In the way that these things often happen, the day of departure for my visit to Australia seemed to be impossibly far away and yet has arrived far more quickly than seemed possible. I think I've barely even mentioned it here.
Regardless, tomorrow I head for Frankfurt, a German book club meeting (still haven't read the book, oops) and then some Glühwein at the Weihnachtsmarkt. And it's gotten cold enough over the last couple of days that drinking mulled wine will be even more of a pleasure - the year we had to take our jackets off because we got too warm while drinking it just wasn't the same.
Then on Sunday morning it's off to the airport for a flight to Kuala Lumpur, where I'll spend nearly two days before heading on to arrive in Sydney on my birthday. My sister and her hubby will pick me up from the airport and after dinner that evening I suspect the next item on the itinerary will be sleep for at least three days. At some stage I'll head up to Brisbane for a day or two. My sister has a few days off before christmas and we're going to stay in the Blue Mountains for a couple of days as well as a night in a place called Jervis Bay, which she has wanted to go to for a while. BiL is going to do a full traditional Irish christmas dinner, complete with turkey, ham, mashed and roast potatoes and all the other trimmings. Sounds lovely. Except that it's 40 degrees in Sydney at the moment. Still, eating is the easy part, at least I don't have to cook all that. When I come back at the end of the month, I'm going to stay in my friend's place in Frankfurt for a few days and then I'll come back home. All in all, I have FIVE weeks holidays and I cannot wait. Just a few more hours of work (with twice as much to do as it should be possible to get through in those hours, naturally) and I can go home and start packing.
We got paid yesterday, including our bonus for this year (the last one - they're doing away with it next year). I didn't really manage to get my finances back under control quickly after the events of last April and May, so I've used my bonus to clear the credit card which I had used to book my flight and have paid a chunk off my old credit card and overdraft balances, too. Debt balance is still five thousand, which is about where I was this time last year, if I recall correctly. But my trip to Australia is paid for now and I have cash saved to spend while there (about what my sister recommended, which is three times what I would have thought necessary). Sensibly speaking, I should have postponed it for another year but for one reason and another (not least that the bank holidays around the end of the year mean less holiday days used up to take a long time off work) I decided to go ahead with it and I am really glad. I really need a break, I think it'll mean a lot to my sister that someone from her family is finally going to visit her and it's a once in a lifetime trip that should be lots of fun. I don't much like the heat but I do think a few weeks of sunshine in the middle of winter is going to do me a lot of good as well. Maybe I'll even start to get my vitamin D deficiency under control. And my sister's going to lend me her camera when I'm there so you might even get to see a decent photo or two. Hooray for holidays!