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Delight and Things

a little peek at what delights me

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So the year is coming to an end. Again.

It always does, but when I was a kid I remember getting sad on New Years Eve because I was a bit of a kainotophobe (the fear of change). And I would always remember how great the year had been and didn’t want it to end. Throughout my travels I’ve learned to appreciate change, though, and I’m not so much of a kainotophobe anymore. But I do still feel it’s still nice to look back on the year we’ve just gone through and take a few moments to appreciate all that happened. Here’s my top ten memories from the past year.

1. My surprise visit home after 21 months of being away! Thanks to my father’s careful lies, I managed to pull off the giant surprise of flying from Australia to Canada with my boyfriend for my first visit home since leaving a year and nine months before. Although I was attempting to make it a total secret, with my family’s unorthodox schedule due to dad’s recent retirement, part time jobs at cabins in the woods, and awkward shiftwork, I ended up having to spill the beans to my dad to ensure everyone was going to be in the same place at the same time. (I could just see Jamie and I keeping quiet about it, spending 30 hours on a plane, then rocking up to the house when everyone was away – total bummer). My dad heroically made up a giant work disaster that required attending to despite my mom’s total annoyance that he was going to leave when my sister and her boyfriend were up for the weekend. (Kudos go to my sister’s man for ensuring my sister was there, too, or else she would have been working two hours away). My dad then drove 5 hours to pick us up at the airport and another 5 to get us to where my family was. A massive effort. My dad has all the photos of the moment I walked in the door, though, not me. Regardless, it is by far my favourite memory of 2012. It makes my heart sing.

2. Bringing home a puppy. My boyfriend’s parents breed sheep dogs, and both Jamie and I fell in love with one out of a litter last year, and we ended up bringing him home. We named him the totally unoriginal name ‘Spot’ and welcomed him home. Jamie’s other dog, Nikki, was not as pleased with the newcomer as we were, but Spot became part of the family and is one of the goofiest dogs I know who inevitably makes me laugh every day.

Spot out for a drive when he was a puppy

Spot out for a drive when he was a puppy

3. Bottle feeding orphaned lambs. I never expected this to ever make any top ten list in my life, unless bottle feeding orphaned lambs suddenly became a necessity to survival in a Canadian ski resort… but it just goes to show how much your life can change in a year. And that’s why this made the list. It reminds me not to be afraid of change, but to embrace it. Because how flipping cute are baby lambs!?

Baby lamb getting warm in the sun

Baby lamb getting warm in the sun

4. New Years at the beach. Okay, I don’t usually make a big deal about ringing in the new year. And I didn’t last year. It just happens that my then quite new boyfriend invited me down to the beach and it happened to be New Years. It wasn’t hugely special, we just went fishing, and played cards, and went swimming, but I just remember feeling totally happy and relaxed. And I outfished the boys – I caught 15, they caught 4 and 5 each – and that’s something to crow about. (And that photo shows quite a small fish but it was the first one for the day that I caught – they got bigger).

Fishing at Arno Bay, New Years Day 2012

Fishing at Arno Bay, New Years Day 2012

5. Visiting my best friend in Sydney. I got to spend Easter with one of my best friends from Canada in Sydney, where she’s originally from. It was so great to see her on her soil, to check out all of her old haunts, and to meet her mom (who I felt like I knew but had never met).

6. Cruising around Tasmania in a camper van. Another part of my travels this year involved renting a camper van and driving around Tasmania for a week. Awesome! Saw some beautiful sights, visited many national parks, and ate some delish seafood.

walking around the lake at Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania

walking around the lake at Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania

7. Finishing painting the bathroom. This sounds silly but it was the one thing about the house I’m living in right now that I couldn’t handle. It just felt dark and old and farmhouse dirty. (So like, actual dirt due to unsealing windows vs the gross dirt that sometimes comes with old bathrooms, if that makes sense…) The sense of accomplishment from entirely repainting the bathroom (ceiling, trim, walls, everrrrything) was amazing. It took a lot of work, but it looks so much lighter and brighter and cleaner than it did before. I wish I had a before and after photo, but I don’t.

8. Going to Melbourne with Jamie. Yes, it was a work function that we went for (I know – you’re all thinking, what work functions do you go to when you’re a farmer???) but that grain tipper truck launch was an awesome excuse for Jamie to take me on a whirlwind trip to Melbourne. Not only did we have a drink at the excellent pop-up pallet bar in a back alley, check out the MCG (if only from a distance), and visit with penguins at the Aquarium, I got to get dressed up and chat to people in marketing (hello, something I know about!!) for a while. It was like a combination between my life in Canada and my life here (yes, we were talking about marketing the new grain tipping trucks to young farmers).

St Pauls Cathedral in Melbourne

St Pauls Cathedral in Melbourne

9. Going to the Beirut concert with Brooke and Brian. My sister’s boyfriend bought Jamie and I tickets to a concert while we were in Canada. We didn’t know the band but went anyway, trusting their taste in music implicitly. That concert was excellent. Trumpets, trombones, electric bass, drums… their sound is amazing. And I couldn’t have picked better people to see it with. And it was in the beautiful Orpheum theatre. Three wins.

10. Planting my veggie garden. Scratch that. The actual planting of my veggie garden was a kind of tedious process with no immediate result. Harvesting my veggie garden for the first time (okay, okay, maybe the term ‘harvest’ is a bit too grand for pulling one carrot out of the ground) was definitely exciting. And although it’s been a bit of a time and water suck, I still love going out every morning and checking to see what’s grown since the day before. Definitely worth all the effort – and the battles first with frost then with drought and sunburn.

The first carrot picked.

The first carrot picked.

Anyway, hope you all have a happy new year and have a few amazing things to think back on from the past twelve months. Here’s wishing you all the best for the next twelve!

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These days most of the christmas wishlist toppers are things like ipods, ipads, and other igoodies. So it’s a bit refreshing to look at these vintage christmas ads that bring you back to a time when there were no ianythings to long for. From socks to pipes to cowboy boots, it seems christmas used to be about the simpler things in life – but glad to see that new year’s hasn’t changed. (That’s where Johnnie Walker comes in!!)

Kenwood Chef - 1930Interwoven Socks - 1945Kaywoodie Pipes - 1953Roy Rogers Cowboy Boots - 1956Johnnie Walker Christmas - Ad Classix

And in the spirit of using christmas for totally inappropriate marketing incentives… these are gold.

Chesterfeilds - 1941

Lucky Strike Santa - Ad Classix

Found these babies here.

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It’s that time of year again. December has come and it seems this year I am hit with a christmas fever that I didn’t have last year. Last year I was looking forward to not making a huge deal about the holiday, and I was excited to experience my first hot christmas. I was happy to join a family down in South Australia that I’d never met. I was happy to get up in the morning, open presents with the kids, then have a beer, put on my swimsuit, and head to the pool. I was happy to eat prawns at lunch instead of turkey at dinner, and honestly I hardly even noticed that I was lacking the christmas traditions I was used to. I genuinely enjoyed the creation of a beer can christmas tree (see, the family I was staying with owned a pub) and was suitably impressed at how beautifully it turned out (once the lights were up, the tree was aglow – with all that aluminum reflecting, the tree looked practically like it had a halo). Of course, I could put some of this down to the fact that I was a teeny tiny bit distracted because just days before that I’d met a boy who I had a pretty big crush on… the one I’m still with almost a year later… but I digress.

This christmas I feel a bit different. No, I’ll say a LOT different. I am longing for mittens and fireplaces and winter ales. I’d like to put on some christmas carols, bake a batch of gingerbread, have an eggnog, and decorate the house. I’m pining for the family christmas movie collection with classics such as White Christmas, Love Actually, and The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. (Although there are some who may watch Love Actually at any time of the year, in our household, it’s strictly a christmas film). (And heck yes, I said The Muppet’s Christmas Carol – I may be 24 years old but that is hands down the ultimate version of Dickens’ story). I’m craving hot apple cider, mom’s magic sleigh bell bars (a name that we made up for them when she invented them one christmas), and I’m missing the snow falling outside, the icicles reflecting christmas lights, and the smell of a freshly cut down fir tree in the house. Man. Christmas in Australia is totally not the same as Christmas in Canada.

But I’m getting my Christmas on. I’m going to make my christmas a unique blend of casual summery Aussie beaching and wintery Canadian family merriment. My good friend happens to have an extra christmas tree, so she drove over a nice, surprisingly realistic looking 7 footer yesterday. No, it’s not quite the same as heading out into knee-deep snow to chop down your own tree with an axe, but it’ll do. I’ve got baubles and lights and candy canes. I’ve tuned on to a 24-7 christmas radio station online. I’ve got…. well, I’ll admit I’m watching James Bond at the moment, not something festive, but I’m sure there’ll be some christmassy movies on tv in the next few days. I bought ingredients to whip up that batch of gingerbread I mentioned earlier. And to add to the christmassy goodness, I’ll share a few great links I’ve found.

Wishing my christmas tree looked like this. I’m seriously in love with this ‘tree of a different colour’ as the creator refers to it. Maybe next year.

A crafty idea for a reusable advent calendar. Love the simplicity. I’m keen to paint tiny little paintings that you can hang facing inwards from the pegs and flip over each day.

Can’t get motivated to get out the address book and write up those christmas cards? Perhaps one of these amazing cards will inspire the perfect holiday message.

Printable christmas bingo. My family has a bit of a christmas jeopardy tradition, but perhaps they could slot in christmas bingo for a bit of a change-up.

I’m happy to get a bit more engaged in the season then I did last year because I know it won’t all remind me of home – and I have the feeling that when I’m diving into the impossibly aqua ocean on christmas day here I won’t be wishing for snow. A skype call home and all will be right with the holidays, I’m sure.

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I’ve got a new job. And it comes with a uniform.

I’m working at the grain silos during harvest – I’m the weigh bridge girl; I’ve got the totally thrilling position of weighing each truck as they come in and then again as they leave to figure out how much grain they’ve deposited. And with great responsibility comes great safety gear. (Wasn’t that what they said in Spiderman?)

But I’ve decided to rock it. I’ll outline the amazing outfit and the benefits for you so you can understand why.

1) Fluorescent shirt with reflective tape. Isn’t fluoro in vogue right now? I’m pretty sure the stores are currently selling fluoro skinny jeans and singlets. Sure, maybe only slightly inebriated music-festival goers and children under the age of 10 are the target market, but they’re still there, right? And the reflective tape? Well, you can definitely see what I’m wearing at night if you flash your car headlights my way. It’s the perfect way to have your outfit seen even when its dark out. And I can only imagine – I could replace the disco ball on the dance floor at the bar if we had me positioned just right and shone the strobe lights on me. So it’s clearly practical on multiple levels.

2) Steel capped boots. Okay, maybe my steel capped boots are one size too big because that’s the closest they had to my size and I didn’t have time to get smaller ones. But nothing a pair of sherpa socks can’t fix, right? And just think of how hardcore I am in them. I can walk along without worrying if a bird is going to peck at my toe, or if Chuck Norris is going to jump out at me, or if the sky is going to suddenly start raining nails. My toes will be safe as houses.

3) Hard hat. Again, totally practical. Think of all the crazy situations that would require head protection that I no longer need to worry about. Also, the brim on it keeps the sun off my face, meaning no premature ageing from sun damage on my face! Awesome! But the best part? It’s the perfect whiteboard for doodling on with dry erase markers during the slower hours of the day. I can have a differently decorated hard hat every day, if I so choose. I’ll bet that pretty soon all the truck drivers are going to commission me to personalize their helmets, too.

4) Safety glasses. It took me a bit longer to embrace these than the first three. For two reasons. One, apparently I have a weirdly shaped face. I put on the company issued glasses and they didn’t fit. I said so, and everyone in the office said I was nuts and then came up to see if they could make them fit. No, they just plain don’t fit. So after feeling slightly like a mutant, I was issued a pair that did fit me, but had no sunglasses tint to them (bummer). And two, it was admitted to me that since issuing the safety glasses with the foam bits around the lenses to create a seal around your face the number of accidents involving tripping have gone up because you lose your peripheral vision in them. Right, so what’s the point? Well apparently the number of incidents of grain dust in the eyes have decreased. Alright, I can get behind that then. And as for fashion, I think that they’re pretty much the next Ray-Bans. And if I get bored between trucks I can pretend I’m Bill Nye the Science Guy and get crazy with some experimenting.

5) The layer of dust on my face. Because I live somewhere where we have very limited rain, pretty toasty temperatures, and limited vegetation, we have some a crap load of dust. And because I sit in a weigh bridge where great big trucks drive by all day filled with grain (another source of crap loads of dust), I am exposed to some of it. So I’ve started to become used to the feeling of dust, which is actually kind of a good thing because I used to have a bit of a problem with it. (You know how some people can’t handle that sound of nails on a chalkboard, or the feeling of cotton balls? I can’t handle the sound of dusty shoelaces being pulled together or dusty ropes or dusty anything pretty much. So you must be thinking I’m crazy to have come to dusty old Australia and then choose to work at the grain silos. Don’t worry, I’m aware. But moving on.) The good thing about constantly being covered in a layer of red dust is that I am probably less susceptible to getting sunburnt, as it’s sort of like an added layer of clothing, right? And also, it gives me the chance to see what life is like with brown skin (and for a fair skin, freckled red head, this is not an opportunity that often comes up).

And for the record – I actually don’t mind the job, when it’s busy. When it’s slow it’s a bit tedious. It’s definitely not the deadline oriented, creative, busy-busy-go-go office environment I was used to when I worked in an advertising agency, but for a casual position that only lasts a few months, it’s not bad.

So yes, I look like a hardcore working man every day now. But as you can see, the benefits of my new attire are endless. And it’s really made me come to appreciate the summer dresses and floral patterned items that are hanging in my wardrobe – bring on the weekends so I can feel like a girl again!

I read this little post on Apartment Therapy (a great site for all things home related) and really felt I had to share it. I’ve lived in quite a few different places, my family home for a long time but since then it’s generally been 3 months here, a year there, etc. I have learned a few things from each place I’ve lived in, and I am only JUST starting to figure out what I really want in a home. I’ve been in my present home (yes, I’ll call it my home even though it’s half way across the world from where my family is) since February, and I am guilty of wishing something was different pretty much every day, but I’m learning to love it. There are a few simple steps you can take to make yourself feel better about your home – and they don’t require much effort. Click the link in the paragraph above to view the whole post, it really is worth a read.

I definitely like the list they wrote, but I can’t say I practice all ten of the tips they’ve listed. So I’ve altered their list to make it more “me”.

Make your bed every day. This one was on their list – I’ve kept it. I started doing this in the last year university (prior to that I slept on a pull-out couch, which no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t “make” it). It sounds crazy, and I realize some people love the idea of coming home to a premade ‘nest’ of mussed up blankets and pillows, but this 20 second step in my morning routine seriously makes a huge difference in my day. Perhaps it’s something about seeing everything neat and orderly as I leave the room or maybe it’s feeling like I’ve already had a ‘win’ before I’ve even had my coffee or maybe it’s even just the small stretch I get when leaning over to smooth the duvet, who knows. But I do know that it helps maintain a sense of tidiness in an otherwise slightly cluttered room (thanks to laundry baskets that seem to have an aversion to the four walls that make up our bedroom).

Unplug. I love my computer. I like watching movies and the odd tv show. And while I don’t love phones, they are necessary. But there is a time and place for all of these things – I find that I get ‘teched out’ and need a break. I understand we all wind down in our own way, for many it’s turning the tv on and vegging out. I have no problem with having the tv on for a while, but I heard a scary fact not long ago – the average Australian adult watches 3 hours of tv a day (that’s 22 hours a week!). Maybe it’s time to reduce those statistics. On to phones – there is nothing worse then spending time making a meal, then have the phone ring and you’re left to then eat it while listening to someone’s one sided phone conversation. As for computers, I am guilty of sometimes tuning the other person in the room out because I am so focused on whatever I’m doing, and that’s not fair either. So turning off the electronics in your house for a period of time each day can go a long way to creating a happier home; it forces you to actually create your own entertainment.

Install hooks. I am a hook-addict. I like them because they keep things from becoming piles on the floor. Although some people argue that they simply convert your floor-piles to vertical wall-piles, I tend to disagree. If you have nice towels/clothes/hats/etc, then your hooks turn into renewable art of sorts. Pretty patterned shirts look nice hanging together on the wall. Hats add character. Even towels manage to break up a big wall. Hooks can also  hang your jewellry, adding sparkle to the room. But the top reason I love hooks? They act as a place to put clothes that aren’t fresh out of the laundry clean (which would go in a drawer/wardrobe) but aren’t dirty enough to deserve the laundry basket (ie. that pair of jeans you put on after your shower, wore for two hours while you were out for dinner, and then you took off when you swapped into your pyjamas to lounge on the couch). Ahh, hooks. Maybe this one just applies to me, but they definitely make my home happier.

Roll with it. Yes, there are things I don’t love about our house. But it’s a whole lot easier to accept them than to stress over them. So, I’ve embraced the things that previously bothered me and used them to my advantage. I have created a space where the shearing back-sling that always hangs on the verandah actually sort of looks like it’s meant to be there, I’ve displayed the old wagon wheel leaning up against the fence rather than hiding it, and I’ve filled the rusty bathtub in our yard with dirt and it’s now growing asparagus amongst other things. I’ve decided rather than hating our lime-green laminate kitchen counters and brown lino floors I’d call them ‘retro’. I’ve left the ugly mosaic tiles in our bathroom but changed the walls from dingy blue to buttery yellow, which has actually made the tiles look way nicer. I painted the home-made yard gates a cherry red. I’m trying to get climbing plants to climb up our water tanks. I’ve accepted that I’m not going to be living in a designer home any time soon, maybe never. But I’ll roll with what I’ve got, and do the little things I can do to make it nicer.

Frame your photos. It’s too easy these days to take great spur of the moment photos on your amazing digital camera (or even your iPhone) and, after a brief moment of excitement while loading them to the computer, forgetting they’re there until the next time you open up the photos file. And no more excuses that you can’t find the time to go to the photo store – apparently you can get them done online and mailed directly to your door! Framed photos is one of the easiest ways to make a space feel like home. It gets you excited about the idea that the four walls you are living within are yours (or at least, if you’re renting, your’s for now). Although I don’t have a whole lot yet (let’s face it, even though I’ve been settled for almost a year here I’m still technically living out of a backpack), I am slowly putting more and more memories on our walls.

Do the dishes as you go. I do not have the luxury of having a dishwasher. Hell, sometimes I don’t even have the luxury of having water, if it hasn’t rained for a while. (No, I’m exaggerating, we’ve never not had water – we’ve only not had water to certain sections of our house – always unfortunate if it’s the toilet). But that’s besides the point – the point is, doing dishes is not my favourite activity, but nothing makes me grumpier than walking into a disaster zone kitchen. So to avoid getting grumpy, I do the simple thing of having a sink full of hot sudsy water while I’m cooking, then when something’s dirty and I’m finished with it, it goes directly in to soak. If I have a moment where I’m simmering something or waiting for something to rise/cook/absorb/boil I can quickly do one or two (or the whole lot!) and it really doesn’t seem like that big a deal, because I’m already in the kitchen and already busy. Everyone reading this may think it sounds simple or may already do this, but it seriously saves me some frustration.

Let the light shine in. This one may be purely personal,  but I cannot function in a house with no light. When we first moved into this house there were some amazing curtains in our kitchen. And I mean amazing. Picture a kaftan from the 70s – they were a orange, mustard, and lime green floral pattern and they were faded out, with still bright parts where they overlapped the wall, not the window. I lived with those curtains for 5 months until one day I couldn’t take them any more and ripped them down. Then burnt them. (A little drastic, I know, but what can I say). And that afternoon, Jamie walked in and said, “Wow, it looks so much brighter in here, doesn’t it? We should have done that ages ago.” Indeed. It was a simple thing that took me under 5 minutes and it felt a thousand times better. When in the city later on I bought some new ones (because the light is pretty glaring at eye-level in the morning) but they don’t block out the light, they just filter it. Our kitchen feels so much cleaner now, all due to some sunlight and $20 curtains.

Get crafty. Maybe not everyone has the skill to do major building projects like tables and chairs, but you give me an example of someone who can’t buy a can of spray paint and revamp a lamp. Or bring an old pallet inside, lean it up against the wall in the hallway, and tuck shoes between the boards, creating a fully functional, if rustic, shoe rack (my solution for our front hall). Or take a spare metre of amazing patterned fabric that reminds you of that time you traveled in… whereever… and create a cool cushion cover by simply doing some tricky folding and safety pinning (instructions here). Google it, people, there are heaps of amazing DIY tutorials out there for anything you could ever dream of having in your house. And not only will it give you something to do on a rainy afternoon (or during one of your tech-free evenings) but it will give you a sense of pride once you’re done.

Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. This is another I’ve kept from Apartment Therapy’s list. I like that this can be as simple as thinking about what your favourite part of your day was before going to sleep at night. I honestly think sometimes we get so wrapped up in what went wrong during the day we forget to think about what went right. Maybe it’s just that you were grateful for your awesome shoes that you wore to work (not so applicable for me, seeing as I’ve got steel capped work boots, but…) or that your dog was playing in the sprinkler and ended up being a goofy, soggy mess. If you take a minute to think about what you loved about the day, you’ll start to see that even on the worst days something good will happen.

Plant some veggies. I know not everyone has hectares and hectares of space to have a veggie patch, like I do. But there are some amazing resources online to help gardeners with even the most compact of spaces. Check out this link here if you have roughly 4×4 ft of space, or try your hand at planting tiny veggies like these ones in a window box. And if you’re in a city, check out some of the great community gardens that are around (although I know there’s often a wait list to have a plot in them, so maybe trying to grow some veggies in a pot at home would be faster). But I recommend giving it a try, because it’s a  bit of a delight to cook with veggies that you grew. It doesn’t get fresher, it tastes amazing, you can feel safe in knowing there were no growth hormones or pesticides used, and you can brag about it when you invite people over for dinner. And it’s fun going out each day and watching things get bigger.

Have a morning song. Some mornings, I just can’t get inspired to get out of bed, and as I walk through each room I find things that make me grumpy. And if that’s the case, I’ll play my morning song (Gravity, by John Mayer Trio). It usually makes me feel better about things. I think hearing the house full of music brings creates good energy, without sounding like a yoga teacher or a monk. And I love that it usually sets my mood for the rest of the day. Just make sure it’s a song that makes you feel good. Mine’s calm, cruise-y, and slightly blue-sy which lets me wake up slowly and puts me in a relaxed mood. But you might want a bit more energy for your morning – choose what suits you. And I’ve just said a morning song versus a morning playlist because often that’s all I’ll have time for in the morning… I clearly press snooze a little too often.

If you can’t get out of it, get into it. I’ve stolen this one from Apartment Therapy, too. But I like it. Basically, the idea is get super pumped about the things you hate doing. Hate taking out the trash? Turn it into an Indiana Jones epic trash-taking-out adventure. Vacuuming? Crank up the tunes and turn it into a 5 minute vacuuming dance party. These are actually the sorts of things I do every day without actually realizing it. It makes the mundane tasks seem… awesome.

Anyway, hope this gives you a bit of food for thought for your own home. And if anyone has some great tips that they practice, let me know!

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Can I just say that it’s super weird that the Canadian cleaning product “Vim” is the exact same as the Australian cleaning product “Jif”? I asked Jamie to pick me up some Vim the other day and he came back, so apologetic, because (and I quote) – “…all they had was Jif. Will that work?”

Actual laugh out loud. Yes. That will work.

Then I had to google it just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. Why’d they bother changing the name between countries?

And please, no laughter that I just wrote a blog post on cleaning product. (What is my life coming to?!!)

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My two favourite holidays are Thanksgiving and Halloween. Unfortunately, this country doesn’t celebrate either. On October 8th, which is Canadian Thanksgiving, we ate tacos for dinner. I’m lucky I even remembered it was Thanksgiving – I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for Jamie, who said “happy thanksgiving” as we sat down (bless him – the Aussie who before meeting me had never even heard of pumpkin pie). So no, we didn’t really celebrate. It’s hard to have a family gathering with a turkey cooking in the oven when you’re family is halfway across the world and you have an oven that doesn’t seal entirely well, adding extra heat to an already 40°C day. And also, we had indulged in a Thanksgiving feast at my grandmother’s house in July when we were in Canada at my special request, so I wasn’t feeling like I’d missed out too much this year.

Halloween, on the other hand, is not something that we could just recreate in July. Halloween needs to have the perfect combination of autumn leaves, cool nights with wood fire smoky smells, and everyone on board to transform their houses into gruesome graveyards, insane asylums, mad scientist labs, monsters headquarters, and more. It also requires the shops to sell tiny bite sized candies and face paints, and mothers everywhere to dust off their sewing machines to create a costume out of scrap fabric laying in the back of the cupboard. It needs pumpkins to be in season (and I mean the classic orange ones, not Queensland blues). So needless to say, we did not have Halloween during our visit back home.

But I was seriously in need of a Halloween fix. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and force-feed Halloween down the throats of our community. Although it’s a bit difficult to trick or treat when the houses are quite often more than 1km from eachother, I figured I could at least host a party and show these Aussies what the big deal was. It was party planning time. While in Adelaide for a wedding I bought a bunch of decorations from the classic spiderwebs to skull lights, and with the help of a few friends even tracked down a few orange pumpkins. I invited the kids down the street to come over for a pumpkin carving night and we created some amazing jack-o-lanterns (after having to explain what a jack-o-lantern was). I got a bit crafty and built a giant paper mache Frankenstein head to hang at the front door. I stuffed hay into my old work clothes and hung my scarecrow look-alike from a noose in the driveway. I created a murder scene in the bathroom. I baked ghosts and bones and had punch with floating hands in it. I even had a good friend who has a cupcake business create some seriously cool halloween cupcakes – awesome!

It was really funny treating people to a whole new holiday – everyone was so delighted with it all and was wide eyed at the decorations and food and everything halloween-y that I just took for granted having grown up with it. Of course, it wasn’t quite the same as home, but everyone got into the spirit and dressed up, and we ended up having a bit of fun. Although you can’t go too wrong with good friends, a few beers, and a bbq with farm fresh meat on it, can you? It’s just an added bonus that a dead Fred Flintstone was cooking it for you.

So – Happy Halloween everybody! Let’s hope those of you who celebrate it are feeling sick to your stomach from too much candy, and that those of you who don’t will one day have a random Canadian move to your town and host a halloween spooktacular.

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