Advent… time to light the candles

Advent wreath

I’d never really thought about the word Advent before I moved to Austria. Apart from the good old Advent calendar, it never occurred to me this was anything more than a commercialisation of the lead up to Christmas. Which, it kind of is, but as it turns out, starting on the Sunday nearest to the 30th of November, Advent signifies the beginning of spiritual preparation for Christmas.

Continue reading

Christmas 1998… bank balance… zero

Ritchies supermarket

Coming up to Christmas the year I finished high school, I was met with a shocking revelation – I had no money to buy presents for friends and family. My once-weekly evening job saw me earning more than enough to get by, in a time where my parents were still paying for my essentials, but the office closed over Christmas… and my pay checks would dry up. I had been thoughtless with my money. It’s not that I spent a lot – but I sure spent a lot on things I didn’t need.

I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I did not want to admit that despite pocket money and a job, come Christmas, I would be broke. In that moment I vowed that never again would I put myself in such a position. And I did what anyone would do… I concocted a lavish internet scam.

Just kidding… the internet was barely a thing back then…

Continue reading

Am I the ‘golden child’ of immigrants?

Beach Australia

Immigration is a big topic in Austria. Let’s be honest, it’s a big topic almost everywhere, and one of those places, is Australia. I grew up in a multi-cultural boiling pot complete with all the challenges that come with a mixing of different cultures, sprinkled with racism and the natural tendency to gravitate toward people that look and act like you do. In the time that I’ve been in Austria the immigration debate has just gotten hotter, with scores of people attempting to escape violence or just seeking a better life for their families. I like to imagine that my perspective is more rational because I grew up in a country that was already rife with these problems. But who knows. Let’s not forget the fact, that as a white Australian, I am technically an immigrant to my own country. I am not actually native. My ancestors are English prisoners… that essentially stole the land from the aborigines.

Continue reading

The obsession with electricity

Snow sun winter

When we moved in, our house was already kitted out with solar panels on the roof. I’ll admit that I didn’t realise there was a difference. I thought our solar panels simply generated electricity – so heating the water and everything else. But apparently you need a special kind for that. Something called Photovoltaic. I don’t get the science behind it, but earlier this year we installed these special panels on the roof, which now means, that we generate electricity, not just heat water.

Continue reading

Anyone else have trouble making it through a full movie these days?

Matrix movie

Maybe it’s my age, and that I get tired. Maybe it’s the ease with which shows can be stopped and started these days. Maybe it’s the number of short, easy to digest series available. Maybe it’s that our attention spans are getting worse. Maybe the movies just aren’t as good anymore. Who knows, but what I know is, it seems like making it through a full movie in one go is not like it used to be.

Continue reading

Oy – the robot lawnmower dog

Robot lawnmower

Last year we invested in a robot lawnmower. I have to admit I wasn’t initially certain that outsourcing the mowing to a robot was a wise investment, but then again, I am not the one who has to mow every week (back problems gets you out of that permanently).

We named him Oy, after the Billy Bumbler in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, because… well… he needed a name and he’s kind of like a dog. It’s almost like he craves human interaction.

Continue reading

The 15 minute movie rule

netflix watch list

Choosing a movie or new series can be a difficult choice when there’s more than one of you involved. Whether it’s between friends, family or couples, there’s usually an element of trying to make sure everyone’s happy. Hubby and I have an extensive list of movies and series we want to watch on Netflix, yet somehow when it comes to actually watching one, we still struggle to make a clear cut decision.

So we invented the 15 minute rule.

Continue reading