Who will be first?

We aren't even in Australia yet and I am already searching for cheap fares online!

So, who's going to be the first to visit eh?

$669 & up -- Fly to Australia from across the US:

Travel dates: August 1-31

Air New Zealand, American, Qantas, United and other major airlines are slashing prices for travel this August to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

Fly Monday-Thursday to get the lowest prices.

Fares from the West:
- Los Angeles-Sydney ... $669
- Las Vegas-Sydney ... $683
- San Francisco-Sydney ... $709
- San Diego-Sydney ... $733
- Denver-Sydney ... $810
- Portland-Sydney ... $853
- Seattle-Sydney ... $863

Fares from the Southeast & Texas:
- Dallas/Ft. Worth-Sydney ... $843
- Oklahoma City-Sydney ... $843
- Houston-Sydney ... $845

Fares from the Midwest:
- Chicago-Sydney ... $866
- Detroit-Sydney ... $873
- Indianapolis-Sydney ... $873
- Cleveland-Sydney ... $876

Fares from the Northeast:
- New York-Sydney ... $833

Fares from the South:
- Atlanta-Sydney ... $890
- Orlando-Sydney ... $909

Fares listed are round trip, include taxes, and are available on multiple airlines.

Travelzoo Tip: Make sure to select "My dates are flexible," and try searching several date ranges. Click on at least three travel providers to compare all fares and find the best deal for your destination.

SuperSearch uses more than 2.9 million consumer ratings and Travelzoo's years of expertise to help you find the best fares. Plus, you can easily compare multiple sites without entering your information over and over.

I Hate Surprises!

I received a very strange text last Sunday afternoon. The text was from my very own e-mail address inviting me to an event on my very own calendar labeled “Surprise”. Needless to say, I was slightly confused as to how this all came to be – it seemed very “ripping through the fabric of the universe” to me. The only other person with access to my e-mail and calendar is my husband. Sure enough, he was the responsible party.

He said that he received an e-mail from “someone” telling him to block off the time in question on my calendar so that I couldn’t book anything there. He also said that he will be taking me “somewhere” and dropping me off for this event. Apparently, I can wear jeans and it is “pretty casual” and I can wear “just a little make-up”?? I’m so curious? Will I still be allowed to go if I wear a lot of make-up? Ha!

I am curious though…..

The Waiting Game...

Well, all of our applications and paperwork have been submitted. Certificates and letters have been certified, notarized, stamped and scanned. Hopefully, all of the information is correct and our application will go through quickly and with no hold-ups. Now begins the waiting….

I can’t book our flights until I know the VISA is approved so I am anxiously checking the prices and worrying about the fares going up. I also can’t file for a Tax File ID Number (the Aussie equivalent of a SS#) until I have the VISA approval. Without the Tax File #, I cannot open a bank account there and transfer money & Joe can’t work. So, I am just a little (who am I kidding?) worried about how all of this is going to fall into place.

Visit to Cleveland - Monday

Monday was a subdued, sad morning as I packed up and got ready for the trip back.  We made plans to meet our friend Julie in Columbus for lunch at 2 so we had to leave Cleveland by noon. Theresa came over with the kids to say goodbye (but not for good as she will be in Cincinnati to see us before we leave) so I got a chance to give everyone hugs goodbye!  Plus I got to watch Evan have his morning AppleJacks - Yum!

My sister Julie's daughter Gianna had told her mom that morning how sad she was that she didn't get to say a final goodbye to us (We came in late the night before and she had already gone to school when we woke up) so we decided to stop at her school and say goodbye to her before we got on the road.  When I hugged Julie goodbye, I realized I wouldn't be seeing her till Christmas and that this was really goodbye.  The tears started and the situation didn't improve much once we got to Gianna's school.  I was doing OK until I realized that Gianna's little eyes were tearing up a bit and then the tears hit again. I'm still not sure how I made it out of the building; but my poor husband had to put up with my sniffling halfway to Columbus.

We met up with Julie at Buca di Beppo (I had never been there and I was surprised at how yummy it was) and having lunch with her made me feel lots better.  I made her promise that she would visit us in Australia next year and I am holding her to it!  This is us after I spent the morning crying and after 2 glasses of wine:

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful.  We rolled into Joe's parent's house around 6:30 where I promptly fell asleep on the couch till dinner.  Then home, with the doggy, to unpack and get ready for the week.
This is the doggy for those of you who haven't met him:

It was really a great trip and I am so glad that we made the time to go for four days.  It was horribly sad at the end and I dont' think that I am quite over the reality of having to say goodbye; but I still had a wonderful time...

Visit to Cleveland - Sunday

Sunday morning we met Cory and Violet for breakfast over at My Friends by Detroit and 130th.  That brought back memories of staying at Jen's apartment just upstairs from the restaurant and memories of countless 2 AM meals there with friends.  They've remodeled since I was there last so it was a little weird; but, for all that, it was very much the same.  I guess it started the whole melancholy that tinged the rest of our visit.  I am not just saying good bye to people... I am also saying goodbye to places that hold memories of whole years of my life. 

On the way back to Julie's house, Joe and I stopped at Heinens to get the fixings for dinner.  I love that store!  We ended up getting the ingredients for lasagna, 2 bottles of wine (mmm... Smoking Loon Cabernet), sparkling lemonade for the kids and some garlic bread.

Theresa and the kids came over and I got to spend the afternoon doing one of my favorite things - Cooking with my sisters.  We had a fantastic dinner and Theresa brought the leftover desserts from the night before so we capped it off with more rum cake parfaits.  Joe and I had plans that night that ended up getting cancelled so we decided to drive down to Tremont and have a couple drinks.  After getting lost and disoriented several times, we finally found Literary & Professor streets, parked and wandered into The Treehouse.  They had a great blues singer there and the whole scene was very mellow.  I've always loved the gorgeous bar:

My brother Andrew called and since he lives in Tremont, he stopped over after work to have a beer with us.  That was the frosting on the evening and I am so glad that he decided to stop in and hang out with us!

Visit to Cleveland - Saturday

On Saturday morning my sister Julie made us pancakes (are you seeing a delicious theme here?) and we spent the morning relaxing.  We headed out to Bay Village in the early afternoon to visit my friend Lysa from the wayback days of when we used to work at PSAS.  I also got to see her husband Chris whom I haven't seen since they were dating and I got to meet her son JR.  What a cutie and what a personality!!

We pulled in the driveway, I got out of the car and he ran to me yelling "Mimi!".  Did I mention that this little boy had never met me before?  His mom said that he never ever does that for people he doesn't know (even more proof that I am "The Baby Whisperer").  We had a wonderful time visiting and reminiscing about old times...

Then we headed over to my sister Theresa's house for a big family dinner.  True to form, the food was incredible and tasted just like Mom's - fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, homemade biscuits, salad; and, of course, the most incredible deserts you could even imagine!  There were 3 kinds of homemade cookies and these wonderful parfaits with rum cake, whipped cream and caramel sauce (all homemade of course)... My mouth waters every time I think about these parfaits.

The best part of the whole evening was having such a huge chunk of the family together in one place.  In attendance were: My sister Theresa, her husband Marco, their kids - Stella, Luca and Lilia, my sister Julie, her husband Dave, their kids - Gianna, Evan and one in the oven, my brother Andrew and us!  It was a full house and it was the highlight of the trip.  Here are some of my favorite snaps from the evening:

Beautiful Theresa

Marco and Lilia

Julie, showing off the baby bump!

Dave and Evan

My handsome husband :)

Gianna and Stella coloring on my phone


Theresa and Marco's kids

After staying pretty late to visit, Joe and I headed down to Valley View to see Iron Man 2.  The movie was wonderful; but the people sitting next to me talking the whole time were not....

After such a great day though - who cares!

Visit to Cleveland - Friday

Joe and I travelled to Cleveland last weekend to visit and say goodbye to some family and friends.  We drove in Thursday night and basically rolled right into bed.  Friday morning my lovely sister Julie made us some muffins and we got to sit and visit.  My brother in law Dave went out on the deck and called us out to see about a half dozen deer in the woods behind their house. Several were still very young - you could see that their spots were growing out.  After they all wandered away we noticed one that was hanging around down by the creek.  It was a mom and her two tiny babies that had obviously just been born the night before.  I was able to get some OK shots:

And one really good one:

One of the babies couldn't really walk well yet, so mom took one of the babies and wandered the woods for a while.  We were nervous that she would just leave it; but she eventually circled back and got the other baby.

Friday night we headed down to Akron.  After dinner at Crave (which was very pretentious and not very good) we headed down the street to a cool art gallery/wine bar to visit with my friend Cory.  She was there to sing with Zach for his birthday bash.  It was a cool concert and we got to visit when she wasn't singing.  As you can see we like each other a lot!

We also got to meet her boyfriend Greg and her incredibly cute baby girl Violet! 

I got to feed Violet cake (which is the secret to making all babies like you)...

Then I got to kiss her because babies will tolerate that when you feed them sugar :)

Then Joe ate her hand!!!

Also, using nefarious logic Joe got me to dance in front of everyone!  The conversation went something like this:

Me: Do you know how much I love you?
Joe: Enough to get up and do a hustle with me in front of everyone?
Me: ........Crap.......

So, we danced and I'm glad I did:

It was a great night; and it was beyond wonderful to hear Cory sing - that girl has a voice that just floors you!

Thanks for the wonderful night babe! (side note: I look very mischievous in this pic)


Well, Joe is turning in his letter of resignation this afternoon at work.  Up to this point, we could really turn our plans around and back-out of the move; but, after today, we are truly committed.

Truly Committed......

The Definition for committed is:  "bound or obligated, as under a pledge to a particular cause, action, or attitude."

We turn in our VISA application to the migration officials tomorrow morning (which is actually tonight for us).

Here we go....


Joe and I went to Cleveland this past weekend to visit with and say good bye to family and friends.  There will be more in-depth description and pictures of the weekend coming as I get the photos sorted out.

I don't think that the idea of us moving to a foreign country has entirely sunk in for me.  I think about it... I talk about it; but I don't think I really understand what we are doing.  This weekend brought reality right to my door as I said goodbye to people that I probably won't be seeing for years. I left Cleveland in a flurry of tears that lasted almost to Columbus.  In my head I kept asking myself "Why are we doing this?"

When I talk about my sadness, people are fond of telling me "At least this isn't forever". Of course I know it isn't forever!  For goodness sake, Joe and I are planning a visit back to the States for the Christmas holidays.  Knowing that I will still see people doesn't make me feel any better though.  I'm still sad....

I think I will call this pre-homesickness....

On Leaving Work

I’ve always dreamed of one day being able to quit my job to stay home and raise babies. The baby part hasn’t gone exactly to plan; but the quitting work part is soon to happen. My last day of work is the 11th of June and we don’t plan on me working once we get to Sydney. I can get a job legally under our VISA if I would like; but I don’t need to…

It feels somehow wrong to be anything but completely ecstatic about this; but I have to admit to being very nervous. I have lots of little plans in my head for how I will spend my time. I don’t know if they will happen or not; because I don’t know completely what our life will be like there. I’m going to make my husband fabulous meals, I’m going to decorate our apartment to within an inch of its life and I am going to have a vibrant social life (fingers crossed). More likely I’ll be huddled up on the couch with empty wine bottles stacked around; but it’s nice to dream!!

Really though, I am hoping for a real lifestyle change when we get to Australia.  There is no better time to break bad habits and create new good ones than when you are uprooting yourself from your comfort zone and going to an entirely new place.  I would like to change some of the ways I function in the world...  Instead of constantly looking behind and in front of me, I would like to start looking around in my present moment.  I'm hoping that not having to work will give me the opportunity to slow down, adapt to the laid back pace of OZ and learn to savor each moment.

Shameless Brand Loyalty

I am obsessed with Google…

I am so obsessed with Google that I use it for everything. No really, everything. I even use Google to get to websites that I already know the address for. Let’s use T-Mobile as an example…. If I want to go on the T-Mobile website, I don’t just open a browser window and type in www.tmobile.com. No, I actually open a browser window, use my favorites to get to Google, type “T-Mobile” into the Google search bar and navigate to the site from the results.

This is a sickness…. Is this what they mean by the Google Generation?

My favorite thing to do is search Google for things that other people need and cannot find. I get so excited when I overhear a co-worker say something like “I can’t find double hung curtain rods in a rubbed bronze finish with decorative finials that will fit a 144 inch window anywhere!” In fifteen minutes I am popping my head over the cubicle wall saying, “There is a company in Minnesota that has them – want me to send you the link?”

Come to think of it, I’m probably pretty annoying…


This is the State Dept. Message I was greeted with today!

Ha Ha!!  Even despite the attempts of a disgruntled government worker (Rodger), I am getting my passport!  Whoo!  So, I checked the tracking number:

Ahh - sweet success!


Partial Sucess!  Joe's passport came in the mail yesterday; and mine is being processed today!

Granted, I had to talk to 3 different people at the state department; but, all that matters now is that the problem is fixed and the process is moving along!

Next step is to finish filling out the VISA application, attach all the required documentation and we should be halfway there.

Things To Look Forward To:

Ever since Joe and I discussed moving to Australia as a real possibility, I have been doing tons of on-line reading.  I've also been secretly trolling as many Sydney ex-pat blogs as I could find.  I've spent hours reading about the things to do once we get to Sydney and compiling an ever-growing list of fun activities in my head.  I'm going to keep that list here so that I can refer to it during the dark days of moving.  I am fully expecting that there will be some rough days throughout this process and I want to have something listed here to remind me of the positives of this move. 

Here Goes (In no particular order):

  1. Visit Fiji at least once
  2. Take a vacation to Thailand/Singapore/Malaysia/Philippines
  3. Visit Melbourne
  4. Drive the Great Ocean Road
  5. Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef
  6. Visit Tasmania
  7. Visit both New Zealand Islands
  8. Take a tour through wine country
  9. Go to Japan
  10. Stay at one really upscale resort in one of the places listed above
  11. Go to the Taronga Zoo
  12. Walk through the Botanical Gardens
  13. Go to a show at the Sydney Opera House at least once
  14. Visit every famous Sydney Beach
  15. Take a vacation to Hawaii
  16. Have a picnic in all of the famous Sydney Parks
  17. Take a cruise through Sydney Harbour
  18. See Mrs. Macquaries Chair
  19. Attend the open-air cinema
  20. Hold a koala
  21. See a kangaroo
I'm sure there are many things that I have left off of this list; but they escape me at the moment.  I'll come back and add more as they pop up!

The Chaos of Moving

I am a very organized person.  I do not like chaos.  I do not like confusion.

This is my garage at this very moment:

This is the garage from another angle:

Hopefully, 90% of the chaos will be gone after our yard sale on Saturday.  We've decided that it's just easier to sell everything that we can.  I'm not going to lie, it's been hard pricing some of my more favorite items...

At this point, I would give up anything just to be able to see the floor again!

The Obligatory First Post

Welcome along for the ride as Joe and I head off to Australia... We are both so nervous and also so excited to start this adventure - we feel that sharing it here in a blog will make it easier for friends and family (and strangers) to come on the journey with us!

I believe that you get out of an experience what you put into that experience, so my goal is to put as much joy and positivity into this move as possible (please remind me of this post in six months when I am whining about the homesickness!).

My blog name "Gone on a Lucky Country" means simply..."In Love with Australia". I plan on making this statement true for us.

Again, thanks for reading and enjoy the ride!