Today we drove into the city to be part of the Chinese New Year festivities. Never-before-in-my-life have I been interested in this, but after my visit to Hong Kong in October last year, and through reading my sister’s blog, I’ve grown an appreciation for Asian cultures.

Chinese New Year celebrations, Brisbane 2010
Where better to celebrate the Chinese New Year than in Chinatown? Brisbane's Chinatown mall has recently undergone a facelift, and today's celebrations also marked the official opening of the improved mall.

Chinese New Year celebrations, Brisbane 2010
It's the Year of the Tiger after all! What better reason do acrobats need to dress up in animal print and prowl the mall?

Brioni, 3yo, David, Aisha, 5yo, + Calista, 22 months old, February 2010
We spent a lot of time sitting around waiting for the brief intervals of exciting entertainment.

Calista, 22 months old, February 2010
This is the third child tasting fairy floss (cotton candy). My first never had sweets until she was three. If standards keep slipping, Delaney's first solids will probably be something equally tooth-rotting.

Chinese New Year celebrations, Brisbane 2010
A women's circus troupe performed an interpretation of the Chinese fable about a fish jumping over the "dragon's gate" (waterfall) in order to become a dragon. All very symbolic, I'm sure. I was just fascinated by the way they didn't fall when hanging from the curtains and wondered "could I do that?".

Chinese New Year celebrations, Brisbane 2010
The Lion Dance symbolises the chasing away of bad luck. This particular dance was performed on poles about six feet off the ground.

Chinese New Year celebrations, Brisbane 2010
The lion "leaped" across the poles on its quest to reach the choi chiang — a head of lettuce tied to a pole which symbolises wealth and luck.

Chinese New Year celebrations, Brisbane 2010
Inside the lion was a strong adult who propelled the teenage boy who manipulated the lion's head.

David, Calista, 22 months old, + Aisha, 5yo, February 2010
David was a very good sport, waiting patiently, ferrying the girls to and from the toilets and finding food for us to eat.

After the main performances were over, we decided to leave the city. We got something to eat at West End and headed to a nearby park on the river. The breeze coming off the river cooled us nicely, and it was nice to have some space to ourselves again.

Aisha, 5yo, February 2010
Ah, space to run and play! The park was such a good contrast to the crowds of the city mall.

Calista, 22 months, February 2010
Despite having hurt her thumb in the wrong side of a hinged door earlier this morning, Cali was happy to clamour around the natural landscaping.

David + Delaney, 8 weeks old, February 2010
The park was a great place for David to catch up on some reading. (Delaney really was happy lying here on the grass — she was just turning her head as I took the photo.)

Brioni, 3yo, February 2010
Adventurous Miss B.

And our festivities to celebrate the start of the Year of the Tiger ended splendidly with our own tiger!

Oli + Aisha, 5yo, + Calista, 22 months old, February 2010
When we got home, we had a nice surprise waiting at our front door — Oli!

Oli is the cat that we “owned” for about a year. He really belongs to someone else on our street, but we’re not sure who. For most of 2008, we fed him and he hung around our house, successfully training our dog not to chase him.

After we went on holidays for ten days without telling him, Oli left our house and didn’t come back. This has been the first time the girls have seen him in over a year, although David and I have both seen him prowling around the street.

I still had some cat food in the cupboard, so I quickly went inside and grabbed it. I hope by serving him food, Oli will come back again. I don’t really know why (apart from the girls’ love of Oli) — I hate cats, I’m allergic to ‘em and I have a dog.

But to top the day off, we had someone call up and want to see the house just after we got home. After two walk-throughs yesterday with no warning, it was nice to have about half an hour’s notice. It was terrific timing, and the house was still immaculate, so I didn’t have to do a mad rush-around!

We still haven’t had any offers on the house but are starting to think it may take a while to sell because it’s such a unique property. In the meantime, we’ll just enjoy living in paradise!