Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy holidays!


It's been four years since I've had a Christmas in Perth and it's the strangest feeling. What a contrasting one too, with temperature predicted to hit 40C where as last year it was a white Christmas in Nuremberg and Prague with HW stuffing our faces with gingerbread and lost in the Christmas markets. Allow me to use this post as an excuse to dig up favourite holiday pics.

Looking down in Prague

Before Christmas in Nuremberg. Snow for the first time!
Overwhelmed by the Christmas decorations

 I don't really celebrate Christmas and never found it a big deal to be away from friends and family, but I do love a brightly lit Christmas tree. I will always remember the thrills I got from peering into windows as I walked home in London and seeing the extravagant trees on display.

 This year I'm wishing for happiness and health to all my dearest friends and family.  I'm thankful for all the people who have given me all that support even when I'm oceans away and all the support they continued to give me when I'm back home. I don't think any present could ever express how much it means to me.

Happiness = friends and a picnic!
My Christmas muesli in a jar. I've always wanted to make these and finally did! I used my clay gingery as a little decoration.

Amazing what mirrors, lights and pretty beads can create. Looking through my kaleidoscope I got for Christmas

I'm not complaining that this year I get all the sun and the beach I want. I suppose it is a 'white' sandy Christmas :)

Well you sure had a kick start to the festivities with your birthday surprise! It was delightful reading about all the animals you helped and fed. Not everyone can say they've fed a lion! I am sure the fun and merriment is continued in Bali with Kev and your family.

Happy holidays!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Zookeeper for a day

Oh golly Chia! Sorry for being so slack with the blogposts!

It's not that I haven't read them; I loved the clay gingeries that you made! They looked sooo good that I wanted to eat one! And you look gorgeous in all of your going out photos! Looking at your posts made me realise that it has been a while since I've hit the town dressed to the nines, and enjoyed the night life. I feel a bit like a Nanna wanting to have an early night most weekends these days.

On my side of the City, I've been working and counting down the days till Christmas break! I can't believe that Christmas is just around the corner and this time last year, you were getting ready to jetset to Prague!

Last weekend started like most weekends, ran, did chores but I felt extremely exhausted. So Kev and I had an early Saturday night.

Sunday morning I woke up sleepy-eyed around 6.30am and was surprised that Kev seemed quite rested. He was like 'how about breakfast?' We have a tradition of having a cool Sunday breakfast for the last two years. I suggested the markets, but he responded with 'How about South Perth? Mend St Cafe?' I wasn't going to refuse that! So we got up and and got dressed.  I decided to wear my glasses because I was just so exhausted and really could not be bothered putting in my contacts.  However, Kev suggested 'Hrm, how about your contacts?' I was a little surprised as Kev is not one to suggest me to wear things, but I just lazily acquiesced. He also packed my sport clothes and badminton shoes saying that he will bring it along just in case we take too long at breakfast and miss badminton. I just nodded. It sounded like a good call.

It was only when we were about the leave that I noticed the big yellow and black bag which held the rackets had remained untouched in the corner of his room. I sleepily drew Kev's attention to this with  'Hey...?'  pointing to the corner . He sheepishly responded with 'Oh! Whoops!' As we walked out of the house I mumbled 'Dodge Kev... dodge.'

Once we arrived at South Perth, we decided to eat at La Galette de France for breakfast and we enjoyed the laziness and slow paced life at such an early hour of the morning due to the lack of people traffic.


Hrmmm shortbread!

After finishing breakfast we walked back to the car and I was ready to return back to bed (my favorite pass time on Sunday mornings!)

Happy in the morning!

We passed the Perth Zoo on our way home. Seeing it, made me realise that Kev and I have never gone to the Perth Zoo together, and that he has never been to Singapore Zoo. I then went on to say what an awesome time you and I with the uni crew had in Singapore at the Zoo and Night Safari when we went there back in 2007, and that in the meantime we should try Perth Zoo one day. Kev was like 'Ok' and kept on driving. Though not long after, he pulled up behind the Zoo.

'Ok, it's time for you to get out.'

I was puzzled. 'Uhhhh... why?'

He got out of the car and went to the trunk. I followed him and asked him wearily 'Hey? What's going on?' as I was still exhausted, looking forward to bed and really confused.

'You're going on an adventure. Here's your day bag...' as he looped a small shoulder bag around my shoulders, opening it up to show me a pre-packed water bottle, my waterproof camera, my 'A' cap and sunnies.

It just so happened that a zookeeper walked passed and Kev asked her whether this was the drop off point for 'Zookeeper for a day.' She said yes, and that she would walk us there. I still did not understand what was going on. Kev then said 'Surprise! Happy early birthday!'

The next few minutes from when we walked into the administrative part of the Zoo, to when I had to say goodbye to Kev, was just a blur. I had some idea what was going on, but my feelings were just numb. Kev hugged me goodbye and said he would meet up with me when I was done and we parted.

Zookeeper Anna

I was teamed up with my zookeeper (who I will refer to as F). F told me that we would attend a quick staff meeting and then we would get straight to it. When I entered the meeting room, she informed me that I was going to be zookeeping the African Savannah enclosure and that my day will involve following her around and feeding, cleaning the enclosures and interacting with the animals. I was to be a zookeeper!

The whole experience didn't sink in until we arrived at the Meerkats when they all ran up to the fence excited to see us. The fact that they were even interested in seeing us was a surprise! F happily greeted them while leading me to the store room. Here she showed me what they fed Meerkats.

Good morning Meerkats

Protein and veggies

After we fed them, I was let into the enclosure and I was able to sit in there and hand feed the Meerkats too!

On Sentry duties
They were so adorable! F said that they talk to you all the time, and she was right! Squeak-squeak here, and squeak-squeak there! F explained that they just had a few babies and they were more involved in their Sentry duties because of it. I thought it was so cute that they had someone on watch. They take turns!

Next to the Meerkats were the Hyenas and the Cheetah. However, it was the Hyenas that we saw first and what, to my big surprise, I fell in love with! They are so adorable and interactive with humans. They love scratches and rubs and would lean up against the fence and enjoy your adoration! F was also a big fan of the Hyenas and explained that it's such a pity they were given such a bad reputation.

My first encounter with the Hyena.  I melted in seconds

I returned to pat the Hyena again.

After the Hyenas I went to see the Cheetah. F warned me that she would go in first and then she would let me know when I could enter. She also gave me the heads up that the Cheetah will spit at me. I was confused, a little fearful and curious. As I waited outside I could hear F sweet talking to the Cheetah, encouraging it to come into the feeding area. I could hear an angry hiss in the room. F eventually asked me to come in slowly. When I did, I saw this long, slender, big cat hissing at me and staring at me with its angry big eyes. F told me that we will feed it some milk, however, she will start it off first. We both sat down on the floor, close to the fence, and F held out the syringe of milk.

Angry Cheetah

Docile Cheetah 
 The Cheetah wanted the milk, but didn't like us being there. So it tolerated us so long as I was squeezing the syringe and kept the milk flowing.

After that I went to visit the Rhinos! The Rhinos were so big and quiet and just amazing! I found it quite surprising that, the Rhino being such a large animal, absolutely loved celery! I was mindful of its sheer size and the huge horn that it had on its nose. I didn't want to be hurt by it, so I was a little hesitant at first, but soon got in on patting him.

Me getting acquainted with Mr Rhino

Om nom nom
Rhinos also loved to be rubbed and scratched! We dug our fingers into their thick, coarse, dry folds around their forehead and ears. Their ears were really strong! When they moved, its force was stronger than my forearm!

After that, we visited the Lions. They were pretty intense! When I walked in, I saw two large Lions and a Lioness pacing back and forth and ramming the gates. They wanted to be fed immediately!

It was a little unnerving, especially after the Rhino, Hyena and Meerkats. But it was still so very cool.
As the Lions were eating, F and I went into the Lion enclosure to clean up left over bones and lion poo.  Little did I know that someone else was in the Lion enclosure and watching us engage in our zookeeping jobs...

After that I went to see the Sun Bears and saw their training regime. The training was one of the most interesting things I've seen. The zookeeper would call a command and use hand signals to get it to either present its shoulder, hip, leg etc and then blow a whistle if the bear was compliant and then give it an immediate reward. I thought it was amazing that they were able to do such a thing!

After seeing the Sun Bears, we went back to the Lions who had returned to the viewing enclosure. Here I was able to hand feed them some chicken. It was a little nerve wrecking because they thrashed the fence and they just stared at you and only you, but once you gave them the chicken you were no longer their main concern.

Here kitty kitty

F trying to get a big piece of chicken through the fence

After the Lions, it was the funny, friendly, goofy Giraffes! I loved them! Their long necks and super long tongues made me giggle, as I tried to feed all of them. They were like those drinking birds! There were two of them who were bigger with longer necks and who got the food more so than the other ones...so I tried to dodge their faces (and slobber) to feed the smaller ones.

They liked to lick the camera

Me going to get more food, to realise I had 4 very interested giraffes behind me waiting.

After I ran out of treats for the Giraffes at around 12.30pm, my zookeeping experience came to a sad end.  F was amazing in answering all my questions and making sure I was able to experience as much as possible with the time allotted. I appreciated that I was the only person on this experience in the Savannah area, which allowed F the flexibility to take me to all the enclosures without bumping into any other people doing the same experience with other keepers. I think it's also a safety thing. You don't exactly want too many people in the feeding areas with the animals as I assume it would stress them out (just like that Cheetah).

Kev met up with me and we had lunch and a cold drinks to cool off. It was a super hot day and I was already pooped! At lunch, we exchanged stories of our morning. Kev's morning included the following:

Turtle party! - Cowabunga dudes!

Turtle on the go

Hungry turtle

Uber cute lone owl

Chia! The whole experience was amazing! I realised that I will probably not enjoy the zoo as much in the future, as when you normally go to the zoo, the animals don't really engage with you, and I will forever remember and compare my future zoo experiences with my time interacting with the animals on this occasion.

Thank you so much Kev for giving me the opportunity to have this experience! =)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Clay gingeries

Did you guess that this was one of the things I'd make with the materials I showed you previously?

I've been inspired by the craft books I've borrowed from the library and spent the last couple of nights (when I should've been sleeping) making these. 

I think I'll turn them into Christmas decorations (note the holes at the top) or attach them to homemade Christmas cards. It was a lot of fun cutting them out, smoothing the bumps, manipulating the clay into the tiny buttons and mixing the colours for the men.  All they need is a coat of spray on varnish which I will get to over the week. Which one do you think is your favourite colour combination? I kinda like the dark one.. ha ha ha.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy taste buds

Hi Anna :D

Look at you, little water baby!  Your last post had me a bit worried though. Definitely don't want you drifting and getting yourself scratched from the reefs. Robinson Crusoe washed ashore came to mind. However all these snorkeling posts are making me want to go exploring with you. Because you live a bit further away and I don't know your area well it'll feel like I'm going on an extra mini holiday.

I had a great week that went quickly. I've been indulging too much this week trying new things that is food related and not enough exercising. That's alright, makes up for next week which will be a rather quiet one and hopefully get the chance to be a bit more active.

I think the calender on the iphone is deteriorating my memory. I actually struggled to recall what I did a few days ago and also what is coming up. What helps is going through the photos on the phone. What is annoying though is that I can't rotate pictures on blogger. I think it has something to do with photos taken on iphone too. I always feel like it's takes ages for me to blog because of these little annoyances.  I wasn't going to put up the right side up ones but I had already uploaded them and it annoyed me that I wasted my time.

 Thursday night at Tong 86 with the old PCEC crew. Loved it and loved Icey Ice even more! Haha! Gosh it's been ages since I had Korean BBQ and the second time I've had this amazing dessert.

I loved how half of us came in exercise gear. That is the way to do it!

Friday was after work drinks at The Aviary to celebrate an early birthday for Alicia.
We were  impressed with their small serving plates. We had the salt and pepper squid and I was amazed at the taste of the little red peppercorns. We also had the bourbon pork (I think?!) and the wonton and truffle dip.
Why this photo can be rotated is beyond me.

 Saturday was a big day for Jen's hens. We had delectable sweets and savouries and carried on to drinks at Print Hall and dancing at Tiger Lils. We had too much fun getting random guys to get all but three sweets off Jen's sash.

Stretching out the no-clothes-shopping I've put on myself,  I wore this yellow dress hauled back from London and my fabulous necklace thanks to HW. I have labelled it my Olympics necklace because that was when it made it's debut at the men's hockey games. There was a request to wear a hairpiece for the hens and I thought about making one out of felt again, but my brains sparked when I was parking into the garage in the morning and noticed the roses in the front garden. Closer to the afternoon tea, I popped out  to snip  two roses and a tiny bud for my floral hairpiece. It was a hot 33C day and of course the roses wilted by the end of the day but hey it was free and smelt lovely.

The better angle of me

Cute little bites. The lemon tarts had the perfect sweet citrus combination. They are the ones with the meringue on top.  Having the scones reminded me of high tea in London.

Known these ladies since we were kids! Still can't believe Jen's getting hitched. She's the role model child that all parents compare their child to. Little did they know...

With the bridesmaid at the ladies in Print Hall. Big mirrors = perfect for selfies

Today I had a scrumptious brunch at The Cool Room in Freo. Out of all the brunch places I've been to since coming back, this is definitely a place I'm coming back to.

Finally caught up with uni buddies for brunch
Turkish toast, smoked salmon and mushrooms. The Turkish toast was delicious! I need to know how to make it.
Looking so sleepy. Argh.. can't do these late nights on Sat anymore.
Next door was an antique store. Only managed to have a quick look to avoid having Satoko and Elaine waiting for me. I could've spent a good hour trawling through all the items. Love my secondhand items!

 Not so modern now but  I love old hardcover children's books!
I'm getting back into my arts and crafts again. Haven't done any drawing but I'm getting into a new project. Getting ready to make something. I'll reveal it to you once it's finished :)

Can you see something from you?

Time to get ready for a new week. The kids are going on an excursion to the Fremantle's Maritime Museum on Tuesday which I am looking forward to because I've never been there before.

Night :)