Saturday, March 29, 2008

Catching up

Once again, I am sadly behind in the blogging department. So much going on, and I keep saying I am going to update, but one day leads to another - you all know how that goes.

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

The Job

To answer the many questions... my job is going well. I work with some great people, and the average age in the office is about 30, which is fantastic. (Let's not mention that I am hitting the big 3-o this year! Yikes!)

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.


Just thought I'd share a few photos of the local wildlife. Since everyone enjoyed my giant-flying-cockroach story so much.


I have noticed that the time changed in North America this past weekend. We are now 15 hours ahead of EST. So when it is 6 am in Michigan / Ontario, it is 9 pm here.

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

Life is a Highway

Well, I must apologize for the long silence. If I ever had any doubts about whether people are actually reading this blog, the last few weeks have answered that. Sincere apologies to those of you who have written to inquire if Jon and I are still alive. We are, and we are well.

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.
A few weekends ago Jon had the chance to attend an AMX conference in Brisbane, which was fun for him. A good opportunity to network and meet some people in the industry. While he was gone, I got a chance to finally unpack the last of the suitcases, install a bookshelf, buy some throw pillows, and settle into the apartment at long last. I am happy to announce - we have a sofa! NOW it feels like home.
This past weekend we took a road trip to the Southern Highlands, an area south of Sydney in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. It was a gorgeous drive into some absolutely gorgeous countryside. We have had a long stretch of fantastic weather, lots of sun and an average temp of 25c/80f each day. We are heading into Autumn here though, and it's just nuts to see the leaves changing colours in March. The upside-down seasons still have me a bit topsy turvy.
A few photos from the Southern Highlands...

The long Easter weekend is approaching and we are planning another road trip to the Blue Mountains and the Jenolan Caves. Looking foward to seeing even more of this beautiful country.

God Save the Queen

February 24th was a bit of a historic day for Australia. On this day, both the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth II (QE2) were in the Sydney Harbour at the same time. Above is the photo of the Queen Victoria, which is circling the globe on it's maiden voyage. This ship is the largest in the Cunard line and one of the largest cruise ships in the world. It's a stunning ship. Unbelieveably large and state-of-the-art. Truly an amazing sight.

We planned a get-together for a group of fellow Yanks we had met in an online chat group and we all headed down to The Rocks to check out the ships and watch them pass in the Harbour. We were joined by a few thousand of our closest neighbours. It was a great day, beautiful weather, and we made some new friends. It was really something to see the ships together in one place.
As the Queen Victoria departed the Harbour, the QE2 was just entering... and as they passed eachother in front of the Opera House, they both blew their horns and the crowds cheered. We counted over 16 helicopters in the sky, catching the event on film. What an awesome memory - and one never to happen again in this lifetime. The QE2 was on it's final voyage, circling the globe for the last time. It has been sold to a businessman in the UAE, who paid $50million to turn it into a world-class floating hotel. The QE2 was visiting Sydney Harbour 30 years to the date after it's first visit, on it's maiden voyage. What an example of life coming full circle.

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.