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27 March 2011

Typical Saturday Night

Last night, Hubs and I went to eat dinner in China town here in Melbourne. Yummers! Awesome Chinese food, I have to admit.

Unfortunately, no pics of the amazing dinner we had, but I did have my camera handy when we happened upon these critters while we were walking back along the Yarra river.


This one hissed at Matt as he was taking his picture. No pictures, please!!!

This is one in a different tree and much more welcoming to the paparazzi.



Glowing eyes!
 
These two were having some sort of domestic dispute. There was some chasing and hissing going on.


I love the bushy tails


We think this one was pregnant

Climbing down the tree to come have a chat to us!
I did some research to try and figure out what these are and they are called "common brush tail possums." A passerby had commented that they were possums and I had disregarded their comment. These are much cuter than the ugly possums of North America! But the passerby was correct: these are indeed possums.

They may be common in Australia but this was the first time I had ever seen them so I was pretty damn excited when  we spotted them in the tree in the park!!

Australia has so many unique animals...I can't wait to see them all.

After our visit with the possums, Matt and I wandered down to the Crown casino to have a spot of dessert. When we were done, I made Matt sit by the river for a few minutes so I could take some photos of the river at night.


View of the Melbourne Aquarium



Looking towards Flinders Station
 I think we made the right decision to live in an urban area. Friday and Saturday nights are quite lively with everyone walking around the city (intoxicated!) We are not crazy enough to drink that much so we just settle for gelato or a pastry. I did have a beer on Friday night and had a headache all day on Saturday. That will teach me to live on the wild side!

Hope you enjoyed those.

Hasta luego,
Laurie

24 March 2011

Missing and Loving

When you move somewhere new, it's inevitable that things you like won't be there, especially in a foreign country. There are things I miss that I never thought that I would not have to go without, things I totally took for granted living in Houston.

And while there are things that I miss from home, there are some very welcome additions to my life living here. Things and ways of being that I never thought I would get to experience.

There is a price to pay for everything: I have to sacrifice some of the comforts of home to enjoy a new place and experience new things. I won't live here forever so I think it is best to just get the things I miss off my chest and start embracing and enjoying the unique things about Oz before my time here has ended!

Things I Miss:
-Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix: mi favorito!

-Fresh brewed, unsweetened ice tea with unlimited refills and fresh lemon on the side. There's nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day. Or a cold, chilly, winter day. I do make it at home but it doesn't taste the same as what is served at home in restaurants.

-Tex Mex in general: Although, there are tortillas in the grocery store and mild salsas here, it is just not the same. I have discussed this topic at length with other Texan Expats and it is understood that good Tex-Mex is not to be had anywhere north of Dallas...it seems I would be missing me some Chuy's even if we made an inter-country move.
-Cheap clothing stores a la TJ Maxx and Marshall's. Perhaps they have an equivalent here but I just haven't found one yet. Prices will still be higher, though, as the general price level here seems to be twice what it is in the US. This might be a good thing, though, as I do need to reign in on my clothes spending.
-Cookies: e.g. chocolate chip cookies. The ones here are kind of brick -like instead of the flaky, soft, chewy ones in the States. The shortbread cookies here are DELIGHTFUL, though.

Nom, nom, nom!
-Drip coffee: Melbourne is an espresso town! I am learning all the variations of espresso drinks: latte, flat white, long black, cappuccino, espresso...I like them all but sometimes you just want a plain old cup of jo! We bought a drip coffee maker for the casa so we just have to wait until we get home to have our coffee fix.
-American Style Breakfast: Australians have a unique breakfast which is good, but still miss the in-your-face omelets with potatoes/hash browns, and the like that we got back home (with some drip coffee). Matt, misses American style bacon, too.
-Saturday Night Live: there is actually a lot of American TV here but no SNL. Matt and I had a tradition of watching this together on Saturday nights. I know, we are such the partiers!

-Barnaby's & Baby Barnaby's: our favorite Houston restaurants. Great food, awesome staff...sniff, sniff!

The menu/place mat: love the guacamole burger and the green chili burger with a mountain of fries!

We almost always went to the Fairview location. The original and most colorful!

Things That Totally Rock about Melbourne:
-Sweets Galore! I feel such a kinship with the Aussies because they seem to love candy, pastries, and sweets as much as I do! No joke: at a big supermarket, there are entire aisles dedicated to candy (whereas you might just have one section of one aisle in a supermarket in the States). Walking the streets of Melbourne, I see so many people eating ice cream, Slushies from 7-11, candy, and pastries. There are coffee shops everywhere here...and it is customary to have a pastry while you are having coffee or tea. That being said, it has been a little bit difficult for me to reign in on my sugar habit. Trying to keep it limited to one per day (still kind of too much, though).
-Public Transportation: trains and trams get you pretty much everywhere you need to go. Been car free so far and have not missed sitting in Houston traffic at all!

Tram on Flinders Street in front of the train station
-The weather: The summer so far has been a far cry from the oppressive, hot, humid summer days of Houston. The weather is just delightful with some days even being a little too cool for summer! Really beautiful weather here so far.

-The People: there people here are so darn nice! Even people working for the government are polite and congenial! I no longer feel the need for the defensive attitude I had at home. Well, mostly! And no one has made fun of my accent...people just ask if I'm Canadian! Ha!
-Sporty Culture: it seems to me that there are more people who run, cycle, and row here. It is a positive influence on me. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure!
-Healthier Food: while I miss Tex-Mex and cookies and assorted other junk, I do appreciate that the food here is generally free of additives, preservatives, and partially hydrogenated BS.
Those a few things I miss and love. I'm sure as I am here longer, I will find I am missing some other thing from home I never previously thought about. But I also know that I am going to love this place more and more while I am here, and when I finally do go home, I will be making lists of all the things I miss from Oz! Such is life!

I hope to embrace this place and love all there is to love. I want to absorb as much as I can while I am here and hopefully I can share it with you all through this blog.

Thank you for reading!

Until next time,
Laurie

18 March 2011

Picture Pages

Some photos of Melbourne for your viewing pleasure:


Flinders Street train station from across the Yarra River

View of the CBD from Southbank

Etihad Stadium where Australian Rules Football games (aka "Footy") are played

Rowing crew on the Yarra

Alleyways like this abound in Melbourne

Awesome graffiti

Pretty unicorn street art

Federation Square (aka "Fed Square)

View of my building

More street art...not sure what "Steezy" means - hopefully it is not obscene!!

Cute dog on pigeon street art


Happy dude street art


My favorite Houston sports team, the Wildcats, are quite popular here!

Alley way looking toward Fed Square

The famous Flinders Street station

Fed Square

15 March 2011

Progress!

Today is a great day: we finally have internet at our apartment! After nearly 4 weeks of struggle, the internet is now steaming into our lives.

Even better: our sea shipment is being delivered tomorrow. It passed the rigorous customs check and we get to get rid of our rental furniture and live with our familiar, loved furniture. We can start getting back to a near-normal existence! I can also update this blog with greater frequency which I am excited about. I have a lot of pics to share of Melbourne!

Well, just wanted to share the good news. Life is good!

-Laurie

02 March 2011

First Check-In Australia Side

Wow, I have been here over a month and I am finally updating this blog! But, I do believe it is for the best: the first month was hard. I'm not gonna lie, I was not a happy camper there for a bit. This blog would have been full of me whining about missing TexMex and working (why? I dunno). But, I have made it over the first hurdle and I am now enjoying the situation and this beautiful city!

To get everyone caught up to speed, we landed in Melbourne circa Jan 25th. We flew Quantas Business Class and it. was. awesome. Fully reclining seats, snacks galore, and they even give you pajamas if you want them. I caught up on my movie watching: The Social Network and Inception. Great films.

We hit the ground running and started looking for a permanent place to live the day we got in. We ended up at this place: http://www.triptychliving.com/

It's brand new with a modern, green design. Here are some stock photos for your viewing pleasure:



View from our guest bedroom

View from our bedroom
 The pic above is the view from the master bedroom. The round building with the Eiffel Tower looking thing on it is the Arts Building. The tower lights up at night and since our living room/kitchen common room has windows on three sides, we turn off the lights in that room and it looks like Christmas up in our place! The other square building in the photo is the Victoria Arts Museum. Haven't gone there yet but will go soon.



Living space/kitchen view

Outside of building. I drew this - pretty good, huh? ;-P
Unfortunately, we STILL do not have internet access at our apartment. I am on the Melbourne City Library computers right now and these are photos I grabbed from the internet. I have taken plenty of my own which I am dying to share with you along with all my other musings and observations of this place. But, this is the best I can do right now.

That seems to be the one thing you need when you move overseas: patience. Things just don't move here as quick as they do in the States. We have had to wait longer for things than we are used to and it was pretty difficult at first. Our modem is (hopefully) in the mail right now and we are expecting it any day now. I can't wait to start blog writing again regularly. There are so many fun things here to share! And since I am currently without a job, I have plenty of time to be your eyes and ears of Melbourne. Hopefully, you will like it so much you will want to come visit! (And if you do come visit, let me send you a list of things that we are already really, really wanting from the US that we can't get here!) 

Pray that the Internet Gods smile upon me and our modem hurries home to us!

Cheers,
Laurie