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Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Poignant Walk


'Tis the season for the Wiebe Wonder Workout!
Southern Ange, I always think of you when our class makes the annual pilgrimage to the swimming pool.  Today, our first day, was warm and sunny, and the gardens in bloom made it a lovely walk.  (Do you see the poor boys holding hands?  It was a choice between their partner or me...!  Ha ha!)
All it really needed was you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Scurrilous behaviour

 

I find myself at the end of another week, albeit a shorter week …tomorrow (Fri), the boys have no school (Teacher Only Day, and Exam Prep Day for the Senior Students), and it is Queens’ Birthday Weekend, so we have an extra day’s holiday on Monday.

The week that was….hmm….

The other night, the nurses organised a dinner out to a wonderful restaurant for K and I. We were so touched. Apparently they have only done that for 2 other docs in the past, so we felt very honoured indeed. Met some really lovely people and ate some amazing food. I must try to get back to that restaurant again before we leave!!!!! And the tributes flowed. I was so proud of my husband!

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There are some amazing things that happen and that one learns about one’s friends when one is about to leave for distant shores. I never suspected that my beloved friends would resort to such scurrilous behaviour on the (almost) eve of my departure! As I was having a meal with them, ensconced in the loveliness of friendship, little did I suspect that one of them would steal my wallet from my bag whilst another was distracting me with flowing conversation.

Theft of my driver’s licence and of intellectual property ensued. I was deeply shocked and traumatised! Especially since all witnesses to the event wholeheartedly supported the heinous crime and even desisted from alerting me to the fact! The lesson learnt? – Choose your friends wisely!

And the biggest outrage - to think that they managed to get one up on me! Untenable!

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And both boys had the honour of performing at two special assemblies this week. I was one proud momma!

Mixed in with the good, was the sad as we continued to say our goodbyes to people. Big Sigh.

Tomorrow, K has his official farewell. It will be a very sad time for him as he has really enjoyed his time at his workplace. As a farewell gift to his colleagues, he has booked a Corporate Massage for all the staff! 5 mins or so each with a professional masseuse – head, neck and shoulders only. Could be a very long and relaxed afternoon!!!

And then we head to Napier & Tauranga….

The Verdict is in!


Yes, the voters have spoken.  53% said yes to uniforms, falling far short of the 70% majority required to pass the motion.
There will be no uniforms at our school.
None of these...
Or of these...
But there is plenty of this:

...which is what makes our school wonderful.  Even without uniforms.

Now we can put the uniform issue back to bed for the next five or eight or ten years.  Until we have a new crop of parents who want to try again.
Vive l’ind├ępendance!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

So nice …

There’s something so very special about a day out with the girls.

Whilst the kids were at school, and the husbands at work….the girls had a day out to the movies, followed by a yum char lunch, and then coffee.

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Tough day at the coalface.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Walk well

We realised that this weekend is the FINAL weekend we will spend in our house of the last 3 years. We do have a few more weekends left in ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’, but they won’t be here in this home. It was quite a shock for us all when that realisation hit us.

~*~

TIME is racing on and we are barely keeping up.

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And the GOODBYES have begun.

I INTENSELY dislike goodbyes. I find them incredibly heartbreaking.

~*~

But moments like these help us to focus on what is important.

It heightens one’s appreciation of WHO is important, and WHY they are important, and WHAT is important. Today, a friend sent through something which helped me to realise that this journey we all walk, is not just our own. Although we may not always be able to choose where we walk, we can choose HOW we walk. And sometimes, it won’t be clear this side of heaven, why our paths go where they go. But there is a REASON. There is always a reason.

~*~

That reason gives me HOPE.

Family Photos

Here is a lovely group of cousins, happy to be together.
We had our first barbeque of the season and enjoyed sitting out on the deck.  Bee and Liam even jumped in the pool - and stayed in for ten minutes!  Brrrr...!
That happy family photo makes me think of an awkward blog I encountered today (Christine knows all the good ones!).  Just right for anyone with a quirky sense of humour.  Check out awkwardfamilyphotos.com.  We were helpless with laughter for several minutes as we looked at "The Choker".  As I said, quirky sense of humour...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Love is in the Air


It's that time of year again.  The time for eight-year-old talk about love, kissing, boyfriends, and girlfriends.  

Note intercepted in class last week:  Dear Cute Boy, I think you smell like coconut.

Recently, Cute Boy was being teased by some other kids about his love interest.  Actually, it's not really his love interest at all, but he's cute and nice enough that Love-Struck Girl has eyes only for him.  And lets him know it.  Anyway, the old song was being sung:  X and Y sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.... and so on.  Cute boy was not impressed, and when he got home, told his mum, "I don't know why they were singing that song - I haven't even been in a tree with Love-Struck Girl!"

Today, just before our writing time, we had a class talk about all this love stuff.  As soon as I brought up the topic, I heard a chorus of, "Ooooh, disgusting!"   So I talked about crushes, noticing a few knowing looks, and explained that this isn't the age to focus on girlfriends and boyfriends, but it's nice to have good friends, and blah blah blah.  Finally, one sweet boy put up his hand and asked, "Mrs. W, are we going to have to write about this?"  When I said no, there was a collective sigh of relief.  Poor children.  Imagine having to write about love and kissy-kissy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Deep Compassion

Southern Ange, I'm sorry to hear that it's so cold down there.  Really sorry.  But you know what?  As much as my heart goes out to you, I'm just so relieved to have spring!  I love the sun.  The flowers.  Leaves on the trees.  Pleasant temperatures.  Long days.  I love it all!
Possibly even the dandelions that are trying desperately to gain a special place in my garden!
Today was the big inter-school track meet.  And it was a gorgeous sunny day!  (We're all so glad that it's held in May and not November!)  I snuck away just after lunch to the stadium and managed to find my sweet niece in time for her high jump event.  It was special to spend some time with her and to see her jump.  It's always fun to take pictures of her; she's most willing to cooperate with her camera-happy auntie!
Unlike her naughty cousins...!

Shall I post some photos of our recent winter to make you feel better?

A cooool wind up the kilt

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My studybuddy has a theory, that we are spinning away from the sun!


What with the unprecedented snowfalls in the northern hemisphere this past winter, and with the sudden and early onset of winter here, I am wondering myself what is happening to our weather patterns!


In case you hadn’t heard, we completely bypassed Autumn this year, here in the Southern Hemisphere. One day it was summer, and the next day, we had frozen BITS. And the experts tell us, that we should be prepared for the coldest winter since the 1930’s…..what fun.


Beware world! Southern-Ange-the-Woolly-Mammoth is on the prowl!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yes, or No?

We North Americans are a peculiar bunch.  For oh, so many reasons.  For one thing, we tend to disdain anything that smacks of collectivity.  We value individuality and uphold it as something holy and sacred.  
For this reason, students usually wear uniforms only at exclusive, elite private schools.  And those whose children don't attend these schools often look down on uniforms.  They make children look the same.  They can't express themselves through their clothes.  They're trying to make their kids look rich.  And then there are the girls who roll up the waistband of their skirt to make it look shorter - perpetuating the "sexy schoolgirl" image.  
Our culture doesn't really go for all these things.
On the other hand.....  Maybe wearing a uniform allows kids to express their true personality without relying too much on clothing brand names or styles.  The "haves" and "have-nots" are on a level playing field, diminishing clothing competition.  And it eliminates the issues of low cut necklines and those crazy baggy jeans!  I kind of liked my boys wearing a uniform in high school.  Easy, comfortable, and low-key.  And they didn't have to stare at girls' cleavage every day in class!
Next week, our school community will be voting on the uniform issue.  I really don't know which way it will go - a large number of parents are gung ho,  just waiting for the moment when they'll be able to put a big black X beside "yes".  Some are passionate about preserving our school culture, which is not at all elitist, and want their children to be individuals, not cookie-cutter kids.  Still others are undecided or passive about the issue.  And then there are the teachers, many of whom do not want to become uniform police, checking for the correct socks and measuring skirt hems.
It should be very interesting. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ten by Thursday

Sometimes the words flow…and sometimes, there’s just not enough energy to do the flow thing. A full week.

Here are just 10 wee peeks into the week that has been (or at least, moments when I have had a camera on me!) :

Celebrations…

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Conferences…

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New ventures…

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Fun times...

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Hanging out…

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Time together…

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Great coffee, great chocolate…

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Making Memories.

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Oh, and did I mention paperwork…?

Circle of Influence


It was a lovely drive home today...
A tractor trailer fell over right in the middle of a key intersection.  It's amazing how just one person can touch so many lives in one action!

Speaking Canadian

This is all you really need to know about language, here in the Great White North (it's actually green here, but still white where Crystal lives...):
Howzit goin', eh?
Have a good day. Eh!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Speaking Ozzie-ese

It is very hard to imagine, that a month from today, we will be moving across the Tasman Ditch.

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Our good friend Marg, reminded us that it will be exactly 5 years to the month since we left Oz, not realising at the time, that we would one day return to live there again.

CRIKEY!

~*~

This ARVO (afternoon), as I was sorting through the reams of paperwork needed to shift our household over that little body of water, I came across a RIPPER (= great) “Relocating to Australia” Guide. This PAMPHLET (=brochure) was CHOCKA (= full) with GOOD OIL (= good information) about the local language:

Please take note that many Australians use a number of colloquialisms. At first, English-speakers from other countries may have occasional difficulties understanding parts of every day Australian-English speech…

~*~

We will obviously need to HAVE A BURL (= try) at our rusty Ozzie vocab, so that our ANKLE BITERS (= kids) and ourselves don’t come across as complete DRONGOS (=stupid, inept person)!

~*~

I’m slowly remembering….

…the common form of greeting is “G’day” or “G’day Mate”. The latter is used mainly by males - everyone is a mate cf. buddy in the USA.

…that it is not a compliment to be called a FRUIT LOOP or a DILL (= a fool)

…your bag of groceries has no relevance to your being told that “you are dressed to kill in your BAG OF FRUIT” (= a suit)

…BARBIES are so much more than voluptuous, money-making dolls. (= BBQ)

…at an Ozzie Barbie, if you get PECKISH (=hungry), you may find SNAGS (= sausages, NOT Sensitive New Age kinda Guys!), TINNIES (= cans of beer), good TUCKER (= food), TOMATO SAUCE (= ketchup in the Northern Hemisphere),YABBIES (= freshwater crayfish), maybe even some SANGERS (= sandwiches), and sometimes even some WITCHETTY GRUBS (= a large, white grub that is hailed by Aborigines as good tucker). But I’m just STIRRING (= being a troublemaker). I’m too much of a WUSS (=coward) to eat witchetty grubs. You might have more adventurous tastebuds of course. ONYA! (= Good on ya!).

And naturally, if you eat all this stuff, you’re likely to embarrass yourself and someone may exclaim, “A BIT MORE CHOKE AND YOU WOULD’VE STARTED!” (= a statement said to someone who has just passed wind in public). GROUSE! (= great!)

~*~

Too much YABBER (=too much talk). I guess I should CALL IT QUITS (= end it there), lest any Ozzies reading this get CHEESED OFF (= annoyed) and accuse me of having a FEW KANGAROOS LOOSE IN THE TOP PADDOCK (= few sandwiches short of a picnic)!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Getting So Wise

I gleaned some new wisdom from my day.  Would you like me to share it with you?
(You really have little choice here.)

If you ever give a boy a time limit in the bathroom and make a rash declaration like, "You have one minute, and then I'm coming in!", be prepared to actually do it.  And then see all the other boys scatter like insects.
Boys' bathrooms are not pretty.

And just in case you are in a situation where a defiant boy is sitting in your office, not doing the work he is supposed to do, don't expect that you 
will get your own work done.  I think there is a scientific reason for this, but I'm not sure what it's called.  Maybe Einstein would know.

Get the picture?
I'd much rather have been here today.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life is like ….

This is a pretty fair representation of what our weeks look like at the moment…

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Skulduggery

There hasn’t been much time to stop since we got back from Sydney.

Probably just as well really.

Guests, Dinners, School trips, Various people passing through, Decisions, Meetings,

Kids’ Activities, This and That….LIFE STUFF!

My apologies for being a tad distracted of late.

~*~

Our weekend,

(the culmination of our collective family efforts this past week)

has been HUGE.

Today, my darling mother turned a venerable age.

A life worth celebrating.

And so we did…

Tonight with just the family; and

on Saturday with friends and family.

It was a “Surprise” Celebration, which involved much skulduggery and scheming.

It is a rare occasion when we actually manage to pull a fast one on my mum.

But we did - well and truly. Mmmmhmmm! And it was fun!

‘Twas so nice to be able to honour such an outstanding woman, my mum!

It also felt so good to be the on the side of the Successful Schemers! /:-)

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The next morning, it was difficult to rouse oneself….

But being Mothers’ Day, my family did a great job of getting me awake –

Breakfast in bed….with the WHOLE family! Cosy !!!

Coffee a la E, bacon and eggs and garlic mushrooms a la K,

And a sleepy snuggle a’ la L.

And some beautiful cards.

Yum.

~*~

Then all too soon, it was a rush to get to church for the Mothers’ Day service.

When one is rushing for a carpark and some seats alongwith +2000 other people, it can become a matter of urgency! That urgency did seem to be more urgent than usual though.

I wondered why my youngest had his jacket zipped right up under this chin, and though I was tempted to zip it down to a more fashionable position, I resisted…and then it got a bit worrying, when my camera (which is a bit like a permanent appendage to my body) suddenly disappeared, and reappeared in my husband’s hand…and various people wished me an extra cheery “Happy Mothers’ Day” !!! Hmmmm.

Sometimes it is right to be suspicious!

~*~

All of a sudden, during the service (which had been lovely up to this point!), my husband disappeared. At this stage, I noticed with surprise, that my youngest son had suddenly materialised on stage, flanked by two lovely girls on either side of him. More hmmms!

The two gorgeous wee girls both read out some beautiful tributes they had written for their mothers. They were just lovely tributes.

And then my son stepped up.

And this is what he said (after flashing a really, really CUTE smile to the cameras!).

“I love you Mum….and could you please come up here to get this flower?” !!!!

It brought the house down.

I felt this stupid huge grin spread right across my face, and then I understood why my husband had, had a fleeting look of panic earlier in the week when I told him we were due at our niece’s dedication on Sunday; and why my son had, had his jacket all done up to hide the fact that his daddy had ironed him a nice shirt underneath his jacket; and why L had seemed so anxious to disappear into Kids’ Church that morning; and why my eldest had decided not to go to his Youth programme but had decided to stay for the service; and why my husband had specifically asked for an aisle seat and had, had an enormous Cheshire cat grin plastered all over his face!

All of a sudden…. I felt like my mum had, a day earlier!

Very special. Very honoured.

But well and truly ‘got’ !!!!

And (dare I say it!!) sometimes, just once in awhile, it is nice to be on ‘the other side’ too!

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On Mother's Day

We spent a good day with my family, and then with Big Bear's.
I'm so thankful for my mum.
Happy Mother's Day!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yikes!

I DON'T like spiders.  Blech!
Cimemazoo (a wonderful animal organization) visited our school yesterday as part of the primary rainforest theme week, and something told me that it was time to stretch myself.  And so I did!
Two tarantulas crawling on me - do you think that's enough of a stretch?
It wasn't too bad, actually, as the man in charge of all the creepy crawlies was next to me, assuring me that they were very "gentle" spiders.  Have you ever thought of spiders as gentle?  I hadn't.  However, the next step was to actually hold one in my hand.  
It was surprisingly sweet!  
It was furry, kind of like a little pet, but with extra legs.  And cute little feet.  It walked softly on my hand, and suddenly I could see why people like them.
Kind of.
Just don't get me one for Mother's Day, Boys!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sydney

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Almost a week in Sydney with a bunch of crazy women….

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It’s not often that I’m lost for words, but I really don’t know where to begin. I’m not sure that I can adequately describe how wonderful this time away together has been.

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I haven’t laughed so much in ages. We had SO MUCH FUN. And some of it is definitely not publishable!

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We ate (and ate, and ate) and the mild dose of food poisoning that we all came down with, didn’t seem to deter any of us! (besides which, it seemed only natural for women to all head for the ablutions together and on a fairly frequent basis!). P1080379 We talked (a goodly amount even for women!); we shopped (well, some of the more ‘natural’ shoppers did, whilst the rest of us supported them on their mission); we appreciated the sights; we travelled; we experienced (stuff!); we met amazing people; we were majorly spoilt; we simply enjoyed each other’s company and the lack of routine and daily demands. And we didn’t sleep.

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As a busy mother, wife, woman, I would sincerely recommend that you really make the effort to get away with some good female friends every once in a while. There is something special that happens that is indescribable. It does wonders for the soul. And your children and husband appreciate you so much more when you return!

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On that note, here are some totally random, jumbled thoughts and some equally random photos:

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- Sydney is a wonderful place to visit and explore. It ‘buzzes’ all the time, even at midnight during the midweek. There are always people around to make it feel like things are alive, but not so many that you feel claustrophobic. It’s the sort of place where something is always happening.

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- Sydney-ites are flippin’ CRAZY drivers! Especially the taxi drivers. And the traffic is horrendous. Public transport is fabulous though – we travelled by car, mini rail, train, ferry, bus, but ran outta time to go on the monorail.

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- We had the most perfect weather (bar the first day, which was cloudy). Absolutely perfect otherwise. Sunny, clear, balmy. Not too hot, not too cold. Just perfect for strolling in the sunshine, or sitting out under the stars and lights.

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- Our 2-level accommodation at Darling Harbour was wonderful. I took far too many photos of the stunning view from our windows. And the location couldn’t have been better.

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- Two of my most favourite times were a) having an al fresco dinner on the promenade at Darling Harbour, with the water and the lights sparkling all around us, a happy bustling and buzz all around, and some great conversation and company; b) all the girls lounging on the bed/sofas, in the dark with the lights turned off, chatting into the wee small hours of the morning, and enjoying the ambience and magnificent view over the Harbour with all the pretty city lights. Sublime.

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- Bondi is a beautiful surf beach embracing the surfie culture…..surfboards, skateboards everywhere. You even get fined now if you’re caught hooning down the road on your skateboard (which seemed to be a common occurrence even in the short time we were there!). This is the time of the year to go to Bondi if you want a huge selection of swimming togs for cheap, cheap, cheap! The great sales were the only thing that induced me to whip off my layers and try on swimwear which I really didn’t need.

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- Bondi Junction had the most amazing foodcourt I have ever experienced. Nothing like any of the other food courts I’ve eaten at. Fresh, huge variety, restaurant standard, foodcourt prices, gourmet offerings! The girls were astounded at the seafood on offer. But our favourite was definitely the Thai-Malay place. Culinary bliss.

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- Having contacts/family/friends in a foreign location is definitely a plus for the insider/local knowledge!

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- Pacific Islanders are some of the kindest, most generous, warm, hospitable people on the earth

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- A pina colada is not the same without coconut milk.

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- Watch out for The Duck Curry. It can give you the SQUITS!

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- Kisma + meat = a voracious appetite plus a tonne of energy for dancing the night away!

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- Mags + TV = 30 secs till deep sleep

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- Cultural influences run deep in each person, influencing our personalities profoundly

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- Every strong personality needs a soft personality to temper it…and vice versa

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- An apple-pied bed is not quite as comfy as the apple-pier’s bed, especially at 2am

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- A fake spider in one’s shoe is much scarier (and much more entertaining for others), than a spider in one’s bed… if one has removed one’s contact lenses for the night.

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- If you find out that your bed has been short sheeted, it is probably not the fault of the Hotel Housekeeping, but probably has a direct link to the lump of uncontrollable giggles nearby

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- Never underestimate the speed and strength of a birthday girl if she knows she is about to be thrown into the pool or a bathtub….

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- You can always eat more

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- When on holiday with good friends, sleep is a figment of your imagination

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- Having a supportive family back at home, who encourage you daily to enjoy your time away, is truly a blessing

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- The mobile phone has revolutionised communication, especially if you need to share a description of your delicious lunch with someone whom you won’t see again for another hour

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- There is a shopping gene, a karaoke gene, a photographic gene, an eating gene, a talking gene, and a gene that endows a person with directional sense….or not.

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- To talk without superficiality, to laugh, to relax in the company of good friends – these are some of life’s greatest joys.

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- After a good holiday, you will need to go home and rest

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- There’s nothing that stirs the patriotism like coming through Immigration and Customs, and being told, “Welcome Home”!

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- And there is nothing quite as wonderful as coming home to your family who love you, dirty washing and all!

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