When our eldest daughter found out there was going to be a Harry Potter exhibition in Sydney she knew she had to go. But there was no way we could afford a trip just because. So she agreed to not have a birthday party this year or get presents so we said if we could manage it we would.
Fortunately flights between Sydney and Melbourne can be quite cheap and hotels in Sydney can also be quite cheap. So before we knew it we were all booked in. Then my Mum asked if she could meet us there (she lives in northern NSW). Then my nan asked if we would like to do the Picasso exhibit with her. Then my Aunt and one of my Uncles wanted to meet us there for lunch. All of a sudden we had a jam packed 36 odd hours.
On Tuesday morning we were out the door at a quarter to seven. We caught the sita bus to Avalon and our Jetstar flight arrived on time. By 9am we were on the plane and ready to go. Our eldest daughter flew to visit my mum once solo (when she was about 7…and before we removed those privileges from my mum) so she remembered flying, but Miss 10 was just under three years old when she last flew. Miss 10 happens to be a bit of a daredevil (loves roller coasters and rock climbing) but I have never seen her grin as much as she did when the plane took off. Our flight was great and the girls took much delight in purchasing hot chocolate & m&m’s (then combining the two). They had their spending money – which was $54.50 each. Miss 10 had won $100 in a competition a few weeks ago and as her sister had chosen her to take to Sydney she split the money with her. Miss 11 had $9 left over from pocket money and she thought it only fair to split that right back.While I was worried about flying jetstar after reading some reviews I was pleasantly surprised. Our flight arrived on time, we boarded promptly, the staff were friendly and I didn’t notice any difference in comfort from flying other budget carriers.
We were in Sydney early and I have to admit, I tend to feel quite happy coming home…after all I was born and raised in Sydney. We ended up jumping in a cab to the art gallery as it was almost as much to catch the train out of the airport (until I discovered that on City Rail you only pay for the first child *sigh*). Sydney didn’t fail to live up to my expectations with us sitting happily in our cab when some chick walked up to a sign and kicked it while ranting and muttering. I may be weird, but I smiled at this, knowing Sydney hadn’t changed.
We popped our stuff in the cloak room at the art gallery, used the bathrooms and then I took the girls across to the gardens to get some energy out. Then we headed back to meet my family. It was so nice to see my Nana again as well as my Aunty…but I have to admit I was most happy to see my Uncle.
My uncle has schizophrenia and has been on medication since he was quite young. He is only about 12 years older than me and we spent A LOT of time together when I was young. He taught me to play chess and then monopoly. By the time I was 5 I was beating him at monopoly…I may or may not have been a bad loose, and an even more terrible winner. About 6 years ago he went off all his medication and it didn’t go well. After he recovered he moved out of my nans (after living at home his whole life) and stopped seeing everyone. As someone who kind of gets the mental illness thing I never pressed to see him…I was just glad that he was safe, happy and for the first time living on his own. When I saw him at my pops funeral last year we hit it off again. This time we talked endlessly about psychs and drugs and side effects. He has been sending the kids stuff ever since (he is an avid op shopper and has been finding tonnes of goodies for them) so I was very glad he got to meet the big girls.
We all had lunch and I broke the news to everyone about the diabetes. My nan was really upset about it and vowed to find her low gi cookbooks and send them to me (gosh I love my nana). We talked about homeschooling, why someone would choose not to register to homeschool, child psychology, aspergers in girls (my Aunt has aspergers and my nan thinks she might also), medication, eating, sports and art. Then we headed back to the park for a chat and so the kids could run around and it was then that we ran into my mum. She was suppose to arrive after we saw Picasso…but when she saw my Aunt she went nuts. My Aunt used to be good friends with her big sister, long before mum married my dad and they became in laws. My Nana has always remained friendly and up until a few years ago sent my younger two brothers birthday and xmas presents (even though they are not her grandkids) and mum & my Uncle used to spend tonnes of time together as he didn’t work and she was raising kids and at home.
We all caught up for awhile before mum headed off to the hotel to check in and My Aunt & Uncle went home. The Picasso exhibit was amazing. While my little brother seemed incredibly bored and so was Miss 10…Miss 11 loved it. She had studied Picasso at school and found it amazing up close. My Nan actually doesn’t like Picasso at all (my nan is a gifted artist herself) as when she looks at his depictions of women she feels as though he hates them. I was moved to tears, however, by the piece below. I explained to my nan that one of the reasons his work appeals for me is that I have felt like that – disjointed and taken apart and put back together as people try to “fix” me. She found that incredibly sad, but she may have softened on Picasso at that point LOL.
After Picasso we said goodbye to my nan and headed to the hotel for a much needed rest. The kids watched a movie and after my feet had recovered I took them out for dinner (mum was sick so she stayed at the hotel and slept). We found a thai restraunt not far from the hotel and I made a few mistakes…
- I took them here instead of maccas or pizza
- Let them each order a whole dish
- spent too much money
I spent a fortune only for 2 out of 3 to refuse to eat what they ordered. Miss 10 ate some of her meal, before my brother had some. He had ordered salmon and then decided he didn’t want it. Miss 11 ordered larb (which we have at home all the time) but refused to eat it because it didn’t look the same. But she then decided she wanted the salmon. *sigh*
Once we were back in the hotel the kids convinced me to use my iphone as a wifi hotspot so they could check their email and play games. I spent the rest of the night adding books to my mums new kindle. At some point during the evening Miss 11 wandered over to look out the window followed a few seconds later by a scream “fireworks!”. Sure enough, from our budget hotel with the view of the Harbour Bridge & Opera house we were now watching Sydney put on a fireworks display. We couldn’t believe our luck. It was just perfect. Once it was finished we got ready for bed and tried to get some sleep.
Apart from waking up at 1:30am and discovering Miss 10 on the floor (she decided she didn’t want to sleep with her sister any more) I managed to get an ok night sleep. Before we knew it we were dressed, packed, checked out and eating Maccas for breakfast (well everyone else did – I had a tin of tuna and a banana). Then we jumped on the Monorail (kids thought that was amazing) and headed to the Powerhouse Museum for the main event – The Harry Potter Exhibit.
The exhibit itself was amazing…the detail was extraordinary and even though I haven’t read a single book or seen a single movie I really enjoyed it. The staff were AMAZING really engaging and played their parts well. But most importantly Miss 11 was so incredibly happy. My favourite part was seeing some of Harrys clothes in the first Movie vs. the last…he was so little! After we went through the gift shop and my girls were appalled with how much stuff cost and refused to spend any of their money at all. I agree it was a total rip off ($30 for a house colour scarf…no logo, just plain knitted scarf, $8 for a bookmark, $30 for a printed library bag) but I knew she would regret not buying something later so I gave her the program ($25) and the photo they took at the start ($20 on a green screen with the Hall thing in the background).
Again my congratulations go out to the amazing Powerhouse staff when we were wandering around trying to find the tour in the Space section. We were the only ones there so a tour guide accompanied us through the Space section answering all our questions and giving information. The kids didn’t seem too pay too much attention but Mum & I were fascinated. We then had morning tea at the cafe and let the kids play at the playground before heading down to Chinatown for lunch. We went straight to the Dixton House Food Court where I remember many a weekend trip with my parents and their friends. Once again the kids weren’t terribly impressed and barely touched their food. I have to admit, while holding fond memories, I wasn’t terribly impressed either. I ordered a thai beef salad and not only was the beef tough, but there was almost no salad and a huge serving of rice.
With the girls money burning a hole in their pocket we ended up at Paddy’s market and before I knew it they had gone through almost all of their money buying everything from watches to a backpack to ipod cases. Miss 10 bought her first punk accessory (a leather cuff with chains and a large skull on it) but someone must of said something because 10 minutes later she was in tears and refusing to wear it. Once the money was gone and presents were bought for their little sisters we headed back to central station to put mum & my brother on a train home. Then we followed suit and headed to the airport.
A quick maccas dinner for the girls (I had learnt my lesson) and a salad for me and then we were at the gate and our plane was there. Unfortunately boarding was really slow as they have this new SMS boarding pass system and it wasn’t working properly. Of course this meant we missed our take off slot and had to sit on the runway for awhile and while we were there the captain informed us that we were about to be passed by the Airbus A380 … followed by a giant shadow over us and then a massive plane. The girls were blown away by the size and the captain sounded more than a little wanting when talking about it. Once in the air we made good time and were home early. From the flight we transferred back to the airport transfer bus, back to Werribee then a taxi home.
I am still completely exhausted but the main thing is the girls had an absolute blast. Miss 11 thought it was the best birthday ever and she still has a month to go before it is her actual birthday. I instagrammed the whole trip making it easy for their dad and sisters to see what we were up to (GOD BLESS TECHNOLOGY!).