Road Trip to Tenterfield!

Here at Mountain View we are always thinking of: new things to do; places to go; people to meet. Our Social Committee organises most activities, but residents come up with ideas as well. That’s how the upcoming road trip to Tenterfield came about.

Load that bus!! We’re going to Tenterfield!

Lock in the 28th May, Eddie!

A couple of months ago, Wendy and I started tossing ideas around for an overnight trip for Mountain View residents. And since Tenterfield had been on my mind for a while, it seemed like a good a place for our inaugural overnight-er.

Dulcie, on behalf of the Social Committee, joined us in the planning. And with seemingly little effort, we are all set to take off on the 28th May.

  • the bus is available
  • we have enough willing travellers to (almost) fill the bus
  • Desley has volunteered to drive
  • accommodation is booked
  • meals are sorted
  • and we are working on the itinerary

Tenterfield – here we come!

Tenterfield, besides being a beautiful place to visit, is a significant part of our Australian history. On the 24th October 1889, Sir Henry Parkes delivered the Federation Speech, (Tenterfield Oration) right there in Tenterfield.

I believe that the time has come, and if two Governments set an example, the others must soon of necessity follow. There will be an uprising in this fair land of a goodly fabric of free Government, and all great national questions of magnitude affecting the welfare of the colonies will be disposed of by a fully authorised constitutional authority. This means a distinct executive and a distinct parliamentary power for the whole of Australia, and it means a Parliament of two Houses, a House of Commons and a Senate, which will legislate on these great subjects.

Sir Henry Parkes (Federation Speech 1889)

So, the Sir Henry Parkes School of Arts Cafe will be our first port of call. Having lunch in the building in which the Father of Federation once stood, will be a great introduction to Tenterfield.

Our Federated Nation started right here in Tenterfield

In a more modern context, Tenterfield was showcased to the world in the words of Peter Allen’s song – ‘The Tenterfield Saddler’. Peter’s Grandfather, George Woolnough, once plied his trade in the building that had housed many Saddlers before him. A visit to the old Saddlery will feature prominently on our itinerary.


On the subject of Peter Allen, where better to stay in Tenterfield than the Peter Allen Motor Inn. A few emails and a phone call to Luke, and our accommodation was in the bag. Luke was so accommodating that he even helped us decide on the best place for dinner.

The History Trail on our Road Trip to Tenterfield

Some of our travellers are keen gardeners, so a visit to Tenterfield wouldn’t be complete without seeing the old Cork Tree. The seeds for the cork tree came to Australia in a jam tin, in the very early days of our settlement (1861). The seeds grew and the tree is reportedly one of the largest cork trees in the country. Who would have thought that cork grows on trees? And it is still growing, Just as well we didn’t have Border Force back then, or Edward Parker would have been paying a hefty fine for bringing in plant material. Next time you pop the cork of your favourite bubbly, spare a thought for the cork tree, from whence the stopper comes.

We’ll be visiting Stannum House – or at least looking at it from the outside. The spiral staircase might be a bit daunting for some of our travellers. Built more than three-hundred years ago, the beautiful Stannum House still stands tall and proud. Past visitors of Stannum House include: Banjo Paterson; Dame Nellie Melba; and of course, Sir Henry Parkes. Their spirits live on. There is a lot of history wrapped up in the New England city of Tenterfield.

…. Australia has now a population of three and a half millions, and the American people numbered only between three and four millions when they formed the great Commonwealth of the United States. The numbers are about the same. Surely what the Americans have done by war, Australians can bring about in peace.

Sir Henry Parkes (from the Tenterfield Oration 1889)
The Post Office building in Tenterfield

From historical buildings to beautiful scenery, Tenterfield has it all.

Our road trip to Tenterfield is quickly moving from the planning stage to the ‘Are we there yet?’.

We can’t wait to get there!

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It’s All Rock ‘n Roll!

There is nothing like the first few bars of a favourite song to rekindle memories. When that music is Rock ‘n Roll – well, two decades come flooding back. The ‘50’s and ‘60’s is where it all happened.

From the hard times of the Thirties and Forties, the Fifties brought change:

  • money started to flow again
  • post-war employment flourished
  • pre-war peace returned

… and the music of the time reflected the change.

Rock ‘n Roll was born!

From Bill Haley and the Comets to Australia’s own Col Joye, music inspired us. Full skirts and stiffened petticoats swirled to the beat. Men in slim-fitting suits and skinny ties, filled the dance halls. And patent-leather pointy-toed shoes jived the night away.

The Fifties were a time when music healed the scars of the Second World War and refilled the depleted banks of our emotions.

There was renewed hope.

If the Fifties renewed our hope – the Sixties liberated our senses.

The magic of television had arrived, and the world was open for viewing.

Free-love and Peace were the mantras of our youth, inspired by the hippie movement of Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. Our own Northern Rivers town of Mullumbimby became home to hordes of city drop-outs.

But the peace of the Fifties was short-lived in the lead-up to the Vietnam War. Anti-war demonstrations were the voice of Sixties youth.

Anti-war sentiments poured out in the lyrics of Bob Dylan.

And the Beatles sang of love.

The first few bars of a song from the Fifties and Sixties takes us back to a time when age was on our side. When we stood on the brink of adulthood and the world was ours.

Aveo Rocks – National Tour

The youth of the Fifties and Sixties now do a different shuffle, creaking as they move. Health issues plague them and bones ache.

Being in his nineties doesn’t keep this young man from the dance floor.

Some may not remember what they had for breakfast, but the words of the old songs come flooding back. Their feet find their way to the dance floor and they forget their aches and pains, at least for a while.

The Rockin Bodgies belt out the songs of the Fifties and Sixties.

For two hours, flared skirts and bobby-socks find their rhythm. Slower now, but no less able. For two hours the years melt away and they are young again.

Happy Days is remembered fondly as the Fonz rides back into their lives.

As Aveo Rocks shakes up Tweed Heads South, those who remember the best times, rock on.

And the world is once again as it should be, care and pain-free.

The Aveo Freedom Aged Care facility at Tweed Heads South turned on the charm for Aveo Rocks on Friday 22nd March. Terryll provided guided tours of the facility – there were a lot of Wow!’s at the end of each tour! Food and drinks were plentiful, and the staff were amazing.

So dust off your pointy-toed shoes and starch up your petticoats. There’s an Aveo Rocks coming to a village near you – and you won’t want to miss it.

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That’s Trivia!

Families have been gathering around the dining room table to answer silly questions since 1981. It was back then that a group of Canadian men decided to launch the new game they had developed. The game, Trivial Pursuit was born, and families have been addicted to answering silly questions about trivia, ever since.

Image from Pixabay

But like most good things, the game spilled out of our homes and into pubs, club-houses, libraries, and anywhere else that would adequately house teams of avid trivia-ites.

A group of like-minded people at Mountain View have banded together to present Trivia every Monday at 6.30pm. There are about an hour’s worth of questions for the teams that opt-in. You don’t have to have a team to play, just come to the Community Centre and join one of the groups that have a spare chair at their table. There are a couple of specific groups, but most of us just turn up for a bit of a laugh and an opportunity to socialise. And just for the record – the exclusive groups don’t necessarily win – sometimes it’s the just-for-the-night group that hardly know each other that take away the winning honour.

Prizes?

Did I mention the prize for winning? No? That’s good – because there isn’t one. There is a lucky door prize (for those who enjoy a drop or two), and players enjoy an ice-cream at the end of the game.

Image from Pixabay

So if you are hoping to win a sheep-station – don’t come to our game – you’ll be disappointed.

If you are keen to exercise your brain and hone your team skills – then run – don’t walk – to the Community Centre on Monday night at 6.30. Bring a $2 coin with you, and you are good to go. And if you are so inclined, you can bring a drop of something good to drink – otherwise the coffee machine is on ($2 a cup), and the water bottle is full.

Oh, and feel free to bring a couple of neighbours with you – they’ll enjoy the night as well, and you can either walk up and back together, or car-pool. At least when you get home at 7.30-8.00 – still laughing at some of the funny things that happened, you won’t disturb them.

Is it just for fun?

According to healthline.com, playing trivia is good for our mental health. Terms like – Frontal cortex; hoarding circuits; and addictive circuits are mentioned – but we’ll focus on the positive. Bruce and Mark will encourage you to ‘surf’ the Internet for trivia questions and answers, without becoming obsessive about hoarding facts. They will encourage teams to play to win, but not become addicted to winning.

One of the features of playing Trivia games in teams is the opportunity to meet and interact with others. This should remain one of the focal points of the game. Yes, winning is fun, and we all want to win, but it isn’t the most important thing. Widening our circle of friends has to be a major component.

And a flow on from the above is the challenge of working collaboratively in a team. Yes, that is T-E-A-M. There is no I in team.

Image from Pixabay

We might be convinced our answer is the right one, but so is the person opposing our suggestion. Working out how to accommodate different opinions is a skill, and one that can be developed and enhanced by playing Trivia games in a team.

Use it or lose it

Another compelling element of Trivia games is the workout for our brains. Not only do we have to delve into the deep, dark corners to find the answers, but we have to meet the timelines imposed by the presenter. Learning to think faster is like taking a brisk walk as opposed to a slow saunter. The brisk walk will work our cardio system for a better overall benefit, just as thinking faster will work our brains harder. The old saying ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it’, couldn’t be more true – especially for our brains.

As we age, we lose physical strength – our bodies just don’t bounce back as easily as they used to. We are constantly being reminded of the need to be active.

Image from Pixabay

But what about our brains?

The old picture of retirees typically showed seniors in a sedentary lifestyle. But not now! The latest research shows us that we need to stay physically, and mentally fit. Learning a new language is one of the best ways to stay mentally alert as we age, and so is playing Trivia games.

So, are you going to sit back and wait for dementia to kick in, or are you going to make a stand against it?

Great Choice

See you at the Community Centre on Monday night – at 6.30!

Use the comments section below if you have any questions…

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Was It Worth It?

Staging a Seniors Expo as part of the NSW Seniors Festival, demands a reasonable amount of time and brain-power – especially the brain-power. But – by putting our collective heads and shoulders together, we did it. Today was the day we opened our doors and our hearts, to show off where we live, and what we do. Was it worth it?

You had better believe it!

Hours before the official start time, the room was buzzing with presenters and talented residents, setting up their displays.

I don’t think I was the only one who was a little nervous at the start of the day. Would anyone show up – would it all work – would it be worth it?

Severe weather warnings of Cyclone Oma looming over the coast, didn’t help.

By noon, the answer was crystal clear.

Not only was it worth it, but it exceeded most expectations. Due to start at 11.30, people congregated around tables long before then. Once their table was set up, presenters circled the room, greeted other presenters, and exchanged comments and information.

The buzz got louder…

Visitors mingled, and presenters talked about the services they could offer seniors. Talented residents and friends proudly showed off their labours of love. It was a great feeling to sit back and watch the success of the Seniors Expo, as it happened around us.

Christine’s fantastic bookmarks and cards, made with flowers that grow here in our beautiful gardens. Tapestries; card-making; technology displays; quilts; knitting; wood-carving; paintings; clocks; jewellery – all made by our talented residents. All we need to do now is convince these talented people to teach the rest of us.

(Photos courtesy of W. Powell)

So, what else happened today?

The creative talent was phenomenal, but what impressed me the most, was the level of support the residents of Mountain View offered those who were visiting. Nothing was too much trouble to ensure questions were answered, and appropriate connections and introductions were made.

Tireless workers provided food to sustain visitors, residents and presenters. Liquid refreshments rehydrated them. Nobody seemed flustered or bothered by the amount of work that goes into preparing enough food to sustain hungry crowds. It just happened, seemingly effortlessly.

The chefs who demonstrated how quickly and easily you can create a nutritious meal, had a captive audience – and the food smelled divine.

It made me even more proud to be part of Mountain View – my retirement community. Not that you have to be retired to live here – you don’t. As long as you have celebrated fifty-five years of life – you qualify to be part of this great community.

Oh, and you don’t need any special talent to live here. We have plenty of teachers who can take you from ‘I’d love to be able to do that’, to ‘Wow, look what I’ve created!’. Trust me, I know. I signed up for Julia’s quilting class and after just one lesson, my new quilt is only weeks, and a lot of stitches away.

It’s the sense of belonging to a supportive extended family that makes living at Mountain View so special. And it is the combined effort of everyone that made the difference.

Thank you to everyone who visited and/or presented at the Aveo Mountain View Seniors Expo.

Was it worth it?

You bet it was!

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Seniors Expo is Happening!

The countdown is over! Today is Friday and it is the twenty-second day of February, which means the Seniors Expo is happening today at Mountain View, Murwillumbah

The Gold Coast is copping high winds, but up here on the hill at Mountain View, there’s just a nice breeze. There are dark clouds in the sky, and there was rain through the night, but right now, no rain.

Mountain View Murwillumbah

For anyone who can get here safely, we’ll see you at 11.30, when the first tour of the village begins.

Bring an umbrella (just in case) and make your way to –

Mountain View Retirement Village

1 Ingram Place (off Byangum Road) Murwillumbah

02-6672-4800

Phone us for directions or any questions about the Seniors Expo that is happening today.

We’ll have the kettle on and there’s always coffee brewing in the coffee machine.

See you soon!

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Four Days Until…!

The countdown is on! Only four days until Aveo Mountain View’s Seniors Expo. That’s just four sleeps and a wakey – until Friday the 22nd February. We’ll put the coffee machine in overdrive, crank up the kettle, and make sure the biscuit tin is full. So take a drive up Byangum Road (from Murwillumbah), turn left into Ingram Place – we are at the end of Ingram Place (1 Ingram Place). Let us know you are coming so we can put enough beans in the coffee machine.

We are really excited about showing you our place.

You’ll see:

  • inside one of our fabulous units
  • the lake
  • the Bowling Green
  • our community centre – the Hub for most of our activities
  • beautiful birds
  • bin chickens ibis (sorry – couldn’t put them in the beautiful birds category)
  • water dragons
  • happy retirees enjoying life
  • presentations from outside agencies – providing information about all things ‘ageing’
  • presentations from residents – to show what we do all day

If retirement is on your horizon, or the horizon of someone you know, come and talk to us. We’ve (nearly) all hit the retirement button – some of us are new at it – others are old-hands – but we can show you some of the options available. Even if your retirement plans feature foreign shores, you might pick up some valuable tips from someone who has been there and done that. Some of our residents split their retirement time between Aveo Mountain View and a resort on a tropical island. Can it get any better than that?

Come and see Julia’s beautiful quilts

Click here to see the Timetable for the day. Come for the full day (11.30 – 3.00) or just an hour or two. Oh, and don’t forget the cooking demonstration at 2.00pm. You won’t want to miss it!

Just remember though, the roads throughout Mountain View Village are shared roads. That means, we share the road with cars, trucks, seniors (some of us don’t move as fast as we used to) and our wildlife.

Our speed limit is 15 km/h!

Please slow down while in the village.

Our beautiful lake…

Well, what are you waiting for?

Pick up the phone and call the office to let us know you are coming.

The phone number is: 02-6672-4800 (Office Hours)

Or you can email me: retired@mountainview-living.com

Or, fill out the RSVP at the bottom of this page

Remember, there’s only four days until the Aveo Mountain View Seniors Expo – so….

We’ll see you at our place on Friday!!

[contact-form-7 id=”839″ title=”RSVP”]

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Timetable for Seniors Expo

With only a week before Aveo Mountain View’s Big Day on the 22nd February, the timetable for the Seniors Expo is ready to go. Displays are being finalised and external agencies are lining up to attend.

You will find us at 1 Ingram Place, Murwillumbah (off Byangum Road) and you can phone us on 02-6672-4800 (Office Hours) for more information and to RSVP.

It’s all happening!

The first tour of the village will kick off at 11.30am, so make sure you add your name to the RSVP at the bottom of the page.

Why are we getting excited about the Seniors Expo at Mountain View Murwillumbah? Because we get to show off where we live!

Timetable

  • 11.30 – Tour of the Village
  • 12.30 – Official Welcome and Opening of the Expo
  • 12.40 – Tour of the Village
  • 1.30 – Tour of the Village
  • 2.00 – Cooking Demonstration
Our beautiful Mountain View Lake

Between the tours, there will be displays in the Community Centre of current and proposed activities, as well as presentations by:

  • Hearing Connect
  • Aveo Sales
  • HearingLife
  • Funeral Director and Celebrant
  • Mobile Rehab
  • Community Transport
  • Aveo Connect
  • UPA – United Protestant Association
  • Nutrition Select
  • Aveo Benefits
  • U3A – University of the 3rd Age
  • Local Artists
  • Technology Display
  • Freedom Sales
  • Aveo Care at Home
  • Neighbourhood Watch


Nature at it’s Best!

When you read the sales pitch about twenty-eight acres of bushland, you’d better believe it! Trees and wildlife abound here at Mountain View. We’ve got plenty of trees and plenty of birds. And the beautiful lake attracts turtles, ducks and lots of water dragons.

Each morning we have wake-up calls from:

Who doesn’t love our Kookaburras?

They’re happy to sit on the railing – just waiting for a friendly smile.

Slow Down!

The speed limit throughout the village is 15 km/h

We want to protect our residents and our native wildlife, so please drive slowly when you come to visit. Our water dragons and brushturkeys roam free because this is their home too – so watch out for them on the road.

RSVP

Let us know you’re coming so we know how many cups to put out for a cuppa!

[contact-form-7 id=”839″ title=”RSVP”]

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Seniors Week Expo!

February brings tidings of new beginnings. As the Lunar New Year launches on the 5th February, we celebrate the Year of the Pig.  And what better way to welcome the New Lunar Year than holding a Seniors Week Expo.

Up here on the hill, at Aveo Mountain View Retirement Village, we pride ourselves on doing retirement well. And just to prove it, we would love you to join us on the 22nd February, when we open the doors and invite you in. 

Pop in for a cuppa and a bikkie

We’ll have the kettle on, the coffee machine primed, and the bikkie-tin full.

There will be tours of the village, including the opportunity to look inside one of our Independent Living Units. 

So if you are wondering if retirement is all it’s cracked up to be, come and see for yourself.

So, what do we do all day?

There will be poster displays of current activities, as well as activities that are in the pipeline for this year. We don’t just sit up here and watch the grass grow – we are active – and actively learning.

The Bowling Green is well used and the sounds of happy bowlers are heard throughout the village.

People from all walks of life have chosen to retire at Aveo Mountain View Retirement Village Murwillumbah. And you would be flabbergasted at the range of talent that is lurking behind the doors in both our Independent Living and Supported Living Units. Our mission for 2019 is to highlight more of the talent and tap into the expertise – meaning more classes for residents.

In Seniors Week 2019 we want to showcase some of our unique talents.

The bus is ready… 
On to Tumbulgum to join the Spirit of Wollumbin for a boat-ride on the mighty Tweed River
It might have rained, but nothing could dampen our spirits on
The Spirit of Wollumbin 

We will also have guest speakers to answer any questions you might have about their field of speciality, including mobile rehabilitation and a number of other age-related agencies.

Not exactly MKR, but close enough

The highlight of the day will be a cooking demonstration you won’t want to miss!

Put the 22nd February in your diary….

….and come and see what retirement really looks like at Aveo Mountain View Retirement Village – Seniors Week Expo.

I’m sure you will be surprised!

Watch this space for the timetable that will be coming soon….

RSVP

[contact-form-7 id=”839″ title=”RSVP”]

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Retirement Re-Badged

Aveo China Campus

Being part of a Retirement Village can have it’s benefits – beyond the obvious: like-minded neighbours; peaceful and quiet living; security of having retired neighbours watching out for your unit while you travel the world; no gardens to maintain – lawns to mow – pool to clean (someone else takes care of all of these).

If you’re in an Aveo Village, retirement just got a whole lot better!

Being part of an Aveo Retirement Village has an extra bonus – reciprocal visits to the China Campus.

The inaugural exchange happened in October 2016, and I’m proud to say I took the challenge and signed up for a two-week tour of the village near Shanghai. Residents of the Aveo Group of retirement villages in Australia were eligible to participate in the inaugural trip and 20 residents from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast opted to blaze the trail for future travellers. Aveo plan to take 4 groups each year, as well as arranging for our Chinese counterparts to visit our fair shores and see how we define retirement here in Australia.

My limited knowledge of China and all things Chinese had me believing that we would be teaching the Chinese residents a lot about being active in our later years. We were asked to bring equipment and expertise to teach the gentle art of Lawn Bowls, and I assumed we would be teaching a lot more than that while we were there. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Yes, we did take some Bowls, and yes, those with expertise did teach the finer points of using them, but that’s (almost) where our part of the exchange ends. We did manage to teach our hosts the words and actions of ‘Give Me A Home Among The Gum Trees’, but more about that later.

A very successful cultural exchange, on the croquet ground? Oh well, it worked.

As perfect hosts, our Chinese counterparts welcomed us with open arms and treated us like royalty during our stay.

The Chinese residents couldn’t have done more to ensure our stay was perfect in every way

My view of retirement until then was that retirement is passive. It’s something that happens to you at the end of a usually busy career. It’s when you start working your way through the long list of books you stockpiled over the busy years, with the words ‘for retirement reading’ embossed on each cover, even though the History of Russia will be ancient history by the time I actually get to read it.

Retirement is what we look forward to, but worry about finding enough to do to keep us occupied. It’s about winding down; taking it easy; being a lot more sedentary.

But that isn’t how it is in China. There are courses for those who may not have had the opportunity to go to College, and dedicated classrooms and teachers ensure that learning is successful. Some residents are studying English, while others master Calligraphy, Mahjong, or Music. The sounds and signs of practice can be heard and seen throughout the campus. The melodic notes from a piano or flute float down from an upper floor window and calligraphic signs adorn the walls and halls of the learning areas.

The evenings are for gentle exercise in the Quadrangle in fine weather, or the Community Hall if the skies open up.  The days are for the full rigour of the gym under the expert guidance of a personal trainer. And the residents are there: in the quad gaining strength of mind and body with every disciplined but poised movement; in the gym toning muscles and ensuring flexibility in the aging process; in the pool pushing laps; in the dance studio learning the ancient art of traditional Chinese dance or ballroom dancing; in the library stretching the mind; in the craft room creating exquisite masterpieces to share with friends. Participation is active and interactive. Retirement isn’t a passive phase that happens to them, it is a new stage of active learning and growth. Even ballroom dancing is undertaken with skill and precision and there were many talented couples tripping the light fantastic on the dance floor on our first night on the campus.

And the concert at the end of our tour was spectacular! Choirs sang, musicians played ancient instruments, and Mr Bridge Lee gave a very professional rendition of Santa Lucia and Moscow Nights. And the Aussies? Well, what else would you expect? ‘Give Me A Home Among The Gum Trees’, complete with actions, was the order of the day (hastily put together on the day, I might add), and was very well received by all. Our Chinese hosts loved it! and even requested an Encore after our Farewell Dinner the night before we left. Our Aussie host, Julie, was a bit ‘over it’ after the third or fourth time of seeing us all up on the big screen in the Quadrangle, belting out every last note of the song, but I suspect just a little of that stemmed from the homesickness the song evoked in her, having been away from our fair shores for more than just a few years while overseeing the setting up of the China Campus.

I came back to our village with a new perspective on retirement.  I want to re-write the script. There is no need for the retirement phase to be the final journey when it could so easily be reversed to become a new beginning.

The view from my balcony – and this is winter!

What could we achieve in our later years if we adopt a philosophy of learning new skills: A second language; Writing a novel; Learning to play an instrument? Anything is possible – we are limited only by our imagination. We just have to change our mindset from master to student, and actively engage in learning.

The difference between East and West is no more clearly defined than in the learning centres of the China Campus. The emphasis is on learning, training and discipline.

Happy Retirement!

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Planning Stage

Suzy Cornelius outlines the travel opportunity for Australian Aveo residents to visit the Aveo campus in Shanghai

Suzy Cornelius outlines the travel opportunity for Australian Aveo residents to visit the Aveo campus in Shanghai. It sounded good, but got even better when I found out there was a Starbucks right next door. I signed up immediately!

From the first brochure in July – to our departure tomorrow, there have been emails, meet-ups, and lots of planning happening. We’ve come through it all, and we’re about to set off on a seriously exciting adventure. For my travel buddy and I here at Murwillumbah, the trip starts an hour earlier than everyone else – at 5am. With the time difference between each side of the border, there’s a lot to work out to get the timing right.  We were scheduled to leave at 6, but we’re just a little bit nervous about possible heavy traffic on the highway – so we’ve decided to start out a bit earlier. Most people know I don’t do mornings – so just getting to the airport is going to be more than a bit of a challenge.

Alan talks to Christina, with Nicola from Freedom Travel, at the meet-and-greet morning tea in Newstead, Brisbane.

Joan, Lynette and Maureen buddied up to discuss the finer details, like, ‘what to pack’.

Luckily for us, the Murwillumbah bus is going to be our transport to the airport. At the unlikely hour of 5am (I didn’t even know that time existed!), Alan and I will board the bus, being very capably driven by Bev, and make our way to the Gold Coast. All Gold Coasters will have made their way to the designated spot, where we’ll meet them. From there, it’s on to Brisbane airport. I wonder if we could fit the bus through the drive-through coffee shop on the way? I know there’s a warning about the low-hanging beam at one of them, so I’m guessing we wouldn’t fit. I’ve always wanted to go through a drive-through in a bus and watch the worried look on the face of the attendant as they try to calculate serving 20 people in one hit. Maybe it won’t happen tomorrow though. Anyway, it’s okay because I stocked up on some coffee lollies today, just in case. I need my coffee! My eyes don’t even open until I’ve had my caffeine hit for the day.

What I’m still in denial about is the fact that, to be on the bus at 5am, I have to be up about an hour earlier. Now that’s going to be worth witnessing, when I figure out that my eyes will need to open just before 4am and I actually have to make the exit from my comfy warm bed a few minutes later. And the sun won’t even be up then!

And as the clock ticks slowly on, the realisation of how little sleep I’ll actually get tonight is starting to register, so it’s off to bed now, and I’ll report in sometime over the next two days, hopefully.

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Review of China Trip – Part 1

Review of China Immersion Program

Inaugural Trip 2016

 How do you capture the trip of a lifetime in a simple review of the highlights? I’m not sure if it is possible, but I’ll start at the beginning.

When I bought my unit at Mountain View Murwillumbah in 2015, our Sales Consultant, Molly Cornelius, apologised for having to be away early September, just prior to settlement, as she would be visiting her mother at the Aveo China Campus. When Molly explained the China Campus, my mind raced ahead to the possibility of exchange visits.

A few months after moving in a flyer arrived in my mailbox advertising a meeting about the China Trip at Robina. I reserved my place immediately; after all, it wouldn’t hurt to just find out about it. I sat through the meeting, hosted by the very talented Suzy, and began to crystallize the idea of being guided through China by the very competent team of people associated with Aveo. But, I have to admit, the one word that tipped the balance from ‘probably’ to ‘where do I sign?’ was Starbucks! Knowing that I could get my caffeine fix in the great land of tea was all I needed, although I have to admit I thought the great Seattle coffee place was actually on the campus. I pictured myself rising early, sitting at Starbucks for my eye-opener double-shot of caffeine, and then effortlessly facing whatever the day had in store.

Starbucks – although not on campus, it was still only 10 minutes away at Zhujiajiao – very do-able.

As the plans developed, my excitement grew … a little. Having no idea of what to expect, I wasn’t exactly brimming with excitement, but I went through the motions of getting the paperwork sorted, and working out what to pack.

The pre-travel morning tea brought emotions to the surface a little as I met fellow travellers, especially, Alan from Mountain View, and Joan and Lynette from the Gold Coast, which started a chain of phone calls and emails over the following weeks. Knowing someone in advance really made a big difference.

Joan, Lynette and Maureen at the Pre-Travel Morning Tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan discusses the trip with Christina, and our travel agent

The Journey Begins

There was something magic about standing outside my unit in the early morning darkness on departure day, waiting for the Mountain View bus to transport us to the airport, via the Gold Coast.

 

 

 

 

On to the Gold Coast to pick up the others, and then to the airport.

Arrival at the Airport – a lot of very excited travellers.

The long flight was broken-up by our short stop in Hong Kong. By the time we finally arrived in Shanghai, we must have looked like a line of zombies filing through Customs and Immigration and out into the terminal, to be greeted by our local hosts. Finally, we were on the bus for the last leg of the journey – to the Aveo China Campus.

 

By the time our rooms were sorted out, luggage delivered, and wind-down chats completed, it was close to 2am. My head finally reached the pillow. And I slept!

Next morning, in the bright light of day, the full extent of the campus was breath-taking. The dining hall was massive, and the breakfast was a very welcome change from the airline food from the day before. We were ably assisted by the lovely Wendy, who didn’t speak very much English, but certainly took care of our every need – always there with the coffee, tea and hot water (the local beverage of choice), and anything else that was required to make our dining experience the best it could be.

I have to admit the rest of the trip is a bit of a blur in terms of days and times – they just happened. And the highlights?; like Topsy – they just grew. Each day I would be heard saying “Now that was the highlight of the trip!” – only to be outdone by a scene or event the very next day.

If there was one highlight that really stood out it would have to be the day Lynnette, Joan and I decided to use some of our down-time to visit Zhujiajiao, the ancient water-town just 10 minutes drive from the campus. “We’ll only be an hour”, I assured Julie when we left; “we’re only going for a coffee, and then we’ll get a cab back”. The arranged transport picked us up from the Campus Square at 10am and dropped us a short walk from Starbucks. After enjoying a coffee, we ventured across the ancient bridge, took heaps of photos, and stepped off the other side into a vibrant market area. The rest, as they say, is history. Lost amid incredible 100% silk (rayon) scarves, tanks of therapeutic fish that gently nibble your feet, and model bullet trains, time quickly slipped away. While waiting for Lynnette to have her feet nibbled (the only one brave enough to partake of this extraordinary therapy), I realised how late it was, and how many WeChat requests for our whereabouts I’d missed. The only solution was obvious. We’d go back to Starbucks, use their free WiFi and message back that we were safe, and would return soon.

Joan and Lynette

 

 

 

 

To go back a step – there was one bit of sage advice given by Suzy somewhere in the planning stage that I had not followed: “Buy a Chinese SimCard at the Airport” she’d said. I didn’t! As soon as we had our second coffees securely in hand, I ventured to the counter for the password for the WiFi. “Do you have a Chinese Cell Phone” they asked? Obviously not, and without it – no WiFi. So, only one course of action required – enjoy the coffee and scenery, and face the consequences when we got back. Seriously, anyone else would have done the same thing, right?

When the cab delivered us back to the campus at 4.30pm, we immediately made our way to our units, heavily laden with shopping, only to be confronted by Julie, standing with hands on hips, informing us that a search party was minutes away from being assembled and dispatched. Grounded! But worth every minute. We were only sorry that we’d missed the cooking competition at 2pm back at the campus, but the experience of Zhujiajiao was exceptional – not to mention two trips to Starbucks for coffee and very western-style pastries. I may just be a tad guilty of leading Joan and Lynnette astray on this trip – but I will add that they were more than willing participants. I really believe the events of the day sealed our friendship; we have vowed to make our way back to China next year to see more of the history and beauty that make this land unique.

 

The entrance to the Campus is very colourful and very welcoming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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China Trip Photos

A selfie with Ping Ping

A selfie with Ping Ping in Shanghai

Joan & Lyn on a blustery day in Zu Zha Zhou

Joan & Lynette on a blustery day in Zhujiajiao

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Now that's smart!

Now that’s smart!

An old London Cab in Nanjing

An old London Cab

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Coming into Nanjing Station on a cloudy evening

I guess that's why it's called the Bullet Train?

I guess that’s why it’s called the Bullet Train?

Spectacular scenes abound in the beautiful gardens

Spectacular scenes abound in the beautiful gardens

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Mr Lee enjoys the Chinese Opera at the Tea House

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A trishaw – still a good way to get around town

The view from the 25th floor

The view from the 25th floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Shanghai.

After a great dinner at Lost Heaven Restaurant, we were treated to a spectacular view of the city on our first night in Shanghai.

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The trip included a spectacular show featuring acrobatic acts on a very wet night. The level of fitness and precision involved in the acts was unbelievable. The highlight was eight motorbikes zipping around the inside of a cylindrical wire frame, at great speed, in synchronised precision. The worst part was I couldn’t take any photos so you’ll just have to believe how impressive it was. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I’d say it was impossible.

The dinner before the show was just as special; a Hot Pot at a restaurant in the shopping centre next to the hotel.

The following photos are from a model of the campus. To say it is huge certainly wouldn’t do it justice. I have so many photos and stories to share it will take me a while to catch up, but I’ll certainly try

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Aveo China Campus – model

 

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China Immersion Trip – Planning

Suzy Cornelius outlines the travel opportunity for Australian Aveo residents to visit the Aveo campus in Shanghai

Suzy Cornelius outlines the travel opportunity for Australian Aveo residents to visit the Aveo campus in Shanghai. It sounded good, but got even better when I found out there was a Starbucks right next door. I signed up immediately!

From the first brochure in July – to our departure tomorrow, there have been emails, meet-ups, and lots of planning happening. We’ve come through it all, and we’re about to set off on a seriously exciting adventure. For my travel buddy and I here at Murwillumbah, the trip starts an hour earlier than everyone else – at 5am. With the time difference between each side of the border, there’s a lot to work out to get the timing right.  We were scheduled to leave at 6, but we’re just a little bit nervous about possible heavy traffic on the highway – so we’ve decided to start out a bit earlier. Most people know I don’t do mornings – so just getting to the airport is going to be more than a bit of a challenge.

Alan talks to Christina, with Nicola from Freedom Travel, at the meet-and-greet morning tea in Newstead, Brisbane.

Joan, Lynette and Maureen buddied up to discuss the finer details, like, ‘what to pack’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily for us, the Murwillumbah bus is going to be our transport to the airport. At the unlikely hour of 5am (I didn’t even know that time existed!), Alan and I will board the bus, being very capably driven by Bev, and make our way to the Gold Coast. All Gold Coasters will have made their way to the designated spot, where we’ll meet them. From there, it’s on to Brisbane airport. I wonder if we could fit the bus through the drive-through coffee shop on the way? I know there’s a warning about the low-hanging beam at one of them, so I’m guessing we wouldn’t fit. I’ve always wanted to go through a drive-through in a bus and watch the worried look on the face of the attendant as they try to calculate serving 20 people in one hit. Maybe it won’t happen tomorrow though. Anyway, it’s okay because I stocked up on some coffee lollies today, just in case. I need my coffee! My eyes don’t even open until I’ve had my caffeine hit for the day.

What I’m still in denial about is the fact that, to be on the bus at 5am, I have to be up about an hour earlier. Now that’s going to be worth witnessing, when I figure out that my eyes will need to open just before 4am and I actually have to make the exit from my comfy warm bed a few minutes later. And the sun won’t even be up then!

And as the clock ticks slowly on, the realisation of how little sleep I’ll actually get tonight is starting to register, so it’s off to bed now, and I’ll report in sometime over the next two days, hopefully.

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Registration Open

The mighty Tweed River

The mighty Tweed River

I’ve finally worked out how to put the Register and Login pages on the site so you can now register. Just click on the ‘Register’ tab in the menu at the top of the page, and complete the details on the form. Your details are kept safe and secure and are never shared without your consent. By registering and then logging in, you’ll be able to share in the conversations online.

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Where Will We Meet?

There are so many options within the village: the lake, the pool, the hall, the gazebo, the library; they’re all there for us to use, so let’s make it happen.

With the weather starting to turn on its spring warmth it’s time to get out and about and enjoy the sunshine – oh – and smell the coffee, and what better place to meet than the lake, with coffee in hand.

Why not make a coffee, gather a few friends, or all of us if you want, and we’ll catch up.

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