Pippa Rea

Pippa's Journey with a Brain Tumour

Back to School and Keeping it all Fun

Exactly what has pippa been up to since returning from Paris?

Well, Pippa, James and Patrick have all settled back into their routines of life, school and sport.  I wanted to leave Pippa’s beautiful blog post up before I posted anything else because it truly is gorgeous.  She loved writing it, taking the photos, going through all her purchases and reflecting on everything we did.  She really did enjoy every single day – in her words at school assembly when asked what she enjoyed the most, she said, “Well everyday we saw or did something different that was really good and every place was special”.  Once again thank you to those who helped get us to Paris so quickly and also of course to the friends and communities who rallied around us last year working very hard with exactly that purpose in mind.  I am eternally grateful to have been able to create this special memory for my family.

Pippa has now been back at school and aside from her breathing still being laboured we are really lucky that essentially for the time being on the outside she is not so different from any other ten year old.  In fact, she has started back at tennis, dancing and drumming.  At the moment we’re waiting for singing as at the end of the day her breathlessness limits how much she can speak and therefore sing.  Pippa represented her school at regional basketball and although they didn’t make it through to the next round she rocked the defence and had a lot of fun being part of a team.  Getting fouled when you’re ten is pretty cool actually 🙂   The school swimming program has started but that proved tricky as her breathing means she takes in water which makes her feel sick.  Thus, in keeping with the “Everything Fun” theme she now plays happily in another pool capably swimming and duck diving at her own pace.

Fun times have also been spent with cousins – birthdays, lunches, dinners, catch ups, plays and even a harvest picnic dinner with the world’s greatest Grandfather, Tony – just don’t ever call him a Grandfather!  We arrived home from Paris to information about a Rea Reunion at Christmas time so hopefully that will come around soon enough and more fun can be spent with many more cousins.

We spent last weekend in Queenscliff with cousins and lots of fun was had doing everything from crafts, to playing cricket, riding buggies, swimming, bashing a piñata, eating (of course) and going to the market.  Lucky or unlucky for the piñata the good old cricket bat came in extra handy.

After Queenscliff we needed to be in Melbourne for Patrick to run in the state athletics so took the opportunity to catch up with more cousins…….So much fun and laughter and Pippa was even taken to kinder to “share”.  Darcy & Alexander were full of cuddles for her and continually announced (and  even sang) that they were going to keep Pippa for ever and ever!  Apparently she’s going to live with them and never ever going to leave.  Just ask them!  So cute!

I agree with the boys.  I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want to keep her.  I think keeping Pippa forever and ever is a perfect plan.

Not letting her go....ever

Not letting her go….ever

 

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A Blog From Pippa

Well our great holiday has ended, it was fantastic and all, but sometimes things have to end, even if you’re traveling the amazing country’s of the world. I’m very lucky to have some money to spend on some beautiful souvenirs from Paris, Dubrovnik, Venice, Dubai, Santorini and Katakolon.  I also liked doing lots of special things especially going up the Tour Eiffel, going to Euro Disney, watching the lights of the Tour Eiffel and lots more other things.

At Paris after we went to the top of the Tour Eiffel we came back down to look at the souvenir shop I bought a real marble statue with the Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe on it, I got some beautiful magnets, I got two shiny gold coins with the Tour Eiffel on one and the Arc de Triomphe on the other, I got a medium size Tour Eiffel, I got a gorgeous yellow book mark with the Tour Eiffel on it, a red white and blue magnet of the Tour Eiffel, I got a beautiful cream hat that says Paris on it, my cousins Melanie and Chloe bought me a key ring and we got a book that tells us how all the things in Paris were built, who lived in them and how they worked. I got these beautiful T-shirts one of them says Paris loves me and the other one just says Paris.  When mum’s Aunty and Uncle Claire and Russell came they got a bracelet for me from their three sons Patrick, David and Sam. I got a yellow watch that I saw on the street and I got a white watch from Swatch. One night as we were walking down the beautiful streets of Paris looking for a nice spot for dinner I saw something that caught my eye…… it was a French Berét mum and I had a look at them for a while and then mum and I decided I should buy one, but I couldn’t decide what colour I wanted, so I tried a few on and I decided red was the colour that suited me best.  I also really liked getting my portraits drawn at Montmartre.  It was really hard to choose if I wanted normal or cartoon so I got both.

On the cruise we went to Dubrovnick (Croatia), Santorini (Greece), Kusadasi (Turkey) and Katakolon (Greece).  From Dubrovnick I bought a little painting.  From Santorini I bought a little grey and black donkey.  From Kusadasi I bought a yellow belly dancing costume.  From Katakolan I bought a sling shot with a Dolphin’s head on it.

From Venice I bought a gondola and two glass bracelets one of them has the tree of life on it.

I bought some special Pandora charms as well.  The Pandora charms are a suitcase with Paris on it, an infinity charm, an olive wreath of victory and the lucky eye.  From Dubai I got a bottle of coloured sand made for me.  It says Dubai 2014 on one side and Pippa on the other.

I had a lot of fun on our trip doing all the special things in all the places we went to.

I also loved the Tour Eiffel as much as I’ve dreamed of it.  The lights were so amazing that they blew me away.

Thank you everyone for reading our blog. From Pippa 🙂

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Back in Australia

Pippa developed an awful cough on Sunday 21 September in Paris.  The stoic girl that she is didn’t let it stop her although I’m sure it contributed to her breathlessness and fatigue.  It just would not budge so I was reluctant to have her do the flight home from Venice with it still bad.  We chose instead to stop in Dubai for 2 days/3 nights while the 2nd antibiotic course finished and to do a complete relax in some real warmth.

Dubai of course is big in every sense and it was so hard not to try and cram in some amazing experiences while we were there – a five or seven day stopover and we certainly would have!  We were staying at the beautiful Grand Hyatt with huge swimming pools and water slides so on our 2 days we slept in, relaxed and swam, then in the afternoon and evening we went out to catch a brief glimpse of Dubai.

In the lobby we bumped into an Australian who delivered us three Hyatt Camels and patiently answered many inquisitive questions about living in Dubai. We visited the massive Dubai mall, complete with ice skating rink, aquarium and theme park. We sat outside with a view of the world’s tallest building to have dinner and to our surprise (having an unplanned and thus unresearched stop) saw the spectacular water fountain show! It was so good we watched it again from a different vantage point having ice cream!

James and Patrick were in awe at the valet parking service right in front of us – Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces…….the list went on and the jaws dropped.

We went down to the beach to see the landmark Burj Al Arab hotel but near the water the humidity was so high the camera fogged up and we couldn’t take any photos.  We visited some souks and watched the incredible skills of a man who made Pippa a personalised sand bottle.

Once again Pippa was treated like royalty on our flights; this time with the lovely crews from Emirates.  She now is the proud owner of 5 Emirates monsters, her very own Emirates headpiece and among many other gifts the most delicious chocolate mousse cake!! Yummo!

Our journey has now come to an end.  It has been incredible and every day there has been a highlight.  The magic of the Eiffel Tower will remain with Pippa forever.  Some of us wanted to return home and some of us would like to continue travelling.  For me, avoiding reality would be the preferable option but that’s not possible so this travel bubble has burst.  Hopefully we can manage to escape reality again soon.

 

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Venice

Yes, we were in Venice the same day George Clooney got married!  One of us took a water taxi along the Grand Canal to board a cruise ship and the other went across the Grand Canal from the Aman Hotel to the Venizia Town Hall to exchange his vows………but this blog is not about me, or George…….

Pippa could not imagine how you could have a city with only canals and James was not party to there being no cars at all.  His first comment was – I guess if there’s a fire the fire truck’s a boat.  We actually ended up seeing a fire boat (lights and all) and of course it doesn’t need to carry its own water, just a pump and hose.

We stayed in Venice for a day and a half either side of the cruise.  It was funny, because prior to the cruise I explained how part of being in Venice is getting lost along the narrow, meandering cobblestoned streets that are intertwined with the canals.  Even though our apartment was located just around the back of San Marco, all the three of them were reluctant to venture far and certainly did not want to “get lost”.

On our return however, they were much more confident and we wandered expertly without even having to rely on a map. The other incentive was that Venice was so busy with tourists, in the end we wanted to get lost just to get away from the throngs of crowds.  There were certainly more tourists than pigeons and try as she might, Pippa could not get one to land on her just nibble a bit at her hand.  Much unlike when I was last there and there were less people but everyone looked like a big moving pigeon!

We have purchased many gifts and souvenirs from Paris but in Venice Pippa purchased two genuine Murano glass pendants – one of which is the traditional symbol, the tree of life.

Pippa told me she would like to return to Venice when she is 15.  I’ll gladly take her.

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Cruising Croatia, Turkey & Greece

We spent a week cruising from Venice.  It was an easy way for the everyone to be entertained and fed and a terrific way to take in some more cultural experiences in Europe.

Dubrovnik, Croatia was such a pretty port to arrive at first.  James, Patrick and Pippa couldn’t really imagine what to expect and the quaint old walled city of Dubrovnik really set the benchmark high for the remaineder of our stops.  It was quite a hot day making he steep, narrow steps a challenge for Pippa but it was so pretty and different to anything else they have seen before she persevered.  We had lunch in the square alongside market stalls that we discovered were part of a jam festival.  Pippa tasted many varieties of jam from the various stalls and actually chose her favourite stall which turned out to be the 17 times national jam champion!

Kusadasi, Turkey as well was a pretty little fishing port but we were there to see the ancient ruins of Ephesus.  We disembarked and were hit by the harassment of taxi drivers wanting our Turkish Lira, Euro, or whatever other currency they could get!   It was very harassing and off-putting and we ran for cover and Patrick declared he hated Turkey and would never return.  Despite that, we did negotiate a good deal and a nice driver took us to Ephesus so we could “whizz through in 40 minutes” and then he would take us to the water park where we could whizz down a heap of water slides -FUUUUUUUNNNNN!!!  Too much fun for photos!

Ephesus was amazing and the archeology aspect mind blowing but easy enough to imagine what it was like 500BC.  Whizzing was a bit difficult due to the slippery Marble Road.  The taxi driver had given us a guide book so we could self guide ourselves through the ruins.  Obviously the stadium that seated 25,000 people to watch anything from concerts to gladiator games was spectacular and so too was seeing the in tact sculpture of the Goddess Nike; the Goddess of Victory and Success with her wings being the influence of the Nike tick.

 

Did I mention the water park was sooooooooooo much fun?

Back in Kusadasi Patrick held his opinion fast after I held onto my money tightly waiting for a slick operator to leave us alone who wanted to take over the pre-negotiated fare and make us pay him (instead of our driver) more!

We also had a giggle when Patrick called the bluff of a Grand Bazar trader and insisted he show us that the “Beats” headphones inside the box work just as well has his “demonstration” pair.  Of course the genuinely authentically fake ones didn’t work at all!

Santorini, Greece was of course beautiful.  A white washed village atop steep volcanic views with spectacular cliffs overlooking the blue Agean Sea.  Once again we enjoyed strolling the cobblestoned streets and had lunch at a cafe literally hanging over the blue sea below.  I must admit I was a little slack on the photos here because I had been up all night sea sick – I was feeling about as washed out as Santorini! Sea sick tablets from then on and I was much better for the rest of the cruise.

Katakolon, Greece was a pretty, colourful harbour side village consisting of one street about 300m long.  We elected not to do any sightseeing and instead took a little train through olive groves, farms and a winery to a beach where we had lunch.

 

Royal Caribbean staff were wonderful looking after us.  Pippa loved the nightly shows on board and was invited back stage to meet the entertainers and have a look at the costumes.  There was plenty to do and they made wonderful friends with a family from Perth who are travelling for 6 months – we will be sure to catch up with them in WA when they return.  Thanks, Maddie, Rosie and Tom for hanging out on board and having lots of fun 🙂

 

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing a glimpse of Croatia, Turkey and Greece.

The purchase of the week????  Sling shots from Greece……..

 

Ready, Aim, Fire!

Ready, Aim, Fire!

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Just cruising…….

We are currently cruising (without Internet) around Croatia, Turkey and Greece. James, Patrick and Pippa are loving seeing the different cultures and ports we stop at.
Libby and I are currently suiting dockside in Kusadasi enjoying some delicious Turkish food before we set sail tonight…..

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