Thanks to the Chocolate Cake!
It may seem unusual to thank chocolate cake, but if it wasn't for the
birthday cake I was making on the 18th November 1996, Tom and I would
never have met. It was my daughter Thalia's 5th birthday and I was
baking her a chocolate cake. I was chatting #Australia and I asked if
anybody would like a piece of cake. This rather dominant character on
the channel with the nick Baldrick answered, saying he would like a
piece. I didn't immediately start chatting to him privately, but after a
few days (one of which was his birthday) we started to chat privately,
much to the annoyance of the rest of the channel. We would only connect
to chat to each other, completely ignoring anything and everything
around us, both in our real lives and also on the channel. Soon the
channel regulars knew that when our 2 nicks appeared on the channel our
contributions to the topics would cease..
I never would have thought it possible to love someone without seeing
them in real life or touching them. Through the wonder of the internet
we met and fate brought us together.
I was forced to leave my two daughters behind in Brisbane when I decided
to travel to Germany to meet Tom. I was taking a big step and didn't
really know what to expect on the other side of the world. What I found
was the most loving man I had ever met. He was everything that I had
expected and more! We spent 3 months together before I had to return to
Brisbane to sort out my life.
Time apart was unbearable, but it had to be. By December he was ready to
come to Australia for our reunion. Tom was able to see my country, as I
had seen his and he fell in love with it straightaway. He said it was
much more than he expected and dreamt of. True, Australia is a fantastic
country, one you would be proud to call home. But as fate had it, he had
to return to Germany. Again I was faced with the separation from my
daughters Thalia and Tamika. I didn't want to leave them behind,
couldn't take them with me. It was the worst decision I had to make in
my life, the decision to leave my little darlings behind. The pain is
indescribable and only someone in a similar position can comprehend the
anguish I go through everyday.
and I were finally married back in Germany and it was a wonderful day.
The only thing that would have made it perfect was if my girls had been
with me.We had a small luncheon after the civil service and the
following day we flew to London for our short, yet fun honeymoon. In
July my daughters came for a holiday with my mother to Germany. They
stayed for five weeks and I only wish it could have been longer,
preferably forever. But the girls are young and are at school and to be
away from their school friends and surroundings for longer than five
weeks was not advisable. I thank their father and step mother for
allowing them to come to me for the time they did. When we return to
Australia in 1999, God willing, the girls will spend time with us
A Trip to Sydney
Tom arrived in Brisbane in December and shortly after Christmas we piled
into the Ford for the long trip south. Thalia and Tamika were looking
forward to the trip to Sydney, as it meant they would see their Nanna
(great grandmother) and their father's family.
We kicked off in the morning and headed south west towards Moree. We
drove towards the Queensland/ New South Wales border and were caught in
a massive rain storm in Inglewood. This was not the start we were
wanting. Nevertheless, after a half hour stop at the 'Driver Reviver'
booth we continued our journey.
Crossing the border on the Newall Highway, was a new experience for me
as well. Usually I travel down the New England Highway, as it is more
scenic. But I chose this one because it would show Tom the 'real'
Australia. As much of the outback as I was willing to show him, although
I drew the line at Walgett. Walgett, in the middle of nowhere and he
wanted to go there because of Betty in the TV show ' Hey Dad'. Well I
told him exactly what I thought of Betty and the show :)
We stopped at Goondiwindi, the home of the famous Australian race horse Phar Lap, and had our lunch by the river.
We continued our drive, going through kilometers of absolutely nothing,
as you can see in the picture below. Tom was amazed at the long,
straight roads, but found the speed limit of 110km/h a shame. In Germany
on their highways the speed is, in most areas, unlimited. Our first stop
for the night was to be Moree. It was hot, the kids were tired and all
we wanted to do was go for a swim in the pool at the hotel. Well what
else was there to do in Moree anyway???
Well you eat in Moree and this we did at the local Chinese restaurant,
where the floor had more rice than Tamika did. Then it was Macca's for
Next morning nice and early we headed towards Narrabri and Coonabarabran.
This was shortly after NSW had experienced devestating bush fires and
the evidence was there to see. This was also Observstory country and
many of the larger towns had their observatories and satellite bowls.
Gilgandra is the home of astronomy, but Dubbo was our destination.
Dubbo is a large city to the west of Sydney. It is the home of the
famous open planned Dubbo Zoo and the old Dubbo Gaol. We stayed in Dubbo
for two nights and spent one full day at the zoo. Here you are able to
hire open electric buggies to drive around the zoo. The girls enjoyed
this immensely. At one time we were travelling pretty fast in the buggy
(illegally of course) and we came across some speed humps. Going over
them fast meant lots of things fell out of the car, Tom's hat for one.
The girls screamed with pleasure as they went in the buggy.
Leaving Dubbo we headed towards Canberra. We took the Mitchell Highway
and went through Wellington, Molong and Cowra. Cowra was the location of
the Japanese prisoner of war camp during WW11 and is the home of the
famous breakout. Naturally we went to the location to see for
Finally we arrived in Canberra, the capital of Australia. We went to
Commonwealth Park on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin and had our lunch.
The girls ran around chasing the seagulls and had a good time. We went
into the display hall and watched a film on the history of the area.
Leaving the park we went for a drive to the new Parliament House.
Here we walked with the girls to the top of the hill and looked out over
Canberra. Then we drove around looking at all of the embassies. Our next
stop was Sydney.
We drove to Sydney and stayed with my Grandmother. Whilst in Sydney we
used the public transport systems and went Manly (by ferry), Bondi Beach
(by bus) and to the city itself (by train). The day we went to Bondi
Beach was not the best, but here is a picture of the world famous
Tom and I saw the new year in together under the stars at the Opera
House, along with 1 million other Sydneysiders and visitors.
The firework display was something to see. We drove up to the Blue
Mountains and saw the three sisters. I was able to show Tom where I used
to live in Penrith, which was at the foot of the mountains.
One afternoon we went for a drive to the Western Sydney city of Windsor.
Here on the banks of the Hawkesbury River the girls showed us how they
felt about the day. Thalia and Tamika were pulling their hair out with
Leaving Sydney we headed north along the Pacific Highway. We made it to
Coffs Harbour and we stopped for a rest. The Pacific Ocean stretched out
far to the east. The girls wanted to go for a swim and so we sat and
watched them on the shore. The Big Banana is an important tourist
attraction in the region and we had to stop there. As we sat and had a
drink and something to eat, we were confronted by this big lizard.
Immediately the girls and I jumped on the table screaming. This was not
the way to finish the day.
It was a long hard drive back to Brisbane, but we managed it. I was
pleased that I could show Tom part of my country. There is so much more
to see and when we live there again, we will have more time to explore
the great Southern land that is AUSTRALIA.
Finally the day had arrived. Monday July 6th. At 5.30 am I was sitting
waiting for Tom to return from the MacDonald's queue and I was watching
the Cathay Pacific Plane from Brisbane via Hong Kong land in front of me
at Frankfurt am Main Airport. On that plane were my mum two daughters
and my mum. They were here at last!
After what seemed a lifetime of waiting outside their gate, the door
opened to reveal my babies. They had travelled around the world to see
me. Tamika, with her hair in piggy tails, was the first thing I noticed.
I moved towards the barrier and held out my arms; they ran straight into
them. They were with their mum at last! My poor mum, struggling to push
the luggage cart, was quickly grabbed in a bear hug. I couldn't believe
it, they were actually here in Germany. Tom and I knew the five weeks
would go quickly and so we had planned on making it as busy as
Driving to the flat in the car was noisy, with everyone wanting to talk
at the one time. It was only early when we got to the flat, but
nevertheless they were too excited to sleep. Later that evening, we took
them into the city of Darmstadt because there was a fest ( a celebration
with lots of rides and yummy food). We travelled into the city on a tram
from Griesheim and the girls loved it. Here is a photo showing the girls
beside Tom's company car in the Toom car park. This was were we always
parked when taking the tram into the city.
During that first week we drove down to München and Wasserburg, the home
of Tom's family. We stayed with his brother Hans- Peter and his family
for almost a week. The girls had a lot of fun playing with his 4
children, although only one spoke good English. It was soon evident that
children can communicate without a common language. We went into the
city of München and saw the Olympic park and we went up the tower.
Although it was overcast we had a great view of the city. The girls
enjoyed the coin operated helicopter ride on the roof and the revolving
During our week in München and the surrounding Bavarian countryside, we
went across the border into Salzburg, Austria. This lovely old city was
full of charm and history. Tom and Stefan ( Thalia's 'true' love) took
the girls into the Museum, whilst my mother and I went exploring through
the city and of course the shops. We rejoined the others and took the
cable car up the mountain to the ruins of the castle. Here we had a
great view over the city ( see photo below).
One morning we set off and travelled along the Rhine towards the city of
Bonn. This trip took many hours and we covered hundreds of Kilometres.
As we drove on the B9 beside the Rhine, the girls would point out the
castle ruins on the hillsides. Tamika would be forever pointing and
yelling out, ' look, another one! '. Their excited voices made our
hearts glow with pride. Tom enjoyed showing his country to my girls and
mother. I was proud because he was proud.
When we reached Bonn, Tom took us walking along the Rhine, towards the
House of Parliament. Bonn is the birthplace of Beethoven and we had to
take a picture of the monument ( see below).
One of the villages the girls ( and especially my mum) loved was
Bernkastel- Kues. This famous tourist village is like a fairyland with
all of its quaint shops and cobblestone walkways. The girls loved the
leaning house that was over 700 years old. As Australian's we are awe
struck by the dates of some of the buildings and indeed some of the
cities we visited. Trier for example is over 2000 years old and we
walked in the Porta Nigra that is dated to the Roman times. Bernkastel
had many shops with Steif teddy bears .My mum and the girls liked to
look in every one of them :) Other lovely places we all enjoyed were
Bacherach and Rüdesheim.. It was in Bacherach that we had our picnic
down by the river and the girls happily chased the birds around as we
watched the ships pass by. Here is a photo of the girls down at the
Mosel River at Bernkastel.
We can be thankful that Tom didn't make us walk to the top of the hill
in Bernkastel. I did it when I was here last year and although it is a
stunning view from the top, it is a bloody long walk up there. Here is
what you see at the top:
The most memorable day of the holiday was the day we drove to Disneyland
in Paris. We left our flat at 2am with only the adults knowing our
destination. The girls had been told it would be a long trip and we
would be going to another country. Thalia had asked if we would see any
castles and we answered her honestly saying we would see at least one (
the one in Disneyland). We pulled into the car park of Disneyland at
9am, just as the girls were waking up. Tom asked them if they knew where
we were. Tamika, having a quick look around saw a Mickey Mouse picture
and a Disney symbol, replied ' A Disney store'. Mum, Tom and I laughed
and there were tears in my eyes. They couldn't believe they were in
Disneyland. We told them that this was special. Many Australian's go to
Disneyland in America, but not many can say they have been to the one in
We paid the entry fee and climbed aboard a train that was to take us to
our first ' land'. The girls went on many rides and we watched the
parade in the main street. As they love Winnie the Pooh so much and
Thalia is a mad Balmain Tiger fan, they had to have a photo taken with Tigger.
But all good things had to come to an end and soon the day of their
departure came. The night before they left was one of tears and
promises. They didn't want to leave me, but I had no choice, I had to
send them back to their father. I promised them that as soon as we could
we would be back in Brisbane and if it was ok with daddy they could stay
with Tom and myself. This was what we talked about the last night as
they slept in my bed with me. The afternoon they left was the worst day
of my life. Thalia and Tamika, as well as my mother walked through the
customs gates crying. I was left an emotional wreck in the arms of my
love and I remained hysterical for many hours after. I still shed a
river of tears for my girls who are so far away from me but I think of
it as each day passes, it is one less we are apart.
I also think of the great experience they had here in Germany. They saw
many places, things and people. They met their new Grandparents, Uncles
and made many new friends. For anyone interested, our website is
"Tracey" (half of "Da Couple")