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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A home away from home and Happy Thanksgiving

Our New Home

Well, Mikey and I are officially LIVING in Australia! We found our home along Sydney's northern beaches in a small town called Narrabeen. It is beautiful as most cities in Australia are. The beach is our backyard

View to the North

View to the South

and Narrabeen Lake is a short stroll down the Narrabeen Plateau. Our new home is on Ocean Street and we are unit 1 of a lovely 4 story condo. It is a 2 bedroom 1 bath unit with a nice balcony that faces Ocean Street.

Our Balcony with Camping Chairs

Though we wished it was a view of the ocean we get to do some fun people watching which is always entertaining. We have a pool that will come in very handy during the hot summer months that are coming soon!! We share this lovely place with Nathan our French roommate. He works at the FCS warehouse here in Australia which is the company that Mikey worked for in Florida. It was meant to be! He is really nice and has been teaching us some basic French. We know about 14 sayings which is a pretty good start! We will keep learning. His english is pretty good though he has trouble understanding me:) I guess I talk fast??!!

We have been here for 3 weeks today!!! It has already flown by. After settling in for a few days we got on the job search and had some luck!! Mikey landed a job at the Quiksilver Board store in Manly, Sydney's most southern of the northern beaches. Basically Manly looks at Sydney across the harbor. It is a happening little beach city so Mikey will keep busy. They also have him working at the retail store on the Manly Corso and at the Tom Carroll store in Mona Vale, which is the town right north of Narrabeen. They must like him:) I found a classical Pilates studio in Mona Vale so I fill my mornings with a few hours of teaching pilates to Australia's women. They are great and the studio is really nice. So it looks like we will be able to stay in Australia for the next 6 months as we had planned!

We recently had some American friends from Jacksonville, Steve and Julie, in town for about 10 days. After leaving St. Thomas where they lived for 2 years they headed to Australia for 3 months. They had been doing the traveling as we had in the beginning and had finally made it to Sydney and good timing because we had our place. It was fun seeing fellow Americans especially since Tommy and Jenny are gone:( So we exchanged adventures, made dinners together, and did some sightseeing! We went into the city where we ate at China Town and then went to the Sydney Fish Markets

which were awesome. Every type of fish, crabs, oysters, muscles, and so on.

We got some Sydney Rock Oysters that were beyond Amazing!! We then headed back to the Rocks for a sunset at Glenmore's Rooftop Beer Garden overlooking the Rocks, Harbor Bridge, and Opera House. Sydney is only a 30-40 minute bus ride so we will be spending lots of time there when we need some city life!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

From Left to Right

Drew, Mikey, Nathan, Steve

It is these holidays that we miss our friends and family even more but thankfully we had Steve and Julie to help us put together this American meal in a foreign country that definitely does not celebrate the first friendship between the Pilgrims and the Indians. Well I was determined to make some of my moms and Mikeys' moms homemade recipes. it was not easy as they did not have a lot of key ingredients that I needed. We went down every aisle about 4 times in 2 different grocery stores trying to find what we needed(Thanks for the patience MIkey!) There was no cranberry, no squash, no French Friend Onions for Green Bean Casserole, no pumpkin pie, and no whole Turkeys unless pre ordered at a butcher. So we had to do a little rethinking. We found 2 pre cooked half turkey breast that looked really good. We also got a 1/4 pound honey baked ham from the deli and figured this would work. We made stuffing, green beans, corn, and a salad. Steve jumped in and made home made mashed potatoes with garlic and jalapeno. They were really good!! We got some good fresh rolls from the bakery and a tiramisu for desert. It would have to do! So we had Mikey and I, Steve and Julie, Nathan(French Roommate), and Drew from across the street. Drew works at FCS in Australia, so MIkey knew him from home from international sales meetings. He also helped us get the place we are living in. He was excited to have his first Thanksgiving. And it was good!! We all felt that we had made the best Thanksgiving meal we could under the circumstances and we had our closest friends in the country with us and that was the most important thing. So Mikey and I survive our first Thanksgiving together married in another country!

We both have off tomorrow so we plan on doing a hike around here and then getting either a 5$ 3ft tree or a 15$ 6ft tree from Kmart. They are artificial as Australia has no real christmas trees. Interesting huh? Since Thanksgiving is over we are starting the Christmas season and thank goodness they do celebrate christmas here!



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finally Melbourne to Melbourne

This blog is a little behind. I am writing about our time in Melbourne from October 27-November 2.

Finally Melbourne to Melbourne! It is definitely a full circle for the four of us. We left our lives and homes in Melbourne Florida to travel across the world where after 3 1/2 months together we made it to Melbourne Australia. We tried to get some place to stay in the city but with the famous Melbourne Cup Horse Race on November 2nd the city is EXPENSIVE! So we resorted to our trusty caravan parks. We stayed in Ashely Gardens which was only a 40 minute bus ride to the city. Melbourne is quite different than Sydney city and much smaller in its sight seeing. It is known for its great food and drink. So after some time in Federation Square

Victoria Art Museum, and St. Paul's Cathedral we made our way to a restaurant. After we walked along the Yarra River

that runs through the city and made our way to Melbourne Royal Botanical Gardens. The rain moved in our second day here so we moved into our first cabin

in the caravan park and it was a pleasant spurge for us. It had a fully equipped mint kitchen, tv, dining table, 1 double bed in the kitchen, and a small room with 2 sets of bunks. But the rain came and we were soooo glad to be in doors. We went to the biggest casino complex in Australia located in Melbourne called the Crown. It was exciting and took me right back to my Vegas days. Tommy likes to try his luck so while he gambled Jenny, Mikey, and I stumbled upon the Australia vs New Zealand Rugby match on the big screen. It is a big rival and what a game! We brought our spirit and cheered for the Aussies who won in the last minute. We had a great time and headed back to get a good night sleep in our new Cabin! Sunday was our last day together before Tommy and Jenny would board a plane to Bali. We decided to check out one of Melbourne's trendy suburbs, St. Kilda, located on the river. It was beautiful and WINDY! We got to take the tram there which was neat. We made it to the strip with all the good food and the cake shops. It all looked so good. We couldn't resist trying one of the treats from these cake shops that are famous in St. Kilda.

We headed back for our last night together. We made our favorite meal, tacos, and watched our show, the X factor. Monday morning we had breakfast together got Tommy and Jenny packed and said our sad goodbyes. What an awesome 3 1/2 months together and we will miss them! They are off to Bali for a honeymoon and warm weather, and we are headed back to the northern beaches of Sydney to make a home for 6 months.



Friday, November 12, 2010

Phillip Island, Bells Beach, and The Great Ocean Road

On our way moving south we hit a big mile stone when we crossed the border from the state of New South Wales into the state of Victoria. We decided to make a stop in Phillip Island, an island about 2 hours south of Melbourne. It is known for its Penguin Parade, which we ended up not doing because it was way too expensive and photography is not allowed. Instead we went to Nobby Island the northern most tip where they said we could see seals but it was too windy and cold and the telescopes were down so no seals either. But a walk around Swan lake where we had a picnic lunch and a wave check at every single headland filled the day up with adventure. The best part were the 4 men that we met around the camp kitchen at our caravan park. They had menus that included fish, steak filet, and wine, lots of wine. We must have looked pretty shabby because they shared their gourmet salads, thai wrap appetizers, fresh caught salmon, and eye fillet steak(best cut in Australia) They said they do this weekend once a year to get away from the wives and do some fishing. After they left other people started leaving food for us to take including eggs, crackers, 20 left over sausages and burgers and some other items. Everyone is soooo nice. So though we saw no penguins or seals our campsite was home to a wallaby that grazed around our site all day. Pretty cool!!!

We left after 2 days and headed for Torquay, the great surfing town and start of the great ocean road. To get off of Phillips Island and head west we had to get onto the Mornington Peninsula where we took the car on the Queenscliff ferry. It was beautiful! We camped in Torquay next to Drunk Dave who was pretty interesting. The guys surfed Bells Beach the famous surf break which was awesome to see, we filmed:) The 4 minute hot showers were a first though Jenny and I worked the system by keeping a watch in the shower and at 20 seconds til hopping out and pushing the button for another 4 minute shower.

After 2 nights here we packed up the car to take a "must do" drive on the Great Ocean Road. We drove 5 hours through about 10 cute little towns, several lighthouses, and ended with the rock formation of a life time, the Twelve Apostles. Words cannot describe these eroded limestone formations so I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Jenny drove us along the Great Ocean Road which was exciting! Girls in the front, guys in the back! After a long day of driving we stayed in Lorne one of the towns along the coast where we feasted and slept. We are on our way to Melbourne tomorrow for some more city sights. Finally, Melbourne to Melbourne!!

Phillip Island
Swan Lake

Pyramid Point

Nobby Island with Seals we couldn't see:)
Our Campsite Wallaby
The crew with Thai Appetizers and fresh Salmon, gifts of our camp kitchen friends!

Bells Beach

The guys surfing Winkipop at Bells, Mikey found a friend and Tommy contemplates the waves

Good Friends

The Great Ocean Road
Guys in the back, Girls in the front, they look thrilled!
Wild Echidna on the side of the road, a first!!
The Twelve Apostles


Monday, November 8, 2010

winkipop/bells beach

Here is some footage of Tommy and I surfing in Torquay, Victoria. Winkipop- right next to Bells Beach. thanks for filming girls!! The water was cold!! This was our first time in fullsuit and booties= cold and slow..

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Here is some footage of the surf between Sydney and Victoria. We have surfed a lot of fun waves but don't have video of too much. We have had a great time camping our way through southern New South Wales and into Victoria. We are now on the Great Ocean Road and are staying in Torquay. We have some good footage from Bells Beach that we will post soon.