Posted by: anniebananie784 | May 21, 2015

Family time!

Nothing like a little time spent with the family, particularly when you live far away :P

I had the pleasure of welcoming my sister and her husby for a brief visit on the Mother’s Day weekend. They were in Montréal for a second shot at the certification exam for physicists (Correct me if I am wrong please, sister) and decided to come up to Joliette for 1.5 days. This year’s visit was on much happier terms, as Mr. Bean was successful in passing his exam and we were all excited by the news!

with the sister :)

with the sister :)

I enjoyed introducing my sister to the Brûlerie du Roy for a coffee, and a relaxed morning brunch with my teammates and their kids. Complete with gluten-free waffles, eggs, bacon, potatoes and lots of fresh berries mmmm.

Brunch on a full table!

Brunch on a full table!

And I was so pleased to receive another jar of my mom’s homemade marmelade (my sister took me the biggest jar she could find :P) and the ligretto game! Now we’ll be able to play ligretto with 8 different people if we so wish.

This past weekend I drove out to Ontario to visit my mom’s cousin and her husband on the beautiful Lobourough Lake.  After an initially cloudy day, the weather became warm, sunny and humid, altogether summer-like. Which we made the most of in taking many walks, going for a canoe ride and even swimming (gasp!). The water was surprisingly warm enough – at least in the first foot or so haha.

View of the lake

View of the lake

with cousin B.

with cousin B.

A new airplane to play with - a water plane at that!

A new airplane to play with – a water plane at that!

The canoe ride was particularly delightful because I got to admire the loons out on the lake, a baby beaver, and many many turtles sunning themselves on logs and swimming in the water. We hadn’t seen turtles on previous visits to the lake and it was a highlight to see so many at once. Not to mention the large wild turkey we encountered on our walk one morning. And by large I mean huge, like bigger than any turkey you’ll find in the store. It was kind of happy.

 

Turtles!!

Turtles!!

in the canoe :)

in the canoe :)

Loon!

Loon!

My visit would not be complete without a Downton Abbey Marathon. We not only finished season 5 but we watched several other movies, including “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Lemony Snicket’s A series of Unfortunate Events”. Perhaps not the best activity for stimulating one’s brain, but now I know who Groot is ;)

attempt at a panorama shot

attempt at a panorama shot

A shout out to my roommate’s fiancé for his help with my car. The sound system stopped working around the time when my sister came to visit, and I couldn’t quite figure out what was happening. Turns out that the culprit was likely a large suitcase being piled into the trunk on top of my tires and knocking the wires for the rear-speakers out of place. Instead of short-circuiting, the system would shut itself off. So the past two weeks have been rather quite in the car, including the 4.5 hour trip out to Lobourough Lake. Fortunately, future car rides will be more musical now that the problem has been solved.

Thanks for reading :) À la prochaine!

Posted by: anniebananie784 | April 29, 2015

Les petits clins d’oeil de Dieu

Starting a few weeks ago, I began to reflect on this coming fall and what the next season will bring. Given that my herniated disk is slowly improving and the other resulting compensations and tensions disappearing – though the rate of improvement is entirely out of my control – I’ve been questioning how much dance I’ll be able to partake in, and how much dance I could actually teach. My limited mobility has made me feel like I haven’t been able to offer as much as I would like to to my students in terms of material and clearly demonstrating movements. And I have doubted my ability to transmit what I’ve learned, what I know and my passion for this art. Sometimes I want nothing more to do with it, but fortunately, that’s only when I’m in an “extreme” black and white mood.

It’s almost five years since I moved to Québec to work with YWAM/King’s Kids and I realised it’s been a year or two since I’ve had a clear word of confirmation for where I am and my calling. So last week when one of YWAM’s pioneering members came to Joliette to speak with the PCYM school (eventually I will write another newsletter and can explain more :p), I seized the opportunity to ask for prayer for clarity.

Now, I’m not saying that I’ve received a 5-step plan laying out the next two years or something (haha), but in the last few days, I’ve been encouraged by some “clin d’oeil de Dieu”. As an aside, if anyone has a suggestion how to translate this expression appropriately in English in this context, I would be appreciative. :)

Sunday was the year-end show for the recreational dance programs with some of the local municipalities. I was proud of my students – even though the younger group totally blanked out on the stage because they walked out and put themselves into the spacing for the other choreography – and especially impressed with the older group. At the end of the show, one of the student’s gave me a flower, and some others wanted pictures with me. This in contrast to last year’s show where practically all the students disappeared without so much as a “thank you”. I was pleasantly surprised and touched by these gestures.

My students from NDP!

My students from NDP!

Then, even some of the parents wanted to thank me. They’ve seen an improvement in their kids’ dancing since I started teaching them and told me the choreographies were great. Another encouragement for me.

Flowers :)

Flowers :)

Tonight I taught dance at the studio in Joliette. The group of pre-teens had prepared a poster and a card for me that everyone wrote in, with words like “thanks for all that you do for us”, “you’re a good teacher”, “you’re the best”…and here I was thinking that I was second-rate ;)

Niveau 3 - one girl made the card and drew out each student ...pretty happy!

Niveau 3 – one girl made the card and drew out each student …pretty happy!

Perhaps the beginning of a confirmation? In any case, my heart is full and certainly leaning towards continuing…à suivre!

Thanks for reading! À la prochaine!

 

Posted by: anniebananie784 | March 17, 2015

Une petite soirée sushi

I invited some girlfriends over last Saturday night for a sushi night and to celebrate my birthday ( better late than never :p). I haven’t ever made sushi myself but two of my friends are experienced sushi makers so we were pretty successful for a first attempt together !  Now I just have to work on my technique and perhaps become more courageous in terms of what fillings or sauces I’d use ;)

Ready for sushi-making :)

Ready for sushi-making :)

A sample of our sushis

A sample of our sushis

Since I love to bake,  I made an angel food cake for dessert with pear compote. We’d eaten our fill of sushi though it didn’t keep us from finishing off the whole cake!

Mmm, so good and almost gone :P

Mmm, so good and almost gone :P

My friends are really sweet and surprised me with roses, one for each person with a card sharing a quality that they appreciate. Made me feel pretty loved :) thanks to those lovely ladies who came!

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We finished off the evening playing some games – phase 10 and “mow” where you make herds of cows but don’t want to collect the flies because the more flies you have, the worse you lose haha.

I have lots of sushi-making supplies left over so I’m tempted to make more sushi soon.

Thanks for reading! À la prochaine!

Posted by: anniebananie784 | March 3, 2015

Cooking exploits

Since my mobility is somewhat reduced and I spend more time at home – and not necessarily sitting around – I’ve been more adventurous in my cooking of late.

I tried out a German recipe for spätzle on a couple of occasions; it’s a recipe I acquired when I was living in Freiburg on exchange. Instead of using spelt flour, I mixed some gluten-free flours together and was pleasantly surprised with the result. Of course you  really can’t go wrong with home-made pasta covered with ham and melted cheese ;)

My first spätzle recipe with just ham and cheese grilled in the oven :)

My first spätzle recipe with just ham and cheese grilled in the oven :)

The second spätzle, this time with more veggies and fried in the pan before melting the cheese in the oven. Perfect for a cold winter evening!

The second spätzle, this time with more veggies and fried in the pan before melting the cheese in the oven. Perfect for a cold winter evening!

One night I have a craving for pizza but with no tortillas on hand or pre-made crusts, I decided to try out a polenta crust. Delicious! So I’ve made it at least one other time since first attempting the recipe.

Polenta pizza with custom toppings...I put on zucchini and onions mmm :)

Polenta pizza with custom toppings…I put on zucchini and onions mmm :)

We’ve entered the season of Lent and I couldn’t pass up on my tradition of making Shrove Tuesday pancakes. I didn’t want to eat alone so I shared the joy with my friends’ and their kids (=6 hungry people !). Took me about 2 hours to prepare enough pancakes for everyone and only 25 minutes to devour them all :P Definitely worth it all the same.

Pancakes for six people and only two frying pans! = lots of patience ;)

Pancakes for six people and only two frying pans! = lots of patience ;)

Before the hungry hoards began to eat

Before the hungry hoards began to eat

Around Valentine’s Day we had a Chinese fondue at church and I made an orange almond cake as my contribution to the dessert table. Super addictive and very filling! It looked pretty fancy all covered in icing sugar…

Orange almond cake

Orange almond cake

I’ve developped a slight affection for waffles these days, in particular a vegan waffle recipe from the minimalist baker. I love adding extras like mashed banana or cinnamon to the batter, and eating an egg on top sunny-side up :) Don’t have any photos but I would give my recommendations if you’ve got a waffle iron at home.

Well that’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

À la prochaine!

 

Posted by: anniebananie784 | March 3, 2015

February News

Here’s the link to my last newsletter for those who may not have seen it already.

Posted by: anniebananie784 | January 5, 2015

Cairns

Happy New Year!

In good time, I’ve decided that I shall finish off my entries about my trip this past summer. And perhaps as I write I shall be inspired for new entry topics haha!

Canberra Airport

Canberra Airport

I woke up really early to catch the 7 AM bus from Eden up to Canberra. My friend’s husband dropped me off and I was pleasantly surprised to meet the same bus driver as the one who drove down from Canberra on my arrival a few weeks earlier. It meant that I sat right up front for the long ride and had a good conversation about my trip thus far and the sights. We had a coffee break in a little town Nimmitabel where I discovered some tasty gluten-free pear bread before continuing on our way. In Canberra I wasn’t the only person waiting for the shuttle bus to the airport, so I met an Australian Vietnam war veteran W., who was a little bit special…I did appreciate not getting bored with another conversation partner in the airport. And then I confess I wandered to find a corner where I could dance by myself :P

The airplane ride was relatively uneventful except that we arrived late in Brisbane so that I missed my flight to Cairns. I got put on a budget “no frills” airline called Jetstar instead. Quantas seemed pretty classy with ipads in each seat pocket and a in-plane wi-fi entertainment system. I started watching “The book thief”, however I only got about halfway, alas! In Cairns, I got on the only shuttle bus still running late in the night and had the Mauri bus driver start hitting on me – he was offering to show me around and drive me to the Kurunda rainforest, which I declined. Little awkward.

I managed to get into the hostel okay but ran into some troubles finding the safe with my room key. Fortunately, there were some night owls still awake and one of them, J., showed me the right spot. I would have wandered around for a long time by myself.

The Red Hat Society - only prerequisite for joining is being over 50, wanting to have fun and wearing purple and red :P

The Red Hat Society – only prerequisite for joining is being over 50, wanting to have fun and wearing purple and red :P

The next day I did some grocery shopping and some exploring of Cairns itself. I met quite a few different people, a girl B. from England in my hostel room, some Parisians – who were happy to speak to me in French haha – a French family from Bretagne, another girl from Barcelona. I suppose it’s quite the popular location but each time I was happy to hear French :P I walked to the Esplanade and from there took the bus to the Botanical Gardens, where I took a hike on the Blue & Red arrow trails. According to the lady at the visitors centre, I wouldn’t have had enough time to complete the circuit but it took much less time than she advised. The weather was much hotter and more humid than in NSW…I was somewhat glad to be there in winter rather than in the heat of the summer!

Red and Blue arrow trails

Red and Blue arrow trails

Funky looking turkeys

Funky looking turkeys

View in direction of Port Douglas and the airport

View in direction of Port Douglas and the airport

Rainforest

Rainforest

My impression is that Cairns is very much a place built on tourism, mostly for the Great Barrier Reef, and also on being a ‘party’ town. There were lots of hostels, hotels and restaurants, not to mention fancy boutique-esque shops, and tacky and somewhat less-tacky tourist shops.

Looking towards Cairns

Looking towards Cairns

View from the Esplanade beach...there was a fire somewhere because large amounts of smoke were billowing in the air

View from the Esplanade beach…there was a fire somewhere because large amounts of smoke were billowing in the air

I participated in a snorkeling tour of the GBR the following day out of the Port Douglas. I got picked up about 7AM by a shuttle in Cairns and we drove along a winding coastal road to the harbour in Port Douglas. There were more mountains and hills than I thought there would have been in this part of the world; I suppose I just think of the beach and the reef :P

Our boat

Our boat

View of the mountains from the boat

View of the mountains from the boat

In the Port Douglas Harbour

In the Port Douglas Harbour

Anyhow, I greatly appreciated my day on the reef with Wavelength tours. There were about 30 people on board in addition to our skipper, a marine biologist and a guide/lifeguard. We got nice and wet in the back of the boat as we rode out to the diving sites, and some people decided to brave the waves on the bow = a cold shower!

Orientation before leaving shore

Orientation before leaving shore with skipper Jon

Wet on the bow!

Wet on the bow!

However, I was happy and dry - at least to start :P

However, I was happy and dry – at least to start :P

I met a friendly couple for Victoria (the state in AUS) and they became my diving buddies at least for the first site, Beautiful Mooring. I didn’t realize that I was so anxious about snorkeling until I got into the water and heard myself breathing very quickly lol. Then I heard the guide talking to a first-time snorkeler and telling them to breath deeply, so I decided I could follow that advice. This site had coral growing very close to the surface of the water and was surrounded by sand bars. The colours were muted compared to what you might imagine, mostly reds, purples, browns and the occasional neon blue. Apparently for corals the muted colours mean health rather than bright and neon, which they may appear in some photos. The fish were pretty spectacular though, in many colours, shapes and sizes with the big parrot fish to schools of centimetre-long fish, very happy !

My diving buddies, G. & S.

My diving buddies, G. & S.

Ready to snorkel!

Ready to snorkel!

Giant clam

Giant clam

Corals

Corals and the mini-eco system living around it :)

Sea cucumber...no, it wasn't slimy but felt like a starfish would  !

Sea cucumber…no, it wasn’t slimy but felt like a starfish would !

View of the reef

View of the reef

Temperature of the water was 24-25 degrees Celsius but I still got very blue hands and had to hop back on the boat before our time was up. The solution was to add a second tighter wetsuit and to add some hot water from a hose before jumping in at the second site, Bashful Boomie. This site involved a coral wall and we got to pet a sea cucumber, observe a coral mountain and see some pink anemone fish. The third site was Turtle Bay, and as the name suggests is a popular location for sea turtles of various kinds. We got to swim with two different green sea turtles, one adult female and one juvenile. They were so graceful in the water and it was a treat! We also saw some starfish, some sea worm “Christmas trees” and others saw a shark. I felt like I was just warming up as we finished our third snorkel and could have spent more time exploring ;)

Nemo -fish in his anemone!

Nemo -fish in his anemone!

Swimming with the bumpheaded parrotfish

Swimming with the bumpheaded parrotfish

More reef!

More reef!

white-tipped reef shark!

white-tipped reef shark!

Turtle :)

Turtle :)

On the shuttle ride back to Cairns, I met a family from Edinburgh and enjoyed a discussion about kids books with the three kids. In the evening I went with my room-mate B. to another hostel for an Aussie-style BBQ, including crocodile, kangaroo and beef steaks. Crocodile kind of tastes like chicken/fish but it’s tougher, and kangaroo is rather gamey. I admit that I preferred the ‘roo burger I had eaten in Eden to just plain ‘roo meat. I suppose it’s an acquired taste. There was a fire show at the hostel with a man twirling around flaming weighted dealies to music. Not something that I’d like to try myself but I was impressed with how quickly and smoothly he could move around, almost in a trance-like state and demonstrating good musicality in his movements.

Full plate of aussie bbq

Full plate of aussie bbq

Caught eating some croc :P

Caught eating some croc :P

Would I come back to Cairns you ask? Perhaps to return to Port Douglas and the reef, which merit more exploring. Although I might be able to explore the less popular reefs near PNG instead ;)

Posted by: anniebananie784 | October 26, 2014

October News

Here’s my latest update from Québec for those who don’t receive my emails and who would be interested.

à la prochaine!

Posted by: anniebananie784 | October 19, 2014

La belle visite

Last week I had the pleasure of welcoming my first visitors into my new place in Joliette, and not just any visitors, but my favourite brother and his wife ;) Got to pick them up late on Friday night and then get up early Saturday to teach dance. Which was a little bit brutal for the sleep quota, but worth it in these circumstances. Saturday we did a little bit of exploring in Joliette to admire the fall colours and to give a small tour of some of my “haunts”.

Walking near the river

Walking near the river

Tree huggers!

Tree huggers!

Joliette Cathedral

Joliette Cathedral

Fortunately I didn’t have to teach much of the rest of the week, so we could do some adventuring together. And adventuring we did on Sunday, heading up the St. Lawrence to the region of Charlevoix near Ste-Irénée…We stayed at Domaine Forget in Ste-Irénée in a little studio appartment with a view of the fleuve that was quite spectacular.

Morning view up the river

Morning view up the river

On the way to Charlevoix we had lunch and a walk up to Montmorency falls in the sunshine. Perhaps with a slight frolic in the fallen leaves :)

Montmorency falls

Montmorency falls

View from our picnic spot

View from our picnic spot

Wandering in the forest...perhaps I'm slightly cold :p

Wandering in the forest…perhaps I’m slightly cold :p

Fall colours!

Fall colours!

Leaves and leaves and leaves

Leaves and leaves and leaves

Monday we drove over to the Parc National des Grands Jardins to do a hike up a “mont” to have a spectacular view of the region and the fleuve in the distance. I’ve never been to this area before and would be game to go back again another time. We were so blessed to have days with sun and relative warmth when they had been announcing clouds and rain. And I think we did see at least one “Mount” (an almost mountain) amongst all the hills, which is quite the statement for people coming from the Rockies and the Coast Mountains.

Colours nears Baie St-Paul

Colours nears Baie St-Paul

View of Baie St-Paul

View of Baie St-Paul

At the top!

At the top!

Heading back down the trail

Heading back down the trail

We did stop briefly in the city of Baie St-Paul to walk around some of the cute inner streets with their many art galleries. Then we continued back to our accomodations to make a Thanksgiving dinner meal, complete with roast chicken, butternut squash and potatoes, and an experimental vegan pumpkin cheesecake which tasted amazing. We were so full from dinner but still managed to eat half of it :P Would definitely remake the recipe.

Baie St-Paul

Baie St-Paul

Zucchini anyone?

Zucchini anyone?

Thanksgiving feast!

Thanksgiving feast!

Cheesecake mmm

Cheesecake mmm

A day wouldn’t be complete without some goofing around. So we had some fun around the quai near the Domaine Forget, including squishing pennies under the passenger train that passed by. Nothing like re-living childhood experiences haha.

Ooo penny!

Ooo penny!

My brother is a dancer too

My brother is a dancer too

Tuesday we drove back down the river to visit Quebec City with a short stop near St-Joachim and admire the thousands of white geese migrating through the area. We opted not to go into the national park when we saw that it would cost us about 20$ just to go look at geese, and then tried to find another place where we could see them. We could hear them all around but with the different hunting areas, we were somewhat limited. Just when we thought we’d have to satisfy ourselves with seeing a few birds in the distance, we drove past a field covered in birds. Quite impressive.

Birds!

Birds!

Though we didn’t have much time to visit the old city, we were quite effective in seeing the few key sights on my brother’s list. And it sounds like he might want to come back one day to explore more of the historical sights. Of course that could be when he’s retired, but I still found it encouraging to maybe have the prospect of another visit ;)

Picnic lunch

Picnic lunch…I think we amused many passer-byers with our style of eating off the trunk :P

Chateau Frotenac

Chateau Frotenac

On the promenade

On the promenade

Wednesday we got up really early to head to NY state for a hike with my good friend, A., currently on a visit home from her work in PNG. With good intentions we left my house at 6h30 in the morning but soon got caught in rush hour traffic, so we didn’t arrive at her place until about 2 hours later :S With so much driving time, we decided to do a shorter hike in the Adirondacks, listed as 2.5 hours to the summit off of the website. Though it only took us 1.5 hours up. We got very warm on the climb up and then blasted in the wind on the open-faced summit. Had some great views of the region from the top. And we finished the hike with a short drive over to Lake Placid to see the former Olympic sites in a drive-by. Not to forget the token picture of the lake :)

Moose signs in the states are happy

Moose signs in the states are happy

Ninja pose with Angie

Ninja pose with A.

View from the top of Cascade Mtn

View from the top of Cascade Mtn

With A. at the top

With A. at the top

Hiking on the way down

Hiking on the way down

Proof of a visit to Lake Placid haha

Proof of a visit to Lake Placid haha

I’d like to go back to the Adirondacks to climb some more of the mountains, but I think I’d want to stay overnight in Montréal or somewhere closer to the border the next time. It’s the traffic that just drains all your energy and takes a lot of time. Apparently there are at least 46 peaks people climb, so I suppose I have lots of choices for a next time ;)

Thursday we stayed in town and kept things relaxed. I was teaching some more dance classes all night, and I was spoiled by my guests who made dinner and a fancy dessert. Apple and pumpkin crumble. Mmm. Sorry no pictures of that recipe unfortunately. And Friday we headed into Montréal for a visit, starting with a trip to Ikea to return the futon mattress that ended up being the wrong style to fit with my futon base. (Ask me if you want to hear the tale of the Futon fiasco). We continued with a quick walk around St-Denis, St-Laurent and Ste-Catherine streets, involving a stop at a Chocolaterie for my brother’s wife and a stop at Schwartz’s for my brother and I to try some of their famous smoked meat. Since we finished off all the meat we bought, I think we found it acceptable :P As a family with various allergies and food preferences, and several people who are not so keen on shopping, we concluded that perhaps these streets were not the most exciting for our particular case. Nice to visit one time and maybe spend more time elsewhere another time. We also toured around the Old Port a bit, including a stop in the really fun toy store off of the water. Then it was time to bring my guests to the bus station and brave traffic back to Joliette. Which once again proved to be a lot, alas! I certainly feel fortunate not to have that commute every week day.

Anyhow, thanks for reading! Thanks to my lovely visitors for your presence and for letting me share with you some of the beauty that can be found in this province!  Who’s next?? ;)

More to come on my trip from the summer (soon, I hope!)

à la prochaine!

Posted by: anniebananie784 | September 30, 2014

Eden Part 2

Yes, I’ve skipped a fair bit of action in the middle of my trip but I thought I’d finish sharing about my time in NSW first. I came back into Canberra after my time in PNG on a Sunday afternoon – which I shall eventually have time to write about, yay! – and my friend’s husband came to pick me up at the airport. We were driving out to the Snowy Mountains since they had recently purchased a caravan (Aussie way of saying trailer) and were spending a week on the skihill. Definitely a strange concept to wrap one’s head around in August for a Northern Hemisphere girl.

View towards the Snowy Mountains on the way back to Bombala. Sort of looks like the prairies. I say sort of because the mountains are indeed smaller :P

View towards the Snowy Mountains on the way back to Bombala. Sort of looks like the prairies. I say sort of because the mountains are indeed smaller :P

On the way to Jindabyne, we saw a rather serious looking car accident being cleaned up on the side of the road, and Y., who is a paramedic, stopped to see if he could be of assistance. The road from Canberra to Jindabyne is a two-lane undivided highway and there was quite a bit of traffic returning from the mountains = high potential for collisions. He ended up driving the ambulance so that the two paramedics on the scene could treat their patient, which meant that I was asked to drive the car on the wrong side of the road (for me) on a busy highway and find my way around Canberra to meet back up with Y. once he’d driven to the hospital. Let’s just say I was grateful for the practice drive which I had had before I left for PNG, for the bus which had passed the hospital on my way into Canberra to leave for PNG, and for a phone with internet and maps :P A useful combination to assist me in finding the hospital without a hitch, and then we continued on our 3.5 hour drive to the caravan park in Jindabyne. Definitely much colder in NSW than in PNG!

with miss R. on the chairlift

with miss R. on the chairlift

Our first day to the ski hill was not very efficient. It took a while to get organised with lunch making, getting dressed, feeding baby and renting equipment for me. We actually arrived in time to eat lunch or maybe even after lunch at the actual lodge. Which is different than in Canada. Many of the ski hills here just have restaurants rather than a seating area for those who bring their own food or those who choose to buy at the cafeteria. Anyhow, it was the tuesday when I got out for a day of snowboarding, my first experience in the the southern hemisphere. The temperature was not too cold – in fact once you got moving it was actually quite warm – and the snow conditions were somewhat similar to spring skiing in Alberta. While there was a base of fresh snow, they do also make a lot of their snow and groom most of the tracks. All up and down the adjacent hills you can see rocks, trees and bushes popping out of the thin coating of snow and then as you get farther away from the ski hills there is no more snow to be seen.

On the chair - as you can see how the hills around the ski runs look

On the chair – as you can see how the hills around the ski runs look

View towards Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia's highest peak at 2228m

View towards Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak at 2228m

I was having a good time trying out a couple of blue runs in the morning and I liked a particular run enough to want to do it again. As I was going back down, I slowed down because I saw someone wiped out further  and I did a quick check to make sure the way was clear above me to proceed on. Unfortunately, I didn’t see what was coming and I was knocked down by an out of control skiier who had fallen further up the run – and who continued to slide down the hill another 10-20 feet before stopping below me. Some other skiiers stopped right away to ask if I needed ski patrol, but apart from feeling a bit shaken up and a little bit worse for wear, I laughed off their question and said the adrenaline would keep me going. I got back up and made my way over to the lodge thinking I’d like to have a short break to compose myself again, but my friend R. was out for a ski and so I chose to head back out with her for the rest of the morning.

Apart from being a bit sore, I didn’t realise that my accident was more serious until the Wednesday evening after another day of boarding when I realized that I couldn’t feel part of my leg :S I thought it was an injury muscular in nature, so I tried to do some stretching on my own and didn’t go skiing the next day. Despite my home remedy-ing, I was in a lot of pain, so we managed to find a physio in Jindabyne and I went to see them. They assessed me with a potential herniated disc and a pinched nerve – and they ended up being pretty close to the actual assessement by the doctor – which, in passing, I think is nice to know that physiotherapists are very knowledgeable too.

Watch out for the wombats!

Watch out for the wombats!

Watch out for the 'roos or the ecidnas!

Watch out for the ‘roos or the ecidnas!

And we even spotted one on the side of the road - good eyes R. ;) This my Canadian friends, is an Echidna

And we even spotted one on the side of the road – good eyes R. ;) This my Canadian friends, is an Echidna

Robin, baby and I stayed back in Jindabyne on the friday, we went for a short drive to Thredbo after dropping of Y. & J. at the ski tube ( a glorified train whose track cuts through the mountain to get over to Perisher resort) and we even saw a wild emu along the side of the road. Not to mention all the dead kangaroos that just lie there because no one come around to clean them up, neither humans nor scavenger animals. Mmm.

I admit I like taking pictures of food. R. and I discovered some pretty tasty nachos in Jindabyne mmm

I admit I like taking pictures of food. R. and I discovered some pretty tasty nachos in Jindabyne mmm

And I have the privilege of introducting baby L. What a handsome little man :)

And I have the privilege of introducting baby L. What a handsome little man :)

Newbie shot from before :)

Newbie shot from before :)

Being injured, I was grateful for the expertise and help of Y. in navigating the Australian system. He helped me get a doctors appointment on the Monday, then got me a referral for a CAT scan when I left the appointment empty handed, and organised the CAT scan for the next day in Bega as we would be passing through to take me to the bus for Sydney. (I was flying out of Sydney early wednesday morning). I wasn’t sure how much would have been possible had I been left to myself and knowing how little time was left in Australia. I even was able to get the results of the CAT scan on x-ray and DVD to take with my on the plane.

I realised fairly quickly that it would be wise to go through my travel medical insurance to pay to see a doctor, etc. and even the telephone call to Canassistance proved to be somewhat challenging with my sim card not allowing international credit to be charged and the international credit of Y.s phone being depleted quickly when I did manage to contact them. In the end, the contact was made and my consultation with the doctor plus the CAT scan the followed were nominally approved, phew! I say nominally because I’m still waiting to here from them about my reimboursement claim – and praying that it’ll go through ;)

Boyd's Tower sign

Boyd’s Tower sign

R. and Boyd's tower

R. and Boyd’s tower

Besides the medical adventure, we did make it out to see Boyd’s Tower and the Green Cape Lighthouse. Well, technically we didn’t go in the Lighthouse because the tour was only held once a day at a time that didn’t work for our schedule, but we still had an amazing view of the coastline and witnessed some gigantic waves :) Boyd’s Tower is on the other side of Twofold bay from Eden and was constructed by a Ben Boyd in the 1830s, who intended it to become a lighthouse for ships. His tower was never approved by the state and instead they had the Green Cape Lighthouse constructed. It was a beautiful spot though very very windy on the day we came, and somewhat rainy. I could have stood for hours watching the waves crash upon the rocks. Here’s a short video to show what the waves were like.

Green Cape Lighthouse

Green Cape Lighthouse

Cool panoramic view

Cool panoramic view

With little miss J.

With little miss J.

View towards Eden from near Boyd's tower

View towards Eden from near Boyd’s tower

On the way to the bus in Canberra we stopped in Cooma to eat lunch and to visit the Snowy Mountain Hydro info centre. It was quite interesting to learn how their system of tunnels and man-made lakes was organised to provide energy to the region and to help with the accessibility of water in that part of NSW. Quite complex. My trip to Sydney would not be complete without me forgetting my CAT scan results in the car, which I realised as we were pulling out of the bus station and saw on my phone that my friends had tried multiple times to call me. I sort of panicked and called out from the middle of the bus to the driver asking him to please stop the bus – of course everyone is looking at you, ahh – and fortunately, he stopped a couple of blocks away from the bus station so that my friends could get them to me. Another young man even offered to run back to the station to grab it for me. I’m not sure I want to imagine how we would have tried to get a bulky enveloppe to me in such a limited time frame if we hadn’t figured it out right then. Definitely a mercy.

Snowy Mountains Hydro scheme

Snowy Mountains Hydro scheme

Map of hydro layout

Map of hydro layout

It’s always hard to say goodbye, especially to close friends, and especially when you aren’t sure how long it will be until you see them again in person. I was so blessed to spend just over three weeks with them during my trip, and grateful for their generous welcome and the time we had exploring some of their different haunts. So thanks to my friends for selling of their part of the world well enough that I just might have to come back again some day ;)

with R. again near Boyd's Tower

with R. again near Boyd’s Tower

view down the coast

view down the coast

More to come later! Thanks for reading.

Posted by: anniebananie784 | September 1, 2014

Eden Part 1

To truly grasp the vastness of Australia you just have to travel by bus or by car, and you’ll quickly see that despite being an ‘island’, it`s no small place. Eden is a small town located on the east coast of Australia, and fairly close to NSW’s border with Victoria. My reason for exploring this far south was to see my close friend from school years, R. and her family.She had moved ‘Down-under’ about 6 years prior and while we’d seen each other occasionally in Canada, I decided it was most definitely time for me to see the place that she currently called home.

The trip took most of an afternoon and evening to get from Sydney and two different buses. It’s about 3 -3.5 hours to Canberra non-stop, and another 4-4.5 hours to Eden with a break for the driver. There’s also the option of taking the train from Sydney to Canberra, but from there only one bus goes down to Eden and it departs once daily, making several stops along the way at Cooma, Bega, Merimbula, Pambula and finally Eden.  I met some nice people on the bus from near Bega, and they pointed out a couple of sights in the dark as we drove down and around the Brown Mountain switchbacks on to Bega. The bus driver, Phil, was a friendly fellow as well, insisting that we move up to the front of the bus when there were only two of us left, and we chatted the remainder of the journey.

View towards the 'mountain' of the area, Mt. Imlay

View towards the ‘mountain’ of the area, Mt. Imlay

My arrival was somewhat exciting, as Y. came to pick me up in the ambulance and had just received a call. I had understood that the house was not far from the bus stop, so I didn’t quite do up my seat belt (slap on my hand, yes), but what I hadn’t realized was the amount of hillside in that town. Which meant that I held on tightly to the edge of my seat as we drove quickly to drop me off at their house and I ended up flying almost in Y.’s lap as we took the turn up the drive-way rather sharply. Oops. From there, it went a little more smoothly and I was soon welcomed by my very pregnant friend and her energetic daughter. They also owned a ‘wheat bag’ so I wasn’t cold at night while my magic bag remained at the bottom of my bag. And better yet, the bed had a large electric blanket in it!  Toasty warm!

I spent just over 3 weeks altogether visiting R. and her family, a visit broken up by my travels up north to Cairns and Papua New Guinea. It was such a treat to see R., to play with J. (her 3-year old) and to help out during the last days of her pregnancy /first few days of newborn’s arrival. I felt very welcomed and spoiled with all the different activities we undertook and places we visited together.

View from the Eden Lookout

View from the Eden Lookout

Oldest standing church in Eden

Oldest standing church in Eden

The first week, I came up with R. to Bega because she had a doctor’s appt. and we visited the famous Bega Cheese Factory with very tasty ‘Tasty’ cheese (aged white cheddar mmm); I was introduced to the different parks around Eden, including the Lookout park and Corcora Beach (informally named the ‘buckle-up swing park’ by J. who LOVES to spend time on the swings), and to the post office, the dollar store and the Hardwood shop where we bought the scrap boards to use as firewood; I had a very productive baking day with R. ; I met Peppa the Pig and played more games of snap than I have ever played; I went on a trip to the whale museum, the Aquarium in Merimbula and to Potaroo Palace on a cold and windy day to meet some Australian wildlife and feed some Kangaroos. I also tried to pet the emu walking around the zoo – if we could call it a zoo – and he kept running away :P

At the Bega Cheese Factory

At the Bega Cheese Factory

J. in her pig costume, like Peppa!

J. in her pig costume, like Peppa!

Home made granola

Home made granola

Almond butter chia oatmeal balls...delicious!

Almond butter chia oatmeal balls…delicious!

Gluten-free ginger snaps and banana bread

Gluten-free ginger snaps and banana bread

J. inside the whale museum by a blue whale vertebrae

J. inside the whale museum by a blue whale vertebrae

Small commentary on the whale museum: whaling was really big in Twofold Bay up until it was banned in the 60s (I believe). The whales still remember though and not many are seen in the actual bay though many pass down the coast on their way to Antarctica. They used to hunt down any whale they saw, the blue whales, the humpback whales, the sperm whales (like Moby Dick) and more. Liked the Baleen and the blubber. I was saddened by this practice and I sincerely hope that not too many countries in the world are still chasing after the whales. Definitely impressive to consider the real size of a blue whale when you look at one of its vertebrae or saw the jaws hanging from the ceiling.

View in Merimbula

View in Merimbula

Short Point beach

Short Point beach

Another beach in Merimbula (I think)

Another beach in Merimbula (I think)

with R. :)

with R. :)

Kangaroos! These are pests in Australia like we have deer or rabbits...

Kangaroos! These are pests in Australia like we have deer or rabbits…

View towards Eden from Corcora Beach

View towards Eden from Corcora Beach

 

with J. at Potaroo Palace

with J. at Potaroo Palace

Feeding the Kangaroos!

Feeding the Kangaroos!

Chasing the emu ;)

Chasing the emu ;)

The second week began with waffle-making (yay!) and the hospital saga which eventually led to R. giving birth to a handsome, healthy boy in the early hours of Thursday morning. In there I got to spend a few days looking after J. while R. & Y. were at the hospital. I managed to keep J. mostly occupied for the first day but was glad for her weekly visit to preschool the next. She is a very energetic, smart and cheeky child, so one had to keep things moving and engaging. I did teach her a French grace, and she would fondly ask to sing the Donkey song each time we sat down to eat hehe. And she would scold anyone who didn’t put up their ears fast enough.

Ballerina J.!

Ballerina J.!

One day we walk back to the Rotary Park and she received a wooden ‘love heart’ from one of the neighbours who had seen her often at the park with her Mom, and another day we went back to Cocora Beach and while she had the whole beach, she decided to splash in a puddle by the BBQ area. We did turn her into a mermaid in the sand too. R. & Y. introduced me to a neat restaurant called Cranky`s in Merimbula with some very delicious gluten-free and even dairy-free desserts. Lemon polenta cake, blueberry loaf, orange muffins mmm.

Home made pizza with soy cheese!

Home made pizza with soy cheese!

R. came home with baby the day after the birth and it was a bit of an adjustment for everyone. But baby L. was very cute! I decided to make another batch of granola before I would leave, and as I picked through some of the nuts in the cupboard to add, I accidentally mistook some peanuts for hazelnuts :S I admit, I wondered that the shape was a bit different and I knew once I had tasted it, that it was not hazelnut. Fortunately, I did not have an allergic reaction. We also made a trip to the variety store for some gifts to take to PNG. And a trip out to Eden’s Cove and Boydtown where there was a nice view of Nullica Bay. I even have a video :)

J. the mermaid :)

J. the mermaid :)

My first taste of kangaroo in a 'roo burger :)

My first taste of kangaroo in a ‘roo burger :)

During the second week, I started watching a documentary film that Y. had saved on PVR for me to watch called ‘Unsere Muetter, Unsere Vaeter’. Otherwise known as Generation War in English, it follows 5 friends during WWII in Germany and is made by German filmmakers offering a much different perspective than might be shown in some of our British or American WWII-themed movies. Based on real people (each of the 5 people we follow in the film were friends in real life in Germany during this time) and they definitely were changed by the war and what they experienced. There were many moments that I just wanted to bawl my eyes out for the suffering of those persecuted by the Nazi regime, including all of these 5 friends, in one way or another. I would highly recommend watching it.

The next day it was off to the airport in Canberra. More on that to come later!

 

 

 

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