From Our Own Correspondent, 2013

(131 Posts)
Salbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 06:33:57

If I may? Loads of us seem keen. Idea is to post a little about your daily life overseas or a particular trip, event etc of interest, modelled on the R4 programme.

Got the school run but shall think of something to post later.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Mon 28-Oct-13 12:28:17

Hey Sibble, sounds lovely! have been in Asia for a few years now and can't believe we have not yet made it to NZ yet!
The children are old enough now to traipse around for a couple of weeks so hopefully next winter!

We just spent 5 days in Seoul and its just shocking hearing, everywhere you go in Asia about what the Japanese did.
Thought I'd heard/read all about it but no. In Korea, the first rape of Seoul goes back to 1592! And it has been periodical and relentless until the capitulation after the 2nd world war. The war memorial is the best I've seen in the world.
The old palaces are made on the same blueprint as the imperial city in Beijing and the surrounding area is a bit like the old Kyoto. So well preserved and peaceful although surrounded by a futuristic landscape.
A great mix between China and Japan. And of course the Autumn leaves. All shades of yellow and red.

How delicate they are and such depth and beauty in Japan, its hard to understand the cruelty, the systematic brutality, the detachment and sense of superiority.
Which brings me to our ethnocentric approach as europeans. Why Is nazism still the ultimate standard of all evil when we refer to that period and subsequent genocides?

My 9 year old, who is learning about Sumer and Mesopotamia and the "invention" of cuneiform script stood still in front of a display at the museum.
It depicted on a timeline the advent of the first Korean settlements of people along a river, pictograms found in caves and the development of trade along the rivers and the start of irrigation, agriculture and cuneiform tablets as trade receipts.
The same things, on another continent and actually prior to mesopotamia.

Why aren't our children in the western world learning about relative values and ethnocentricity? In this age of globalization, isn't it about time?

Sibble Mon 28-Oct-13 02:31:58

Auckland, NZ
It is Labour Weekend, a public holiday that commemorates the struggle for an 8-hour working day, but for most people means the beginning of summer. Traditionally from Friday lunchtime onwards (although the holiday period does not officially start until 4pm on the Friday) cars, cars with trailers, boats, campervans and every other type of vehicle you can imagine start to head out of the major cities as people head to the beach. The police implement a 4km over the speed limit penalty (it's usually 10) and road blocks are set up for drink drivers and to check car registration, driving licenses etc...

We, like alot of other Aucklanders, have a bach (kiwi beach house). For the most part bach's lie dormant over the winter months. Our bach is on the West Coast, wild, known for it's fantastic surf beach, rugged landscape and with a population of under 300 beautifully quiet except for about a month over Christmas/January when the population probably doubles. Labour Weekend though feels like somebody has dusted off a cobweb and a sleepy town comes to life. The local clubs all hold musters, registrations for the summer months: sailing and yacht club, surf club, yoga, the fishing club and more.. The first festival takes place - Art at the Port - where local artists who have been creating through the winter months show and sell their work. Clubs hold sausage sizzles to fundraise for the coming season. Old friends are reacquainted. Shouts of 'hi how you doing', 'hi good to see you' 'hi hope the surf, fish, weather is good this year' etc.... Kids excitedly knock on friends houses, meet at the park, plan their summer adventures, excitedly go to checek whether last year's hut survived winter......Lawns are mown, hedges strimmed, bach's aired, boats are given an airing, quads a run. Bach's would have sold over winter and some would have been placed on the market, adults chat about the families who are no longer part of their summer lives and speculate about who the new occupants will be. On the Monday the cars join the queue and snake their way back to town, for one weekend a year the traffic doesn't seem to matter as families look forward to the next 6 months of summer.

Back home in LA after a month in UK; it makes me sad that every time I go "home" it is easier to leave, anyone feel similar? I still miss everything and everyone but look more forward to coming back here again.

It is a lovely balmy 26degrees, after arriving in the middle of a freak rain cloud, and true to LA autumn form we spent a hot afternoon in a mid city pumpkin patch; surrounded by dusty busy streets, obligatory small petting zoo and bouncy castle and thousands upon thousands of pumpkins.

Pumpkins have also hit the shops - every single food item an now be found containing pumpkin: waffles, soup, cheese, pies, nuts (!!), pasta sauces, chocolates....you name it, there is a pumpkin flavored alternative.

Tomorrow we're decorating for Halloween then touring the neighborhood to Oooh and aaaah at our neighbours' decorated homes

CherryLip Fri 11-Oct-13 17:51:57

Well I am newly arrived in HK and had a trip to the post office to send a card and a small package overseas. Got lots of lovely stamps and a green customs thingy for the package which I duly filled out but how do you attach to said package....tried sticking it on, asked someone else who tried same to no avail so resorted to Sellotape! Popped it in the post box in hope DD will receive it !

MasterOfTheYoniverse Thu 10-Oct-13 10:34:33

Nothing new over here appart from the penis beaker threaded being posted on our local expat facebook group!
That was a bit odd!
Dont understand why it went so viral, there have been much funnier mumsnet classics before....

Wibblypiglikesbananas Tue 08-Oct-13 15:12:59

It's not so bad! The schools here are open, the libraries are open and our rubbish was collected last week. Apparently there's some money to last a few weeks?!

House of Cards - loved it! And Kevin Spacey was in DC again a couple of weeks ago at a charity event my friend ran. I don't know about the filming, though the title sequence was definitely filmed here as every time it came on, we kept saying, ooh, it's X-place/street. I think they've left it open for another series - hope so!

BillyGoatintheBuff Tue 08-Oct-13 02:46:20

Washington dc! I have just watched 'house of cards', but afterwards read it wasn't even filmed in dc!!

MasterOfTheYoniverse Mon 07-Oct-13 03:40:26

I've just learned from another thread that DC is actually not a "state" what does that mean? So appart from emergency services and Police you are "shutdown"? schools? trash collection etc? sounds unreal!

All quiet in our parts. Went to a fundraiser for syrian refugees last week. Its amazing to see so many people so removed from that situation get together here and do their bit. There are so many worthy causes much closer to us and its nice to see people still thinking laterally and stretching themselves to raise awareness and help.

thanksamillion Sun 06-Oct-13 17:39:20

Hope everyone has been having a good weekend.

We had a minor earthquake at 4.30am today. Enough to give the house a good shake and make me glad that I don't live in one of the ubiquitous soviet era apartment blocks. Our house is built of mud - literally just piled on top of itself and then with a thin skim of concrete. People still build like this here. We know a young couple and they have literally built their house by hand over the last two years. Quite an undertaking!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sat 05-Oct-13 17:43:48

Hi all, great idea for a thread. I'm in Washington DC and have been for the past year or so. Moved here for DH's job and am just about to give birth to DC2, who will become a dual national.

It's been a crazy week here - government shutdown, the shootings on the Hill and then someone setting themselves on fire yesterday. Seriously, all week I've had family checking in to see if we're all ok. And that's not to mention the shootings a couple of weeks back... Honestly, sometimes I wonder how long I'll be able to stand it here.

On the plus side, the weather is still glorious, so despite leaves changing to a beautiful red everywhere, it is 90F this weekend (actually, not so good if you've outgrown your maternity shorts!). We (toddler DD and I) go to outdoor parks most afternoons until at least 6:30pm and four of my mum friends are all due the same week so we tend to sit on a bench and chat/moan whilst the little ones play.

Things are building up ready for Halloween - shops full of costumes and candy and lots of my neighbours have pumpkins outside their houses already. I think the first one we saw was at the beginning of September! That said, one of my neighbours also has Christmas lights up permanently so who knows?! Going to a Halloween costume swap event on Monday to trade in last year's outfit for another for DD.

Nice to meet you all - have a good rest of weekend!

BillyGoatintheBuff Fri 04-Oct-13 12:03:16

Hi gertbysea smile

It's the jazz festival this weekend, it always rains for that!! I wonder if it will this year?!

Inthesleeplessnightgarden Fri 04-Oct-13 09:42:57

Thinking of building an ark here in Lagos. The rain started at 3am and hasn't stopped. Roads totally flooded and traffic at a standstill. No sign of it letting up. Thank goodness our house is solid, I saw stalls floating down the road earlier so thinking of those whose livelihoods are on the line.

GertBySea Thu 03-Oct-13 05:30:25

Hi billy I'm also near Manly. Loved the hail as I won't need to water the garden now!! Poor brown lawn doesn't stand a hope of making it through the summer!!

BillyGoatintheBuff Thu 03-Oct-13 05:25:45

Near Manly, NSW, Australia.

It was pretty hot and humid (sweaty) here yesterday so I took the girls to the beach and it was lovley. Today we had to dash home from the park as fast as we could because it started to rain and then hail! I don't remember the last time I saw hail over here and it's coming up to summer so I was totally baffled! We sought shelter for a few moments under a shop awning and everyone was saying 'it's hailing!'. It continued to bucket it down for about 20 mins but has stopped now and it is feel very cool and wintery. You get a small of hot tarmac when it rains.

Last night we were all kept awake from the noise of a nearby road being worked on, we're in the suburbs.

It's school holidays and everywhere has been unbearable busy for the last week and a bit, it made me dread summer a little bit, but I am sure we will figure out some nice places to go that are npt too crazy busy all the time. I used to live in Cornwall and all anyone moans about in the summer is the tourists, and we have itr similar here! But of course I'm grateful really as we get it all to ourselves for the cooler months over autumn and winter.

Most people have got a long weekend coming up this weekend, Manly holds an annual Jazz festival and out of the 4 years we have been it has rained for every single one of them! I like that the town makes the effort to put things on though it does make it feel like there is always something happening and it suits me as I never plan ahead but can always go along to things happening locally and enjoy them smile

ifink thailand holiday sounds like good idea!! I have found the last three visits from my parents mostly awful and the last one especially bad :S

thanksamillion Wed 02-Oct-13 10:01:43

It's grape season here too wakemeup but where we live it's all on a very small scale. Almost everyone makes their own wine and the morning air has had a very heady aroma for the last few weeks grin.

This week people are focused on harvesting the corn. They collect it in from the fields then sit around separating the husks, stalks and scraping off the actual corn. The corn is mainly used for animal feed, the stalks for temporary shelters for animals etc and also for fodder, and the husks are used to burn to heat the houses. Nothing is wasted but it's very time consuming.

wakemeupnow Wed 02-Oct-13 07:19:43

This morning i took my ds to the school bus at 7am. The local primary school already had its doors open as sleepy eyed children went into the guarderie. The parents leaving them wearing old work clothes, piling into battered vans to head off for the days vendange.

Grape picking has started and every 10 minutes a huge lorry loaded with grapes rumbles past our house. It's a tiny gorge road and for the next month I'll run the gauntlet with these vehicules that take no prisoners, or be stuck behind tractors crawling along the windy route.

GertBySea Wed 02-Oct-13 07:00:08

ifink I've always wanted to do a holiday like that. Might have to put it on the list for next year. We have done a few holidays with the family, but not halfway - always in Europe. That is still better than them or us staying with the other for weeks at a time, though - everyone's cheerful and, as you say, can escape one another.

We are off on a short break tomorrow - typical Australian self catering place - check in at 3pm, check out at 9am and take your own linen. So odd. We are considering paying for an extra night so that we don't have to get out at the crack of dawn on a public holiday Monday.

ifink Tue 01-Oct-13 04:00:05

Thanks so much MasteroftheY, we're back now and family are already talking over email about what we do for our next trip together - so lovely that everyone (for once) was happy and enjoyed themselves - even my dad who is the world's fussiest man I think. Great ideas, I will check them out.

PeriPathetic Mon 30-Sep-13 19:38:35

Thank you. Yeah, it's the codeine I need. Don't want to get into trouble by asking for it if it isn't allowed. It's 'illegal' in quite a few countries, but not the UK...
I applied for their club card a few weeks ago. It's not arrived!

Finding it weird getting my head around the back to front seasons. Spring again, yay!

Salbertina Mon 30-Sep-13 18:54:12

Well, welcome Peri smile It really helps that it's spring. Hope sun is shining where you are. Sure you can get paracetamol in clicks or wherever- ask the in store pharmacist. Never asked for codeine, don't know. Oh and worth getting their clubcard. Apparently. I applied for mine 1 year ago and never arrived- never sent, lost in post? Who knows. Have learnt to pick my battles!

PeriPathetic Mon 30-Sep-13 18:23:16

I've finally finished unpacking! Well, apart from the picture which require a little thought.

Absolutely loving this country so far, even after a rather terrifying personal security course last week.

A question for other SA dwellers: can I buy paracetamol and codeine over the counter in Clicks? If so, what do I ask for? My back is killing me after shifting so many boxes!

Inthesleeplessnightgarden Mon 30-Sep-13 09:48:08

Just reporting back in Friday's show at nursery. Was so gorgeous to see DS and all his classmates done up in their traditional outfits, and the teachers too. Wow, there were some amazing headdresses going on! I was fascinated to see and hear the songs and dances DS has obviously been practicing at school but that I didn't recognise at all when he 'sang' them at home. Now I realise I don't know the words because they were sung in Yoruba! I love that DS is having a really international experience but it does make me sad that he won't really remember any of this when he grows up. It's spurred me in to finish of this year's photo book so we have a visual record at least.

Isthiscorrect Sun 29-Sep-13 03:47:55

Checking in from Dubai to talk medicine, the good and the bad. Firstly medical insurance is compulsory, however different companies have different policies, generally, but not always, the company pays. Our company is pretty good, the policy includes orthodontics and Physio etc.
This last week ds 18 yrs, has been putting the card to a pretty battering. Basically he has had a headache enough to cause him to cry with pain since a week ago. The bad news, we couldn't get into our gp until Wednesday (from Sunday) and ds was desperate and couldn't wait, good news the hospital has a 24 hour walking clinic. So off we go after I finish work and then parents evening (yep ds came to that). Firstly the hospital do valet parking! I love valet parking, whilst it's not so hot here - about 38- it still is really quite humid so getting out at the front door with out having to circle to find a parking space is great. Next, 5 checkin desks so no queue, that's great, very painless (haha). Called straight away for triage and then into doc within 2 mins. Hmm, maybe the way they can keep to timings is the speed of assessment, doc didn't even touch ds except to listen to his heart for maybe one breathe. Pills prescribed and we were out. Done and dusted in less than 15 mins from parking the car including paying at a cost of 50dhs to us (just under GBP 10).
By Wednesday ds still not well, medication not working, unable to sleep we see our gp. What a difference, full consultation, different medicine prescribed, we leave after 45 mins at a cost of 300dhs to be reclaimed by us from insurance company and an appointment for Saturday. On Saturday we are straight in full reassessment, more blood tests, new script for controlled drugs and a promise to call with the results today.
I love the NHS, there really is nothing in the world to beat it, but seeing a gp in the UK is really difficult, appointments for a week away. I'm pleased we can get the level of service that that we do and just sad that it should be available to everyone everywhere :-(

omuwalamulungi Sun 29-Sep-13 02:47:25

Thats the thread... Not Uganda...

omuwalamulungi Sun 29-Sep-13 02:46:26

Love this thread! Marking place, more of you in Africa than I expected - will join in from Uganda in a few weeks if its still going!

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