It’s strange but good to be home!

 

 

 

 

I’ve just come home from living in a very remote community in the Northern Territory, Australia. I was there for a six week teaching placement and have to say that although my days and weeks were difficult, challenging and I struggled a bit even with thoughts of wanting to go home, that it was one of the best, amazing and inspirational experiences that I have ever had in my life so far. In fact now that I’m home even though I’m very happy to be here I’ve started to realise how desperately I would have liked to stay. I’m tired, missing the kids and finding it hard to adjust being back in Melbourne.

I can tell you being back here and re-adjusting to Melbourne life is almost harder than my first week in the community I was in and it’s mainly due to being around lots of people and also being in my room alone… When I first arrived in that community, all I thought was how blissfully peaceful it was and how nice it was with the sun going down as we were un-packing the car.

The first challenge that I had to face was living in a school library, only having a cold tap at the sink, de-frosting meat for all our cooking and having to check for frogs and toads in the toilet. As the weeks progressed I noticed how much I was missing simple comforts of life and a lot of things that I took for granted.

Amongst having to boil a kettle for washing dishes, I started to miss sitting on a couch, I wasn’t able to use my personal laptop for connecting to the internet (instead was supplied with the use of a school’s one), the internet itself was slow so no blogging etc, all the food I had to eat was already there and apart from a really expensive and basic shop there was no backup. We were five hours to the nearest town so there was also the factor of isolation. If it wasn’t for my fellow student teacher I quite possibly would have gone home earlier than originally planned – she was the person who I talked to, cooked with, worked with, watch movies with, etc and I’m happy to report I have made a new friend!

Apart from the teaching we were able to get go down to the local river, go for walks and when back in Katherine on a school trip see some amazing sights! A boat cruise down Katherine Gorge was probably the high-light, with amazing cliffs, clear water and a place to swim – you could not have asked for anything better to do!

Now that I’m home I’m asking myself – did it really happen? Because it almost feels like it didn’t. I’m sitting here in my room thinking – what am I doing here? I should be somewhere else, shouldn’t I? I’ve been to have a “real” coffee, eat at the Vic Markets with my Dad, gone to the milkbar because I was out of milk, sit on my bed, pat my cat and say hello to some of house-mates. The funniest part about coming back to Melbourne is apart from seeing family and friends the two things that I’m looking forward to the most is being able to use a hot tap and sitting on a couch!

I never thought I would be excited by such simple things, but there you go.

It’s strange and good to be home and there is not much else to say.

Signing off while thinking to myself – wow I can actually blog again!

 

 

 

To be yourself

Lately I’ve been caught up in so much of what is going on in other people’s lives, but what for? I’m me and that’s ok. I should just be who I am and the best that I can be…

I should not feel sad or anxious about not having something that another person may have just because I feel like I should have those things. If those things are not here right now than that doesn’t matter maybe they’ll come and maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll come tomorrow and maybe they’ll come in a few years time…

I’m reading this book called “down to earth” … ( http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780670075928/down-earth)

It’s very inspiring…

One of things that I have just read is

“Stop living according to the expectations of others and focus on building a life that is unique to you”

The book is centred around the idea of simple living. Since being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease I have gone from thinking all I will rely on is the gluten-free substitutes but cook how I used to e.g spag bol (Spaghetti Bolognese) but with G-F pasta, flourless chocolate cake…etc, then I decided to branch out and try new recipes and before you knew it I had a cupboard full of different ingredients…

I started to think if living gluten-free meant 20 ingredients that used to only take 4 or 5 that, that was a bit insane… I have the gluten-free 4 ingredients cookbook… but most of those recipes are good but a bit too basic…I still want to be able to eat delicious food just not spend so much money…

The great thing about this book is it gives you so many ideas on how to live your life fully but simply and not only that but it gives you a guide for each stage in your life in decades so 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and retirement.  It emphasizes on how if you’re not already living the life you want then it’s never too late to start. (The writer of this book is in her 60s and looks back on her life when she takes the plunge into the concept of simple living…)

It’s true to say that I’m very much a homebody and have always been very happy with that. I want to do things like travel – through my own country and the world…

I want to continue my education (on my own terms…), I want to learn another language, etc,etc

Let’s face it I want love and babies…

And tea and cake

and cats and dogs

and I want to be happy in a place that I call home… I want that home to be filled with photos of friends and family

places I’ve been…

I want my own veggie patch, herb garden… to have lots of flowers

I want to give back to the world so that not all my sentences start with “I want” like they have been…

and acceptance lots of acceptance…

but I think the place to begin is in myself otherwise I don’t think all those things will happen…

If I accept that I am who I am and that no body and I mean no body can take that away from me then I think I will be a better person… along the way I will learn from others of course but I can’t let influence take over and create someone I’m not because that will crush me before my time and no one wants that…

I’ve had a huge lesson of the day:

Be happy with who you are and who you will be!

Signing off because my feet feel frozen!!!

(15 days till Darwin, 15 days to 30 degree weather that’s celsius btw…)

Oh Baby It’s Cold Outside!

You know you are on holidays when it gets to 3:00am and you’re still awake. The day couldn’t have gone any slower and your pjs become the attire of choice…unless you need to buy chocolate. Well at least this is what happens in winter. Winter days are filled with dreaming up your next hearty but comforting dish and you can’t help but to indulge on baked goods… and knowing that tomorrow you’ll be wearing 3 jumpers just to keep warm makes it all the worth-while. This morning I nearly decided that  I would read all day long with a cup of tea and a cat on my lap, but as I realised there were forms to fill in for my up-coming N.T trip this wasn’t going to be possible…

But I will make it up to myself 🙂

At this point in time though it’s not just that I’m on holidays it’s also that I’m really close to finishing my degree! The day that I never thought would come is soon here and although I’m excited I can’t help but to take a big swallow and sigh!!

I cannot believe that I’m sitting here half-way to finishing my degree – I keep having this terrible dream that I’m in a classroom on my first day and all I do is stare at the kids… I don’t know what to do on my first day – I will, I know I will…but in the back of my mind I’m second-guessing myself… It’s almost like I need other people to stop saying that I’ll be fine and to say I’ll be rubbish – just so I can be determined to prove to them they’re wrong…but that’s crazy!!!!!

All these irrational thoughts are crazy… I just hope I’m not the only on thinking them…

Am I the only one thinking them?

This is crazy! This is crazy! This is crazy!

Why do I do this to myself? Think like this?

I guess it’s partly human nature and partly going back to not believing in myself and also partly totally normal but still!!

Urggghhh…

I’m sure it will all come into place I just sometimes wish we didn’t have to go through all of this before it did or that I could just magically see exactly where I’ll be next year.

Ahhh I seriously dislike not knowing what I’ll be doing…

This is crazy! This is crazy! This is crazy!

*deep breath*

Tonight I will dream:

Knowing what to do, knowing that mistakes are ok and knowing that I will be ok no matter what happens.

Tomorrow I will:

Write a list of things that still needs to happen before NT and tick them off as I do them so that I’m not sitting around stressing

and then we’ll go from there…

Is it too late to bake a cake?

I’m conjuring in my mind the perfect layered cake perfectly decorated, GF and utterly delicious…

Right now… maybe I’ll have a sneaky scoop of ice-cream with drinking chocolate on top? hmmm yes… Ice-cream in winter that’s what we all need!!

Ok. Good plan.

Lets go and execute it!!!

Lesson of the day (haven’t done one for ages…):

RELAX! It’s all good. 🙂

Signing off to make a yummy concoction.

A Purple Foods Tea Party

 

As a child a read a book where the characters in this book decided to have a red food day – they would treat themselves to all their favourite red foods and make it a celebration of their favourite colour.

I though have always loved purple and thought that celebrating this colour in eating food of that colour would be much harder – I mean all I could think of was eggplant, plums, beetroot, blackcurrant or foods that had more a purple tinge than colour…

However this afternoon I decided that I would use my purple carrots and make carrot cake which brought back the idea of having a party with all the foods being purple. It seems to be that the rediscovery of food in their natural colour of purple have been made with the carrot, potato, corn, capsicum, etc Although most of these foods do have many colours the idea behind making a ‘discovery’ of the purple form is that they are the superfood…

Or making discoveries in the western world??

It seems to be that superfoods are a part of the ‘modern’ world… but as I’m not one to eat these things because they are popular in the media I will continue with the idea of eating my way through many of these purple foods – to see if I’m eating them because they are purple of if I simply prefer them.

Once of course – I have more recipes under my wing I will of be having this purple foods tea party to live a childhood wish and to see how many foods I can produce that are purple!

As I’m known for being a sweet tooth and baker – I’m sure as well as the veggies there will be many treats on offer… yum!!

If you chose to comment on this post – please send me recipe ideas. (make sure they are gluten free!!)

Looking forward to this celebration of food and colour – maybe one day I’ll try another colour?

But for now I’m signing off for chai tea and my carrot cake [oops to the nearly 10 at night 😉 ]

This anxious excited feeling!!

I go from feeling so excited that I’m literally jumping up and down to feeling so nervous I can’t eat some days in a manner of minutes and this is all because of this year. It’s roughly 5 -6 months before I will  have finished my course and will become a graduate teacher and each day, each week and each month I get just a little bit closer to end of the line.

Today is a good example of feeling really excited… before I was sitting in my kitchen writing an action plan – a tedious assignment placed there to torture us by our lecturers and even though it’s a drag to complete it felt necessary to complete. It was interesting to see where I am now and what I plan to do to achieve what I need to before the end of the year. If all goes well then a job will be in my sights!!

After tackling this work I went for a driving lesson, during this lesson my instructor said that I was doing really well and by the end he said it will probably only be a few more lessons before I’m driving with ease. With this in the back of my mind I could see that things were coming together…

Then I relayed my thoughts during a phone call to Mum and started to feel anxious again – I was back in the spiral!!

So I decided I needed to be here and right a post about it, besides it ties in nicely with all ideas behind this blog anyway so it does make sense!

It’s great to feel like I’m actually achieving something through doing this teaching degree. It’s not just that I’ll have a job. It’s a dream that I’ve had for a very long time that will actually come true. It’s the marks/grades I’ve received since I’ve started and it’s looking back at where I was when I began to where I am now.

The best bit is – I actually believe that it’s happening. I believe that I am capable and that once I get there I’ll be great.

I say this because it’s taken me through my entire education to believe so – that is also an achievement. To go from a kid with a lack of self-esteem and thinking that I couldn’t do much in the world to now believing that I can and will gives me such an amazing feeling…

For once I don’t need other people to point it out and better still I’m not second guessing when they do… My response isn’t a shy “Oh really??” it’s a confident “Thank-you!” and a facial expression that shows I agree!!

I don’t know if anyone else has ever felt this way – I’m sure there are plenty of people who have… but seriously it’s great, it makes me cry – in a good way and it makes me not want to settle for less, plus I also feel a somewhat sense of assertivness…not too over-powering as it’s not in my nature…but you know – I just feel good!!

I thought that I would keep this short – to say the end is near yikes/yay – and that persistence and hard work pays off. The thought of know that I’m nearly there makes me want to strive even more to get there and really do it!!

Give life a real crack otherwise there is no point – we only have one chance at it after all!

To my fellow Education P-12 students: we’re so close so lets keep at it, before we know it – we’ll blink and be graduate teachers!!!

Oh my goodness!!

Signing off to go make something to eat!! 🙂

 

Reflections of the year gone by

This time last year I was faced with my first Easter of being a Coeliac… because last Easter was when I got diagnosed. I remember in the rush of last-minute shopping before the shops were shut. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to eat a decent meal again. It was such a huge shock.

I know that it could have been far worse, but at the time it felt like everything was falling down around me.I couldn’t enjoy Hot Cross Buns, Lindt Bunnies or Fish n Chips on Good Friday – three Easter essentials, felt really big…and I was at my grandparents farm, with a grandmother (retired doctor) who didn’t believe that Coeliac Disease was real and a mother who didn’t know to what extent not being able to eat Gluten meant… they were all trying to be supportive but didn’t know how, which is ok and I am not upset at them – but they were people who I turn to and who I was with and I couldn’t really do that.

Irraitableness had set in big time – which I think I mentioned in a post “living life the coeliac way” (or something along the ways) but most of all it was about facing not being able to eat anything I wanted.

For quite a few months after I was still processing how and it meant to be a Coeliac I attended Coeliac society meetings, I put in a lot of research, etc on what it meant and still to this day I am making new food discoveries.

The only difference now is that it’s finally become an exciting thing as opposed to a sad thing. By this I mean before I was sad of what I couldn’t eat, now I’m happy of what I can. Plus I have an excuse to buy cookbooks, go to the healh-food for ‘weird’ ingredients and have a cupboard dedicated to flour.

Let me show you some of these discoveries… please note I’m not at all a food photographer and that it’s not me trying to take great or even good photos it’s just about the content…

– The flour that I now keep… plus some other GF things, GF plain, GF self-raising, Xanthum Gum, GF Baking Powder, Polenta, GF Yeast, Dried Apricots, GF Corn Flour, Lupin Flour, Almond Meal, Quinoa, Quinoa Flakes, Rice Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Corn Crumbs, Rice Crumbs, Soy Flour, White Chia Seeds, Caster Sugar, Brown Rice Flour and possibly a couple of things that I have forgotten… Plus there are still more flours on my to purchase list.

Gluten-Free cooking and baking isn’t just as simple as substituting flour, there are some recipes that I have found that will use five flours just for one, I know that I don’t have to cook like this and there are ways to keep to keep it simple and usually that’s what I do… but when I have one those moments where I have to try a new recipe it’s nice to have these flours on hand…

      

These are all the cook-books that have guided me… 4 Ingredients – was a great starting point, it let me see that I wasn’t limited, the bible has given me more variety in my diet, Sue Shepherd is amazing…haven’t made anything from her book though and Indulge says it all – info on flour and recipes that you can truly indulge in… from this I made the Choc-Berry Buckwheat Pancakes – yum, yum, yum and soooooo easy to make.

The Emma Smoothie:

– Yes it’s purple – well at least this one…

Base ingredients – Greek Yoghurt (sometimes you have to check for Gluten), Milk and Fruit. I then add things like Chia seeds (An old house-mate now friend told me about this one), Honey, Golden Syrup – Maple if you have it and so prefer, Cinnamon, Chocolate, Almond Meal, nut meg would be great… pretty much anything… favourite fruits for an Emma Smoothie – mixed berry or mango… It’s so simple but so delicious and incredibly filling!

The BEST GF bread that I have found is from a cafe on my street – it actually folds, is fluffy, looks like break, isn’t like a brick, tastes amazing, etc… here is one of my sandwiches:

– Seed bread with Spinach, Egg, Olive Oil and Feta – sounds a little boring, but honestly tastes really great – and it’s the first time that I decided not to toast it… I can tell you that picking up a normal “boring” sandwich for the first time in a year felt absolutely incredible that I actually felt like my life had changed.

Some of my friends sometimes say to me when they talk about what they have for lunch “Oh just a boring sandwich” my response is “Oh if life were that simple” and I used to be one of those people who winged about having a sandwhich…and now am thrilled at the opportunity – mainly because this bread costs $7 a loaf and I don’t want to spend that much a week…so bread or at least this bread – is a treat… ha…bread as a treat…

Other favourites include – mozzarella on olive bread and strawberry jam on pumpkin bread – cos the pumpkin bread tastes like scones!! 🙂

Thoughts on packet mixes… you have to buy them cos otherwise there are just some things you miss out on like cinnamon donuts… which I crave ALL the time… here is the GF version (yes from a packet):

– It’s pretty easy once you get to the frying bit – but seriously these don’t taste (from memory) any different to the normal cinnamon donuts and next time I’m adding jam!

Treats from here and there:

– Macaroons from the Lindt Cafe – one on the left I can’t have, one on right – the Champagne one I can – yum. Macaroons though at a cafe at uni – I can have and all the flavours…

– Most of my food is now organic, not really by choice, but it’s much more affordable now and I’m getting really into it- this is as you can read from the label Organic Lemonade which was purchased from Hooked a healthy seafood place or fish n chips whichever – which is so far the only place I have found does GF fish n chips and even their burgers are GF too – it’s ALL great and doesn’t make you feel as though you clogged up with grease.

– I started drinking coffee last year when my Aunt and Uncle were here visiting from DC – cos of their love of coffee shops and ordering quickly especially on the road… I stopped asking if the Hot Chocs or the Chai Lattes were GF (I know I shouldnt…blah) and decided that coffee was easier…next to this beautiful Cafe Latte is a Cranberry and Hazelnut Meringue (I think it was Hazelnut…some nut anyway) – with something else inside which makes it cake like without being a cake…truly delicious… This cafe also has GF bread which means that most of their meals I can eat as long as I ask for the GF option… I love when this happens because I feel somewhat normal again.

Ah yes McDonald’s – It is on a rare occasion that I go there especially now, but when I do I either get the ice-cream or the hash-browns… there are other things I’m pretty sure I can eat, but as I’m there for a treat and not a meal – it’s not really that critical that I make sure I bring my own bread just so I can eat their cheeseburgers again. Now I know that this lid full of ice-cream looks somewhat dismal…it really isn’t because it’s great to be able to have a small pig-out…besides the cheeky raspberry lemonade that is hiding made it really worth the while.

Even those forced to be incredibly healthy in some respects need ice-cream from McDonald’s or Maccas as we say here in OZ…

There are so many moments when I crave bread, pasta, pizza, donuts and all of those yummy gluten laden foods and days when I want to cry because I can’t eat them…or am frustrated at a restaurant, etc…

But after a year of being diagnosed I think I’m doing pretty well and I have to say that I’m pretty fortunate to live in a suburb that has a bunch of cafes that caters for someone with intolerance, allergies and coeliacs…plus as it’s become more “mainstream” – supermarkets are now stocking things like Xanthum Gum and Quinoa which makes life easier and more affordable so I can buy shoes… 😀

Because really that’s all we need is a good pair of shoes or 20…

Nah but seriously the fact that I can eat bread that folds even if it’s occasionally is pretty damn good!

Lesson of the day or year I should day:

We are all capable of jumping over hurdles and breaking down walls. We are all strong enough to live with what we are faced with. We are all wise enough to call upon friends and family and we are all brave enough to be happy in discovering new things.

Crying isn’t a sign of weakness and neither is hope, it’s knowing that when you have hope you are incredibly strong.

Signing off because I really need to get something eat even it’s 11:00pm – because after talking about all this food I’ve become hungry – here’s to getting the most out what you can eat!!

This so called modern-life we live in…

Is is just me or does everything feel like a big deal to people these days?

A) You can’t say that or he/she’ll will be offended

B) You have to be really careful about what you name your baby or otherwise they’ll be stuck with something boring or be teased – yet Apple or Cruz is somehow accepted because that baby belongs to a celebrity… and Molly spelt Mollie is also ok, because at least then the spelling is unique… heaven forbid people stick with Sarah or Alex…

C) Your children have to live in amazingly decorated rooms cos otherwise they will have no friends

D) Your child’s first birthday party or any birthday party for your child has to include a jumping castle, a face painter, pass the parcel with carefully selected paper – also properly decorated because apparently newspaper isn’t the way to go anymore, plus goodie bags without lollies and instead healthy snacks cos no child is allowed fairy bread anymore even on their birthday

D) Children under five mustn’t watch T.V – it will most certainly rot their brain or worse – have them not being able to read before they go to school

E) You have to have a completely super organised house – otherwise all your friends will have to go out to dinner cos otherwise it’ll be too shameful to have them over

F) There is a gadget for everything and if you dare go outside without the latest kindle then don’t even dare leaving the house again

G) Don’t enjoy being pregnant and expecting your first child just feel the ‘pressure’ of doing everything right – don’t forget if you eat sandwich meat your baby will die…

H) Don’t yell at children ever – cos their self esteem will be shattered and if you can’t yell then don’t slap either…

I) If you’re not married when you decide to have children then forget it everyone will ‘out’ you

J) Replace all lollies with carrot sticks cos clearly we can’t enjoy food anymore

K) On the topic of food if it’s not organic then don’t buy it – cos you’re just going to get glared get at by the check-out chick

L) Refuse, Reuse, Recycle – everything or else!

M) Safe the world. If you don’t donate to 100 causes a week then really you shouldn’t be allowed to live

N) You got your coffee from where? No don’t go there, the person doesn’t use the foam to make sure it’s presented with a pretty bird on a tree branch on top and the barista doesn’t make the milk hot enough so it burns your toung…

O) I buy all my clothes, gifts, etc online, plus get all my food and essentials home delivered, plus I just don’t leave the house because I don’t have anytime yet I’m sitting here on my computer blogging about how I don’t have time… and really this sentence is taking all my time… where has all the time gone

P) I can’t call  my friends anymore let alone see them because of my busy lifestyle

Q) I have a Nintendo Wii to do yoga and play tennis because really any sort of exercise done outdoors I can’t stand and doesn’t fit in with my life…cos it’s just so hectic

R) and continuing with this topic – the other day I had to look up this great word – Relax when my friend told me I should do it more often… I thought sounds great – but really where can I fit it in

S) As a teacher I have to remember to say chalkboard, not to sing baa baa black sheep, to talk to all the parents as though their children are angels and gifted, to make sure I never show my students that I’m human , etc – but do I also need to say interactive felt-tip pen board… should I have a melt-down now to get it over and done with – because clearly it’s inevitable…

T) When I become a mother I’ll have to hire a nanny, casual babysitter, night nurse, etc and only talk to them when they really need to…because all those activities that they’ll have to go to I just won’t be able to take them to… plus simply reading them a story is just too much of a hassle

U) Where are all my hair and beauty essentials… I may only be going to buy milk…but seriously you never know who you’ll bump into… oh my gosh here comes another melt-down…

V) Did I tell you about Facebook, blogger, tumblr, you tube, pinterest, this site that I’m on now, twitter, google plus and whatever else I’ve used to divulge everything about my personal life on? I mean seriously if you don’t go look at one those pages, then the photos from the latest party/wedding/christening/house-warming/gig/*insert event here* that I went to – or the video footage of my child’s birth will not be shown to you because I’m a private person and don’t really want people to see those things…but seriously you probably don’t want to see all the details anyway. 😉

W) Did you watch the latest of junior masterchef? Since when do children know how to not just make cupcakes or cookies with icing on top – but things that I don’t even know how to pronounce

X) When you do find the time to catch up with friends, don’t forget to document the entire outing on Facebook via your phone so that everyone can know what you’re up to – heaven forbid you actually talk to your friend

Y) If you dare let any of my children near dirt then I’ll blame you when they they’re allergic to everything… oh and please make sure you use the detol soap dispenser that you don’t actually touch…

Z) School, Uni, Career, Marriage, Kids, there is no other way to life really and if you don’t live by this standard then clearly you don’t have a life and if you turn up to your kids graduation at the age of anywhere between 40-50 then really you were far to young to be having children because really we’re not allowed to have kids until 35 and no younger because before then is just too young. My mother was 25 when she had my brother – what do you say to that?

HA HA HA HA HA HA I am evil.

Ok – so just a heads up – most of these ‘complaints’ are me joking and I’m not really being serious. But I do think that we all need to relax including myself. Your life is your life it shouldn’t be mapped out according to what other people say and you should just live it the way you wish.

Even if you do, do the things on this list – it’s ok.

Can we stop judging and criticising people because clearly by the fact that I came up with about 26 ideas on how people ‘should’ live their lives – is a statement in itself…

I’m sick of reading articles titled with “The pressures of pregnancy” “How to decorate your child’s room” “We all seem to have allergies or food intolerance” “There are women as young as 20 deciding to get a sperm donation – what a shock” “Baa baa black sheep banned from childcare centres” or watching ads that are advertising these products that allow children to learn how to read before they get to school…

I see parents on the streets negotiating with their children about their behaviour – what happened to “Come here NOW!” or a slap on a wrist – I don’t agree with bashing your children or making out like their bad people… but I got yelled at or had small hits on my wrist  and usually it was because I was crossing the road without mum or about to touch the stove… and I’ve turned out to be a pretty normal and genuinely good person…

Lesson of the day:

Chill out!!! It’s ok if your apple came from the supermarket and you gave your child a lolly snake.

Language development is important before a child gets to kindergarten/school but we have teachers for a reason.

Signing out as I’m about to spend time with my mother and brother whom I love very much!

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