Burns Supper!

Burns Supper!

It’s about time I write the last Impressive European Art Blog post as I have been back in Australia for 3 days already! Three days and it feels like weeks and a total dream.

So my last 6 days in Brighton were amazing, perfect really – apart from all the times I suddenly realised I was going home, leaving me to have spontaneous crying sessions, but they never lasted long and they always ended with cuddles and laughter. But the last week was amazing and I couldn’t have asked to have a better week as my last – I definitely feel like I left on a total high and a bang, leaving me with such positive and happy memories I smile as I think about Brighton and my (what feels like a dream now) life in Europe.

Going out for coffee with Emily...standard

Going out for coffee with Emily…standard

The view from one angle in Eden.

The view from one angle in Eden.

BRANDY!!

BRANDY!!

Our local beach in Eden on arrival.

Our local beach in Eden on arrival.

Packing struggles

Packing struggles

Dyke Road

Dyke Road

Roni's brands...

Roni’s brands…

Seth and Gabi

Seth and Gabi

Film clip ready!

Film clip ready!

Pretty Brighton

Pretty Brighton

Aly introducing the Haggis

Aly introducing the Haggis

Burns Supper

Burns Supper

So on Saturday when I arrived back to Brighton I went straight to Emily’s work for a beer, it was pouring with rain and I got totally drenched but it was so worth it. It was also my farewell party so after some food and a drink at home with Emily and Roni we went to the Marlborough to greet everyone for the last hurrah. It was a great night, we danced a lot, laughed and had a great time. It was so nice to see everyone and spend a happy night together.

On Sunday I had my farewell Burns supper at the Buddhist Centre. This was also lots of fun even though I wasn’t in fine form. We all read poetry and sung songs from our native countries. Aly made an amazing dinner and it was also a great night.

On Monday I basically relaxed and enjoyed our house. I went to the centre on Monday night to have the last Ngondro Mondays with Marushka and she cooked amazing food which we enjoyed eating together.

Tuesday was spontaneous creative day! Emily and I decided to make a film clip for my latest song and also record it. I haven’t made the film clip yet but watch this space. We managed to record the song and Frances sung the chorus and helped us fiddle with the sound. It was so much fun and a great creative time.

Then Seth and Gabi came over for tea and I went with them and Roni out for dinner at Emily’s work. There was a pub quiz on – one of my first ever, so we had to join in. We had a great laugh when we scored 0 points for the ‘what TV ad is this’ round as none of us own or even watch TV.

On Wednesday I had my final last half day at Aldrington. I went out with a bang – rapping my new song to the entire school at assembly! All the children were sad to see me go and I was very touched, I didn’t realise it would be so hard leaving that place. I got loads of cards and presents and all the kids and staff were very sweet – I had a great time there and I am really grateful to that school for their warm and open community and letting me (as a supply teacher) be a part of it.

Emily had a stomach bug on Tuesday night and was still very rough on Wednesday so I stayed home and took care of her. We made chicken soup and watched a movie – simple and sweet.

Thursday was my last day which meant the packing needed to begin to my dismay, but I got through it with no major dramas.

On Thursday night I went to the centre for the last time and gave a 10 minute talk. It was a sad happy occasion saying goodbye to everyone there as they really have been precious diamonds to me in my life in Brighton. They are amazing and the centre really is incredible and such a saviour. I will miss them all and that place but am so happy I got to contribute and be a part of it and I’ll be back one day!

After meditation I went to have a beer with Kendal and Marie – it was great to see him, such a happy man and then we all went to the Green Door store where they were playing depressing music which didn’t help my already emotionally vulnerable state. I managed to have a good time regardless but was feeling very emotionally vulnerable, as I already said. I had to say goodbye to lots of really close friends, who are amazing and I will miss very much, there were a few tears shed for sure.

Friday the day of my departure came and I had to say goodbye to Emily first thing in the morning, which left me balling my eyes out in Roni’s bed. But Roni being a clever women knew exactly how to cheer me up – with a quick round of the interpretive dance game.

Petr came over for tea which was really nice and then before I knew it the time had come to leave. Roni and I had a great day together which involved a bath and rubbing duck tennis and she came to the bus station and waited with me. She made me laugh and then cry as she serenaded me on the bench. Then the bus was there and I was on my way for adventure part 2.

I cried the entire way to the airport – 2 hours! It was epic, but it was sad, happy, grateful crying. At the airport I had way too much luggage so had to do some spontaneous re-packing and throwing away of items, but I managed.

Then all of a sudden I was  saying my last goodbyes and shedding my last tears and I was on board the plane. Because of the emotional and physical exhaustion I basically slept the entire way back to Australia. The whole trip basically went like this – watch a movie, sleep, eat, watch a movie, sleep, eat…..oh wow Sydney, HELLO!!!!

I was laughing a lot to myself on my arrival and everyone and everything sounded so familiarly funny!

Mum and Dad greeted me at Merimbula airport after 34 hours of travel and I shed a little tear of joy to see them again. I was blown away by the weather, the smell and the sound of all the birds!!! Australia really is a paradise and I had totally forgotten how beautiful it actually is. I totally cried when I saw Brandy and she recognised me and nuzzled in for a massive cuddle and then went straight to get one of her toys to bring me.

It is so good to be home, but the whole thing feels like a dream. My family are amazing and I am so lucky to have all of this and such generous  parents and I am so lucky that I got to have that time in Europe. I haven’t had an ounce of jet lag which is a blessing in itself.

So this is it. The last post of the Impressive European Art Blog that had nothing to do with art. I am so grateful for my time in Europe and all the amazing people I met that filled me with so much joy, inspiration, motivation and life experience. I will always treasure my year and a half a way and I know I will miss living in Brighton (Europe) and all the people, but they will all stay close to me and my memories and I look forward to returning in the future – whenever that may be. So thank you to everyone I met on the way and to all the people for reading this. May you all be filled with all the love, joy and happiness there is! Peace out.

 

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Fairy Tale Land

Fairy Tale Land

Morning in Fairytale land

Morning in Fairytale land

Super friendly cat!

Super friendly cat!

Snow Buddha and me

Snow Buddha and me

Group Karaoke

Group Karaoke

Housicles

Housicles

Snow Crocodile!

Snow Crocodile!

Snow swinging!

Snow swinging!

Snow Swinging!

Snow Swinging!

Chillin!

Chillin!

LACI!

LACI!

Charades!

Charades!

Biatta!

Biatta!

Snow Storm!

Snow Storm!

Leony post snow play!

Leony post snow play!

Laci in the kitchen!

Laci in the kitchen!

The Amazing view...again

The Amazing view…again

Coffee at the Bau Cafe anyone?

Coffee at the Bau Cafe anyone?

Snow angles!

Snow angles!

Keeping the Naked Lady Warm

Keeping the Naked Lady Warm

Skiing!

Skiing!

Wojtek!

Wojtek!

Happy skiing people!

Happy skiing people!

Wow! What a time I have had! Between 5 meditation sessions a day, playing and working in the snow, commenting on the snow, socialising with friends, making dinner, writing down stories of talking scorpions and eating food I have been busy! I have also become great friends with one of the cats as I call him ‘the super friendly cat’ – you can sometimes here me singing to him ‘super friendly cat’. I have managed to get into a really nice routine here and it goes a little something like this:

Wake up at 8.30 for 16th Karmapa meditation at 9am followed by breakfast. Then do something, meditate again (Diamond Mind), eat lunch, do something, meditate again (more Diamond Mind), have a break to do something, have a quick spontaneous dance party with Stephan in the Baucafe before 4pm Diamond Mind with Laci and Stephan at the Diamond Room . At 5pm it is time to cook dinner with Laci which is naturally followed by dinner and then at 8pm we have 16th Karmapa meditation again, which is followed by doing something before bed. I basically have done this for the last 6 days and it has been amazing!!! I am so grateful to all the people here for providing such amazing conditions to meditate, learn and grow together, share joy and get inspired. The activities I have done in between meditation and eating sessions are as followed (in chronological order for once!)

Sunday:
On Sunday night the main activity worth writing about was charades in the basement. We wanted to play a board game, but there aren’t many board games for 10 people so charades it was! Which proved to be a fantastic idea as it was hilarious and we all laughed a lot. The best impressions were Britta being Shrek, Biatta being Madonna and Christina with Inception and the way she chose to act it out was by sounds like ‘contraception’. We ended after this as it was unbeatable!

Monday:
On Monday I didn’t do much in my breaks as it was snowing like crazy! I have seriously never seen so much snow in my life and it just didn’t stop. It was like one snow storm after another! It was so beautiful to watch the snow covered objects change and grow with the increasing amounts on snow. There wasn’t really much to do outside in this weather so I got inspired and started writing down the stories of Jeremy the scorpion that Dad used to tell Hamish and me as kids. This was lots of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck into the writing. I was tired on Monday night so basically after writing a bit more of my story I went to sleep.

Tuesday:
Even though it was still snowing I had no built up the courage to go and work in the snow! It was more because I was bored of sitting here watching it fall and I wanted to go and be a part of it! So I decided to go and build a snow trench! It wasn’t just a random snow trench; it was a snow trench with a purpose – otherwise known as a path. The path to the ice house had completely disappeared under snow so I spent an hour digging away at 1 metre deep snow! It was not surprisingly loads of fun! I also had my reunion in the kitchen with Laci and it was just like old times! I got to choose the music for the first hour and Laci for the second – Emily has given me loads of new music so it was lots of fun to explore this in the kitchen. However we always ended with Laci and his drum and bass pumping really loud.

On Tuesday evening I taught Ivet and Aiste how to play poker and we had a good game, it was hilarious actually. After this a few more people wanted to play something so we played a game of celebrity heads – great game.

Wednesday:
On Wednesday I went skiing!!!!!! Yes skiing!!! I woke up and the snow had stopped, the clouds had cleared the sun was rising over the mountain and it was literally like being in a fairy tale land, I was completely blown away! So when Wojtek (a professional ski instructor) suggested we try skiing I jumped at the opportunity. However I had a mission to complete before skiing for Sammy C. The mission involved snow swimming out to the naked lady and putting some clothes on her as he was probably cold. It was a great experience to trench through snow waist deep, but we completed our mission un-harmed!!!!

It had been over 10 years since I was on a pair of skis so felt very uneasy at first, but he couched me well and before I knew we had decided that I was going to ski all the way down the road. Wojtek ran alongside me as I screamed in joy and fear of falling over – but fall over I did not! It was SO much fun! At the bottom of the hill Wojtek decided to try and snow down the hill side – it was only semi successful as the snow was so deep but it was very amusing watching him clamber up with hill. After this I was exhausted and lunch was a welcome treat!

I cooked dinner again with Laci which was as always lovely and after dinner and meditation we had a centre meeting in the lounge and then generally just lounged around.

Thursday:
The arrival of Thursday brought another picture perfect day in EC and today’s snow activity was to build a snow Buddha. I spent about an hour making it, but was happy with the result at the end.

Thursday night was Karaoke night! Christina and I had decided that we needed to do Karaoke again before I go home as it was how we first bonded – whilst singing S and M with full energy about a year ago. It was karaoke like I have never experienced before – it was group karaoke. As we just had it on the TV with no microphone everyone just stood/danced around and joined in with nearly every song. It was such a great evening and with everyone having input we got a great mix and variety. Justin Bieber did come out with ‘Baby’ to do a and LuluMc also appeared spontaneously a number of times :P. It was such a great night and we danced and sang a lot and by the end of the night everyone’s voices were a little less smooth than before.

All the people who live here and that come to visit or from Immenstadt are all so joyful it is impossible not to laugh a lot and generally have a good time.

Friday:
On Friday the chosen snow sport/activity of the day was Snow Swinging! Christine and I ventured out to the half-buried swings, un-buried them and then went snow swinging for the next half hour. This involves swinging as high as you can and then jumping off to land in the soft snow. We needed some help from Laci to push us really high so we could ‘fly’ before landing! It was so much fun! I also built a snow crocodile…as you do.

It was also a bit of a solemn day on Friday as I had to say goodbye to some really close friends and basically wonderful people – but a very happy occasion as well because of the amazing time we had and I know I will see them again…just not when J

On Friday evening we all watched a movie together in the lounge, ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’. It was a very cute film with lots of laugh out loud moments. It was then time for more goodbyes and bed time.

This morning I woke up at 7am in the dark, got myself ready, made a packed lunch and then Stephan drove me to the airport, he is such a sweaty. I am now back in England and in 6 days I fly out to Australia…WHOA, crazy!

I am so happy I decided to go back to EC one last time before heading back home. I love every time I go there because every time is different and is equally as amazing. It is such a precious opportunity to be able to live in an atmosphere full of joy and inspiration, I am very touched and grateful!

Finally a quick fact:

Did you know that when it was snowing loads in Immenstadt, trucks came to put the snow in skips and then they took the skips full of snow to the fields to dump it, because there was so much! This is apparently normal procedure!

Emily!

Emily!

Brownies!

Brownies!

Good Morning EC!

Good Morning EC!

Hello snow!

Hello snow!

Brunch!

Brunch!

More brunch!

More brunch!

What a selection!

What a selection!

Stephan and Laci

Stephan and Laci

The only thing Emily wore all week!

The only thing Emily wore all week!

Helen!

Helen!

I have had a fantastic week and it is just getting better!

I spent the rest of the week in Brighton basically working and hanging at home and of course meditating and going to the centre. Emily and I did a mass sort/cull of her stuff – she brought a lot of stuff with her so it was a massive 3 day mission. To break up the epic clean and cull we had spontaneous silent dance parties (as the neighbours have very sensitive ears), made food, drank loads of tea and generally laughed a lot. I also have a new favourite TV show  – Parks and Recreation, it is hilarious; the main character just cracks me up!

The main reason we were doing a massive clean was not only to get rid of lots of Emily’s stuff but also because we wanted Roni to come home to a beautiful, clean homely house. To emphasise this we bought her flowers and made her triple chocolate chip brownies YUM!!!

On Friday night it was the Christmas party at A-ton school. I got a lift with Helen (total legend) and when we arrived at Stanmer Park we got fake snowed on at the entrance which was very exciting. The venue was very ritzy and the food was amazing. The secret santa hand out was hilarious and I got very lucky with who got me. As it was Della (also a legend) she got me a star to put on the Christmas tree, 5 laughing Buddhas and a funny fridge magnet. It was very funny though when the person next to me asked if there was any reason why…. I laughed to myself!

In the foyer there was a band playing and a few of the other teachers asked them if we could do Karaoke and they agreed so I volunteered to begin the show. Naturally I chose an appropriate Lucy song – Hey ya as I knew all the words, but naturally it ended with me freesytling about the school and what not, which was hilarious for most, a massive shock for the rest, but generally a lot of fun. I think they band were most shocked when the freestyling started, but they totally rocked it and let me have my time!

As soon as it finished it was time to leave (leaving on a high is the best), I got a lift all the way home with Della. At home I was greeted by happy Emily and Roni! I had enough time to have a cup of tea and some chats with them before it was time for me to part on my epic travel to the EC. Emily had made me some fried eggplant and a playlist for the trip –amazing.

I caught a bus at 1am to the airport, spent 3 hours at the airport. There were no free seats so I just lay down randomly on the floor and slept for an hour, I laughed at all the funny looks people gave me, but they didn’t bother me. I caught my flight at 7.20 – slept the entire way to wake up in shock just as I was landing in a field of snow! Well basically, the run way was clear but there was snow everywhere, it was a surreal experience as I kind of thought we might die as it felt very unnatural to be landing really fast in snow!

Stephan picked me up and took me to the EC. It felt so good to arrive, I felt all homely and warm inside. The EC really has become my second European home, it is more than a home though – I don’t know what word there is for a home being more than a home, but that is what it is here!

I was so tired as I basically didn’t sleep all during my travels and hadn’t had a lot of sleep during the week so I basically spent all yesterday sleeping – it was incredible! I woke up for about half an hour for lunch then went back to sleep to wake up just in time to get the last scraps of dinner, followed by group meditation and then half a movie before I went back to bed. I slept so well and so deeply… I was (am) so content.

This morning I woke up fully revived and back to my usual self! I woke up just in time for group medos this morning and then we had a Sunday winter brunch! There was so much food and it was amazing. I then meditated again and since have done this, skyped Jack and Mum and Dad and just generally I have enjoyed seeing and being with old and new friends in an amazing atmosphere!!

The Bride and Groom

The Bride and Groom

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

The happily married couple

The happily married couple

Our new wedding friend Asio

Our new wedding friend Asio

Brighton Sangha!

Brighton Sangha!

Fail jump shot!

Fail jump shot!

Priceless jump shot!

Priceless jump shot!

Dave and Linda making dinner

Dave and Linda making dinner

Pippy Luke Stockings

Pippy Luke Stockings

Moira, Dicky and Linda

Moira, Dicky and Linda

Farewell speach

Farewell speach

Last night antics!

Last night antics!

Cubistic Spider man!

Cubistic Spider man!

Toni's bday party!

Toni’s bday party!

At the wedding!

At the wedding!

With the Bride and Groom

With the Bride and Groom

Last flat supper

Last flat supper

Kendalllll!

Kendalllll!

Amazing Friends!

Amazing Friends!

Literally a lot has happened since my last post. For once I have had a lot to write about but because of this I haven’t written, crazy world! First and foremost I have been working loads which has been great – ok enough with that, lets talk about all the fun stuff that has been happening!

Firstly I’m going to briefly talk about Seth and Gabi’s wedding! The night before was bunting night at Giorgia’s to prepare for the next Traum Frau. This was lots of fun, I made a number of buntings all of which featured a big cat of some kind. We also busted out some ghetto freestyling unplugged and Lainey interpretively danced. Basically we all laughed a lot!

The next day was Seth and Gabi’s wedding, so after a quick meditation I was on my way….to the wrong venue! It was raining and luckily I got an awesome cabbi to take me to the right place and I arrived with 5 minutes to spare! It was a beautiful wedding, Seth was in a suit (enough said) and Gabi looked like an angle! The ceremony was short and sweet and it was at Brighton town hall. The reception was at a very classy hotel where they gave us cocktails on arrival, we then ate amazing food, made friends, drank wine and lots of water and took many photos and laughed a lot. We then went to a pub and danced and made friends, it was so nice to meet all their family and friends! Later I met up with Roni, Luke and Lainey for some quick dancing before going home to bed.

The next week was jam packed! Started on Monday with Ngondo Mondays and I cooked for Marie, Petr and myself and then more medos. On Tuesday night I went to the movies with Toni, Petr and one of Marie’s friends – yes we went to see Break Dawn part 2 and yes I loved it hehe. On Wednesday night I had my farewell dinner with my housemates, Kendal, Claire, Ayesha and myself. I made chorizo pasta for us, Kendal and Ayesha brought wine and Claire provided cheecake for dessert. It was a great night filled with meaningful conversations and then a spontaneous dance party – to two of my new favourite artists – The Lumineers (listening to them now) and Of Monsters and Men. Of course we put a few old school gangsta tunes in there! Thursday night was speed mister room packing and then medo as usual and then it was Friday! This week went by so quickly by the time Friday came along I could hardly believe it was my last night in my flat!!!!

On Friday I only had a mornings work so I spent the afternoon finishing packing my room. I then met up with Luke and Dave for coffee and then they helped me move most of my stuff to Roni’s house. Friday night first of all Toni and Colin surprised birthday party at the centre followed by the last Traum Frau for Luke, Dave and I. It was an art/mythical creature dress up party so I came as a collaboration of cubism and Spider man (interpretive). I had so much fun! I danced so much and thoroughly enjoyed the happy atmosphere. Roni really has done an amazing effort putting on Traum Frau every month.

On Saturday I moved the rest of my stuff and said goodbye to Regency Square – I felt so blessed to have found that flat so quickly and easily, it was the best flat and I am very grateful. But even though I was sad to leave it I was more excited to be moving in with Roni and Luke and Dave for their last few nights. On Saturday night it was Luke and Dave’s farewell so a few of their friends from London came down – Linda, Dicky, Moira and Ed,  great people, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Linda and Dicky and to spend more time with Moira and Ed! We went to a gypsy night at the Blind Tiger which was lots of fun.

We had to wait outside in the cold for about half an hour as Dave, Moira, Dicky and I caught a cab home but didn’t realise Luke had the keys – but not to worry the cold did us good and so we came inside and ate icecream!

On Sunday morning I caught up with Helen (from school) and met her boyfriend, who is really lovely. We had a lovely walk along the beach and then had amazing coffee together. On Sunday night Lainey came round and we all hung out together and enjoyed some quality time together. Dave made pie for dinner and then we all snuggled up and watched a movie.

On Monday Roni had to go back to Italy and it was Luke and Dave’s last night. So I made them dinner while they got ready and Emily moved in (she is taking Luke and Dave’s room), Emily is awesome. It was rather a solemn occasion as they were leaving on Tuesday, so we made face masks and danced to Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men – but silently as this apartment block has epic sound issues.

I had to work on Tuesday so Luke, Dave and Emily all woke up early and we all got to share breakfast together, and then I had to say goodbye. It was a sad-happy occasion. Sad because I will miss them for my last week and a half here as they have been such rocks to me and are basically amazing people and we share such joy together. Happy because of all the beautiful memories we have made and I will see them back in Australia and we will be able to reminisce and ‘…when we lived in Brighton together…’.

Last night I was tired and feeling a bit missing Luke and Dave in the flat so I made amazing soup for dinner and watched Homeward Bound – I had forgotten what an amazing film it is, but such a tear jerker! But luckily Emily came home and made me laugh. Tiredness is so funny.

So today I am feeling pretty great and excited about the future – but also a bit sad as it’s all coming to an end, but such an exciting end as I have so much on and am leaving in 2 weeks and 2 days. Lainey came over for tea after work and then I made some dinner and now I am just sitting here, chilling listening to the Lumineers. I am excited as on Friday I have the Christmas Party for A-town school (being discrete hehe) and then I leave on an epic adventure to Standsted airport and then I am flying to the snow covered EC for a week! Oh I forgot to mention something exciting that happened today…it snowed in Brighton!! I even got to walk the kids through the snow, which was exciting – nothing settled but it was very pretty! And then when I return from EC I only have 6 days left of Brighton and then I am also on a plane back to Australia….whoa!!!!

Oh I also forgot to mention we had this hilarious time at the centre last Thursday as we were taking a photo of the Sangha, which turned into us all taking group jump shots which was hilarious! I love Brighton Sangha, they are the most amazing gift and I am so so so grateful to all of them!

Biggest Natural Diamond

For those of you who have never been to the Natural History Museum in London I would highly recommend it! It is far cooler as an adult than I remember as a 12 year old – probably because I have a broader range of interests now and a tad more knowledge about the world, so discovering and seeing things was more engaging. Whereas my 12 year old self (as far as I can remember) was only interested in following Hamish around the Reptiles section, probably exhausting him with questions and attention seeking.

Big tree!

However as a 26 year old on a speed tour of the Natural History Museum I was in awe! I also got lost many times as I didn’t have much time and so didn’t pay too much attention to where I was walking. The first thing I went to see was without a doubt the highlight. They were showcasing the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and it was incredible. Some (many) of the photos was so truly beautiful they gave me goose pumps, pulled at my heart strings and brought tears to my eyes – especially the two photos featuring polar bears and their bleak looking future – I have a soft spot for polar bears it seems.

Big Mozzie!

I was also completely blown away by the life size model of a blue whale – still can’t get my head around how unbelievably big they are! There were actually many ‘big’ things there and I only realised later that they were the things that caught my eye. For instance: the big tree, the big mosquito, the big diamond and the big (not realistic) baby inside a big womb and the gigantic Darwin Coccoon that is home to thousands of different plant and animal DNA samples and what not! Such a cool place.

BIg (Blue) whale!

One thing that surprised me was how much I enjoyed looking at all the rocks! I was actual reluctant to go into the rock room as I was short of time, but got lost and found myself there and then to my surprise spent more time in there than anywhere else (apart from the photo exhibition). The rocks were super cool and I finally understood why my Dad still keeps his rock collection from his young adult days!

But like always I am jumping ahead of myself in my excitement. So back to the beginning of the week which was work as usual, nothing too dramatic or particularly interesting apart from Elena’s open mic gig on Wednesday night, she is great.

Gigantic womb!

So on Friday night I ventured up to London. I went to the Buddhist centre as Karolina from Czech was giving a rather spontaneous lecture about meditation. She was fantastic, she had a very clear way of explaining very technical and detailed aspects of Buddhism, and she was a true inspiration. I spent a while talking to her after and she has had the most interesting life story, which just added to the inspiring factor.

On Saturday morning I woke up early to go and have breakfast with Stef. We went to this cool little café where you can cut, toast and spread your own bread, which was fun (but strange how it was fun as it’s something we do all the time at home…???) It was really nice to see her and she seems very settled and happy in London which is great.

ME!

I then took myself to the Museum, which I have already explained in depth. It was then time to catch the train back to Brighton, not even having been in London for 24 hours. On Saturday night I went with Lainey to watch Kendal’s gig, I then had a beer with Roni and Lainey and then went to meet up with Marie and Radik – it was a rather quiet night.

Sunday came around and I enjoyed some good old skype Australia time! I got to skype Jack who was in Sydney for their Meditate More Weekend so I also got to speak to Sammy C, Sarah and Tiff which was lovely! I also had a lovely talk with Dad. Sunday night was ‘singles night’ with Kendal and we watched Transformers and then Iron Man two – if you have a projector and it gets dark at 4.30 it only makes sense to watch action super heroes beat up the bad guys on a Sunday night!

Is it broccoli? Not even close!

Yesterday and today have been work and meditation as usual. Now I am about to go over to Luke, Dave and Roni’s as Dave and Luke have just got back from Italy and Romania, so it’s time for me to bounce!

Ngondro Mondays 🙂

Angles and Sailors

Mother Marta

I got back from Germany late on Friday night exhausted, but happy! I spent Saturday morning cleaning my room, organising my life (kind of, but not really) and then I went to the train station to pick up Marta who was here over the weekend giving teachings.

We had such a great weekend with her; she is truly inspiring and gave some fantastic teachings. Lunch was running late on Saturday so I showed Marta around Brighton, we went to Marwood to have coffee and wandered through the Lanes. It was so good to catch up with her and we shared lots of stories and laughed! We returned to the centre for lunch and a great lecture. After the lecture Marta and I took her stuff home (she was staying with me – hence the room cleaning) and we then went to see the new James Bond film. We enjoyed it thoroughly.

Teaching

On Sunday morning we naturally arrived late to the centre, but with still enough time for some explanations and meditation before lunch and the afternoon lecture. After the lecture we went on a spontaneous mission to London. The purpose of this trip was Lama Ole was going to be in London for one night and everyone was meeting him in a pub near the new London centre. Radik (from Reading who came down for the weekend), Calliope (who also joined us and cooked for us over the weekend), Marta and I all drove to London after a quick spicy dinner at my house. It was a lovely easy drive.

Eating together

There were many old and new friends at the pub when we arrived and everyone was excited and happy. It was such a precious time. Ole arrived at about 11.30 and he was so touched to see us all there and said it was ‘magic’. We got a blessing and all enjoyed being sardines in the tiny pub. He left at about 12.30 and everyone was glowing!

Incredible weather

I then went to stay (spontaneously) with Michael, Tarini, Scotty and Matt. They live in the most amazing apartment in Central East London. It is one of those apartments you see on American sit-coms that you think don’t actual exist and if they do exist you will never enter one, it was exactly like this – right in the middle of London! Tarini (the legend) made us all amazing food when we got home and we had a real mid-night feast!

Happy times

We slept only a few hours as we had to be up early to go to the centre for breakfast. Tarini had made the most amazing ginger cake and Tortilla, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but even better we got to eat breakfast with Ole which was really nice. He then left for his interview so I did some cleaning and then dragged my tired self to the bus, then the train to Brighton.

It was only 3 days, but so much happened, it was a great weekend! Back in Brighton I occupied my afternoon by playing guitar for what felt like 30 minutes, but was more like 2 hours. I then went to the centre as it was my cooking night. Made some satay stir-fry, had a Ngondro Monday session with Marushka, ate dinner and then meditated with Aly and Gernot surprised us from Germany which was nice.

Giving blessings

After medo I walked with Luke to his friends place, but I only stayed shortly as I was so exhausted I had to go home to fall into a deep slumber.

I also forgot to mention that while I was in Germany Josh moved to Australia (so I will see him there which is great) and we got a new house mate – Ayesha from Spain and she seems really sweet.

Michael and Sharn

Today I woke up as usual at 6.30 (for some prostrations) and then got the phone call into work, which I was grateful for. It was surprisingly easy to slip back into my usual routine today, after such a whirlwind half term, but the routine was (is) comfortable – it basically goes like this: wake up (6.30am), prossies, shower, breaky, work, work work, home, tea, meditation, dinner (always something with carrots it seems) and then one of the following – socialise, go to the centre, do random things at home (like blogging, internetting, cleaning, guitaring), sleep!

So that’s all for now! I have another full 3 days of work this week 🙂

Mid-night feast

The apartment!

SNOW!

So I am sitting on the train, just leaving Immenstadt on my way to Munich airport to return to Brighton and I have the best feeling, I am overwhelmed with gratitude, thankfulness and joy from the amazing week I had with family friends at the EC. It was definitely one of the best spontaneous (risky money wise) decisions I have made recently, and it was on so many levels. I couldn’t imagine a better place or way to spend my school holidays.

Logs!

So enough with the emotional (J) let’s talk details about what happened since my last post, lets pick up where we left off which was on Sunday. I am not as sure about some of the details as my one week was long and short at the same time.

So Monday was spent enjoying the snow, it was freezing, windy and the snow kept going all day – the EC really turned into a winter wonderland. I spent a lot of time meditating in the cold, waiting for the fire to crank up! I also enjoyed some hilarious time with Katrin in the snow covering wood and scaffolding in tarps, which was amusing and we laughed a lot especially as we struggled against the cold and the snow.

The snowy EC!

Just a quick interlude to go through the usual EC running day program. It starts with 16th Karmapa meditation at 9am followed by breakfast all together. Then lunch is at 1, dinner at 7 and 16th Karmapa again at 8pm. In the breaks between lunch and dinner I spent doing prostrations most of the time and other activities. Other random activities included spontaneous dance breaks with Ivet in our room, which were lots of fun.

Monday was also cleaning day. I enjoyed a lot of vacuuming and everyone joined in the joyful cleaning which was lots of fun. I think we watched a movie on Monday night and Sunday night or maybe just one of those nights, can’t remember 🙂

Pretty snow!

Caty arrived late on Monday night and it was a joy to see her at morning meditation on Tuesday, she is incredible. On Tuesday I also got to go out and enjoy the snow as the weather was lovely and sunny and the snow was so fresh and so clean. I went for a walk on my own, which naturally turned into me tumbling, rolling and “kartwheeling” in the snow. I also built and snow man and soaked up the serenity!

Autumn leaves

On Tuesday night we had a mini concert from a Danish guy that was staying which was interesting. After he finished a few of us also took turns performing. I did my rendition of Baby, which was amusing. Other people played piano and sung and then I did some Damien Rice, which was very funny to perform such ‘sad’ songs in such a happy environment, but the best part was when they finished everyone laughed, which was so precious. I was also really nervous, so it was nice to get out of my comfort zone! Katya (6 years old) and I also performed together, she sung in Russian whilst I played guitar, she is adorable. We then watched a movie.

more leaves!

Wednesday was an amazing day. It started as usual with 16thKarmapa meditation and breakfast. Lunch was fantastic, Caty brought cakes and we all hung out during and after lunch, eating cake and drinking coffee, it was really special. The food at the EC is incredible, it would be impossible to lose weight living there! Then in the afternoon I break I finished my prostrations. Laci and Ivet joined me in the last session which was very special. It was definitely an amazing place to finish them, definitely the best thing I have completed! Wednesday was also Halloween so we planned a Halloween/finishing prostrations party. Ivet, Olga and I made cut out pumpkins and all. We had such a fun party and danced freely and joyfully for hours.

Halloween!

However the highlight of the day came as a surprise. Laci, Ivet, Ilona, Henkyen and Sievasurprised me with a truly beautiful Manjushi statue. I was so touched and overwhelmed with gratitude that I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t express my thanks, I could have cried, and those that know me, know it is not easy to make me complexly speechless, all the friends at the EC really are family.

Mr. Snowman

Thursday was my last day and what a great day and night it was. Last night was priceless by a mile. After dinner we all watched a movie together – nothing special but entertaining enough and just nice to be all together in the lounge. But after the movie we all ended up hanging out in the basement and everyone was in such a happy, spontaneous and joyful mood, and it was so nice that Caty could join us. We were all laughing for hours that by the end of the night my stomach and cheeks hurt from laughing – Christina and Marcus are two especially hilarious people! It was such a great night, a real gift, the perfect night to be my last (for now), as I said earlier, it was a priceless evening; I am laughing now just remembering….GOLD!

Excitement!

So now that’s that, today I enjoyed my last day with friends. I Played a hilarious few games of Foosball with Ivet, which turned into a spontaneous midday dance party to Greece Lightning, which was followed by chats in the sun with Meike.

So I am still on the train, still feeling grateful and thankful for all the joy, inspiration, friendship and family which we have at the EC and it is all thanks and appreciation to Lama Ole, the most amazing source of it all!!!!

The EC

Meike!

The View

The sunset!

Finished!

Manjushri!

Laci!

SNOW!

WIND!

Pretty!

Snowy view!

Last dinner with Josh

It feels like so much has already happened at the EC that I need to write about it now, even though I only arrived on Friday.

But I am jumping ahead of myself, I first of all need to talk about my speedy 4 days in Brighton. After I came back from Copenhagen I was straight back into work, but I had two mornings off which was thoroughly useful for a sleep in and meditation.

Our pet fish!

On Monday nights at the centre we have started doing Ngondro and then cooking and eating together and then meditating together again. This week it was my turn to cook so I made stir fry! It is a lovely thing to meditate and eat together.

On Tuesday after school I made dinner for Luke and Dave and we enjoyed each others company as Dave was going away again for work on Wednesday.

When I arrived

On Wednesday afternoon I made dinner for Claire, Josh and myself as it was the last night that I would spend with Josh before he moves to Australia, so we all sat down and ate dinner together. Josh also bought these amazingly gourmet deserts that came in little glass containers and were a joy in every mouthful.

Thursday came around and it was a full day of work and then a full evening at the centre. After which I walked home with Luke and we sat in the park for an hour chatting and laughing. It was then time for me to pack! I didn’t get to bed until mid-night and had to wake up again at 3am, which wasn’t easy. After about 9 hours of travelling I finally arrived at Immenstadt and I was picked up by Ifka. We went to pick Eric up from Kindergarten then had a lovely lunch of roast salmon and vegetables at her house.

Autumn leaves

We then all drove up to the EC together. It was so nice to be back and greeted by many old friends. I took the afternoon and evening easy as I was exhausted and just meditated, ate, hung out and went to bed at about 10pm.

I woke up full of energy on Saturday morning which was nice, what was even nicer was during the morning the snow started! It was great to watch everything slowly get whiter and whiter. I had a long meditation session before lunch, and then enjoyed lunch whilst watching the snow fall.

Robin!

After lunch we went down to Immenstadt as Sylvia and Tina were having a house warming afternoon tea party. They had the most amazing selection of deserts on offer, all of which I tried, but my favourite would have had to be this Hungarian one which was layered pancakes with cottage cheese (that had lemon and sugar mixed with it) and liquid chocolate (which was cocoa, sugar and sour cream). It is something I will definitely try back home.

I spent a lot of the party playing with Robin, my new 1 and a half year old friend!

Desert selection

Time came to leave to head back to the EC for meditation and a dinner party at EC. Sonya and Latsi prepared an amazingly gourmet dinner to celebrate no special occasion at all, but we did celebrate. The food was excellent and I haven’t had steak cooked that well in as long as I can remember. The celebrations then continued in the kitchen with a kitchen cleaning party, which then just turned into a very happening dance party in the kitchen by candle light. We ended up dancing around the kitchen benches until 2am, it was so joyful.

Beautiful snow

Today I woke up early and the snow had completely covered everything! Outside looks like a winter wonderland! It is freezing cold though, but Ivet and I plan to go and play in the snow soon – probably when I get the courage!

That’s all for now, but more fun is to be had for sure at the EC!

snowy Ivet!

The snow this morning

Kitchen dance train

Kitchen Cleaning Joy

Amazing steak

Dinner party

Tapas

MoreEC

Lama Ole

What to say about the 40th year anniversary course in Copenhagen! It was like a lightning bolt, full of energy and over in a flash.

It all started at 4.00am on Thursday with walking to the train station and then getting my flight. I naturally slept the entire way. When I got off the plane in Copenhagen I ran into an acquaintance from the London centre so we travelled to the venue together, which was really nice. Copenhagen is very easy to get around as a tourist and everyone is super helpful. Many people were more than happy to show us where to go directly.

Shark attack with Stephan and Ivet

We arrived just in time for registration and the 11am lecture, which was great. I spent the rest of the day at the venue as I was too tired to go exploring and it was just nice to be surrounded by friends and in that atmosphere. I had enough time to meditated and eat food with old friends between the lectures. Lama Ole gave a lecture in the evening and it was so inspiring to see him again.

Autumn

I was sleeping in one of the smaller sleeping halls which was actually a classroom in a school. So it was entertaining when we arrived there after 1am and we had to move all the tables and chairs to make room – but regardless I fell asleep quickly and slept deeply.

On Saturday morning I woke up nice and early and went with Calliope to the Centre in Copenhagen for a guided tour. We stopped for amazing Danish pastries on the way. The Centre was truly magnificent.

Medieval Copenhagen

We had three lectures on Saturday – each of which as exciting as the other. We learnt all about the history of the centre and the early days of Diamondway Buddhism in the West. It was great to hear all the stories and learn all about the beginnings. I also had time for meditation and speed mister walk around town with Ivet. The Danish are very friendly, warm, fashionable and generally good looking helpful people, so wandering amongst them was a joy. Copenhagen though is very expensive, for example a cup of coffee will cost anywhere between 3 – 4 pounds, which currently is 4 – 6 Australian dollars! As a result I ate sandwiches and yogurt and banana and fruit with the occasional meal, no worries though. I also forgot to mention that as we were wandering around without a map or any idea where we were going (Ivet and I) we stumbled across a cute little medieval market!! We ate Danish pancakes! Yum! We also randomly discovered the cutest traditonal Danish cafe! Everything just seemed to fit together on our adventures even though we had no idea where were were going or (now) where we went – it was fun!

Fountain!

On Friday night we had the course party and it was appropriately a 70’s themed party fit with a dance competition and all. It was so much fun, everyone was full of joy and we danced until 2am.

Sunday was as jam-packed as the previous days. I started early and went to bed late J. We has three amazing lectures one from Sharmapa (he is fantastic and full of wisdom) one from Lama Ole and then in the evening Dorrit and Pedro Gomez gave an incredible talk about the 17thKarmapa’s escape from Tibet. Everyone was so engaged and they were talking until 1am, even though they were meant to stop at 11pm, but it was too exciting. Pedro is a natural born story teller, his excitement was contagious and as a result when they finally finished everyone stood up and the majority of people couldn’t help holding back a tear as it was a truly touching story and as a result experience listening to it.

Cutest cafe!

This was the end of the course for me as I had to get up early on Sunday to catch a flight home. I had no issues on my journey home and felt so grateful and touched for everything.

I got back to Brighton at about 1pm, had a cup of tea, meditated and then walked to Luke, Dave and Roni’s. Dave made an amazing dinner and then after dinner we played cards. My final score at the end of the game was 108, which I enjoyed.

The place where the 16th Karmapa gave the Black Crown Ceremony.

Today I was back at work (just an afternoon today, so I got a sleep in = loved) and I have work for the rest of the week, until Friday when I will go to the EC for a week as it is school holidays. Yippeee to all of the above.
Also the photos as not as good quality as usual as I only had my phone as I didn’t take my camera due to space limitation in my luggage, but I think you get the idea 🙂

Dorrit, Pedro and Nicholas

The entrance hall at the Centre

Adventures with Ivet

Tomek

Sharmapa and Lama Ole

Amazing metro ride

Pretty Street

Gangstas

Frank Teaching

I will start with the gigs! Before I got sick and spent a week in bed I went to see two gigs on the weekend. The first of them was Angles and Sailors – Kendal’s band. They were playing at the Hope and it was a really rocking gig, but a quiet night. On Saturday night I went with Lainy and Roni to see Frances perform at the Green Door store. She has a truly amazing voice, her gig was mesmerising, and she is very talented. After this I went out dancing with Roni, Frances and Elena which was fun.

On Sunday afternoon/evening we planned to have dinch (also known as linner or dunch and it is the combination of lunch and dinner, it is the new brunch). But our dinch actually just turned into dinner. We were having a birthday dinner for Luke’s birthday at Roni and and his house. We had bangers and mash – classic! I spent the night there as I couldn’t be bothered going home. I also had a night there during the week, which was fun. It was the night Luke and Dave returned and we all woke up early to have breakfast together before I rushed off to work.

Francis gigging

And then the sickness started, by 3pm on Monday I was ruined – no energy, runny nose, sneezing, the whole kit and kaboodal! So I spent the rest of the week in bed. On Tuesday I did something new that I have wanted to do for ages…I took myself to the movies, with a blanket and all! I went to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I thoroughly enjoyed – naturally and even in my sick state! I spent the rest of the week basically watching movies – good ones and bad ones. I did watch a number of the Harry Potter films, and even cried in a few which just demonstrated my vulnerability. I also watched Moonrise Kingdom and It’s Kind of A Funny Story – both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Luke and Roni both came over to make me amazingly healthy and tasty soup which fixed my right up.

Another Brighton Sunset

By the time the weekend came around I was feeling much better, which was necessary as Frank Hahn was here over the weekend giving teachings. We had a great 2 days with him, getting teachings, meditating and eating together.

I was back at work today, which felt good and have work on Tuesday and Wednesday and then on Thursday I am off to Copenhagen for the 40th Year Anniversary course which I am thoroughly looking forward to.