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Archive for the ‘Our Way, Oz Way’ Category

Dear Australia – Thank you for all your incredible adventures, sights, and memorable places.  We feel honored to have visited all of your states (with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory and with the addition of your Kiwi neighbors) and we will never forget our Daintree rainforest tour from Cooper Creek Wilderness, our sailboat adventure on the Great Barrier Reef, our trek around Tassy, the best sandwich ever from Circa in Parramatta and the most amazing Tiramisu Crunch from the Rocks Cafe.

Dear Melbourne – It’s been an amazing two years.  Thank you for making us feel at home.  We can’t think of a more perfect place to begin our life together as a newly married couple.  We will miss you and all the entertainment you provided.  Ryan is forever a Hawk’s fan.

Hawks scarf

We will miss some of our favorite nibbles and drinks, especially the coffees at Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder, the red curry from Thai Yim, the Carolina Sandwich from Big Boy BBQ, brekkies at Three Bags Full and fish ‘n chips from Seaford.

Above all, we will miss our friends who have left an immeasurable impact on our lives.

These are just a handful of things, of course, and don’t include the dinners we’ve hosted, the parties we’ve attended, the Parish we love, the dates we’ve had in the city, and the memories we’ve made.  There’s no way we could possibly say all that these two years have meant to us in a short blog post.  We suspect even WE don’t know the full impact of our time here and probably won’t for years to come.

Thank you for being the perfect host/home.  We hope to visit again the future, maybe with our kiddoes in tow, to show them where it all began.

Love, Ryan & Laura

Couple New

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It’s official!  We are returning to the US the first week in March.

A year and a half ago this day seemed sooooo far away but here we are, five short weeks away from leaving our beloved friends, our beloved apartment, our beloved life, our beloved Melbourne.

StKildaPier

Photo from the St. Kilda Pier

We’ve been keeping a “Melbourne Bucket List” for ourselves and we’ve been adding to it throughout our time here.  We’ve made our way through the list pretty steadily but if you have any Melbourne Must-Do’s…let us know!

Over the next few weeks there will be more to come including a short-list of our fave foods and experiences throughout Australia.  It’s hard to believe it’s the beginning of the end but as they say, “When one door closes, another door opens.”

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Ryan and I celebrated Thanksgiving on a Sunday with over twenty Australian friends, eager to share this American tradition with us.  There is something about celebrating a beloved holiday in a foreign country…

Having Thanksgiving in Australia heightened the meaning and significance of the tradition.  Yes, we all have so much for which to be thankful.  Not the least of which is our memories of Thanksgivings-of-the-past.  I was overwhelmed several times throughout the preparation with memories of Thanksgivings with my grandmother and her always-present-though-somewhat-irrational fear of running out of food.

Indeed, our spread of food was overwhelming; two turkeys, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn-bread stuffing, sweet potato casserole, scalloped corn casserole, honey-glazed carrots, deviled eggs, salad, and rolls — much of which was made at the hands of our Australian friends.

Spread

We finished the meal with teas, coffees, and nine pies!  We had three pumpkins, four pecans, and two apple pies which were all delicious!

Pies

Ryan and I had the best time, despite a few obligatory meltdowns, preparing for the special day.  We sent invitations (Thank you, Paperless Post), bought food, found recipes, bought more food, found flowers, arranged the flowers with friends, bought more food, and cooked our hearts out.

TablesBut it was all worth it. We gave thanks with our Australian friends over a bountiful feast.  We gave thanks for our family and friends, in Australia and overseas, especially for those who’ve passed away but while they were here, they taught us the importance of gathering to share a meal with loved ones.  It was a Thanksgiving to remember.  And…we didn’t run out of food.  Grandma would be proud.

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1.  Yes, we are alive!  We have been uber busy (and slacking on blog posts) with my dad in town, lots of work, the Olympics, and {insert any other excuse I can think of here}.

2.  Speaking of the Olympics…all over the country Australians were disappointed with the performance of their Olympians.  On the other side of the coin, it was a great time to be American!  Even though we couldn’t see any coverage of the American athletes since all coverage of the games here was of Aussies we still watched the medal count like hawks.

3.  In case you missed it, “The Economist” magazine ranked Melbourne #1 for a second year as “Most Liveable City” in the world.  It should be noted that Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, and Auckland were all ranked higher on the list than the first US city, which was NYC.  Cost of living must not have been a factor in the study, which I found incredibly ironic coming from “The Economist”.  Read what the Aussies had to say about their first-place finish.

4.  We are jazzed about our return home in less than a year and making our list of things to do/visit in Australia before we leave.  Any suggestions?

5.  We’ve missed you.  I can’t wait to tell you what we’ve been up to.  Stay tuned…

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OH.MY.GOODNESS!

A friend of mine posted this video on his blog and I had to share it.  I, for one, will never understand cricket even though we’ve been to a match so I got a huge kick out of this farce.  Even if you understand and like the game, you’ll still probably see the humor in this farce.  Enjoy!

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This weekend we enjoyed a night out with friends watching the Melbourne Storm — currently first on the ladder — take on the 2nd place Brisbane Broncos.  It was our first live rugby match and we loved every minute of it.  The experience can be summed up as follows:

Learning the rules of the game

One small scuffle that was squashed before it could become an all-out brawl.

Very few hoaky mid-game marketing stunts…although there were cheerleaders and a mascot.

Ended after two seemingly short 45-minute halves.  The clock doesn’t stop except in rare occasions unlike NFL (Gridiron, as they call it here) where it seems there is a TV timeout after nearly every play.

Really solid, large-necked, big-legged, strong-armed men running at each other with ungodly amounts of force and speed.

Un-adulterated brutality.  Imagine NFL without the pads.  So Brutal. 

Great seats at a really cool venue, AAMI park, pronounced “Amy“.

Bundled up in our warm, hooded, winter jackets we felt like we were at a football game at home.

Yes, VICTORY for the Storm!

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The thing about taking a break from blogging is that there are big expectations upon returning ; self-imposed expectations but expectations nonetheless.  One would think that after a few weeks off, we’d have something to “show” for it, as in, “oh man, we’ve been so busy on a walkabout around Australia, let me show you the pictures.”  On the contrary, we’ve been busy in other ways.

Over the past few weeks it’s been a whirlwind trying to find a temporary apartment back in the US (long story), flying back home, moving our stuff into said apartment, and fitting in appointments and other necessary things you normally do in a year…in just a week.  Here’s just a taste:

Friday – Arrive in Iowa jet-lagged after 24 hours of non-stop travel, head to Target to buy a few last minute items for the move.  (On a side note: It was like The Mothership was calling me home.  I could’ve stayed there all night, basking in shoe and home decor glory.  I’m not sure I can ever step foot in a Target in Australia again, the disappointment would be too great.)  Head home and start packing up the apartment.  Sleep at midnight.

Saturday – Wake at 6AM to pack more.  Friends and family arrive at 9 to start loading the trucks.  Move to new apartment all day.  Run to Scheel’s to pick up some new, sorely needed, tennis shoes.  In the evening, Andrea, Ryan’s mother, and I had arranged a mini surprise B-day dinner for Ryan at Buffalo Wild Wings, complete with Andrea’s mini-cupcakes that were a huge hit!  Sleep (crash) at midnight.

Sunday – Wake at 7 AM for mass. After mass head to breakfast with family, then tackle errands like; Target (again), DSW, and Kohl’s.

Monday – Wake at 7 AM, 8 AM County Treasurer’s office, 9 AM Social Security office, 10 AM Eye Doc appointments, quick lunch, 1:30 Family doctor appointments, dinner and good-bye’s with  in-laws.

Tuesday – Wake at 7 AM for coffee with a friend, dentist appointments, work meetings and lunches, dinner with friends, start packing to return to Melbourne.

Wednesday – Errands at the bank, oil changes for the car, Walgreen’s for a new passport photo, lunch with friends, a final trip to Target, more packing, dinner with my mom, more apartment cleaning.

Thursday – Final apartment cleaning, “good-bye” to our lovely apartment and view from our deck.  😦

We dropped off Ryan’s truck at a friend’s house for storage and headed to the airport for the long travel ahead.

Saturday – Arrived in Melbourne.  Exhausted.  Happy.

A HUGE thanks to family and friends who came out to help us.  We couldn’t have done it without you, seriously.

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