Friday, 15 July 2016

Flashback Friday, Moments in time, 15 July 2013, A day in London.

15 July 2013
We were well and truly settled into life in the United Kingdom. 
Life in our little village was easy and we were only a quick train ride from London. 
An Aussie friend I met in Shanghai was coming to England to visit family, 
did I have time to pop into London for a catch up? Did I ever! 
Love London, one of my favourite cities, any excuse to pop into the city!
We wandered around Covent Garden and the markets, drooled over some 
delicious food...nothing says summer in London like strawberries and cream! 
Well...maybe a Pimms, but was a little early for that!

Strawberries, Covent Garden, London, UK

We walked to Harrods and chose a few goodies from the amazing food court for lunch.

Harrod's Food Hall, London, England

We walked to Hyde Park, soaking up all London has to offer on the way.
Who doesn't love a Vintage Red London Bus?

London Bus, London

Watched some local kids having horse riding lessons in Hyde Park, 
what an opportunity for them!

Horse riding, Hyde Park London, England

Perfect place to spend a warm Summer day and catch up with a friend.

White Swans, Hyde Park London, England

We parked ourselves on some deck chairs, ate our Harrods Take Away and shared 
a few glasses of bubbles...sadly out of plastic cups, not crystal flutes!

Harrod's Champagne, Hyde Park, London, England

A great day reminiscing about Shanghai adventures and creating new memories,
 in one of our world's most amazing cities on a gorgeous Summer day.

Deck Chairs, Hyde Park, London, England

Hyde Park, London, England

Hyde Park, London, England

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Being 'home' in Perth - six months into repatriation.

Six months ago we were in our final days of our two years in Germany, 
our final days of eight years as expats. 
Lots of 'last times' ...last walk in the forest, last meal with friends, 
last chat with the neighbours, before the last drive to the airport. 
Tears were shed but we looked forward to being 'home' to friends 
and the familiar way of life, back to being Aussies in Australia, 
where we wouldn't stand out.

Swan River, Perth Western Australia

We had been warned by other expats who had returned home, 
that repatriation was the hardest move of all. 
We expected it to be tough but had no idea how tough it would actually be.
The Perth we came home to was very different to the Perth we had left. 
We had grown and moved on as had those we had left behind. 
Some friendships had changed. The roads and rules had changed.
Suburbs had sprung up where golf courses had been when we left.
Kids had become adults, some parents, re connections were needed.

Our four years in Shanghai were some of the best years of our lives. 
The girls went there as children and left as young adults. 
We immersed ourselves in the culture, enjoyed the street foods and loved 
everything from the back alleys to the futuristic skyline. 
We adapted to what we could do and buy, the things we missed from home 
became less as we discovered more in Shanghai. 
Shanghai was 'home'
Many memories and friendships made, we all left a big chunk 
of our hearts there.

We made fabulous friends and had many adventures in England and Germany too. 
Friends were part of our every day lives, a huge support when you are so far from 'home'. 
We introduced British friends to the term 'do a u-ey', learned that pants are 
called trousers there and if you are 'fit' doesn't mean that you could run a half marathon. 
We travelled the countryside on weekends, enjoyed local festivals and traditions.
England was 'home',
We introduced German and a few American friends
to the delights of an Aussie Pav!
We had a gorgeous German forest as our backyard.
We discovered countless castles and amazing history on our doorstep. 
Germany was 'home'.
We left pieces of our hearts in England and Germany too.

We are very happy to be home in Perth, the city the girls and I were born in, 
the only place we truly belong. 
We  still find ourselves homesick for China, ecstatic when we find familiar 
foods in our local Asian shop. 
Homesick for England, the history,  the Pints and the Ye Olde Pubs. 
Homesick for Germany, the seasons in our forest...and white asparagus season!
Friends that became family in all three!
We will get over our cultural jet lag but we did leave pieces of our hearts in 
China, England and Germany, places we lovingly called home. 

Home is where you make it..and where you have left bits of your heart!

Perth is a great place to call home...and we can't complain about the weather...
enjoy these photos, taken while I walked the dog on a beautiful blue sky, 
sunny 18C,  WINTER day!

Swan River, Perth Western Australia

Swan River, Perth Western Australia

Swan River, Perth Western Australia

Autumn Leaf, Perth Western Australia

There is no place like home!

Home: the timely July travel link up, 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Flashback Friday - A cheeky weekend in Paris

One of the joys of expat life is the people you meet and 
the friends you make along the way. 
Expat friends become your family away from home and you get 
close much quicker than you would at home.
Once we left Shanghai and lived for two years each in 
England and Germany, most of our visitors were 
friends from our time in Shanghai. 
We caught up with lots of  friends as they came to London, 
English friends who were 'home for the Summer' 
would join me for an adventure or two.
Friends came to stay in Germany to visit us...and a 
Christmas Market ... or two....maybe a visit to the Rhine to 
drink a Riesling...or two!

I received a message from a Shanghai friend who invited my family to join them in 
Champagne to spend the weekend with them and drink Champagne
while they were there. Only a few hours drive from Frankfurt... 
How could I say no??? Well I had to, we were off  
back to England so my elder daughter could go to prom 
with her old school mates that weekend. 
Major bad timing...but, our friends were also going to Paris! 
Maybe we could meet there...
 Took a little juggling, searching for rail tickets 
and a sneaky day off school for my youngest daughter, 
two of us got to go to Paris for the weekend. 
 We got to  have a fabulous weekend, 
We wandered the streets, soaked up the atmosphere and ate some wonderful food.
Best of all got to spend lots of time catching up with our wonderful friends. 
Sometimes these spur of the moment trips are the very best!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Memories of life in Shanghai four years on...

Hard to believe that we left our Shanghai life four years ago this week. 
We lived in Shanghai for four years so we have now been away for longer than we were there. 
So much has changed, we are struggling with repatriation after eight years 
as expats. Two years each in England and Germany after Shanghai. 
The memories remain strong but the life we lived fades into the distance. 
Barely any of our friends remain, the city has moved on, the skyline has changed, 
the markets, shops and restaurants that were familiar are no more,
 replaced with new places to give the next generation of expats
places to discover and explore.

Shanghai will always be special to my little family. 
My husband and I really had a four year long honeymoon! 
The places we went, the adventures we had, the people we met, 
lifelong friends have now slowly dispersed
around this globe of ours. 

We still miss Shanghai every day, such a vibrant, exciting, cultural and fun city...
come on a trip down memory lane with me...

Recycling guy, Shanghai, China

Our friendly local recycling guy!

Brides, Thames Town, Shanghai, China

The brides of Shanghai...having photos taken at "Thames Town"

Shanghai Skyline, Shanghai, China

The ever changing skyline and all the comings and goings of the Bund.

 Zhenru Temple, Shanghai, China

The temples!

Golden Leaves, Yu Garden, Shanghai, China

The beautiful local people, the autumn colour and Yu Garden

Mao, Dongtai Lu Antique Market, Shanghai, China

The now long gone Dongtai Lu antique market.

Street Food, Muslim Market, Shanghai, China

The aromatic and delicious food of the Muslim Market.

Laundry and load in an alley, Shanghai, China

The laundry and the loads.

Birds and Seniors, Shanghai, China

The senior citizens having a chat while 'airing' their birds.

Xujiahui, Shanghai, China

My local stomping grounds, the noise, the smell...the traffic!

Robyn's Shanghai nappers, Shanghai, China

The I miss my nappers!

Superman dog, Shanghai, China

The dogs in clothes. 

So much to miss but so many fabulous memories, happy we had the opportunity to 
have such a wonderful experience. 
We wouldn't change a thing!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Throwback Thursday, Moments in Time, 12 May 2016 Wiesbaden, Germany

Wiesbaden was where my husband was based just before we moved to Germany
and quickly became one of my favourite places. 
A historic spa city from way back in the Roman times, 
 it is filled with beautiful architecture as it suffered far less damage
than Frankfurt in WWII. 
Only a twenty minute drive from home, was a favourite place to shop, eat and drink.
This time last year I headed in to Wiesbaden on a gorgeous Spring day. 
A gorgeous day to wander through the market square, marvel at
the gorgeous neo Gothic Marktkirche, the City Palace, a palace for the Heir to the throne
 and The Heathens Wall, Wiesbaden's oldest structure from Roman Times.

Also a perfect day to buy some in season and absolutely delicious 
White Asparagus and for just €1 a kilo you can have them peeled before 
heading home and having a scrummy white asparagus, prawn, tomato pasta dinner.

Now feeling homesick for Germany and really, really missing White Asparagus season!

Marktkirche, Wiesbaden, Germany

The City Palace, Wiesbaden, Germany

The Heathens Wall, Wiesbaden, Germany

White Asparagus, Wiesbaden Market, Germany

White Asparagus, Wiesbaden Market, Germany

White Asparagus, Wiesbaden Market, Germany

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Throwback Thursday, Moments in Time 5 May 2012, Shanghai, China

In May 2012, my little family was on the final countdown to the 
end of our expat adventure in Shanghai.
Life was full of farewells and 'last times'. Adventures to be squeezed into our final months. 
On 5 May, we headed over to Pudong to visit the Shanghai World Financial Centre or 
"The Bottle Opener" to expats and locals alike. 
We had watched this building being constructed while we lived in Shanghai and
wanted to go to the observation deck 474m above the ground one last time.

We looked out over the Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower and the under construction Shanghai Tower, 
well before it overtook the Bottle Opener.
The magical city of Shanghai was spread out before us, though the skies 
were murky...until of course we had gone back down to street level and
the skies finally cleared and were bright and blue!

The ever changing Shanghai Skyline, frozen in time, 5 May 2012, 
boy has it changed since!
Hard to believe that we have now lived away from Shanghai for nearly as long as were lived there.

Shanghai Skyline 5 May 2012

Shanghai Skyline 5 May 2012

The Bottle Opener, Shanghai 5 May 2012

The Bottle Opener, Shanghai 5 May 2012

The Bottle Opener, Shanghai 5 May 2012

The Bottle Opener, Shanghai 5 May 2012

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Throwback Thursday! Moments in Time 28 April 2013 - Waterperry Gardens, England

28 April 2013
Waterperry Gardens

When we lived in England, on the border of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, 
we drove by the sign for Waterperry Gardens all the time. 
Spring was Springing, we had a visitor over from Australia and 
despite an overcast and chilly day, I grabbed my chance to 
take my little family on a garden adventure with our visitor.

Waterperry Gardens is 8 acres of beautiful gardens. 
A riverside walk lined with daffodils A meadow filled with
Snakeshead fritillaries, my absolute favourite native English wild flower. 
Formal gardens, rose gardens and a herbaceous border.
Magnificent Magnolia's in bloom, Fruit trees budding
Springtime filling the air with perfume.

A lovely way to soak up the countryside in Spring, 
or any time of the year, England has a flower for every season season. 

Meadow filled with Snakeshead fritillaries, Waterperry Garden, England

Waterlily Canal, Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire, England

Riverside Daffodils, Waterperry Garden, England

Snakeshead fritillaries, Waterperry Garden, England

 Aren't these the most amazing flower, the chequerboard petals, 
the bell shaped flowers nodding in the breeze. 
Also known as the chequered daffodil!
They are sure to be home to the trendiest of fairies!!!

Snakeshead fritillaries, Waterperry Garden, England

Snakeshead fritillaries, Waterperry Garden, England

Magnolia in Bloom, Waterperry Garden, England

Magnolia in Bloom, Waterperry Garden, England

Spring blossoms, Waterperry Garden, England

Spring blossoms, Waterperry Garden, England