How’s that last decade looking?

OK I’m back – this whole blog thing is quite tough. I spend lots of my online time reading other people’s blogs  (is OPB a term? Like PLU?) for the most part enjoying them immensely, thinking I really must do that again sometime….

Anyone would think there were good things to watch on TV here (not true) or school holidays were on and I suddenly have to do my own child care after six years living in a country where I didn’t – that part might be true – but others seem to have struggled on and continued posting, so this will by my inspiration (I can’t hear my children at the moment – that’s a good sign right?).

2010 – a new decade.  For all us lucky people born in a 0 year – we never have to recap the last ten years in our mind – hundreds of newspapers, magazines and media outlets do it for us. So easy!!! All we have to do is remember about our own lives in that decade.  Every time ten years kicks over you think – noooo that didn’t happen that long ago, but it pretty much did. 

This year is a biggy for this girlie in terms of age as people seem to make quite a fuss when you turn a number with a zero on it. I can tell you I am expecting my husband and family to do the same again this year  (as I stare lovingly at the Longines watch my parents bought me the last time this 0 year rolled around 😉

The last decade for me has been the absolutely most action packed yet – so I thought it was worth a bit of a review. Also in order to put it in perspective better view those other few decades I have lived through as well (this is just pre-planning for my yet to be born descendants for the speech at my 90th birthday as when I did this for my grandmother a couple of years ago I had to go deep for the info – they didn’t have blogs when she was a girl).

1970 – 1979 – pretty much home time for me, although parents did scare everyone and sell all items except house and truck us off traveling the world for 18 months at some stage there. We bought a campervan at Australia Square in London and headed off to ‘the Continent’ for some adventures.  It is mostly the no school part I remember (although I am told there was six months of school in the UK at some time its very vague). Just remember the two tapes we had in the van – Leo Sayer and Rod Stewart, the words from every song on those tapes are burned into my brain forever and still now if I hear one on the radio (what stations still play them??? Or in some random location I start singing along involuntarily).  There were things I wish I remembered better, like picking up hitchhikers, getting kicked out of Germany for working without visas (not me of course) and perhaps all of the really cultural stuff, but that’s what photos and your parent’s stories are for aren’t they?

1980 – 1989 – boarding school kicked in here 82- 87– so I headed off there after my stint in the local primary school finished. At primary school I tried out for every musical production every put on and never got a role – must be my stunning singing voice. However when I was in grade 6 the principal insisted I be in the choir as School Captain – of course I thought this was outrageous as they never let me sing any other time and led a walk out of the choir by all school prefects. I think the rebellion lasted a day or so and we were all back in and I was told just to mouth the words.  Mmmm can see why I didn’t go into politics.

Did quite enjoy the boarding school part, not sure my children would but it was just the trick for me not to go through the ‘I hate my parents’ phase as I didn’t have to see them that often so it worked out fine for everyone at the time.  After school went straight to Uni as I was so keen for learning to continue – I guess….  This was the decade that I met my husband – at a Uni O week ball in February 1989 – see next decade for wedding date, we weren’t in a rush.

1990 – 1999 – Well this decade was where there was a bit of growing up going on, getting jobs, managing own finances for the first time etc etc going on.  Was at Uni for the first few years, my mother told people I was doing a four year degree (true) with six months for social skills. I always blamed my boyfriend for any subject failures as he broke up with me every exam period so he could concentrate on his study so felt pretty confident the extra six months wasn’t my fault.

After Uni did the year overseas thing – based in Germany working on a farm in the middle of nowhere (don’t ask) and did some travel around and seeing all the cultural stuff I had forgotten about from when I was six (very helpful to reinforce).

Went back to Australia – got my first job – and in proving what a loyal employee I am worked there for the next seven years until just before the end of the decade when I left to go somewhere else.

Then in a bid to get out of the bad books for flying away to Adelaide (his hometown) for my birthday weekend in 1998 my on again – off again – on again boyfriend of almost ten years proposed to me, so all was forgiven momentarily although goodness knows what he got up to on that weekend.  So the last year of the decade opened with the long awaited marriage – and that’s pretty much what all the wedding speeches were about – ten years and so on.  Having said that though I loved my wedding day and all the preparation and planning (mostly done by my long suffering mother who would phone me for a list of decisions – a,b,c or d and then go and sort it all out – brilliant!) I cannot even imagine what I would do differently 11 years on – I loved it that much, except I would not have waited to make an entrance, highly overrated in my opinion. I would have been waiting on the ground myself so the guests didn’t finish ALL the Pimms before the wedding ceremony even took place without me getting a sip at all. Come to think of it maybe that’s why everyone looked so happy for us.

I also attended many weddings of lovely friends and family, the vast majority of which are still intact today with various kids and moves. My own extended family started reproducing a next generation I became a godmother when my pesky little cousin (from prior decade – was by now almost a sister to me 😉 became a mother when her little girl Sarah was born.

2000 – 2009

Well this one was an absolute ripper of a decade for action packed events.

Where to start?

In April 2000 we bought our first house in Naremburn, Sydney – for an amount of money that seemed outrageous at the time and now seems like a bargain basement special.

In September 2000 it was the Olympics and like a lot of other Sydneysiders we put in for our tickets in the giant Olympic lottery and got none!  Luckily we had relatives in Canada who could buy some for us, so we got to see Cathy Freeman win her gold medal after all, a definite decade highlight.

My Canadian cousin and his girlfriend (now wife – that happened later in the decade) lived with us for a year in our new house along with our first puppy Rupert the Golden (because he sure wasn’t a retriever).

Also sometime this year my father who had been coaching rugby in Canada came back to Aus and announced that he would be leaving my mother and their 35 year plus relationship – which came as a shock to everyone except him I believe. I still haven’t had the therapy but I may have mentioned that I was married in the previous decade – relying totally on the fact that my parent’s marriage was all good and even though I was 30 during this announcement – it didn’t make me very happy.

Moving on – sometime in June 2002 I had too much to drink one night and about six weeks later discovered I was in fact pregnant, a happy accident it turns out as I was never going to do it knowingly, the whole thing seemed way too scary.  However this wasn’t the biggest news in the old extended family that week as another of my cousins had arrived home with an actual baby.  His girlfriend had fallen pregnant and they had decided that they would not keep the baby but give it up for adoption (no one knew she was pregnant – what an observant lot we are) but when the time came changed their minds and kept their gorgeous girl and came clean about the whole thing – very brave for the youngsters, who also married later in the decade and had another little boy.

More weddings and lovely events and I got to be a bridesmaid for the first and no doubt last time (as I am getting on a bit these days for the bridie department) for my friend Trudi  – whose anniversary I shall always remember as a good bridesmaid should (unfortunately mainly because it shares the date with a newsworthy world event that wasn’t so celebratory) while my husband got his suit out for quite a few groomsman occasions.

Three months before I was going to give birth my father called to tell me he was going to marry his Canadian girlfriend when I would be 32 weeks pregnant and the only child of the new couple on hand to celebrate the event with my brother and Judith’s son both overseas at the time. Upon reflection I think the wedding had been planned for some time but he hadn’t had the therapy yet either (and he never will) so I was the last to find out. Somewhat of a shock for me at the time – I went along to the wedding, which was quite the affair for a seven month pregnant hormonal chick to attend. However I felt about the occasion at the time Judith and her son Paul are very welcome additions to our extended family.

Our baby boy was born in February 2003 and changed our lives in the wonderful way that babies do, especially first babies when you think its all so hard but in fact you look back on it and the thought of one newborn (OK a 3 – 6 monther) at home with two parents looks like such a piece of cake when you add on everything else that happens after that like – toddler-dom and more babies.

Later that year my husband started commuting to Hong Kong and then in November we all moved there.

One of the first couples that we became friends with in Hong Kong and my husband’s closest friend at work and their 8 month old baby were on the beach at Khao Lak in Thailand during the December 2004 Tsunami and unfortunately did not come home, that was a pretty tough time as it was for hundreds and thousands of people who lost loved ones in that catastrophic event.

January 2005 I started a job that I really had absolutely no idea about at the time – obviously I was an accomplished professional four years later when I left it, but it ranks amongst the highlights of the decade in terms of career.  I got to do lots of travelling across Asia and went to so many amazing places and met so many interesting people and ended up with some great friends because of it.

May 2006 my wonderful mother was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer and given not much of a chance as it had already spread to her lymph nodes and liver – but as with everything it did not deter her and she sought all treatment options including Chinese medicine, mainstream medicine and amazing support from her friends and our extended family.  She continued to keep up her international travel schedule, as she was president of an international organisation the year she was diagnosed, even though she stepped back somewhat from her duties. At the time my father said to me – I just don’t believe it, I think she will have a miracle cure (I called that reaction ‘guilt’ – he will now call it his amazing knowledge and foresight, did I mention I hadn’t been to therapy yet?).

September 2006 the little princess entered the world – and at the time her father said he was going to buy a shotgun and a rocking chair and get ready for when the boys came a callin’. Now we know her better he seems to think the whole thing was a waste of money and if the boys are game to come he’s going to just shake their hand and wish them luck.

During 03 – 09 we lived the crazy expat life you can when in Hong Kong and travelled to so many fabulous destinations in Asia and also used the opportunity to visit Canada on a couple of occasions – once for the wedding of that couple that lived with us in Australia earlier in the decade and once for a family ski holiday. I learnt about being a ‘tai tai’ and also sampled many fabulous activities associated with this, such as shopping weekends in other countries, ladies lunches & endless foot massages to name a few. 

We also started ‘group’ family holidays with a number of Aussie families in HK and went to two different Thai destinations – we missed the third in 2009 due to the move but vow to be back next decade!

In December 2008 we lost my wonderful Father-in-law after some years of declining health. My children lost their Poppy and my husband his father; it was very difficult especially for my husband as it happened just before we were heading home for Christmas. He had been to Aus earlier in the year when his Dad was hospitalized on a trip to Townsville to spend time with him and say goodbye but his Dad had rallied and made it home to Adelaide and had some extra months with his family there. It is the absolute hardest thing about living so far away – and that will never change.

In March 2009 we visited Durban to assess it for a move – by April my husband was here working and by mid-July we had packed up our HK life and joined him on our new adventure.

In May 2009 my mother visited the Oncologist who proclaimed – I think you’ve got this thing beaten and she was so excited she left without paying the bill – they had to chase her to the car park.  A year earlier another friend, my own age – then living in Vietnam was diagnosed with the same as Mum and to this point she hasn’t been as lucky with getting on top of it.  I wish for her that the coming year and indeed decade brings much better things on that front.

Over the course of the last decade my children have welcomed four first cousins and countless more of the once removed type – they love to see them all and talk to them on Skype (sometimes).

The decade closed at a much slower pace here in Durbs – but again you never know what’s around the corner. Two days before the end of the year I awoke to a text from my brother that my father had a mild heart attack and was in hospital for tests and so on. Now we are in a new place that takes a bit longer to get to Aus you worry about having to make a dash home – but so far so good – fingers crossed, he had an operation which resulted in a stent being put into one of his arteries and he said it hurt but is obviously preferable to the alternative and seems on the road to recovery. He thinks he can play golf in one month instead of the three recommended and still seems the same climate change skeptic that he ever was. I’m pretty sure he’ll be here at the end of the next decade pulling in his own share of highlight commentary.

2010 – 2019

What will happen next?

After the last decade it is almost impossible to imagine what will happen this decade and where we will be at the end of it.

So far the highlight has been having our water cut off for non-payment but I think it will get a bit more exciting than that – in a good way.

What do you think will happen to you in the next decade and what were the highlights and shocks for you of the last decade?

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4 responses to “How’s that last decade looking?

  1. What can I say but fantastic again as always, I have been waiting for the new addition of your blog to arrive.!!!. Can’t wait for the next addition, as for this decade well I hope there are good times spent in NY with your pesky little cousin!, and our respective husbands of course!!. Love your almost Sister (which I might add brought a tear to my eye!). Love you too.xx

  2. .DadxxxxInteresting thoughts from an interesting person. No longer my little girl, one so worldly and wise. Thoughts to provoke and tease. The mystique of life fills the page. Concepts explored, painful at times and joyous as well. ‘Walk a mile in my shoes’ only ever fits the author so personal yet so poignant. Live life large for the road is not always straight. I love your little clan over there in Sud Afrique and I love the way you live your lives

    • That’s why I am still waiting for you to write your life story Dad. Or actually not as Annie and I are planning a thinly veiled fictional story of Eddy-Gong as a top selling chick lit book – and we won’t have to make anything at all up 😉 Perhaps a blog – now you have all this recovery time on your hands, it would certainly make interesting reading.

  3. Dear Nikki,

    Last year bab.la and our blog Lexiophiles launched the Top 100 International Exchange and Experience Blogs 2009. It was rewarding and we really enjoyed bringing the exchange blogger community together, and here we go again:

    It’s time for The Top 100 International Exchange and Experience Blogs 2010, also known as IX10.

    We are looking for the top 100 blogs about life abroad and your blog has been nominated. The nomination period goes from January 22nd to January 31st. Feel free to spread the word among bloggers writing about life in a foreign country.

    The voting starts on February 1st and goes till February 14st 2010. At the end of the two-week voting period, the blogs with the most votes will win.

    If you want to read more about IX10 visit Lexiophiles (http://www.lexiophiles.com/featured-article/the-top-100-international-exchange-and-experience-blogs-2010).

    Send me an email in case you don’t want to be included in this list or if you have any further questions about the competition.

    Kind regards,

    Priscila
    On behalf of the bab.la and Lexiophiles team

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