Friday, December 18, 2009
After days and days and maybe even weeks of hot, sunny weather, Sydney is seeing us off with a cold, dark and rainy day. Kind of a nice change.
We are all packed, and we leave for the airport in 3 hours. The apartment is clean, the fridge is bare, and the list has been double checked. I will be so glad to get on that plane and go to sleep.
I am thankful not to be going to work today, as the entire city bus system has shut down due to the drivers going on strike overnight. What is it with transit / airline workers striking at Christmas??
For those that we will see in the next couple of days - we are so looking forward to it! And for those of you who we won't see on this trip - we wish you a very Merry Christmas! Stay tuned for some some snow photos soon!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Last weekend was gorgeous here. Hot, sunny, vivid blue sky, amazing. And since one of our goals for this summer is to go to the beach more often, that is what we did. And despite the application of plenty of SPF40, I am now sporting a snazzy new sunburn. Not all over, mind you, just in large blotches - rather giraffe like. It's stunning, I assure you.
However, as I was sitting on the beach, I was reflecting on the fact that 7 days from that moment, I would be in an alternate universe, one where it's dark from 4pm to 8am, and one where it's cold, and snowy. And cold. It seems so weird that I am going to get on a plane on a hot, sunny day, and get off the plane in cold, wintry darkness. And then I realised that I better start moisturising, because it is not going to be fun wearing 16 layers on top of a sunburn. However, the good news is that there will be much less urgency to shave my legs while I am there. Awesome.
Sorry for the general lack of posting... I have been a little busy with year-end stuff at work, and packing, and baking, and shopping, and cleaning, and laundry. Oh, and I started a book this week that I can't put down... just because I really don't have time to read a book right now. But that is just how I roll.
Signed, The Giraffe
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Maybe. Just maybe.
Nine days to go. I can't wait!!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
It's that time of year again. Christmas is in the air. The scent of bushfire smoke and frangipani, the sound of myna birds cackling, the dry summer heat.... What? That doesn't sound like Christmas to you? No kidding.
It still seems foreign to me to be listening to Christmas music in the summertime, or attending holiday parties sleeveless, or even buying cherries in season 2 weeks before Christmas, for that matter. But that is one of the facts of life in the southern hemisphere. I'm not sure I could ever get used to it.
For me, Christmas will always be freezing cold, with a fresh blanket of snow muffling the sound of carolers. Wet mittens and warm cocoa and stomping off your feet when you come in from the cold. It's candy canes and icicles and twinkle lights in every window. It's dressing up and helping in the jewellery store on Christmas Eve, eating cookies and listening to Papa's jokes. It's the inevitable nap after the equally inevitable Griswold Family re-runs.
And so, we have gladly begun the count down. In 12 days we will be heading "home" for Christmas. Back to the Great White North full of all things white and cold and Christmassy. Bring on the sweaters!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
So, last weekend The Husband and I cashed in my "employee of the month" award and went shark diving in Manly. Somehow I thought this was a great prize and I was really excited... until the time came to actually do it. I was pretty nervous. It wasn't the sharks so much as it was the breathing through a tube whilst under water thing. Not exactly easy. In fact, once we were suited up and ready to go, I had more than one thought of running away screaming. Except, I was wearing about 200 lbs of gear at the point, so I couldn't exactly run.
And then we were diving. And I admit, there were sharks and giant fish and rays and other stuff, but I didn't really see any of it. For me, it was about 30 minutes of remember to breathe... remember to breathe... dump water out of mask... remember to breathe. And when it was over, I was glad I had done it, but I was exhausted. And I think that I have decided that - while I may be up for snorkeling - scuba diving is not my cup of tea.
Next time I am employee of the month, I may go for the day spa package.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Well... I did it. I got my Canadian passport. Pretty cool to see a passport with blank pages. I haven't had one of those in years. It makes me think of all the places I have yet to go and the stamps I want to see in those pages.
The Husband and I have been reading the blog of a guy who's goal is to visit every country in the world by 2013. read it here I am pretty much in awe of this guy, and I keep asking - why couldn't we do that? And really, while I am more of a "savour the experience" traveller, and less of a "check em off the list" kind of gal, the truth is that nothing is keeping us from seeing the world.
The question always then comes back to which countries to choose. There are so many that we want to see. And so, we approach it in the same way we approach everything... with a list and a plan.
A few months ago, The Husband and I set out to make a list of goals for ourselves. And one of them was to complete a round the world trip, encompassing a number of the geographic areas that we would like to see as well as return to a few that we have already seen, albeit not together. There are obviously many details of this trip to be ironed out, but we have given ourselves a goal of 2011. Two years to save, plan, and execute. We are pretty excited about the possibilities.
First, we will hopefully be completing a number of trips in and around Australia. And the one that I am most looking forward to is an upcoming trip to the Cook Islands. Now... show of hands if you can actually tell me where the Cook Islands are without a search engine. No? Here is some help:
Basically, the Middle of Nowhereville, Pacific Ocean. Not a huge country to check off the list, but an interesting one, nonetheless.
And while we are on the subject of goals, here's where we stand with a few others:
3. Learn to kayak
4. Take a sushi class
5. Go to the Cook Islands
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Today is Remembrance Day. (Veterans Day for my American readers.) A day to remember the men and women who give of themselves in service to our country. I wore a poppy today in honour of those who are no longer here, and for those who are serving now. And especially for my cousin's husband, who is currently in Iraq. (Thank you, Jeremy!)
I spent the morning on Canadian soil, applying for my passport at the local consulate. It seemed a fitting thing to do on this date, as it's the 5 year anniversary of when I landed in Canada. I thought back to that day as I waiting in line this morning. It was a cold, dark day November day in Buffalo, but when I finally got that letter saying I could move to be with The Husband, it was a sunny day for me! And today, as I stood in queue, this time under a sign that said "Canadian citizens only" - it felt like I was home for a few minutes.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
It was November 2004 when I moved to Canada. The last five years have flown by. The visa process seemed like it would never end, and here we are - five years later already.
And it was November 2008 when I became Canadian. I can't even describe how fast the last year has passed. Although I was born in the US, and will always have a soft spot for it, I truly do feel like Canada is my home. I am so proud and happy to be Canadian. I know that wherever life takes us, Canada will always be the place we "go home" to.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
That's all. Just thought you should know.
Good thing The Husband is out of town tonight - I can blast the AC without feeling guilty.
Oh, and I won $26 on the ponies today. Woohoo. Love me some Melbourne Cup. Big hats, fancy frocks, and a day off work. Gotta love it.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I am missing autumn this week. I am missing pumpkin doughnuts and cider and falling leaves. It's easier this year than it was last year. This year I am also so ready for summer. It's been a long winter and I am ready for some beach weather! But ... I am also missing autumn.
We finally booked our tickets home for Christmas. Took awhile because we each had to sell a superfluous internal organ to pay for them. Heads up Garcia family... our presence will be your present this year! We're lucky we have our own headphones for the flight, because I don't think we could afford the extra $2 to buy them! Sigh. Oh well... we are excited about a white Christmas with the whole family. Dan - I hope you are prepared for some serious Grinch watching!!
Lots of stuff going on here with work. My company is growing again and talking about opening a new office. I am busy strategising how that can mean more fun for me and less filing. I'll keep you posted.
I am making time this week to go into the city and visit the big brick building with CANADA on it's door... time to finally apply for the passport. I have been putting it off for nearly a year, but it will be much easier for me to travel home with it, so it's got to be done. Just have to go get the inevitably bad photo taken first. Joy.
Speaking of joy, I was awarded "Employee of the Month" at work last month, by popular vote, no less. (I know, shocking. Truly.) And my award was to pick a fun experience. I chose shark diving. No joke. So, on Nov 15th, The Husband and I will don wet suits and scuba gear and dive with nurse sharks and manta rays. I am a little nervous, but pretty excited. I'll post pictures. And maybe video. Maybe. Depends on how slimming the wetsuit is.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Speaking of Christmas... we will be in SSM with Gabby from the 23rd to the 30th. Hoping for a white Christmas! Actually, we are just hoping to make it there in one piece, since the only flights we can afford are on Korean Air. Scary.
The weather has been weird here lately... a warm day, a hot day, a cold day, a rainy day - you never know what you are going to see when you wake up in the morning. But the days are getting longer and it will be summer soon. I am trying to think positively about that, and not dwell on the fact that I am missing a beautiful Canadian autumn.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Not much going on here... days and days of much needed rain. I am very happy to spend a long weekend in door reading and resting.
Happy birthday to The Husband... the best man a gal could ask for. You make my life so exciting. I am looking forward to another year together!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The city literally glowed red. It made for a nasty walk to work, that's for sure. While it wasn't pleasant, and we are still cleaning up after it... I'll admit that it was truly a sight to behold. A few days later, we drove to Canberra for Floriade, which is the annual flower festival, held in the ACT. It felt like we had arrived in a different world. While we have been enjoying very warm weather in Sydney, in Canberra it still felt like winter. We "rugged up" as the Aussies say and spent a chilly day photographing a couple million flowers. While we had a good time and the festival was beautiful, we couldn't resist the temptation to drive a few hours further south the next day. We had heard that the Snowy Mountains were experiencing a last season snow storm, and since we hadn't been to the mountains yet, we thought it would be the perfect time to go.
Wow, it is ever beautiful down there. For hours you drive through rolling fields dotted with sheep. Then the landscape changes... there are rocks scattered everywhere, like giant jelly beans. You start to see pine trees and the outline of the mountains rise in the distance. Then suddenly, there they are. No alps, by any means... but mountains still. Mt Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia, was covered in blowing snow, and a few die hard skiers were still on the slopes. It was freezing cold and super windy. But beautiful and truly a sight to see. Arriving in the National Park, we were told that we couldn't drive any further unless we fitted chains on our tires. Who knew? So we picnicked beside the Snowy River instead, and then wound our way home.
Australia truly is a strange, beautiful and extreme country. I am so glad we have these chances to see it and all it's beauty.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Another gorgeous weekend full of sunshine and blue skies. After a long week of meetings and deadlines and the usual work hullabaloo... it was nice to have a relaxing, sunny weekend.
We had a fun night out at lawn bowls yesterday with the usual group of Yanks, Expats, and other characters. The Husband's team of manly men won the cup... while my team lost. Oh well, we had a heap of fun. Followed by pizza and pool at the pub.
Today we got up early to call home and wish Dan a very Happy Birthday. Our Dan is all grown up and no longer twenty-something. He says it's all downhill from here. Humph.
The breakfast in Chatswood followed by some shopping and some wandering and the new Dan Brown book for me. Which I paid $26 for. I think I have been in Oz too long when $26 doesn't seem too outrageous for a book. Eek.
Back to work tomorrow for another week. Some travelling for The Husband and lots of meetings for me... but we have a fun roadtrip planned for next weekend, and we should have tons of great photos from that! Can't wait!!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
We have sadly not visited the beach half as often as we thought we would before we moved here. Since we are about 13 days into spring here, and the temperature this weekend reached nearly 33c/92f... we decided to head to the beach this morning.
As did each and every one of our 4,284,379 Sydneysider neighbours.
I remember going to the beach with my family as a child. It wasn't something that happened often, and it was a pretty big deal when we did actually get to go. There would be a mad, hot rush to grab our gear and jump in the van before my father changed his mind. And by the time we did reach the beach, we were all so hot and sweaty from being in the van, it was a delirious relief to jump in the water and cool off. Except, by the time you had to leave, and after everything was packed up and the inevitable fights wound down and we were all on our way back home, we were hotter and sweatier than before we left.
So. Not much changes as an adult. You get up early on a gorgeous hot sunny day, and you - ok, your Husband, actually - preps all the picnic food, packs it all up, digs out the blankets, towels, bathing 'cossies' etc, and then digs the umbrella out from under the bed (reminding you what else exactly is under there!) and gets ready to walk out the door. Then you are reminded that you didn't put sunblock on and you know how you burn! so you go back and put that on. THEN you schlep it all to the car. Yes, you are driving to the beach, even though by now it's nearly 10:30 and you know that all of Sydney will already be at the beach, and you'd really be better off taking the bus. But no. You drive.
And you get to the beach and you can't find a parking spot. So you get dumped, with all the stuff, at the curb (or kerb, as they say here. ?!?!) and your Husband goes off to park the car so far away, it's nearly back home. Meanwhile, you scope out the options. Shade? Sun? Far from the water? Close to the washrooms? Finally you see the perfect place and start walking. Except by the time you reach The Perfect Spot, someone else is there. So you disgustedly plop nearby.
And then by the time your Husband gets back from parking the car, and decides he'd rather be closer to the water, so you have to pack it all up and move again, you are So Over It.
But it was a gorgeous day and the sun was nice. It's great to be married to a guy who can develop a perfect tan in just about the same amount of time it takes for me to burn to a crisp.
You know what the best thing about going to the beach is? Going home, taking a shower, and then a nap. Welcome to summer!
Friday, September 11, 2009
I am so happy it's finally the weekend. I could use some rest. I also have plans to go to dinner and a movie with Tash, to celebrate my birthday. And on Sunday arvo - the Beach! It's supposed to be 30c / 90f!!! Feeling a little like summer already! What kind of weather are YOU experiencing this weekend?
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Well, I don't feel old. Ok, maybe I feel a little old, considering the fact that my boss spread a rumour at work today that I am 38 - and people believed her!! But beyond that, I don't feel old.
But I do feel tired. I spent my birthday balancing budgets, fighting with a major media conglomerate over invoices and credits, training a new staff member, scrubbing the office BBQ, (don't ask) grocery shopping, doing a load of laundry, baking an apple crisp, preparing for a class I am teaching tomorrow, and a whole lot more that I don't even remember.
But there was cake. And some surprise flowers from The Husband. So it was a good day. Bring on another year!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
The daylight hours are getting longer each day and often it is still light when I leave the office. Work has been busy for me lately and challenging. In some ways that is very good - I am getting a change to spearhead some great projects and implement some great systems. But the challenge of working with some really difficult people has been getting me down a lot lately.
Hard to believe that it was a year ago already that I was lamenting the end of my 20's. I turn 31 this week and can honestly say that so far, the 30's have been great. We have some fun travel plans coming up in the next 12-24 months, and I am super excited.
It's finally spring here in Sydney, and I can't tell you how nice it has been to break out the sandals again. Happy to say goodbye to socks again for many months. (Ok, at least until our trip back to CAN for Christmas.) We have had day after day of gorgeous, sunny weather lately, and it's been fantastic. Almost enough to distract me from the fact that it's my favourite season "back home."
Just wanted to say Happy Birthday to Grams and Misty... miss you both!
There is a gorgeous nature walk up north of us on The Heads, the area where the harbour meets the ocean. It's the perfect place to go for a hike on a sunny day. We went a few weeks ago in the late afternoon, hoping to get some good colour and texture photos. The days are geting longer now and the afternoon sun is perfect.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
It's already been a very dry winter here. I remember there being a few weeks where all we did was complain about the rain, but that seems like a long time ago now. They say that if we don't get some serious rain in the next 2 weeks, the farmers will lose their entire winter crop. Makes it a lot harder to enjoy the gorgeous days when you hear that.
Last weekend, as part of our goals to get more exercise, etc... we called up Tash and decided to do something we've been meaning to do for over a year and just kept putting off: the Bondi to Coogee walk. It's a 6km coastal walk. For those of you in the Imperial world, that would be about 4 miles. However, since we are gluttons for punishment (and since we left the car in Bondi) we walked it there... and back. Sigh. That would be 8 miles of hilly coastline. And did I mention it was about 80 degrees that day?
I had never done the walk before, and Tash has done it heaps, so I asked her what to expect... is it all hills? And she said "No, it's some hills, and some steps, and it's kind of winding, but it's mostly flat." Riiight. Mostly flat.
But what a view. We started in Bondi, home of one of the world's more famous beaches. I am not a huge Bondi fan. It's a little pretentious for me, and there isn't much shade for the fairer skinned people. The walk then winds around past Tamarama (which is just fun to say) and then Bronte. Beyond that you enter Waverley Cemetery.. which is the best part of the whole trip. Tash can see the cemetery from her kitchen window, and I said that if I lived that close, I would walk there every day, just to read the headstones. So. Cool. She thought that was creepy.
The Husband spent the walk taking pictures, of course. Here is a sample. This might be the weirdest collage I have posted to date, but you get the idea. the top left photo is Bondi at the start of the walk. And the bottom left is the view of the walk itself... you can just barely see the cemetery in the distance. Beyond that, the furthest rock cliff... that is where we stopped. I confess, I called it quits at Clovelly. We left Tash there (because she lives there, not because we ditched her) and we walked back. I told The Husband it was because we needed to get home to that leg of lamb we had in the slow cooker. But it was really because I was just tired. Click on the collage to see larger photos.
It was a great walk and a gorgeous day. Not sure I'd do it again soon, but next time, I will pack snacks. And I should note, the car photo... that is all The Husband's doing. He wants one of those cars in a bad bad way. Like that is going to happen. And also, I politely left out the photo of me, posing in the cemetery, with my smiling face where an angels head used to be, on a gravestone. Not so politically correct, Val.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Well, obviously, we were only home for 10 days and not 10 weeks, so not everything got crossed off the list. We did get a chance to hit the AYCE sushi bar, and Wendy's, and Mandarin (of course). I also managed to eat 6 cheeseburgers in the time we were home... no small feat, I assure you. (I am not totally sure I can be proud of that either.)
But there were things we didn't get to eat. Cabbage rolls and pierogies, polish sausage, and Quiznos - to name a few. In the end, we just ran out of time. But the one thing I really, really wanted to make was german chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting. I have been jonesing for some of that ooey goodness for MONTHS now. And it just didn't happen. I kid you not, I may have shed a tear about that.
So, I decided this week that despite (yet another) upper respiratory infection, and a full load at work, and more that one load of overdue laundry, dangit - I am making that cake!! I googled the recipe, combed the shops for the ingredients, and made it tonight. I should have gone to the gym, but instead I baked. (Again... not something to be proud of, I am sure.)
And here is the aftermath. Now, please note that these photos were not taken with The Husband's schmick camera. They were taken with my old ratty one. So yes, they are out of focus. But you get the point. There was chocolate cake. There was lots of frosting. And there was a taste test - just to be sure the rest were ok to take to the office tomorrow. Ahhhhh. So. Good.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Well, tomorrow we are on our way "home" for 2 weeks. Except, it's not really 2 weeks. Factor in a day and a half there, and three days back, and it's really just 9 days. And then factor in all the errands we have to run and the hassle of the car and the storage unit and the driving and the packing and unpacking... and really, it's like a long weekend. Sigh. I am exhausted, and we haven't even left yet.
Despite the fact that the inevitable drama has already begun, I AM looking forward to elements of this trip. I can't wait to feel some summer warmth on my face. I am so excited to be going shopping and finally get some new jeans! I cannot tell you how excited I am to see Sarah! And I do look forward to spending some time with The Husband and The Doodle. It will be so nice to be together as a family again.
Sorry we won't be able to see you all... but we will see some of you soon!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
However, in an effort to refresh ourselves, we made sure to get some good play time in this weekend. Yesterday was a gorgeous day with blue skies and the hint of spring in the air. Even though the winter has been mild here, it has still been winter - and we are all itching for the spring weather!
So I met Tash in the city yesterday for Pancakes on the Rocks, and a good gab fest. After, we browsed the markets. Lots of tourists in the city this weekend! We were amazed how many. Finally, a nice bevvie from Starbucks and a long sit in the sun, looking out over my favouritest of Sydney views. Nothing fancy, just some people watching and some sunshine. I felt so refreshed.
The Husband is spending the weekend with his camera club, honing his skills. I always love to see his latest work - he is getting so good! I suppose that is because he actually takes the time to learn how to use the camera, whereas I turn it on and push the button. Ha.
I am cleaning and packing today. Only 2 more days of work and we are off to the Great White North. Could someone please arrange for summer to arrive there before we do??
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
And today, it's 77f and sunny. It's absolutely gorgeous.
Everyone is wearing short sleeves and the windows of our office are open and the breeze is blowing through. We all had ice cream this afternoon.
What's scary is that in one week we are headed to Canada for vacation. Canada - where it's the middle of summer.
And the forecast for Toronto today is 67f and cloudy.
With a chance of rain.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Where is home? It's an interesting concept for those who travel. Right now, our litle apartment on Military Road is home. At the end of a long day at work, I am so happy to come back to it and find my familiar things. But next week we will board a plane to Canada, and we keep saying things like "when we go home" or "what to pack for home." And the funniest part of all is that when our visit is over, I will be happy to be coming home to Australia.
Home, they say, is where the heart is. But that doesn't seem to work for me. I have a litle bit of everywhere I have ever been in my heart. I could argue that all of those places are home. I think the real test is just to make a home wherever you are.
I have always said that you can tell you live in a place when you start to run into people that you know. Today we had a gorgeous sunny day. We walked through China Town and had yum cha for lunch. And in the midst of the chaos of Hay Street, with tourists en masse, trams gliding by, and even a street parade, we ran into people we knew. And suddenly, this big city on the bottom of the world felt like home.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Every day in my office, we start the day with something good. We sit around a table and everyone relates something good that has happened to them in the past days. Sometimes it's hard and it makes me cranky. But sometimes it's funny and we all laugh and it starts the day off just right.
My Something Good today was the fact that my husband baked me the most amazing chocolate cake... with homemade cherry filling and whipped chocolate frosting. And it was the best thing I have eaten in a very long time. And while it's not exactly diet food, it sure does hit the spot on a cold, rainy, yucky winters night. Yum.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Anyway, it's probably going to be a while before I have anything knitted that is worth posting pictures of, but I am pretty proud of myself for being able to check something else off the list of Goals. In fact, it was number one on the list. So I am now off to accomplish number two.
So, in case you are keeping track...
1. Learn to Knit.
2. Apply for my Canadian Passport.
Might involve a little more paperwork. I'll keep you posted.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Since we (the sales team) met our goals last quarter, our generous boss took us out for a long lunch at an amazing restaurant today - Icebergs in Bondi. Located above the famous Bondi pools, it was truly breathtaking. Often frequented by the rich and famous, we really whooped it up this afternoon... spending nearly 4.5 hours staring at that gorgeous view and eating gorgeous food. We even saw whales, wending thier way up the coast, surfacing with the occasional spray from their blowholes. It was a great day! Another fancy-shmancy restaurant to add to the list. And what a awesome view!!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Also - a big welcome to the newest Garcia family member. We can't wait to meet the pink little bundle! Congratulations B & A... we are so thrilled for you! Be sure to send us some photos soon!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
The Husband and I sat down last weekend (after another tearful and homesick breakdown by moi) and discussed our short term, mid-term, and long term plans. As I am a planner, I needed to know what The Plan was, and what we are working towards. (In reality, I think I just needed to know exactly how long until I am near a Target and/or Pottery Barn again. A direct result of way too many decorating blogs.)
Anyway, I think we came up with some good plans. I look forward to sharing a few with you all as they happen over the next few months. In the immediate future, I have finally signed up for that ever-elusive knitting class I am have been talking about for, oh - 15 years?! So, wish me luck with that. Anyone need a scarf?
We are also headed "home" in 4 weeks for another whirlwind tour. Looking forward to some r&r on the shores of the Georgian Bay... hope to see some of you there! Bring the brats, we will be firing up the barbie!
Long term plans include a few trips to various locations in and around Oz. Need to get that list crossed off before it's time to say adios! to AUS.
Hope you are all enjoying a fab Canada Day / 4th of July this week. Wish we were there.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
she looks like a picture you cut out and save in a scrapbook of what you want to be like when you grow up
It reminded me of the all the special women I have in my life, and how I think of so many of them every day.
I think of Manya, one of my all time best friends. A friend I am truly blessed to know. She is real and honest and gifted in all the ways I am lacking. She is the kind of friend I can go years without seeing, knowing we will pick up exactly where we left off. I have learned so much from her.
I think of Misty, who is more of a sister than a cousin to me. Who is so very much like me, and yet totally different. Misty, who has unlimited patience and gentleness and kindness. Who is the perfect mother and daughter and sister. The older I get, the more I miss our youth together.
I think of Sarah, who is more than a friend to me, she is the family I chose. My calm in a storm, my laughter, my shoulder to cry on - even from a world away. She is the only person I know who actually writes me letters anymore, and I treasure those letters so, so much. She is also the number one reason I am homesick. I admit it, I am "Sarah-sick."
I think of Grams, one of the women I most admire in this world. I aspire to have her spunk, her knowledge, her zest, her full and open heart. I would be a lucky woman to grow up to be even a little like my Grams. My life is better just for having her in it. I treasure every single memory I have of her, and I delight to find bits of her in me.
I think of Aunt Bern, a woman to whom I credit some of the hardest learned and most treasured lessons in my life. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her and smile. I leave my house each morning with her voice in my ear telling me "make me proud!" and I pray that I can.
And I think of my mom, who is the most amazing woman I know. I will never know anyone with more patience, more love, or more forgiveness in their heart. I know I will never come close to comparing to how amazing she is. I truly hope I can grow up to be just like her.
Monday, June 8, 2009
We both agree that it has been a fantastic adventure. Despite any number of things that we might dislike about Australia, we have had a great time so far. And we hope to have quite a few many more adventures before we leave. But... there are definitely days when I am ready to pack up and go home... even though we aren't quite sure where home might actually be.
Those are the times when we talk about what we like about Oz, and what we would miss if we were to pack up and leave. And we usually come back to the little things, the simple things, that we enjoy about our lives here.
Sure, it's way easier to list the things we don't like - and honestly, it's just plain more fun to winge about the negative stuff. But it's more meaningful to focus on the stuff that we love, and it's those things that get me through the homesick days.
So, what do we love about it here? Well, for starters, we have seen more stunningly blue skies and sunny days than we could ever imagine seeing. I have seen more rainbows in the past month than I have maybe seen in my entire life, ever. Walking to the grocery store is a small joy we never experienced before. We have learned to live with less stuff and still be happy. We cook more, and try new dishes with new ingredients.
Someday we will be happy to return to North America. There is a laundry list of things we will enjoy returning to. But for now, it's about learning to embrace the simple things.
What simple thing have you found joy in this week?
This emu was the highlight of our trip to the zoo on Saturday. It was a gorgeous day, and we wanted, no... needed to get out of the house. So we walked to the zoo. (Isn't it cool that we live within walking distance of a world-class zoo?!
It was a fun day, always lots to see at the zoo. Baby chimps, a baby seal, a wombat who was actually awake, and this emu. This emu apparently gets the run of the place, because he was just strolling around like he owned the joint. He got alarmingly close, considering his height and creepy eyeballs. And then he followed me for several meters, getting closer and closer... until I freaked out and ran away, shrieking like a girl. In the moment, it was a little scary. But looking back, it was pretty funny. Ah the zoo... always a good time.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
The Rossiter painting above is an artists rendition of the historic bath house that has now been turned into a fine dining establishment. You can read the history of it at http://www.batherspavilion.com.au/. We have been debating the menu for days. Still unsure what to order... it all looks so good!!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I know that sounds weird, but here's how it works out:
April, May and June are Autumn.
(Like September, October and November in N. America)
July, August and September are Winter.
(Like December, January & February)
October, November and December are Spring.
(Like March, April & May)
And January, February and March are Summer.
(Like June, July & August)
And it only took me 17 months to work that out. Wow.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Anzac Day is pretty impressive. Aussies are fairly patriotic, in their own way, but on Anzac Day, they really pull out all the stops. It's so wonderful to see the way they honor those who have served in the armed forces. Makes you realise how little thanking is done on a daily basis.
Still totally entrenched in the office move, I had to work for a few hours this morning, so we missed the parade. But we went last year and I loved it. People came by the tens of thousands to stand and applaud the hundreds of veterans and active duty military personnel who walked the parade route. It was amazing. We took lots of photos, but the one above is my favourite. (Never mind that I was given a dirty look for photographing some strangers kid.) It was a small boy sitting on his dad's shoulders, holding a rosemary sprig and a flag, watching the soldiers walk by. I don't think I'll ever forget that day.
Just wanted to take a moment to thank all our veterans and active duty personnel today. We should be thanking you far more often.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Having a quiet weekend at home this week. Too much going on at work lately, and it's nice to just have a nice quiet day on the couch. It's raining on and off and Jon is making a lamb ragu tonight with polenta. He is also experimenting with some cabbage, trying to replicate the purple cabbage stuff that you get on the mix plate from the kebeb place. So far, so good. Looks like we'll be having turkish mixed plate this week. Yum.
We booked our tickets home for our summer visit this week. Going to be in Toronto from 30th July through 8th August. Not a ton of time, but hopefully we can have a big TO family bash on the Civic Holiday weekend. Keep that weekend free!
My company is moving office (again) this week. Thankfully, this move should be our last and we will be moving into some brand new digs in the village center. That should be good. Expecting some growing pains in the transition, but it will be nice to finally unpack and settle in. And there is a cafe downstairs, so that should be a nice perk.
It's definitely autumn here. Cool nights and days that go from sunny to rainy in an instant. The colours are predominantly yellow around here. We'll take a drive out into the Southern Highlands in 2 weeks to capture a few more reds and oranges.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Here, Easter is in the Autumn. When the leaves are falling and the air is crisp and it gets dark earlier and earlier. I want to get a new throw for the sofa and make soup and buy a pumpkin. These are definitely not Easter activities. It's odd. I can't explain how odd it is.
I am loving the fall weather though. I made chicken soup with dumplings yesterday. And today we are going to explore an outdoor market. Nice to throw on a sweater for a change, instead of boiling in a tank top.
We are starting to plan some trips for the coming months. A trip home to Canada, and a trip somewhere we haven't been before. If you look at the bottom of this page, you will see that leaves a lot of options. Apparently we have only been to 22% of the world's countries. Hmm. We have a lot of planning to do.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
I was just reading a news story on a celebrity gossip website about Angelina Jolie's rumored plans to adopt her next baby from India, and when I glanced down at the comments I was expecting to see the usual griping about how her family resembles a traveling circus or SHILOH IS SO CUTE! But the very first comment was left by a more profoundly concerned citizen of the world who asked, "WHY IS IT NEVER A MEXICAN??!!" That comment totally made my day.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Every year on this day I think about the few friends and family that shared that day with us... most we rarely see these days. I think of them all and smile. It was the most wonderful day.
Today my lovely husband surprised me at work with a huge bouquet of pink and yellow tulips. And it was raining today too. A perfect anniversary. (Almost. It would be better if Jon was in town. But he comes home tomorrow, so that is ok.)
Happy Anniversary to us! The second one we've celebrated in Australia. Time sure does fly.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
His trip was good. Fun was had by all.
The weather is still warm here. 80f today. Sunny.
Work is still good. Busy.
Today is Saturday.
We went to a bbq, lawnbowling, and then home.
Will watch a movie later.
Probably get pizza.
I called my mom today. I am all caught up.
Happy Birthday to Cousin Jen.
Almost Happy Anniversary to Jon & I.
That's pretty much it.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I decided to spend my afternoon on iTunes, downloading a year's worth of shows they don't play in Australia. Only to find that since they don't play them here, you can't download them on the AUS iTunes site either. Grr. Very Grr.
Seems that summer isn't over here yet. It got up to 33C/95F here today! Back to work tomorrow. It's going to be another lonely week without Jon. Already making plans with Natasha to go out next weekend and have some fun - so there is that to look forward to! yay!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Kangaroo Intruder Terrorizes Sleeping Family
CANBERRA – An Australian couple thought they were being attacked by an intruder when a kangaroo crashed through their bedroom window and started jumping on them.
"My initial thought, when I was half awake, was it's a lunatic ninja coming through the window. It seems about as likely as a kangaroo breaking in," Beat Ettlin told local media Monday.
The three-meter (9 feet) kangaroo smashed through the window in Ettlin's Canberra home Sunday night.
While Ettlin and his wife and young daughter took refuge under the blankets, the injured kangaroo jumped on top of them, gouging holes in the furniture and smearing blood all over the walls, said the Australian Associated Press.
The next thing Ettlin heard was his 10-year-old son Leighton screaming from his bed: "There's a 'roo in my room!'"
Ettlin, a 42-year-old chef, wrestled the bleeding kangaroo, got it into a headlock and dragged it out the front door. The kangaroo disappeared into bushes.
For the record - this is why they kill off the roos in Canberra. When there are more roos than people in a city, nothing good can come of it.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
We are off to the central coast for a much needed work-free weekend.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Lately it seems like my life has been more hills than valleys... and while that may sound positive, think of how it feels to run up a hill versus coasting down into a valley. Sometimes I feel like all I do lately is run uphill. I have been wondering what the significance of that is, and I have been giving the journey that is life a lot of thought.
Seems that no matter where we are, the grass always looks greener somewhere else. In truth, often the grass where you are standing is some of the greenest turf you'll ever see. And so I have decided to try to start enjoying the metaphoric grass where I am now. Focus on the joys of the journey and try to find peace in the little things again.
I also thought a change of name would be good, since you never know where this journey will take us. I am hoping to update and change a few more things, but for now, I just thought a fresh take on things was in order.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
All is well, we have just been busy and working a lot. Jon has been local since Christmas, which I am thankful for, and since my company acquired a competitor last month, I have been working my tail off. I am still hoping it will settle in and get easier, but it will probably be months yet before that happens.
Lots of contemplation and talk lately in the Garcia household about what comes next after Australia and when we might leave. No answers yet, but I think we are getting closer to having a plan. You could say we are planning to have a plan.
Just wanted to say congratulations to my sisters who both brought a new baby into the family on Valentines Day. Must have been something about that full moon last week, eh? Anyway - both are healthy and doing fine... so where are those pictures already?! Looking forward to meeting niece and nephew number 18 and 19.
Friday, February 6, 2009
PARTS of Australia will be hotter than the African plains or Middle Eastern deserts this weekend, while other parts battle raging bushfires and still others cope with widespread flooding. New South Wales is forecast to become the hottest place on the planet on Sunday, with the current heatwave sending temperatures soaring to 47C (about 122F).
(full article here: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25015424-1242,00.html)
Now do you feel sorry for me?? Since the UV index will be so high this weekend, I won't even be able to go outside during the day. (I have already burned badly 3 times this year). So - we will be staying in tomorrow, spending the day in front of the air conditioner.
I am so looking forward to autumn!!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Australian floods wash crocodiles into streets
SYDNEY (AFP) – Floods ravaging northern Australia have washed crocodiles onto the streets, where one was hit by a car, authorities said in a warning to residents Wednesday.
More than 60 percent of the vast northeastern state of Queensland has been declared a disaster area, and flooding after two recent cyclones has affected almost 3,000 homes, they said.
The army has been called in to help with rescue and recovery efforts, while three reports of large crocodiles washed up from flooded rivers have come in from homes in the Gulf of Carpentaria region.
"I'm not sure if it's the same crocodile moving around -- on the three sides of Normanton there's been a large croc seen right up close to the water's edge," said mayor Joyce Zahner.
"Hopefully he'll stay in the water and the kids will stay on the land," Zahner told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
A crocodile measuring 1.6 metres (5.3 feet) long was run over by a car on a street in the city of Townsville on Tuesday, wildlife rangers said. The croc lost a few teeth and suffered bruising but was receiving medical attention, they said.
Full story here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090204/wl_asia_afp/australiaweatherflood/print
Monday, January 26, 2009
Dan arrived home safely to the Great White North after a great 7 week visit Down Under. We loved to have him here, and it was a bit sad once he was gone.
Jonathan has been working without stop since before Christmas on a big courts project. It's finally finished and life is going back to normal.
Today is Australia Day, and that means a long weekend, and a day by the Harbour with a picnic and friends. Looking forward to that!
And just to mark the date, this past Saturday, the 24th, was the hottest day on record in 3 years. It reached 108f. In the shade.
In truth, there are only 8 'apostles' and they are disappearing bit by bit, as they are eroded away by the tides. In the bottom right hand photos, you can see where an apostle used to stand. It fell over just a few years ago. Sad to think that one day the entire lot of them will be gone. At the same time, crazy to think that at one point, the cliffs extended out that far!
This sight is - in my books - one of the wonders of the world.