Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 1 - 2: London, England

London in late December is cold. Dark, rainy and cold. England is currently in the depths of its winter, with the wind howling, the sheets of rain drifting across the fields and the sky dark and gloomy.

We are in Chertsey, which is about 30km south west of London, on the River Thames. We are at the house of the International Man of Mystery's parents, and what a glorious house it is! It sits right on the banks of the river, in a very large apartment that is contained in a country mansion. Each resident has a yacht moored at the front and there are sprawling fields on either side. This would be an ideal place in summer!

We are here to spend time with the Boy's seriously ill father and we are spending much of our time assisting with his care, and doing small jobs around the house to make things easier for them. We are trying not to dwell on the seriousness of his father's health and we are trying to make the house full of laughter and cheer. It is hard, as the reality facing the family is quite grim. Nevertheless, we are getting out and about, as much as the circumstances (and the weather) will allow.

Yesterday, we spent much of our first day at the hospital with his mother and father. Today, the Boy and I went off to the DIY Store and then we went and grabbed a pub lunch near Hampton Court Palace.

Given his father's health and the fact that we would be transporting him to and from hospital, the Boy hired a lovely Jaguar which has fantastic heated seats, lots of room and a great GPS. The International Man of Mystery is in his element, with all of the gadgets, buttons and gizmos in the proudly British car!

We are expecting to head to Prague tomorrow but right now, we are living hour by hour, day by day. If we need to hurry back to London at any point we will. Travelling Europe is not a priority for us at the moment. Supporting the family is.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Boxing Day Surprise!

Today the Boy is flying me down to Melbourne to watch the first day of the Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan.

Very exciting!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

From KateOnTheBike, KateOnTheBike's family, the International Man of Mystery and the Little Girls, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

It was a busy day, with the Boy and I spending Christmas with the family - a day full of presents, food and Christmas cheer!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Posting Frequency To Increase

Have faith, my avid readers, posting frequency is to soon increase once more. Thanks to all who have continued to check this site each day to see whether I have updated it, only to find yourselves bitterly disappointed!

My time in Australia has been difficult. I don't point the blame at any one thing but rather, see it as just a result of the life I have been leading of late. The pace at which I have been moving, the mental energy that i have been expending, and the constant demand I am placing on my body physically (changing time zones, not eating well, not consistently exercising) has all gotten a bit too much.

The result is a very lethargic, moody, teary, emotional exhausted mess.

Its hard because the time I am spending with my loved ones feels as though its so superficial. Those people who I miss so terribly when away are those people who I am struggling to devote time to - quality time, that is. I am there phsyically, but mentally, I am not present. I am tired. So very tired. Overweight, and tired.

The Boy and I are literally crawling to the finish line - being Christmas. Its been a rubbish year for the Boy and he isn't doing such a great job at disguising it either.

We are looking forward to seeing the world together - it will be our first proper trip together that involves spending 24 hours a day, for 2 whole weeks, in each other's company. A little while ago, I would have said it would really test us - that the holiday would make or break us - but to be honest, we have had so many tests thrown our way lately that spending 24 hours a day in each other's company is hardly the greatest challenge we've been faced with!! At least on holidays, we can decide to go for a walk on our own or tune out. You don't get to do that with other challenges, like ill family members or jobs we don't like.

The plan:


we are very excited!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Nomad

Sorry for not having blogged recently. I am in Australia.

I wish I could say that I am "home", but I don't feel like I am home. I feel like I've come and interrupted people's lives. I feel as lonely here as I do back in Singapore. I feel like a nomad. I feel like I don't belong anywhere. I feel like everyone has so much to do, and so little of it involves me. Have I pushed everyone aside so much that they no longer care for me?

I wonder whether this feeling will ever go away. Whether I will belong anywhere. Whether I will one day find peace somewhere. I wonder if stability is just a fantasy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another Year Gone By.....

Nothing forces you to look at how far you have come like going back to your home town.

After the whirlwind existence I have lived over the last 9 months, I come home to Australia and realise that another year has passed me by. We are a little older, a little wiser, and faced with different challenges, different stressors, but essentially, life is just the same.

The Boy and I leave for our Tour De Europa in 15 days. We are both looking forward to it! We desperately need time away!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reality Bites

I've decided not to go ahead with the 10km run.

Its hard to back down on a promise I made to myself, but sometimes reality kicks in and you realise that its one thing to make promises, and its another to pay the price of a bad decision.

And running 10km, only to then sit on a cramped flight, would spell bad news for my body - and particularly my back.

I am frustrated by my progress back to full health. I am tired of being overweight. I am tired of my limitations.

Reality bites.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Heading Home

Heading home comes at a bittersweet time. I feel like I was beginning to settle into Singapore, enjoying my own space, begin to enjoy time with my photography friends and travel to some of the more interesting parts of Asia. However, none of these things outweigh the joy of coming home, seeing the family, hugging Charlotte and Ella and seeing the Boy.

This is life, I guess. Or at least, the life I have chosen to live.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Making Coconut Candy in the Mekong

Another commodity is the Vietnamese Coconut Candy.

Below: Coconuts, fresh from the trees.

Below: The coconut is mixed in with sugar, rice water and a number of other natural goodies, like ginger.

Below: the blistering hot caramel candy.

Below: The finished product.

Below: then the women tirelessly wrap the candy in rice paper.

Mekong Dog.

Tough life.

Rice Wine from the Mekong

Rice wine is another commodity that the Mekong people trade.

Below: Rice wine, with a snake and a scorpion in its bottle.
Almost like the tequila worm, but... scarier.

Below: Duong pouring me a shot of rice wine. It takes as though it should be used as a paint stripper, not for human consumption!

Below: the village's very hi-tech distillery for the rice wine.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ready to Run

I've decided to run the 10km Standard Chartered Mini Marathon this Sunday. I should be able to get it done in about 1 hour, perhaps 1 hour 10 mins. If I get to a point where my back gets too sore, I will pull out but I think I can do it. Its time I put behind the accident and go forward.

This now means I have 3 days to get some running in. Wow. This will be interesting.