How can I be so exhausted from a weekend where it feels like we didn’t do much? Perhaps it was Friday night that set us up for such an exhausting weekend.
Friday Ben and I were invited over to his good friend Sam’s house for dinner with Sam and his girlfriend Hannah. Ben has gone on and on about how well Hannah and I would get along well, and he was right. Talking to her felt like I had known her for years, we shared similar interests (aka wine), and hobbies (aka cleaning up after the boys)… oh, the things people bond over!
Sam cooked up a great BBQ of steak and chicken, and I served the dessert. In honor of Pi Day, Pear Pie. Sam isn’t a big fan of sweets; however, after encouraging him to taste just one bite he proceeded to eat an entire slice. That’s how I measure a successful dessert!
We crashed on the couch while watching the boys play Call of Duty (Ben does get a little fun every once in a while), and we spent the night there.
In the morning, Ben and I stopped at the grocery store and bought a kilo (2.2lbs) of bacon from the butcher. We are going to have people over next weekend so we decided to stock up on the bacon while it’s on sale. Oh – and we wanted to eat it that morning too!
Ben picked up a new frying pan on Thursday night and had been desperate to cook on it, so once we got home
we he whipped up some bacon and pancakes. Can you believe Ben had never tried this combo before visiting me in America last May?! The secret to deliciousness is getting your bacon in the maple syrup. Am I right?
The rest of the day seemed like a blur, I am pretty sure we took a nap as we were wiped out from Friday night, and were attending a birthday dinner later in the day. Chances of Ben playing video games while I napped… 99.9%.
We joined the birthday dinner group at a Chinese restaurant in Charlestown, New Shanghai. It was a nice group of about 12 people, and one of the guys most familiar with the menu ordered about eight different dishes for us to try; two orders of each so that both sides of the table would be able to enjoy everything.
The wait staff kept our table full, with what seemed like a never ending supply of dumplings of all different kinds! My favorite was a dumpling stuffed with vegetables, and my favorite dishes were a crispy skin chicken, and the pork belly.
I always save my favorite bites for the end so the best part of the dish leaves a lingering taste in my mouth. I saved the pork belly for last, and dropped the final piece off my chopsticks and back into the bowl, somehow managing to lose a chopstick in the process. No worries, I stabbed my remaining piece with the single chopstick and gobbled it down. I couldn’t let that chopstick mishap keep me from the last piece of succulent pork.
We headed to the arcade after dinner and played around for 45 minutes or so, learning that Ben and I should never go on Deal or No Deal; and that I have some pretty mean reflexes when it comes to whacking-a-mole.
At the end of the night we had racked up enough points to trade in for bubbles and a slinky.
Sunday was an incredibly unmotivating and lazy day. (Did you know unmotivating is not a word? I didn’t until writing this – but what the heck?! it’s the best way to describe my Sunday.) I decided I wanted to bake Irish Soda bread for St. Patrick’s Day, which meant I needed to go to the store to buy buttermilk and flour. I got ready for the walk down the street when Ben said he wanted to come with, and get a hair cut. So much for the walk…
We took a quick detour and Ben showed me The University of Newcastle where Ben graduated from. I could never have imagined going to a school like that, it reminded me of my semester at Appalachian State with all of the hills, however, App State’s campus was much prettier. No offense UON. The beauty of the campus at App made going to college on a mountain worth it. But nothing can beat my Alma Mater, The University of Central Florida, recently voted in the top 10 of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States.
After shopping and a haircut we raced home trying to beat the big storm that was brewing. We had plans to go to the Newcastle Knights rugby game that afternoon with one of Ben’s boarding school buddies Chippa. Ben and I were hoping that the rain would delay or cancel the game, as we had no desire to watch a game soaking wet.
Lucky us, by the time Chippa came to pick us up the rain had cleared and cooled off the city.
We watched two games of rugby, which was about a game and a half too much for me. I haven’t been able to get into the sport yet. There were some entertaining parts of the game:
In between the two games there was a kids match held on the field. Imagine a bunch of cute little Aussie kids running after a ball similar to how little kids travel in a clump during a soccer game, except no kicking, and lots of falling on each other. It was cute to watch.
There was a Mumford and Sons cover band who played during the game breaks as well.
We sat in the Players Friends and Family section and it’s pretty interesting to see the players sitting in the stands before and after their games; in America those players, regardless of who they are, would have been bombarded.
Oh… and there are cheerleaders. Ben enjoyed watching them, but I wasn’t sure if cheerleaders are the right fit for a rugby game.
The stadium looked like a NCAA I-AA stadium. There were stands on both sides of the field, and big grassy areas in the endzones where patrons could bring their own blankets and chairs to watch the game.
Other things I learned during the rugby games:
The teams can move the ball six times before they must give it to the other team. Similar to a down in the NFL. On the last “down” they can kick the ball to make it go farther.
Their carries are marked by running and getting tackled, so 5-6 tackles each time the team has the ball.
Wherever a “try” (crossing the ball into the endzone) happens the team scores four points
A team can try for two extra points after the try by kicking the ball from a spot directly in line from where the ball originally crossed the endzone line. So if a player scores in the corner, the ball must be kicked from the sidelines. Alternatively, if the try is scored in front of the field goal posts, the team can kick directly in front of them, which is much easier.
There is something called a scrum that looks like a big pack of guys pushing each other. I haven’t figured out the point yet.
You can pick up a guy carrying the ball and slam them on the ground, and not be kicked out of the game.
The players and coaches are all sponsored by companies. So if I were a player I would be introduced as #6, Andrea, sponsored by The Pineapple Cake, etc. Each player is sponsored by a different company, and when they score a try, or are taken in and out of a game their name and sponsor name are read aloud and shown on the scoreboard.
To me, rugby seemed like a mix of soccer, football, wrestling, and hockey. Fast paced, high scoring, and hard hitting… and several punches to the face.
Ultimately, my favorite part of the game, was this gorgeous sunset.
I’ll stick to American Football, for now.