Welcome 2014….

Good-bye 2013… you have required courage, strength, faith, wisdom and enthusiasm.  You have shown me so many new wonders as well as numerous agonies which have kept me on a balanced path of reality and true life.

I shall treasure you and remember you but go forward now armed with more knowledge than I had when you first opened up to me.  Now you are closing I will take all you have shown me and embrace 2014 with open arms and wide eyes.

The future is in our hands and it is how we look at it, breathe it in, make our moves and hold our heads that transforms it to one full of happiness, peace, goodness and purpose.

Moving from Australia to South Africa this year has opened up an amazing new chapter for me and now I have built the foundations of my new life on the Western Cape I am really looking forward to the transformative and regenerative journey which lies ahead.  I don’t know where the end destination is yet but I can see the path and I am taking it with confidence, hope and faith…

Happy New Year Everyone!  

May your journey through 2014 be full of peace, prosperity and happiness.

Elephant's Eye, Cape Town.  SA.

An unexpected delay and a spectacular display…

Well, departing Australia was not quite as straight forward as I had hoped.  It seemed too good to be true that everything was going according to plan!  I must admit I was a little nervous of the thick fog which had enveloped Sydney for the previous two mornings prior to our departure day and there it was again when “D-day” arrived!  However, in the end it was not the fog that delayed our departure but a strange unidentifiable smell on the aircraft coming from the cockpit!  Now I could make a number of jokes at this stage but I will let your own mind carry you into that cul-de-sac of thoughts if you so wish!

Anyway the point is, the smell was so concerning we were held up at Melbourne airport while they inspected further.  Luckily there was no down wind effect for us and we sat contemplating the new departure time!  A voice over the tannoy explained all passengers connecting on to international flights should not be concerned as the fog had caused havoc and flights out of Sydney were delayed all round.  So it seemed the fog was now our friend and we might be able to catch up and make our connection in the end!

Some considerable time later and after another four or five announcements up-dating us of the status, it was finally deemed the aircraft was not safe for travel and they would be preparing a new plane for take off as soon as possible.   So here begins the even lengthier delay which meant by the time we were disembarked and re-embarked, everybody’s luggage was moved and accounted for, someone bailed entirely and their luggage had to be re-found and removed, etc. etc…. the departure time really did not warrant the ungodly hour at which we had scraped ourselves out of bed.

In the end we were finally airborne and made it to Sydney in half the flight time it usually takes… (just shows how much traffic there is in the air these days and the buffer they factor in).  However we were still much later than the original arrival time and it was to our great dismay as we watched all the other passengers on international flights be quickly ushered to their waiting aircraft, whilst my husband and I were the only two remaining passengers bound for Johannesburg on the 9.55am flight and it had actually taken off right on time!

There were now two options presented to us, be flown to Perth and hang out until much later that night to fly or stay the night in Sydney and start again tomorrow.   We chose the latter being thoroughly exhausted from all the leaving parties, packing and sleepless nights of late.  Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise!  A day to ourselves to do nothing but take a load off!

So we did just that, collapsing into the bed of our complimentary hotel room for a quick power nap before seizing the opportunity to say good-bye to Sydney!  And what a treat it was when we realised it was Vivid Live, a celebration of Australia’s most iconic stages.  An amazing display of immersive light installations and projections were being used to light the sail’s of the stunning Sydney Opera House, projected onto it as though it were an artists canvas.  Many of the surrounding buildings were also glowing and changing before our eyes.  In the end it meant our good-bye to Australia was much more spectacular than anticipated and we were able to appreciate this great place one last time with a delicious fish supper down at the Rocks, followed by a stroll around the quay whilst staring up at the striking Harbour Bridge and Opera House all a glow with these incredible displays!

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After such an eventful day we slept like babies and the next morning upon returning to the airport we were soon checked in and sitting back flying over the Opera House and on our way!  In the end our big departure wasn’t upset too much by the chain of events that were out of our control and we made the most of the situation.  After all, the next chapter is going to be an even bigger journey and waiting one more day really wasn’t going to make much difference.  If I had been going on holiday for a week I would certainly have been a little more disappointed to lose a day!  Even so, sometimes when events change direction beyond our control it is best to sit back and enjoy the ride, maybe something wonderfully unexpected will happen that otherwise you might not have seen!  I think this example was certainly nothing short of spectacular!

After about seven hours of flying the excitement wore off and the longevity of the flight wore in!   It is a very long way from Australia to South Africa!   At one point I thought it would be a breeze versus the two lengthy flights that usually take me back to England for a visit.  However it is the huge change in time zones that gets you and with there only being one hours time difference between Cape Town and London the adjustment is pretty much the same coming from Australia.  Flying back in time does not take the age off you that is for sure!

Exhausted but with a slight hint of an up curl at the corner of our mouths when we got to Johannesburg, we pushed on with our last burst of energy onto the flight from Jo’burg to Cape Town.  I tried desperately hard not to nod like a dog and slapped my cheeks to stay awake…. (the slapping of cheeks doesn’t work by the way!).  This last leg was an absolute killer because really it was the early hours of the morning for us after an exceptionally long day, even though we had been sitting down for most of it!  Yawning and delirious we finally made it to our destination and looked to the Mother City to engulf us into bed!

What happened next is some what of a blur until I recall waking up in a comfy bed shrouded by darkness to the sounds of pelting rain and crunching thunder!  We came in with one almighty storm and were literally engulfed by rain, slate, waves and water!  Now I am not sure what the elements were trying to tell us here but it was certainly an incredible welcome committee to the Cape with flashing lightning and pouring rain for the majority of the weekend!

I am happy to have made it safe and sound with all our suitcases in tow (fingers crossed for the shipment on the sea) and since arrival it has been a case of taking each day as it comes.  My dreams are very peculiar and adjustments to our new home will take a little time but my eyes are wide with excitement and intrigue.  My biggest fear was for my computer which finally arrived yesterday, one week after me, and hence here I am jumping straight back on my blog and coming at you for the first time from Cape Town!

So here the new adventure begins….

Adapting to new surroundings…

Re-locating, so I have done it all before but will that make it any easier?!   Making new friends is challenging and I have to say I think this can become harder as you get older.   Partly because most people have probably already got more friends than they can handle and many of these relationships run deep over time.  I know I struggle to keep in touch with all my glorious, wonderful friends scattered around the globe as it is.  Do I really need more?  Well, yes I do!  Especially when I just need to talk to someone in the same time zone and have a real live catch up rather than one on-line.  Although we now have many great mediums for communicating nothing can ever beat reality.

The other part to moving is suddenly feeling like you don’t belong.  You used to walk down the street and bump into some one you know, and even if you didn’t you at least knew where you were going!  You didn’t even have to request the type of coffee you wanted because your favourite barrister already knew, now suddenly everything is foreign!  You don’t know where the good coffee shop is and when you do eventually find it you are not sure how to ask for your favourite coffee anymore because maybe they call it something different in your new world…… and the question is what type of milk do they serve!  Phhfffffttt… I have been living in coffee heaven in Melbourne so I may have turned into a coffee snob!  At the end of the day none of this really matters, just enjoy the journey of finding out and you will probably make some new friends along the way….  and there is nothing better than chatting over coffee with a good friend!

Three cups of coffee with drawings in the milk.

10 TIPS FOR SETTLING IN TO A NEW DESTINATION:

1) Find your nearest conveniences.  ie. food stores, gym, doctor, coffee shop (essential to the daily routine….yes?!) and once you start frequenting these you will start to gain a sense of belonging and begin to recognise friendly faces.

2) Do some research on-line, find out what’s on, search via google maps and see what pops up nearby.

3) Chat to the local people, let them know you just moved to the area…..most people are usually only too keen to help.

4) Check out a new coffee shop and absorb the vibe. (Clearly I love coffee!!).

5) Take a walk in the nearest gardens or some place green for instant invigoration.

6) Go to a lecture…..there is always somebody talking about something!

7) Take up a new hobby or keep going with your previous hobbies. (This way you will meet some like-minded new friends).

8) Plan something to look forward to at the weekend.

9) Hook up with a friend and if you haven’t found any yet….. Work on it……or at least go out for coffee!

10) Most importantly smile and the world will smile with you. Go on… give it a go… and I bet you will get a smile back! (Plus smiling makes you live longer….honestly it does).

You get back what you put in and sometimes you don’t always get back, but an open heart I guarantee will find kindness and love in return so just go for it…. after all what have you got to lose!

Do please share your ways of settling into a new country with a comment below…….

A sign….. post!

Well as I mentioned in my previous post a new path has revealed itself and I think I am going to take it!!

Indeed, I have been exploring and taking the steps which presented themselves to me and as I continued on my journey this signpost appeared…. hmmmmm…..

Signpost and sky

This is offering me more options than I had even considered!

Sometimes the choices we have are actually staring us in the face but we fail to notice what they are.   Sometimes it is just worth stepping back for a moment and considering all you have in your life and realising there are always options.  Even when the going gets tough it is always possible for you to turn a corner and change your life, head in a new direction and find a happier place.  This doesn’t mean you have to travel to a new geographical destination, it might just mean you look at the world you live in with new awareness of what is surrounding you.

Well, in actual fact I don’t need to follow any of the directions this signpost is offering me because I have already arrived at the new destination.  (Don’t get me wrong, I am an explorer and I will be covering all these destinations off at some point; if I haven’t already!).  But for now back to the current situation…….. Where I am standing at the base of this signpost is where I am heading in due course to start a new adventure… Do you know where I am?

Several ideas for turning a new corner and looking at your world differently:

  •   Change the order of your daily routine, mix it up and see what you notice….
  •   Drive, walk, cycle, run, hop to work a different way…
  •   Make the effort to get to know someone you don’t always take much notice of…
  •   Learn something new… from belly dancing to boxing, drawing or singing!
  •   Go some where new… even in your local neighbourhood, I bet there is some where you haven’t been!
  •   Cook a new dish with ingredients you have never used before …
  •   Take a moment to be still and appreciate the elements surrounding you, the air, the earth, the water, the fire and the ether…

And if that doesn’t inspire you, well….

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”
― Dr. Seuss

Steps to the future…..

A new direction on my journey has revealed itself and I think I am going to take it!

This year has all ready begun to unravel my future path with clear signs of how all the work in 2012 is beginning to pay off.   The new path appears to be laced with possibilities and positivity which is filling me with joy and excitement.   When we are inspired and happy the effect undoubtedly spreads around us and feeds into others which subsequently opens up further possibilities!

Taking a new path can indeed cause for concern and fear in where it may lead but with a positive attitude and an optimistic frame of mind it is bound to take you to a fruitful destination.  If you can learn from the trials and tribulations along the way, make sense of what you have achieved and experienced, you are surely in a stronger place than before you set off.

Would you care to join me………….

Steps leading through plants