So literally 2 days after i write my coffee rant, Starbucks announce they're closing 60 stores in Australia. Apparently they can't compete with the local coffee chains. The two biggies in Melbourne are Gloria Jean's (actually an American chain that's only taken off in Australia - overly milky coffee and homophobe-backed to boot) and Hudsons (couldn't make a strong coffee if their life depended on it). Brisbane have The Coffee Club, which i don't remember being awful, but they don't have stores here. And it appears my beloved Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has been closed for good - the sign in the window now says "access blocked by landlord", whatever that means.
On the upside, all the Starbucks they closed were in the suburbs and states outside of the big three, so as it turns out all the handy downtown Melbourne stores are still open. No more Carlton store, though (no great loss). Still, where am i going to get coffee on the weekend when i go to play basketball without passing downtown?
For J's surprise trip i took her to the Whitsundays, which is an island chain on the south end of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. We stayed in a lovely b&b with an amazing view. The sky was blue, the ocean turquoise, the sand white, the rainforest green. By far one of the most beautiful places i've ever been in the world. When our boat cruise dropped us at Whitehaven Beach i didn't care there were a couple hundred other tourists stretched out along the 3 miles - it was freakin paradise. Never seen anything like it. We snorkeled hand-in-hand on the reef, looked at Nemo fish and wobbly corals and alien-looking things. Got back to our room in time to sit and watch the sun set over the water... Then went to lie in bed to chat for a bit and i casually popped the question. We'd been kinda unofficially chatting about it for a while so she didn't think much of it till i pulled out the ring and then she was over the moon. So was i.
You know it's been a few years since i thought about getting married. I never really saw it as a real option, partly because legally it wasn't, and partly because my partners never seemed that enthusiastic about it anyway. But now i've met this amazing chick who blows my mind and rocks my world and just fucking gets me... Knowing she's into the idea and it's legal in her home country pretty much made it a no-brainer. I don't want anyone else. Being single for 6 months or so, writing daily hard-copy journal pages for myself, going out and sowing my wild oats, all that gave me the time to see what i wanted out of a relationship and here it is. So far only one person i've told has gone "that's pretty quick" so that's either a sign my friends can also see how good this is, or they're just way too polite to say anything. Either way, i'll take it. I'm fucking happy and for once i really feel where i'm going in life is right.
Her family and friends have all been positive too, fully jumping on the wedding planning bandwagon. That's kinda scary to me, coming from a small family that doesn't really do big celebrations. I told her since i've done the engagement she can do the wedding. I figure as long as the food is good and the music doesn't suck i'm sweet. Worst case we can always elope to California or Massachusetts, right? :-)
Her other birthday surprise was that her mother and sister are coming to visit in a couple of weeks. Oy vey! I hope i measure up.