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A storm's coming- Hurricane Sandy #bitch

The WTC view from Hoboken - the calm before the storm

Wow - what a crazy, fast year it has been - too busy to sit here and talk about ALL the crazy things that happened, but crazy enough to get blogging again. I thought the best way to remember the year is to see it in Pictures - and in no particular order, so here are some highlights from my 2012 - I had the best year and ticked off many 'bucket list' wishes!!

The Saddest part of any year, is when you lose people close to you - and this year was no exception - Easter weekend was dark and gloomy for me - I lost a great friend to Cancer, and it made for a very tough Easter indeed. I hope to still be around when the cure for Cancer is found - it seems to take our very best people x

I Cannot justify living in this amazing place without including a picture of what I deem to be, the essence of Manhattan - when I see this now, I know 2 things - 1 - that I am very Lucky to have such amazing opportunities come my way, and 2 - that I am Home :)

My USA friends and family will tell you that I am OBSESSED with this iconic building and freely admit it - how can you not be?

The Fall in North America makes people do crazy things, like drink Pumpkin flavoured coffee, carve scary faces into hollow pumpkins, and decorate their streets with everything that is Pumpkin’s like the people here are obsessed by all things Pumpkin - what will the poor Dill Pickle think about that??? So, this year, when my brother Ashley and his mate Greg arrived for a visit, it was smack bang in the middle of Pumpkin season, so we went to a ridgy didge pumpkin patch to see what all the fuss was about - hay rides, monster trucking, corn field mazes...yup we did it, and actually it was pretty cool!! Who would have thought that within an hour of the biggest city on the earth, you can walk among a corn maze, buy home-made jam, and sit on a pumpkin that is really too big to be true... Yes, it all happens in New Jersey...

One of the many things I have always wanted to do - even before meeting a true blue Cubano, was to visit Cuba - in fact, when I had originally planned my long service trip for 2011, I was to spend around 6 weeks going through Cuba from bottom to top - for some reason, I knew that I always wanted to visit this place - well by now, we all know that my long service trip didn't happen, and that I ended up jetting across the world to live here instead, but the desire to visit Cuba was still within - so in October this year, and as has become somewhat a bit of tradition, myself, my Brother Ashley, and Greg ventured on a bit of a bucket list trip - first to Niagara falls, then off to Varadero in Cuba for my birthday, and then on to Cancun for a week of bliss !! It was truly a fabulous trip - some expectations were met, and some were not - but overall it was overwhelmingly amazing. The week in Mexico was truly one of the best places I have stayed at in my entire jet setting career - Paradisis La Perla Resort in Playa Del Carmen - just about as good as you can expect a holiday to be really - great food, amazing service, and culture and history that really make you sit back and go WOW... if you have never been to Mexico - you should really stop what you are doing right now, and get in touch with your travel agent and just go...scroll accross to check out some pics from this trip - including feeding the Manatees in Cancun - a stinky job but cute.

In late October, we heard of a big storm heading our way - possibly a Hurricane, but if it didn't make the cut, it was at the least going to be a super storm... Sure we thought, just like Hurricane Irene last year we all thought. There was really not much panic before Sandy hit, but during and after, we all realised just how devastating she really was - more water than one could ever imagine, no power and heat for at least a week, and unimaginable loss for so many people - New York, and New Jersey were devastated. Where I live in Hoboken, we were unable to get out of our apartment, and had to be evacuated out - there was just too much water - no phone coverage, and no way out. Luckily for me, I had a new family who took me under their wing and give me a place to stay, but for so many, it was a very real case of heading to the shelters for housing. The national guard moved in, and to this day, there are still some businesses not functional again after the times like this, you understand just how lucky you are - yes, we may have lost a car, but didn't really feel like we could complain too much, seeing as some people had lost everything they owned... Sandy - You were a total Bitch!!

The week that followed gave us panic like I have never known before - people queuing up for 5 hours or more just to get gas to fill a generator, or their cars - it really was like a scene from a mad max movie - petrol rationing came into effect and slowly, there was no longer a need to guard the petrol stations with police day and night....

A Week after Sandy had been and gone, and while we were just getting power back, we got smashed with a blizzard - causing chaos all over again - people without heat and power now faced the extra challenge of trying to keep warm...Mother nature was really pissed at us East coasters this year!!

In September 2012, I ventured home for the first time since leaving - almost 2 years - to see my mate Jo get married - I mean I had to see it to believe it right?? During this trip, I caught up with family for the first time - it was great to know that nothing ever really changes - you just get a few more wrinkles, but everyone is still the same and we had some great laughs along the way - catching up with all those long lost foods that I missed out on was really amazing too - 25kg of lollies from woolies was certainly one of my highlights in coming back to the USA ...

Family were always supporting me from afar

In my travels in 2012, I got to visit some amazing places - and some of these are fast becoming favourite places to visit - especially in the south - Nashville is a firm favourite of mine and the food and people are truly amazing - if your ever heading that way, and need some tips, just give me a holler - I’d be happy to give you suggestions of places to go, stay and eat!! During the summer, I was lucky enough to experience the joy of driving route 66 - from Vegas to New Jersey - and it was a one in a lifetime experience - if you get the chance this is a great way to see this amazing country - although I would probably recommend you not to do this in just 4 days as we did, but to take your time and enjoy what it has to offer...

One of my new favourite places to visit is Chicago - it is really a great city - with everything that I like - great food ( number one most important thing!!), great hotels and shopping, nightlife, and heaps to do during both summer and winter. It was in May this year, that Tony and I found ourselves hiring bicycles and riding along the shore of Lake Michigan - yes you heard right - bike riding - who would ever have thought - but it is a great way to build up an appetite for all that great food that Chi Town has to offer - this place is definitely on my radar for places to visit again in 2013!!

Adios Muchachos - its been epic..

And now it is the last day of 2012, and I look back and think about all the amazing people I have come to know in my life, and of all the great experiences I have had - and I feel truly blessed to be able to enjoy my life the way that I have! Bring on the joys for 2013 - I have a lot of hope that it will be bigger and better than ever!! Happy holidays to everyone, and please stay safe, but most importantly - Have fun - because life is just too short to go a day without fun!!


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