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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Wrapping up the year

Deni and Alex hanging out at home
We were only JUST saying goodbye to Denisse in Australia, and now we are JUST about to go and see her in Ecuador!  How did that happen?! It's certainly been a very interesting year - one full of surprises, changes and challenges.

Wow, where has 2012 (almost) gone? The house felt strange after Denisse left in May. She had certainly brought a vitality and spark to it, which we certainly missed when she left. The first few weeks felt strange, but like most things in life, you learn to readjust and cope. We decided that we would visit India over Christmas, so that kept our minds occupied as well as gave us something to look forward to. We bought the Lonely Planet India guide and started to ask friends about where to go and what to see. It has been on our 'to do' list for ages.

The out-laws, Kazz and Alex
August 10 ... Happy Birthday Alex! A quiet night at home with the family.  I had an idea, and I shared it with Alex. "Hey, why don't you ask Dad for a birthday present?  Tell him that you want him to come to Ecuador and meet the family!" Alex looked at me ... he thought it was a great idea, but a long shot as we had mentioned it to Dad before with resounding nos! Ah, we had nothing to lose, so Alex ran it by him, telling him that this is the gift he wanted and IF he would come to Ecuador that we would change our plans.  To our surprise he listened intently to Alex's proposal. At the end he told Dad that whilst there was no pressure we needed to know within two weeks as we had to book the tickets.  Dad looked up and very calmly told us he'd think about it! What!?

Going to Ecuador ... yayyyyy!!!
To be honest Alex and I were shocked!  We spent the next week pondering as to whether he was 'finally going to do it'! A week later Alex reminded Dad that (again) whilst there was no pressure, we had to know within the week as to whether he was coming.  He looked up and said. "I'm coming!" We were both in shock, and I started to cry.  I simply could not believe it!  I hugged him and kept asking him if he was sure. Was he going to change his mind?  Are you sure you are sure I kept asking him.  Yes, he was sure.  Group hug!  Dad was coming to Ecuador and we were ecstatic! We told the family in Ecuador ... let the preparations begin!  Everybody began organising stuff immediately.

So, our new travel plans were beginning to take form. We trawled the internet (you try and find cheap tickets to Ecuador in early September for Christmas) for weeks and finally went, via a recommendation, through Karen at Escape Travel in Knox City. She did a fantastic job of getting us the best deal she could in what can only be described as a peak time! Tickets purchased ... we were going! So, since then Alex and I have employed a little more structure to the way we have been planning our trip. Traditional 'let's wing it' people, we have been plugging away to ensure that Dad will get the biggest bang for his buck!

Ombi and Alex with from L to R: Moana, Mikey and Pablo
October 14 ... my birthday!  You never know what weather Melbourne is going to dish out, but I decided to have a picnic in the park on the day of my actual birthday, which fell on a Sunday. We went to Edwardes Park Lake very close by. I invited a whole heap of friends and family to just come and hang out. It was a great day and I got to chat and relax with my nearest and dearest.


In October Alex was involved with helping organise a free concert being put on by the Embassy of Ecuador in Australia and the Consulate General of Ecuador in Sydney. Finding out about this through another
L to R: Jorge Saade-Scaff and Julio Almeid
Ecuadorian contact he offered his help to promote the classical music concert. 'Duo Paganini' is Jorge Saade-Scaff on violin and Julio Almeida on guitar.  They would be performing at the Melbourne Conservatorium  of Music at Melba Hall. Alex is proud of being Australian but he is also fiercely proud of being Ecuadorian, and he wanted to ensure that this concert was a success and attracted as many people as possible.  For your interest, both of the musicians are world-class artists and have performed at New York's famous and prestigious Carnegie Hall.

With Raul Gangotena, Ecuadorian Ambassador to Australia
 Saade-Scaff and Almeida performed on 3 November infront of almost 200 people. They were introduced by Raul Gangotena, Ecuador's Ambassador to Australia and Luis Valencia, the Ecuadorian Consul in Sydney. They did a fantastic job of introducing Ecuador's talent, and I in turn introduced them. It was a brilliant concert, enjoyed by all.  I have never seen 'so many' Ecuadorians in one place. After the event, Alex and I and a few of our friends went out for a Thai meal close by.  We invited the musicians and the Ambassador to come along.  What a  great evening we had. What down to earth people they all were.

Catching up with friends, dinners, parties ... we always have an abundance. In fact, usually more events than we have time for, but we love our friends and family and always find a way to fit them in.

2012 has been, and continues to be, an interesting year.  It has been a year full of challenges and changes, out with the old and in with the new!  A year of introspection, a year to ponder upon WHAT and WHO is important. Those things and people who don't make the grade ain't making it to the 2013 bucket list!

Life is for living, and I only want to be surrounded  by positivity and people who get me!  For those that don't ... please take a bow and move on!  The same goes for Alex.

We are off overseas again tomorrow! First stop, Fort Myers, USA, where we will spend a few days with Alex's cousin Christian, before flying on to Quito, to spend Christmas and the New Year with the family.

BRING IT ON!

Ombi

"There comes a point in your life when you realise who really matters, who never did  and who always will" - Unknown
Betty, Dion and Karina

Dedication: To all the people who know me, love me and respect me for who I am, and not for who they'd like me to be. You know who you all are. I would like to make a special mention of two of my very special friends Betty Penna and Laurice Asmar; thanks for your unwavering love and support and for being the voice of reason,when I felt that all reason was lost! Love you both!


Books read: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas




Betty and Alex with Julio Almeida

L to R: Jorge, Ombi, Gary and Sam

Alex and Linda

Happy Birthday to me


With baby Josh


Reclaim the Night ... Womyn Unite


With Auntie Rina

With my soul mate


Pablo and Moana, Pablo's Birthday


The Zanettis


Arepas at Gimela's

Dad and the Garcia Clan       







Deni trying her hand at an Aussie meal

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