Notes from 1997 | An Australian Maverick

This is a second installment on my series Notes from 1997. To read the first chapter click here. Enjoy.

“Bondi beach stop,” yelled the handsome bus driver in his smooth Australian accent.  I didn’t want to get off that bus … because the driver was the spitting image of Tom Cruise from the 1986 film Top Gun. With his silver aviator shades and black tussle hair he gave me a slight wink as I gathered my backpack and headed for the exit. Images of being whisked away in fighter jets to exotic locations around the world while Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone played in the background; I found my young head disrupted and my motor skills failed.

“Ma’am, you okay?” He grabbed me by the elbow and helped me up. “Uh – thanks. Just got in yesterday, I’m a little jet lagged.”

“Welcome to Australia. Is this your stop – Bondi Beach?” Was it my stop? I couldn’t even remember what day it was; he was nice and über cute in a young Tom Cruise-ish way and a sex-bomb – eat your heart out Kelly Mcgillis.

“Yes, yes, this is my stop. Thank you.” Embarrassed I turned to get one last look at his beautiful Australian perfection. His blue bus driver uniform was perfectly pressed, probably thanks to Momma; his arm muscles bulged under his shirt; his chest muscles, pumped from hours at the gym and his name tag read – Maverick.

My eyes did not deceive me. I read it right and I read it twice – Maverick. I tried to look through his aviator shades at his eyes as the sun reflected the twinkle that was already displayed in his smile. He smiled a beautiful smile as I swung my backpack over my shoulder and asked “You’re name is Maverick? You look like …” He didn’t give me a chance to finish “Maverick is my nickname on the bus my real name is Tom Crusher.” He held out his rugged, tanned hand.

“Well, nice to meet you T-T-Tom.” I held out my hand – goshdarnnit he was beautifully beautiful. “If you’d like to get a drink sometime … here’s my card.” I handed him my business/travel card which was complete with email, Canadian address, Mom’s phone number and a huge Canadian Maple Leaf image.

“I feel the need …” His pause was dramatic and the heavy sighs from the bus patrons grew with each passing moment. I pinched myself, this is not a movie – this is for real; he feels the need to … oh god! I’m never leaving Australia or this bus.

“I feel the need for speed. Do you like Harley Davidson’s – you know the motorcycle? If ya do … I’d like to take you on a tour of Sydney, on the back of my hog. How about tomorrow? It’s my day off; we could pack a light picnic and check out the sights on the other side of the harbour.”

“I do feel the need, the need for speed. Tomorrow sounds great! Where shall we meet?” My heart pulsated and my knees grew weak for tomorrow could not come fast enough.

“I’ll pick you up, right here, at this bus stop. I’ll be here at eleven-thirty. I look forward to seeing you. Oh – and wear those jeans.”

Applause erupted from within the bus, romantic hope applause or hurry up and get off the bus applause, it didn’t matter.

“Eleven-thirty, I’ll be here … in these jeans and don’t forget those specks and you can leave your cowboy boots on.”

I walked off the bus to the rush of fresh salt air; beach-goers busied themselves burying umbrella poles in the sand when I heard the sound of the closing bus doors. I raised my hand to wave goodbye. Maverick beeped the buses’ horn, smiled a Cheshire smile, waved and drove away.

*************************************************************************

I hope you enjoyed the story. I am open to positive critique, thank you for reading.

A magical trip down Halloween lane

Halloween is my favourite festival of the year. There is something magical and mysterious about donning a costume, painting your face and taking on a whole other persona; it’s the only time where we can pretend to be someone or something else without ridicule. Most of my childhood I spent in costume, whether it was for a dance recital, a soccer game or just playing around the house with face paints; it was truly a magical childhood.

Follow me on a voyage down Halloween lane.

(click on any image to view in a spooky slideshow.)

Happy Halloween from Jennifer Avventura.

Do you celebrate Halloween? What are some of your customs?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

Go to foreign countries and you will get to know the good things one possesses at home.”
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

(click on any image to view it larger.)

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”
Robert Louis Stevenson

This is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign.

What are you thoughts on the new mosaic option from WordPress?

How to overcome fear while traveling on the road

There are a few things in life, for which I am deathly afraid of. My blood begins to boil at just the thought of seeing or being involved in one of these things. Here’s  a quick Top 10 list of my fears.

My Top 10 Fears

10. Snakes
9. Cows
8. Horses
7. Goats
6. Anything with antlers
5. Being a passenger in a fast car
4. Bungee jumping
3. Big, long bridges
2. Heights
1. Drowning

Numbers 1-3 really freak my freak and as a traveler there are times you can’t get from A to B without crossing a bridge. In 2005 there was one bridge which I crossed in Brazil. I was going from Rio de Janeiro to Cabo Frio; it was a hot, three-hour bus ride from hell.

We had just turned a corner when I noticed a low bridge in the distance which covered a huge body of water. My first thought was that the bridge is too low, but maybe it’s better because I don’t like heights. I started to get anxious and my travel partner assured me that we would be okay. I kept envisioning the bus careening off the bridge into the water; I thought maybe the bus driver is having a bad day or life and today is his day to stop living and I thought about some crazed passenger seizing the bus and driving it into the huge body of water.

None of this happened – thankfully.

In 2007 I boarded a plane for Vancouver, British Columbia where I met up with an old roommate from Cayman Islands. It was just like old times – two friends reminiscing about the good times on Seven Mile Beach; laughing at silly tales of stealing Vespa’s and riding to Rum Point; drinking too many cocktails and riding our bicycles back home – those were the days.

My friend thought it would be a super idea to rent scooters for the day to scoot all over Vancouver’s lovely streets and parks, I eagerly agreed – even though I had never operated a scooter in my life, maybe it’s like riding a bike, I thought.

After a few spins around the Rent-A-Scooter parking lot, I was confident enough to hit the road. I followed my friends lead onto the busy roads, I felt a little vulnerable – the only protection was my helmet, I wished for a full body suit.

We scooted here and we scooted there. I yelled to my friend to slow down but for her, riding a scooter was like riding a bike – easy. I brought up the tail end when I noticed a King Kong sized bridge up ahead. I thought no waaaaaay! We are not – no, I am not going on that bridge.

I screamed out my friend’s name but she could not hear me – the traffic was increasing as were the transport trucks and the traffic lanes were doubling.

Oh dear me – she is crossing the bridge. Do I chicken out? What do I do? Mommy??? Is it legal to drive a scooter across this bridge? What if my scooter decides to do the funky dance over the railing and into the water? These were the thoughts crossing my mind.

Thankfully – none of the above happened.

Lion’s Gate Bridge – Vancouver, British Columbia

Source: Wikipedia

And me, in the Rent-A-Scooter parking lot, before the bridge.

In the span of three seconds, as I entered that bridge the top three things I’m deathly afraid of soon became a reality.

How do you overcome fear while on the road?

My advice is – Just do it! You won’t regret it.

I didn’t chicken out, I didn’t allow fear to stop me from experiencing the single most frighteningly fantastic event of my life. I did it!

How have you overcome fear while on the road?

Source: Lions Gate Bridge via Wikipedia

1st International Day of the Girl | October 11, 2012

The United Nations has officially declared October 11, 2012 as the world’s first International Day of the Girl Child.

The theme of this year’s IDG is ending ‘child’ marriage.

Over 30% of girls in developing countries are married before 18 years of age; around 14% are married before the age of 15. Early marriage is a risk factor for early pregnancy and poor reproductive health outcomes. Furthermore it perpetuates the cycle of under-education and poverty.³

Facts

Around the World ¹

  • Around the globe, girls are three times more likely to be malnourished than boys.
  • Of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70% are girls.
  • Each year roughly two million girls between the ages of 5 and 15 are trafficked, sold or coerced into the sex trade.
  • Girls are disproportionately affected by a number of harmful practices, including early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
  • Girls continue to face obstacles in access to education and other basic services. 

In Canada ²

  • Young women from 15 to 19 experience nearly 10 times the rate of dating violence as young men.
  • Nearly 70% of victims of internet intimidation are women or young girls.
  • Girls and young women are nearly twice as likely as young men and boys to suffer certain mental health issues, such as depression.
  • Issues of body image and self-esteem remain prevalent among girls.

We must empower our young girls with a healthy self-esteem and the right tools for a brighter future.

We must put a stop to the suffering of a ‘child’ marriage.

If you’ve read this far I highly suggest you read: Canada’s Honourary Youth Ambassador  for International Day of the Girl 2012 – Ms. Alaina Podmorow. She began her quest for change when she was just nine years old. She is now fifteen years old and has won several awards in Canada for her continued support for young girls in Afghanistan. She’s an inspiration for young women everywhere.

Are you wondering what I’m going to do for International Day of the Girl?

  • I will blog, tweet and FB about International Day of the Girl.
  • I will go to my English tutoring session this afternoon and empower two young Italian minds to be the best they can be!
  • I will spread the message to my three young nieces, who, I hope will spread the message along to their friends.
  • I will hold this close to my heart until there is an end to ‘child’ marriage.

What will you do?

1 Sources: Plan Canada; UN Women.
2 Source: Statistics Canada
³ Source: WHO International Day of the Girl Child

Once in a Blue Moon

Source: DP Photography

If you have clear skies tonight I would love to see your images of tonight’s Blue Moon. You can leave a link in the comment section below.

This will be the last Blue Moon until 2015. Don’t miss this rare event.

Happy gazing.

The Crazy Bat House of Sardegna

Two months ago a bat entered the house and has taken residence ever since. She swoops, squeaks and flies circles around our heads, nightly.

bat

She came crashing down while we were having a dinner party, much to the amusement of our party guests, I’m sure! My husband quickly picked her up with a tea towel and put her outside.

thought that was the last, of the crazy bat house.

Continue reading

A simple message of hope and peace: Rossella Urru

PEACE
Peace is like love
Without peace,
It’s a broken winged bird
that cannot fly
Peace starts with you and me
Peace is Joy, Love, Kindness
Peace is Freedom
Peace is for you and me
Diamond Williams, Grade 3
Susie B. Atkinson Elementary School
Griffin, Georgia, USA

Rossella Urru – 267 days in captivity.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
Albert Einstein

Siamo sempre con te. Non mollare. Forza Rossella.

When life gives you lemons …

As you go about your daily life, you will encounter many lemons. Sour expressions, sour attitudes, sour auras! The good thing is that if you don’t want to be a lemon, you don’t have to be! Just don’t let those lemons rub themselves all over you! And you don’t even have to save them! Let lemons be lemons! One of the most important things that I have ever learned, is that I don’t have to save people.”
― C. JoyBell C.

“When life gives you lemons, squirt someone in the eye” – Cathy Guisewite

“When life gives you lemons, ask for a shot of tequila.” – Jennifer Avventura

“When life gives you lemons, make orange juice and let the world wonder how you did it” – Unknown

Do you have any funny “When life gives you lemons” quotes? Please share them below, I’m in need of a good laugh.

Notes from 1997 | Toronto to Bondi Beach, Australia

***This post was originally written as a guest post for The Blissful Adventurer while he was busy gallivanting in Italy earlier this year.

“Mom, I’m moving to Australia for a year.”

“But … where will you go? What will you do? Where will you live? How will you make money?” my mother asked in her usual motherly way.

Thirty-two long air flying hours later I was sitting at the bus station outside Sydney International Airport without a clue where I would go next.

I sat on the wooden bench for what seemed an eternity, while listening to departure times over the intercom system to cities and towns yet unfamiliar to me. I flipped the pages of my passport in anticipation, but for what? I really had no plan.

When my mother asked her questions, I simply said “I’ll figure it out when I get there.”

Hints of Irish Spring soap filtered through the warm Australian air triggering memories of my childhood past.

He sat down beside me without a care in the world, dropping his green and orange backpack at my feet.

“Hi, I’m Ireland. Where ye heading?”

“I … I … don’t really know. I have no plans. Where are you going?” I said slightly nervous at Ireland’s gregarious smile.

“Kings Cross, it’s the place to be seen! Want to come?”

“Sure, okay.” I naively said.

We hopped on the next bus to Kings Cross station. My body and mind clock still on Canadian time, I was glad to have found this gregarious travel companion.

He ran on in his lovely Irish accent, telling me stories of bombs and beer, talk of jobs and ex’s left behind. His story was similar to mine with the exception of the bombs.

We arrived into the early morning sun and booked a hostel room at Jolly Swagman Backpackers.

“All dorms are co-ed,” said Mr. Dreadlocked, tattooed surfer who sat perched on a stool made of beer cans.

“Coed? Like boys and girls in the same room?”

“Ah, don’t be an eejit! There’s nothing to it. Book us into the same room,” Ireland said.

I didn’t have time to object as he thrust his credit card at the surfer. He booked us for the night into a four bed dorm. Ireland told me I could reimburse him the room fee by buying dinner that evening. I was beginning to feel crowed in Ireland’s presence; he was slightly over-bearing and rather obnoxious.

Thoughts of uncertainty danced in my head, I had never shared a room with a boy, let alone three other stinky boys.

“Hi, my name’s Canada.” I held out my hand in eager anticipation

“Hola, I’m Spain and this is my boyfriend New Zealand.” Spain was gorgeous with long flowing dark locks and a mysterious golden light in his eyes. Did he just say boyfriend?

New Zealand grabbed Spain by the back of the neck and deeply kissed his beautiful Spanish boyfriend. My momentary flash of Spanish romance quickly evaporated into the rising heat of the room.

“Welcome to Kings Cross, Canada,” New Zealand said, barely coming up for air.

I discarded my backpack on the overly used, dusty bunk bed number three and enquired about an eating establishment.

“Eat? Eat?” Spain questioned with a local sarcastic sneer. “This is Kings Cross my dear, the last thing on one’s mind is eating.”

“Well, I’m hungry, it’s been a long day. Did you know I spent thirty-two hours…?”

I was oddly interrupted by a soft twang.

“You’ve come to the wrong place Canada. Kings Cross is a cesspit of sexual desire, a place where dirty deeds are done dirt cheap and a place where food is used for other purposes.” New Zealand squealed.

“Oh.” I said, slightly embarrassed.

Seeking dirty deeds was the last thing on my mind. I’d just finished a long term relationship in Canada. Australia was to be my awakening, my place to find me, a place to seek my soul.

“Ireland, I’m going to grab something to eat. If you want your reimbursement come now, or I’ll give you cash later this evening.”

“I’m coming,” boasted Ireland as he slapped Spain and New Zealand on the rear.

I turned to leave when I noticed a sign:

Bondi Beach – A Backpackers Oasis by the Sea
FREE Bus for Backpackers
Daily Departures: 8am and 5pm.
Show up at one of the times. It’s easy.

Early the following morning with a MacDonald’s breakfast settling uneasily into my stomach, I left the three boys to their vices and headed for the beach. I never saw them again until Future knocked and brought me to their door.

On the road to Bondi Beach and independence, I wrote a postcard to my mom: