Tag Archives: Australia

The Spartan race

19 Mar

Four friends and I signed up for the Spartan Race quite a while ago.  A few of us knew before sign ups were even open that we were going to sign up.  Needless to say, I’ve had plenty of time to train for the race.  I was going pretty well with my training – running further than ever before, doing pump class at the gym….  But then I started uni and my gym days sadly fizzled down to one day a week.  I can only go to the gym when the creche is open, and the creche is only open from 9-12 on weekdays and 8-11 on Saturdays.  Now that I have uni, the kids or I have something on every single weekday morning, leaving only Saturday for the gym.

Point being, I went to the race is less than par condition.  Plus I had the tail end of a nasty cold.  After getting our numbers and leaving our bags at the bag drop, we wandered over to the start line that was counting down until our 11:20am start time.  We’d been eating red frog lollies and chocolate hot cross buns in the car, so we were hopped up on sugar and ready to go.   A photo with Commando from The Biggest Loser Australia provided us with further race excitement.

Kristina, Romana, Lauren, Commando, The Jess, and me right before our start time

Kristina, Romana, Lauren, Commando, The Jess, and me right before our start time

5…4…3…2…1 BEEP (airhorn)! Everyone started running.  And by running, I mean leisurely jogging.  For about 20 seconds when it turned into walking.  We all wondered why, until we got to the top of the hill and found everyone in front of us making their way down into the water, inhaling the giant cloud of dust as they went.

the first obstacle

the first obstacle

On the other side of the creek, a giant grassy hill awaited us.  We jogged half way up and then walked.  Good golly, I should have done some hill training.  Instead, I ran on the treadmill with the elevation set at 0 the entire time and concentrated instead on eventually running 7km’s – the length of the Spartan race.

After the giant crazy hill that left a lot of us fairly winded and wishing for a drinks station, the ground levelled out and we started jogging again.

Kristina and me looking rather puffed after the very first hill

Kristina and me looking rather puffed after the very first hill

As we turned  a corner, we found a mass of people crawling on their bellies under low barbed wire. Oh, so that is what Commando meant when he told us to roll under the wire.

Unlike the masses before us, we heeded his advice rolled.  It was much easier.

Rolling under the barbed wire.

Rolling under the barbed wire.

We ran/walked some more up and down hills until we came to a large wall with a rope attached to it.

Romana scaling the wall aided by a rope

Romana scaling the wall aided by a rope

We all successfully scaled the wall and continued on our way, with a  much needed drinks station within our sights.

excitedly running towards a drinks station

excitedly running towards a drinks station.  Yes, I have double jointed elbows. Feel free to cringe.

When we got there though, there was a big arrow pointing us in the opposite direction.  The drinks station was actually later down track, the paths just nearly crossed at that point.  Perhaps rounding the bend towards the drinks station was later, but you know what? It was 7kms, heaps of obstacles, and a hot day, so I don’t remember exactly.

Up and down some more grassy hills with cow poop (the whole event was in a cow pasture), we came to a series of muddy hills with troughs of muddy water in between them.

sliding on my bum down a slippery mud hill into a giant mud puddle

sliding on my bum down a slippery mud hill into a giant mud puddle

Some people landed in the pit so hard that their head went under.  Lucky for me, I managed to keep my head above water…er…mud.  My contacts probably wouldn’t have fared so well if they were full of mud.

Me and The Jess in a mud pit

Me and The Jess in a mud pit

It was quite hard getting out of the muddy pits as the hills were so incredibly slippery.  Successful exit required help from team members and finding foot holds along the slippery slope.

me climbing out of the mud pit

me climbing out of the mud pit

“Romana’s butt looks like it’s crying.” The Jess told me after the mud pits.  Her shorts had big mud patches on the butt cheeks and muddy water was trickling down her leg.  “I bet we all look like that.”

“Yeah, you do.” The guy running behind us said.

“Oh, so you’ve been looking at our butts, have you?” The Jess asked him, accusingly.

“I have to look at something while I run.”

He ran past us as he we laughed.  Awkward Turtles was written across his back.  Yeah, that was a bit awkward.

Next we came to a huge row of zig zagging balance beams.  If you fell off, you had to do 30 burpees.

Me and Romana tackling the balance beams

Me and Romana tackling the balance beams

They were a lot thinner than the standard balance beams at gymnastics centres.  Plus they wobbled since they were not so firmly stuck in the ground.  I made it almost to the end and started wobbling.  I was about to come off when Mr. Awkward Turtle ran over grabbed me until I re balanced myself, saving me from the 30 burpees.

“He owed you for looking at our butts.” The Jess said.

We ran/walked up and down some more hills before coming to some very muddy looking water.  It was swimming time.  Proper swimming time, this stuff was above our heads.  It was so refreshing as we got in, and I’m a decent swimmer, so I enjoyed our little river swim.

swimming across the river

swimming across the river

The Jess looked like a dog fetching a stick since she carried her camera in her mouth and doggie paddled across the river.

Finally, we came to the drinks station, where we were only allowed one little cup of water.  I think I could have drunk 3 litres by that point.

I haven’t been on the monkey bars since I was a little kid, but somehow my entire team and I managed to get all the way across.

Me on the monkey bars

Me on the monkey bars

Next we came to a giant wall.  Since The Jess has crazy like-a-monkey (I’m trying to say that without sounding derogatory) climbing skills, she went first, scaling that wall like it was nothing.  She stayed at the top to help the rest of us not-so-good climbers get to the top.

I decided to go second.  I planned to stay at the top to help as well.

Scaling the wall with help from my team

Scaling the wall with help from my team

Until I got there.  Then I realised there wasn’t much to hold on to on the back of the wall and I just wanted to get down.  I held on to the top of the wall and got my feet to the second board that was nailed to the back of the wall, providing a very small foot hold.  To get to the next one, I’d have to hold on to the first board nailed to the wall.  It wasn’t very thick, and we were quite high up.  What if I fell?

I stayed where I was, not knowing quite what to do.  I’m not sure if she scaled the wall whilst I was trying to figure out how I was going to get down without falling to my death, or is she just walked around the said of the wall to help me, but Lauren walked over and offered a hand.  I needed more than that.  My fear of falling outweighed my embarrassment and Lauren physically carried me away from the wall.  Thanks Lauren, I’m still grateful.

More running up and down hills brought us to the javelin throwing area.  I’ve never thrown a javelin in my life.

Me throwing the javelin

Me throwing the javelin

I missed.  Just.  My javelin even touched the straw bale, but it didn’t stick.  Neither did the other girls, which means we all had to do 30 burpees.

This is why I shouldn't dance. I can't even synchronise burpees for a photo

This is why I shouldn’t dance. I can’t even synchronise burpees for a photo

At least we got a photo of us molesting our javelins.

javelin molesting. As you do.

javelin molesting. As you do.

Not very far from the javelins, were the…um…I don’t even know what you call them, but there were a few walls with chunks of wood nailed to them that we had to get all the way across without holding on to the top of the wall, or touching the ground.  It wasn’t very high up, so I was fine with it.

Turns out, I was really good at it.

like a spider

like a spider

I was not so good at the rope climb.  Neither were the rest of the girls, or anyone else who was there at the same time as us.  Except the Jess.  She climbed that thing like it had knots in it or something.

The Jess (pink top) owning the rope

The Jess (pink top) owning the rope

The rest of us had to do 30 more burpees. Sigh.

On the side of the rope climb was a very slippery high ladder that we had to climb up to get to a couple of cargo nets that we had to get down.

Romana and me on the cargo net

Romana and me on the cargo net

At the triangle things, I ran towards them, grabbed leap frog style, and spun straight over.  The series of them took my about 3 seconds.  I’m much better at the obstacles than the actual running.

Just hold on and spin, you'll get straight over.

Just hold on and spin, you’ll get straight over.

Unfortunately, after the triangle things came the sandbags.  8kgs of sand which had to be carried up a giant hill and down the side.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t fall over a couple of times on the way back down.

My team going up the hill

My team going up the hill

It felt great to get the bags off of our shoulders, but the race was far from over.  There were a couple walls to go over, and one to go under.

I had a nice bruise from this one the next day

I had a nice bruise from this one the next day

We trekked through a muddy creek, sometimes up to our waists for about a kilometre.  By then, it was really hot and the sun was beating down on us.  I desperately wanted a drink, but none was to be found.  Unless you counted the muddy creek we were walking in, but I didn’t want to get any weird diseases.  I’m sure half of the mud was actually cow poop.  We hadn’t had a drink since just before the monkey bars.

trekking through the creek

trekking through the creek

When we finally came out of the creek, scraped up from tripping on submerged rocks, we crossed back through the triangle things, this time crawling through them.  Most people had to shimmy along on their bellies, using upper body strength to pull themselves along.  Not us short people.  We got to do a proper crawl.  For us it wasn’t really an obstacle, just a fun tunnel that would could giggle through as we watched everyone else labouring so hard to get to the other side.

Being small also allowed me to turn around at the end of the tunnel so I didn’t have to go face first into the muddy cow poop water like most people.

The swim was refreshing, but then we came to another barbed wire obstacle.  This one seemed never ending and was on very muddy ground, not grass like the last one.  Everyone seemed to have realised that rolling was the way to go.  I guess it would be too hard to belly crawl under barbed wire for about 400 meters in the mud.

Look way back into the photo, see how crazy far that rolling goes for? And to the right hand side, you can see the sand bag hill

Look way back into the photo, see how crazy far that rolling goes for? And to the right hand side, you can see the sand bag hill

Let me just point out that I don’t do spinning well.  I can’t even go on the teacup ride at Lollipops.  Spinning makes me feel like puking, and we all know how I feel about puking (vomit phobia remember?).  By the end of that barbed wire roll, I could hardly stand up straight, and I felt like I was going to lose my breakfast.

Needless to say, it probably wasn’t the best idea to put the fire jump straight after 400 meters of rolling.  I’m just lucky I didn’t land in the fire.

We jumped that smouldering log pile.  It was actually on fire and licked at our heels as we jumped, you just can't tell from the photo

We jumped that smouldering log pile. It was actually on fire and licked at our heels as we jumped, you just can’t tell from the photo

After pushing our way through some half hearted gladiators with big sticks, we were done.  We made it.  We finished the Spartan race.  We were covered head to toe in mud, scraped and bruised, parched, and tired, but we did it.

We finished the spartan race

We finished the spartan race

Hannah did the kids spartan race, but that’s another post for another day.

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Raising a family in Australia

6 Sep

For those of you who don’t live down under, have you ever wondered what it’s like? Do we really ride kangaroos to school and wear shorts all year round. No. And no. Well, some places are hot year round, but not the whole country (as I used to think before I came here!). Here is a little insight state by state.

This post is written and sponsored by fairhomesland.com

According to the US Department of Agriculture, raising children in Australia is cheaper than America,
so for an investment property why not consider Australia?

Queensland

Queensland is renowned for its diverse economy and smart businesses. The region has some
fantastic landscapes, great weather and good career prospects. Added to this is the opportunity for
a great outdoor life. Queensland has golden sandy beaches, blue skies, lush rainforests, mountain
ranges and spectacular coral reefs. Queensland, however, is not just blessed with great natural
beauty; it is also a great place for business and its quality of life ranks as one of the best in the
world. Queensland also has a vibrant cultural scene and a world-class education system, with ten
internationally recognized universities.

Victoria

Victoria is keen on attracting skilled migrants and it is one of the most culturally diverse areas in the
world. The region has a strong economy with good opportunities for skilled and business migrants.
The region boasts world-class health and education systems and vibrant multicultural communities
making it a great place for families. The capital city is Melbourne, which is renowned for its major
sporting events including the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open Tennis tournament. Melbourne
is also Australia’s cultural heart with hundreds of restaurants, cafes, bars and boutiques, as well as a
host of local and international entertainments and exhibitions.

New South Wales

New South Wales welcomes skilled and business migrants. The region is Australia’s economic
powerhouse and is amongst the most competitive business areas in the Asian Pacific. Sydney is
the third largest financial center in the region and has plenty of opportunities for professionals in a
wide range of industries. Education is big business in New South Wales, earning the government
$5.8 billion from overseas students each year. New South Wales plays host to an amazing array
of sporting, cultural and business events throughout the year. Quality of life is high being ranked
tenth in a list of 420 cities in the Worldwide Quality of Living index in 2010. Sydney offers families
great beaches and a good secure environment, with excellent education, transport, infrastructure and
telecommunications.

The Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is ideal for those who want a relaxed lifestyle. The land is diverse, ranging
from lush tropical rainforests to sweeping endless savannah, to the rugged outback terrain. The
Northern Territory offers families a healthy outdoor lifestyle and with commutes to work generally
being around 15-20 minutes, there is plenty of time to enjoy family life. The economy has been
booming in the last three years and the region has some of Australia’s highest salaries and lowest
unemployment rates. The region is an international gas hub and a developing trade gateway to Asia,
ensuring that demand for skills will remain high.

Tasmania

Tasmania is an island just off the south-east coast of Australia, is affordable, and has a mild climate
and plenty of stunning scenery. It is a great place for those who like the outdoors, as 40 percent of
its land is a national park. Hobart, Tasmania’s capital, has some of the cheapest housing in Australia
and the private or public schools have well-qualified teachers and small class sizes. The University of
Tasmania offers a wide range of high quality degrees. There are plenty of job opportunities with key
industries being tourism, agriculture, food processing, forestry, manufacturing and tourism.

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When I was a little porcupine. Wait, maybe It was a hedgehog….

31 Oct

People don’t really celebrate Halloween Down Under.  Ok, some do.  It’s definitely gaining popularity, but I’ve never once had any little zombies or fairies or the like come knocking on my door wanting a trick or a treat.  I will, however, be dressing Hannah up in her adorable little fairy outfit for the day.  I am American after all.  Plus I bought some candy corn from USA foods, along with 150 dum dum lollipops, so I’m all prepared.

But, I did grow up in the U.S. and I used to trick or treat every single year.  So here is a guest post by my Mom, for a little insight on me as a little tyke on Halloween.

Sheri Goes Trick-or-Treating

Yeah, that's me all right, and that readers, is the inside of a mobile home.

A long time ago in a country far away from where she lives now, Sheri went trick-or-treating for the first time.  We didn’t have a lot of money when the kids were small, so they never had store bought costumes.  Where money lacks, creativity reigns.  She was about 2 then, so one of her dad’s t-shirts pretty much covered her from neck to toe.  Add some brown material, felt feet, and a white t-shirt transformed into a pretty good hedge hog suit.

 

Her brother, Chris was always quite creative making his own costumes.  He dressed up as things most other kids never would have considered.  A bag of groceries, a TV set, and a museum all made appearances as his costumes over the years.  When he got older he made the simplest costume ever, a hooded sweatshirt, and some sunglasses – instant unibomber.

 

Sheri had some flashes of creativity of her own, though not in the same way as Chris.  Her and cousin Jennifer dressed up together as things like an enormous pair of underwear (complete with stains) or a giant pair of pants (with one girl in each leg.)

 

We lived out in the country, too far to walk from house to house.  Sure we could have gone into town like most people and walked through the neighborhoods there, but I didn’t want my kids getting their candy from random unknown strangers.  So we set out in the car and drove to the houses of people we knew in our area.

 

Many of them did not expect trick-or-treaters, especially that first year.  So they scrounged through their cupboards.  We may not have made it to as many houses as the people walking through town, but in addition to the usual fun-sized candy (and what is so fun about a half bite sized candy bar anyway?) they got full sized candy bars, hostess pies, pudding cups and that sort of thing.

 

In between houses, at least one kid had to sit in the back seat of the car, unseen in the dark by mom, who had to pay attention to the road.  Sheri’s first year trick-or-treating,  she sat in the back.  After making the rounds of all the people nearby that we knew we came home.  Chris got out of the car with a bag full of candy.  Sheri got out of the car with a bag of wrappers and a stomach ache.  Turned out she ate each thing she got between houses or on the way home.

 

Sadly she watched Chris eating candy for the next week or two while she had none.  She learned her lesson though, and never ate it all at once again.

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Flashback Friday: The Bra Incident

3 Jun

My very first flight to Australia when I was 17 years old, took a staggering 25 hours.  Yeah, 25 hours to get to Australia.  That’s what happens when you fly Canada 3000 from Vancouver to Sydney via Honolulu, Rarotonga, and Auckland.  But hey, I was paying for it myself, and it only cost me $600 return, so I didn’t really care.

My host family picked me up from the airport and when I got to their house, I had just enough time to shower away 25 hours worth of sweat and unpleasantness from so much travel before the party started.  They had another exchange student leaving the very next day and she was having a going away party.  She was in the room I’d be in, so I had the den/study for the night, which happened to be downstairs right near the kitchen and living room- the party area.

I made the rounds, meeting everyone, declaring my sobriety and making a bet with someone for $50 that I wouldn’t drink the entire time I was in Australia.  Ha!  That didn’t happen!

I must have needed to get something from my temporary room because I went in there for some reason or another.

My host brother Dean must have wanted something out of there too.  It was the study after all.

As I walked in, his face went bright red.  Someone else was in there too.  I can’t remember who 10.5 years later, but there was someone else there.  He looked guilty, but I wasn’t sure why (Maybe because I’d been flying for 25 hours was in a new time zone, and was pretty much a zombie by that stage).

Yeah, I had permed burgandy hair, so what?

I gave them a funny look and they quickly scrambled out of there.

I didn’t get boobs until I was 18 years old.  Yeah, 18.  When I was 17, I was 98 pounds, still flat chested and could buy bras in the tween section.  Doesn’t sound very exciting, but tween bras are awesome!  They are sparkly.  They are funky.  I’m pretty sure they have the awesomeness to make you feel better about having absolutely no boobs. They make you feel a little bit better about it.

One of my awesome sparkly funky tween bras was sitting at the top of my luggage.  Hmmm…Maybe my host brother and friend saw it and then got embarrassed when I came in?  I didn’t say anything.  My bras were awesome, I didn’t care who saw them!

It wasn’t until later that my host brother told me that he had actually picked up the awesome sparkly bra, held it up, and showed it to his friend.  I apparently walked in on it, but was too oblivious to notice him quickly dropping my bra back into the suitcase.  He thought I had seen him with the bra.

I wish adult I-actually-have-boobs-now bras were as awesome as tween bras.  I miss the tween bras.  Humph. But I do like having boobs….

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Australia is out to get you

7 Feb

I’m pretty sure Australia is trying to eat us.  Maybe we’re good for the soil.  Maybe it thinks that if it devours us all, the hole in the o-zone layer will close up and it can be lush and green once again.

You’re not safe in the house.  Spiders in Australia are lurking about, hiding in the corner, waiting to bite you.  These aren’t your average spiders either, these spiders can kill you.

Photo courtesy of hubpages.com

In a crazy heatwave like we just had, the power grid can’t cope with all the electricity running all the air conditioners and thousands of houses find themselves in complete black out.  Yeah, the houses are trying to give you heat stroke.

You go outside.  Ugh, it’s like 45 degrees celsius out here.  It’s like stepping into a furnace.  Or a disgustingly hot sauna right after someone has poured a copious amount of water on the rocks.  If you stay out here long enough, you might possibly die, fried right there on the cement like an egg. Ouch!  Oh crap, what was that?  You look down.  The grass seems to have grown little sharp things to assault your feet.

Photo courtesy of Yates Australia

You move a few feet (fine, meters, whatever) away.  OUCH!  There is something stuck in your foot.  It’s really sharp!  It’s even smaller than the bindii.  The grass isn’t finished with you yet.  These little things are like ninjas, you don’t see them coming at all!  Darn you burrs!

A bird dive bombs your head.  It comes back for another go.  Seriously bird?  Really?  Sometimes they get you so hard, they actually draw blood.

Magpie - photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Snakes are lurking in the grass.  They are extremely venomous and enjoy biting you, sending said venom into your blood stream and nervous system.  Sometimes they hide in the toilet.

If you go for a walk in the bush, a wombat could charge you.  They may seem cuddly (ok, not from the photo below), but they’re not.  Seriously, they’re not, don’t try it.

Photo courtesy of Humanimal Kingdom

And what about those black panthers that allegedly roam the Blue Mountains.  There have been sightings, poo findings, tracks….

Watch out for those drop bears, they are particularly ferocious and have the added advantage of attacking from above.

Photo courtesy of aussieschoolbooks.com.au

A cyclone has just demolished entire towns.

Rain is flooding an entire state.

Ok, so dry land is going to eat you.  Maybe you should go for a swim.

Before you even get to the water, OUCH!  What?  You look down.  You’re standing on something long and blue, and rather condom like.  It’s dead, but darn it, it still stings!  They are everywhere!

Blue bottle jellyfish - photo courtesy of dryadmusings.com

Once you get into the water, you’re not safe.  There are more jellyfish.  Box jellyfish, Irikanji jellyfish, wasp jellyfish, more bluebottles, alive ones.

Uh-oh, there are sharks.  Great white sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks.  Sharks that can leave you severely dismembered, or even dead.  Sharks with big huge teeth just waiting to bite you.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia

But then there are the not-so-scary-but-can-still-kill-you marine wildlife. What about stingrays?  People always forget about stingrays, but if Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter can be killed by one, then it could happen to anyone.

Even the water tries to eat you.  Rips pull you out to sea and watch you struggle, flailing as you desperately try to get the attention of lifeguards.  You could, of course, swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of the rip, but a lot of people, mostly tourists, don’t know that.

Don’t think you’re safe in rivers either.  Sometimes sharks swim up river and wreak havoc along the way.

The water hole looks rather inviting.  It’s a hot day.  The water looks calm and still.  You get in.  Suddenly, you realise you are not alone.  The river is filled with giant crocs, stalking you, waiting for just the right moment.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia

So everything is trying to eat you in Australia, but you know what?  I still love it here.  Maybe I’m crazy.

The lost day

2 Jan

NYE, 2000.  I was all alone, in a hotel room in Canada at the age of 17.  My parents had driven me there the day before, stayed the night and then left on New Years Eve.  I think I went to sleep at about 9:30.  I’ve never been a late night person.  In the morning, I got my breakfast at the hotel, made sure I had everything in my giant suitcase, nothing left behind, checked out, and got the shuttle bus to the airport in Vancouver.  Check out was at 10.  My flight wasn’t until 8pm.  Sigh.  At least I had a good book.  Ok, I don’t really remember, but I must have, other wise I would have gone crazy waiting that long in an airport with no one to talk to, and I don’t remember having a terrible time, so deductive reasoning tells me I must have had a good book.

Finally people besides myself started to arrive at the departure gate.  Seems my flight was full.  A girl nearby spilled her coffee all over herself and the floor.  “Can you watch my stuff while I go get some napkins?”  She asked me.  Maybe I looked like a nice person or something because I wasn’t the nearest person to her.  The thought that she could be doing something sinister or have something sinister in her bags didn’t cross my mind.  I was 17 and naive.  She finally came back with some napkins.  The flight was already boarding and I was starting to think I might have to ditch my post and get on.  I rushed to get on the plane as soon as she got back.  Turns out she had the seat right next to me on the flight and we got along great.  It was good to have a travel buddy when the total travel time was 25 hours, with a stop in Honolulu, Rarotonga, Auckland, and finally on to Sydney.  I guess you get what you pay for.  This crazy long flight with Canada 3000 (now defunct) was something ridiculous like $400 return including tax.

Sure it was a big trip for a 17 year old all by herself, but I’ve been flying by myself since I was 9.  I used to fly from Washington to Minnesota in the summer to see my cousin/best friend Jennifer.  I didn’t like anything they served on the plane.  I used to be so picky.  I didn’t think to bring any snacks.  I figured if I didn’t like what they had on the plane I could buy something at one of the numerous airports we stopped at.  Good theory, not so good in practice.  When we got to Hawaii, it was the middle of the night and none of the shops were open.  Not to mention we weren’t actually allowed in the airport, only a little transit lounge.  Rarotonga (Cook Islands) was a tiny little airport that consisted of one little open air building and a moveable staircase to get you on and off the plane.  No food stores in sight.  I tried to buy the only thing resembling food I could find, a bag of chips, but they didn’t take US dollars, Canadian dollars, or credit/debit/eftpos cards.  Only whatever currency that they use, which I didn’t have any of and they didn’t have any money exchange.

I can’t remember why I couldn’t get any food in New Zealand, but I couldn’t.  Finally I arrived in Sydney, to an excited Lauren and my new Exchange family.  I smelled like B.O. I was greasy, and I was wearing way too many clothes for the summer weather.  Oh, and I really needed to eat.  I left on 1 Jan and arrived on 3 Jan.  I missed an entire day with all the different timezones, but it didn’t matter because now, I  was officially an exchange student.

I saw a McDonald’s and got really excited.  Finally I could eat!  I don’t know what my host family first thought of me when I arrived, after not having a shower and travelling for 2 days, but they were (still are) awesome.

10 years later (tomorrow to be exact), I am still here.  Happy  Decade to me!  Now I just have to get my citizenship.  I can’t really put it off much longer, my visa runs out next month.  Well, not my whole visa, I can remain in Australia indefinitely, I just can’t leave and come back.

Aussie Thanksgiving

27 Nov

I love Thanksgiving.  The warming food, family, unlimited bread rolls, pumpkin pie, and of course, a day off school or work.  I haven’t actually done Thanksgiving since last time Aaron and I were visiting my parents at the right time, however long ago that was (a long time!).  Mostly because I couldn’t be bothered cooking such a feast for just Aaron and me.  Now we live with Grandma, and The Jess and Jim live close by.

This year, I thought I’d go the whole 9 yards.  Ok, 8 yards.  Turkeys are expensive here, and I’m cheap.  Plus, cooking a bird for an entire day seems like far too much effort when the end result doesn’t taste nearly as good as a chicken that I could roast in a mere two hours.

Unfortunately, canned pumpkin doesn’t actually exist in this country, so I had to make the effort to buy, chop, boil, and mash my own.  Did I mention that I’ve never made a Thanksgiving dinner before?  Luckily the trusty internet was on hand to give me traditional recipes.

Just my luck, it was 32 degrees celsius (98 farenheit) here on Thanksgiving day.  I pressed on and cooked up a storm anyway.  My feast turned out rather delicious, but on such a hot day, I probably would have preferred to eat a cold sandwich and salad, but what the heck, it was Thanksgiving.  And you know what?  I’ll probably do it all again next year.  After all, I am American.

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Now if only I could find my Christmas decorations, I’d put up our Christmas tree.  It’s my family’s tradition to put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving.  I’ve searched the linen press, the bedrooms, the shed, the garage, under the bed, the living room, EVERYWHERE, and they are nowhere to be seen.  Doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but my Christmas ornaments are not your average ornaments.  I have been collecting my ornaments since I was a little kid.  There are no plain baubles in my collection.  All of my pieces are unique, and often something I’m interested in.  I.E. there is a camera ornament, lots of horses, cats, dogs, etc.  The stocking that my Mom made for me in infancy is in that box.  The stocking I hand sewed for Aaron is in that box.  Hannah’s baby’s first Christmas ornament, and our first Christmas together ornaments are in there.  Losing that box would be like losing a part of me.

So, I’m devastated at the moment, but hopeful that it is somewhere safe.  Somewhere that I just can’t remember at the moment.  I never would have thrown it out.  I’m just worried that we forgot it in that odd little cupboard above the stairs going into the laundry room at our last place.  The Christmas stuff is all we kept there.  I found the tree though, so I would think that we got the ornaments too.  *Sigh* my fingers are crossed.

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