Carrie's Adventures

Friday, October 29, 2010

A trip down under

It was hard to believe that it has been almost 10 years since I have been to Australia, and I was quite happy to have the opportunity to return to Perth ~ home of one of my favourite places ~ Cottesloe!

As I prepared to head down, I realized just how far it is from here. The bum in seat time was close to 24hrs with flights from Vancouver to LA to Brisbane and then finally over to Perth. Shockingly enough, the sniffer dog had sniffed out my bag ~ damn tiny twigs ~ and left me missing my flight to Perth. Good thing the next flight was only 2 hrs later. Time enough for a flat white.

I arrived in Perth on Friday and managed to have the weekend to adjust to the jetlag and also make my way to my favourite places.

The first stop was a bit of a trip down memory lane as breakfast out was a common excursion while I lived in Melbourne. This reminded me of many a Sunday spent...

I spent the afternoon checking out the pier and taking a cruise down the Swan River to Freemantle.

Views from the pier:

Some shots from the 2hr tour and a peek at the birds the river was named for...

We arrived in Freemantle where I walked the streets and remembered how much I enjoyed the outdoor cafe culture.

After strolling through the streets, I made my way to the water. LOVE the water and it just felt good to plant my feet in the Indian Ocean. Brought back memories of the time I spent on Rottnest Island.

Having strolled and felt the waves at my feet, I made my way to one of the local fish and chip joints. While I'm not a seafood person, I seem to make the exception when it is battered and consumed with tartar sauce ~ don't know why, but I do. Gotta love it when it comes in paper!

I managed to make it to Cottesloe the following day, however having spent a lot of time in the sun, it wasn't the relaxing day at the beach, rather a quest to enjoy the surf and avoid the sun. It was fantastic to spend some time walking the beach. LOVE LOVE LOVE it there.

The rest of the week was filled with work and jetlag as I found myself up at the crack of 4:30am and needing a bed by 7:30 pm. The weather was fantastic and I couldn't have asked for a better time to be there. The food was great and it made me realize just how much I do miss the great food there. Some additional shots that show you really are in Oz ~ who else could get away with calling a bar the Lucky Shag??

My trip home was a bit of a schmozle as the trip began with a red-eye flight from Perth to Melbourne. So I spent Saturday wandering the river and taking in the last of Perth and visiting the first location of the Swan brewery. Unfortunately it is no longer a working brewery and I had to settle for a Swan lager. I know life is tough. The flight from Melbourne to LA was as one would expect ~ the challenge came when I arrived in LA. With an hour to clear Immigration and Customs, it was again my bad luck that once I made it through Immigration, the line for Customs took about an hour to pass through. Bye-bye connections. The shocker was that the next confirmed flight I could get on to Vancouver was 10 hours later. WHAT? So I booked that, and was on standby for all possible flights in between. It became the LONGEST day after spending over 24hrs awake prior to arriving at LAX ~ needless to say, this is my least favourite airport EVER. And go figure, with warnings like this, why would you want to stay?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Certification is complete!

After completing my course and the whole application process, audit and all, it was time to put the money where my mouth was and take the exam. There are many stories going around from those who have taken the exam previously, along with some anxiety I had from missing out twice by one mark on the last certification exams I had taken. But I decided it was time and put myself down for a date.

The date I chose however was selected prior to knowing we would be going to Ottawa/Orange Corners for a week. As such, I didn't take the 3 days off to study that I thought I was going to be able to take. I did purchase an exam cram book and started the reading. With only 4 days to go and a 72 hr deadline for rebooking, I was certain I would be selecting a date for after my trip to Perth. After seeing that the only dates available were first in November and then when I checked again, the middle of December, I decided to suck it up and just write it. What was the worst thing that could happen ~ I might fail, although I may also pass....

As luck would have it, I felt terrible the morning of the exam. A stuffy head and the makings of a cold. I hung out for the morning with Hugo, got some thing done like Air Care, renewing the insurance on the car and finally recycling things that had been in my bag for ages. As I made my way to the testing facility, I realized that the sun will still rise tomorrow, so if nothing else, this could be a learning experience. I'm not sure there is a more anxious time than after the 2.5 hours of selecting answers and finally submitting the results. As you wait for the system to tally up all of the results, there is nothing left for you to do but sit there.

I'm pleased to say that I did manage to pass the exam ~ and now can officially add the 'PMP', or as some like to call it, the pimp title to my name.

One more thing to cross off the list!

Orange Corners

The eastern visit had Akis and I running for the train ~ quite literally. Jodi was great and took us to the train station. We had about 5 minutes to spare when I reached the counter and asked for 2 tickets to Port Hope. He said, 'sure, and it leaves from platform 2 in 4 minutes.' Akis thought I was joking as I started to run, but as we lept onto the train, just as it was pulling off, we were glad to make it.

Krista and Reed picked us up at the train station in Port Hope, where Akis met his other nephew. Dad also joined the group, driving up and allowing us to have our Thanksgiving a bit earlier than it is normally.

The 4 days were pretty relaxed, hanging with Chloe, taking Reed for some walks and just being able to spend some time with Akis. With our crazy schedules, that is the one thing we hadn't seemed to really be doing much of. So it was great to be able to hang out with my hubby again.

Checking out photos of Hugo:

Some Wii moments with Chloe:

Hanging with Reed:

A bit of drawing going on:

And playing with Grandpa Jim.

Craig had some exciting moments as his birthday gift was a new shiny laptop. He was just excited when he got to take it out of the box!

Visits to Ottawa

The week had come and Akis was on break before starting his final term. During that week, his brother happened to be in Ottawa and we decided that we would take the trip out to visit him, Jodi and Kaden. It was also a chance for Akis to see the capital city ~ Ottawa is beautiful in the fall!

We were introduced to Kaden and the dog Ozzy. Ozzy is quite the fella, and makes Hugo seem like a very managable member of the family. I think Akis appreciated Hugo even more after learning that in Ozzy's excitement, he has little 'happy squirts'. Akis was quite pleased to recall that Hugo does know where the mat is, and he remembers to use it.

There were also some 'football' lessons going on.

We also managed to catch up with Marie and Jozsef. Having arrived in Ottawa and getting settled in, they seem to be busy busy with their jobs and enjoying the city. Jozsef took the time to show Akis what a beaver tail was ~ hey it was sweet and a bit like a donut, how could he say no??

The crew decided on heading downtown to see the parliament buildings ~ seems like it is the thing to do when you have out of towners here. We looked like your typical tourists as we snapped shots of just about everything.

We had a good visit ~ and as Kaden would say 'RockStar!'.