A Better Day

We started looking at apartments today...  We saw three and the experience was slightly disheartening.  The first was quite lovely; but had the downsides of being a short term lease and being pet-unfriendly.  The second one had an absolutely breathtaking view of the entire skyline and harbour; but had the downsides of being smelly, water damaged and dated inside.  The third was just awful - just completely awful.

So.....  We have about 30 or 40 more places that we are going to try to see in the the next few days.  It's hard to schedule them when you have to rely on public transit and walk to get to them.  I think we might rent a car all day Thursday and try to see a whole ton that day.

So far I am amazed by the prices people will pay for something.  I get the high rent prices - I am totally ok with paying them; but I am amazed that some of these apartments are even considered inhabitable.

We went to the Telstra store tonight to get our mobile phone situation sorted.  Turns out we need many more points of ID than we had with us.  I have to print out a copy of our membership card for our private health cover and we will be opening a bank account in the morning and that should get us to where we need to be.  Getting your new life set up here is just a series of small irritations and annoyances.  Someone tells you that you need a birth certificate and then later you find out that it doesn't count because it's not from the right country!  Ah!  I can't wait till things are a little more stable...

I'm sad that Joe starts working on Monday; but I'm kinda glad - we need some paychecks to start rolling in or else we won't have anything to open a bank account with!  This city is so very expensive.  Actually, I don't think it is nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be - it's just expensive to start a new life in a whole new place.  Every 5 minutes we are realizing that we need something that we forgot or running across some crazy fee or charge.

The Internet service in our apartment is $70.00 a week!  The saddest part about that is that the service is absolutely horrible. You can re-load a page over and over before it finally loads properly.  Our apartment had very basic sample packs in it so we had to run to the grocery for dish soap, laundry soap, hangers etc...

Thankfully we did not have to go out today and buy Joe a whole new work wardrobe as we located his garment bag at the airport!  Joe decided to call the airport just in case the garment bag never made it into the taxi and there it was!  So, on our way back from the outlets in Homebush I took the train into the city and he went on to the airport and collected it.  I love the trains!  They just make sense and they are so clean.  I had to change trains at the Wynyard station today and as I was sitting on a bench listening to my Ipod someone came up to me and asked me for directions!!  The best part was that I actually was able to tell this poor lost woman from Melbourne what train she needed to be on...  It felt good to realize that, only a few days in, I am really trying to learn this city.

Our days are so full - not just busy; but also full of the tiny little things that are so different in every day life.  I have about a million things I want to blog about every day.  I've been writing them down and I guess I'll get to each of them as I have time.  The sense of humor, the groceries, the food, the restaurants, the people... It's fascinating!

Surprising Sydney

I don't feel like a tourist....

Maybe it's because we aren't doing touristy type things?  I thought this first week would be like a little mini holiday; but, in reality, it is ending up to be a fair bit of work.  Sometimes, I am so preoccupied with the goal I am working towards (getting dinner, lugging the groceries home, buying extra hangers) that I forget where I am.  A couple things happened today that made me catch my breath.

I came home from getting groceries so sweaty from carrying them home - I immediately pulled off my sweater and went into the bedroom where there was a window open.  I felt like a needed a ton of cold air so instead of just standing in front of it, I stuck my head out it.  I was looking around  and realized that to my left was a direct view into the blue, gorgeous harbour.  I hadn't even noticed it! 

We were walking to get dinner tonight when I turned back to glance at something...  Looming up beyond our building was the Harbour Bridge - Huge and black against the dusk sky.  I've been looking at this for months in pictures and here we are walking right under it without really noticing it!

The Second & Third Day

Well, Saturday was a ton of fun.  Our new friends Scott and Tracy came and picked us up at our apartment and took us back out to Manly to meet a friend of theirs and to see his apartment.  We got a good idea of what Manly real estate was like and we definitely decided to expand our search out there. We had lunch at a little cafe where I asked for an ice water with lemon.  Apparently that is a very foreign concept there - I caused some confusion!  The waitress kept asking me, "You want a plain water with ice and a slice of lemon in it?  You want the lemon right in the water?"  Oh boy....

Joe and I love Manly - the beach is really breathtaking.  When we got back to their house, Tracy and I spent some time looking on-line for apartments in Manly and we found some really great ones.  Joe has really taken the proverbial real estate bull by the horns and has been scheduling viewings left and right.  We saw a very very horrifying apartment downtown today.  Ugh - hopefully the ones in the suburbs will be nicer.

We ended up staying at Scott and Tracy's for dinner (yummy steaks) and overnight (heaven to sleep in a bed that didn't feel like a sack of rocks).  We went to their son's ice hockey game early the next morning and then headed off to Hillsong for worship.  What an incredible church!  Joe and I loved it and we will definitely be going back.

After church, we had Scott and Tracy drop us at the train station.  I was quite proud of us - we figured out how to buy tickets from the automated machine, how to read the maps and figure out which line and exchange we needed and how to switch trains to get back to Circular Quay (pronounced key....weird...)

We got back safe and sound just in time for some dinner and bed.

Monday (today still) was a boring, horrible but necessary day.  Boring in the sense that we caught up on shopping, Joe scheduled apartment viewings and I did laundry.  Horrible in the sense that we realized that we left Joe's garment bag in the taxi and they said they didnt' have it.  So, we are missing a couple suits, vests, suit pants, sport coats and every tie that Joe owns (many that were brand new that we bought right before we left).  So.... we have to make a big expensive shopping trip this week before he starts work.  Major sad face here people.

I am realizing that homesickness is like grief.  When things are going great it is easy to push aside the sadness to focus on the wonderful things in front of you.  When things get hard, sad or stressful; the sadness bubbles up under everything.  It makes it really difficult to ignore.  I had wine with dinner and that seems to only have compounded the problem.  I'm ok, I'm still excited about being here - just sad tonight...

The First Day in Sydney

We stumbled out of the airport about 10 AM after clearing customs without even a second look with our crazy amount of luggage and started queuing for a taxi.  We got dropped off at the apartment building thinking we would be able to get right in the apartment as we were told that they were going to try to have it ready by ten, but it would be ready at 11 at the latest.  Ha!  We were informed that it wouldn't be ready til "somewhere around 2pm".  They let us store our bags in a back room and we took the laptop around the corner to a little cafe for some free wifi and some brunch.

The cafe was cute and we were able to get Skype up and running so we could tell Joe's mom that we got in safely and also post on Facebook that we were ok.  Breakfast was good - I ordered a bacon and egg roll and I was quite surprised to find that the bacon was more like Canadian bacon than traditional American bacon.  Very interesting; but tasty none the less.  We wandered back to the apartment only to be told that it would be closer to 3 when the apartment would be ready. Sigh....  So, we decided to start walking and see what kind of stuff we could get into to.

We ended up taking the ferry to Manly because we knew that would allow us to see the whole harbour, the skyline and some beaches.  The weather was cool and overcast so my pictures aren't the greatest.
This was the view from the harbour looking out into the Pacific.  We pulled into the Manly wharf and started walking off to explore when I realized that I had left my camera bag on the ferry!!  I still had my camera around my neck; but the bag with my cables and batteries was somewhere still on the ferry.  We ran back to check; but there was nothing.  The absolutely lovely ferry workers were so nice!!  They started radioing and checking things and told me to come back in 15 minutes.  We did and they had found it!  However, we had to wait until that particular ferry came back to collect it.  We ended up having about an hour to kill. 
We wandered through Aldi (which is a post by itself), got coffee and tried not to fall asleep standing up!  Our original ferry finally came back, I got my camera bag and I was able to take some great pictures even though the sun wasn't really shining....

This is the quintessential view of the bridge, skyline and opera house.

This is the view of the northern side of the harbour.  This is where Joe and I are mainly looking at apartments.

And of course - can't leave out these classics!

So, we made it off the ferry in one piece and came back to the apartment.  We each took about an hour long shower, took a three hour nap and then ordered Thai food in around 8.  We made it till about 9:30 before just had to drag ourselves back to bed!

The Flight That Took Forever

Well, I have nothing to compare it to; but I thought that the Quantas leg of our flight was very nice.  The flight was delayed just by about a half hour; but at that point Joe and I didn't really care anymore how long things took!  The boarding process was just fine and we had a whole area in front of us since we were booked into an exit row seat. 

I am wavering back and forth about whether or not it was a good deal.  Joe says for $266.00 it was absolutely worth it to be able to stretch our legs out completely and have a place to stand up if we wanted.  I agree - that part was nice; but there was no seat in front of you to put your purse under and no seatback pocket to toss your stuff in - the result was that I was always holding stuff in my lap - very annoying!  Also, we were right outside the galley so the food smells were strong and the commotion was quite disruptive throughout the whole flight.

They gave us super nice blankets, pillows, headphones and a little bag with an eyemask and some toiletries I think.  Dinner was pretty horrible I must say; but right before they turned the lights out for bed they handed out a cute little baggie with a bottled water, candy, cookies and some mints.  Another nice thing about having the galley right next to us was being able to stick your head through the curtain and ask for pretty much anything.  They were really nice about supplying me with hot tea after I woke up in the middle of the night.
Breakfast was actually super yum!  There was a frittata, mushrooms and fruit.  It was really really good - the coffee was excellent as well.

The flight ended up going about 17 hours as there was fog and they slowed our flight plan down - apparently they also had to divert around quite a bit of weather as well.  There were moments when I felt like crying - I was homesick and squished and squashed and I just wanted to be home in my bed!  Then there were moments when I felt like it was ok and I had plenty of room and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I guess when it was all said and done - it wasn't horrible; but I was awfully glad it was over!

We are here!!

Well, we've arrived - grubby and exhausted but here!

We are sitting in a cafe having flat whites!  The coffee here is really fantastic.  Our cell phones aren't working and we can't get into our apartment until later this afternoon so we will be mostly off the grid - will post again once we get settled!

Travel, Travel, Travel

Well, we are sitting here in a little bar in the LA airport waiting for our flight to Sydney.  It was a very tearful morning saying goodbye to people on the phone and especially saying goodbye to Joe's parents in the airport.  We got to the gate only to find that the first leg of our trip was delayed!!  It ended up being delayed for so long that we would be unable to make our connecting flight in Detroit; and, the desk agent informed us that the next two flights to LA were booked full!!  AGH!!!  So, we continued checking with her (she was so nice) and she finally told us that there were two first class seats available on the 5:15 flight to LA.  She booked us into them and the rest of our travels went without much of a hitch at all.  The first class seats were wonderful and it was nice to have at least one leg of the trip that was super comfy. 

The desk agent at Quantas was so nice - didn't charge us for our one overweight bag and also booked us into exit row seats so that we will have extra room.  We have neck pillows, eye masks, ear plugs, books, movies, ipods, laptops.... oh, and sleeping pills.  So, hopefully the 15 hours will go by pretty quickly!

This whole trip has been an experience in absolute, complete exhaustion.  I can't remember a time when I have ever been this tired.  I haven't been sleeping well for the past week or so anyway and last night I only got a few hours.  So, we have been up since early this morning - it's 1:30 in the morning EST now and we are going to try to stay awake the first 7 hours of the flight so that we can sleep the last 8 and be somewhat on Sydney time when we land at 7 in the morning.  We'll see how that all pans out.  It's feeling a little more real now - there are Australian accents around us everywhere at this gate and I am starting to wrap my brain around the fact that we are not coming back.

I had a little cry in bed last night and then saying goodbye today - I'm only sad about saying goodbye to people I love, I am not regretting the move.  At least for now.....

The Last Day

Today was full of lasts:

Last Pedicure at V-Spa nails - went with my Mother-in-law, got polka dots, fun for all...

Last shopping trip to Kroger - Quick, sad...

Last American money spent - at Kroger, a buck fifty from the bottom of my purse.  Now all I have left is Aussie money.

Last day of occupancy in my home house - sweaty, exhausting and not as sad as I thought it would be.

Last time driving a car on the right side of the road (or at all since we aren't planning to buy one in Australia) - freeing... worried about the whole relying on public transit thing.

Last time I made payments on some bills - making the final payment on stuff is the best feeling in the world!

Last prescription filled in the states (without insurance) - very expensive!!

Last dinner sitting around with Mom and Dad - Yummy wild turkey tenders, bittersweet.

Last trip to Graeter's  - Sweet, funny.

Well, the clothes are laid out, the suitcases are packed and I don't think I could be any more prepared if I had another week.  I'm not sure if we are ready; but we certainly are prepared!  Please pray for safe travels for us over the next three days (that even sounds insane doesn't it?) and hopefully I'll have an update once we land!

The Mentality of Moving

It's one in the morning here in Kentucky so technically I am writing this on Tuesday.  That means that we leave for Australia tomorrow. 

It's hard to describe how I feel about this whole thing.  "Unreal" might be a good word?  There is a numbness that is protecting me from the intense emotions that a move this big must have attached to it.  It probably helps that we have been so incredibly busy getting ready for the move.  We start early and roll into bed late, exhausted.  The reality of this move is all around me - we are staying at my in laws, I give the keys to the our renters today, there are 5 very large suitcases by the front door, we have an actual address in Sydney, we have 2 actual phone numbers in Sydney and we leave tomorrow.

It feels a little like going on a very long vacation and I don't know how long it is going to take once we are there before the reality of the move will hit me...

This is the Last Night in our Home

This is the last night in our home
This is the last night in our home
This is the last night in our home
This is the last night in our home
This is the last night in our home

Unfortunately, saying it over and over doesn't make it feel any more real...

Of all the things about moving to another continent, another country – the thing that is bothering me the most right now is leaving my house. I love the transformation that takes place as you live somewhere. You begin by needing to try every light switch before you find the right one, waking up to all the creaks and noises a house makes when it settles down for the night and feeling like a stranger inside of the unfamiliar walls. There is always a moment (invariably in the middle of the night) when you realize that you have just gone to the bathroom, gotten a new roll of toilet paper from the linen closet, let the dog out, got a drink in the kitchen and straightened all the cushions in the living room all completely in the dark. You know this place – every creak on every stair, every oddly shaped shadow… You have a moment where you acknowledge that your house just became your home.

I’ve lived in many places throughout my life. I lived in a dining room with curtains for door, I slept in an armchair for a couple weeks and I have even slept in my car. Even though I’ve moved a dozen times and had multiple apartments/living arrangements, I have only ever had two “homes”. My childhood home held a million happy memories – even the trees in the woods had special stories and memories attached to them. After Mom died and we had to sell the house, I was able to visit it for one last time. It was completely empty and it had been repainted. I felt very little sadness walking through each room… It was just a shell - just a house. Once you took my parents and their things out of that house it ceased to be a home.

I was immediately on a mission to recreate that feeling of history, that feeling of roots dug deep. I was only 24 when I closed on my house. I walked into that conference room with a fresh pen and proceeded to sign my name over and over on what felt like hundreds of papers. It was the most important thing I had done in my life up to that point. (Soon to be eclipsed by getting married) This home was filled with a mix of mine, his, my parents, his parents and mostly ours. It’s been very very hard seeing our things sold, packed and given away. The rooms are eerily empty and I am starting to not recognize my home anymore.

It’s equally hard (if not harder) to imagine other people’s things in places where mine always were. What I have always referred to as the “back bedroom” was always meant for a nursery. Every time I walked into that room I pictured a crib, a rocker, a baby… Someone else is turning that room into a nursery for their little baby now and when I walk in I feel an absolute sadness.

Maybe it’s time to just start thinking of it as just a house again… instead of My Home…

Visas Are Approved!

Well, our Visas were approved on Monday night.  We happened to be out to dinner, discussing all the things that led up to this crazy decision and worrying about when we would actually be able to leave when Joe's phone chirped. He glanced at it and then started reading in earnest...

"You're never going to believe this", he said.

So, we had some wine to celebrate and then we came home to three hours of finding the best airfare with a little more than a weeks notice.  All in all, we didn't do too badly.  We are booked on Quantas out of LA on Wednesday the 23rd.  I booked economy class; but I'm hoping we can pay for an upgrade or something!

Hey Elsja, can you tell me the best way to get an upgrade on Quantas?!?

Eden Park - Part 2

After the lovely lunch and playing in the park we walked down to Krohn's Conservatory to see the butterfly exhibit they had going on there.  Of course - beautiful pictures ensued:  Well, if beautiful means hot and sweaty that is...
First we walked through some sort of green house area that had a very cool waterfall.  They had a lot of tropical plants and many that my sisters and I recognized as some of my mom's favorites.
This tropical hibiscus was just so flashy I had to take a picture!  Mom always grew red and pink ones and this was the first time I had seen an orange one!
And, of course, there were some flashy ladies there as well!!

Walking through to the butterfly exhibit, we saw some super gross bugs and then stumbled into a room filled with Bonsai trees.  It was fascinating to see how the limbs are trained with copper wire. Some of the trees that were on exhibit had been "in training" for almost 50 years!! 

This tree was only about a foot high; but I wanted to show all of the wiring on it's limbs so due to the camera angle it looks quite large! 

After that we entered the sauna that was the butterfly exhibit! 

They gave us fake flowers to trick the butterflies into landingon them instead of the delicious real ones.  Most of them weren't dumb enough to fall for that one; but some of them were quite happy to land on arms, shoulders etc...
Some of them were quite alright with the fake flowers too; but I think that the natural sweetnees of my darling neices may have had something to do with it!

Eden Park - Part 1

Friday was my last day at work...  It was weird - I actually did a lot of work, got called into an impromtu meeting for an hour (all though, really, it wasn't surprising) and did a lot more work after that.  My manager got me a beautiful engraved clock with my initials and my last day of work on it.  I only cried a very little and I was very proud of myself for not bawling like a baby the whole time.  I had to rush out of work though, to make it to Eden Park in time to meet my family for round 3? 4? (I've lost track!) of saying goodbye.

What a beatiful view!  I am going to miss Kentucky so very much...

My sister Annmarie (she of the collapsible basket and photo frame noteriety) was in town for a wedding so she and her family planned a lovely picnic afternoon for us and also my sister Theresa and brother Andrew.  I'm not sure why I'm the only one wearing sunglasses in this picture - I ended up looking like the odd man out!

The kids were so cute - I was distracted and spent a ton of time taking pictures of them ( and especially Lilia who was into an absolute cookie-eating frenzy!!).
The three girls found a little wading pond and they were content to spend the afternoon splashing through it to run across a cute little bridge that went over a deeper portion of it.  What a great park for children...

The boys decided that they were champion duck scarers for a while and then they decided to completely switch gears and spend the rest of the time feeding them!

Still Saying Goodbye

Last Thursday Joe and I headed over to my brother Matt's house to visit with his family and also to see my sister Theresa and my brother Andrew.  We just sat on the couch, drank beers and talked; but we had so much fun that we didn't leave until close to midnight.  I was sad to go; but we made plans to do dinner this Saturday.  The highlight of the evening was Lilia, reading the same book over and over - talking to it, petting it, kissing it.....  Completely Adorable!!

To Help me Remember

Well, my fabulously thoughtful sister Annmarie sent me this photo frame before the movers came.  I packed it in with the rest of our pictures so that I can look at it in Australia when I am feeling super homesick.  I am so thankful for such a lovely family who cares about me so much!  I cant decide which of the photos I like the best; but the one of my nephew Ben, dressed as a cowboy in only his unders is really topping the list!!  Thanks Annie - I appreciate this more than you will ever know!

A Pin from Perth

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my Aunt on the phone and she mentioned that my Grandfather was interested in reading my blog as he has spent his R & R time in Perth during the war.  My Grandfather (we call him Coach) served in the U.S Navy as an Engineering Commander on a submarine during World War II.  He was inducted into the Veterans Hall of Fame in 2002.  He also received the Silver Helmet Award which is awarded for excellence and outstanding accomplishment in the fields of Americanism, defense, rehabilitation, congressional and civil service.  He was also awarded 2 Silver Stars and 1 Bronze Star.

He left for war after he and my grandmother were married; and while he was gone, my mom Denise and her twin Diane were born.  I never knew that he spent time in Australia during the war until my Aunt told me the other night....  Completely by coincidence, I was packing my jewelry that night when I got to my drawer of sentimental jewelry.  I store my Mom's things in this drawer and I spent some extra time (as I always do) touching them and remembering her.  I've always loved the pin pictured above - maybe because it has her name on it or maybe because it is just so pretty.  I flipped it over and looked at the latch and the hinges and I noticed something written on the back of it.  I took it into the light and look what I found!  My Mom's twin Diane still has hers as well and told me that Coach got these for them in Australia for their first birthday.

So, here I am.... I've never thought about Australia one way or another.  Out of nowhere, we decide to move there.  Suddenly I find in my possession something from Perth, made in Australia sixty six years ago.  I am just blown away by how wonderful this is!

The Great Move!

When I was growing up I was a little obsessed with Mayflower moving trucks.  My dad was a school teacher; and in the summers he would work extra jobs so we had enough money.  One of the things that he did was work as a mover.  I'm not sure exactly of the particulars; but I do know that he moved for Mayflower and Atlas Van Lines.  I remember looking for Mayflower trucks every time we were on the freeway - I loved the little ship symbol.  I hold those memories still today; and I still get giddy when I see a Mayflower truck on the freeway.  For some of you, these pictures of moving tape will mean alot more than they will to others.
I have to say, I was quite pleased when I saw the truck pull up.  It's just another sign that we are doing the right thing.  I lost all my anxiety about our stuff being damaged, sunk, lost etc....  I just stopped worrying.  I was a little taken aback though when they showed us our tiny tiny container.  They actually had two crates in the truck though and we could use both if we wanted.  Each crate is about 200 cubic feet so we were trying to just use one if we could get away with it.  Our movers names were Vinnie and Tom and they were so wonderful.  They were super careful with our things and Vinnie was like a jigsaw packing ninja.  He got more stuff to go in that crate than I thought was possible.  He used every spare inch and we ended up only using one carton with just a couple extra boxes which can go in a smaller pack and be sent for much cheaper.  He also did a completely spot on Aussie accent so he kept us in stitches during the whole move.  It was weird watching our stuff get packed away... I keep remarking that it will seem like Christmas morning when we get our stuff.  I think, by then, we will have forgotten everything we packed. I should have gift-wrapped a few of the items to make it even more festive.

After the crate was packed, I had to sign a bazillion papers and then they were gone!  It is surreal to have an almost empty garage...

Ready for the Movers

I took this photo on Sunday night before the movers came.  I thought it might be fun to point out ten random things that we are taking to Sydney:

1.) The super fab collapsible basket that my sister Annmarie got for me (it is going to be my "going to market" basket)
2.) A whole laundry basket filled with dryer sheets and Bath & Body Works stuff!
3.) 8 Yankee Candles (Hey, I have to have the necessities of life right?)
4.) My Kitchen Aid Mixer
5.) My mom's sewing box
6.) A beautiful photo frame that my sister Annmarie made for me (Wow Annie! you are rockin' this post!)
7.) The horrifying but sentimental vase that we did our wedding sand ceremony in
8.) A whole rolling case full of scrap booking stuff (evil laugh - and you all wonder what I will do with my time there...)
9.) Hydrogen Perioxide
10.)  Joe's two enormous computer monitors

Beating the Metric System

In keeping with my crazy, organized, Type A personality, I decided to make myself some handy dandy cheat sheets.  The one on the right is simply for the outdoor temperature - I figure I'll master the whole Celcius thing in a few months.  The one on the left is for cooking/baking and general usage.  I am guessing that I will be using that one more often as I will be using my US cookbooks, my US measuring cups and my US food scale.  I even went to Kinko's and had them laminated so that they will last me until I memorize them.  Watch out metric system - I am coming to where you live and I am bringing weapons of emperical distruction!!

The Surprise Revealed!

I know I've been tantalizing you with this whole surprise thing; but I assure you there was no one more curious than me!  Well, my surprise was a lovely farewell dinner/girls night out that my friend Amanda planned for me.  It was completely wonderful seeing everyone all in one place - the margaritas were pretty awesome too!

It is just so surreal to think that I won't be seeing all these fabulous ladies again for quite a while.  Well, I'll be seeing them on Sunday for Amanda's bridal shower but you know what I mean...  The surprise was slightly less surprising as I happened to read Ashley's status on Facebook right before we left for the restaurant.  It read something like, "Going to have a beer with some friends who are moving to Sydney Australia."  I was like "Hey, I'm going to Sydney.... Oh..."  So, I knew at least that Ashley was going to be there!  I was surprised to see Geri, Rachel, Tricia, Donna, Jenni and Dave though! 

Thanks again guys - It was really so fabulous to see you all!!

I'll miss all of you to absolute bunches!

Change in plans...

Well, my super secret surprise that I posted about here has been changed from Saturday to tonight...  I have to leave work at 5:30, run home to get ready and then Joe needs to have me back up in Florence by 7.  I was told not to eat dinner.  I'm taking my camera so I can document whatever the heck this thing is!  Wish  me luck!

Memorial Day

I realized this Memorial Day that it was the last one I will be celebrating in the States for a while...  I don't think you truly understand how patriotic you are until you are faced with leaving your country.  At a baseball game the other night, I cried my way through the Star Spangled Banner as I realized that I would be hearing a very different national anthem from here on out. 

Maybe it was that sense of melancholy that effected my whole day? Regardless, I really struggled through a day filled with lots of stress, fear and sadness.  I very sharply felt my parent's absence more that day than most.

So, I turned to cooking and made a fabulous red white & blue pie.  The blue was provided by the blackberries, the red by the strawberries/raspberries and the scoop of vanilla ice cream on top was the white.  Quite festive and tasty!  Made me feel lots better to be baking in my kitchen.... Another thing I won't be doing too much longer.

Space Bags

I am so in love with Space Bags!  Admittedly, their claim that things always scrunch down into a stackable cube is total bunk; but, even still, when you are trying to cram as much as you can into 350 cubic feet every little bit counts....  That big bag on the right contains 2 king size pillows, 2 standard pillows and 8 throw pillows.  With the air removed it is now roughly the size of 1 king size pillow!  WhoHoo!!  More room for shoes!!


In a Sunburned Country

When I started looking for Australia travel books I was determined to avoid the quintessential book by Bill Bryson. I figured that anything so hyped-up was probably completely overrated and full of hot air. I was on Amazon a couple weeks ago purchasing other travel type books and I happened to pull it up and use the “Look Inside” feature of Amazon’s (which is completely brilliant). I read the first two pages and I was hooked! I ordered the book and I have had it sitting next to my bed like a shiny tempting treat for at least a week. I was promising myself that it would be my special “plane book” – the one that I would read when we were 10 hours into the flight and I needed something spectacular to distract myself from how completely awful flying in coach for 18 hours truly is…. Those of you, who know me well, know that I have no self-control when it comes to a few things – shoes, chocolate and books.

We were invited to hang out with some friends at the pool on Sunday so I threw it in my bag “just in case” I needed something to read next to the pool. Well, I’m already halfway through the book and I am completely in love! It is the type of book that makes you laugh out loud… a lot… loudly… uncontrollably. It is also the type of book that makes you want to read portions of it aloud every 10 minutes to your long-suffering husband. You know books are never as wonderful, great and funny unless you are reading them yourself so I am putting it on his bedside table when I am through.

I am still taking it on the plane – I think I will enjoy it even more the second time through….

72 Hours...

...Until the movers arrive!  I think I am officially starting to have some mini-freak-outs.  My newest fear is that we won't be able to fit all of our stuff into the space we were quoted on; and we will either have to leave mass quantities behind or we will end up paying thousands more than we have budgeted.

I've stocked up in everything that is advised on all of the ex-pat forums and I feel like we have enough stuff to get us up and running pretty easily.  We'll have quite a bit of furniture to buy once we get there, so I'll have my work cut out for me as far as shopping/bargain hunting is concerned.  We are eating off of paper plates and plastic utensils - the house is getting so barren that I can hear an echo when I talk...  This whole process is so surreal!