Thursday, June 20, 2013

Family Time!!!!!

For the past 3 years we have had a reservation at Harbour Pat's B&B in Antigonish for the weekend of May 4th, Grad Weekend at St FX. And ever since, the RSVP's have been trickling in...

Sister Kathy, and hubby John...

Sister Nancy (Nan) and hubby Garth...

Sister Sandy and hubby Ger...

And Sandy and Ger's grandson and Robbie's second cousin, Logan!
And that takes the count to 9 guests and 1 graduate. Quite the party!

We had perfect weather and the Maritimers commented all weekend long on our good fortune. The weather in early May is not always as accommodating.
Here we are at Antigonish Landing, a 4 km walking/cycling trail along the shore of an estuary.

We enjoyed a very delicious dinner at Gabrieau's Bistro celebrating Robbie and being together.

My sisters are beautiful and loyal, and I love that even though I am separated from them by thousands of miles, we can pick right up where we last left off!

Our b&b hosts, Joe and Pat Stewart are very fond of Robbie. They have fed him many a meal during his four years at St FX. They came up with a wonderful plan to have the mother of all meals, an authentic lobster boil to follow the graduation ceremony. A quick call from Joe to his grandson who owns a lobster boat...

...and presto, we are the owners of 35 pounds of this delicacy, straight from the Atlantic. We even had the fun of meeting the boat at Antigonish Harbour as it arrived in from it's very early morning of fishing.

Later on in the day, the boys returned to the boat and hauled in the lobster catch...

...and here is dinner!

Into the car boot they go and Rob and John head back to Joe and Pat's where the rest of the feast is being prepared.

I am so grateful for other kitchen duties besides this one... But Robbie, Joe and John certainly enjoyed prepping and sampling!

Sandy, Ger and Garth - a watched pot never boils - but they have stern instruction from Joe, so they don't dare take their eyes off things.

Everyone had an apron, a bowl of drawn butter, plenty of potato salad, and famous Pat's Pie for dessert. What a great night, following a great day! Oh how sweet to spend quality time with family! I am happy to say that later on this year, I will be able to write another post or two related to 'family time' because the Aussie Birds are flying 'home' for Christmas'13!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Whatsoever things are true" Philippians 4:8-9

Recently, Rob and I travelled to Nova Scotia to celebrate Robbie's graduation from St Francis Xavier University. The big finale after 4 years of studying and applying himself! We were so grateful to be able to share this part of his uni experience with him! Being long distance parents, we only had opportunity to visit this campus in Antigonish twice- 2 weekends out of his approximate 104 weekends while studying there- Good thing there really is such a thing as quality time!

We met early morning at the Halifax Airport and settled in at Timmies, of course, Rob's favourite, and the first double double of many, he hopes.

Oh a momma who lives far away from her children- I sit beside him at the table and simply admire and say "thank You God" for this chance to sit within elbows reach! (and reach I do!)
There is such camaraderie between dad and son and this is a delight to see and enjoy. The 'two bulls in a paddock' atmosphere dissipated years ago and now there is mutual respect and affection, peppered with jokes and digs typical of two quick-witted blokes.

The two Robs. Proud Poppa. We are on this occasion, enjoying a tour of the Gerald Schwartz School of Business. It is an impressive $26 million dollar revamp of what was a former science building. Now it is a state of the art facility boasting the ivy-league architecture typical of the St FX campus, and calling attention to itself all over campus with it's golden gilt dome. What a spectacular space!

Another accomplishment! Robbie is welcomed into the Presidents Circle of Young Alumni. "This is an honour awarded to outstanding graduating students in recognition of their contribution to student life and achievement". ( Can you find Robbie's gorgeous smile in this group photo?

Looking Good Rob(s)! While being fitted for his gown, Robbie secures 9(!), that's nine(!) tickets for the convocation ceremony from this very helpful woman who seemed to be in charge. Just what we required for the extra large family group that has gathered here in Antigonish for graduation weekend. (stay tuned...)

"Whatsoever things are true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think on these things."
The day has arrived where graduates are honoured, encouraged, challenged. Go forth, taking the spiritual and intellectual developments gleaned here and accomplish great things.

The President of St FX gave the graduates' families the OK to make a bit of noise
during the ceremony. Imagine! No stern reminder to 'hold your applause until all the graduates have crossed the stage'. Instead, Dr Sean Riley encouraged an atmosphere of celebration. And the Bird/Collins clan took up the challenge! Remember, there were 9 of us! Sorry Bud.

Congratulations! We are very proud of you!

We love you Robert C. Bird. We are impressed with your accomplishments and think you are amazing. We enjoyed sharing this important milestone with you. It was great fun, and there were many 'proud parents' moments. I hope you felt proud too!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Pisang Goreng and other New Things

We've moved! To another part of this vast city, out of the apartment and into a brand new home. I spent the month of February house hunting, and we now live a mere 5 minutes from Rob's office. Imagine whittling the commute time down like that! Our lives look quite different now. I am on my own much less, we love our new home, new location, but more on that another time.

Aside from a new house, we have new people in our lives. This is Lily and she is holding these HUGE bananas which were a gift from Asri, our driver. Asri made a long bus trip to his family home in Cirebon, West Java this past weekend and carted this load back to Jakarta for me! Very sweet indeed!

There are so many of varieties of bananas in Indonesia. After a bit of Internet research I believe I am working with 'pisang Tanduk' which are best eaten fried. Although I enjoy doing my own cooking here in Jakarta, in this instance, Lily is my Go-to-Girl for advice on the recipe. So here we go! Cut them and fan them (I did this bit).

Lily whipped up a mixture of flour, breadcrumbs, powdered milk, icing sugar and ice water (which makes the batter crispy when fried).

Pisang swimming in an entire litre of cooking oil! Yikes!

I asked if we could dust with powdered sugar - the answer was 'no'.
Am I a fan of pisang goreng? Well... I loved that Asri so thoughtfully gifted them to me, (and to think how cumbersome to carry that laden banana stalk on the bus ride!) I loved working alongside Lily in the kitchen. I really enjoyed the new issue of one of my favourite mags. The special edition coconut-flavoured Nespresso coffee was yum. And next time, maybe a dusting of sugar will help...