Wed 16 Sep 2009
Mon 14 Sep 2009
It’s been ages and ages since I wrote anything of consequence on Notes for a couple of reasons. One, things were going on here that were totally Notes material but I didn’t want to publicly write about them. Two, the past month has been crazy busy (related to point One).
Last week, after months and months of waiting, I officially became a Permanent Resident of Australia. Yay! It doesn’t really change my day-to-day life all that much at the moment but it does allow me to come and go without any restrictions (more or less). Immigration took ages longer than they said they would granting the visa and it was really starting to stress me out. Not because I was worried I’d get knocked back but because…
Amanda and I are moving to Vancouver next week. We’d been thinking about it for ages but over the past six months or so we really got ourselves organized. When we sent in Amanda’s Canadian visa application my Australian residency application had been in the mail for ages and we assumed I’d be made a permanent resident long before we made any official decision. Turns out, my visa arrived about 12 days before our departure date. Cutting it a little close!
We love that we have options now. We’re both permanent residents of the other’s home country and if we decide to move back to Sydney, we can (at least that’s how I read my visa restrictions!).
Anyway, it’s been an exciting, stressful few months but on Monday we head off to Vancouver for a new adventure. I’m really not sure what’s going to happen with this blog. It will likely continue to gather cobwebs. I’ve got a few more posts planned for this week (time permitting) but after that Notes may go dark, permanently.
I’ve loved having this blog despite its lack of updates the past year or so. It’s been totally self-indulgent and no one reads it but being able to have some memories and photos from my four years in Sydney in one centralized spot has been great.
Also, as Amanda said, moving is pants.
Sat 25 Jul 2009
We’re deep in the heart of winter here in Sydney at the moment but it doesn’t ever really get proper cold here. Very occasionally, out further west (pretty much where I work) it can be one or two degrees Celsius in the mornings before warming up to sixteen or seventeen degrees during the day. But that’s pretty rare. Most days the overnight low is probably between seven and ten degrees.
But here’s the rub. When I walk outside in the morning and it’s thirteen degrees, I feel cold. As a Canadian I tell myself, “Thirteen degrees is not cold you idiot,” but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s bloody cold out!
And don’t even get me started on the indoor situation. Most Australian buildings retain absolutely zero heat in the winter (they retain all the heat in the summer though!) which means it feels cold inside too. I remember during my first winter here I’d be crowded around the gas heater in the staffroom at work with a British woman. We’d comment how pathetic we felt, the ones from cool climates huddling around a heater in Australia, land of the sun.
So while I’ve coped with the indoor heating situation, being cold outdoors in thirteen degrees is worrisome. Amanda and I are planning on moving back to Vancouver later this year (more on that later) and I’m very concerned how the Vancouver winter is going to treat me. If I can’t even cope with an Australian winter, Canada’s next winter may do some serious damage.
And Amanda…well she’s got a big shock coming to her.
Sun 5 Jul 2009
Amanda and I drove over to South Head today in the hopes of seeing some of the Humpback whales that are currently heading north along Australia’s east coast. We spotted numerous fountains of water from various blowholes before we finally saw, way out there, a spray followed by a small little breach of a whale. Despite being miles away it was still pretty cool. Especially for someone who’s always loved whales.
The photo above does actually have a whale in it, if you look carefully. If you check out the photo at this link, you can see it with my helpful notes.
Wed 1 Jul 2009
Like last year, I spent Canada Day at work. I tried pulling the whole national holiday thing but for some reason it didn’t fly at work today. And like last year, I wore the above shirt to work. A colleague who was out of town on excursion even remembered to text me a “Happy Canada Day.” Well done, Chris.
Amanda also surprised me by decorating the apartment in anything Canadian/red. She’s awesome. My other highlight of Canada Day was seeing someone wearing a Canucks jersey at Central Station on my way home. I was tempted to say something to the man but then remembered I’m pretty anti-social.
Sun 15 Feb 2009
It was going to take something pretty dramatic to knock the devastating fires from the front pages of Sydney’s newspapers this weeks. How about two shark attacks in Sydney in two days? Yes, that will do.
First, on Wednesday a navy diver was attacked in Sydney Harbour near Woolloomooloo (yes, foreigners, that is a real place). IN SYDNEY HARBOUR. Crazy. He survived but has lost a hand and, when I last heard, he might lose a leg.
While people were still bewildered by the fact that a shark attacked a man in the harbour, another shark struck at Bondi Beach the very next day. This one mangled a surfer’s hand; apparently the only thing keeping his hand attached to the rest of his arm was a small chunk of skin.
So, two attacks, but two survivors. Needless to say all the experts and idiots have been out in force this week arguing about shark nets, global warming, and how the (now) clean Sydney Harbour is responsible. Regardless, apparently it’s best to stay out of the water at dusk and dawn and never swim alone (preferably swim with a fatter, slower friend).
I also never wrote about it here but last month there was also a spell where there were three shark attacks in 24 hours around Australia. Floods, fires, sharks. You aren’t safe anywhere in this country.
Fri 13 Feb 2009
Sat 7 Feb 2009
Yes, that is a stick insect slightly larger than my forearm. WTF.
I totally missed on my way out in the morning (Amanda saw it) but when I came home from work it was still there and it scared the crap out of me. Insects that large should only exist in zoos and nature programs not on my door. I’ve seen smaller cats and dogs.
That thing has no business living in the city. A few more photos here.
Mon 29 Dec 2008
It’s been kind of quiet on the shark attack front of late but now that summer is in full swing here in Australia, the sharks are back to work. Over the weekend, a man in Perth was killed by a shark while he was just six metres from shore. SIX. Since his body was not found, authorities have spent the past couple days searching for the man, but he is presumed dead as his torn wetsuit was located. Other beaches around Perth were closed after the attack as other sightings of sharks were reported.
Meanwhile, here on the east coast the great white sharks are beginning to toy with us as kayakers were “menaced” off Long Reef (not that far from here!). This incident has the added Terror Factor of being caught on video. Just what you want to be watching the night before you head to a beach in the same direction!
As these stories have made international news, I see that people here are trying to urge calm: Please don’t be so scared that you won’t come here and spend your tourist dollars.
Wish us luck in the ocean!
Tue 23 Dec 2008
While most Australians can only dream of a white Christmas this week, Canadians are set to experience their whitest in almost 40 years.
The entire country is covered in snow for the first time since 1971.
Alberta is the only province that has no weather warning current and as many as 100,000 people in Atlantic Canada are without power as snow and freezing temperatures wreak havoc.
The prairie provinces are in a deep freeze, with temperatures dipping to under minus 30 degrees Celsius, and even British Columbia is suffering with unusually cold weather.
Eastern Canada is still digging out from back-to-back weekend snowstorms that dumped 50 centimetres of snow and disrupted air travel during the busiest time of the year.
Forecasters say there is more snow coming on Christmas Eve.
I spent yesterday swimming in a pool in someone’s backyard and playing cricket. Life is funny.