Archive for Canada

My first home in Australia has become a pile of rubble but I can’t wait to see how it ends up…

When I moved to Australia from Canada all those many years ago, one of the first homes my family and I moved into was located at 39 Clontarf Street, Sorrento.

Just days ago as I was driving by that same house, I noticed that it’s no longer a house but has been bulldozed and is a pile of rubble.

I have watched many houses in Sorrento turn from rubble into beautiful brand new homes but I have never been more excited to see what one will turn into more than this one.

So stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted as I drive by and see the progress.

Around the world and back again and more unforgettable memories

On June 2nd, my husband and I left for a long holidays to visit relatives and friends all over the world.

After so many flights, train, buses, trams, boat rides we have to thank God that we had no incidents or accidents.

From Perth we went to Sydney and spent a day with our Italian nephew Michele, who had spent a couple months with us two Christmas’s ago.

Vancouver was a long and dreary stopover as Air Canada put us on 4 stand by’s after a 14 1/5 hour trip and we finally arrived in Toronto super tired.

We then spent 5 days with all kind of relatives: mother in law, brothers and sister in laws and numerous nephews. There was great dinner parties. Next stop was Brantford where we use to live then Toronto, Cannington, New Market, London and trip Niagara Falls for the day.

From Toronto we took  flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia to visit my ex sister in law, nephews and friends. We also lived in that neighbourhood, so we did a little reminiscing. Had a great time as usual and ate a like a queen. My sister in law Marlene is a superb cook.

After 4 days I went to visit a very special niece in Boston, Ritinha and hubby Maxwell who had taken 3 days off work to spend with me. Then off to Miami for another 3 days to spend with a very dear nephew Carlinhos who had also took 3 days of work to spend with me.

I was then back on a plane and flew to São Paulo, Brazil and met up with my husband who skipped Boston and Miami and went back to Toronto to spend more time with his Mum.

São Paulo to Belo Horizonte and the World Cup begins….

I was cheering for lots of teams:

  1. Brazil because I am Brazilian.  Though after the third goal between Brazil x Germany I was so disgusted with my team that I decided to cheer for the German machine!
  2. Iran because my son Merv was born there. They went home
  3. England because my husband is a pommy. They went home too.
  4. Portugal because my daughter is married to a Portuguese. They went home also.
  5. USA because I have lots of American nephews and nieces.they lost too.
  6. Italy because all my Italian brother in law and the kids. Surprisingly they went home.
  7. Australia because I am Australian. Well, we all knew they were going to play only 3 games since they left home.

But was fun after all. The Buzz during the Cup was incredible. The shops all closed at 4pm as the game starts at 5 so driving downtown with all the shops closes, almost no cars on the streets felt like a ghost town. Amazing!

Every Brazilian was concentrated in one thing: the Game!

It was great staying in Brazil with all my relatives fussing over us. Party every day!

But it was time for the next part of our trip, Europe, here we come!

We arrived in Portugal, had a bit of a sleep and then went out for lunch and got pick pocketed. $200 euros ..that was the worst thing that happened in all our trip. We were very lucky nothing major.

Instead of going to England  which we had planned my husband decided that we would spend more time in Italy. So we bought a couple of tickets and went to Rome and Bracciano to the best Italian hostess of all, Joana Barrett my husband’s sister Stefano, my brother in law also took time off to host us.

Spent a bit of time travelling around Italy to Naples and Florence and had the most lavish lunches and dinners with wine and delicious bread. Gained 4 of the 5 kilos I had lost before my trip but had a fantastic time in Italy.

Then our last leg before coming home: Bangkok. We got a great surprise when Thai Airways upgraded us to Business Class because we had lots of little issues every time we tried to book online. I had a most exquisite experience on business class drinking champagne even before take off.

Our hotel, the Continent Hotel Bangkok deserve their 5 stars in every way. Modern, clean, great staff, lots of smiles. I enjoyed my time in Bangkok and when it was time to leave a pink taxi picked us up at the Hotel to take us to the Airport.

That day it was raining, traffic was at a stand still and with 20 minutes to get to the Airport I need to go to the toilet. Bad!

The taxi driver did not know English. I translate: ” I need to relieve myself” in all languages I knew and the taxi driver still did not understand.

My husband suggested to empty a water bottle and I could use? Suddenly the taxi driver look at my face in his mirror and my hands covering my parts and eureka! He got it and said 5 minutes!

I look around and saw nothing except the highway full of cars an the rain pouring but a few minutes later he stopped the car, opened the door and expected me to go. I had no choice!

I pulled my pants down an relieved myself. Can you imagine me doing this here in Perth on Marmion Ave or the Freeway?
The taxi driver sure had a funny story to tell his family that night. We all laughed!

Then before I knew it I was home. I Arrived Sunday in a bit of daze and just want to sleep all the time especially after waking up at 9:30am during my holidays it is hard to get back to a 6am wake up.

On Tuesday I was up at 7:30am and back to work!

Strawberry Jam and Icecream, Strawberry Jam and Yoghurt, Strawberry Jam on Toast or Sweet Yummy Fresh Strawberries

In my house every year we head down to the local Strawberry Farm and buy boxes upon boxes of Fresh Strawberries and make Strawberry Jam.

I learnt how to make delicious strawberry jam from my sister in law in Nova Scotia, Canada along time ago and I have never forgotten the recipe since.

Well it is now Strawberry season and so Mike and I headed down to Landsdale Strawberry farm and picked up plenty of strawberries so that I can make my famous jam.

While we were there, I called Merv and Toni and asked if they would like some strawberries but all they said was “No Thanks, we just want your Jam”

Now is the time to get some tasty strawberries so head down to the Landsdale Strawberry Farm at 34 Windsor Road, Wangara and start picking….. hehe not really you just buy them!

Sorrento Living Landsdale Strawberry Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

34 Windsor Road, WANGARA, Perth, Western Australia 6065

0401558886 or 0413122620

After 21 years I finally got a 35 hour whirl wind visit from my brother in law in Canada

As we sat on the balcony having a few pre dinner drinks and reminiscing about the past the question popped up about how long it had been since I had actually seen my brother in law Adam.

Well, he said that when he last seen my daughter Nikky she was knee high to a grasshopper and that it was 1992, and I thought oh my god that was 21 years ago and I couldn’t believe it.

Adam is my husbands youngest brother and has seen him more recently than I when he visited his mum in Canada last year but we were lucky that Adam’s work brought him all the way to Australia and he got to stay with us for 35 hours.

His work kept him away from his family and bought him to Kununurra for 5 weeks and he was able to stay with us for 1 night before his long flight home back to Canada.

So my son and his girlfriend are back, my daughter and her husband made the 40 minute trip and we were all able to enjoy the company of my long lost brother in law and have a bbq a la Perth style.

My husband took him out for the day to show him Perth in a very short time with a trip through the City and then to Fremantle via Kings Park. They did a little souvenir shopping for his family back home and then we sat down for another bbq meal and then at 9pm we left to go to the Airport for the second time this week to say our goodbyes.

It was really great to see Adam again and I have promised that I will not let it be 21 years before we see each other again and that I will add his part of the world to my next trip away.

They’re Coming Home, They’re Coming Home, Tell the world They’re Coming Home

Yay, they’re coming home! … Well they are starting their homeward journey and I am looking forward to having my son Merv and his girlfriend Toni back on home soil after almost a year but here are their final plans for those that have been following them.

We just passed 9 months since leaving Perth in April 2012 and have just started our journey headed back home on the other side of the world to complete the circle.

After spending almost 6 months in Canada, (Toni’s allotted visa time) most of it with my Aunty and Uncle and Cousin in Nova Scotia I am happy to say that I have met and seen almost all of my family scattered throughout Canada and was luckier to have met some new friends that I look forward to keeping in touch with.

In October we bought a car because it turned out to be cheaper than hiring one for the time we needed and we sold it at the end of our stay but it allowed us to drive and see a lot of the East Coast of Canada including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario including Niagara Falls.

We had an amazing Christmas spent with family and friends exchanging gifts and eating wonderfully cooked Turkey Dinners and Puddings and there was even snow on the ground which gave Toni her first ever White Christmas and completely top of that magical time of the year.

Our New Years Eve was spent with new friends at their holiday camp only 30 minutes away from town down a dirt road along the river accessible only by 4-Wheel Drive. We ate, drank, played games and even had our own fireworks show. The next morning I was lucky to use their side-by-side 4 wheeler and go bush bashing through the snow in the woods before we all packed up and went home to nurse our hangovers.

We then spent the next two weeks on the farm going on Sleigh Rides, visiting long lost friends and relatives saying our final goodbyes before heading to Halifax International Airport so that we can catch our flight to Boston, Massachusetts via Toronto to visit with my cousins from Brazil.

Our plan is to spend three nights in Boston and then take a 4 hour bus ride to New York City for 5 nights before catching another flight to Oklahoma City and spending some time with my cousin for 1 or 2 weeks.

Our plan is then to hire a car and drive to the West Coast of America via the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas and spend a week or so touring up and down the coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles and taking our final big flight from LAX to Tokyo Japan.

Nearly home and breaking up the big flight as much as possible to avoid the jet lag and long flights we will recuperate in Tokyo for a couple nights and then fly to Bali via Kuala Lumpur where it all started before arriving in Perth around the second week of March.

What an adventure we will have had by then but stay tuned for an update on the final leg once we have arrive safe and sound in Perth.

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All

I would like to wish all my readers a Very Merry Christmas and a fantastically Happy New Year.

I am having a turkey dinner on Christmas Eve with my husband, daughter and son in law and my three Italian boys which I am looking forward too and on Christmas Day, we are having an Italian Christmas with home made lasagne made by the three boys so that everyone will feel a little closer to home.

I will however not have my son Merv and his girlfriend Toni with us this year as they will be having a very White Christmas in Canada but we will wake up with them first thing Christmas Morning and Skype with them so they will feel like they are here too.

Please have a safe and happy holiday period with your family and loved ones and thank you all for support over the past year.

Sorrento Living Merry Christmas Happy New Year

More guests and home Open times for Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November

Last week I was lucky to have my nephew from Italy and his two friends come and stay with us for a little while and this week I am lucky to have my niece from Canada and 3 of her friends who is also travelling come and stay with me for a couple days before heading off to Bali on Saturday.

Lucky my kids are grown up and no longer live with my so I can accept all these guests but it’s nice to be able to see all this family and I am very happy to have them here. On Friday all 9 of us will travel to my daughters house South of the River to have home made pizza and the only ones that will be missing is my son and his girlfriend but we have planned to Facetime them on the Iphone so they can be at the party too.

With guests coming and going and parties I still am there to help my clients and have home opens.

1/19 Elsie Street, Watermans Bay

Saturday & Sunday 1:00 – 1:45pm

An update from my son and his travels – Merv and Toni do the Farm Life

My clients and people on my email list often ask me how my son Merv is going on his travels and although I speak to him at least once a week it’s still nice to hear the details of his travels.

So I asked him and his girlfriend Toni to write a post and tell us all about where they are, where they have been and where they are going.

Enjoy! Read More→

This is my Mother in Law and we are very proud of her! She travels a lot too.

At 85, Gwenyth Barrett is Western University’s oldest student. The mother of nine and grandmother of 20 has been taking courses at the university for years and notes if you don’t use it, you lose it.

While most of Gwyneth Barrett’s classmates at Western University type up their lecture notes on laptops, she uses a pen and paper – just like she did at teachers’ college in the 1940s.

At 85, Barrett, a retired elementary school teacher, is one of the oldest students on campus.

The mother of nine and grandmother of 20 has been taking courses at the university for the past 22 years.

“I think more seniors should exercise their brain,” said Barrett, who just finished two courses this semester. “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

Barrett is one of 35 students over the age of 60 taking classes at Western. Under the senior citizen bursary program, the university picks up the tab for a seniors’ tuition.

Born in Portsmouth, England, in 1927, Barrett hardly looks her age. Wearing a black leather jacket, a purple beret, knee-high boots and a silk scarf, she fits right in on Western’s fashion-focused campus.

Sometimes she runs into one of her grandchildren, Chris, 23, or Ben, 20, both students at Western, while studying in Weldon Library or strolling through campus.

While most of Gwyneth Barrett’s classmates at Western University type up their lecture notes on laptops, she uses a pen and paper – just like she did at teachers’ college in the 1940s.

At 85, Barrett, a retired elementary school teacher, is one of the oldest students on campus.

The mother of nine and grandmother of 20 has been taking courses at the university for the past 22 years.

“I think more seniors should exercise their brain,” said Barrett, who just finished two courses this semester. “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

Barrett is one of 35 students over the age of 60 taking classes at Western. Under the senior citizen bursary program, the university picks up the tab for a seniors’ tuition.

Born in Portsmouth, England, in 1927, Barrett hardly looks her age. Wearing a black leather jacket, a purple beret, knee-high boots and a silk scarf, she fits right in on Western’s fashion-focused campus.

Sometimes she runs into one of her grandchildren, Chris, 23, or Ben, 20, both students at Western, while studying in Weldon Library or strolling through campus.

She first came to Western in 1990 to take a music course. Since then she’s taken dozens of classes in English, French, history, Italian, geology and geography.

“It’s stimulating, intellectually stimulating (and) challenging,” she said.

In her time at Western, Barrett has earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in arts and humanities.

The only class she’s ever dropped out of was astronomy.

“I didn’t really feel I had the math or the scientific background,” said Barrett, a self-described arts student.

One of Barrett’s favourite campus hangouts is the Grad Club in the basement of the Middlesex College building.

She was sitting in the restaurant reading her textbook Thursday.

A few tables over, a group of three female students in their 20s are chatting and eating French fries.

Barrett is older than the three students combined.

“Every year the students look younger,” she said with a laugh.

For the retiree, Western is about more than just academics. She has also participated in eight school productions.

“Shakespeare is my passion,” she said.

Barrett was planning on completing her PhD, but she decided against it because of her high blood pressure.

She’ll keep taking undergraduate course as long as she can.

“It keeps me young.”

Source dale.carruthers@sunmedia.ca or follow DaleatLFPress on Twitter.

My real estate beginnings in Canada and how I learned that giving my first client “hope” worked out… this time

This is a follow up from last weeks. Looks like I will make this a “Saga”. How about that?

Real estate beginnings in Brantford, Ontario, Canada 1982

Living in Nova Scotia, Canada my first experience with real estate was buying a mobile home (fixed on a rented piece of land) for my son and I. Later I had a home built in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Lived there until I moved to Toronto where I went for my Real Estate course.

Moved to Brantford (due to my husband’s job),  a small Town with 76,000 habitants and prices were “a bit lower” than Toronto where I started my career with  Hurley Real Estate from whom I purchased my home.

Now working in Real Estate in Brantford, Ontario, Canada in 1982 after finding it too boring staying at home when my youngest child started  playgroup. I looked at it as a past time until I found out that after few months that I had a passion for it and became quite successful working at Hurley Real Estate and later on for Royal Castle both in Brantford. ON, Canada.

Quickly I found out that it takes a a lot of work to be successful in real estate…

I had, though, familiarized myself with value of properties going to home opens, reading Real Estate information. Quite excited about a new career “green” and eager to work and to prove myself. The wind blowing, snow coming down  (mind you I had to shovel the snow before going anywhere), slippery roads, confronting all the weather hazards, I was trying to get a listing knocking on peoples doors.

The farm and the lesson learned

Coming to this door of a farm just on the edge of the Town. I saw the extensive acres and acres of land, thinking to myself: “that would be a nice property to sell”.

 

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The owner allowed me in, we talked and without any Brantford price experience, I vented my opinion:

“I think is worth 10 million dollars!”

based on my Toronto values. The old owners jumped at the hope I gave them and I listed their home on the spot!

Arriving at the office, happy as Larry with a $10 million dollar listing under my arm, I could not control my excitement. Until I heard the other 40 Agents in my office who laughed, laughed and laughed.

I felt pretty stupid. My self esteem went right down the drain…

But here comes Michael Hurley, in his early 40’s, very respected, super professional, the owner of the Agency. He told me:

“No problem Alycee. Go back to the owners and say to them that you made a mistake, you inflated the price because you were from Toronto and prices there were a lot higher then little Brantford.”

Next day, I armed myself with confidence given to me by my boss and faced the consequences of my rushed opinion. The owners were very nice, understood my honest mistake and dropped the price to $5 million dollars!

Wow! I was really on top of the world! Mike put me to work and made me search everything about that property. The Agency gave me a lot of support and  Hurley Real Estate erected 6 massive signs 14 feet above the ground with banners every 200 meters surrounding the property which was on the corner of 2 major roads.

The whole town saw and called me, I had calls from Texas, California, Toronto, everywhere. My phone was hot and listings pouring in. I was perceived as very clever, successful without even a listing sold. My exposure was over the top with those big signs where anyone could see. The listings and sales came in easily after few weeks. I was selling selling, selling.

Due to my research I discovered that the Farm was on a green belt until 2002. So, subdivision was not possible for 20 years. I had no chance of selling that beloved listing…

The big signs on the property just across from the city was bringing me more and more business and obviously I started to be more confident, acquired more knowledge.

Armed with all the facts concerning the farm I went back to my owners and disclosed my findings and confessed that I had given a false hope until I finally went back to my owners and told them that the hope I gave to them was not to be a real thing. They could pull out of the contract if they wish but their property was worth at that time only a miserable $275,000.

We talked and they confessed to me that they never believed I would sell the property at that price. But they were not in a hurry and let me give them hope. After all this they decided to sell the property and asked me to drop to $2,500,000.

I left the Farm with so many ideas what to do next to secure a sale. I contacted every one that had called me during the term of the listing and I surfaced 2 offers!

One offer for $1,600,000 conditional on the green belt be lifted. That was “a pie on the sky” because that was not going to happen.

The second offer was for $1,000,000 cash, no condition.

They took the offer, the buyer purchased the property for his future grand kids. He was only 40 years of age and his children were only 4 and 6 years old. The owners were allowed to stay there rent free for 6 months until they found a home .

The sale took place 5 month after my first contact with the Owners. Was in a reasonable time for that amount of cash in those days. In Canada we worked on 6.5% commission. And at my office I had sold so many properties before this one happened that my office split was at 80%. “I hit the jack pot”

The “morals” of the story

Some Agents offer “hope” and some owners believe in the hope and put the property on the market at a higher value than is possible to achieve.

A falling market could cost a lot of money because even when you drop the price, the market keeps dropping and you are chasing the market down.

On a healthy market, you drop, the market go up, you drop, the market improves a little more and suddenly “bang” there is a sale!

The other moral is:

There is the emotional buyer who may pay a little extra for the property for one reason or another.

Now I looked good because I sold to that “emotional buyer”  (his kids are millionaires today, thanks to that land) for an astronomic price.

The owners were happy. they were in their seventies and bought a brand new home from me for $175,000 and had money to live well for the rest of their life.

By the way, the other Agents were not laughing at my “lucky break”.