The last post for 2020

2020. What a year. So much has happened…so much also …didn’t happen. So this is going to be a bit of reflection of what happened in 2020 to me. The good. The bad. The sad. The happy. The whatever.

  1. Feb 2020: I finally fulfilled my dream of travelling to New Zealand for a trip! It was an awesome trip in which I caught up with my good friend living in Brisbane…we did a lot of hiking, horse riding, running, and also went on a boat trip! New Zealand is such a beautiful place and I would highly recommend it. I am also extremely lucky that I was able to go overseas before the borders to Australia has closed.
  2. March 2020: I finally saw my ALL time favourite band, ONE OK ROCK. Having missed out on seeing them when I was in Japan for exchange, I can finally say I have been to my second J-Rock concert. However, this time I actually knew and could sing a long with their songs! I also paid for the VIP tickets and also got to meet them, exchange a few words, and get my photo with them. The night was surreal and it was a great memory I will treasure for many years to come.
  3. Later in March 2020: The lockdown of Australia began as the Coronavirus made it way uninvited into all of our lives. You couldn’t escape it. No matter how hard you try to close your eyes….everyone was talking about it, the supermarket shelves were bare with no toilet paper or hand sanitiser to be seen. Gyms, pools, indoor/outdoor sports, cinemas, schools, universities, and shops, restaurants were closed for dine in. Social distancing was the new norm, everyday we were wiping all the surfaces we touched…everyday I would follow religiously the numbers, the tallies, the hotspots…what rules were changing…The hardest part of all was not being able to see my family and friends…I wasn’t able to see my nephew for the longest time and I was so worried he would forget who I was… It was also during this time that I began spending a lot more time with my family that still lived at home. Yes, we got on each others nerves at some stage…but because there was no where to go and nothing to do, we were just at home. My mum began planting and gardening more and more flowers, fruits, and vegetables…I began learning how to work out at home…For my brother and dad, nothing changed much for them…They usually just stay at home anyways. Skype calls were the best, and I am so grateful for technology that keeps us together, but nothing beats the ability to spend time in person with people.
  4. June 2020. The rules has started to relax in South Austraila. We were finally allowed to have up to 10 visitors in our homes! That meant we were able to gather as a family again and to eat out in restaurants with friends! This was the 1st birthday of my nephew…unfortunately because of the restrictions, my sister only invited the immediate family to celebrate….then they broadcasted it live to their other friends via zoom. My little nephew was sooo spoilt with soo many gifts from family and friends! He got Gucci branded shoes, a small ride on Mercedes, and sooo many toys. June was also the month that I found out that my full-time contract job was not going to be renewed…It was not entirely unexpected, but still a shock to hear it. It meant I had to job hunt all over again…and during a pandemic, that was depressing and a very stressful time…there was not much up for grabs in Adelaide in terms of Hospital Pharmacist positions, so I widened my applications to interstate hospitals. I had 3 sets of interviews for a position in Melbourne and that how I ended up where I am now!
  5. July 2020: I found out that I got the job in Melbourne and I would have to start planning my move…Where was I going to stay? Can I even go there during the pandemic? My aunty and uncle helped me immensely in looking for suitable places that I would inspect when I got there. I also had friends help me plan the trip to Melbourne and what I needed to do to make sure my car was okay. Then there was catchup after catchup with all the people I would be seeing for who knows how long? It was more like a one way trip at this stage…once I went to Melbourne, Adelaide would close it’s borders to me…they would see me as an outsider…I wasn’t sure when I would be able to see my family again…This was a really sad realisation and something that made me so anxious and sad. I would be heading to the city which was undergoing the second wave of Coronavirus…and was in stage 4 lockdown, a curfew, and mandatory masks everywhere. I was going into a virus striken city and working in one of their hospitals that have Covid- positive patients…as someone who hates germs, it was a big risk. Saying good bye to my family was the hardest thing, especially my sister whom I am closest with…I hadn’t cried at all at any of my other farewells, but saying goodbye to my sister for the last time was so hard.
  6. August 2020: I made the long ass drive with my car full of lugguage, toilet paper, and stuff to Melbourne. I was not welcomed with any police or officers at the borders, but it wasn’t the same the other way round. South Australia was quite strict with who was able to enter their state…Melbourne however, didn’t give a hoot and still doesn’t. After staying with my aunt for a few days, I found a place pretty quick and moved in on the same week. Then began the journey of living solo and managing to not live in a pigsty. I had to figure out what I needed and what I wanted…money didn’t grow on trees unfortunately… Then I started working at my new job and that was incredibly tough at first because of all the competency standards that I had to meet to prove I was worthy as a pharmacist.
  7. August-October: So basically nothing happened. I may have took Gamsat…but other than that I rarely went out. I think the lockdown was still ongoing, so there was no house visitors allowed and everything was Click and Collect or buy online. I think I did a lot of cooking…and buying stuff for my house. The video calls with my family and friends in Adelaide continued…We did group chats, group games, and I played ‘Amongst Us’ Once… lol…. I also did a seminar entirely online at home for work…that was interesting, but also made me extremely sleepy.
  8. Nov 2020: Somehow we managed to have 60 days free from Community Transmitted Covid- Cases! The city slowly opened up and restrictions eased in a gradual step by step process. Restaurants were finally open for dine in, but for limited numbers…Retail shops were allowed to open again! Gyms, schools, universities…and most importantly BADMINTON RESTARTED!!!! This is what I missed most (Asides from family and friends in Adelaide)!! Was the desire to hit a shuttlecock! I write this as my whole body hurts from a great baddy session yesterday night….
  9. Dec 2020: My sister messaged me and told she was coming to Melbourne and that we should catchup !! I was so excited!! I wasn’t sure if I was able to go back to Adelaide as they have stricter border than Melbourne, but if my sister could come and go back, surely I would be able to? In the heat of the moment I quickly looked up how much flights would be to Adelaide and back…and it was pretty reasonable! Then I remembered I have a whole bunch of Frequent Flyer Points which I was hoping to use to go to England (dreams crushed this year) and I used those points to pay for the return fare in its entirety! It also included checked baggage both ways! BONUS! I was so happy that I was able to come back home to Adelaide and spend Christmas with my family and to see some of my friends! It was a rushed 4 days…as I hadn’t booked any extra leave I was only there over the public holiday and weekend. Adelaide itself hadn’t changed much, but the people had changed…a bit. Since I left, a friend had a baby, another friend told me she is moving to Brisbane for a new job, two friends had broken up with the long-term partners, and I think that is it?
  10. Dec 31st 2020: The last day of the year 2020, I slept in! Because…I can :)! I had a day off today! It was an accrued day off that just happened to land on the last day of the year. Lucky me! I met up with my sister and her family for lunch and did a bit of window shopping in Melbourne city. A friend told me about a special Free parking voucher that could be displayed to park for free in Melbourne city…Then I came home, cooked the last meal of 2020, and did my last round of laundry for 2020…had my last shower, called my mum for the lastst time, emptied the trash for the laste time, and now I am typing the blog entry for 2020 on here. So many last times for everything. Oh, did I mention that the annual firework display for NYE has been cancelled for both Mellbourne and Adelaide? The Sydney famous ones are still going ahead, however they will not allow people to watch it from the shore. Also, sadly in the last few days we got a few cases of local transmission and now we have some restrictions reinposed, i.e. maximum 15 people in a house at one time…so the Family New Years Lunch is cancelled for tomorrow sadly…

    Happy New Year everyone! Let’s hope fingers crossed that 2021 will be a better one!! Stay Safe, Wash your hands, stay 1.5 metres a part, and wear your mask!

New Zealand: Things to do

I am back. With part two of the NZ related blog posts. I have tried putting the photos in a slideshow…hopefully that is more useful than the Mosaic with descriptions.

 Mildred Sound Full-Day Tour

Apparently a must-go…and we did…We had to travel for almost 5 hours on the bus there and 5 hours back to get there from Queenstown. During the time we went to Queenstown, they had only just reopened up the road for Tour Buses ONLY…It can be damaged and closed for a few days because of flooding (I think)… Apparently, there are more rainy days in Milfred than dry days…

Mirror Lake: This was one of the stops we made on the way to Milfred Sound and it is super pretty and worth making the trip for the photos…! This was one of the highlights of the day tour, to be honest! I didn’t even know we were going to be stopping here…The name ‘Mirror Lake’ suits it perfectly…as you can see the image of the mountain reflected so clearly onto the motionless and still water. It’s so calm…so Zen

Milford Sound Cruise:

The cruise was roughly 2 hours long and the package we got included lunch… Our boat was a Jucy Cruise Boat…and to be honest…I don’t know why I was expecting a buffet-style lunch…but man I was severely disappointed! We all got either a vegetarian meal of rice and vegetables…or a chicken calzone… and everyone got a kids pop top…Let’s just say I did not finish my food…and I am glad I had eaten snacks along the way on the trip. My friend and I went to the front of the boat to take photos…and when the boat came to a waterfall we thought we would be safe…waterfalls are just light rain isn’t it? No…we got drenched from top to bottom… 😦 was the photo worth it? Probably not! haha But the captain of the boat was telling us…there is a folklore that this water will make you 10 years younger…given I already look like I am 18…I think I am good. haha.

For the next waterfall, we went to…I smartly stayed inside the boat and took a photo from there instead. As you can see it looks like the boat went in a terrible storm! Everyone that braved staying outside was fully drenched…even worse off than the first waterfall. LOL.

 

Milfred Sound Cruise was great for the photos…but I mainly just soaked in the views..as it was quite windy outside and I had no phone strap or anything I was afraid to take photos at the front of the boat, but luckily my friend took plenty of awesome photos and I have included some on the blog.

Preparation for getting off the boat was a hassle…The captain announced half an hour before we went back on land that now would be an ideal time to go to one of the two toilets on the boat before landing…because when we landed we need to go back on the bus ASAP. So anyway, being girls my friend and I lined up for literally half an hour to get in one of those precious toilets. So, if you are a girl, make sure you go before the rush before the landing.

Glenorchy Horse Riding -Half day trip (2 hour horse trek)

A bus picked us up near our hotel…and picked up several others that were going to Glenorchy too. The bus trip from Queenstown was about an hours drive away. The tour that we went with had their own stables about another 15 minutes away from the main town that we stopped briefly in to let others off to do other activities in the same area.

The horses in NZ seemed huge in comparison to the ones I had ridden in Adelaide…Maybe it was just that the one I rode was an ex-racing horse?! I forgot the name of my horse….but he was a bit temperamental and had a bit of a mind of his own…but that’s alright…It was fun..and I didn’t get kicked off.  We were taught how to instruct the horse to move forward, how to stop, and how to lead them to go left or right. We were also instructed on how to stand up in the stirrups to remove pressure from kidneys when they pooped or peed.

The trek was nice, gentle, but to be honest the two-hour trek is a bit too long…I think the one hour trip would be sufficient enough. On our horse ride, we saw a few birds and some wild rabbits..other than that we didn’t encounter any other wildlife, unfortunately.

 

Kiwi Conservation Park:

Entrance to this park is expensive, but all proceeds go into maintaining the park, so I guess you can see it as a donation. My friend and I were curious to have a look at the Kiwi bird, which we haven’t seen before. Unfortunately, Kiwi’s are nocturnal so their habitat was in almost complete darkness and you couldn’t really take photos of them. They are an adorable and unique bird though! A super long beak!

Skyline Gondola:

Paragliding – G-Force, make sure you call before you go up to the top because they won’t refund your luge ride, unfortunately. That’s what happened to us, we were not told by the Viator company that we had to call the company at 8:30am of the morning of our flight to check if weather conditions were suitable for paragliding…we found out when we got up to the top… A return ride on the gondola was about $41! Not cheap… I was quite disappointed that we weren’t able to go :(, we, however, got a full refund as it was not our fault that the trip was cancelled.

Luge Ride:

I think it’s a fairly unique experience and pretty fun. Sort of like driving a little car that does not use any electricity, but moves from gravity. Watch out for kids that overtake you though… A family-friendly activity.

 

Park Run-NZ

Park Runs are timed 5km run across the world on Saturday morning and NZ is no exception. The run is held in the park in the city…While I didn’t run, I walked the track and enjoyed the views. This is a free event and is something you could consider doing if you have nothing to do on a Saturday morning.

City

On certain days, there are small market stalls that are set up in the city. A regular busker there and his singing sheepdog ‘Happy’, is incredibly cute. There are many delicious restaurants in the city, please see my other post on food.

Hiking: 

New Zealand is so beautiful…there are numerous number of walking trails around the city that lead to amazing views,

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New Zealand: Food!

Hi All!

I am back!! After some initial sickness post travels and adjustment needed for time difference…I am almost back to normal… Back to work already :(…saving up for that next holiday.. HAHA

I have decided to split my post about New Zealand into separate posts! Today’s post will be about the food I ate in NZ…! The next one is probably going to be places I went to…and  the third about the activities I did while there… I hope you enjoy this short mini-adventure series…since I don’t go on as many travels since I started working 😦 #sadlife. #worklife

It was great to get away from work and to destress…soak in the views…and eat some really yummy foods!! My friend and I aren’t foodies…but we do love getting recommendations from locals and from people who have been to Queenstown NZ before.

Our first proper meal in Queenstown was a Japanese restaurant called Tanoshi..and it was a teppanyaki-style restaurant…A little on the more expensive side, but it was really tasty. Surprisingly there were quite a few Japanese restaurants in Queenstown city as it is a popular place for Japanese Tourists.

From left to right: The sashimi was really nice and soft in comparison to Australias…The Cheese potato pancake was a first for me…so yummy! The Japanese pancake was really yummy and cooked just right. The last dish on the right is lightly fried scallops with wasabi sauce…also really really yummy.

Underneath that is some Vadu and Larder cafe…in which I got a pulled pork burger with fries and a matcha latte…while my friend got a salad with a Tumeric latte.

There was a french restaurant that had lots of icecreams and chocolates…I got a vanilla bean popsicle and opted to have it coated in dark chocolate…so yummy..while my friend got their raspberry sorbet in which had won a few awards.

The next meal with the pasta and the pizza..was at ‘THE COW’, which was recommended by one of our tour guides in Glenorchy as a good place for Italian food. She recommended that we MUST order the garlic bread (which I forgot to save a photo of) and you will know why when you order it…it is very unique. I will let you go and try it yourself to find out why! At first, we were just going to order a vegetable pizza (The just wrote it would be any vegetables they had on hand)…but then we saw that they do half-size pasta and we ordered the half-size seafood pasta…and I am so glad we did! The pasta was the favourite of the day! It was so yummy and light…with fresh seafood. The vegetable pizza was interesting! It had lots of vegetables as promised…mushroom, tomato, celery, zucchini…but I personally ain’t a fan of celery…especially not on a pizza!

Here’s a photo from our trip in Arrowtown of the ‘Flat white’ I ordered… I am sure I ordered a latte…but I think I got a flat white instead??? It was more bitter and did not have as much froth as I would have liked…but maybe it was because I asked for soymilk.

Like I said before, NZ seems to have a lot of Japanese Restaurants and to my excitement, they were just opening up a new GreenTea Dessert Place called Tsujiri…which is a well known Greentea company in Kyoto, Japan…which has branches around the world… Their tea is really nice! I have tried it before from Kyoto. It is a bit on the dearer side for tea, but it is really good stuff. I had a Matcha Shaved ice with Matcha Softserve and shiratama. The soft serve was delicious, not too sweet, bitter but that’s the way I like it. My friend ordered the matcha crepe…and it was probably the best matcha crepe I have had! Really recommend trying this in Queenstown -or wherever there is a branch :P!

Back in Arrowtown, this is the bakery that is well known in this area…They have an assortment of different pies on sale..including a butter chicken pie! Unfortunately, I was quite full from our brunch and only bought a vegetable Calzone (No photo sorry) and an Apple Strudel (which I didn’t really like because it had sultanas-which I am not a fan of). My friend bought a cinnamon scroll..it looked delicious …but I didn’t get to try 😦

 

Last but not least, We splurged on one of the dinners using the deal on 1st table..which allows us to book an early table ($10 booking fee) and get half-price off the final bill. This dinner was really worth it..as we really wanted a taste of what seemed like ‘Typical New Zealand food’. This three-course meal was normally $60 per person, but thanks to the deal we only paid $35 per person. After the first two dishes came out…firstly a soup..then some damper (I think) and some salmon..on the plate with the salmon..it actually isn’t caviar or salmon on there! I think it was some sort of jelly that was made to look like it and some cooked watermelon…very smart! The ‘Final course’ was actually four dishes which surprised both my friend and I..as we were expecting maybe one dish to share. This is where I fell in love with the Kamara Potatoe…These were the best potatoes I have ever eaten…so crispy…so delicious. The lamb in this meal was so splendid and beautiful…melt in your mouth special! With the dish in which I think they are rice balls (?)..that was quite nice too…but the roasted vegetables underneath them were a little bit too dry for me. ALSO I must rave about the chocolate covered broccolini…who would of thought dark chocolate and vegetables would mix SO WELL? So yummy…I am thinking of imitating this at home…so nice….

Those last two photos of snacks that tasted good in NZ are their chips…Made from NZ potatoes! SO tasty…And also in the centre of Queenstown and literally also in every store that sells food…is COOKIE TIME. We went to the actual store..and yeah it’s super busy….and you can get lots of freshly baked cookies there! It is quite yummy…but it makes. a big difference when you buy the fresh ones from the store 🙂 I bought some back as a souvenir for my Aussie friends and family.

Other recommendation:

-At top of Skyline Gondola- The cafe there is pretty nice…I had a mixed berry crepe there…quite nice! My friend bought some Tip Top Icecream up there..it was quite generous for the amount they give you…I think it is an NZ brand of ice cream.

-Ferd burger, Ferd Bakery, and Ferd Ice cream. They are all in a line next to each other..and you can’t miss it…there’s always a line outside Ferg Burger. To be honest, the burger doesn’t look that awesome on the outside…hence no photos posted…but it tasted really nice! I got the lamb, but my friend got Venison…but yeah I preferred mine more…Would I get it twice? Probably not…the line up was about half an hour…then we waited an extra half an hour because they forgot my friend’s order…really bad service…and I guess average food…but …it is quite cheap in comparison to the other places we ate at I guess!! Worth trying…but make sure you ask where your order if you suddenly see other people’s numbers going before you.  They have the feeling of being a fast-food restaurant with no service…but yeah charging more and slowish service…

I think that is mostly what I ate out! If I didn’t take a photo or mention it here…it probably wasn’t worth mentioning! I had a great time eating delicious foods while here… 🙂

Look out for the next blog about activities I did in NZ…

 

Thanks for reading and supporting this blog as always :))!!

Not really an update…BUT..

As the title says, not really an update..but, I am going on a trip to New Zealand! Super excited!! I haven’t had a proper break from work or life since I started this blog almost 3 years ago…Go hard or go home…or go NZ.

I’ve never been to NZ so I will have lots of photos and experiences to share when I get back. Excited to see their sheep, experience their delicious Ferdburger, Paragliding, and exploring the Lord of the Ring movie backdrops… :O

Just a reminder to everyone work hard..but also remember to relax and enjoy life!! Or you will burn out like I do… sizzlee…..You only live once but you only die once too! More about this another time…

SUPER happy not to have to go to work for a week…LOL just so over it today… just let me go home!!! I still have some last-minute packing to do tomorrow morning…but other than that I am pretty much set to go…

I have packed some facemasks for the plane trip…thinking whether I need alcohol gel or antiseptic wipes…=s

I’ll update when I get back!!

Take care till then!