Monday, 29 October 2012

Homesickness Triggers

I was talking to my boss and his wifey a few weeks ago about getting homesick. Australia Day had come up and we were planning on going to Vancouver where they have an Aussie bar. Apparently people get pretty drunk and emotional, which I can totally see me being (for a few reasons).

Anyway, his wife and I were saying we randomly get homesick but the boys both agreed that they never really did. I'm not sure why girls get homesick faster or more often, maybe the boys were just being manly.

I've noticed the following will set me off...

Australian accents
As I'm generally surrounded by them, it's only really if I get caught unprepared. For example when O'Hara called Commonwealth over Skype and suddenly a random Australian was coming from my computer. Also when I listen to a friend who often does night shifts at FBi Radio (handy morning times for me). His voice coming through my headphones makes me miss Sydney and The Rege.
Love and onesies
I don't think anyone does Christmas the same. I used to get homesick if I spent Christmas with the O'Haras. Even though it was obviously awesome, it's never the same as home. This year it will be freezing and O'Hara will be at work. De-pressing.

When I can't find what I want at the Supermarket
Maybe Australia has less choice when it comes to groceries. Well we have less choice when it comes to frozen waffles... or frosted cereal... or M&M flavours.... but I miss non-frosted mini-wheats, and curry pastes, and coconut cream. Also the grocery stores are HUGE and nothing seems to be in the aisle that I expect.

When friends in Canada have their family visit
This makes me so jealous!! When is my family going to visit?? I miss you! 

When visiting friends leave
Don't leave! You could stay here and live in our spare room for ever?! We could feed you, and let you out for a walk everyday.

When shit happens at home
I think this one is obvious.

Monday, 22 October 2012

We're preparing for Halloween!

Halloween is just over a week away! We've been a little lame with out decorations but we went all out with the pumpkin carving. The process started with a trip to the Pumpkin Patch! It was a slightly chilly and windy day, but we got picked up by friends and taken to choose some pumpkins.

Choosing pumpkins can be hard work, they have the be the perfect size, shape and colour. We worked out that getting a slightly green one is handy, as they ripen up quickly when inside and if it's very orange it may turn a little soggy...
Looking for the perfect one
Alexis and Hal connecting with their pumpkins
This is the one!
Then comes the fun part. Carve time! 

I made the best decision ever and spent $5 on pumpkin carving tools at Super Store. This included  a scraping tool for taking out all the junk inside, a little pricker thing to transfer the outline of your carving and a mini saw. The scraper and the mini saw were the best purchase ever. O'Hara was convinced we'd be able to do it with a steak knife. Ahh boys...

If anyone has tried to do pumpkin carving in Australia and struggled, it turns out they use a special type of pumpkin. You can't eat these ones and they have really soft flesh (probs why they taste bad) and are super easy to carve. I remember trying to carve pumpkins as a kid with ones we'd grown at home. It was a battle!

The worst thing. O'Hara was significantly better at carving pumpkins than me. How is this even possible? But he took way more care and made a hilarious cyclopes pumpkin. Mine unfortunately looked like a child carved it. Luckily my bat pumpkin was mildly more successful.
The tools and what it made!
I think my pumpkin looks like me with missing teeth

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Our first first snowfall!

This morning, it snowed in Kamloops! The first of the season, and the first time we've experienced the first snowfall magic. The silence, the mist and the little gingerbread houses before it all turns to mush. Lying in bed watching the snow>>getting up early for work.

I'm glad O'Hara decided to drive to work, rather than ride his bike this morning! Unfortunately it's not very cold, so it's unlikely to last long. But now I'm inspired for the ski season to start in just under a month!!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The little sanitary things

Confession: I am addicted to expat blogs. Especially ones with people moving to Australia! They remind me that even my home that I love, can be a total pain in the arse for new people.

Warning... this is not a story for boys. Maybe men, or boys that like funny videos.

One story was from Stumble Down Under about buying tampons in Australia. This was funny for me because she has the exact opposite problem to me. I hate that basically the only options here are applicator tampons. Maybe Australia is less civilised, but at least we can be a bit discreet. There's no hiding them in your purse, bra or pocket here. I do understand her pain though, because PMS coupled with not getting what you want = purchasing rage!

The ironic thing is, in Canada at least, sanitary disposal is primitive! In Australia, everything is hands free and doesn't require any grossness for the cleaners. In Canada it's just a little box with a brown paper bag. It's creepy.

Plus you can't make funny little chomping faces in Canada...
Also, for some strange reason there is a real problem with Porta Potties. At sports fields and some events, rather than having flushing/chemical portable toilets they have a long drop style contraption. Except it's not long, and it's not really a drop. It's basically just a big tub full of shit about 30cm from your butt. I've not managed to use them without gagging and it seems unlikely that I'll ever manage it.

PLEASE, import some from Australia or something. Vomit.

Update: Yesterday I saw a hands-free sanitary disposal bin! They do exist! So why aren't they more popular?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Hooray Lockout?

I am possibly the worst import EVER.

The NHL players and owners (Ice Hockey) are currently involved in a labour dispute that has lead to a lockout. I'm not 100% sure what it means (I've tried Wikipedia), but it's effectively the players being locked out by the owners because they can't agree on contracts. The NHL claim they want to make it fairer for the less financially successful teams (which I think is good), but the players wouldn't agree to changing salary conditions in their contracts.

Now in Canada, hockey is like crack. While I didn't get quite enough love out of the Olympics, hockey is another matter. I personally think that a salary cap would be the best thing to happen, but I'm not Canadian and therefore don't really get it.

Here in Kamloops we don't have a NHL team. A lot of people go for the Vancouver Canucks, and that's the team we support in the NHL. However we do have the Blazers, and I think they are awesome. With the lockout, people have to support the Blazers to get their hockey kick. Which means the home games have been even more awesome.

It doesn't hurt that they're also doing really well this season and are totally going to win!

We can smell the players when we're this close. It's gross
I used to be Digger's biggest fan... until I flipped him off for not giving me a t-shirt!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Today I am thankful

It's Canadian Thanksgiving today! Due to the shorter harvest period in Canada, they celebrate Thanksgiving a month earlier than the US. Last night we were lucky enough to be invited to our friends house for a Thanksgiving feast. Of epic proportions! I wish I took photos of the decorations and all the food, because Tiff did a ridiculously good job. Think classy magazine, candles, flowers, different oranges. It was lovely. You're all missing out by not having seen it!

Some background for the next part of the story. Australians do not really mix sweet and savoury. I think the furthest we go is apple sauce on pork and cranberry sauce on turkey. Sometimes we might do a honey glaze on meats. Canada and the US do sweet and savoury a lot. Quite well really. Chocolate and peanut butter. Maple flavoured everything. I want to think of more but it's early.

So, I had two sweet surprises with our dinner. The first was Candied Sweet Potato, where I had an awkward moment looking up the recipe: "I've found a recipe, but it has marshmallows on top. That can't be right." "Um yes, that's it." This was actually quite delicious. Google and try it, you won't be disappointed.

The second, Wheat Salad. I had to Google this when I got home, as I kinda thought it might have been one of those secret family recipes (similar to HIMYM with the gummy bear salad. Anyone??). Nope. It's a real thing! I found this recipe at Canada

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat berries (these are delicious... I don't know if you can get them in Aus)
  • 1 pack of cream cheese
  • 1 can crushed pineapple (we had glace cherries. I think)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 packet of instant vanilla pudding mix (this is where it gets interesting)
  • 1 tub of frozen whipped topping (I think it's like whipped cream but not from a cow)
I'm sorry Canadians, but this will go into my vault of hilarious travelling food stories. Similar to when we were in Taiwan eating pigs blood cake, and the locals were laughing at us because we couldn't swallow it.
Pumpkin Puppy and Wheat "Salad"
Today I am thankful that I have lovely friends who provide good food and good company. And will hopefully invite me back, even if I laugh at dessert for dinner!

I've obviously forgotten all the manners my parents taught me. Always eat what you are given, even if you don't like it! Permission for anyone to tell us our Australian food that we force you to try is gross! Unless it's egg on hamburgers. Then you'd just be wrong.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

I'm electric

For some reason in Kamloops, I am electric. I can't seem to get out of the car these days without getting a massive electric shock. A shock so big it sounds like a gunshot, I scream "gosh darn it" (believe me?) and kick the car.

Aren't cars supposed to have some flappy thing hanging out the back to earth them? My car is obviously missing something. HELP! I'm not appreciating the temper tantrum every time I get out of the car.

Note: I've been given a fair amount of advice to help with this. Apparently it's because it's so dry here which obviously makes sense. 

Standing up and getting out of the car I can now keep myself grounded. Turning off the lights, cooking and kissing the husband good bye/hello will continue to be shocking. Ahhhh bad....

Speaking of electric... that was Vegas. Where I was last weekend. That's right!

O'Hara must have gotten lucky when he married me (huzzah) because he seemed to have channeled all my good gambling luck while I failed. Badly!

Next time Bill's. The craps table is mine!!