Ramblings and Purgings

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

My Mum

You know, I am still trying to figure out what this blog should be about. I have read other people's blogs and they all seem so interesting by comparison! There are some extremely witty people out there and also some whose lives seem to be amazing. Well, little ol' me does not really have much of either but I like to think I am surrounded by amazing people - none more so than my mum.

My mum has just been offered a new job with a hospital (she is a nurse) and she has also been offered the chance to start a diploma in medical administration, all to be paid for by her future employer. In addition, she is awaiting news of her university application to study, via correspondence, for her Registered Nurse degree. Unfortunately, due to accreditation restrictions her degree is only recognised as Enrolled Nurse qualifications.

She came to this country when she was 37 with 2 young daughters - no family, no money, no English. She studied English for the first few months but found, like most migrants out there, that money does not grow on trees. In order to get ahead, you have to work. Hard.

Her first job was as a chambermaid for an international hotel chain. This was after coming from a country where she held down a very senior role, had a full-time maid and 2 kids in an exclusive private school. In addition, my mum had a serious accident in which 3 of her spine discs had to be removed completely and so she has a 'gap' where the discs should be. Miraculously, she walks fine but is rather limited in a few things. This did not stop her from making beds and turning over mattresses for 8-10 hour shifts everyday for a couple of years. Pretty amazing huh?

She has always been such a fighter! She inspires me to no end and even though she gets on my nerves sometimes, I would not trade her for the world. She is a great mother!

Anyway, here she is, 16 years later. English as her second language, a strong accent and some physical limitations - yet learning how to use computers, applying for university, working as a nurse and having the energy to support me when I need her most.

Mum Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Jenolan Caves

Labour Day is coming up and so that means people in NSW get a day off on the day (Monday) - thereby making it a long weekend :-) I love OZ!

Anyway, the cat and I are taking our new friend Martin up to the Jenolan Caves on Saturday for the day.

Even though I have lived in OZ for over 16 years and the caves are not a long way away, I have never had the chance to go. This is all about to change and I am so excited. I think we will be having a look at 3 caves on the day.

Anyway, I am pretty boring today (and how is that different to any other day you may ask) so this is it for my entry.

Ciao for now

Friday, September 24, 2004

Snails, I've got you in my mind...

snails...yum! Posted by Hello

And by tomorrow, you'll be in my tum....

On Saturday, Elle and I will be making our way to The Little Snail to feast on some yummy, and affordable, French food.

I remember how reluctant I was to try snails, especially since they came in their shell and all - boy, am I glad I took the plunge!
They are so delicious, taste a bit like cooked oysters I suppose. It is quite difficult to describe. Not chewy but not soft either. Hmmm.
Anyway, point is, they taste good!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I look forward to catching up on movies and spending some quality time with my gatillo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

193 days to go

It is for real! Posted by Hello

Oh boy - just checked out The Knot and gatillo and I have 193 days until our 'big' day.

Makes me feel nervous and excited at the same time.
Also makes me feel like such a grown up. By this time next year I will be a Mrs.
Still trying to determine whether I should go by:
- Mrs Valland
- Mrs Valle-Valland
- Mrs de Valland.

Agh - decisions, decisions!

Le Divorce

Movies Posted by Hello

I must say that this movie promotes a lot of stereotypes. I am still trying to determine whether i liked it or not. It is strange - it does not fit into any genre quite clearly and at times I felt it was more of a character study than a 'movie', in the traditional sense of the word. Hmmmm

Naomi Watts and kate Hudson were both good and Thierry Lhermitte is very sexy. But I could not help feeling a little lost at the end of the movie...It looked good, etc but really was a disappointing effort for Merchant-Ivory. Especially since they are responsible for one of my favourite movies of all time: A Room with a View.

Ahhh Posted by Hello

Ellen kicks A**

Congrats to Elle Posted by Hello

Well, I just received a very exciting phonecall from my dear friend Ellen. She has just won her company's Platinum Award for Customer Service Excellence!!!! This award means that Ellen is the BEST call centre customer service agent for her division.

Yay - go Elle, you deserve it :-)

Anyway, this also means that we get to celebrate on Friday night by stuffing ourselves with some delicious food and I will therefore render this week's exercise sessions null and void. All for a good cause though.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Cello

Gatillo and I were watching 'The Pianist' last week and we both thought that this is a very good film. The music is beautiful and there is one scene in the film where one of the supporting characters is playing the cello. The piece she is playing, I later found out, is "Cello Suite No.1 in G, BWV1007: I. Prelude" by Bach.
This piece is so beautiful! I have heard it many times before but I don't know, this time it struck a chord (excuse the pun).
This weekend I looked at a few music shops for the Jacqueline du Pre recording of this piece "The Early BBC Recordings 1961-1965 ~ Bach, Britten, Brahms, Couperin, Falla, Handel / Kovacevich, Lush, Pleeth".

Ivonne's most wanted Posted by Hello
No luck though :-(
I'll keep looking and hope I get lucky in not too long...

Friday, September 17, 2004


The other day, whilst I was washing my hands, a little scrap from within my childhood memories came forth.

A name - 'Choper".

This was the name of my favourite stuffed toy when I was little. He was a little dog that was latte coloured with chocolate coloured floppy ears. I used to drag him around everywhere. I also used to dress him up in a dress but never thought anything was wrong with that. The dress fit him perfectly and was also brown to match his ears.

Oh boy, does this mean I need some counselling now? ;-) Hehehe

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day!
I am really looking forward to tonight as I have a date with my gatillo. We are going to watch 'The bourne supremacy' - a little behind in our movie watching but we are getting there. Besides, I need to make use of the $7 movie passes I got from the gym. With a little pain comes some gain - good stuff.

Actually today I am feeling rather good about myself - got up early to do some Aerobics Oz Style (Weekdays 6.30am). It was so much fun! I think I may do it again, perhaps incorporate it into my regular fitness routine...hmmm

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Athletes' Parade

Well, one of the advantages of working in the city is being close to the action. This is also one of its disadvantages but I am feeling positive today, so...

Anyway, today in about 1 hour, Australia's most successful team of Olympians will be parading down George Street.

As a sports nut, I am sure I will enjoy this greatly. I do love Australia's love of sports and think this is a great idea, but at times it can go a bit overboard and there are some athletes that get more respect than say scientists and philanthropists.

It is a curious thing about Australia's culture but I don't let it bother me too much. Pride for your country can take many shapes and forms - this is just another way.

Hmmm, maybe I'll get kiss from a cute swimmer ;-)

Monday, September 13, 2004

Sunday Babyshower

Babies... Posted by Hello
Ok, so I started to feel a little old yesterday.

I went to my cousin's baby shower and there were people there aking me when my turn would be, etc etc. What?!

I do not think I am old enough to have a baby right now. I really would like my bub, when he/she comes along, to have a mother they can look up to. Not infallibale or perfect, but someone with a little more life experience. I guess when you are a kid you think your mum or dad are the most perfect beings on earth but then one day you get rudely awakened and realise that they are as human as you are. Nevertheless, that day does not usually come until you are at least 6 or 7 years old!

I avoided answering that question by saying that I am waiting for my older sister to have her babies before I start thinking of having my own. Besides, I want to spoil my nieces/nephews lots before I have my own kids. That settled things down a bit, but it did make me think - I guess there are people out there who look at me and think that I am a 'mature' young lady ready to take on the greatest job in the world - motherhood.

Oh, little do they know. I still freak out when parents in shopping centres refer to me as 'the lady' when speaking to their kids. I still remember high school a little too well and swear that I am not that old, hehehe :-)

Friday, September 10, 2004

Old Friends and BBQs

On Saturday, gatillo and I met up with our old friends Matt and Emma who we have not seen since we watched The Two Towers on opening day in 2002!!! We totally missed meeting up last year - what the?

We have been in touch though but nothing beats a proper catch up. Naturally, food had to be involved, so we took ourselves to a Korean BBQ restaurant in Carlingford.

Korean BBQ Posted by Hello

It was lots of fun and although you come out smelling like a BBQ yourself, the food was good and it is a great opportunity to chat lots. We caught up on the last couple of years (almost) and it was great to see that we still 'clicked'.
You know how you have some friends that you never see but when you do see each other it is af if you had seen each other only yesterday? I guess our friendship with Matt and Emma is the same.

After dinner we went to the Cold Rock Ice Creamery at Parramatta for some dessert. I was positively stuffed at that point so I was real wimp and had the kiddie sized cup with chocolate ice cream - yum.
chocolate icecream Posted by Hello
The others were much more adventurous and had ice cream mixed with a million and one things!

We chatted lots and have agreed to meet up in a couple of weeks time. Should be fun! And I hope we do not let another 18 months go by before seeing each other again!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Amelie soundtrack - mine at last!

My latest musical acquisition Posted by Hello

Ever since I saw the movie 'Amelie' in a little cinema in downtown Woollongong a couple of years ago, I have been fascinated by its beautiful soundtrack. There is something about the accordion and the harmonica that makes me feel so happy and joyful. Perhaps it is associated with the fact that my grandfather, Papi Freddy, used to play his harmonica on lazy hot afternoons...
I remember this so well, my sister and I would come home from school and he would be ready to spoil us by telling us a story or buying us treats or cooking us a yummy dessert or playing a nice tune on his harmonica. He would have a cigarrette and a strong black coffee and perhaps a little cake.

My grandfather passed away couple of months back. It had been over 16 years since I had seen him and maybe around 8 or so years since I had heard his voice. I was his 'maguita' (little wizard) and he loved me.

The last letter I wrote to him is sitting on my bedside table. I did not get the chance to post it before his death. But I know that he is with me in spirit and he knows what is going on in my life. I bet he probably reads this blog...somehow :-)

Short sleeves

Well well,

Today is a great day - the first day since winter started in which I have been able to wear a short-sleeved top. Of course, I still have to wear my coat outside but that is quite alright. I am really looking forward to warmer and longer days and being able to go out on long walks with my gatillo.
Oh and of course, the warmer the days become, the closer I get to my trip!
I really cannot wait to see my family again as well as old friends. I will also try to track down my best friend from childhood. Her name is Isela and we lost touch when I hit my teens. I still have her old home address so perhaps luck may be on my side and I might be able to find her...Wouldn't that be priceless?
Also, I hope to track down my old nanny/maid Mary. She was so great and a very important part of my life growing up. I heard that she had a baby boy a few years ago and that unfortunately she was suffering from arthritis, probably due to all the hard work she had to do when young, I would love to see her again. Wonder if she has changed lots and whether all my family and friends will be able to recognise me?!

Anyway, I am going to meet my good friend Ellen in a little while. She will also be coming on holidays with me. Should be fun!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Oyvind and Ivonne

You know, I have just realised that in my previous post I mentioned Oyvind and most of you brave enough to have ventured into this site do not know who I was referring to.

Basically, Oyvind is my best friend and love all rolled into one.
This is a photo of us taken when we were in Spain last year. This was at El Parque del Retiro in Madrid on a delightfully sunny and hot summer day in July.

Oyvind and Ivonne Posted by Hello

Oyvind is my favourite person in the world - most of the time!
The picture above reminds me of one of the most challening, yet happiest times in my life. This was right before we embarked on the journey of a lifetime - the pilgrimmage to Santiago de Compotela. More on that later though.

In the meantime, enjoy the pic. And if you have not figured it out, the chick on the right is me :-)

Popcorn makers and TV

It is just past midday on a cloudy spring day.

I am really looking forward to going home and using my brand new popcorn maker :-)
A few years ago I had a popcorn maker but unfortunately a freak accident in which the plastic lid melted rendered it useless...
For a while now I have been quite health conscious and so want to ensure I eat the best and healthiest food possible. Since this is the case, I decided that a popcorn maker would be a good 'investment'. I have been bugging Oyvind about it for a while now and Sunday we stopped by K-Mart and got ourselves the maker. We have yet to use it though.

Ahhh, I guess I should start at the beginning.

On Sunday my gatillo said to me "let's get a TV". Now, we have been thinking and speaking of getting a new TV since he moved to OZ almost 4 years ago, so I thought this was going to be another one of those days on which we are 'all talk and no action'. Not so my friends, we were finally going to do it.
So off we went to a couple of places and finally came to Retravision at Merrylands. There we received very good service from a nice salesman (yes, they do exist) and we decided to purchase the following sweet TV:

The new TV Posted by Hello

We handed over the credit card and luckily for us they had some in stock so we would get our new TV on the same day. We took it home and then proceeded to go to our old haunt "The Licquor Stax" on Sherwood Road, Merrylands where we can get new release DVDs for $1.10!
Anyway, we stocked up on 4 DVDs to watch and we were so pumped about it all. We got home and I got busy making a Sunday roast (my first and it turned out good), whilst Oyvind unpacked our new TV.

Drama - the TV was broken! The right hand side was completely craked and almost falling apart. It looked like it had taken quite a knock as the styrofoam was also cracked and broken. We were both very disappointed and so watched one of our rented DVDs on our trusty 34cm tv...

After a quick call yesterday though, Retravision let us know that they would replace the TV and so agreed to deliver it yesterday afternoon.
More Drama - turns out that their whole stock of that particular TV set is all smashed!
Looks like we may have to wait a while longer for our new TV to arrive but I am not waiting to use my popcorn maker any longer.
Tonight is the night :-)

The Popcorn maker Posted by Hello

Monday, September 06, 2004

All hail spring

So last night we experienced quite a hailstorm out my neck of the woods. Boy! I had not seen hail like that in a long time. It was loud and beautiful!
In fact, just prior to the storms I managed to contemplate some of the beautiful colours of the sky before sunset and before the storms approached. How is it that colours like the ones I saw yesterday could be possible? Wow...

Anyway - on to other things.

At the moment I am reading "Tess of D'urbervilles" by Thomas Hardy. Yes, I am still battling with the BBC Top 100. This book is a very good read. Much easier to read than "Wuthering Heights" which I found quite difficult. Not so much the language (well except for Heathcliff's man-servant who speaks in an unintelligible Yorkshire accent) but the characters of Heathcliff and Catherine (the elder). What horrible characters - bleagh.

After Tess I hope to read "Flowers for Algernon" which is not a BBC listed book but should be a good and simple read nonetheless. After that, I have "Jane Eyre" lined up. And I think that should keep me busy for the next 8 or so weeks.

The countdown for my trip currently stands at: 76 days until I touch down on the tarmac at El Salvador's international airport. It would have been just over 16 years and 7 months since I had been back in the country of my birth and I am getting very excited.

Ohhh, Can't wait!