A Travellerspoint blog

Happy New Year

And... 2013 has come to an end. Just like that. I found myself looking forward to 2014's arrival with a sigh of relief at the ready. Because, as for many, this year has been a tumultuous one, with chaos and happiness mischievously walking hand in hand and something unexpected lurking around every corner. Some take solace into attributing its miseries to the superstition that comes with Thirteen's relationship with poor unknowing Two Thousand, but I think Ben and I both share the belief that you create your own happiness. That is not to say, however, that this rosy belief has not been tested. Oh, how we struggled! And oh, how we fought back!

Our worries ranged from struggles with visa regulations, career opportunities and financial distress to dealing with incompetent colleagues and employers, wrathful flatmates, stupid decisions and losing friends due to Darwin's transient population. And when your sole focus is on your worries, suddenly the grass on the other side looks eminently greener: you are so busy fighting that you often end up fighting yourself and those you love most; you lose track of what is important...
E-VE-RY-THING seemed a struggle, until come the end of April: Ben got offered a wonderful job that came with sponsorship. From then on, everything seemed to move at a steady pace: new dwelling, new modes of transport, ever increasing work opportunities, the excitement of having my brother over for a visit, etc. It all went a little fast. But as often happens when life's many creases flatten out and balance restores itself, so do you. A sobering 'aha'-moment confronts you and you think: wow, am I happy to have someone like you in my life. And so the later half of 2013, still oozing with turmoil, became an active quest for daily moments of joy-de-vivre. And upon further reflection, that grass on the other side bore just as many flaws, if not more, as your own. And from it emerged a beautiful event, which we will cherish for as long as our lives may unfold: we got married. Who would have thought it? Sitting on an old junk boat in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam on the 1st of January of 2013, we certainly did not see that one coming!

For the first time in a while, we can look forward to a year of stability. Of course we have been through too many sudden life-alterations to believe that a year can go according to plan, but that doesn't matter. For now, we take solace in the illusion of stability that 2014 is offering us and man, does that feel good! And again, it fills us with joy that we will be looking forward to it together! :)

And so, without further ado:

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.
I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful,
and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself..." - Neil Gaiman

Happy New Year from Mr Ben and Mrs Emilie <3

PS: updates to follow, I promise!

Posted by Fat Face 05:50 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Brother and Sister Reunited! (2)

Part II: Emilie and Yani take on Bali and Singapore


As you may have read in our previous post, we had the privilege to have my lovely brother Yani come and visit us in Darwin. His time was limited to only two and a half weeks and we were adamant to make the utmost of his stay. After a wonderful week in Darwin which ended in the creation of a series of beautiful memories, we decided that it would be nice for Yani to see a bit more of the other side of the world. Unfortunately, we could not afford a trip down to Sydney or Melbourne, and so instead, we left expensive Australia behind and enjoyed the beauty that Bali had to offer. Ben could not take time of work, which was a crying shame, but it meant Yani and I got to have some quality brother-sister time together.

Our first stop in Bali was a few days in the cultural and historical town of Ubud. Knowing Yani's love for animals, a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest was an absolute must, as well as doing the gorgeous Campuhan ricefield trek...

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Soul mates


Monkey see, monkey do


Campuhan Ricefield Walk

Travelling southwards, we made a stop and visited the Bali Safari and Marine Park for a day. We were both feeling really poorly. I had contracted a nasty cold from one of the children I was teaching in Darwin and it took us a few days to get rid of it... not the best way to enjoy a holiday, but oh well, gotta soldier on! It was a great park with many great animal shows and performances. We loved it!

Elephant Educational Show

White Tiger


There are more pictures of the safari park in this free and public album: Bali Safari Marine Park

With so much excitement in the past days, the last ones seemed to go by quietly. I wished we had the time to discover more of Bali, climb a volcano, go for a massive trek, see more of the beautiful sights in the North, but alas... we were strapped for time. You will have to come back some time, Yani! But I guess, we definitely made the most of it and if anything, we filled up our bellies with the most scrumptious cheap food and inhaled the array of colours and smells that awaited us every year.

More pictures of our time in Bali can be viewed through this free public link: Bali Pictures

Now, Yani's flight back to Europe departed from Singapore. And with Singapore only being a short affordable flight away from Bali, I decided to join him, spend a day or so together and drop him off at the airport. If you haven't seen someone in so long, you just have to make every moment last, right? And so from Bali we set of to the metropolis that is Singapore. I don't think Yani ever experienced such a dynamic place before: his eyes were popping out of their sockets most of our time there! ;)



And here are all the pictures from our time in Singapore: Emilie and Yani in Singapore

And that was the end of an incredible time. Yani, we loved having you here and it was so lovely to spend so much time with you. We both really miss you and love you very much! Thank you for a beautiful time together! :)

Posted by Fat Face 02:25 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Brother and Sister Reunited! (1)

Part I : Yani invades Darwin

sunny 32 °C


After two and a half years of seperation, my lovely younger brother YANI paid us a visit in Darwin! There is no greater feeling than to be united with the people you love most, and having my two men on either side of me was bliss :) Of course, it made us feel nostalgic and home-sick missing all those other family members we are seperated from, but we made sure to cherish this special time. Because Yani could not stay all that long, we decided to divide his stay up in two parts. First, he spent one and a half weeks with us in Darwin, where we showed him around and tried to give him a taster of the Northern Territory.

We went to Crocodylus Park:

My men <3

Croc Love!

We went to Crocosaurus Cove:



I got Yani to assist me in my French class at the Darwin Languages centre, made him experience a few of the tropical markets, we saw the most gorgeous of sunsets and made the most of the Darwin Festival, which so happened to be on that whole time Yani was here - good timing!

Mindil Beach sunset Market

We also went out for dinner a few times, saw an awful movie at the Deckchair Cinema (sorry Yani!), went for a swim at one of the Recreation Water Parks and did a lot of blobbing at the Waterfront

At the Darwin Waterfront

Crazy Kids


And as always, time flies when you are having such a great time. So many wonderful memories were made throughout this time, and we are so happy that we caught so many of them on camera as well. If you would like to view the full photo album, you can follow this free public link to my Facebook album. No account is needed to access this, just a click of the mouse and you too can take a trip down memory lane: Yani in Darwin Photo Album

Part II to follow soon! x

Posted by Fat Face 06:05 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

(continuation) April + May, June, July and August 2013

Or: How Darwin has kept us ridiculously busy!

The months of April and May bring with them the arrival of the Northern Territory's much-loved Dry Season. It was meant to arrive around the Anzac Day celebrations, but the weather followed its bizarre pattern and decided to give us a mixture of typical wet season humidity, occasional rain showers, and big cloud cover. There is no such thing as complaining about the weather when you live in the tropics though, or at least not in my eyes. It is such a blessing. Although Ben might argue that it is a little too hot to his liking. The wimp.

Anyway, with the change of weather, Darwin prepares to burst out of its seams with tourists coming from all over the world to escape the Winter in the other Australian cities. And as dull as this little city can seem during the wet months of the year, it sure knows how to put up a big show and turn it into a little paradise on earth. As a result, every week (though mostly over the weekends) brings with it exciting events enjoyed by both the locals and the visitors. It starts off slowly with a few events here and there in the month of April, but come May, we struggled to have a single day off. At times we wonder whether we are being crazy for trying to fit all the fun in, but then we remember that in a few months' time, when the population has shrunk and the weather turns nasty, we will be kicking ourselves for not having made the most of it when we could.

So, what kind of events, parties and fun did we engage in? (in no particular order)

“Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” movie

This was shown by a local NGO that deals with refugees. A gripping and must see movie! The night was followed by a performance of the African Brothers All Star Drummers, whose performances we have come to love.

Salsa Cruise

... organised by the Latino Society of Darwin. Needless to say Ben sat this one out. Not sure what his excuse was, but luckily I was accompanied by the most wonderful of friends who were not afraid to put their dancing shoes on. What a great night!

Dancing Queens: Pablo and Emilie!

We went to many outings to the open-air and iconic 'Deckchair Cinema' and saw some truly wonderful movies: "Cafe de Flore", "Samsara", "Mr Lazhar", "Save your Legs", etc. The picture above was taken there with our friend Norbert :)

Indonesian Cultural Day

The Darwin Languages Centre (DLC), where I work, organised an Indonesian Cultural Day. Ben and I donned our beautiful Balinese sarongs and went along to show our support and to enjoy the colours, delicious food and activities.

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Darwin Beercan Regatta

Afrikanus Night

Green Stone Garden concert

Dalai Lama in Australia - in Darwin!

Other than that - but without photographic evidence - we also went to: a Comedy Night; the Italian Festival; Greek Glenti; India at Mindil; Harmony Festival; Craft Fair; Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival; Gospel/ Acapella Workshop; the Darwin Expo; World Refugee Day, etc. We watched a friend perform at a Tapas bar; we attended BBQ's with friends and colleagues; we volunteered for the Dalai Lama during his visit in Darwin and started volunteering for Melaleuca Refugee Centre and we undertook mini road-trips on our beloved scooter, and more...

Yep, Darwin isn't all that bad during the Dry Season! ;)

Posted by Fat Face 03:41 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Happy Times

sunny 33 °C

Things have been a little quiet in the blog-osphere... I can imagine what you must be thinking: “did they create a new blog just to fall back into a prolonged silence?” Not at all, dear people! Truth is that we have been flooded with wildly exciting events!

“Dry Season” = Darwin Fun Season!

(detailed blog post to follow)

Green Stone Garden concert

World Refugee Festival

Dalai Lama in Australia (and even in Darwin!)

Mini-holiday to Bali:

Our last holiday dated back to the Christmas holidays. And since then, we can count the days we have had together on our hands. There is always a day where one of us had to go out and work, including the weekends, and we just longed to have some time alone. So Bali it was. Such a small little island, yet with so much to offer. How could we resist?




Reunited (after more than two years!) with my brother Yani, who came over for a visit! He stayed with us in Darwin for about a week and a half and then the two of us went on a quality brother-sister holiday to Bali, with a short stay in Singapore, where I dropped him back off at the airport (aaaaww!). What a wonderful time!

Love this kid!

Since then, we have been thrown back into work all the while preparing for another big event... but that will have to be revealed at a later date!

Much love to you all,
Ben and Emilie xxx

Posted by Fat Face 01:48 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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