Thursday, 3 September 2015

Day 365... the last one

THURSDAY 3.9.15 - I am thankful for... My ability to be thankful! And being able to blog about it

Day 365. An entire year of finding at least one thing to be thankful for in each day. It was definitely not easy, some days there are so many things to be thankful for and others you really have to think hard. But I've proved, if only to myself, that it's very possible. So for my last day I am very thankful for my ability to be thankful. It's actually been a really tough week with today being the worst yet. However my work colleagues gave me an early birthday surprise with these beautiful flowers and CHEESECAKE! I already got my birthday wish and its not even my birthday yet. I'm extremely blessed to have wonderful people in my life, something I've never been short of. And some on those people have been listening to me whinge all week. Sorry guys!

Tomorrow I turn 28. Not sure how I feel about it, I'm not exactly where I'd thought I'd be in life, which is neither good nor bad. Just different. However, I chose to look at each and every day with thanksgiving. Thankful that I wake up. Thankful that I have a day to look forward to. Thankful I have people to enjoy it with. Thankful I have all my needs met. And hopeful I have the next day to look forward to. This experience has definitely helped me grow, I'm all the better for it.

Thank you for reading my blog! If you have any questions feel free to ask. It's going to be weird not doing it anymore, but I hope you all got something out of it, I know I did.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Day 364...

WEDNESDAY 2.9.15 - I am thankful for... Seeing people make healthy life choices

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Some of my favourite stories from work are from people turning their lives around for the better. Today I had the pleasure of seeing two of those. I had two patients do an exercise test this afternoon. Two different men, one older and one younger. Both had heart health scares in recent years and both made choices to change their lifestyle. The older gentleman lost some weight and started walking everyday. The younger, deciding that his wife and young children were better if he stuck around quit smoking, changed his eating habits and lost a significant amount of weight. Both passed their tests with flying colours. Unfortunately there are people who do have health scares and despite the doctors advice they chose not to change. It's almost always to their detriment because their health only gets worse. But today was not one of those days. These patients have made some great choices and they are all the better for them. I am so thankful I am able to see people who make healthy life choices in my workplace. They are always so inspiring.

Day 363...

TUESDAY 1.9.15 - I am thankful for... Cheesecake

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Wow, can you believe it? Only 3 more blog posts to go. I have really enjoyed doing this blog, some days were harder than others when trying to be thankful. I had totally forgotten about my birthday until someone mentioned it to me a few weeks back, then I got the thinking "Ugh I don't have time to organise anything this year". Just with work being the way it is and other things going on. I think the only thing I want is a slice of cheesecake. It has always been my favourite cake since I can remember and I think I've had it as my birthday cake almost every year. My mum makes THE BEST baked cheesecake. I'm serious, it's out of this world! So good in fact my uncle requests it for his birthday every year! Alas, I think the distance will prevent that from happening, but that's ok. So I am thankful for cheesecake and hope that I can have some on my birthday.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Day 362...

MONDAY 31.8.15 - I am thankful for... Heartbreak

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Warning!!! This is not a light hearted post. It is quite personal. A few years ago I noticed I was getting some attention from a guy I barely knew. Over a course of a few months we started chatting, which turned into facebook messages, which turned into text messages, which turned into calls, communication was at least daily. I'd never had a relationship before and assumed, with advice from others that this was the natural progression of two people who like each other getting to know each other and eventually forming a romantic relationship. For the first time I let myself be open and honest and vulnerable, sharing things you don't usually share with just anyone, some I obviously now regret. And, eventually I completely fell in love with this person. You know, the type of love where you would do anything or go anywhere for that person. You'd even make sacrifices just so they would be happy. To be there for them whenever they needed you. Then quite suddenly things changed and it turned out he didn't feel the same. I couldn't understand what happened, and still don't even today. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I was heartbroken, like someone had smashed my heart into a million pieces and I was sure I'd never put them back together. Was it me? Was it him? Was there another reason? Maybe I'll never know. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. This were said and done which turned things a little ugly at times. But over time I started to heal and eventually started dating my now ex-boyfriend - just would like to point out it was a mutual break up due to us wanting different things for the future, my ex is a wonderful person and we are still good friends so this post is definitely not about him. Looking back I can see how my very painful experience shaped my relationship with my ex (I actually don't like the term "ex" because we are still good friends). It showed me what I liked and didn't like in a person and what I wanted out of a relationship. The reason I'm talking about this today is because I had a dream about 'that guy' and it brought up so many painful memories from that time. Why? I have no idea, I thought I'd dealt with it. Maybe it's one of those 'first love' things, you never quite get over or forget it. So, as painful as it was, I'm thankful for my period of heartbreak. It helped me grow as a person and know what I want in a future partner. I'm single at the moment but you just never know what the future holds. I'm hopeful :)

P.S. I've withheld names for personal reasons. Should you feel the need to comment, please leave names OUT.

Day 361...

SUNDAY 30.8.15 - I am thankful for... My Favourite colour

Can you tell what it is? I grew up saying my favourite colour is Aqua. As I've gotten older I've realised that Teal and Aqua are quite similar, one being technically darker than the other. So it just depends on what shade you distinguish the two. But I'd say both. From the above picture I'm sure you understand. I don't know why I love it, I just do. I guess maybe because it's not a too in-your-face kind of colour. Anyway, I'm so thankful for my favourite colour and the happiness it gives me.

Day 360... ALMOST THERE!

SATURDAY 29.8.15 - I am thankful for... My Favourite movie... Ever After

*Still from the movie.

On call again. Just today though. I'm actually quite glad because I am absolutely smashed from this past week. It took me until 10:30am to force myself out of bed, even then I didn't do much. I did however watch my favourite movie, Ever After. I don't remember the first time I watched it, nor could I tell you how many times I've seen it. But I can tell you why I love it. If you haven't seen it before, it's a movie from the late 90's that's a spin on Cinderella set in the middle ages. Drew Barrymore plays the main Cinderella type character. You know its the standard boy meets girl, not from same social circles, drama drama drama then happy ending. Sorry for the spoiler. What I love about it is the female protagonist isn't your typical fairytale damsel in distress. She is kind, compassionate and genuine yet strong, intelligent, would do anything for the ones she loves and is more than capable of looking after herself. Then the main 'Prince' character is great too. Initially he is immature, selfish and has no direction in his life even though he is to be king one day, but through getting to know and fall in love with the female character, he grows and finds his way. He doesn't rescue her. They become a team and compliment each other. The way a real relationship should. I just love Drew's character and think it's such a good role model for girls. I also love the classical soundtrack too. Today I'm thankful for Ever After and that no matter how many times I watch it, I love it every single time.

Day 359...

FRIDAY 28.8.15 - I am thankful for... Making mess

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Tonight at youth group we got the kids to make their own pizza. The dough was kindly donated to us so they got to roll out their own dough and cover their pizza with whatever toppings they liked. We also collectively made a dessert pizza with Nutella, marshmallows and strawberries, drizzled with more Nutella. Mmmmmmm. But of course, such fun can't be had without making a mess. I think we were all covered in flour by the end, leaders included. I think they all did really well, the pizzas looked great and they said they tasted ok. The dessert pizza wasn't too shabby either. I'm thankful tonight for making mess, because usually making a mess means you are having a good time. Besides, you can always clean up... hopefully...

Day 358...

THURSDAY 27.8.15 - I am thankful for... My siblings

*Stole these pictures from my sisters Facebook page. They are a few years old now but last time they were all together that we have photos of!

Early on I did a post on my sister. To be technically correct she is my full blood sister; both of our parents are the same. I also have a step sister and brother (from my step-mother's first marriage) and a half brother - my Dad's son. There are 9 years between the 5 of us which really isn't too many at all. Growing up my sister and I lived with our mum while the other 3 lived with dad, so we weren't always together. However, we formed very close relationships, to the point that I don't use the terms 'step' or 'half' when I talk about them at all. They are my brothers and sisters. Our parents are not even together any more but we still are family, as far as I'm concerned. I had the pleasure of seeing my step sister and spending the week with her when I was in London. It had been a while so I enjoyed every minute of it. My half brother just last year moved to Brisbane with my dad and his partner so we've been able to see more of him. My step brother is in the army and always travelling here and there, so I have not been able to see much of him but we all still talk regularly enough. We used to have the greatest time together when we were kids, we all got on so well. And, probably selfishly, they used to look up to me and think the world of me, as I was the eldest. Being the eldest I've had the pleasure of watching all 4 of them, my sister included, grow into wonderful adults with so much to be proud of in their young lives. I am so very thankful for my brothers and sisters. I love them all so very much and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Day 357...

WEDNESDAY 26.8.15 - I am thankful for... My conviction in my Faith

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I have been a Christian since I was about 14 years old. I go to church as regularly as I can, was a Girls Brigade leader in Brisbane and now a youth group leader. I attend church most Sundays when I can and love to sing in the worship band. Most of all, I'm proud to say that yes I believe that God exists and that through Jesus I and anyone can be saved and have eternal life. I have morals and views and opinions on certain things which I feel very strongly about and whilst I'm not afraid to express them and quick to point out that it's how I see things and am not trying to force my views on anyone. We are all free to make our own choices. I'm not ashamed or embarrassed to admit any of those points, being a Christian is a major part of who I am and always will be.

What is hard at times, especially in the current climate of marriage equality, is the predominantly negative stereotype that is placed upon "Christians". People think we are homophobic or LBGTI haters who think all these people are sinners and should go to hell etc... This really is not the case. I don't know any of my friends who call themselves Christians who feel this way at all. In fact, if we truly believe in God then we believe that ALL people are sinners, therefore we are all the same in the eyes of God, really we are all just as bad as each other, to put it simply. There are many things but just using marriage equality as an example.

Evil comes in many forms. It comes through in people of all faiths: Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, Agnostic or Atheist. It comes in people who are white or black or hispanic or asian or other. It comes in the young and in the old. The rich or the poor. Evil does not discriminate where it rears its ugly head a long as it's somewhere it can do damage, therefore it is not in one particular group of people. And love and goodness is the same. You can find it anywhere in anyone, no matter who they are or what religion they affiliate themselves with; whoever chooses to embrace it. It doesn't mean all good people share the same views as you, and just because your opinions differ does not make them a bad person (I'm refraining from using stronger descriptive words I have heard of late). I mean the bible has a million examples of people who've done terrible or socially unacceptable things going on to do extraordinary things. Thieves, murderers, prostitutes, adulterers, rich oppressive people etc...

It is not my job here, as a Christian on earth, to judge people for their actions. The only person I can hold accountable for anything is me, because I'm the only one who has live my life, experienced my circumstances and know how I was feeling and all stages in life to react the way I did. So how can I possibly do that to anyone else, because no-one else knows what it's like to be me so they can't judge me. My purpose, and this I feel strongly about this, is to love and accept people as they are, with all there strengths and faults and with all their views which may be completely different to mine. I want to be able to show and say to people "hey you have the ability to do something great with your life to make this world a better place, whatever that might be.I don't care who you are or who people think you are"

Again I'll say this is purely an expression of my thoughts and feelings and in no why meant to try to change yours. After all it is my blog so I can say what I want hahaha! Well... within reason obviously.

So today, after this my longest blog post yet, I am thankful I am convicted in my faith and have the freedom to do so. My wish, no matter how out of reach it is, is for all of us to be accepting of one another. Imagine what we could achieve together if we did...

Day 356...

TUESDAY 25.8.15 - I am thankful for... My new sunglasses

I don't know about you, but I find it so hard to find sunglasses that suit me. I have a bit of a strange shaped head so the lenses can't be too big or too small or too round or too square. I also have one are higher than the other which can be really noticeable with some designs of glasses. I'd be looking for weeks until I went to Myer and was looking at a pair when the sales assistant noticed me. She said to me "if you like that style I have the perfect pair for you". I'm standing there thinking, oh man she's one of those pushy sales people who's just going to tell me everything looks great and really try to sell me something. So she hands me these sunglasses, I put them on and I say... "I'LL TAKE THEM!" I loved them as soon as I put them on! They fit well and suit me. I obviously underestimated this lady's ability at her job, shame on me. So I bought them for half the amount I had budgeted for a new pair, even better! I am very thankful for my new pair of sunglasses, and the lady who was there to sell them to me. And Ralph Lauren of course for designing them.

Day 355...

MONDAY 24.8.15 - I am thankful for... Interesting encounters

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Currently we are understaffed at work. One person has left, one is on holidays so there are 2 of us holding down the fort so to speak. Needless to say today was extraordinarily busy. I went to do a test on an elderly patient and we started chatting. She was your typical little old lady, with a warm smile and a gentle voice. Suddenly she became very stern, and with a deep and authoritative voice she asked "do you know Jesus?". I did have to refrain from giggling because the look on her little old face was priceless, even more so when I replied with "well actually yes I do". If she had been younger and not so frail I might have been a little intimidated. I believe she might have had a whole spiel ready as to why I should know Jesus but didn't have to use it. She then lightened up again and we had a chat about our different churches before I left her and went about my day. I admire people like that who aren't afraid to ask people if they believe or not, who aren't afraid to share who they are. Regardless of that I'm glad I just got to chat to her. Hospital can be a lonely place for someone, especially if they are here for long periods of time. I'm thankful for this funny encounter I had today. She put a smile on my face and I hope I did the same for her. 

Monday, 31 August 2015

Day 354...

SUNDAY 23.8.15 - I am thankful for... My iron

Sunday is my ironing day. After all my washing is done and before I start work Monday morning. I've never really had a problem with ironing, it doesn't bother me really at all to do the ironing like it does some people. I am quite thankful for my iron. I've had it since I moved, it still works and it's a great colour. I noticed when I was travelling how a lack of irons in hotel rooms annoyed me. I guess I just have more clothes that require ironing than not. I honestly can't image not having one. First world problems aye?

Day 353...

SATURDAY 22.8.15 - I am thankful for... Discovering new music artists

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As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, my cousin and I went to see his favourite artist in concert tonigt. When he asked me If I wanted to come I was like yeah, why not. I love live music. Now I'll admit, I'd never heard of this guy, but my cousin assured me if I like the genre I'd like him. Being a muso (like a foodie but for music) I like pretty much all genres of music. Well except for maybe heavy and death metal, you can have that screamo music back thanks. Sure enough, it didn't disappoint! The supporting artist was a local guy named Mike Waters. Beautiful voice and excellent guitar skills, nothing else was needed. Reminded me a bit of Passenger if you know his music. The main event was a guy called Andrew McMahon, an American artist from Something Corporate and Jacks Mannequin fame, if you know who they are (I didn't). His music is kind of alternative, indie rock I guess. He was even brave enough to come out into the crowd during his last song. I really enjoyed it, definitely my kind of music. Except maybe the part where I was accidentally head butted by a drunk guy, but oh well. Tonight I am really thankful for discovering new music and artists. Andrew McMahon, I think you have a new fan.

Day 352...

FRIDAY 21.8.15 - I am thankful for... Pizza

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My cousin has come to stay with me for the weekend because we are going to see one of his favourite musicians in concert tomorrow night. Tonight however I was lazy yet again, and suggested we get pizza for dinner. In my defence, I do have to get going to youth tonight so time was limited. I haven't had it in a long time so why not! I'm not going to lie, I am partial to a good pizza and garlic bread. And better yet, getting it delivered makes it so much easier! I am thankful for pizza tonight, for it's yummy goodness and easy accessibility. Just as long as I don't eat it too often.

Day 351...

THURSDAY 20.8.15 - I am thankful for... My education

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Education was (and still is) something highly valued in my household growing up. My mum, an aunt and an uncle are teachers and another aunt is a librarian. As a child I had to be on deaths door to have a day off sick because my mum thought school was so important. Now, as an adult I see the importance a good education is and I highly value it too. We are so very lucky to live in a country where every child goes to school. Some children probably don't think so because they find school boring, and because it's compulsory to attend, find a thrill in skipping school. That is such a shame because a good education really opens door for your future. This day and age both men and women have so many opportunities to follow a path of their choosing, something people just a few generations before us didn't have. Then there are those children in developing countries who can't afford to attend, yet would jump at the chance to learn something for their future. I am very thankful I was able to have a primary, secondary and tertiary education, all with the full support of my family. It was definitely not easy, but nothing is life worth having ever is.

Day 350

WEDNESDAY 19.8.15 - I am thankful for... Salt

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Salt. Or sodium chloride if you wish to be scientifically correct. That white chemical compound that has been used for many centuries as a way to preserve or season food. Salt is actually quite diverse in its uses. Not only does it enhance the taste of food, but you can use it in boiling water, poaching eggs, for cleaning pans and other metals, preventing mould build up and, if you are so inclined, salt is said to keep away evil spirits! Hundreds of years ago, people use to build up their communities around where they could find salt, to use themselves and to trade with it. Did you know the term 'salary' comes from the Latin word for salt because the Roman Legions were paid in salt, which was more valuable than gold in those days? So hard to imagine considering we can just duck down to our local store and grab a packet of it at usually a cheap price. How lucky are we to have such easy access to something most of us would use daily? Today I am thankful for salt, for its history, it's variety of uses and it's easy availability to us.

Day 349...

TUESDAY 18.8.15 - I am thankful for... USBs

Ahh the good old USB. What would we do without it? How would we transfer files or keep a copy of them? Mine was certainly handy throughout uni going from my home computer to the computer lab. Do any of you remember using floppy disks? You know, those square black things with the silver bit at the top to protect the where your data writes to? I used them in primary school and a bit in high school. Let me say, USBs are certainly a bit easier and a bit more reliable than floppy disks. My boss is leaving soon for another job (everyone is leaving! Well not everyone, just my two goo work friends) and I keep forgetting to take in a USB to collect the files I might need from her before she goes. Hopefully writing this blog will help me remember! So today I am thankful for USBs and their useful storage capability.

Day 348...

MONDAY 17.8.15 - I am thankful for... My car radio

Music is a great way to get you up in the morning. That's why I love listening to the radio on my way to work. Sometimes I get annoyed with the talking, so I switch stations just so I can listen to music all the way to work. Without my car radio, I wouldn't be able to do so! Attached to my radio is a port so I can also plug in my Ipod in case I have specific music I want to listen to. I can't imagine not having anything to listen to in the car while driving, I'd be so incredibly bored! So today I am thankful for my car radio and Ipod port, so I can listen until my hearts content while travelling in the car.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Day 347...

SUNDAY 16.8.15 - I am thankful for... Charities

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Yesterday, while I was walking through the city, I was stopped by a woman wearing a UNICEF shirt asking if I'd like to contribute to their cause. I informed her I already sponsored two children in developing countries and gave regularly to half a dozen others. Her response was "well that's nice but what about us? Can't you do the same for us?". At the time I was really incensed. I felt like she was implying that I don't give enough financially and when I declined giving to them that made me a bad person. I walked away quite annoyed at the exchanged that happened between us. Today, as I read a letter from my sponsor child I realised that she probably wasn't attacking me personally but rather was just very passionate about an organisation she believed in. It's so important that we have people passionate about all different causes to advocate for them. I am very thankful we have these charities for causes both nationally and internationally. If we all just chose something we are passionate and donated to that cause by whatever means, the world would be so much richer for it.

Day 346...

SATURDAY 15.8.15 - I am thankful for... Different languages

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Because I was a little bored last weekend and keen to do something this weekend, I put the call out to see who was available to catch up and hang out - well it was a text but you know what I mean. One of my friends suggested we go to the Arab Film Festival. Why not? Something really different. We ended up seeing two Egyptian films, one short and one feature length. They were both in Arabic, obviously, but the subtitles were easy enough to read. I really enjoyed both films! They were both light hearted and a little funny, the longer film reminding me of Love Actually a little. I love listening to different languages. I've tried learning French on several occasions, and tried to pick up bits of Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic when I was travelling. Different languages makes the world a much a more interesting place, don't you think? One day, I'd like to perfect another language, whether it's French or otherwise. This makes me so thankful that there are so many different languages spoken by people all around the world. Besides, I do like a guy with a bit of an accent ;)

Day 345...

FRIDAY 14.8.15 - I am thankful for... Fire

Bonfire. Marshmallows and chocolate. Good company. A recipe for a great youth night. The temperature was quite cool so a night around the fire eating, chatting and doing bible study was a great way to cap off the working week. Fire is a great way to keep warm and always reminds me of camping. Makes me want to go camping now! However, it is also quite powerful and destructive, so demands a great deal of respect when working with it. That's why our was in an old washing machine drum, good way to contain it safely enough. Tonight has made me thankful for fire, even if it scares me a little.

Day 344...

THURSDAY 13.8.15 - I am thankful for... Hair

For those that know me really well you know I'm very fussy about my hair. I take great pride in making sure it looks good and in place everyday. The photo above is obviously not an everyday hair photo but was taken of my best friend and I after we had out hair professionally done for our other bestie's wedding, all hair perfectly placed. Sometimes I get frustrated when it doesn't sit the way I want it too, and this morning was one of those mornings. I only have short hair at the moment, but there was that one bit that just wouldn't sit right! Today though I was reminded of how we take our hair for granted so easily. People undergoing chemotherapy treatment for example, tend to loose their hair during the course of their treatment. I have friends my age already experiencing baldness, a lot younger than the average person. So whilst I'll continue to be fussy with my hair, I'll also be thankful I have hair and plenty of it.

Day 343...

WEDNESDAY 12.8.15 - I am thankful for... Pepsi Max

Yes, yes I know. Just because it has no sugar in it doesn't make it good for you. I am well aware of that. However, I still really like it. It's about the only soft drink I drink, I just really like the taste of it. I'll never claim to be a health nut or the have the best diet in the world, but I do generally eat well with just a few things that are not so good, which I don't have every day. So today I am thankful for Pepsi Max, for it's taste and availability. And also very thankful that I don't drink too much alcohol ;)

Friday, 28 August 2015

Day 342...

TUESDAY 11.8.15 - I am thankful for... Babies!

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Tonight I had dinner at my good friend's house and met her newborn baby for the first time. I was meant to visit them on the weekend, but had a bit of a sniffle and didn't want to chance passing anything on as her bub is not old enough to be immunised yet. It's their first child so I think it's fair to say that they are both absolutely besotted by their little boy... and exhausted! He is quite adorable, however I love babies and think all babies are adorable. I really do think all life is an extraordinary gift and it's to be treasured. I did have a little hold, but it wasn't long before he needed another nappy change and was whisked away by dad into his room to do so. It was a great evening to being able to visit them, have a chat and see how everything was going. I am so thankful for babies, for new life full of promise and purpose.

Day 341...

MONDAY 10.8.15 - I am thankful for... The kindness of others

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Oh boy, today was painful! I got home from work at about 3:30am and got up to go back for the normal work day at 6:30am. 3hrs sleep. YUCK! But that is part of what we do. Emergencies come when they come, no rhyme or reason to it and being part of the on call team means sucking it up and doing the best job possible at whatever time of the day. I told my colleagues I'd be a few minutes late to work as I let myself sleep in for half an hour. When I got to work my colleague had bought me a coffee and banana bread to help kickstart my morning. How thoughtful was that? I offered to pay her back but she refused. Even though by the days end I was absolutely wrecked, I'm thankful that my day started off with such a kind gesture. I'm very blessed to work with such wonderful people.

Day 340...

SUNDAY 9.8.15 - I am thankful for... Chopsticks

I was lazy tonight, I had 2 minute noodles for dinner. Which turned out to be a good thing as as quick dinner meant I had eaten something before I was called into work. Whenever I eat noodles though I feel I have to eat them with chopsticks and have done for as long as I can remember. Is it easier? More fun? I'm really not sure but eating them with a fork just feels wrong for me. I'm also glad I can use chopsticks because I do love to eat sushi every so often so it's definitely a handy skill to have. So today I am thankful for chopsticks and that I am able to use them. Hopefully one day I can travel to Asia and really test my skills!

Day 339...

SATURDAY 8.8.15 - I am thankful for... The Borgias TV Series on DVD

On call this weekend. Again. However I can't complain seeing as I've only just come back from holidays. Due to a shortage of staff it looks like I'll be doing a bit more on call than I usually would. At least for the next little while. Besides doing the house work, I decided to get The Borgias on DVD to watch throughout the weekend. TV series are great because each episode is usually only an hour long so you can watch one, go away and do something else and come back to it. A few friends of mine have seen it before and liked it and I do love medieval history so thought I'd give it a go! I did like The Tudors so I like it so far! I'm thankful for The Borgias TV series that's keeping me company this weekend.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Day 338...

FRIDAY 7.8.15 - I am thankful for... Little friendly reminders

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my good friend and colleague left to go and work overseas. When I returned back to work on Monday, it was kind of sad to see her side of the office so bare. However, all this week I have been discovering little reminders of her, little presents she has left me with little notes describing what they are for. This one pictured is probably my favourite, with me in Australia and her in the UK. So very cute. It has been nice finding something new nearly every day, and I'm really thankful for it.

Day 337...

THURSDAY 6.8.15 - I am thankful for... My travel mug

I'm trying to drink more tea and less coffee, so I bring my travel mug to work almost every day as an incentive to use it. It doesn't happen everyday but I'm getting better. A friend of mine gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago and I've only really just started using it. I think it's really the cute, the owl with the glasses. So today I am thankful for my travel mug, for the reminder to try and drink more tea than coffee to try and be healthier overall.

Day 336...

WEDNESDAY 5.8.15 - I am thankful for... Popcorn!

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Cobs organic popcorn is probably one of my most favourite snacks to have. The flavour is lightly salted lightly sweetened and it makes for such a tasty and easy snack at work which isn't too unhealthy. I originally used to buy the packets at Boost Juice stores but now they sell big packets at my local supermarket. Winning! So a short one today, but I am thankful for popcorn.

Day 335... about one month to go

TUESDAY 4.8.15 - I am thankful for... U2

My favourite band in the whole universe... U2. I have my best friend to thank for that, she introduced me them to me when we were probably still in primary school. They have been around as a band longer than I have been alive, but there's just something about their music and their lyrics that really speak to me. I can't name a song of theirs I don't like. When I was 19 I had an opportunity to go to my first ever U2 concert for their Vertigo Tour. The concert was meant to be held early on in the year, but due to one of the members experiencing an illness of a family member, it was postponed until towards the end of the year. Little did I know that same year I would go through one of the most difficult times in my life, being very unwell and diagnosed with a heart condition. Looking back on it now, the U2 concert at the end of the year was a really significant blessing for me. It was almost a symbol of the struggle I'd been though, coming through it on top and finishing it all off with this amazing concert that I was actually able to really enjoy in good health. I was also able to attend their U2 360 tour which was just as incredible. Not only are they are great band though but the members are also involved in a lot of charity and aid work. So, listening to one of their CDs this afternoon I can be thankful for U2, for their music and there contribution to those in need. Too bad they weren't in Dublin when I was there.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Day 334...

MONDAY 3.8.15 - I am thankful for... Money in the bank

I don't know how I did it, but I managed to come home from my holiday with money! Basically, I over budgeted for my holiday. Not that I'm complaining, it' nice to start back into the normal routine of life on top. Sadly, not everyone is as fortunate as I am. Even though we live in a first world country, there are many people who are struggling to make ends meat here in Australia. People who live from pay check to pay check and rarely have any saving in the bank because of their circumstances. I am so thankful today that I have money in the bank. I only hope I can use it to do something good.

Day 333...

SUNDAY 2.8.15 - I am thankful for... Being able to wash my clothes easily

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I awoke this morning to an ENORMOUS MOUND of washing waiting for me. I guess travelling for 5 weeks will do that. As I was sorting my clothes into loads I remembered when I first moved into my apartment I still live in and the issues I had with the washing machine, which came with the unit. One day it decided it didn't want to do the spin cycle anymore so my clothes came out sopping wet. My real estate agent at the time was a bit slow and took 2 weeks to organise a repairman and another 2 weeks for the new parts to arrive. A whole month of half hand washing my clothes. In the middle of winter where it took days for clothes to dry. It was not fun! Makes me very thankful that I can wash my clothes really easily now and blessed I am to have a washing machine that works, or just a washing machine at all! Not everyone can say that.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Day 332...

SATURDAY 1.8.15 - I am thankful for... My own space

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I am an introvert by nature. It took me a long time to realise that it's not necessarily a bad thing. I like people, I like being around people and spending time with my loved ones. However, I need my own space from time to time. I need time to spend by myself and no-one else. It's how I switch off and recharge my batteries so to speak. After 5 weeks of travelling I haven't had much time to myself at all, so I decided to come home tonight so I have a day to myself to do the housework and washing before I go back to work Monday. I am thankful I don't mind being on my own and needing my own space. It's a very healthy thing.

Day 331...

FRIDAY 31.7.15 - I am thankful for... Eat Street Markets

This marvellous creation, my friends, is a rocky road funnel cake! It's a waffle topped with cream and ice-cream decked in all sorts of goodies, depending on what sort of funnel cake you get. I shared this with my sister at Brisbane's Eat Street Markets where we and my cousin spent the night after dinner. Situated in Hamilton, the open air markets cover a wide range of cuisines of snacks, dinners and desserts as well as specialty stalls of all sorts of cool and quirky products. I got the coolest watch from a lady who makes jewellery out of spoons! There's such a laid back vibe there with some of the stalls in converted shipping containers I had heard so much about it that when I came back to Brisbane and had a spare night, my sister was quick to suggest it. So glad she did. I am very thankful we made the trip to Eat Street Markets tonight. I will definitely be back!

Day 330...

THURSDAY 30.7.15 - I am thankful for... My mum

*Stole this pic from my mum's Facebook, a few years old but I love it :)

Call me crazy, but I decided that with my leftover spending money I would fly to Brisbane for the weekend to surprise my mum. It was her birthday last week whilst I was overseas. Actually she was overseas too in Canada, but knowing work will be hectic when I get back I'm not sure when I'll get the chance to come back again. You might think I'm crazy because I landed back in Oz at 5am this morning, and flew out to Brisbane at 6pm tonight, after going home, sleeping, unpacking and repacking again all in about 10hrs. Even being delayed mid air (thinking GET ME OFF THE PLANE!) it was all totally worth it. She was really confused at first, after my sister called her to the front door claiming she'd found a "lost child". I'm sure a lot of people say this but to my sister and I, our mum really is the most amazing woman we know. She has dealt with more in her life than anyone should, yet still chooses to see the good in her life and be happy. She has also gone back to study in the past few years and is currently doing her honours whilst on long service leave! Her kind and compassionate yet disciplined natured has let her thrive in her job as a teacher of autistic and intellectually impaired children, traits that I have aspired to all my life. If I can be half the mum she is when I have children I will be happy. Oh and she is a great cook, I still can't get her chocolate slice recipe right! Oh did I mention she can sing? I could waffle on and on about how great she is, but there are not enough words to do her justice. I am so incredibly thankful this woman is my mum and that I got the chance to surprise her tonight :)

Monday, 24 August 2015

Day 329...

WEDNESDAY 29.7.15 - I am thankful for... In-flight Entertainment

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Today was spent in mid air, flying. I don't know how people got through long haul flights before in-flight entertainment. Thankfully my flights are broken into two, with a 2hr stop over, but it's still 9hrs and 14hrs each. I am so very thankful for in-flight entertainment. I haven't been to the movies much lately so it's been quite handy to catch up on newer movies I might have missed at the cinema. First world problems aye! Don't get me wrong, I still like to read and sleep, but the extras help. Short and sweet one today, but still very thankful.

Day 328...

TUESDAY 28.7.15 - I am thankful for... Going home

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After almost 5 weeks of travelling, it's finally time to say goodbye to Europe and head home. I feel like I've had an amazing trip and feel ready to go home - besides living out of a suitcase does get annoying after a while! I think my facebook post sums it up perfectly:

"I have danced a jig at a wedding and drank Guinness in Ireland, spent quality time with my sister in England, fell in love with tinto de verano and flamenco in Spain, conquered the souks in Morocco and swam in the ocean off Portugal. I have caught up with old friends and made new ones. I have done and seen things I never thought I would. I have travelled solo but was never alone. And now I am ready to go home, sign of an epic holiday."

But I still, and always will, call Australia home.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Day 327...

MONDAY 27.7.15 - I am thankful for... One last walk in Ireland

Dun Laoghaire. Pronounced Dun Leary, which I never would have guessed but glad I overheard someone say it. Today was a damp an dreary day. Nether the less I was keen to go for one last walk around the town, one last walk around Ireland. I spent the morning in Dublin shopping and went to see the Book of Kells, an amazing piece of artistry. Then after lunch I waited for the rain to dissipate a little and off I went on a walk around Dun Laoghaire. The town is right on the coastline, with a marina close by. I had the privilege of walking down one of the piers to the lighthouse, to a great view of the town from the water. I have really loved my time here, Ireland being one of my most favourite places to have visited. I have no doubt I'll be back one day, but who knows when that will be. I am incredibly thankful that the rain stopped long enough for me to have one last walk before I start the journey home tomorrow. Until next time Ireland!

Day 326...

SUNDAY 26.7.15 - I am thankful for... Relaxing afternoon at the spa

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Ermagerd, sperrrr! I had quite an early start this morning to fly from Madrid back to Dublin for a few days. I've booked myself into a beautiful hotel in a very nice town called Dun Laoghaire, just south of Dublin. I also booked in for a massage at their Sansana Spa. Walking in I was shown a dressing room where I changed into a robe and slippers. So comfy! As they were running slightly behind I was shown the 'Relaxation room' where there were water beds or normal beds to relax on, a sauna and steam room as well as tea and coffee. The room was so beautiful, dimly lit with soft music playing in the background. After almost falling asleep on the water bed I was called in for my massage. Again, I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep, but fought so hard not to so I could enjoy the massage I paid for! I am sooooooo very thankful for my afternoon at the spa. After a crazy few weeks a bit of R&R was what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Day 325...

SATURDAY 25.7.15 - I am thankful for... The people I have met on Contiki

Our last coach ride. Our last hotel check in. Our last dinner. Inevitably our last day of our Contiki tour. I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive when I initially booked the tour. Being a little older than your average Contiki traveller and on my own, I wasn't sure what to expect. But I needn't have worried, the whole thing was an epic success! Not only did I see, do and experience things that I never dreamt of, but I met some amazing people, including our tour manager - anyone who thinks being a tour manager is easy, you are grossly mistaken! I've never found it hard to get on with people but I feel I have made some life long friends on this trip, and hope to keep in contact with them for many years to come. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the entire group, so used this group photo that our tour manager posted on our facebook page. It was deinfinately an experience I am very thankful I have had. If you've ever thought of doing a tour? Do it! I couldn't recommend it more.

Day 324...

FRIDAY 24.7.15 - I am thankful for... The beach in Cascais!

If you don't know by now my love for the beach then you either haven't been reading my blogs or haven't taken any notice. I LOVE THE BEACH! So today whey we had the opportunity to go in the Portuguese coastal town of Cascais, I jumped at it! The water was very cold but the weather and sunshine was just glorious. We must have spent at least an hour here, in and out of the water, lying on the sand and I even my a mermaid tail out of sand for my friend. Very good even if I do say so myself. Afterwards we did a bit of shopping and had amazing gelato. I could not have asked for a better day, seeing it is pretty much the last day of the tour as we drive back to Madrid tomorrow. I am so thankful for our beach day. As it's winter in Australia, I won't be going to the beach again for a while.

Day 323...

THURSDAY 23.7.15 - I am thankful for... Individual national flags

Have you ever stopped to wonder about why we have national flags? While some look similar, every country has their own unique design. Flags represent a community, organisation or nation that share beliefs (sometimes!) goals, rules and regulations - saying we belong. I love how each flag resembles their country and usually has some meaning behind all the different features. Pictured is the Portuguese flag. The green represents the hope of the people while the red represents the courage and the blood of Portuguese people who have fallen in combat protecting their nation. The circle represents the armillary sphere which was a device used by sailors like Henry the Navigator or Magellan who ventured out to discover new lands. Afonso I was considered the first King of Portugal when he defeated the five Moorish kings (represented by five blue shields - the white dots symbolise the five wounds of Christ) and their seven enemy fortresses (the seven castles) and drove them out of Portugal. So much history and meaning in one flag! It's amazing how much sense a flag makes when all it's components are explained to you. Today, in Lisbon I am thankful for national flags and learning the meanings behind them, especially nations not of my own.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Day 322...

WEDNESDAY 22.7.15 - I am thankful for... Our coach and driver

I'm having such a wonderful time on my tour and it's almost coming to an end. Of course it would not have been possible without our coach and our coach driver. We've been fortunate to be in a brand new Mercedes-Benz coach that has been very comfortable to travel in. The driver has also been fabulous and we have arrived safely at every destination. Then of course there is also the coach mascot Paco or Abu when we were in Morocco. Isn't he cute? I'm so thankful to have had a comfortable new coach and a skilled driver for this trip.

Day 321...

TUESDAY 21.7.15 - I am thankful for... The Rock of Gibraltar

Breakfast in Tangier, Morocco, lunch in Gibraltar which is part of Britain and Dinner in Seville, Spain. Three countries in one day! It's pretty awesome to comprehend. The highlight was definitely the Rock of Gibraltar. Though we didn't spend too much time there, it was definitely worthwhile. From spectacular views of both Spain and Morocco across the see, to the magnificent caves, it is definitely a must see if you're in the area. The best features are the monkeys that live on the rock. They are cute, not very shy and even a little cheeky! Two girls on our tour found that out the hard way when their ice-creams were snatched right out of their hands. Literally! I was happy I was able to get some great pictures of them, the monkeys I mean. I am so thankful I was able to come to Gibraltar today. I'll admit it's not somewhere I have ever considered visiting but am glad I did.

Day 320...

MONDAY 20.7.15 - I am thankful for... Camel rides!

Today was our last day in Morocco, we leave to go back to Spain tomorrow. Whilst I have had a good time here, exploring different places and trying unique new things, I feel I'm ready to move on and see somewhere new. However, before we leave we were treated to a sunset camel ride on a beach near Tangier. I have been able to ride a camel before, but just the whole experience of doing so on an African beach during sunset was pretty special. To top it off there were two baby camels that followed their mums everywhere. So incredibly cute! I am so thankful to have this camel ride experience. It sounds so exotic, and it kind of was!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Day 319...

SUNDAY 19.7.15 - I am thankful for... Arabic architecture

When I travel I really like seeing all the different types of architecture. Arabic or Moorish architecture is definitely no exception. We've seen many buildings and palaces filled with extraordinary and colourful mosaics as well as these rounded door frames and windows - a very typical and distinctive feature common for this era of building. There's just nothing like it in Australia, it's very different and incredibly beautiful. I must have taken a million photos of doors, windows, roofs and mosaic tiles! I feel extremely blessed to be here and see all this. Who knows if or when I'll be back again.

Day 318...

SATURDAY 18.7.15 - I am thankful for... Lunch stop on way to Marrakech

Driving from Fes to Marrakech we were fortunate to have some time to have lunch. I can't remember what it was called, but it was a 5 star hotel with this awesome pool and an area outside to eat lunch. Swimming was sooooooo good! The temperature was perfect and the weather divine. The only small hiccup was my food came out quite late, and one girl didn't even get her meal before we had to leave. Besides this though, I am thankful for this lunch stop we had. Just a little touch of luxury. 

Day 317...

FRIDAY 17.7.15 - I am thankful for... Arabian Nights Dinner!

What a day! It's been amazing exploring the city of Fes in Morocco; a unique and eye opening experience. Whilst exploring the Medina or Old City we came across a carpet shop, leather tannery and lastly, a clothing store. Most of us took this opportunity to buy an authentic outfit for our Moroccan dinner tonight. For the girls, an Arabian princess looking costume in all different colours (I wanted teal but settled for purple when the gentleman couldn't find it - pictured) and the men a Djellaba (pronounced ja-la-ba; long gown) with a fez hat. I must say together we looked AWESOME! And probably pretty weird to the locals when we walked down the street in our outfits. Spot the tourists! The dinner itself was delicious and the entertainment quite good. I really had a good time doing something and eating foods that are a little different. I am very thankful to have had this experience with this group of people. I may not have done so otherwise if I had travelled without a tour, and would have missed out on something special.