Thursday, July 28, 2011

One for you and one for me

We've got  tickets to Love Never Dies!!!
And for myself Phantom of the Opera to watch before you arrive!

I'M SOOOO EXCITED! *squeeeelssssssssssssss*

Did you know that we are watching the last show ever? Talk about perfect timing!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We're going to Ibiza!!!

Hi Anna!

Glad you eventually found your letter again! It's like a little saved up surprise. Reminds me of the time I was cleaning and I found 100 pounds (!!!) that I had stashed away and forgot until a month later! I felt very clever for hiding it so well and it certainly made my day to find some money I didn't know I had.

I also spy some Reese's chocolate pieces on yout desk.. hmm.. I am on a diet officially as of today. I've said this many times to myself a month ago but it's  not official unless it's er... announced!  All this cheese/chocolate/cookie/cake/carbs indulging has to stop. I miss my leaner self and my old clothes are getting rather tight :/

That video clip was rather scary with all the bouncing going on! haha but we're GOING TO IBIZA! Yay! I agree that since we should wing it in Barcelona or at least see how we feel like when we're in Ibiza. We might meet some locals or other travelers that can suggest some places to go. It will be one epic adventure :D

I'm glad you are starting to feel more excited about your next holiday. Perhaps you weren't feeling it because you just came back from one? When I come back from holidays it takes me a week to wind down and start feeling 'normal' and adjust back to routine again. I'm not that excited about my Contiki even though it's THIS Sunday. I'm sure Saturday night I will feel it because I will be meeting everyone that is going on the Contiki for a pre trip meeting. Pinch me! I feel like I'm dreaming and it's not really happening.

Remember how I said I would go shopping for summer clothes? Well I spent half of Monday on Oxford and I only went into 4 stores!! This Top Shop is humongous! I think I spent almost 2 hours in here sifting through racks and trying clothes on.

This is my fav purchase from River Island and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it. I like how the leopard wraps around the shoulders and the back and it's so comfy. Yup it is suppose to be summer right now but with London weather, I could wear it today judging by the weather outisde.
 I bought lots of other summer tops etc for my Contiki but I am sure you will see me wearing them in photos :)

Check out this huge group pic from the pub crawl that they posted on FB.
Can you spot me?!
 It's difficult to say how clubbing is like in London because it all depends on where you go. Sat night was more alternate/Indie music (I'm terrible with describing music!) with no lyrics and definitely not mainstream music and nothing like what I've experienced before. Not exactly sure how I managed to dance to it either. I didn't really pay attention to what people wore, but the impression I got was really casual cool alternate. Think oxford flats/checkered shirts/ fedora hats/men in skiny leg jeans etc. Generally I think clubbing in another country is always fun though because you don't know anyone and you go in with no expectations and from my experiences you always end up having a blast!

Last night we went to see WICKED and I loved it! I loved the humour and I can't comprehend how they can have such amazing voices!!!
With our tickets outside the Apollo theatre.
Where we sat and the stage. There is quite an ascend from the stage and we were higher up than I expected.
 Last but not least, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR D!!! I sent him an e card.. how dorky. I mean who sends e cards these days right? If I was in Perth, I'd bake cupcakes and conjure some edibile scrabble tiles to decorate on top!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Letter from East!

Hey Chia!

It sounds like you are really living it up in London! Your pub crawl in Camden sounds awesome! All your new friends! and OMG the weekend that Amy Winehouse died AND in the area that she lived in! It's crazy that you are actually in a City that stuff happens in! Like you can almost rub shoulders with the rich and famous! How is the clubbing in London, how would you rate it compared to clubbing in Australia? Or Singapore?

The past few days have been the usual routine for me- work, vball, a little bit of rockclimbing and trying to find time to get back into running. And randomly, tonight, I sat down at my messy table, thinking I should try and organise it, and look what I found:

A letter!

I looked at the environmentally friendly envelope, knowing that it was a letter from Lily, but, what I didn't realise was that it was unopened! I had glanced at my cluttered desk and had thought it was an old letter! I opened it with that old school happy feeling when you received genuine letters instead of bills and brochures! I am happy that Lils and I have been able to maintain snail mail! I will be writing to you soon Lils! Sorry it's taken me so long to see this letter for what it was!- A new letterrrrr!

Other than that, admittedly my spare time has been trying to organise the Europe Trip. Kev and I have not booked anything! But at least we have sorted the places that we plan on going to. We are going to explore Geneva, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Munich. The in between places we are a bit unsure of, but either way, it's looking so eye opening. I have missed this feeling of excitement and passion for just experiencing everything new!

I am super excited about our Spanish Romance in store for us! Barcelona is looking so exotic to me at this moment! I can't wait to see all of Gaudi's unusual art and architecture! I found this cool link to give us more ideas of things to do in Spain: 

OH! And I agree with you with Ibiza now! Like I think the 'responsible' me is slowly shedding off, and I am beginning to feel that itchy feeling! I want to be able to sing that VengaBoys song
...Fly away on Venga airways, fly me high, Ibiza sky. WOAH! We're going to Ibiza! WOAH! Back to the Island. WOAH! We're gonna have a party. WOAH! In the Mediterranean sea...
Exciteddd... Here, lets get you excited too! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Camden Pub Crawl

Hi Anna!

What an appropriate title for your blog! You lucky thing :) I could do with a new bag but then again who doesn't? I can't believe Kev carted the jewellery box all the way! It looks huge! Imagine all the extra jewellery you need to buy to fill it up. Ashamedly all my jewellery is clumped inside a see through container that used to have olives inside. Yikes! I guess that is the thing about living abroad, you have to make do without a lot of things so that you don't add bulk when you eventually leave the place. The chocolate filled with durian brought two things to mind: mum and Singapore!!!

Books for the month. I bought these from an Oxfam secondhand bookstore. I can't believe that they are all almost brand new and they stock a wide selection of books. Currently I am reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave and it's very easy to read and has a very intriguing storyline set in Nigeria and modern London. I can't remember a book that I've read where I'm actually in the setting.

Remember the two brooches? Well I'm wearing the penguin one here! I sent the deer one to a fellow teaching friend :)
 I want to get more of these gorgeous brooches. I forgot to post the link for it last time but you can check them out here. I think this would look gorgeous in red! I wanted this in white but they didn't have any left.

This is one of my favourite photo from the pub crawl that Lauren and I went to on Saturday night in Camden. It's the pretty blue lights that make it specky!
  This was also the same day that Amy Winehouse died in her Camden flat. I didn't know she lived in Camden! I didn't hear about it until my flatmate Ana told me about it. You sure miss a lot of things when you don't have a tv.

We were taken around to 5 different pubs/clubs and I had a ball. There were meant to be other people that said they were coming along but bailed last minute because they had dates! Hrmm...  There was an excellent ratio (for us girls anyway!) of 20 guys to 5 girls at the beginning and the group kept getting larger! We stayed up partying and the guy in the photo (Martini? Masarni?) an Indian raised in America traveling through London, ended up crashing back here. I felt kinda terrible for him because I gave him my sleeping bag and he had to sleep on the floor. Sucks again not only not having a tv but also not having a couch for your guests.

Not only that, but I feel terrible because at the beginning of the night I was telling him a recent story of two guys that I've only just met asking for requests on FB and how I declined. We never ended up swapping any details and in hindsight it would've been cool to keep in touch. Oh well!

I also met these two Indonesian guys. I was absolutely thrilled and I must've been the happiest kid in town because I got the chance to practise my bahasa and I'm proud to say that I've still got it! Woohoo! I might've been going on too much about nasi padang and the likes....
Dancing away at Prouds. This photo cracks me up!
The second one to the left is in a band called The Curious Incident and he's been living abroad in Holland to Hawaii to Germany and some other places my memory fails to recall. I would've loved to see them play tomorrow night but I can't because I'M GOING TO SEE WICKED! FINALLY! Exciting times!

Today is another sunny day and I will be out. I think I will go shopping to get a few things for my Contiki tour especially summer clothes! I can't wait! It's almost like a dream because everything was only thought of and booked the last week or so. I think from now onwards time will fly because about 2 weeks after I get back, you will be in London and we will be off to Spain!

I feel that it is appropriate to end my blog with 'see you soon'!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Hey Chia!

You're last few blogs have made me jealous! I am enjoying all your 'casual' excursions out and about, appreciating such beautiful architecture and art that we don't seem to have back here. I really would like to take the time out to draw or write about the things around me. If only I allowed myself that time here.

I really like the colours and your pencil work for your flower! It is so pretty and I just like looking at that photo for some reason. I think it is because your drawing shows such unusual and vibrant colours for a rose, but then when you see the actual rose, your eyes are like 'WOW it IS real'.

On Tuesday morning I was woken up by my radio alarm at 4.30am. I quickly clicked the alarm off and jumped out of bed. For a few seconds, I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, and habitually walked to the kitchen, open the pantry and moved to get my cereal. But then I realised that it was no ordinary morning. I realised that, I had no time for breakfast, and that I needed to wash up, get changed and go ASAP.

Kev and the others from the Asia Trip who had continued onto Korea, were arriving at 5.20am; or so it said so on the airport website when I checked it the night before. As I brushed my teeth I double checked the arrival time and to my horror, it said that Kev and co were due to arrive at 5.10am. I quickly finished washing up and was out the door by 4.50am.

I ended up arriving at the airport at 5.30am. The traffic was great, and luckily for me, luggage and customs were slow (as usual). The first person to come out was Wilbur. He seemed tired, but relieved to be home. Then out came Kev wearing the coolest space invader cap. I was so happy to see him! We were only separated for a week, but it felt like ages. I was happy that he was back. Soon after Kev rolled out the doors, Bels, Doris, Joyce, Lena, Ben and then Thien came out. Everyone made it back safely! I think everyone was tired, but happy to be finally home.

In the car, Kev told me all the stories about Korea. They were quite funny, and he raved on about their tour leader named Annie, who in fact, made the Korea trip a lot of fun. When we arrived back to Kev's house, Kev started unpacking straight away! I thought that perhaps he would want to rest for a bit... but then he said he had gotten me gifts. And to my surprise... I was spoilt!!!!

Kev had bought snacks for my parents, which included chocolate filled with durian flavour, which my mom loved, tasty pretzels which my dad really liked, two bags of chocolates (one being Hershey dark chocolate candy in a crunchy shell, and the other being Reese's Pieces peanut butter flavour), and a box of unusual flavoured Ferrero Roche. He then pulled out a cloth bag with 'Charles and Keith' on it, which had a small handbag that I had eyed in Vietnam, but decided against buying it because I already bought two bags! I liked it because it had giraffe spots on the top! He then gave me a bookmark that doubles up as a letter opener from Korea, more various sweet Korean snacks, a t-shirt from uni qlo that had Meiji Chocolate on it, and a cool carry bag, that he had used for his carry on luggage and which I can use for sport!

And when I thought I was already spoilt enough, Kev pulled out this white box. It had brown tape wrapped over the top, and he started opening it. 'This was supposed to be a gift for you...' he started as he pulled the tape off, 'but it got damaged in transit.' He pulled out a bundle of white paper and started unwrapping it. I was a bit blur because I had no idea what he was going on about, and I was still buzzing from everything he had already gotten me and my parents. He eventually pulled out of the white paper this:

The most beautiful jewelry box everrrrr
I couldn't believe my eyes! It was the most beautiful jewelry box that I had ever seen. It was PERFECT! I had been looking for one for a while now, and just couldn't find anything that was right. Something was always wrong with it. The size, the pattern, the places to hold the jewelry... I just couldn't find anything, and I was a little disappointed that I couldn't find anything in Vietnam.

But when Kev pulled this out, it was just magical! It was so pretty and I loved how the butterflies were flying all around the box! Kev said that it was damaged in transit, and pointed out a corner on the lid where the lacquer had chipped, and another corner where it had been scratched. I didn't care; in fact, I thought that it added character! Luckily Kev still had the chipped piece, and I was able to super glue it on! He also said that the box was wrapped up really pretty, with ribbon and everything! But customs got it it, and made him unwrap it so they could have a look.

My treasure box!
I quickly put all my special jewelry in there, and I just love opening it and then clicking it close. It's like a treasure box! It is a bit empty at the moment, but I do intend on filling it up! =)

Kev said he chose it, because he knew that butterflies are somewhat special (it's not that I love butterflies, but for some reason, butterflies stuff, or things associated with butterflies have popped up throughout my life so far), and also, so it could match my beloved Sailor fountain pen which I call Cio-cio-san (after Madame Butterfly).

My Sailor fountain pen

Sailor is a Japanese brand fountain pen, and the pen is actually called 'Chou' which means butterfly in Japanese. I think 'Cio' is cute, because it is the Italian interpretation, or way of spelling what they heard the Japanese say when they referred to the butterfly. Kind of like when I wrote in my diary about my first night in Hang zhou, and I learned how to say 'water' in Mandarin for the first time. I couldn't write Chinese characters or in pinyin, so I wrote what I heard 'water' in Mandarin as 'Sherwaye' when the proper way is like this: 水 or 'shui'.


Oh my goodness! I just saw your baking post! Your cranberry and pistachio biscotti looks sooo yum! I wish I could it eat now! You should wrap them up and hand them out as gifts! I can't believe your chocolate cake is gluten free too! Super healthy! I wish I was there to eat them! But hey...

Only 36 days to go before I AM there! =D

Biscotti & Cake

Hi Anna!

I spent the day BAKING!

Last night I was up late watching youtube videos of people baking, in particular Lorraine Pascalle and had the biggest impulse to bake in the middle of the night.

Cranberry and pistachio biscotti ( I substituted the nuts with sunflower seeds)

Garbanzo bean chocolate cake Interesting healthy cake to bake and try  :)

 The biscotti was delicious! Absolutely amazed at how well they turned out. As for the chocolate bean cake, I must've not put enough chocolate because it wasn't chocolatey enough and I also didn't have garbanzo bean., I bought butter beans thinking that was the other name for them but it turned out I needed chickpeas. The texture was nice and moist and almost pudding like. Nonetheless it has got to be the healthiest gluten-free no flour cake I've ever eaten!

Wish I could send these home to you and other friends and family :(

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Natural History Museum & Victoria & Albert Museum

Hi Anna!

I didn't realise Kev was in Korea. I thought he came back with all of you? Lucky him! I have never donated blood and as much as I would love to, I find needles and being injected traumatising. The bikkies and cheese reminds me of airplane food and that makes me miss flying. Melissa shoes are designed by Vivienne Westwood so I'm assuming it is a British brand. Something to remember the country by :)

Today I went museum-ing and to look for some inspiring things to draw.

Before I left the house I drew this.
One of my birthday roses
 It was very busy in the Natural History museum and it was hard to draw items behind glass.

I ended up drawing this sculpture of Buddha's head in Victoria & Albert museum. It is the world's greatest museum of art and design.
Again slightly lopsided, and his head is out of proportion.
It's quite challenging to sketch standing up and occasionally you have to move out of the way when people pass you. Both of the sketches took about 20 minutes. I had to 'let myself go' and not get too fussed about finer details although I wish I had more time and a larger sketch book to work with.

I love all these museums in London! Oh and the worst thing are the museum shops. There were so many things calling out to be looked and touched, like this cute little paint set. No so sure about it's practicality though. I think I spent more time in the shop than looking in the museum. Thank goodness it's free admission so I can go back any time I fancy.
Little paint set on top of my A5 sized sketch book
Short post because I have to catch up with my diary entries tonight!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Aw! Your sketching day sounds so relaxing! I really miss those kind of days where you slow down to appreciate your surroundings. How cool that a tourist wanted you in their photo! Perhaps he was an aspiring photographer, and one day he will be famous and one of his pieces will be of you! =D

I definitely would like a pair of Melissa shoes! Are they an Australian brand? How did you find out about them!? I've never ever heard of them until you!

Today, I left work at 4.30 to meet my 4.45 appointment at the blood bank. I do like donating, though I'll admit, I'm always slightly nervous and uncomfortable. I have tiny veins, and people always have trouble finding them, which results in pain. But the last few times has been pretty good.

Today was another good session. No problems today. Only thing that was slightly annoying was how long it took. I ended up leaving at 6!

Donating 100% Anna goodness

Afterwards, I always get excited about the food they give us. But because it's already late, I just asked for this:

Hrm Cheese

But that's my good deed for the day. Now I'll just have to ensure I get good sleep so I can wake up at 4.30 tomorrow morning to pick up Kev from the airport. I
Can't wait to hear all his stories from Korea!

Sketching in Trafalgar Square

Hi Anna!

I had a nice relaxing Sunday and reading your blog made me feel bad about not doing any exercise today. I'm sure I wouldn't able to go anywhere because I have no upper body strength whatsoever!

I didn't have time to go to a museum today but I was in Trafalgar Square and I sketched these. A Spanish tourist asked to take a photo of me sketching- how flattering! And he was genuinely nice as well. I regret not asking him to send the photos to me because that would've been interesting to have a copy of! Oh well!

Gave up on drawing King George
Collage of building tops
Not my best but it's a start! It was hard sketching  with people walking past and having to standup.  You can sort of see that the drawings are slanted. I headed home when I couldn't stand the chill any longer. I hope to do more this week.

I also wore my Melissa flats in the rain today and they were super comfy! Looking at them makes me happy and I was very pleased that I didn't have wet feet or soggy shoes! Maybe you can wait until you get here to get a pair :D

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rocking Weekend

;Heya Chia!

WOWWWW! I loved that blog entry! The drunky, getting lost on the way home story really made me smile! I love those experiences. They are the most random and the most memorable! Do you think you will get lost again if you were to go to Putney?

Oh! and I loveeeee your Melissa shoes! I just went on the website, and OMG! They are all adorable! Now I want a pair! But no. I am now in European-Trip mode! I can't believe that I will be seeing you next month! Time has just flown by so quickly! Part of the European-Trip mode is to spend as little as possible, but still of course, enjoy life! This week, Chinny brought me and Els along to go rockclimbing with him. Els had a voucher, so it ended up being about $7 each! For such an awesome price, we were able to go 'bouldering' which is climbing up a wall with no harness. The wall is not that high, so there is no fear of heights to deter you from attempting to climb up higher.

It was surprisingly fun and surprisingly physically challenging. I have never bouldered before, and when I did go rockclimbing with the harness, I got easily bored. I just wasn't good at it. But, bouldering forces you not to rely on the harness, and so I think it makes it a lot more fun. I was unable to complete the lowest level climb, as my hands, and forearms could not grip anything after an hour. It was a weird and frustrating sensation. I was not fatigued, or puffed out, but I just could not hold anything. I want to go back to finish that level now! Because I know I can do it, once my hands and forearms get stronger.

Els bouldering it.

Chinny pro-bouldering it.

Me bouldering it too
This photo was the spot where I got stuck. I just couldn't get up higher. It looks so easy when you watch someone else does it, but when it is your turn to do it... your body just does not listen to you! What was really cool was that the other people who boulder there are super friendly! They would come over and give you tips on how to climb better, or how to approach a rock. Tips that were given to Els and I were to try and keep our body close to the wall (we both tended to hang out).

I stretched out my hands and forearms all night after bouldering, in hope that I wouldn't get sore.

Unfortunately, I still got super sore. Friday night and Saturday night I woke up numerous times throughout the night because my hand or forearm would cramp. It has been sooo painful. Even today, when I was driving, as I turned my steering wheel, my lat muscles cramped!

But despite all the pain, and soreness... I do feel like it was a great workout. I hope to go again sometime this coming week =D.

A week of activities

Hi Anna!

I have been trying to fill up my week with lots of different activities and this blog is an accumulation of everything since Wednesday so it will be a super post!

 I went to see Cinderella in opera but was sorely disappointed  because the prince was played by a female. I also went with friends from my birthday picnic and we actually ended up doing a lot of chatting and eating rather than watching the opera.

Jarod organised a lot of food for us!
Sharing the chocolates and birthday calories

The horses that I thought were real until I saw the human bodies
I didn't work so I went for a stroll and spent the half the day on Parliament Hill reading.
Sometimes I do smile when I read...
I had no work again so I went on a long walk to Camden. It is interesting how the walk from Hampstead changes from leafy lined streets to gum spotted streets. Along the way I came upon a store selling Melissa shoes and I couldn't resist getting these gorgeous flats to wear to work and are perfect if it rains! It took me a while to decide what colours to get but I settled for the safer option and easy to match for work. They smell really good and I have to confess that I can't stop sniffing them! It's like a sweet bubblegum scent. I went on the Melissa website and found that there are several others that I like. Oh dear me.

Aren't they adorable? Very tempted to go back and get the pink pair!
Later on the afternoon, a friend that I had I met in Sri Lanka was passing through London so I took her around to Hampstead Heath to see Ken Wood houseand Parliament Hill. It was a tiring day because of all the walking plus the sun was out in full force and I could feel myself getting slightly burnt.

Kanchana and Ken Wood house where a scene of Notting Hill was filmed
By the time it was 6pm, I was tempted to cancel a mingle session organised by one of my teaching agencies. It was all the way in Putney which is south and takes about an hour to get there by tube plus I was exhausted from the day's activities. Eventually I went and found myself in a huge ballroom of people that were also with the teaching agency. The deal I made to myself and in all other similar situations, was that I had to get myself a drink and stay for at least half an hour and if I wanted to go back after that then it was OK. With a glass of wine in hand I started talking to these two girls but they didn't seem too friendly and I could feel the awkward cricket chirping sounds in the distance so I made a quick side step and looked for my next targets haha! Luckily one of the girls that worked for the agency started talking to me. Thank goodness I eventually managed to mingle and met these lovely girls and we spent the night chatting away.
Efa  (Irish), Crystal (Aussie), Christina (Irish) and myself in our free t shirts
We swapped numbers and may meet again next weekend. There were many teachers and teaching assistants there and I couldn't believe how young everyone was! Crystal turned 22 today!

Getting home was another story in itself. Christina and I got absolutely lost and our thought processes were slightly altered thanks to the free drinks. With the tube closed by midnight, we had to catch a bus with no idea how to get back home. We both live in totally different directions and we had to split up and I was left to find my own way back. After 2 hours, 3 bus changes and directions received from helpful strangers by the stops, I finally got home! Talk about relief! 

As if that wasn't enough excitement, today I went to a networking walking tour event  that consisted of 3 hours of walking following an old train line through the woodlands with strangers.  It was raining the whole time and my mini brolly certainly didn't stop my hair and clothes from getting wet. By the time I got home my runners were absolutely soaked.
On a rainy walking tour
Passing by, the views we saw walking the ghost train line.
Our final destination.The view from Alexandra Palace
Finally we reached our finishing point. Sharon and I. She is 47 but incredibly fit! We were all lagging behind her.
I definitely had fun being outdoors despite the rain and I found myself engaged in some interesting conversations. In fact, I might try out a new activity but will keep this under wraps until I have done it! I am sure it will raise a few eyebrows. I also became inspired to draw again and tomorrow I plan to get my sketch book out and do a few still life drawings in one of the many museums in London.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Madame Butterfly too!

Hey Chia!

Such a lucky girl!!! Flowers from home!!! =D I think it's wonderful that the flowers they had chosen for you were so similar! It means that more than one person thinks of you as bright, sunny and fun! Well, that's what I think of when I see you and when I see those colours!

Oh my lordy! Madame Butterfly is the first opera I saw/heard too! And, I love it too!

I was in year 3 when my Dad played it for me. He then took me to His Majesty's Theatre in the city. I remember that we walked down an alleyway and through a side door. We then entered this room and I saw all these girls around my age, sitting all pretty in their dresses on the floor. I had no idea what was going on, but for some reason I thought we were late. I didn't even get a chance to sit down with those girls. As soon as we arrived, this man who was addressing the girls pointed to me and asked me to another room where another girl was. I thought I was in trouble for being late. It was only after the man dismissed the other girls did I realize what was going on. My Dad had brought me along to try out for a role!

So me and the other girl in the room ended up performing for the whole season.  We were makos during the wedding scene. But it was super fun! I loved it! I remember having to leave school early, then Dad or Mom would drive us to the train station and we had to walk to His Majesty's. I remember being worried for my Mom and Dad, because they would go home, and then come back late at night, and I was always scared that they would get mugged while walking the streets at night, in the City alone. You have to remember, back then, anything passed 7pm was late for me, and I rarely went to the City.


I remember not liking orange juice at the time, but the lady that looked after the child actors would offer us only orange juice or cold milo. I thought cold milo was weird, and so I chose the orange juice, which I learned to like. Eventually, I ended up trying the cold milo; and oh did my eyes light up!

After having our drinks, I remember that I would be taken to my dress room, and I would put on my white socks and wear these black thongs- I remember them being uncomfortable between my toes. I would always need assistance with my kimono. I would be spun around when they tied my obi, and when they stopped spinning me, I felt like a delicate butterfly. The kimono was so soft and weightless. I remember the lady who minded us saying to be careful not to spill our drinks on the dress because it was silk. I only knew about silk worms at the time, so I was confused about how the worms were able to be turned into such beautiful dresses.

I also remember one time being in the main dressing room, and the chorus ladies were doing their make up. I remember thinking "wow... they have those cool mirrors with the lights around them like in the movies! They are super stars!" And for some reason, I started singing the song "Do-ri-mi" from the Sound of Music (which I had already learned off by heart), and one of the ladies said "Oh! So very good!" and she started singing the song with me. Ah-hah... they were very nice ladies to humour me.

Oh side note- The only time we had full make up was for the dress rehearsal where the promotional photos were taken and the first show. I remember that because my Mom would always say to me when it was her turn to pick me up, "they never do your make up as good as the first few times. Ask the make up lady to do it nicely." I didn't ask of course, because I was too shy to. But looking back, its probably more practical to only do full make up at those times, because the audience is too far to see all the details.


One of the strongest memories that I have, is associated with the music. I remember me and the other mako, would stand and walk with the chorus ladies when they sung the song that led Cio-Cio-San out into the wedding. They would start singing the beginning part of the song behind the curtains. I remember that me and the other mako would started to sing loudly with the ladies. Their voices were so loud, that even when we tried to sing, we couldn't even hear our own voices! We obviously didn't know what we were singing, as it was in Italian, but we remembered the sounds and notes after hearing it over and over again during rehearsals.

I can't describe in words at what part of the song that we would make our way onto the stage, but its the part when Cio-Cio-San would start singing with the chorus. If you played the song, I could tell you exactly when! I actually only remember my first performance because... haha- I messed it up. I was the mako that led the progression, and on the last rehearsal, the director (he turned out to be the man that had chosen me and the other mako), changed the path that I was going to take. For some reason, when we started to walk out onto the stage, I was unsure which path to take, and I couldn't find the director. Was I to cross the bridge and the stand to the side of the path, or was I do the changed direction and cross the bridge and then walk to the front? I chose the old direction and just hoped I didn't mess up. Luckily, the other girl followed my lead, and so did everyone else. 

My teacher at the time, surprised me and came to watch my first performance. She waited for me till the end of the show, and told me how beautiful it was and that I did a great job. I told her I made a big mistake and explained what I did wrong, but she said that she didn't even realise it, and that I did the right thing by not stopping- the show must go on!

Me and the other mako stayed on stage for just the wedding part. Until the Bonze came. For some reason we were told by the director to act scared, and then run off stage when he appeared. Because we were told to act scared, I ended up being actually scared of him. I just remember him booming out "CIO-CIO-SAN!" and then start singing really angrily. I would also see Cio-cio-san's face and the reaction of the chorus who were all upset... Looking back now, I am sure he was actually a really nice guy.

Haha. Oh noes, I remember having a crush on Pinkerton. He had this crooked nose, wavy blonde hair and was in a sailor suit. He had a nice smile. I don't know why I had a crush on him. Perhaps because Cio-cio-san loved him. But I remember that at the last show, I was sitting on the couch in the back stage waiting for the show to end, and he walked passed me and the other mako and smiled at us. He then went away, and then came back with choc wedges. CHOC WEDGES WERE AWESOME BACK THEN! So I think I fell in love with him even more.

But yea. That's all that I can remember from that experience. All I have now, is a poster, a photo and the music. I lost the program!!! I wish I could find it! 

This is the poster which now hangs on my wall. Dad had told me to get the poster signed by all the actors (It took me forever to get the courage to ask for it) and the lady who looked after us ended up getting posters signed for all the children actors:

My signed poster
And, this one promotional photo of me walking across the bridge. I wasn't in an important role, so I was lucky to even get this photo, even if it is with my head down.

The chorus (Cio-cio-san's friends) and the Makos

I really wanted to see the ballet which was being performed by the Australian Ballet! But they never come to WA! =( You can see more info here

But yea, I will always enjoy Madame Butterfly. The opera is beautiful, the story is beautiful and the staging is beautiful.  I hope you enjoy seeing the performance for a second time!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My first birthday in summer and in London!

Hello Anna!

Wow what a trip you've had to Vietnam and HK! Talk about getting plenty done! Loved all the pictures too! Kev and yourself look so adorable and you look splendid especially the one where you are eating an egg tart.  I absolutely miss eating Chinese food and also Indonesian food oh and Vietnamese food! I miss how food is so cheap in Asia!!!! I could do with a street stall bowl of pho or fresh Vietnamese spring rolls! YUM! I am glad you did lots of eating because that is something that has to be done when you're travelling!

I can imagine all the thoughts running through your head when you're about to go to a place that you've never been, yet you have a special connection with it. It is almost like a spiritual journey for you. I hope you found some answers or some sense of peace or maybe it has even sparked more questions for you? I know how much you've been through and I always hope that one day you will find what you are looking for.

I had a fantastic birthday in Hampstead Heath. I keep going on about this place because I know that wherever I go after this, I will miss this place heaps! I'm always here exercising by myself and it really is something special to have a small group of friends enjoying the weather, food and each other's company. It was quite unusual in the sense that all of the people who attended have only known me for less than 4 months, yet we all got along exceptionally well! I prepared lots of food and currently I have a container of sandwiches, tubs of dips, sausage rolls, chocolates and cakes to go through.

Top leftclockwise- Eleanor (housemate), Penelope (internet friend), Shaz (friend of a friend from Perth), Jarod (friend of a friend from Perth), Lauren (met and kept in touch from my hostel stay when I first arrived in London), Elise (Lauren's sister).Bettina is missing and I know her through the internet as well.
Cake, cookies, cheese, chips, chocolate, CHEESECAKE! Why do all the things I love begin with C?
I haven't really treated myself yet. I'm still waiting for my Contiki booking to go through, so it's not actually confirmed yet. I went on a mini shopping spree on Saturday and bought some clothes from Zara, MNG and River Island. They are having some amazing 50% off sales at the moment! I haven't had time to go through all the stores and I fear if I do, there might not be much to spend on holiday trips. On that note,  sometimes it is OK to splurge on something big and wonderfully expensive because you've worked incredibly hard for it. Even though it may seem materialistic or frivolous to others, if you love it and it makes you happy- why not?! ;) We all enjoy spending in different ways so there shouldn't be any guilt involved :)

In terms of work, I had an interesting day on Monday as a teacher assistant in an autistic school. I initially turned down a nursery role (I prefer from Year 1 upwards) but then this role came through and I thought that this would benefit my teaching experience and give me a better understanding of children that have special needs. The class had 8 children that were diagnosed with autism and on differing levels of severity. I had to look after one particular child like an hawk and that was nowhere near enough! Unfortunately I had to change his pull up diapers (he was at age of 6 but mentally at 1) and for that one second I turned my head to throw the diapers in the bin, he bolted out of the door, straight into the staffroom and shoved a piece of cake into his mouth that was on a coffee table. This same child would also put anything and everything he could reach into his mouth, There were two shrubs that certainly got a battering from this little boy. He would constantly run back and forth and grab twigs and leaves and put them in his mouth. Of course there was dirt where the shrubs were growing and lumps of it would be picked up by his saliva covered hands and brushed around and sometimes into his mouth. I was only there for a day but I developed an abundance of respect and admiration for teachers, parents and carers of children with autism.I really don't know how they do it but it truly is amazing to see them interact with the children.

I had work today in a Year 3 class and upon arriving home and found this HUGE box at the bottom of the flat waiting for me. How exciting it was to carry it up the stairs!

Guess what was inside? Something floral obviously! Roses! But what was delightful about it was not the smell of the roses itself, but the additional touch of waxy eucalyptus leaves. The scent of it has been stirring up warm and comforting memories of Perth. How thoughtful! I also received a wedding invite and a lovely pressie too!! Thank you :D The pressie was EXACTLY what I needed! Will take a pic of it when I wear it too! I feel like I am missed back home and incredibly special to have little pieces of Perth delivered to me :)
How coincidental! Penelope also gave me similar coloured roses!
Lovely sight to wake up to right on my bedside table. Yes they are sitting in an empty but clean bolognaise jar hehe!
Remember the opera of Madame Butterfly? Well I've recruited some of the friends that attended my  birthday to come along tomorrow night. I cannot wait for the show! I feel so blessed and lucky to be in this city and enjoying free events like these! I think I am going to have a GREAT week! I can just feel it!!!!