Sunday, May 31, 2009

Luminous



How do you make the iconic Sydney Opera House even more breathtaking? Use it as a canvas for a spectacular light display. Luminous, part of the Sydney Vivid Festival, is going on now through June 14th, 6pm-midnight. If you are lucky enough to live in Sydney you should definitely check this out!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Who Would've Thought . . . It Figures

It's been 6 weeks since I became the owner of a shiny new Toyota Kluger and well, she wasn't looking so shiny any more. And, since my mom is coming to Sydney tomorrow (woo-hoo) I figured it was time to try out the local Crystal Car Wash.

$42.75 later ($40 for the car wash and $2.75 for a M&M biscuit that the Little Buddy promptly gnawed the M&Ms off of) I left feeling a little ripped off.

It's not just that the car wash here is nearly 4X the price of a good car wash in SoCal. It's that I didn't even get Armor All on the tyres or that overpowering "new car" scent sprayed inside.

The good news: This is Australia so the guys with the chamois don't expect a tip.

The bad news: Looks like it's gonna rain again.

It figures.

Surfs Up

It's Autumn here (not Fall) and the stormy weather has brought some big waves to Sydney beaches. This weekend we drove out to Manly (our closest ocean beach) and were impressed by the huge surf which closed the beach.

When we returned home we were surprised to see surf at Balmoral (the typically calm harbour beach right in front of our apartment).

Surfers off Rocky Point Island at Balmoral Beach



Sunday we headed out to Bondi for the first time and watched heaps of people surfing the big waves out there as well. Check out this cool ocean pool for lap swimming.



Bondi Beach



I'm sitting on the balcony typing, watching the sunrise and listening to the waves hit the shore while waiting for the Woolies guy to bring my groceries. (I have completely given up going into Aussie grocery stores. It's better this way). Life is good. And, to top it off, this time tomorrow I will be heading to the airport to pick up my mom. No wonder I'm smiling.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

When we decided to move to Sydney I started reading about culture shock. I wanted to be prepared to deal with the inevitable roller coaster of emotions that most expats describe. Here's what I learned (or learnt if you're Aussie):

There are 5 Stages of Culture Shock
1. The Honeymoon.
Everything is exciting, it feels like you're on vacation.
2. Distress Stage.
Everything is confusing, and you don't have your support system to fall back on.
3. Re-integration Stage.
You feel angry, hostile, and frustrated and idealize life back home. You reject the new culture as inferior.
4. Autonomy Stage.
You start to feel like yourself again, have more confidence, and no longer feel isolated.
5. Independence.
Embracing the new culture and everything in it, you start to feel at home.

I think I am on an extended honeymoon. I love it here. We live in a beautiful place and have met many lovely people. We've found a school for our daughter and a church for our family. And while I miss our dear friends and family members back home, the truth is, I am happy here. There has not been one day when I felt that coming here was a mistake.

I'm not so bold to believe that I am immune to the effects of culture shock. So I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. We've been here for a bit over 2 months. How long can the honeymoon last?


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wish List

Things I Wish They Had in Oz:

-Reeses Peanut Butter cups and Heath Bars
-Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
-My Sissy
-Amazon.com
-Gift Receipts at Toys R Us
-Costco
-Pay at the Pump petrol stations

(There's heaps more, but those are the biggies for me right now).

Things I Wish they Didn't Have in Oz:

-Cartoon Network and Boomerang
-Speed and red light cameras
-Sharks in the harbour
-Dangerous spiders
-Coin operated shopping trolleys with 4WD

Hey, a girl can dream.

On a side note, today I saw a very attractive young woman wearing full-on MC Hammer style harem pants. Can't touch this:



Please, people, tell me these pants are not making a fashion come back.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I'm a lucky lucky girl. I have two healthy kids, a great husband, and I get to live on the beach in Australia for two years. And to top it all off I have a great mom.

My mom is strong, beautiful, organized, and devoted to her family. She is an amazing listener and a loving grandmother.




I miss you Mom. Thanks for teaching me how to be a good mother.
Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

May the Force Be With You

Over the Easter holidays we got to hang out with every Star Wars geek in Sydney. They were all at the Powerhouse Museum for the big Star Wars exhibit. My kids like Star Wars, and since the Powerhouse claims to be the most hands-on museum in Sydney we decided to check it out.



The exhibit was packed with fans, young and old, crowding around to get a look at Chewbacca's costume or the Millennium Falcon. I didn't find it too exciting. I mean, what are Han Solo's pants without Harrison Ford in them? But my kids, and heaps of other people, were fascinated with all the movie memorabilia on display.

The real fun was in the museum itself.

There are several areas devoted just to kids. In Zoe's House they got to gear up and get to work hauling bricks, operating a crane, and building. Lucky for me, our session in Zoe's House was limited to 25 minutes. Otherwise my kids would've spent the whole day in there!



There's a great, inexpensive, kid friendly cafe at the museum. And right outside the cafe is this super cool climbing structure:



The museum also features a fun "Magic Garden" area with all kinds of electronic toys for the kids to try out. The Little Princess loved standing in front of the blue screen pretending to be on TV (of course). There is also an impressive train engine display and a giant clock that displays the 12 disciples slowly walking past Jesus on the hour. This was a big disappointment to my kids who were expecting a lot of action from a cuckoo clock of this size!



After several fun-filled hours at the museum the Little Buddy started to melt down and I knew it was time to head home. That's when the Little Princess convinced me we had to find the "Anti-Gravity" capsule because she has always wanted to know what it feels like to float in space. So we dragged ourselves to the back of the museum and crowded into the glass "Space Shuttle" while outer space rotated around us. The effect was dizzying and she quickly realized someone with her degree of motion sickness is not cut out for life in space!

I'm sorry to say that the Star Wars exhibit is now closed. But the rest of the museum is definitely worth the trip. I'm sure we'll be back!
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