Saturday, 17 April 2010

Extra-Curricular Activities

Tom and I have discovered that moving overseas creates a great enthusiasm to take up new hobbies, try that sport that you’ve been meaning to do for years, and just generally do more ‘things’ that we would ever be motivated to do at home. We started with a gym membership and our photography course earlier this year, but this week our extra-curricular activities have risen to a new level.

Tom was cooking up a storm in the kitchen last Sunday when he heard an advert for the Elance Adult Ballet School in Melbourne. I was promptly called away from the ironing (haha, aren’t I a good girlfriend?!) to listen to the advert, and within two days I had enrolled at the school and taken my first class! The Elance school runs out of a beautiful purpose built studio complex in the suburb of Hawthorn East, and has daily ballet classes for dancers of all abilities. Unlike many of the adult dance schools in big cities around the globe, at Elance you sign up for a full term, must show up on time and wear uniform to class – the closest thing I’ve ever found to the familiar surroundings of my childhood dancing experiences with Diane Gulliford. The parallels don’t stop there however – the school principle at Elance is also called Diane! So, I think this was meant to be and I’ve signed up for 12 classes.

As is normal for me, I’ve managed to turn finding a new activity into an excuse to go shopping! Although I brought ballet shoes with me on the plane from the UK (too precious for the ship!), I didn’t bring any clothing, so yesterday I had a field day in the Bloch shop buying a leotard, tights and ballet skirt. I got incredibly distracted by some tiny but beautiful Baby Bloch ballet shoes – Ella and Lucy if they hadn’t been sooo expensive I was going to buy a pair each for Dora and Amelie! I thought $55 a pair was a bit pricey when your babies aren’t even walking yet, let alone doing first position.. Miss Gulliford if you are reading this though I challenge you to resist buying a pair for baby Catrin!

Severely crippled from Tuesday night’s class, Wednesday evening was the first of five sessions of a wine tasting course. After an embarrassing start by being the last to arrive (we weren’t late, but the tutor was clearly waiting for us!), there weren’t two available seats next to each other. After we took our seats separately, the woman next to me asked if Tom wanted to swap with her so that we could sit together. Tom said ‘yes’ just as I said ‘no’ – cue much laughter from the rest of the class. Sorry Tom, it’s not that I didn’t want to sit next to you, because really I did – I was just being ‘British’ and trying not to cause a fuss!

What followed was some interesting tuition from our (English!) tutor on how to taste wines, plus the opportunity to smell, taste and score three whites and three reds. The room was full of suggestions as to the wine scents and flavours – citrus, spices and chocolate were all suggestions, and we received a flavour ‘wheel’ to help us out with ideas... including the well known and sought after scents of ‘wet dog’, ‘skunk’ and ‘hydrogen sulphide’! I sat quietly and wondered to myself if there was something wrong with my sense of smell and my tastebuds - all I could smell and taste was wine! I confided in my colleagues Neil and Richard the next day, explaining my total lack of ability in the wine department. They then enlightened me that wine tasting is all about lying – “just make it up!”, they said! This has left me somewhat bemused that we’ve paid $580 to a wine company to learn how to bluff about wines. Perhaps the answer is to drink more and think less! I’ll keep you posted...

On Thursday night, Tom’s British colleague Carolyn had invited us to the local pub quiz. We thought it would be a great opportunity to meet some new people, so off we went to join a team of eight Brits and one, poor, lonely Aussie. We’ve since faced allegations that really we are still living in Britain – our social circle is all ex-pats, we read British news and watch British TV (we hope you all enjoyed Masterchef as much as we did!). In our defence however, we are trying very hard to be Aussie, but there are SO many Brits here that it would be rude to not socialise with them! The quiz was challenging, and we placed a respectable fourth amongst a group of eleven teams with considerably more experience. This placing was achieved despite the ‘hot seat’ round being on my specialist subject of musicals, where I embarrassingly failed to remember that West Side Story is based on Romeo and Juliet. Never mind that I was able to complete the answer of the next team’s question.... in the musical My Fair Lady, ‘hurricanes hardly happen’ in which three counties..? Answers on a postcard please.

Friday night was work drinks, with the usual and now very friendly gang of the Canadians Richard and Tamara, the Brits Rob and Jacqui, and the now the newcomers Neil and Claire! We went for dinner on Melbourne’s Southbank and afterwards saw Reginald D Hunter’s stand up show, which was part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival. It wasn’t particularly remarkable, so I won’t remark further!

So now it’s Saturday, and Tom is off playing basketball (a similar resurgence of enthusiasm to my ballet classes) and I’m sitting on the balcony writing this blog. Summer has returned for one day only, so I’m maximising the tanning opportunity. I know that when we come home in June you will all remark that we are very pale, and question whether or not we’ve actually been in Australia for the past eight months!

There have been lots of missed celebrations this week for those we miss and love from back home, so here are a few messages... happy birthday this week to Dad, Anna and Kev, congratulations to Mr and Mrs Smith on your baby news, and much love to ‘you know who you both are’ on your engagement! Girls I’m very exciting to have a SATC2 date with you all, and Emma, March, Jake and Daisy it was lovely to see you all on Skype for the first time last weekend!

I don’t have any exciting photos from this week, so this is my on the balcony writing the blog:

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who can't tell anything about what wine tastes or smells like... I just drink it! Sounds like you and Tom are having such a great time and how exciting about your ballet classes for adults... wish I could find something like that for former figure skaters- they need some adult skating classes, not just opportunities for competition as an adult. I haven't found anything yet though.

    Keep enjoying the sunshine!