Monday, December 22, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
We started out early early after a late night out the night before at my company Christmas party. It was a gorgeous day though, and perfect for a drive. And after dropping Jon in front of a 15 foot barbed wire fence, I had a chance to drive as well - for the first time in Australia. It was a bit freaky, but I did well, and I definitely feel more confident about it now. You just have to keep telling yourself to stay left, stay left. Ha.
After Jon finished his job, we headed over the mountains and off to the coast. We had a fun afternoon of driving, stopping when we felt like it and exploring out of the way beaches and scenic overlooks. We had the best fish and chips ever in Batemans Bay for lunch. If you are ever in the neighborhood, be sure to check out The Boatshed! At the end of the day, we checked into a dodgy hotel (four stars here is barely tolerable) and had a dodgy dinner before falling asleep.
The next morning we started out in the little town of Berry, which I loved. We had brekkie in the morning sun and wandered through the little shops. I had a bit of a moment in a little quilt shop - I got a bit homesick and started crying, so Jon had to pull me away. That was a little embarrassing. heh.
As we reached the edge of town, we realised that it was their market day. How fun! We spent an hour wandering through the local market admiring the plants and fruit and homemade crafts and jewellery and everyone's dogs. We left just as it started to rain, and we drove towards the coast with the storm hovering behind us over the mountains. It was a pretty incredible sight.
After that, we were off to Kiama and the famous Kaima Blowhole. It's a coastal area with heaps of volcanic rock, thousands of years old. The ocean has worn a hole in the rock. When the tide is high, the waves build up pressure and when it gets too strong, it blows up and out the hole with a (and I quote) a "whoomp!" Except, we visited on a low-tide day, so there was no "whoomping" for us. But it was still beautiful. There was a sign about the first explorer who described the beach... about 200 years ago. Imagine how cool it would be to be the first person to find something like that! Pretty awesome.
Anyway - we enjoyed the trip and look forward to our next weekend adventure.
These last couple days have been pretty busy with holiday dinner parties and winding up work projects. We are both looking forward to a couple weeks off work. Jon and Dan are planning all sorts of fun stuff, and I will be off on my road trip in just a week!
Hope you are all staying warm back home!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
We joined about 10 friends on Saturday for Thanksgiving dinner at Natasha and Tracy's new apartment. Good food and fun was had by all. I made pumpkin pie and we had turkey and all the fixings. Yum.
Showed Dan around Sydney for a bit this weekend before he leaves for his adventures in Queensland. Poor guy was a bit jet lagged, but he'll make it. Sounds like he has a fun trip planned - we look forward to hearing all about it when he returns to Sydney before Christmas. Only a few weeks now and it's vacaton time! woohoo!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
So, on Tuesday I will fly 25 hours to appear on Wednesday morning in Mississauga to stand in front of a judge and take the oath of citizenship which will make me a full Canadian citizen. Wow. It feels a bit big and momentous. If you would like to come to the ceremony, you are more than welcome. Just email me for details on the location.
Anyway, as this is the busy season at work for me, I only got 3 days off for this trip, so I will be hopping back on a plane just hours after the ceremony on Wednesday. I think I am in town less than 24 hours in total. The fun bit is that I am on the same plane as Dan on the way back, so that will be cool. I wish I could stay longer and see everyone and celebrate Thanksgiving... but I am also not looking forward to seeing snow, so I will be glad to get back home to sunny Sydney.
Anyway - as I will be in the air over the Pacific on Thanksgiving, I want to wish all our American friends and family an extra Happy Thanksgiving... please eat some mashed potatoes for me! I will be celebrating here next Saturday with a few expat friends who managed to find one of the only turkeys in the country. Looking forward to that!!
We had the opportunity to spend a few hours driving around the red dirt roads surrounding Dubbo last weekend and it was amazing. So many interesting animals and birds. The birds in the country are unbelievable. They come in every colour imaginable.
We explored a rural cemetery with headstones dating into the early 1860's. Some of the birthdates went back to England in the 1700's. So many people died so young back then - we were blown away to think that someone dying at age 23 had lived a full life and was remembered as "beloved wife and mother".
I think the best part was being able to watch the kangaroos just hopping through the fields in herds. I am sure a few locals driving by in their ute's were laughing at us - but we didn't care. We had the best time driving down dirt roads snapping pictures of roos and birds and beautiful views.
We had the full Aussie experience, complete with Ned Kelly pie for brekkie. Strange to think that just an hour plane ride inland and we were in such a rural place. I can only imagine what the centre is like. Can't wait to explore more of this amazing country!
PS - click on the photo collage to see the pictures full size!
I will send a prize to the first reader who can correctly list all the animals shown!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Jon and I were just thinking today that it's Remembrance Day today back 'home' in Canada. Which marks the 4 year anniversary of when I first landed in Canada as a permanent resident. Four years already! Wow, it seems like just the other day. That was the happiest day - we were so glad it was finally over. And now we are just beginning the process all over again in reverse. How crazy are we?
Anyway, it seems to be snowing 'back home' lately and I have to admit that I am almost a bit jealous. I think we will have to skip Christmas altogether this year. I am not sure I can get my head around the whole summertime Christmas thing. It's too hot to bake and since we didn't bring any decorations, I doubt we will be 'decking the halls'. Can you believe it - strings of ordinary Christmas lights are over $40 each here! Yikes. Oh well, I am looking forward to my road trip, and we are excited to be hosting Dan over the holidays. He arrives just in time to join us for an American expat Thanksgiving.
It's full on summer here now. Everything is in bloom and it's just gorgeous. Temps have been in the high 70's each day with glorious blue skies and sunshine. It just doesn't get any better than that!
And since it's been nearly a week, I think I can end on a celebratory note. I am so proud to be an American this week! So proud of my country and so excited for our new President-Elect Obama!! Hooray!
Monday, October 13, 2008
It was crazy to get off the plane there and see fall leaves and pumpkins and sweaters. I think it was a bit of a shock to the system. While I was happy to enjoy a pumpkin cinnamon doughnut and some cider, I was even happier to come home to summer. The time has changed now and the days are long and warm. It's been in the 80's already mostly every day, and what a feeling it is. I am not sure how I will feel about a hot Christmas, but it's quickly approaching.
Speaking of Christmas, I just planned my road trip with friends Natasha and Tracy. We are heading out on Christmas Day for a 5 day trip around the sounthern tip of Australia. We will follow the Great Ocean Road for about 500 miles past what they claim to be some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. All on a narrow road, hugging sheer rock cliffs, around hairpin turns. And, um, not one of us has yet learned to drive on the 'wrong' side of the road. Should be heaps of fun!!
Jon and I are back to planning great weekends, now that it is warm and sunny again. We checked out the international auto show last weekend, and then went bowling with a group of friends. I got to sit in cars worth more than your average size house. That was pretty cool. Followed that with lowest score of the night at the bowling alley. Not a single strike. Oh well. Looking forward to next weekend, when we join a group and try out the great Aussie sport of lawn bowling. THAT should be interesting!
Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends and family. Wish we could be there to see you all - especially my family - who are all home for the first time in years. Have some pie for us!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Just wanted to stop in and let you all know that Jonathan's trip last weekend was enlightening and productive in a totally unexpected way. I think it's safe to say that the official news is that we are in Sydney for at least another year. (Crazy to think it's been a year since Jon got here already!) We are excited and looking forward to some more adventures. It's been a good year, and I am sure the next one will be even better.
I am heading to TO on Saturday morning, and will be a bit crazy for the next week or so. Way too much crammed into the next 7 days. Here's hoping I can complete this trip without one of my infamous sinus infections. Keep your fingers crossed for me on Monday around 1pm as I am taking my exam! I'll update as soon as I know.
And one last note, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful husband on Saturday. He is the best a woman could ever ask for, and so much more. We haven't seen much of each other these past few weeks, and I miss him like crazy. (Wish I wasn't spending your birthday on a plane, hun!) Ya'll be sure to drop him a line this weekend!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
In addition to the smell of spring, there are changes in the wind for the Garcia family. No details yet, but as we all know, nothing stays the same for too long. As we speak, Jon is on a flight to the West Coast of the USA and I am feeling a bit lonely and sorry for myself. Looking foward to his speedy return and the news of how his meeting might affect our lives. I am headed back to TO in a week for a whirlwind tour of my own. I am tired just thinking about it, but so happy to be in the home stretches of my dual citizenship process.
Oh, and thought I should mention that we have a new addition to the family - Herbie. He's a mint plant and he lives on our windowsill. He serves virtually no purpose, but Jon seems to like him, so he stays.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Add to that, the devastation of Huricane Ike. I have friends in TX and this past week wasn't good for anyone down there. I can't imagine seeing whole towns disappear completely. Just undescribably sad.
On top of that (yes, I am going THERE, so you may want to look away) I am unbelieveably frustrated with the upcoming election in the US. Now, since a favourite blogger of mine has recently discussed politics on her blog, and subsequently received death threats, I will keep this tame. But seriously... I have lived outside of the US for nearly 5 years now, and I am getting awfully tired of my country being dogged by the world. And this recent development regarding a certain VPcandidatewhoshallremainnameless has got my feathers in quite the bunch. All I have to say is this, if there was an opening in that department and the only qualification was that you had to be a woman... I sure wish they would have posted it on monster.com... because I know a whole lot of wonderful women who would have been far better and smarter candidates. Granted, none of them can see Russia from their back porch.
Speaking of government... I have been studying the government and history of Canada pretty fervently these past few weeks. I can now name my MP, my MPP, my PM and my mayor. Ha! Oh, and I know what significance the British North America Act of 1867 has for Canadians. (Do you?) No, I am not studying all this for fun... I have finally been called to sit my Canadian citizenship exam. I will be doing just that on October 6th, so think of me that day and send maple syrup-covered good thoughts. Hopefully I will have good news to report on that front soon. And then you'll all be invited to the ceremony where we sing O' Canada and dress like beavers.
On a brighter note, we had a fabulous big bash for my 30th birthday last weekend and a great time was had by all. I would post pictures, but I don't have all the proper confidentiality waivers. Happy Birthday to brother-in-law Dan this Saturday! Can't wait for you to come visit us!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Jon's job is going ok. A few ups and downs lately with an extremely heavy workload and no relief in sight. Quite a few of his co-workers have resigned recently due to various reasons, and he has sort of been picking up the pieces. Keeps him in the office more though, as opposed to on the road, so I am happy about that. Not sure what the future holds for his career, but I am glad that he is such a hard worker and loves what he does. I am one lucky lady.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Thought I would share a few of our favourites from the trip. We had a few days of lovely weather, and some rainy days as well, but in all, it was fun to have a few weeks of summer in the midst of our winter. Started out the visit with a week in Canada visiting family.
Then we spent a weekend in Mackinaw and I took my first trip to the Island. Absolutely beautiful in summer. Can't imagine living there in winter though! Such amazing flowers and scenery. Fun to finally see the Grand Hotel in person.
Also had to include some pictures of a yummy club sandwich and a bacon and blue cheese burger... words can't describe how good those were! After Mackinaw we had a couple of fun days in Michigan... visited the Newaygo Country Fair and saw some of the local wildlife.
Finished out the visit with a day at Canada's Wonderland, where I decided I am now too old for rollercoasters.
So nice to see so many friends and family... wish we'd had time to see everyone. Anyone we missed - feel free to come visit us!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
We are back and settling into normal life again. My new job is going great, and Jon's job is as busy as ever. I think his entire company breathed a collective sigh of relief when he showed up for work on Monday. LOL
It's nearly spring here and I can't wait for warm weather and longer daylight hours!!! I totally have spring fever. It's getting nicer though - average daily temp this week was 62F with sunny skies!
I promise to blog more about the trip later, and include some pictures (including some of a particularly good baconandbluecheeseburger) but Jon and I are off to see Elvis this evening in Bankstown. Apparently he is in town for one night and one night only. Got to dust off the leisure suit and blue suede shoes.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
We arrive in TO on Friday evening, and will be in TO, SSM and Michigan for the following 2 weeks. It will be a crazy couple of weeks, and we'll be travelling several thousand miles, both in the air and in the car. Hope to see most of you and catch up!
On another note, I have finally received a really exciting job offer and will be starting something new after we arrive home. Hoping this is the one I have been waiting for, and glad to look forward to coming back refreshed and ready to go. Thanks to many of you for your amazing references. Much appreciated!
Have to get back to packing now. See you all soon!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
A cold front from the subpolar area that swept through NSW yesterday has brought the mercury down to extremely chilly level — with colder conditions to come. "Tomorrow will be a degree or two cooler in the metro area, dropping down to about 14 (58F)," Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jane Golding said. "The overnight minimum will be as low as seven, which is about 4 (38F) degrees colder than last night."
But spare a thought for those in the city's western suburbs, which are expected to drop to a near-freezing one degree overnight. Statistically, today, tomorrow and Thursday are recognised as Sydney's coldest days of the year. Any improvement is not expected until at least Sunday when the temperatures should return to the high teens (60s).
One area appreciating the cold snap is Australia's snow resorts, which have finally had their first decent fall of the season. All Victorian and NSW resorts overnight received at least 10cm of snow, with long-suffering Mount Buller enjoying an excellent 20cm (8 inches).
Monday, July 7, 2008
Shortly after my last blog entry, I left my boring job and (as much as I hate to admit this) accepted another job which has turned out to be equally as boring. I just don't understand the professional culture here. I am really struggling with work. I just want to WORK. I want to go in each day to the office and have a full day of work to do. I am seriously worried that I am not going to find that here. I may have to leave Real Estate completely. Sad, since I just completed my Certificate of Registration exam. Sigh. Who knows. Maybe the right job will present itself at some point. I have been meeting with a new recruiter, so you never know.
Ok, enough about work. (Bloody depressing topic.) So - Jonathan and I got a chance to see Gordon Ramsey cook live in Sydney a few weekends back, and that was pretty amazingly great. If you don't know who Gordon Ramsey is, I can't help you. But he was great. As was the Food Show that he was here for. Really fun way to spend a Saturday.
Last weekend a couple of friends decided to have a real American bbq and invited us over. We brought guacemole and salsa. How American of us, eh? LOL. They did burgers on the grill and a good time was had by all. We have made some fun friends here and we seem to find something entertaining to do most weekends. Sydney is good for some sort of event that has to do with either music or food (or both!) pretty much every weekend. We have made a real effort to check out lots of little neighborhoods and kitchy shops and events. It's been fun being a tourist in our own city. We never made enough of an effort to do that in TO.
Next week the Pope is in town. It's World Youth Day... which is really inaccurate. They should be calling it World Youth WEEK. Now, I am all about the youth of the world coming together to learn and grow and all that. But this WYD thing is really messing everyone up. They are closing the bridge and most of the area streets to public traffic. Public transit is going to be a nightmare... expecially since CityRail is talking about going on strike right in the middle of the week. Niiice. Well... I am sure that however it goes, all halfamillion or so visitors will enjoy the winter weather we have been having. It's been a balmy 70F each day and sunny. Can't beat that! The Snowy Mountains (4 hours south) got 4 feet of snow last week. SOOO glad we don't live there.
We are headed "home" to Canada and the US in just a few weeks now. We'll be travelling 25 July through 11 August. Looking forward to seeing everyone. Have to admit, I am most looking forward to shopping for cheap stuff and eating cheap fast food. Oh, and buying books. Heaps and heaps of books. Yes, they do have them here... but I refuse to pay $35 for a paperback. No, I am not kidding.
Ok - off to bed. I promise to write more later. Maybe. ;)
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Other than the weather, life goes on as usual here for us. Jonathan is still travelling quite a bit. Which is becoming a little more frustrating, as the weather gets bad. He spends a lot of time waiting for delayed flights. On the bright side, we are racking up the domestic airmiles, so we'll soon get a nice weekend away out of it. Maybe we'll head down to Adelaide and swim with sharks?!
My job situation is still not great. Not much to do, which is hindered by the downturn in the market recently. Starting to feel the shockwaves from the troubled US market and the results of 13 interest rate hikes here just in the past 24 months. Not to mention the fact that petrol is now almost $7 per gallon here and food prices are nearing record highs, as they are worldwide. So... obviously real estate is an interesting business to be in these days. However, I had a great offer this week from a smaller local company who has less overhead and is looking for an all round manager for their 5 person office. I will most likely be making the move, even though I will be sad to leave the fun office I am in now. I have made some good friends there, and change is always hard. But, I feel that they will have to downsize eventually anyway, so it's probably best to move on now.
Other than that, things are good here in Oz. We are really enjoying living a simpler life. I don't know if I ever want to go back to having 2 cars and a lengthy commute. And I am really not sure we will ever want to go back to rural/suburban life again. We might be true "city slickers" after this! (sorry, Mom!) We have decided to stay in the apartment we are in now. It's been good for the most part, and unless something major changes, we'll most likely be here for awhile.
Sure would be nice to hear from friends and family back home. Seems a little like we dropped off the face of the earth lately. Word to the wise folks - skype. It's free, easy, and well, free. So sign up and give us a call. Or email. Email is always good too.
And one last thing... (warning. the following may be offensive to some viewers.) I just have to add a big whoop! and a Go Obama! Just because I can. LOL
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I love that everything you could ever need is just a short walk away. The grocery store, the fruit market, the library, everything. I love not having a car or having to worry about the price of gas ($5.54 USD per gallon). We are enjoying the opportunity to explore new places and try new things. We have learned so much about Australia that we never knew. And... we've learned a whole new language! Those of you who think Aussies speak English have never had a convo with an Aussie! LOL
Other days it's hard to be so far from friends and family. As easy as it is to forget we are on the other side of the world, we are reminded how out of the loop we are each time we call "home." Sure would be nice to hear from you all more often! We are just a phone call away... and Skype is free!
Currently, we are planning a trip back to North America in late July and early August. It will most likely be a 2 week trip with a few days in both hometowns (the Soo and Grand Rapids), as well as a few days in Toronto. We'd love to see you all and will post an itinerary once it is final.
Looks like the apartment hunt is on the back burner for awhile. We couldn't find anything we liked more than where we are now, so we decided to stay here for awhile. The dishwasher still hasn't been fixed, but I suppose I am used to it by now. Whatever.
Jonathan is still travelling quite a bit for work. Seems that he is at the airport at least a couple days a week lately. My job isn't going as well. While it's close to home and has great workmates... it's just not challenging enough. I am not one for sitting around and doing nothing. So, I have been looking for another position again. No drama, just want to do something that feels a bit more meaningful.
Oh! And a quick bit of good news... we found a local restaurant supply place that apparently sells Mexican products, including corn tortillas! So, we'll have to check that out. We are SO missing Mexican food. It just does NOT exist here. Weird.
The photo above is a view of the public lookout called Echo Point. It's an amazing vantage point and allows almost a 360 degree view of the area.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
But, as a kid, there is nothing better in the summertime than running around barefoot. I admit, to this day, I hate wearing socks, and I refuse to wear them unless it's COLD. I'd much rather throw on a pair of flip flops and tough out the cold weather as long as possible.
Here, it's easily warm enough to wear flip flops a good 9 months of the year, if not longer. And you could probably get along just fine without even owning a pair of socks. But, it's the craziest thing here... people go barefoot... everywhere! On the bus. On the train. On the city sidewalks. In the supermarket. In the library. I am not kidding. I have seen people (both children and adults!) barefoot in each and every one of those places.
Today I am standing in the lobby of my office and I look out to see 3 guys walking by without shoes on. Just walking down the street. It's chilly here today. And raining. And these guys are wearing shorts, hoodies, and no shoes. Just strolling down the sidewalk. And I thought to myself "now THAT would make my dad nuts."
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
We have been apartment hunting. Sigh. I don't know if you recall Jonathan's frustration during his first round of apartment hunting... but I can assure you that it.is.not.fun. Hard to believe that our 6 month lease is up already, but it is. So, we have been considering moving. Which, I must stress to you is no easy decision.
We have had some maintenance issues with our current property manager. We have been 5 months without heat or air conditioning, and over 2 months without a working dishwasher. We cannot seem to get them to fix these items, and it's a bit of a pain to constantly be wondering if or when it's going to happen. Not to mention, it's a bit of pain to keep paying rent each month when they aren't being fixed. And since we are now heading into winter without heat... well, we are considering a move.
So, here is how apartment hunting in Oz works. You go onto the website www.domain.com.au. You search by suburb for the areas you want. You narrow it down to the price range you can afford, and then you spend about an hour writing down or printing out all the remaining properties the fit your criteria. Then you call each and every agent and get the OFI (Open For Inspection) time. Which is a 15 minute period on a random day... usually Saturday. Then you fill out an application for each property. EACH one.
Then, you get up early on a Saturday, dress to impress, and race around like a crazy person to each of these 15 minute OFI sessions. Here's where it gets fun. Since you are not the only one looking for an apartment like this, you get to stand in line at each OFI with about 50 of your nearest and dearest rivals and then you ALL traipse through the apartment at once, trying to decide if you like it. It doesn't really matter if you like it though, since you only have the opportunity to get into about 10 or 12 each Saturday (and that is if you have a car!) - you basically have to apply to ALL of them. Whether you like them or not. And so you drop off an appplication and speed off to the next OFI.
If you DO like it, and you might even want to live there, you have to bid at least $20 over the listed price... which is PER WEEK, by the way, for those of you who actually looked at the website. No, those lovely 1 bedders listed for $500... those are not monthly rates. They are weekly. Heh.
Anyway, so after you have run all over kingdom come trying to view a dozen properties in a span of 3 hours, you sit back and wait. And sometime in the next week, you may or may not get a call telling you that your application has been selected and you are the lucky new tenant with a hideous purple bathroom, shared laundry, dodgy neighbours and (if you are really lucky) a balcony.
We saw 10 apartments today. I hated them all. I am exhausted.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
We had a lovely Easter weekend, 4 days off work and some good times with friends. I think it was officially the last weekend of summer though, because it has really cooled off and started to feel like fall. My brain is a bit wacked by the reversal of seasons. I am having trouble with Easter bunnies and fall leaves at the same time. It is definitely Autumn though, and we are enjoying the cooler temps, I guess. While I was secretly hoping it would just stay summer year round, I am sure my body will appreciate the time to recover from many recent sunburns.
We spent Easter Saturday in Wollongong (about 1 hour south of Sydney) with some new friends we met on a website for Yanks in Oz. Mike, Jenifer and their two boys Liam and Nevin. They are also expecting son #3 in about a month. Mike is Aussie and Jenifer is from California. They are good fun and whomped us soundly at 2 rounds of Cranium. We had a bbq and enjoyed the company. (This is after the men/boys assembled the bbq and bought charcoal, only to find that there is no lighter fluid to be found in Oz, so they got "creative" in lighting the coals. Oy.) We have lots in common and had a great time.
We have discovered an outlet mall not too far from here and finally did some shopping for shoes and clothes that fit. Jonathan has lost some serious weight here, and all of those new pants we bought back in November, yeah, they don't fit anymore. Oh well. I have also been losing weight, while not as quickly as Jon. (It might have something to do with the fact that I eat chocolate and he doesn't.)
Anyway, we were psyched to find an outlet store with a good selection of shoes at normal prices, and ended up buying 6 pairs between us. We own more shoes now than anyone ever really should have. But when you have an opportunity here to buy 6 pairs of shoes for $200... you jump on it, because ONE pair here is usually $100. Crazy.
The price of stuff here is completely outrageous. Seriously... that is a blog all on it's own, so I'll just leave it at that. It's bloody expensive to buy anything here.
Jonathan has been travelling for work quite a bit lately. In the next 3 weeks he will be in Parkes, Tweed, Bega, Nowra, and East Maitland... in case you wanted to look those up on a map. He generally flies to these places and stays a day or two. But he's always home on the weekends, which is nice. He's been working on a lot of court projects, so he's generally flying to a remote city to work in their courthouse. Good way for him to see the country AND earn frequent flier miles.
My job is going well. I had a meeting with my boss a week ago, in which I complained that I feel underutilized. I think I may live to regret that. We'll see how it goes. I have accepted the fact that I am not meant to work in a boring job. Call me a stress-aholic if you will, but it's far worse to sit around with nothing to do. Anyway, I work closely with a 21 year old girl with no work experience, which is a challenge for me. Mom would call it "an opportunity to learn patience."
We have been having some issues with our proprty management company (the people who work for our landlord to maintain our apartment.) Our AC hasn't worked in over 4 months. And the dishwasher broke over a month ago. Neither of which is fixed yet. I have had to get a bit cranky with them. If we don't get some service soon, we may not be renewing our lease next month... which means moving. Ugh. Not my fave. We'll have to see how it goes. We would like to have a balcony and a second bedroom (for an office) but we are so close to my work right now... it's going to be hard to find something we like enough to move. More to come on that, I suppose.
I am under the weather today and have been taking it easy. Hopefully it's just a 24 hour thing so that our weekend isn't totally wasted. This Wednesday is our FOUR year wedding anniversary... crazy to think it was that long ago already. Seems like just the other day.
Monday, March 10, 2008
It's definitely a change of pace for me...I am not used to having such a low-stress job. But, it's been good for me as well, and I am settling in. I have made some fun acquaintances that I hope will turn into friendships, and I am learning a completely different aspect of real estate, which is always good. Never thought I'd be doing marketing full time... and I never thought I'd admit to missing the accounting work. I am hoping to tie some of that back in eventually. We'll see how it goes.
However, I am loving the 2 minute walk to work, I am completely spoiled with that. I can't currently imagine going back to a crazy commute. For now, it's exactly the right place for me.
Our daylight savings time will occur in early April, and we will return to a 14 hour time difference... which is a bit easier to calculate. Look at the clock... and mentally go all the way around, and then add 2 hours.
Just in case anyone was to ever consider, say, calling us. LOL
It's been a busy couple of weeks and I have gotten behind in my posts. I'll try to catch you all up. Jon and I have been doing a bit of traveling lately. Jon has been exploring the small towns of NSW doing various work projects. Seems every week he is flying to some little town somewhere in the "middle of nowhere". He is getting all kinds of chances to see roos and I am honestly jealous. His job is going well though, and we are glad for that.
I think this is one of the moments that will stand out for us as being truly Australian. To see such an event amoungst thousands of people who all came out to sit in the sun and watch something simply momentous... and to experience the feeling of community and excitement together, it was really a fantastic event.
At the end of the day, the QE2 docked in the Harbour. What a difference in design between a ship built over 35 years ago and a new ship! Sure would love to see the inside someday... maybe when I have a spare $15,000 lying around.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
After a ramble up Glebe Point Road and a short tram ride, we arrived at the Sydney fish market (www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au) only to find it closing for the day. We were a bit disappointed and decided we needed to make a trip back soon to stock up on some fresh fish and seafood. Nothing compares to the fresh stuff just pulled out of the ocean. We are getting quite spoiled here with all the yummy fresh fish available.
From there, we ended up walking to Darling Harbour. We sat and ate an ice cream while watching the finals of the dragon boat racing contest. There is always something going on in Darling Harbor and it's fun to just hang out there and people watch.
Today (Sunday) we set out early and started our day at Pancakes on the Rocks (www.pancakesontherocks.com.au), which is now my new favourite thing in Sydney. Check out the menu. To.die.for. Yum. You have no idea how good those pancakes are until you take that first bite... and then you are hooked. The best part - they are open 24 HOURS. I see a lot of pancakes in our future.
Of course, after that, we had to walk off breakfast, so we wandered through The Rocks Market for a few hours. This is by far my favourite market here. It's a great mix of arts & crafts, fun and funky, and amazingly unique. It's chock full of tourists, as the cruise ships dock just blocks away, but it's fun to hear all the languages and accents. Before I visit the States and Canada again, I will have to make a huge shopping trip to the Rocks and stock up on all the cool stuff I want to buy as gifts.
It started raining again this afternoon, so we headed home. I just have to mention however, that Jon made The Best Dinner Ever this evening. Marinated lamb tenderloin with a salad of mixed greens, snow peas and avocado. And he even got dessert at the Patisserie next door. MORE than made up for a crappy Valentines Day. I am a lucky woman.
Back to work tomorrow. Sigh.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Did you know that the cockroaches in Australia can grow to be about 6 inches long and they FLY? They are the nastiest things IN THE WORLD and I just killed one by bashing a kleenex box against it. It was the grossest thing I have encountered in a long while.
Please note - the existence of such a creature in my home is not an indicator of my cleanliness level. These beasts are everywhere here and since our windows do not have screens, they tend to turn up often. Just a fact of life in Oz.
As I was here alone, I allowed myself a small screech followed by some not-so-nice words. After I killed it, flushed it, and scrubbed the residue off the wall - I felt a sudden pang of sadness.
I had forgotten to take a picture of the corpse. Dangit.
Monday, February 11, 2008
I think I walked about 15 miles though, and I was beat after. On the drive there and back we saw kangaroos and an emu! That was pretty fun. We were laughing at ourselves... we felt like such tourists. People out in the country see roos in the fields and think nothing of it. Jon and I were practically hanging out of the car windows like dogs with tongues flapping. It was pretty cool though. Can't wait to get into the red centre and see roos galloping around in herds. They are pretty wild looking.
It has finally stopped raining. So nice to finally see the sunshine. Folks here are predicting the wettest summer on record, with above average rainfall lasting well into the winter (which is in June, here.) Perfect. Something to look forward to.
I started my new job today. Too soon to tell much, but I think it is going to be just fine. Two minute walk to work, busy enough job to make the days go by quickly, and a great group of work mates. Not too shabby.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Tomorrow I might be heading to Canberra with Jonathan for a few days. He is supposd to travel down for work, and I am hoping to tag along. I will have the camera ready in case we see any kangaroos or wombats. I am worried that I may never see any. After all, 3 years in Canada and I am yet to have a decent moose sighting. Sigh. Let's hope for better results down here.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Now I am off to buy a celebratory sofa!
Monday, February 4, 2008
Finally, we had to wait in line at the shipping wharf and have it loaded onto our ute by forklift. We established that the crate weighed 381 kg, or 838 lbs. It was a havy sucker. But - after all the traveling it has done, I am pleased to report that everything arrived safe and sound and completely unscathed. We were pretty happy to drive it home and get it unloaded. Our empty crate now resides in Jon's company's warehouse, in case of future need. Anyone want a large wooden crate??
So, we now are settling in with boxes of stuff that we really have no room for. Sigh. It sure is nice, however, to have sheets and towels and pots and pans and books and clothes hanging racks. It's starting to feel like home. Still have to get a lounge (sofa) and a tv, but we'll get around to that soon. Once we have everything settled, I'll post photos of the apartment.
On another note, it has been raining here for over a week straight. Sheets, buckets, monsoons of rain. IT WILL NOT STOP raining! Kind of a bummer, as it is the middle of summer and it should not be raining like this (according to the locals), but on the bright side - we don't have to shovel it! That, we are thankful for. From what we have seen online lately, our friends and families have had one of the snowiest winters on record. (I promise, I am not laughing at you. I swear. Ok... maybe a little.)
The job search continues. It's taking a while for two reasons. One, I am picky and would really like to have a job I ENJOY for a change. Two, things are just different down here. People just take their time... with everything. It's very laid back. Very. But I know the right offer will come along any day now, and before you know it, I'll be complaining about how much I need a vacation.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
After the heat of the afternoon, the sun finally went down and we joined some new friends for dinner in Darling Harbour. Seemed like the whole city showed up for the fireworks.
Friday, January 25, 2008
And I never meant to imply that my dear husband "demands" me to cook dinner. I am very fortunate in that he does most of the cooking. I clean up. Did I mention I killed our dishwasher?
And - to answer your 3 most frequently asked questions:
1. yes, I am still unemployed
2. no, we don't have any furniture yet.
c. no, the toilet does not flush in "the other direction."
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I too had an average day... Started with my usual cup of coffee from our local purveyor (The Moody Chef - www.themoodychef.com). Let me also take a moment to give their B.L.A.T (Bacon,Lettuce,Avocado,Tomato) Roll a nod! Also a fine burger complete with beetroot! Granted you need to have the Hungry Jacks from time-to-time, I'll reserve those occasions for the stagger home from the local watering-hole in the wee hours (another story).
Work presented the usual challenges. It's a bit transitional at the moment and there are a number of changes being implemented. Most frustrating for me is the fact that I have very little influence on the changes. There seems to be a lot of pontificating, but very little progress. Ugh.
For the record, I don't demand dinner. I'm actually quite happy to prepare any number of curious and interesting dishes. In fact it's almost a pastime of mine to seek out new favorite dishes and attempt to "decode" their recipes for re-creation at home. Well, that and the "take-away furniture" (yet another story). I'm quite pleased with the variety and level of international cuisine here. Although I occasionally miss the AYCE sushi of Toronto. Food here is usually quite fresh and varied. Yum.
Indeed, the news of today (both here and globally), was the passing of Heath Ledger. Seems to me too early to speculate on cause, but it is sad for both his family and friends.
Well, seems my bedtime is upon me. I'll try and stop by again soon....
I wake up early and see Jon off to work around 8. As it is then about 4 pm (the previous day) back in Michigan/Toronto, I spend the first few hours of my day checking email and reading my chat groups. (I get very little email from ya'll, by the way.) I read the news online and catch up on what has happened during the day, while I was sleeping. Then I spend about 3 or 4 hours job hunting. Sending resumes, making phone calls and searching for new postings. I schedule a few interviews and make some brunch - usually toast. Haven't found milk here that doesn't make me sick yet. So - no cereal for awhile.
The early afternoons have been spent interviewing, going to the library, the grocery store, etc. Yesterday I walked to Mosman (a suburb about 20 minutes away on foot) and got a library card. It's a very nice library, with new books, big windows, and confy couches. Nice place to hang out. You can only check out 12 items at a time though, which is irritating.
Sometimes I get take away for lunch and eat it outdoors. There is a great fish place 2 blocks away that has $6 fish and chips for lunch. Very good and very cheap.
Yesterday, Jon came home from work and I informed him that I needed to go to the beach and get a burger. So we spent the evening up at Manly Beach. We walked the promenade and watched the surfers until dark. Full moon last night, it was beautiful. I got a cheeseburger at Hungry Jacks (which is Burger King). Best burgers in Oz. And NO beet root!
Today my husband has informed me that he wants dinner at home tonight, so I walked to the grocers and picked up some prawns and chicken and stuff for a stir fry. And I stopped at the bakers and got bread and a chocolate scone... my fave. I have the chicken marinating now and the dishwasher is humming away. The windows are open and I can hear people walking past and buses driving by and the occassional miner bird screeching.
The big news here (and everywhere) today is, of course, Heath Ledger's death. As a much-loved Aussie boy, his death has shocked everyone and it's all anyone is talking about. Such a shame. What a loss. He was younger than me.
Well, on to a few more interviews tomorrow. I hope to get a good offer soon, but I am holding out for something fun and an employer who is honest. Hopefully not an impossible goal!
This Saturday is Australia Day and it's a 3 day weekend! Loads of fun planned - I am sure to have stories and pictures next week!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
It's supposed to rain here for the next 5 days. And it's only about 75F, so I guess it's NOT always hot and sunny here. Huh, go figure. The rain is nice though. Keeps everything green.
Not much else to report. Thanks to everyone for keeping their fingers crossed for the job situation. I am hoping to have some good news soon.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Jon and I spent last weekend settling in. Got a bed finally and assembled it. So nice not to be sleeping on the floor anymore. We also spent a small fortune on "stuff" at IKEA and Big W (which is realy Walmat, but don't say that to an Aussie, because they are pretty squidgy about Walmart and all things American.) Whatever. We can't wait for the Costco to open!
The weather has been great. A bit rainy last Saturday, and then a few days of cloud, but that was good for me, because I have managed to get a beauty of a sunburn already. My nose is peeling like you wouldn't believe. We spent the weekend wandering downtown Sydney and checking out Darling Harbour and the various tourist attractions. We also went for a drive up the coast a ways and saw some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Most have been closed for swimming due to the tail end of Cyclone Helen, which went through last week. The waves have been over 9 feet in places. The surfers love it though.
I have been going on these fun little mini-adventures I like to call "job interviews." They are just delightful and I can only hope that they are not all in vain and that one of these days one of them might actually result in a (gasp) job offer! We are keeping our fingers crossed. I am starting to feel like a bit of a lazybum.
No living room furniture yet. When we get around to it, I'll post pictures of our apartment. Right now, just picture a big open space with a pile of laundry in the middle.
Ya'll would not believe the number of restaurants around here. I think there must be at least 100 within a 10 minute walk of our apartment. Not great for the diet - but the Thai food sure is good! yum. We have been doing well though, and going for a long walk every day. I hope that my stash of "skinny clothes" will fit soon, or I am going to feel real foolish for filling a suitcase with them instead of more important items... like sheets. Or flip flops.
Our crate hasn't arrived yet. Maybe another week or so. By the time it gets here, it'll feel like Christmas, because we'll have forgotten half of the stuff in there. There will be exclamations of "wow, I totally forgot we owned THREE plastic pasta strainers!"
This coming weekend we plan on heading back down into the CBD (Central Business District, also known as "downtown") and checking out The Rocks and the Botanical Gardens. Friday night is the farmers market, which I need to stop at and buy some fruit and veg. Much cheaper there than at the local grocery store.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I am getting around quite well now on the bus and train. I feel like I can get pretty much anywhere and it's not bad at all. And my cold is pretty much gone. Finally.
Friday, January 4, 2008
I have my first Aussie job interview today. And our bed is being delivered today. Woohoo!
Thursday, January 3, 2008
I promise to post more pictures soon!