A housewarming and birthday all rolled into one

At Dad’s for dinner with Yuko and Yuji

I cannot believe that it has already been over three months since we came back from Malaysia.  So much has happened in that time.  Alex had his birthday, I resigned from my job and we moved into our new little place in Coburg North.

I should mention that we also had our dear friends Yuko San and Nashville San visit us, literally two days before we flew out to Malaysia, at the end of June.  Really, it was hardly enough time, but unfortunately, we had all booked our tickets way in advance, getting us cheap flights that neither of us was able to change.  We definitely made the best of those two days however, and crammed in as much as we could.  After picking them up from the airport, we

Got to have pizza in Carlton!

dropped them off at their hotel, and later it was dinner at Dad’s.  The next day we visited the Melbourne Museum, followed by a typical Italian lunch in Lygon Street.  Yuko and Yuji (who we fondly refer to as Shopping San and Nashville San; Yuko because she likes shopping and Yuji as he plays the guitar really well and loves country and western music) have become truly special friends, and if you recall came out to Australia only a year ago.  On this trip, they also visited the Gold Coast.  Unfortunately, our time with them on this trip was short and sweet, but Dad got to spend some time with them after we left for Malaysia.

Our humble abode

Upon our return from Malaysia, in mid-July, Alex and I started to get ourselves organised and move into our new place.  It did take us a little longer than expected…thank goodness for Dad!  Whilst I am not the home-renovating queen (let alone type!) nor a Ms Match-It…those white floor tiles had to go!  Alex and I have a rather ethnic and eclectic style, so we knew what we needed and wanted, including polished floor boards.  We knew that we needed the warmth of the colour of wood, to go with everything we had.  A little bit of research later, we decided on bamboo flooring, as it looks earthy, is more durable than wood, and is eco-friendly (consider killing a forest as opposed to using bamboo, which regrows quickly and is sustainable).  I must say, it made all the difference, and was all the “renovating” we required.  Over the next few weeks, we moved our stuff in, and on the 22 August we were officially in our new little town house.

James (my nephew) sleeps over

Slowly, slowly we have been adding things, and fixing things to our liking.  I believe that creating an environment that you love and feel comfortable in is an organic process.  It might be “finished” in a month, in a year, or never…it’s that organic process I was speaking about!  Slowly, slowly we have also been inviting different groups over for dinner, who in the past have had us over.  It’s a lovely feeling to be able to repay the favour, so to speak.  Having said that, we still have not got around to everyone…slowly, slowly.

Amongst all of this, I also resigned from my job only days before we moved into our place.  Essentially, it’s something that I needed to do, in order to be true to myself, my values and what I feel I am worth.  Everything happens for a reason and so now I am again on the hunt for a new job.

Carn’ the Pies…Fuzz and Gazza in the centre

Alex’s birthday was on August 10th and we had a small gathering with friends and family at Dad’s house.  It was also Fulvio, my brother’s, birthday on the 26th September, and as all good Aussies would know this is virtually like an Australia Day for us…the football (well Aussie footy anyway!) Grand Final.  So Fuzz, as Fulvio is also known, threw a combined birthday/footy bash at his place…lots of laughing and lots of screaming.  And I must say, that even I (who doesn’t follow footy at all) was getting into the spirit.

Ombi with Mali (L) and sister Teah

My birthday was on the 14th October, and we decided to have a dual celebration, combining my birthday with our housewarming.  Due to the multitude of friends that we have we decided on an open-house style affair, which was held on the 16th October.  The time was listed as “anywhere between midday and 8.00pm”, as we wanted the opportunity to be able to chat to everyone.  The weather was supposed to be shocking, with both rain and hail predicted (thanks Melbourne). Luckily, apart from a morning shower, the weather held out, so all of the kids were able to run around and play outside.  About 60 people came over the course of the day, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The last guests didn’t leave until after midnight, and although it had been a long day, it had also been an enjoyable one.  My aim had been accomplished, and I was able to speak to everyone.  Thank you to all of you who came – you are all a special part of mine and Alex’s lives.

With Rozzie and Ida

I had another guest over for my birthday – my friend Rozzie from Cairns.  She was coming down for her grandmother’s 100th birthday.  Pretty fine effort, I might say! I went to pick her up the morning before my birthday.  It was great to see her again, as the last time had been in Melbourne, almost two years ago.  Rozzie only had a week and had to divide her time amongst a few people here, but we still managed some quality time together.  On her first night here, we got Ida over for dinner.  Many of you would recall that I worked with people with disabilities for many years and Ida was one of the residents.  We still stay in touch.  Some 10 years ago, however, on one of Rozzie’s trips to Melbourne, she met Ida and Ida has never forgotten her. In fact, whenever I speak to Ida, the three people she always asks me about are my Dad, Alex and Rozzie.  Why does she ask about them?  Quite simply because each of them have shown her, over the years, that they care.  At the end of the day, what one is remembered for is whether they were kind or not, not whether they owned a mansion in Toorak or not!  Ida, thanks for being a gentle reminder as to what is and is not important in life!

With our family at our housewarming

My friend Bec also came down to Melbourne in August for our friend Vickie’s birthday.  It’s always great to catch up with you too Bec.  Bec’s from Canberra but is now living in Brisbane.  Way back in 1999, I met Bec in Bolivia (a couple of months before I met Alex), and then the two of us met some months later on to cruise the length of the Amazon River, from Iquitos in Peru to Belen in Brazil.  There’s a whooooooooole other story that goes with this tale! Remember our Hawaii 5-0 moment Becs? We would eventually end up in Porto de Galhinas, where we met Rozzie.  Now that was a beach to die for!  And coming from an Aussie, that’s saying something!

Rita, Harry (her father in law) and moi!

My friend Rita, who lives in Dubai with her husband Graham, and two young boys, Sam and Darcy, have also been here a few times this year, and are actually here right now (late October).  Rita is effectively my sister, and I became the 4th adopted Garcia girl a very long time ago now.  When Reet’s around, I make the effort to see her as often as I can.

Wow, it has taken me a couple of days of “full-time writing” to get up to speed on my blog, but I think I have managed it.  I can’t beleive that we are breathing down the neck of Christmas now.  In true Ombi and Alex style, we have booked a trip to Thailand…where we will spend Christmas and the New Year.


Dedication: For my “sister” Rita.  You have been there for me though the highs and the lows, and through thick and thin.  You have never judged me and always supported me.  Thank you for your constant love and support.  You are one in a billion and you know that I am always here for you, as you have been and continue to be for me.  Our friendship is eternal.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are” – John Wooden (I think this aptly sums real friends and friendships).

Yuko and Yuji give the tram a go!
Ombi with ‘special friend’ Judy Genge
With the love of my life at Sorrento Beach
On the beach…
At a festival in Hurstbridge with friend SAndra
Yuji chills at Dad’s place
Special friends forever
Happy Birthday Ben! (my spunky godson)
L to R: Lola, Sonya, Anne, Joan and Alex…dinner at our place
Dad and Aunty Lori
With Michelle and Steve at the housewarming
SAndra, Dad and Alex work on restoring the table for our new home
With Yuji and Yuko at Dad’s
With my cousins Carol and Glenn and Carol’s daughter Caitlin


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Alex & Ombi

Alex & Ombi

Ombretta (Ombi) Zanetti is a co-founder of veryitchyfeet.com. She has been travelling the world since 1989 and since 1999 with her partner, Alex, who hails from Ecuador. They both like to venture to the lesser known places. Ombi shares her passion for different cultures through her travel stories and Alex through his lens. Come take a detour or two with them!

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