Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Soccer in Melbourne

A few months ago both Harri and Kobe were so excited to hear that Brazil and Argentina were coming to Australia to play a soccer match at the MCG (in Melbourne).  I used to hate soccer (thought it was the most boring sport just seeing this ball get kicked around for an hour and a half and often only one or two goals scored), but since they've both been playing club soccer I've grown to love the game and appreciate how skilled the players are.

I knew it would cost a bit with tickets, flights, accommodation and everything else that would go along with a quick trip to the soccer, but the boys were so excited about it because two of the best players in the world were coming (Messi and Neymar) and I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I bought tickets and organised the trip a few months back.

The last few weeks the boys have been getting so excited as it was getting closer.  Unfortunately last week Jalen and Harri were both sick, and then I started feeling sick the day that we left.  I had been feeling very run down, but didn't think much of it.  At first it was just a sore throat, but by the time we got to Melbourne I was feeling pretty rotten. 

We were excited to get there and to find out Airbnb apartment which was on the 45th floor.  I wouldn't have thought about getting an Airbnb but my brother Eden and Steph have done it a few times now and convinced me to give it a go.  Our apartment was just a studio apartment and I knew we would just have a double bed and a sofa bed, but knew it would be okay for a couple of nights, especially since we wouldn't be spending much time in the actual apartment.

We haven't been to Melbourne for a long time, so it was awesome to have such an amazing view.  The apartment was right across the road from Southern Cross Station, so it was great to be able to just get off the Skybus and walk across.
The apartment building had a gym, spa and pool and was open till 11 pm so we had a late night and went for a swim after we arrived. Jay even shocked us and went in!
I had the worst night sleep as I felt so sick and woke up feeling terrible.  The apartment was great, but the beds were not comfortable at all. All of us were slow to get going, but I didn't mind since I knew we had the whole day to fill in before the soccer was on. 
The weather was very gloomy and cold in the morning, but the view was just as cool in the daylight. 
This was just outside our apartment building.
We caught the free city tram into the centre of the city, and Jay couldn't wait to go to a shop that he had been checking out online for a while - Culture King. 
Jay had saved up some money so he could buy some things there and was so excited to finally go there.  It was a very cool street wear shop with a DJ playing music the whole time, a walk in barber and very cool street clothes. 
One thing I always notice about the mainland is that sushi is so much cheaper!
We then spent a bit of time in the city, but I was feeling so bad that I just wanted to get back to our apartment so I could rest up a bit. 
We caught the train back to Southern Cross Station which was a lot easier than the trams (even though that is easy) and just had to walk across to our apartment.
We didn't rest too long as I felt bad for the boys that they had to deal with me being sick and cranky, so we went to the pool for a while.  I just watched this time and almost dozed off in the sun as the boys swam.
I wasn't sure how busy public transport would be to get to the MCG so we left quite early to go to the soccer. Jay wasn't keen on coming to the soccer, so he stayed back at the apartment and watched movies all night. I dosed up on pain killers before the game, and was glad to feel okay during the game so I could enjoy it.

While we were walking to the MCG there were these two old guys selling Argentina and Brazil scarves out of some boxes on the side of the road.  They were yelling 'now down to $20!' which cracked Harri up as he was onto them and said to me 'I bet they were always $20!'.  We had seen the same scarves in the city for $35 so I bought them one each.  Both of them decided to go for different teams.  Harri said he hates Messi which is why he was going for Brazil, but unfortunately for him Neymar had pulled out and didn't end up coming to play.  He was still excited to see some other players though.  We were very happy with our seats and waited for the crowds to arrive and the game to start.  It was lovely to meet up with my friend Rachelle for about 15 minutes before the game started, as she was also there with her family.
The game was so much fun.  The crowd was over 95,500 and the atmosphere was awesome! There was a big build up before the game with the lights going out and everyone putting on their phone lights, with lots of music. 
The crowd was very loud with lots of singing, drumming, chanting and Mexican waves.   Every time Messi would get near the ball there was a huge cheer. It was awesome for the boys to see some of their favourite players and they had the best night.   The funniest thing was that people started making paper aeroplanes out of their tickets and started aiming them for the field.  It started over our side and once a few started to make it on the field, there would be a huge big cheer from the crowd.  It then got crazy and there were paper planes going everywhere! Security came up to try to stop it, but there were hundreds going so there was nothing they could really do.  During the last ten minutes I think we watched and cheered for the paper planes more than the game.  The roar from the crowd when one would go on the field just cracked us up! It was even on the news the next day, and showed one of the security guards near the field catch one.

Argentina won 1-0 but Harri didn't care at all - he just kept saying how great it was.  It was the best sporting event we have ever been to by far.

It was fun walking back into the city from the G with the crowds of people.  We then caught the train back to our apartment.
 The next morning we went for another swim before we had to check out of the apartment.

Poor Kobe didn't cope very well with two late nights and was very tired and crabby on our last day there.
We had a few hours before we had to head to the airport, so we stored our luggage in the lockers at Southern Cross Station and headed into the city.  It was nice to see the sun, but it was very cold and foggy in some parts of the city still.

We were fascinated with the 'statue man' and saw him twice in the two days we were there.  When we first saw him the boys didn't believe me that he was real until someone put some money into his hat on the ground, and he moved.  We watched him for ages and kept giving him more and more money, just to watch him move and freeze again. 
We went to the Lindt cafe for a treat, before going to Hosier lane which Jay was very keen to check out before leaving.
It was very cool and full of people also wanting photos.
Kobe was so excited about the ET, especially since he just watched it for the first time during the last school holidays. 
This part was my favourite :)

We had a lovely time but I hated being sick as we could've done so much more if I wasn't feeling so bad.  Kobe got out of bed last night and asked me when we are going to Melbourne again.  I told him we were going to go next year and he started crying and said he wishes we could go again soon.  He said he didn't just like the soccer - he loved it!  

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Mother's Day

I think about Aaron and Noah every day, and miss them so much, but when I think about them now I'm not always sad.  We will often have a laugh about things that Aaron used to do, or Kobe will ask me something about Noah and when we talk about them I don't always feel sad.  Most of the time I'm on top of my grief - I can go about my day and function without feeling overwhelmed with grief or anxiety or depression.  There are still many moments of sadness or course, but it doesn't stop  me from functioning or doing what I need to do to get through the day. 

Most days I'm fine, but Mother's Day hit me so hard this year.  Celebrations, anniversaries and birthdays are always hard, but every year I have found Mother's Day by far one of the hardest days of the year (along with Christmas). 

Aaron used to make Mother's Day a lovely day -  he would made sure the boys had made me a card, or bought something from the Mother's Day stall at school.  He would also buy me something that he knew I would love and would cook tea and made sure that it was a special day for me.  It was nothing huge, but it was just nice to know that I could have the day 'off' and that he would do all he could do to make it special.

But Mother's Day isn't hard because all of that is gone.  It's hard because Aaron, who made me a mother isn't here to celebrate the day with.  It's because one of my children who I spent 10 years caring for in a way that no Mum ever dreams of having to care for their children, is no longer here. And I now have more 'free' time than I've ever had in my life, but I would give anything to have the long days and nights back again.  

It's such a hard day because it's not just a birthday or anniversary for one person - it's a day which thousands of people are talking about. It's all over the shops and in your face and there are so many reminders around of the day and what you are missing.
The boys are boys and I don't expect them to go all out, and I don't even care about whether they buy me anything or not.  But it's always nice getting cute little presents from them.
But to me Mother's Day isn't about the presents.  It's more about just knowing that you are appreciated and loved, which I already know every most days.  My boys always tell me they love me and thank me (most of the time) for everything I do for them.  So I feel very lucky that I don't feel like I need a day to know that.  But even though I knew it was coming up, and I thought I would be okay on the day I woke up and knew straight away that it was going to be a rough day.

I probably should've stayed off social media as Mother's Day was in my face (literally!) all day.  People posting things about their own Mums, people wishing all women whether they are a Mum or wish they were a Mum, a happy day.  People sharing photos of lovely things they were doing together as a family that day.

We spent two days with my Mum before Mother's Day and took her out for tea, but on the day it was just the boys and myself.  The boys gave me their presents and asked me what we were going to do for the day. The week before I thought about going somewhere nice for a walk with the boys, but on the day it was the last thing I felt like doing.  I felt really, really angry and sad for the first time in a long time.  But it took all my energy and strength to even get out of bed.  I haven't felt like that for about four years, but all I wanted to do was stay in bed.  I can usually hold things together and don't even cry very much, but the tears started early in the morning and wouldn't stop all day. 

I don't usually feel sorry for myself, but on Mother's Day I think a couple of years of tears and anger came out all at once.  I had a good cry in the morning and pulled myself together for a bit and told the boys I was going out to the cemetery.  We don't go and visit very often anymore, and I hadn't been since Easter, but I just felt like I wanted to sit at Aaron and Noah's graves. It felt like a good idea at the time to get out of the house, but the cemetery was like Grand Central Station - there were people and cars everywhere.  It definitely wasn't the best day to go and sit and meditate in peace.
I lasted about 10 minutes and then came home and decided my bedroom was probably a better place to be.  As much as I tried to stop crying, I just couldn't.  I didn't want the boys to know I was sad, but poor Jay heard me sobbing in my room and came and gave me a big hug and apologised for it being an awful day.  I told him it wasn't his fault and was just how it was because of the day it was, but I know the boys felt bad that I was having a really hard day.

I was relieved when the day was over, and I felt wiped out for the next few days.  I felt bad when Harri asked me five days later if I was okay.  I asked him why and he said I looked 'tired and sad since Mother's Day' and although I felt okay he obviously picked up that it had been a hard week.  I always tell Harri that he's going to make a great boyfriend and husband one day, because he always compliments me and always knows when I'm feeling tired or down.  

I'm glad that I can see all the best bits of Aaron in the boys in different ways.  I know that he would be so proud of all of them. I just wish he were here to see what awesome boys they've grown into. I wish he were here for all the anniversaries and birthdays and Mother's and Father's Days and Christmases that just are just so hard now.

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