crystal's capers

one girl's international adventures

Monday, January 25, 2010

Saw it, Loved it

Avatar 3D. Go see it in the theatre. Enough said.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's been going on?

O'er this side of the pond... not much. We're busily recovering from a whirlwind Christmas with more whirlwindedness.

As you may know, Riccardo returned from India on the 13th. We both had a day off on Thursday the 14th - me because there was a gas leak at school so we couldn't open that day, nor Friday, neither! Woo-woo! Anyway, it was the first weekend we were home alone in a month, so we were happy to chillax and catch up on housework.

It was also my belated 30th birthday party! Predictably, I dragged everyone to karaoke and Thai in the city centre. It was great, as usual! Lots of good laughs, especially at/with (?) Riccardo singing a crazy rendition of 'Roxanne'. OMG! Thanks to all who attended, and of course, for the lovely gifts!

Last week at work was busier than usual, because I had to catch up with what I'd left undone since company was over. Plus there was Year 9 parents' evening. Fun. And Year 11 parents' evening this coming week - it'll be the first one where I may actually have something nice to say about most of my class. They've miraculously turned themselves around since I started out with them last year - we accomplish something every lesson and I don't usually have to psych myself up just to walk into the classroom to them! Amazing.

This weekend Riccardo and I spent some time with our friends on his side: on Friday we went for fabulous Moroccan with Andy, his desk-neighbour at work. Haven't seen Andy in a while, so it was good to catch up. Then last night we went over to John and Michelle's for dinner. John also works with Riccardo, but in IT, and it was our first visit to their place (though we've been out with them a few times). It was great fun - John and Michelle have a four-month-new addition to their family in the form of supercute Lucas, and he was rivalled for attention by his older and much more boisterous sister, Isabel, who's 4 next week. So cute! So I spent most of the evening playing with Isy, and we all took turns on the Wii that was the family Christmas present. Because it was a Robert Burns Day celebration (the Scottish festive traditional actually falls on 25th Jan.), we all had to try haggis! Ugh! You'll all be very surprised that I did actually try some, and then promptly scooped the rest on to Riccardo's plate when John and Michelle were out of the room. Thankfully, they also served veggie-haggis, so I was saved! Hahaha!

BTW, Robert Burns was a famous Scottish poet who wrote, 'To a Mouse'. This was the very poem from which John Steinbeck pinched the title of his novel, 'Of Mice and Men'. A connection I was able to make all by myself when John mentioned the occassion. I'm very proud. ;)

What's up and coming? Hmmm... I'm going on a work outing next Saturday, which should be very fun. There's about 30 of us younguns going out in Brum. I'm leaving Riki at home. He's happy about that. :)

The next weekend I'm off overnight on Friday to a swanky NQT (newly qualified teacher) conference in Stratford. It's in a posh country hotel, and we all get our own rooms and access to the leisure facilities and a 3-course dinner. I'm excited actually. Weird. The next night we're having the lovely Tony and Mary over for dinner. We haven't seen them in ages, except when they popped by to bring me a bottle of bubbly for my birthday. We're also hoping to arrange a get-together with our great pals, Donna and Mat. It's been too long since that, too! And in between it all, work, work and more work.

I guess you could say life is back to normal. :D


Thursday, January 14, 2010

A sigh of relief

My bestfriendfromJapan, Tressa, posted some words of thanks on her blog recently because 2010 has brought her some great luck so far. Though her luck is more meaningful and grandiose than my own, she did get me thinking...

I've been really lucky to celebrate the recently passed holidays with my ever-growing family. I did worry quite a bit about how to feed and entertain everyone while keeping a clean house and my sanity, but it all worked out.

I cooked my first Christmas dinner ever, and it was wonderful. What luck! I guess I shouldn't be saying that, since it's bragging, but it was better than I expected. I did a huge turkey breast roast, rather than a bird, because my oven is too small and too unpredictable. It was an orange, white wine and thyme turkey with my mom's fabulous (un-stuffed) stuffing and all the fixings. Mmmmmm... I don't know if I'll ever do a proper turkey after that!

Amidst the eating and sleeping in, we did a lot of game-playing, chit-chatting and sight-seeing - a lot of driving around! It was great to give and receive amazing and thoughtful presents, and better to mix Riccardo's family traditions with mine. It was great to come home after work to a warm house full of family, just like the days of old, and better to have my mom and sister ready and waiting with their delicious home cooking. It was great to introduce some of our family to some of our friends, and better to have the chance to share our lives here with people from afar. At the same time, it's great to breath a sigh of relief at an empty house after three weeks' straight of company!

So what now? Well, I've started tackling the laundry - not easy when our washer takes three hours and our dryer's broken! I've mastered the art of a drying rack, and can now squish nearly four loads on laundry on at once! The house desperately needs a cleaning. Obviously. And of course there's tons of work to catch up on - you know, couldn't keep up my usual 60 hours per with visitors to entertain!

Plus, Riccardo's back! In total, due to weather, he sat in airports waiting for canceled flights for over 23 hours, but he made it there and back safely. And his exhibit at the Delhi Motor Show was a success. But I guess that doesn't really count as good luck, because he did put in a lot of elbow grease to make it happen. And being delayed for cancelation after cancelation is not good luck either, but the 100 euros of KLM vouchers he received as compensation will certainly help toward our visit to Canada this Easter! Not to mention that this flight should have provided us with the last of the frequest flyer miles we need to pay for a return ticket.

Hmmm... what else is lucky? Well, I'm currently enjoying one big bit of luck: school is canceled! It was good timing last week when we had a snow day while my family were still here. A great excuse to spend more time with them, though it meant post-poning their trip to Liverpool. But presumably due to the uncharacteristically cold weather, our heating system at school has developed a gas leak this week, which means we can't open - you know, good old Heath & Safety requirements do benefit us sometimes! Anyway, we've enjoyed today 'working from home' and the school has just announced it cannot open tomorrow either. Fingers crossed for next week! Hahaha!

And many happy returns to you, too! xx


    • At 10:40 PM, Blogger Tressa said…

      Hi Sweetie! I am glad that you are doing well and had a great time with family and friends this holiday season. I have realized that more often than not we dwell on bad things that happen when we should really be celebrating all the great things we have in our lives.Glad my little post made you think of all the positives! xo Miss you tons and am happy that you are so happy...
      Love Tress

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