and a half weeks from my diary, washing, drying (in winter ??) and ironing, packing, cleaning etc etc etc and because I'm not firing on all cylinders it's all taking twice as long.

Oh well, best get back to it. I can't help but wonder how I'll find England after all this time and even if I'll recognise my home town !!


Posted by ohippy
04:42, Sat 16 May 2009 .. 0 comments .. Link

So today was the first day I was allowed to vote in Oz. Actually it is compulsory here so you get fined if you don't. Paul hasn't yet as he's working and he only has less than an hour and a half left !! Would be typical if he misses it and we have to pay a flipping fine !

The vote was on daylight saving and, to be honest, the debate in the run up has been hilarious. Some people, for some reason, think that there will be less/more hours of sunshine ! Apparently if we have daylight saving the cows will become confused, the curtains will fade etc etc, daft.  Still, it is funny to see the Ozzies so hot under the collar about it, most other issues most couldn't care less about.

So I have voted for daylight savings, having sunshine before 7am is unnatural and wakes me up and I do like having some daylight at the end of a day to go to the beach. Would really hate being woken at 6am and then it getting dark as soon as Paul is home from work, not good for our family life !

Oh well, will find out soon enough if all my curtains are going to fade .................



Posted by ohippy
04:29, Tue 28 April 2009 .. 0 comments .. Link

I managed to survive the girls' birthdays .... yay !!!

It was the end of the school hols so very busy with entertaining the girls, scitech, days out etc and the girls chose to have separate parties .... never again !

It was Nakita's birthday on Friday and she chose to spend the day in Perth, after it taking 1.5 hours to find a parking space to get the train to Scitech earlier in the week, we chose to get the bus to the train station. I must admit I was pleasantly suprised, it's been a while since I've caught a bus but we only waited 15 mins, bus was clean and new and we bought a family rider which covered the bus, train and all other public transport for the day for all of us for the sum total of $8.40 (just over 4 pounds !!) Every school hols Perth does a playground pass which basically is a card which gives the girls freebies or discounts or special offers etc all over Perth so we caught another train to Harbour Town where they got a free library bag filled with goodies and discount card. After exhausting Harbour Town we headed back to Perth and went into every shop (well it fel like it !). Our feet were hurting and we were ready to drop when Paul picked us up in the car and we headed up to Sizzlers in Innaloo. The only Sizzlers we'd been to before was in Kelmscott and a bit of a nightmare but this one was fab, clean, calm and no queue. The food is buffet style like Butlins without the people serving you so you just help yourself which is what the girls like as they can eat what and how much they like ! We eventually got home at 10pm and ready for bed.

Saturday was Nakitas party so four girls came and all 8 of us headed to the cinema to see 17 again which is actually a good film ! Home then for pizza and a sleepover. After reading the riot act at 2.35am Ithink they fell asleep ! They were all picked up at 10 the next day, actually they weren't as one mum turned up over an hour late for two girls without so much as an apology ! Luckily we weren't going anywhere. Rob was ace and took Nakita as well as Lexie so we were Nakita free and ready for Tallulah's 13th Murder Mystery party. What  a lot of work that was !! Not sure I'd repeat it but the girls (all 11 of them !) seemed to enjoy it and Tallulah was spoilt rotten by her mates. They all slept over too but I have no idea what time they went to bed as I was passed out through exhaustion by midnight. Wasn't for long though as Paul woke me at 5am when he got up for work and then the waste collection came at 6.45am and spent half an hour clanging and making an awful noise picking up all the kerbside waste. Then one girl was picked up at 8.30am and the rest at 10. Tallulah's birthday on Monday was a very quiet affair as everyone was so tired !

So I survived although am still sleep deprived and have a backlog of Body Shop work to do let alone the housework. Nakita is back to school tomorrow and Tallulah is off shopping to spend her vouchers and then Tallulah is back in Thursday and I'm training all day so still no rest for the wicked...... I need a holiday !!

winter's a'coming !!!

Posted by ohippy
11:53, Sun 5 April 2009 .. 0 comments .. Link

Well it is only early autumn and most days are still quite warm and some still hot, however, we have noticed that the night times are a tad cooler these days so thought we'd go and collect the firewood ready for the winter. Last year Paul fitted a wood burner but we ran out of the wood a friend had given us after a few weeks and, at $7 a bag (a bag lasted a day), we couldn't afford to buy much so it was rarely used and we froze  !!!

This year we decided to do some research and found that you could buy a licence from the info centre and then go and collect your own ! So last week Paul bought the 30 day licence for $7 and yesterday Nakita, Paul and I (yes, you guessed, Tallulah managed to get out of it !!) trudged off to collect the wood. We had a fab day, it was hard work and we learnt a lot (like next time take a better axe, Paul broke his straight away, a bigger chainsaw, a wheelbarrow and another bloke !) but it was a beautiful setting, so quiet and peaceful (save for the chainsaws!) and is definitely a good day out for the family. We treated ourselves with coffee and cake in Dwellingup on our way back through and watched all the other trailer loads of firewood pass by ! Now Paul just needs to cut the rest up, stack and store it and then we can go back for another tonne  !! This year, we're going to be ready for winter.

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