Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Zumba Classes in Sydney

After 20 classes at Zumba4u and 7 at Dooley's Lidcombe Fitness Club, I'm hanging up my Zumba shoes for the rest of the year. 

I wasn't planning to teach in Sydney but thanks to the support of Maria Christine, she encouraged me to get on stage. That the minute I mentioned I was a qualified Zumba instructor. I told her how much I loved the track Maga Zin and halfway through her class, she told me to teach it. Instead I taught a track I just learnt, Slide. She put the song on and off I went, my first attempt at teaching to a live class in Sydney. It felt amazing!

Thanks to fellow Zumba instructor Suzie Piiper for this photo. 

Also thanks to Diana Ortiz for welcoming me to her classes at Zumba4u. I danced with her throughout one of her classes and I taught two tracks, Pégate and Slide. It was super hot that evening and with no air-con or fan, I could have spontaneously combusted! My ears were burning and that's not happened to me before. I felt like I was on fire and not in the good way :P 

The best part is when I was teaching and my toddler niece is at the back following the moves. She looked so happy. I could see her behind all the ladies. My heart nearly exploded when I got home and she was so excited about seeing me dance. My brother in law showed me a video he took of how much she loves "jumba" (as she calls it.)
Getting Christmas on with Lauro Brazil in Lidcombe. This guy has so much energy pepping up the class and flashing the biggest smiles. 

Christmas themed night at Croydon Public School with Diana and Alexis Lara. It's been like family for the past few months and I will miss their classes. So many friendly faces and uplifting Latin songs. Could not have asked for a better Zumba experience in Sydney.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cycling in Olympic Park and Beyond

It was Sunday and after my morning Zumba session I rode to Olympic Park to meet friends for a long bike ride. 

Olympic Park has many wetlands and it's like an oasis off the M4, less than 10 mins ride from my house. There is abundant wildlife and tranquility. I feel comforted once inside the park and the traffic noise disappears.

Cycling in Olympic Park is enjoyable for so many reasons. Firstly there are many bike paths. Most go through pure nature, ie, bushland, wetlands and alongside Parramatta River. The paths are away from traffic but are well linked. From Olympic Park, if you cross the Silverwater bridge you can ride to Putney or Parramatta. Both directions are leisurely riverside rides. From Meadowbank you can cross a bridge and ride back into Olympic Park.

This was my first time going towards Meadowbank and it's a glorious open ride.

The weather gods were watching out for us that day. It was overcast and cool. We started in Newington and ended up in Rhodes for yum cha. We weren't planning on it but it seemed like the right thing to do, yes?

Sky Phoenix in Rhodes is one of the best yum cha or dim sum places in Sydney. I think their food is more delicious than most places. Here we are waiting for a table in our cycling gear. 

The beginning of our pig-out. It was a happy indulgence and a convenient break from our bike ride. Some folks tour cafes on their ride, we have yum cha. 

I had a smashing time with my friends and cleared at least 30km of riding. I felt extremely blessed to be living close to an naturalistic area where there are so many bike paths.  The fun is free and easy here. I can get to many places around Olympic Park and it's all on pedal powder!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Picnic At Barangaroo Reserve

Barangaroo Reserve of Sydney Harbour is part of my new Sydney. The area has been closed off to the public for 100 years and now it's a picturesque park to stroll through. The only thing it has in common with the nearby skyrises is a million dollar view.

My friends and I had a picnic here and the weather was splendid. By my standards that means it was overcast and warm. (In Australia you can still get skin damage even in cloudy weather so if it's a sunny day, I try to stay indoors.)

Its a bit of a hike to get to the reserve on foot from either Wynyard or Circular Quay train stations. The route from Circular Quay is prettier and took about 20 minutes, via The Rocks. I guess the location explains how it wasn't crowded even for a Saturday. There was plenty of parking available within easy walking distance. 

We had our picnic rugs under a tree and watched the boats and ferries sail past. You can't have a city oasis like this without it being jam packed with people in London. This space capitalises on the harbour front location and everyone can benefit without competing for space.

Even in the city you can find live rock oysters and mussels.

They certainly look like the right size for picking. Some oysters shells were empty so people have been foraging. I remember as a kid, people used to shuck oysters on the beaches where I grew up. They would take them oysters home in a bottle. Wish I could do it now!

Friday, December 4, 2015

There's Such Weather As Too Hot

Although some Brits might disagree, anything above 28 degrees is too hot in my experience.

I like going outside without having to slather on sunscreen first. And idle sweating is gross. When I see a cloudy morning, I think "there's so many possibilities today."

This week it went over 40 degrees and it was too hot to function. I had a blinding headache for three days and paracetomol couldn't numb the pain. This is the second time I've gotten sick since I got back to Sydney. I hardly ever get sick in London. The bugs here have hit me hard.

While I was staying with my sister I took Lillee to preschool on foot as I didn't have her car seat. Instead of using her pram, I made a deal that I'd give her a piggyback some of the way but she had to walk "really fast" the rest of the way.

But walking took too long. She would stop and point at something like numbers on a letter box, leaves on the footpath or a bird. When I gave her a piggyback, her hands slipped off my shoulders and her arms were too short to monkeygrip without choking me.

I ended up carrying her most of the way. She panicked when I left her. I walked out with her clinging onto my leg like a limpet. The teacher picked her up as she sensed waterworks were coming. I broke away and wiped her tears off my face when I got outside. It's amazing how much you can mean to a child, at least when they're afraid.

I persuaded my sister to buy a stroller that day. I carried that bad boy on my shoulder to pick Lillee up. It looked hot and it was literally, although I did style it out as if I was carrying skis over one arm.

I had a good weekend because it was cloudy. On Saturday I went to Zumba in Abottsford and had a Vietnamese salad roll for lunch. Then I went home. I was figuratively punching traffic in the face by riding my bike to Ikea. I needed a usb led lamp and the weather was perfect for cycling. Cloudy, cool and no rain.

On Sunday I got up early to go to Zumba in Lidcombe. I had not been to this gym before. My Zumba instructor teaches there and I really like his class. It was an easy bike ride too.

The class was crowded and I was in the middle row. It's been a month since I did Zumba in front of a mirror and I wanted to check my timing and form. I was pleased that I got to do it and I smashed the class.

As I left the studio, a person tapped on my shoulder and said lovely things about my dancing. She asked how long I had been doing it. She said she was trying to follow me throughout the class.

Then on my way home I decided to buy a UE Megaboom portable speaker. I rode out to Officeworks and bought it with a ipad keyboard. Spent the rest of the day playing with my new toys but I decided to return the keyboard. It was expensive and I'm happier with the one I have already.

I rode back to Officeworks after dinner and relieved my conscience and bank account. It was nice to go out when it was quiet on the roads. Love that shops are open late, even on Sundays here.

November ends tomorrow...time is flying.

Beyond The Halfway Point - Finally At The Beach

My time in Sydney is running out fast and I still haven't done alot of things. This week I made it to the beach. It was a bit sketchy because my car has been acting up and I don't have air con. 

It was the first day of summer and it was 33 degrees. I went to Bronte and felt so rejuvenated there. I was back into my element. The blue water, crashing waves and fresh air was exactly what I needed after driving in a hot car. I went for a swim in the sea bath and then paddled in the surf to get properly get immersed into the sea.

The flagged area somehow seems to be the choppiest part of the beach and Bronte is prone to dumping waves. I try not to get far out as I was alone (and nervous as I nearly drowned when I was a kid). As I walked in, I got caught in the "dumping zone" and almost lost my swimsuit!

It felt so good to be at the beach. For me it's a kind of paradise or spiritual mecca. The sun and surf was blissful. 

On my way home I stopped at Marrickville for a banh mi. These sandwich rolls really need to be more common in London. At the moment you pay above the odds for one and they are nothing like the ones you get in Sydney. 

Nothing better than coming home after cooking in a hot car, to this. An authentic and generous banh mi and bowl of fresh cut watermelon. Bless Sydney for it's incredible fresh food!

My baby niece has grown exponentially. In a space of three days she no longer looks like a newborn. I feel like I'm missing out on seeing her if I'm away for more than a day. Amazing how quickly babies grow. 

I took Lillee to the playground nearby and she made me an "icecream cone" out of leaves. I managed to tie her hair up  when she normally doesn't allow it. I told her that if the birds saw her knotty hair, they will mistake it for their nest. As she hates having her hair brushed, she agreed to tie it back.

I've been using up my passes at the dance studio before the Christmas break. Ballet has been good but it's not something I'd take up. Frankly I'm awful at it. I bought 10 visits at a local gym and for the next few weeks I'll have a dance class on everyday. This is my idea of a perfect routine.

Today I went to Zumba and afterwards I got out my Megaboom speaker and practiced teaching Zumba. It was fab having the studio to myself and I got into the zone. I think I'm ready to teach people now!