One evening Mike and I drove out to a lookout along the Great Ocean Road. I couldn’t tell you exactly where we were… somewhere near Peterborough. I went down the steps and enjoyed some quiet time on an empty beach. Just me and the seagull.
Time and distance.
You never know what you’ll actually miss after leaving a place. Last year I made a few predictions when I wrote “5 Things I Will Miss About Abu Dhabi” and “5 Things I Will NOT Miss About Abu Dhabi.” Since it’s been over a year now, I thought it would be fun to think over and share what it is that I actually miss. Taking a quick little trip there last month helped to straighten everything out in my mind.
The Top 3 Things I Actually Miss About Abu Dhabi:
Celebrating Molly’s marriage (missing Hannah and Sarah)
1. My friends. I know. In the original post I didn’t include friends and colleagues because I already knew that I would miss them a lot. Well, it turns out… I miss them tremendously! There’s no way they couldn’t be included on this list. Spending time with friends during my quick visit back just solidified how much I love them. Like I said before, it felt like I had only been gone for a few weeks. We’ve all bonded through our shared experience in the UAE in a way that’s hard to explain.(Soldiers in the trenches feels a bit too hyperbolic.) I’m so glad I had great friendships to help me get through the difficult times and celebrate the great times.
One of the only photos of my bed, outtake from our Christmas 2010 video
2. Clean sheets. I probably bring this up several times a week. There’s nothing like coming home from a stressful day at work or a long trip to find your bed perfectly made with a fresh set of clean white sheets. I was seriously spoiled. Living in a hotel apartment might be the greatest thing ever simply for this reason. Amazing. It’s really not the same feeling when you wash and change your own bedding…
Photo by my sister, example of a bodega style shop
3. The food. That’s pretty general but by “food” I mean:
1. The extensive and cheap grocery stores
2. The bodegas on every corner
3. All of my beloved novelty snacks (Square Crisps!!)
4. Saj 2 Go, Forty Fruity, and other regional eateries
5. Meals prepared in Emirati homes
In short, I’m pretty content with not living in Abu Dhabi anymore but I’m also grateful for my three year experience there. I’m glad I hit the green light on that adventure.
The Grotto is another little spot I enjoyed along the Great Ocean Road. A sinkhole and waves have created a peaceful little open cave that’s popular with visitors.
If only you could take a little swim in that pool.
***First, a word about From the Hip Friday. I’ve been going back and forth for several months over whether or not I should lay this weekly feature to rest. But… the reality is that I really love seeing everyone’s less than perfect photos. It’s not often you get to see blurry, out of focus, or blindly composed photos on a travel blog, right? There’s just something that really appeals to me in many of these photographs. So with all that being said, I’ve reached a compromise. From the Hip Friday will now run every other week (opposite of Big Thing Thursday). And like always, if you have a photo you shot from the hip (meaning without using the viewfinder), please share it here!***
Today’s photo from the hip comes from Mike. He snapped it while visiting the beach in Jurmala, Latvia. During the Soviet Era, when high level Communist Party officials needed a little beach holiday they came here. The beach is 33km long and covered in white quartz sand. I can see the appeal! Who knows what Mike’s intended subject was here, but I’m sure it definitely wasn’t the beautiful women. Right?
From the Hip Friday features photos taken without the use of a viewfinder. If you have a photograph that was taken from the hip you’d like to share here, please contact me!
“I seen a rainbow yesterday…”
A few days ago, I was sitting on my bed when I looked out the window at just the right moment. I grabbed my camera and then rushed downstairs to tell Mike and our roommate to look outside. We headed out the back gate (no shoes despite the wet ground) and joined the other onlookers.
From the balcony
From the street
It doesn’t come across in the photos, but the top of the rainbow was incredibly wide. At least the widest I’d ever seen. That added to the faint more dispersed rainbow nearby, and the colors reflecting in the rock pools made for one incredible view.
And speaking of views… there’s a new look going on over here. It was a quick process taking about oh six months! That’s what happens when you hate what you got but don’t know what you want. Thank you to my talented friend Julia for designing my new header, favicon, and social media icons. I’ve also freshened up my “Places” page so maybe take a little peek at that. There are a couple of tiny things I’d still like to change so anyone who has some CSS skills and wants to work out a trade*, let me know.
Since I was already making changes I decided to take this opportunity to abandon Blogger in favor of WordPress. That was a bit of a process and there may be a few kinks here and there to work out. For example, you might not even be able to see the changes yet! It should all be coming together over the next few days but if you find a broken link or something, please let me know. I highly recommend using Sharon Hujik’s easy to follow ebook for anyone who might be making the switch.
To finish, here’s my favorite Newcastle view.
Just for good measure.
*I can make some stuff.
Rumor has it.
Here’s a tip: If/when you drive the Great Ocean Road… hit the attractions in order. Otherwise, you’ll be staring at very similar photos with a confused look on your face while you simultaneously consult maps to figure out which rocks go where. Really.
I had fun screaming, “What!? I was supposed to be driving on the left?!”
Instead of doing things the easy way, Mike and I skipped a few spots and went back to catch them the next day. Now that it’s ahem… four months later, it makes things difficult.
But here we are. The next rock formations we stopped to see were The Arch (self explanatory) and London Bridge.
Actually, we were about 23 years too late to visit London Bridge. In 1990 half of the bridge decided that a few million years of standing was long enough. It collapsed into the sea and left a sightseeing couple stranded on the other half, surrounded by ocean. The pair had to wait a few hours to be rescued via helicopter. (Seriously, that’s an amazing vacation story!) We were told a rumor that the couple were actually engaged in an affair and were outed on the national news. I even think we were told the couple was in the nude (honestly, I could have added that in myself because seriously?). A little google search took me to this Australian myth-busting website that lists the rumor as “Undecided.” How interesting…
Before the fall.
Supposedly London Bridge is now referred to as London Arch… but I don’t think that’s in everyday use. Everything I saw still referred to it as a bridge.