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I'm into my second year in Singapore Lah and having a blast travelling at every opportunity. Leave me messages!

Diary Entries

Monday, 29 June 2009

Location: London, England

Hi all,
I have had a lovely week in London with Robbie, Sean and Sam. I have also been busy catching with old friends and newish ones (africa group). I caught a few shows, Calendar girls and Priscilla both hilarious. LOVED Jason Donavon in Priscilla!
London has put on some lovely weather and is showing her best side.
Now the next leg of the adventure begins.... Morocco! We fly out to Marrakech today.
Love Janine xo

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Location: Singapore

I've been stepping outside my comfort zone lately... I've started a diving course. The first couple of sessions in the school pool were NOT FUN!! I certainly didn't expect to get through to the ocean dives as the whole breathing underwater thing was freaking me out. Today I took my first ocean dive and loved it! Woohoo go me! One more to go then I'm qualified!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Location: Singapore

off to Borneo in the morning,. I'm insane and am going to climb Mt Kinabalu. Happy Oz day and Gong Xi Fa Chai (happy chinese new year).

will update Africa when work slows down.
j xo.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Location: Cape town, South Africa

Leaving tomorrow! I'll write up my adventures then!
Jxo

Wednesday, 07 January 2009

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

The tour is over and some very sad goodbyes were said to our lovely new friends, sob sob. Meegs and I are now back in Cape Town. Tomorrow we have a winery tour and then we are going to hire a car and see some sights.
Jxo.

Sunday, 04 January 2009

Location: Livingstone, Zambia

yep, still having an awesome time and still haven't found decent internet.
I'm at Victoria Falls at the moment. Today we walked with 2 lion cubs and then visited the falls. It was an incredible day. We then topped it off with a dinner with all my favourite people from our tour. I'm so lucky To be living this life!
Tomorrow I go on a microflight over the falls and then Meegs, Ellie, Anna and I are going to help build a school.
On Tuesday we leave the trip :( and head back to Cape Town :)
love
J xo.

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Location: Maun, Botswana

Hi!
Alive and well in Botswana but computers are soooo temperamental so I'm being brief for now. I've just camped in the okavango delta for 3 days and am just about to do a scenic flight over it. Awesome! Animals are difficult to spot but we've seen a few - giraffe, rhino, zebra, antelope, wildebeest, hippos etc. Had a funny encounter with a hippo last night - tell all soon!
Heading to Chobe National park tomorrow, then into Zambia and Vic Falls.
Happy New Year to you all!
J xo

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Location: some tiny random town, Namibia

I just spent half an hour updating this and the computer crashed so I'm not writing anymore til later! All i can say is life is awesome. I've been sandboarding, patted cheetahs and had a baby giraffe suck my thumb!
We are now heading into Etosha National Park to spot the Big 5.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Janine xo.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Hi guys,
Well I've arrived safe and sound in Cape Town. Nearly didn't make it though. Meegs and I fell asleep at the airport in Kuala Lumpur and nearly missed our connecting flight. Luckily a lovely lady tapped on the glass and woke us up. Problem no 2 was when we arrived at Cape Town airport and part of Meeg's luggage was missing. Not to worry, Randall the friendly airport guy had it all under control and hopefully the bag will arrive any minute!
We had a bit of a wander around CT yesterday but were a bit too bleary eyed to take much in. Table Mountain was covered in cloud so we haven't seen it yet. We have a week here later so will check out the sights then. Met the group from our Safari last night and went out to dinner. Pretty nice group on first impressions.
We head off on the big yellow truck today! Woohoo.
love to all
Jxo.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Location: Singapore

I'm so excited it's ridiculous!!!!!! Bring on Africa! On Christmas Day I'll be sitting by a waterhole in Namibia drinking an African version of Baileys and watching the animals stroll by. For New Years I'll be in the Okavango Delta in Botswana hanging with the hippos.
But.... tomorrow I have to say goodbye to some of the best people ever. The worst thing about living the expat life is how quickly you become attached to people and then are separated. A few people have particularly made an impact! Goodbye beautiful, stunning little Alex! You will be such a hit at Uni and will drive those boys crazy! You are so amazing to get along with such a diverse range of people and everyone who meets you adores you! Bye my lovely Mary. I need to marry your son so you can be my mother-in-law. Couldn't wish for better! And Anna...... oh bugger. You are such a beautiful person and I am so blessed to call you my friend. I won't say goodbye just that I'll see you, Squeek and Carsie jnr soon. mwa xo.
Merry Christmas and all my love to you all! I'll reappear in January some time.
Jxo.

Tuesday, 02 December 2008

Location: Singapore

Aaaarrggghh!!! So busy lah!
Since returning from Oz I've been busier then I think I've ever been in my career. Nuts! First there was the school musical - biggest one I've choreographed yet (tick) then I presented at an international literacy conference (tick) then reports (tick) rewriting our whole literacy/humanities program for next yr (1/2 tick) yr 5 transition day (tick) relocating (1/4 tick) and learning journals (1/8 tick).
Thankfully I've regained my social life as of last week. Kylie Minogue was definitely a highlight. She's my hero! Last week we had a annual "Goon pub crawl where we go on a tour of the local dodgy karaoke and pool bars - tacky but fun. Saturday night was our staff Xmas party. More fun! Last night was our year six staff dinner - more tacky fun. This week the farewells start in the run down to........ end of school and AFRICA!!!!! I'm so excited it's crazy!

lots of love and hugs to you all
Jxo.

Sunday, 02 November 2008

Location: Australia

Well I had a lovely time back in Oz. I spent the first few days hanging out with the family in Sydney. Mum and Dad have a great new place not far from Coll and Stu's house. I had lots of fun hanging out with my niece Caitlin and nephew James who are growing up WAY too quickly!
Next stop Canberra. I love that freezing place! Actually the weather was okay and I had a ball. It's always great to see my lovely friends. Janelle and Matt's wedding was wonderful as expected. It was very romantic and also relaxed. Janelle looked gorgeous - so did Matt!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Location: Singapore

Aaarrrgghhhh! Packing for cold weather sux. Come on Canberra, warm up will you? AND I can't find my other Cinderella slipper.... hopefully that's a good omen and Prince Charming will turn up!
Looking forward to seeing you Oz people soon
xo.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Location: Singapore

One more week til I'm back in Oz!!
I'll be in Sydney from 25th and then in Canberra from Tuesday 28th, then back to Sing on Sunday 2nd. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up with as many people as possible as I won't be home for Christmas this year.
It's going to be a crazy week. I'll be on my old Oz mobile from 25th
see you soon
Jxo.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Lorella, Janinne and I went to Bangkok for the weekend. WHY DO PEOPLE INSIST ON TRYING TO RIP TRAVELLERS OFF ALL THE TIME????? Yes I know the obvious answers about poverty, troubled life etc but it is so frustrating to have to be suspicious all the time. I gues that's why I loved Laos so much as they weren't like that at all.
Anyway, we did have a good time - just a little tainted...

Tuesday, 07 October 2008

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia

We caught the boat up the river from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. We climbed onto the roof and watched life on the river. The first part was pretty interesting seeing all the houses, schools, temples etc on the water and people going about their daily lives. The second part of the 6 hour journey wasn't quite as interesting but it was nice to relax in the fresh air.
After booking into our hotel we had a refreshing swim and then headed off to the Ankhor temples for sunset with hundreds of other tourists. We then went back to our guesthouse, found Rach, my friend from work and her friend from Oz, Renae and headed out for dinner and drinks.

Our Siem Reap ritual became....
get up early and head to the temples for half a day
head back to guesthouse for a swim
meet Rach and Renae by pool for debriefing of days events and drinks
head out for dinner and drinks

The temples were amazing. Ankhor Wat was incredible but my favourites were the jungle temples where the trees were all intertwined with the buildings - so beautiful!

Siem Reap had more touting then Phnom Penh but it was refreshing that they usually left you alone after you said no. My favourite was a girl who trying to sell me "nothing" She was prepared to give me "good price for nothing".

We hired a lovely young tuk tuk driver for our time in Siem Reap. We had to wake him up after we got out of most temples but he was very sweet.

On our last day in Siem Reap, Kirsty and I did a cooking course. I made Papaya salad and my favourite - fish amok. Unfortunately the fish amok I made was the only food on the trip that gave me a dodgy belly!

Cambodia was great and I highly recommend it. It comes a close second to Laos for my favourite South east Asian country... so far...

Wednesday, 01 October 2008

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Why do I always book the early flights??? Kirsty and I had a ridiculously early start for Singers and off we flew to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. On arrival we jumped into a bumpy old tuk tuk and headed into town - a very slow ride but entertaining as we got our first taste of Cambodia.
We ended up in the "Golden Mile" a street where every hotel as the world "Golden" in it. We chose the Golden Gate. After a quick refresh we hit the streets. "No we don't want a tuk tuk" this quickly became our mantra even when they constantly assured us it was "free!" Yeah right. Our hotel wasn't particularly close to anything so we certainly clocked up the miles. We basically just wandered for a while taking in the sites. It was a public holiday so there was plenty of action at all the temples around town. I was actually surprised at how many ornate temples there were. I was expecting more poverty but those buddhists certainly know how to make a great temple (or wat).
That afternoon we headed for Tuol Sleng, the former high school where the Khmer Rouge carried out many of their attrocities. It was pretty horrific. It just looked like any old school but the horror was so recent. It's hard to believe that it happened in my life time but the bold stains are still there to prove it. When will humans stop doing these things to one another???
After a few hours we needed a nice quiet place to reflect. We found it across the road at a very cute little restaurant. We ended up stuck there for an awfully long time as the rain poured down. Of course when you really needed one there was no tuk tuk to be found so we eventually walked home in the rain. Oh well as Tony the contiki guy says "you're not asprin, you won't dissolve"
That night we found a lovely little restaurant in our street and I tried my first of many "fish amok". Yummo!
Day 2 saw a trip to the Killing Fields. Another horrid but essential experience. It was very confronting seeing the tower of skulls and then all of the bone fragments, teeth and clothing scattered around the field.
That afternoon we tried to see lots of things but they were closed.... silly public holidays. We did manage to see the museum which was quiet small but had some interesting pieces. Having drinks at the Foreign Correspondents club on the river was a nice way to spend the afternoon.
Day 3 we spent heaps of dosh at Tabitha, a workshop for underpriveledged women. We tried to spend more cash at the Russian Market but - you guessed it - closed. We headed for the palace. They wouldn't let me in cos I was wearing a wrap and didn't want to buy their dodgy tshirt so Kirsty went in and I hung out at the Foreign Correspondents club again.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised with Phnom Penh. I was expecting more beggars and touting but there was very little of that. When little street kids approached I was expecting them to ask for cash but they just said hello and waved. Lovely people!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Location: "The Fishbowl" AISS, Singapore

Hello lovely friends and family,
Hope life is treating you well wherever you are. My crazy Singers life continues on as normal.. not much to report.
I did get a promotion though... Next yr I'll be yr 6 team leader. Actually I get the extra time and cash next year but all the hard work is happening now as we move yr 6 into the middle school. What fun! I'm also crazy busy doing choreography for the school musical so life is ridiculously hectic BUT...
I'm heading off to Cambodia in week and a bit. The lovely Kirsty Jones is coming over and we're off to run amok, Lara Croft style. Can't wait.
I'll be in Oz very briefly at the end of next month. I arrive in Sydney on Sat 25th and will probably head to Canberra on Tuesday 28th. Then I'll have basically Wed, Thurs and Fri for catch-ups before Janelle and Matt's wedding on the w/e. So.... keep the dates free. I'm imagining lunch catch-ups with all you mums and then prob a Thursday night out for my drinking buddies. I'll be in touch.
Off to see a pretty lantern festival tonight..
Heaps of love
Jxo.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Location: Singapore

Sorry... I've been slack but I'm back! Hmmmm what's been happening since my last entry nearly a month ago?????
* Christmas is July at Meegs' house - including presents and a tree and amazing food..
* A visit from my big sis Coll. Her lovely husband Stu surprised her with a trip to see me for her b'day. She wasn't happy she didn't get to do her own packing though! We had a lovely time pampering ourselves and playing tourist. And Coll.... the Red Chairs are RED not orange! There will never be a Facebook group called "I eat at the Orange Chairs"
* Out of control shopping sprees with Linds
* Kevin Rudd visited our school. He was very composed and friendly and was not at all phased by 2000 kids screaming and cheering and treating him like a rock star. It was a surreal experience. He stopped to chat to a number of my friends but I was too busy trying to stop my big yr 6s from trampling the little kids in a bid to high five Kev.
* Visit from Kylz on her way thru to Dubai - just like old times except there were only 2 Harrisons rather 3. Crazy times were had.

Think that's my month in a nutshell, combined with the usual smatterings of social events, too much work and holiday planning. My next trip is to Cambodia when the lovely Kirsty Jones comes to visit. Then I'm back in Oz (are you counting down?) end of Oct and AFRICA for Christmas!!!!!

Oh, my parents have finally moved to Sydney so I guess Canberra is no longer home... I feel so displaced.
Hope you Aus people are enjoying the cold and snow (hee hee). If it makes you feel any better I'm swamped by mozzies and trying desperately to avoid the Dengue fever epidemic.
I'll add more pics very soon
love and hugs
Jxo.
PS. Welcome to the world little babies Hoorweg, Wilson and Cox!
Happy b'day for next week Janelle!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Location: Singapore

Happy birthday gorgeous Vicky! I miss you!

It happened .... I have run out of space on this blog for photos. I'll have to upgrade or try a new blog.
Stay tuned....

Jxo.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Location: Singapore

I've added pics of Kellie and Lidia's visit to the May/June Pics

Jxo.


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Recent Messages

From Meegs
hey J,
still waiting to hear what happened on the rest of the Africa trip!!!wonder who will win the bet first - you filling in the missing parts of the trip, or me putting photos up on Facebook!!!
bring on Morocco!!
Response: a-ha a challenge! Of course I'll win!
From jen & ant
awesome photos! You got yourself a great travel buddy! Looking forward to the Morocco photos! xxx
Response: Hi guys! Nice to hear from you. Hope Sydney is going well. Jxo.
From Meegs
Hey Janine,
awesome photos, especially the ones of Africa, however there was one thing missing in the photos....meeee!!!! looking forward to our next adventure in July. enormous hugs xxxxx
From Sean
Hi Grot,

long time no speak, Robbie wants to know whether Auntie Janine will be visiting him again next year....
Response: hmm maybe mid year. Thinking Morocco could be a possibility. If so I'll come to London for about a week
From Anna Wilson
HI Janine, Anna here. I love reading all about your adventurous life. There's a new teacher starting at your school, Narelle Demery from Jerrabomberra PS, she was Alex's library teacher.
Richard is always travelling to Singapore and INdia for work so I might just come along one of these trips and you can show me the sights of Singapore.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Vietnam, I'd love to go there one day.
Anna:)
Response: Hi Anna! Great to hear from you. I heard we were getting a new teacher from Canberra and OF COURSE there to had to be a link to someone! I'll be nice to her! Definitely come along on one of Richard's trips - would be great to see you!
From Bec R
Hi Janine
Thanks for the mention on the blog. Oli is such an inspiration to run my butt off! Hope you are having a fantastic time xoxo Bec
Response: Least I could do... You're fantastic for doing it! Jxo.
From Caitlin
Hi Auntie Neenie, Just completed my primary ballet exams and now I am in Grade 1. I get to wear outfits like the big girls now!!! Miss you & Love You!!!
Response: Hi Gorgeous. Congrats on finishing primary! I loved Grade 1. I remember doing a dance about a pig! Tell mum to send me photos! Love and hugs
Auntie N xo.
From Dad and Mum
Janine

Record crowds at the dawn service. Took the Forward air controllers from Viet War around Thurs including lots of yanks. Arrived just as the at AWM>Great view. Mum was jealous. Mearns til Fri.
Response: Wow! the Dawn service here was pretty special too - took all our yr 6 kids out and they sang like angels. Very moving. Hi to Roger and Sandra! Jxo.
From Frostie
Hi Neans,
Thanks for the lovely messages and the beautiful gift for Jordan. She is lovely. Will send some photos very soon. Haven't had internet for a couple of weeks and so I will get photos out.
Lots of love
Response: yes, nearly a month and no photos!! I'll probably forgive you though. Please give Jordan and Hudson heaps of hugs and kisses from me.
Jxo.
From Vicky
Oh, I SO wish I was going to Africa with you! When are you going to add Adelaide to your list of exciting places to visit? ;)

Miss you loads xox
Response: Hi Vickus! Adelaide...hmmm maybe after I finish Asia, see South America and Africa.... did you catch up with Miss Jayne?? Jxo.
From Kylz
You are making me homesick for good ol' Singers! Sounds like it is all happening there. Will promise to try to check out your page a little more frequently, as things are (finally) starting to settle down here in the desert as the temperature heats up!. Love ya and miss ya,
Kylz xxx
Response: Hey babe! so lovely to hear from you. will set aside many hours for a huge goss session when you visit! Mwa, Jxo.
From The Youngs
Happy Birthday! One way or another, we're going to get you!!!

lol
XOXOXOX
Response: Thanks! Messages everywhere - woohoo!
From Bec R
Hi Janine Sending you huge birthday wishes - hope you celebrate well!! Love & hugs Bec & CO
Response: Thanks Bec, you know I will! Jxo
From
Happy Birthday Janine!

Hope you have a fantastic day.

Lids.
Response: Thanks Lids, See you really soon! How exciting!
Jxo.
From Keren
Ta muchly for my birthday wishes. Just read your page. Soooo need to get out of canberra! My sister's living in the uk. Also says it's freezing. She hoping for snow. Hasn't snowed for her since Jan. How long you in the UK for?
hugs
Response: Hey Little Keren! It has been snowing for the past 3 days and its miserable! It's not settling so what's the point? Just in the UK for 2 weeks then back to Singers sun.
Jxo.
From Frostie
Hi Neans
When are you off to London? Are you going to catch up with Tanya? I mentioned that you were going to be travelling there. We are now in contact through Facebook.
All going well in the Stear household. Just waiting for this baby to make its entrance. 9 days to go until due date. Could you please email me your mobile number so that I can text you when he/she arrives. Ta
Love Frostie**
Response: Hi Frostie! So close.... have you decided on a name yet?? I'm off to London on Thursday. Hoping to see Tanya but we'll see. Good ole Facebook!
Good luck, will be thinking of you. Love ya! Jxo.
From James
Hi Auntie Neeny,
Went past the train station at Hornsby today, wanted to stop and see if you were there (I remembered that we dropped you off there once)! Had a tantrum because mummy & daddy wouldn't stop!

Miss YOU lots! Big Hugs XOXOX
Response: Awww!!! So cute! Miss you guys! heaps of hugs and kisses.
mwa!
From Sean
Hi Grot,

looking forward to seeing you in London - Robbie already has a full itinerary for you - you should do your homework - WWII airplanes are the latest infatuated - I hope you know the exact battle order of the Battle of Midway!
See you soon!
Response: Oh dear I'll need to do some research.... Looking froward to seeing you all soon! Jxo
From Keren
Hiya chicky
Was just reading your post and thought you'd found a rich husband and wondered if he had a brother...but then I kept reading...
Sounds like you're continuing to have an awesome time :O)
hugs
Response: ha ha ha - yeah right! Great to hear from you. Hope you're having an awesome time, otherwise move here and I'll get you a job. We live the good life!
Jxo.
From Frostie
Hi Neany Bopper
How are you? You sound like you are having a ball as usual. Everythng is going well here. I am now on mat leave and I have 4 weeks to go. I am really loving spending time with Hudson as he is now only going to cc 2 days a week until bub arrives. Must go. Keep partying and make sure that you have a drink or 5 for me.
Love you
Frostie**
Response: Hello! Hate that I'm missing out on your pregnancy AGAIN. I'm a lousy friend aren't I? Just close your legs and don't let the baby out til October and I'll be happy! If you must let he/she (hee hee) out I'll prob be in London so I'll have to send you Sean's number. hugs, Jxo
From Bec R
Hi Janiney
Great to hear you are back in the swing of it all!!! We are just back from a beach holiday.
Take care
Love Bec
Response: Hi Bec,
Hope the beach was great. Just in the process of booking my flight back to Oz in Oct for Janelle's wedding so will see you all in 8 months! I had such a lovely time seeing you all at Xmas so look forward to the next catch up! love J xo
From Caitlin
Hello Auntie Neeny!
James and I miss you! I am back at school with 2nd grade. We have a turtle in our class. I am doing classical, jazz and Irish dancing, so I am very busy!
lol
Caitlin XOXOX
Response: Hi gorgeous! I hope you are enjoying school this year and have a nice teacher. My kids are very big. Hugs to James.
Jxo.
From Lidia
Hey Janine

Hope you had as much fun in Sydney as I did!

Have you downloaded your pics?
Response: had a ball Lids! Will download the pics when I get back to Sing on w/e. Can you email me yours- particularly the ones from the night out with Patrick?
From Lidia
Hi Janine

Looking forward to seeing you when you are back here.

Not long to go now!

Lids :)
Response: Woohoo! Bring it on! Glad you're going us for New Years! Jxo.
From James
Hi Auntie Neenie,
I did a wee wee on the big boys toilet and got 2 McQueen toys - aren' t I clever?? Love You... I like mummy's personal trainer and think she looks like Jen Hawkins - I give her big hugs..
Response: Hi James, don't get any bigger until I get there! Robbie has taught me all about McQueen so I can't wait to play Cars with you. Save your hugs for me not the trainer! xxxxxoooooo