Winter Wonderland

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Happy Solstice everyone! It is wrecking my brain a little bit that it is

a) already June 

b) dark by 5:30 pm and

c)“winter”.

I will admit that I was incredibly arrogant in regards to this season. I scoffed when I saw scarves and peat coats being sold in stores and was cavalier about space heaters and doonas (duvets). Of course now I am writing, under the doona, with the space heater on full blast, and am seriously considering buying a warmer jumper. Lesson learned: while -45 degrees is unfathomable to Ozzies, +15 with rain is actually chilly after +46 with sun oppression. That being said, we can still bike and kayak and hike so all things considered, winter is pretty awesome.

These past few weeks we’ve been having plenty of mini weekend adventures. First up was a hiking trip to the Blue Mountains with fellow Calgarians Ian and Sarah. We chose a beautiful hike called the “Grand Canyon” where once again my Canadian “these aren’t real mountains, so it will be easy” blithe attitude was proven wrong. Down and down we went from the trailhead, and then down some more past arresting sandstone walls and waterfalls. The stone steps took us through tunnels, over mossy pools of water and along lush mist-covered plants into the heart of this World Heritage site. Eventually, with our legs screaming (The book I bought should have explicitly stated “this trail will pulverize your thighs and glutes…”) we reached Evans Lookout to see the outstanding heathlands of the Blue Mountains with its forest-filled peaks and valleys. I am constantly gobsmacked by how diverse this continent is!

Our other big trip lately was to Nelson Bay and Anna Bay to WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) over the long weekend. We arrived at the most beautiful 25 acre permaculture farm to meet the most fascinating farmer! Ric had useful and helpful advice on permaculture, from how to set-up systems at the macro level, down to how to collect seeds and make small, positive changes to every day living. He built a stunning home out of recycled materials and I very much respect people who live their values everyday. We learned more about aquaponics as well which was great. He did however, have a lot of ideas about many other great topics such as: the second sun in our solar system causing the Earth to heat up from its core; prophesies about women becoming telepaths and being able to read people’s “matrix grids”; explaining how he had space friends, how his friends in the CIA and other high ranking military positions told him super duper secrets and other general “facts”. Yep! I could get about 70% of the way there…but unfortunately what we really wanted was more of the “how-to” and less of the “why” Zeitgeist-y proselytizing. So, even though we did have a fun time, we bailed a night early and spent the rest of the weekend sand boarding at the Southern Hemisphere’s longest sand dunes, conveniently located 5 kms away! And thanks to that second sun, the weather was fantastic! Haha, science is whatever you want it to be! Joking aside, it was still great and I feel like it is in the nature of wwoofing to meet all kinds of cooky and nifty people. I very much look forward to our next stint.

Other than those trips out of Sydney, we’ve mostly been enjoying time within the city limits. Film festivals, kayaking in the Harbour, being chased by clowns and street sack races around Darlinghurst with a media art group, and of course dancing as usual. I started Djing here too which is fun! Curtis is getting his music together and wants to DJ soon as well, yay! Oh, and I finally got a job that I love and go to, like every day! It’s very similar to the phonemic awareness program I taught back in Calgary, it’s in a great location, and I can bike to work with the Lance Parade (what I am calling the very fit middle-aged men in spandex who commute to work with me). And I just started volunteering at the most kick-ass creative writing place ever! http://www.sydneystoryfactory.org.au/ Check it out! We work at The Martian Embassy, and if you’d like, you can purchase some Martian wee in the gift shop…for real. Curtis’ job is business as usual where business means a different thing every day which sounds a bit frustrating but over all he is still enjoying it. People still haven’t figured out his age, beard for the win!

Much love to everyone and especially dry and safe thoughts to our friends and family in Southern Alberta!

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