Thursday, August 12, 2010

Winters

When we left the UK, it was winter.  Travelling to the Southern Hemisphere, we found ourselves facing another winter.  It’s been a strange year.

It’s almost exactly five months since we came to Australia.  I can’t believe how quickly that time has flown, nor how quickly we’ve settled into life here.  Although we’ve had to adapt to new things, mostly things have felt oddly right somehow.

It’s almost Lauren’s fifth birthday – and her very first winter birthday.  I’m baking a chocolate birthday cake for her – she’s invited 25 of her school friends to a party this weekend, so I’ll be busy getting everything ready for that later.

Back in our last UK winter, we celebrated another birthday - Granddad’s 70th birthday with him in York.  This is Granddad opening his birthday cards and presents in the morning (girls helping of course).

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Here is one in the evening with the steak and kidney pudding that I cooked specially for the birthday dinner.

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Despite our facing our second winter, I only have to look at these photos to realise that Australian winters are a lot kinder than British ones.  This particular day in Edinburgh, we took the girls down to the playground at the Dell, near my parents’ house.  It was bitterly cold and there was snow on the ground.

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The girls were wrapped up in about 4 layers.  I was reminded how much colder Edinburgh gets compared to London!

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Although we were sorry to leave family and friends behind in the UK, we set off from Edinburgh to Hong Kong with a fair amount of excitement.  After all, it was the start of our new life in Australia.

More family celebrations followed on our arrival to Hong Kong.  We were treated to an amazing banquet on the second night with my Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles.  We went to Grandfather’s favourite restaurant in Mong Kok.  Here we are with the whole family!

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During our time in Hong Kong, there was time for a visit to Kowloon Park, which was my favourite park as a little girl.  Here the girls at looking at the goldfish in the big central pond.

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We were treated to a visit to Happy Valley, home of Hong Kong horse racing; we had a really fun evening in one of the executive boxes enjoying the buffet dinner and the races, courtesy of Aunt Kitty.  I won an unbelievable $580 HKD (amateur’s luck, I think) – I think everyone else made a loss that night!

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And of course, no visit to Hong Kong would be complete without a trip to Disneyland Hong Kong.  The girls had been looking forward to this for months.

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Last time we went, Lauren had been pretty much scared of everything.  This time, I just about managed to persuade her to go on some of the rides, but she wasn’t impressed!  Jocey, on the other hand, loved all the rides and was desperate to go on more.

The standout moment of the holiday was definitely our encounter with the “Princess Mice”.  The girls met the mice from Cinderella and absolutely adored them.  There were lots of hugs, kisses and giggles and they almost refused to leave!  Here we are with the Princess Mice.

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We also had the opportunity to watch the parade (which they loved – they watch the video footage Jase took at the time over and over again), meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Pooh bear.  I think Minnie was their next favourite, followed by Pooh, who was apparently very soft!

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Soon, even this time came to an end and we found ourselves at our last family meal in Hong Kong.  Even though my family were sad to see us leave, they gave us a great send off and soon we were on the plane to Australia.

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Our new lives were about to start.