Monday, June 09, 2008

The Brisbane Experience

Honestly I'm not sure where to start. There are so many wonderful moments to recall from this past weekend. So many thoughts. So many positive experiences. I can't begin to convey how happy I am that I finally decided to make the trip to meet the lovely girls from Scrap Pile.

My morning started at 1:30 a.m. when the alarm went off and my immediate thought after some 3 hours of sleep was WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING??????? I headed off to the airport at around 2:45 a.m. What greeted me on the outskirts of Melbourne was thick fog and I thought oh great - probably plane delays.... Parked in the long term car park and had no wait for a bus which was right at the bus stop as I arrived. Got my bags checked in and off to the gate in plenty of time. Unfortunately the plane was delayed and ended up getting in almost half an hour late.

Arriving in Brisbane I was still really calm about the whole trip. Looking forward to it, but not nervous at all. As I approached the baggage area I spotted Melanie waiting for me and recognised her immediately. Thankfully the bags were offloaded quickly and we piled into a shuttle bus for our first adventure. A trip that should have taken an hour took 2 hours and eventually the company was obviously so frustrated with our driver that they offloaded Melanie and I to another driver who took us to our destination. If you get to Brisbane Airport and catch the shuttle and your Driver is Amy - either settle in for a long ride or request another bus would be my best advice!!!!!

We finally arrived at the apartments and Mel was waiting out the front to greet us. It was just an instant feeling of knowing we would be friends. Hard to explain but from the moment we hugged I just thought this is going to be the best weekend! After exchanging some entertaining chatter with the driver about value for money if you were paying for the service by the hour we set off to the room to meet Justine. I hadn't had much opportunity to talk with Justine before this weekend so as much as I had an idea of what she was like, it was great to finally get to know her better and she was lovely.

Given we were running really late now, it was already time to head down the road a block or so to the Pineapple Hotel for lunch with a grand total of 10 of the Scrap Pile girls. I can honestly say there were very few surprises. Everyone was pretty much exactly how I thought they would be. We had a fantastic lunch. Leah managed to get some neat pictures of the girls which you can see on her blog I CREATE I know that Donna & Mel also have some pictures of lunch which they haven't had a chance to download yet. I'll post those links when the photos go up.

When everyone else headed off, Mel, Justine, Melanie, Donna, & I headed back to the 2 bedroom apartment the 5 of us were sharing for the weekend. Being the last to arrive, Donna drew the short straw of the roll out bed. We decided to go for a walk after chatting for a while in the room. Justines suggestion was a stroll to Southbank and check out the evening markets which opened at 5:00 p.m. before having dinner. I guess the first mistake everyone made was believing it was walking distance although I suppose technically we survived so I guess it was.... The words tired and sore feet come to mind.

A few photos and a lot of laughs later we stopped at a restaurant for a drink and I had to laugh when at the door I said we needed a table for 6 - 5 of us and one chair for Donna's imaginary friend. Donna then requested a table for 6 when the waiter came up and I laughed when she didn't even question the fact that there were only 5 of us.... We had an interesting 6 way speakerphone conversation with Shane which pretty much was the beginning of the conversation heading downhill LOL Donna - you and that Elephant were made for each other. Then we headed down to check out the markets. Then on to the shopping centre where we found a nice little restaurant for dinner. Aside from Mel's undercooked steak, dinner was not too bad. We made our way back to the room and given the 3 interstaters had had pretty early mornings, we didn't make it much beyond 11:00 p.m. before we went to bed.

Saturday morning we were off to the Scrapbooking Convention at the Convention Centre in Brisbane. The girls had all booked lots of classes to attend while I didn't have anything so I spent most of my time wandering around the various vendors and yes I did buy a "few" bits and pieces to take home. I'm really looking forward to using some of the stuff I bought, in particular some gorgeous flowers and chipboard items.

Finally 5:00 p.m. came and everyone was done. Donna & Melanie were off for dinner with friends from other websites so Leah joined Mel, Justine and I for the evening. Now to say getting back to the apartments was an experience would be an understatement. Leah owns a Subaru and has 2 small children. 2 Small children = 2 carseats. Me + Carseat + Carseat / backseat of subaru = Not a whole bunch of room. And there is a photo on her blog to prove it.... LOL I now evidently have the new grand nickname of Pretzel. It provided a few laughs if nothing else.

The four of us chatted for several hours and Leah is just gorgeous. I actually felt quite disappointed that I haven't had the time to spend getting to know her better before now, but for sure I will endeavour to keep in touch now that I have. What a fresh, lovely young woman she is. Finally Donna & Melanie returned, Leah headed home and we all went to bed for our last night in Brisbane. It actually dawned on me as I pulled up the blankets that night, it was our last night and how sad I would be going home the next day. The time went so fast.

So next morning everyone was getting ready. Donna headed off back to the Convention Centre for more classes but Mel, Justine, Melanie and I were destined for the airport. We said our goodbyes to Donna and got ready for the airport. If it wasn't enough I had given them something to laugh about most of the weekend - I almost ended up having a strip search at the airport security when my hip replacement obviously set off the security alarm. It doesn't happen all the time, but some of the airports it does. After making me remove my shoes, then my jacket - a woman came over and gave me the big pat down to check for whatever it was that was setting off the alarm. I joked and said that if she was going to be patting me down the least she could do was give me a massage at the same time LOL. She joined in the joke - you have to laugh - they are only doing their job regardless of how annoying it might be. No point in getting grumpy about it. As I said to Justine afterwards - you would be more pissed off with them if they missed someone who actually brought a weapon on board.....

I think all of us were in a bit of denial at the airport but when it finally came time for Mel and Justine to get on the plane, there was a tear in my eye saying goodbye to these two wonderful women. Another couple of hours and it was Mel's turn to get on her flight and I had another 3 hours to wait until my flight would be boarding. I got bored in a short space of time and ended up buying a Dean Koontz book to read. Its the most I've read in ages - I got through about a third of his book Velocity. Hopefully I'll get to read the rest of it before I forget the first third!

Didn't arrive home until well after 9:00 p.m. but it was really good to hug the Boofcheese and hear all about how things had been in her world the past few days. But the memories of all the little things kept coming back to me all night and most of today.

It was the most fantastic time and I am so fortunate to be able to call these lovely ladies my friends. I know that we already had such a connection before we went away, but I think meeting face to face and seeing with our own eyes - knowing in our own hearts - that the people we had come to know on the internet truly did exist as we had expected was overwhelming. I'm certain that in the coming months our friendships will continue to strengthen and we've already made plans for another trip.

Well if you've made it through that saga - congratulations.... Thank you ladies for making it such a special weekend away!


Blogger Melissa said...

Your WELCOME GORGEOUS.....wasn't it a BLAST.Say HI to boofcheese and Grumpo for ya

11:09 pm  

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