Posts Tagged ‘count down’

Count Down #29

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

I appear to have forgotten to mention that the most important day of the year is fast approaching. There are only four sleeps until my birthday! WOO! As per usual, my inner child is feeling excited; about as excited as my outer adult was about this free beer at the latest Yelp event.

Photo credit: Lucas Smith and his Yelp camera

Photo credit: Lucas Smith and his Yelp camera

32 Days of Summer Fun

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Today is 1 August. A culmination of there being exactly one month until my birthday; it being a rainy, drizzle and depressing day despite being summer; and the fact that I don’t have any writing work on at the moment and am therefore looking for things to keep my mind occupied, has resulted in me having the greatest brain wave since my 108 Challenges in 108 Days. For the month of August I will celebrate all things that are good with daily hits of Summer Fun. This fun can transpire in many forms, be it food based, activity based, friend based or other (I’m keeping it open to interpretation.). This month of fun will finish with the funnest of fun days EVER – aka My Birthday. YES.

And so it begins.

Day One.

It’s raining today. My two weeks worth of writing work have dried up. It is quiet in the office and I have to walk home in Manchester Drizzle. Woo. So to keep myself and my co-workers in cheerful dispositions, I bought us Kinder Happy Hippos. You can’t beat a bit of cheap kiddies’ chocolate.

Happy Hippo!

Happy Hippo!

I shall call him Harry.

I shall call him Harry.

To be honest, Harry doesn’t look that happy. I would say he’s more ‘anxious’ or ‘concerned’. But he sure brought joy to our worlds! Cheers, Harry.

It’s the Final Count Down (Again)…

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

I have lots of final count downs. Two years ago it was counting down to moving to Paris and now it is for leaving. Apologies for not having written in a while but my life has literally turned upside down and inside out and then been stuck together with packing tape. I am writing this from my apartment which is very quickly turning back into its original prison-cell-like form with only hard plastic furniture and bare walls. Yesterday a friend came and took my couch so I now have no where comfortable to sit. This is probably a good thing as staying inside is less and less appealing and I have been going for a lot of long walks through Paris (in the snow).

So what has been happening…? Lots. Apart from unintentionally starting the War of the Anglosaxons, I have been spending most of my days packing, cleaning, calculating box weights and how much I can fit in my suitcase, eating, working, and catching up with friends. It has been busy busy busy which is somewhat pleasing as it doesn’t give me time to feel too sad about the fact that I am leaving. Today is Sunday – so I have four more full days in Paris before my time here is up. Of course, it won’t be forever and at least I know I will be back in April to do a stupidly long run and eat more good food. Plus I will soon be a surrogate Aunt and will need to return to play with my adopted nephew and I have friends to visit! So Paris and I aren’t over yet – as my mum hates me pointing out, it’s not like I am going back to Australia.

Over the next few days I plan on eating as many delicious pastries as possible in between working out how to get all of my stuff to England. I had a successful day with the post office on Friday after I carried 30 kilograms worth of books there by hand to send on to Australia and England. There is a special shipping rate for sending books but you can only send them in 5 kilogram lots. So I had spent the first half of the week scrounging in Parisian bins looking for small cardboard boxes. I am quite fortunate to live near a clothing warehouse area and every night there are hundreds of cardboard boxes out for rubbish collection. So I became a crazy hobo and got my hands dirty and managed to find enough perfectly sized boxes to send my books. When I got the boxes to the Post Office I managed to smile nicely and flutter my eyelashes enough for the Post Office Man to ‘overlook’ the extra 100 grams in some of the boxes. It makes a huge difference! To send 5 kilograms of books to England cost 8 Euros. To send 5.1 kilograms of books to England cost 34 Euros. I had to repack two of the boxes but now they are all on their way to opposite sides of the globe.

Boxes o' Books.

Boxes o’ Books.

I am most likely going to send two or three boxes with FedEx as it is cheaper AND they will come and pick the boxes up from my apartment! And plus I can then say I FedExed them and that makes me feel like I’m in a movie.

So that is my exciting packing news. Tomorrow I plan on going to the Australian Embassy to vote in the Western Australian state election which will either be really exciting or really disappointingly frustrating. I am betting on the second option. But at least the Embassy is next to the Eiffel Tower so I can pop over and see that while I am there. Give a final salute to the big pointy thing.

One Year and Counting

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Greetings from sunny Perth! What a difference a 20 hour plane flight makes. I went from sunny yet frosty Paris to even sunnier and oppressively hot Perth and it was certainly a shock to the system. I hadn’t felt the burning sun sensation for over 360 days and as I stepped out of the Perth International Airport and headed into the concrete car park, I reeled back and almost ran into the air conditioning again. The jeans, long sleeves and boots that I had worn for voyage to the Paris airport and the excessively cold plane didn’t quite suit the 38 degrees I found myself in.

Today is a landmark occasion in my life as it is exactly one year since Tom and I arrived in Paris. I’m sure you’ve realised by now that I love anniversaries, count downs and dates of significance and so I am a little bit sad and disappointed that I am in Perth for this event. Really, I would prefer to be in the minus temperatures that Paris is currently experiencing, heading to the stairs of Sacre Coeur to have a ceremonious Nutella crêpe. It is the only way to celebrate this sort of day. I am more just disappointed that I can’t really say that I have lived in Paris for an entire year, because I haven’t. I missed out by three days. Three hundred and sixty two days does not a year make. Anyway, I’ll get over it.

Tom and I had planned on celebrating early on the evening before I left for Perth, however I had managed to give myself quite the impressive upset stomach that I couldn’t actually eat food. This is potentially one of the worst experiences of my life. Usually if I am sick, I’ll still eat something. Dried crackers, rice, bread. This time – nothing. I’m back to normal now but for awhile there I thought my life was over. No more food?? This can’t be true.

I have been to the beach three times since my return to Perth and it has been utterly wonderful. I now realise why people fall over in amazement when they discover Perth beaches – they are truly special. On Monday morning at 7am, I dumped my towel on the sand at North Cottesloe beach and ran into the water like a crazy lady. I feel like I have washed a year’s worth of grime from my skin and my insides are all cleansed and sea-salted. In the past year I swam in Greece and Portugal but nothing compares to the Australian coast.

Returning to Perth hasn’t been so bad. I know I whinged about having to come back, and I will continue to do so as it is becoming a excessive financial drain for something that really could have been done in France, however I am definitely finding the positives of being in Australia. I get to wear skirts and sleeveless tops; I have rediscovered my old clothes and shoes; my mum cooked me chicken and asparagus for dinner; and plums and nectarines are in season! Life is good.

The Final Day (For Now)

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

So here it is: my last full day in Paris. I get on the plane tomorrow afternoon and head off at 2.30pm, France time. I arrive in Dubai one minute before midnight, Dubai time, then get on another plane and get home at 5.30pm, Perth time. WHAT FUN! OH BOY! I CAN’T WAIT! Twenty hours of travel and plane time! Squished into a cozy seat! Listening to the constant hum of the plane! Eating at least four delicious meals of who knows what! Excitement plus. I know you’re all jealous.

My plans for my final day in Paris had originally involved Nutella crêpes, however over the past three days I appear to have stressed myself into a state of “Stupid Stomach” and my desire to eat such delights has completely disappeared. I know… how can this be?! It is terrible news and I’m not proud of it, but I am going out for dinner this evening with Tom and hopefully I will be able to stomach something chocolatey then. If not then I deserve to return to Perth. How dare I live in a city of deliciousness and not sample the goods! For shame.

I have to say that it doesn’t seem particularly real that I am leaving and the concept that Tom and I have been living in Paris for an entire year does not compute. It feels both shorter and longer at the same time. We have managed to do so much, see so much, make so many great friends and eat so much extremely good food, that surely we have been here for longer than 12 months? At the same time, a year is a long time but it has passed so quickly. I am overwhelmingly happy to know that I have secured our apartment for another year and that it is highly probable that I will be returning. I just need that visa… If I wasn’t coming back I think my stomach ache would have evolved into all of my limbs falling off.

So what did we do in each of these months? Let’s do a month-by-month breakdown! YAAYY!!

February
Arrived in Paris in -3 degree weather.  Bought lots of stuff for our apartment including an awesome miniature oven. Saw Rich Hall perform in a tiny room on the other side of the canal (he’s coming back while I am away. Boo…)

March
The sun started to shine and flowers came out. We went to Nancy and Custines. We got gastro. I bought a sewing machine.

April
We went to Morlaix and Mont Saint Michel. Tom got the flu. We saw Morcheeba in concert. We went to Lyon with Rom and Coup.  We went to Germany for Tom’s Opa’s funeral. I got my first Parisian haircut (unsuccessfully.) Mum and Dad came to visit.

May
We went to Madrid with Rom and Coup and had the best time ever. Tom’s parents came to visit. We went to Holland and met up with my parents. We went bike riding and mud walking.

June
We went to Germany and travelled with Tom’s parents. We went to Crete. We hired a scooter and drove around the island. We ate lots of food. We went swimming at the beach. It was Fête de la Musique in Paris. I successfully completed a 10km fun run.

July
I became a tour guide. It was warm and sunny. Rom and Coup went home. It was Bastille Day and we went to a ‘ball’ at a fire station and watched fireworks from the roof of the Récollets. I had my second, far more successful, hair cut in Paris. We watched Cadel Evans win the Tour de France on the Champs Elysee.

August
I sold my first sock creature from Paris. I discovered Kooka Boora. My Nanna came to visit. I spent weeks trying to find a restaurant for Tom’s birthday dinner. It was Tom’s birthday. We went to London. We saw Underworld perform while standing in mud.

September
It was my birthday!! We went to New York. We went to Maine and ate fresh lobster. My brother came to visit.

October
We went to Lisbon and Porto in Portugual. We ate good food and drank nice wine. We went swimming at the beach. We went to the Salon du Chocolat and ate way too much chocolate. We had a halloween party at the Récollets. We ate oysters and charcuterie, and drank wine off car bonnets.

November
I wrote 50,000 words in less than a month. Autumn arrived and all of the leaves fell and looked so pretty. We made rabbit stew with our friend Friso. I made a pumpkin pie for a thanks giving dinner. I accidentally ate tête de veau.

December
I made a science laboratory out of socks and displayed them in an exhibition at Café A. We went to a big wine tasting show at the Récollets. I put up Christmas decorations. It didn’t snow. We went to Germany for Christmas and stayed with Tom’s Oma. We ate lunch at the single table at Les Têtes dans les Olives. We went to Gouda for New Year.

January
We celebrated the arrival of 2012 with my family in Holland. We didn’t go mud walking. It rained a lot. Ben was in Paris for a few days. I started my count down for leaving Paris, doing one fun activity every day until I got sick.

So that’s it! There is my year in summary. Not a bad one, if I do say so myself. Now I am going to go and visit my favourite bakery lady and buy my last baguette for lunch. And then I have to pack. Dang.

News from Perth soon. Thanks for living this year with me.

Fun Times Count Down

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

You may have realised by now that I enjoy counting down to things – moving to Paris, my birthday, Christmas. Things become even more exciting if you watch the time drop away and the thing that you are looking forward to moves steadily closer. Counting down to things that you are less excited about isn’t quite as good and so I have decided to forget about the days in January as my flight back to Perth inches closer and closer.

However, people around me have suggested it might be a good idea that I look at the bright side of going back to Perth (ie. sunshine, the beach, family, no French people) and so I have decided for the next however-many-days I have left in Paris I am going to make sure that I do (at least) one thing that is new, exciting, fun or delicious. That way, if the French government says I can’t come back to France then I can say, “Oh well, that’s your loss. I’ve already eaten ALL of your nutella crêpes.”

I will, of course, be informing you of my adventures over this count-down period so that you can either be pleased that I am enjoying myself or just plain jealous. Although I decided to do this last night while having a shower (it’s where I get all of my good ideas) I will include yesterday as my first day of Fun Times Count Down. Here is the fun thing that I did:

FUN TIMES COUNT DOWN #1

After spending most of the day at home, at 5.30pm Tom and I went and met our friend, Phillipa (she is also leaving Paris in a few weeks and is feeling as despondent about the whole ‘going back to Perth’ thing as I am), and we had a drink at a bar. It was a last minute decision that turned in a few hours of laughter, chatting, cocktails and tapas. It isn’t called Happy Hour for nothing. We were eventually kicked out so that a table of people who actually wanted to eat food could sit, and Tom and I walked home through the streets of Paris with a bright, potentially full moon guiding our way back. A simple yet enjoyable experience that will kick start my Fun Times Count Down.

Ten Months

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

It’s amazing what you can do in ten months. Thursday marked the ten month ‘event’ of Tom and my arrival in Paris and it has come as quite a shock. Ten months is a long time and yet it feels like we just arrived. We shouldn’t be thinking about the fact that we only have two months left until our Year in Paris is over. We should still have so much time left with so many things to see and do. But alas, this is not the case.

LUCKILY we have decided to extend for an extra year, so while I would now be bawling my eyes out and chaining myself to the nearest pole and refusing to leave, I am somewhat less sad. I am still a bit worried about my impending return to Australia and visa application, but I am crossing all of my fingers and toes that it goes smoothly. It can’t not, right? What am I going to do if the French Embassy refuses to grant me a visa? Probably bawl my eyes out, fly back to Paris and chain myself to a pole.

Our friend, Phillipa, is here on the same visa as me and hers expires the day after mine. She is currently going through the horrific procedure of applying for a sponsorship from her work. She works at an O’Sullivans Irish pub and they have kindly agreed to go through the whole rigmarole of filling out forms, writing letters, and photocopying pieces of paper in order to help her stay next year. I am also crossing all fingers and toes that it works for her because she has no other visa alternatives in order to be able to stay in Paris. If Pip can’t come back then who am I going to go shopping with?! We have made a pact that we will meet on 1 April next year at a pub in Montmartre and drink to our good fortune of being back in Paris.

SO! I have 55 days left in Paris. What am I going to do in that time? Let’s write a list!

  • Continue to eat lots of food.
  • Go to Koblenz for Christmas.
  • Go to Holland for New Years.
  • Exhibit some sock creations in an exhibition at Café A (the coolest, hippest place in Paris)
  • See snow in Paris (I REFUSE to leave until it has snowed here because otherwise it is likely to do so while I am away and that is NOT fair.)
  • Go to lots of great exhibitions which are coming up in the next few weeks (when my brother, Ben, comes to visit over Christmas/New Years we’re going to see a Stefan Sagmeister exhibition AND a show about monsters puppets!)
  • Decorate my apartment for Christmas (I bought a mini Christmas tree this week.)
  • Start editing my book.
Ok, that’s probably enough. The first dot point is going to take up most of my time anyway so who knows if I’ll be able to achieve anything else. Anyway, those are my thoughts on this wet and windy Paris day. Actually, I am going to finish this entry and start another one about the weather. It deserves to be discussed separately.

Over Half Way

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Great news, everyone! I am very proud to say that today I cracked the 25,000 word mark so I am over half way in my NaNoWriMo challenge! I am rather pleased about this fact – now it’s the downhill run and I have always found it easier to count down than up.

City Hopping

Monday, August 29th, 2011

A monumental fact has just dawned on me that I probably should have realised earlier but it wasn’t until I sat still and thought about it for long enough that it all hit me in the face. I shall announce it in point form.

  1. Yesterday I was in London.
  2. Today I am in Paris.
  3. Tomorrow I will be in New York.
That’s three huge, giant, overwhelming, heaving, crazy cities in three days. Awesome.
P.S. It’s my birthday in three days.

How Could I Forget?

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Those who know me well will understand the complete and utter absurdity of what I am about to tell you. Believe it or not, I have forgotten to count down to my birthday. Most years I would have assembled a count down calendar with the days, hours, and seconds until the big day. Not this year. I’m not sure why – perhaps it is the water, perhaps it is the polluted Parisian air, perhaps it is because I have too many other things to look forward to – but my birthday has slipped to the side relatively unnoticed. However…

2 weeks until my birthday!

Yesterday I received two packages in the mail from my parents and brother and they were full of presents! As I still have two weeks to go I wasn’t allowed to open them, but I will also be in New York for my birthday which means presents will need to be packed into my suit case to be opened on my birthday morning. One of the presents was particularly weighty, so via skype I opened my present with my family. It was…

Brown rice

Brown Rice!

I was excited! Finding brown rice in Paris is like looking for pork in a vegetarian restaurant. So it was the perfect birthday present, although I am glad I didn’t have to cart it to New York. So now my excitement for my birthday is increasing and I am needing to find a nice place to go for dinner in New York. Any suggestions are more than welcome. In the mean time, I am having enough difficulty finding a restaurant that is open on a Monday during August in Paris for Tom’s birthday. He is getting old (yes, old.) this Monday. I have spent the last three or so weeks hunting for the perfect restaurant to take him to and I am failing miserably. Everything is closed or I don’t know if it is going to be nice. It’s impossible.

Presents and skype

Presents, Skype and Magyver