February 28, 2012

Solo Touring

Today Luke had to work and I did not (I know that's like a broken record now, but I do have a job now I swear!!), so I decided to do something that I knew he would not be upset about missing. I headed to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. I figured I needed a little culture in my life, so off I went through Hyde Park.

I had this incredible moment while I was there watching these two men play chess on one of those giant chess boards. They were so involved and so was everyone else around them, it was an incredible thing to watch and be apart of. Somewhere nearby someone was playing some classical music and for a split second I couldn't hear the cars flying by and the horns honking. As quickly as it came it went, and the music stopped and was replaced with the city noises once again. But it was a pretty cool moment of peace in this sometimes hectic city.

Once I made my way through the park I walked around St Mary's Cathedral and then to the Art Gallery. I hadn't seen the building before. It is sort of tucked away inside the Botanical Gardens. It's pretty grand actually isn't it?! 

The inside is totallllly different. It's got this downtown open plan warehouse kind of feel. I liked it. This was one of the only photos I took because once I got into the other areas where the paintings were I was promptly (and repeatedly, I know I can't listen well) told not to take any photos, even with the flash off! Anywho, so it is a really great gallery with Australian art, Aboriginal art, Japanese Art and a cafe and restaurant that were overpriced incredible busy!

What is it about museums that makes you sooooo thirsty? Which then makes you think you are famished? That is why those cafe's are so busy. So obviously half way through seeing the gallery my willpower was quickly fading and I went from craving something tasty to NEEDING something tasty. So I powered through the last floor of the gallery and got out before I got sucked in. I quenched my thirst with a DELICIOUS caramel iced coffee Via pack from starbucks. I would have taken a photo, but the glass was empty before I could find my camera. Sorry!

February 22, 2012

February 22, 2011

A year ago Christchurch, New Zealand had a devastating 6.3 "aftershock" that caused damage to the city, its people, and the country as a whole. Luke and I were living in Christchurch when it happened. When the earthquake hit just after lunch I clutched the desk and watched as the buildings outside swayed left to right. It's hard to say what you think in only moments of sheer terror, but it's safe to say I was concerned. Our office wasted no time heading down the four flights of stairs to the ground floor and out into the street. Up until that point I'd felt a lot of small tremors living in the city. It had been over 5 months since the initial 7.1 earthquake that past September, but this one was different. I immediately called Luke of course thinking the worst and was glad to know that out in the western suburbs all was fine. Not where I was. I looked to my left down towards Cathedral Square as a second large tremor shook those of us that weren't already frightened. I watched as the Square went up into a cloud of dust that I would later find out was the collapse of the Cathedral spire.

I walked towards home in a little bit of a daze. I spoke to a colleague on my walk home and we commented on how we hoped no one was hurt. It was easy to see how much damage had been caused as I walked over newly created speed bumps, jumped over pools of silt, and saw people sitting on the curb in front of their severely damaged buildings. I spoke to Luke just as my phone ran out of credit and his battery was about to die. You're never ready for a crisis and we proved that to be right. He told me traffic was terrible and to just stay in an open and public place until he got closer to the city and we could inspect our house together. So I did what any normal person does after a catastrophe, I sat in the park and read my book.

When Luke finally made it home 3 hours later (its usually a 20 minute ride) we went to our house to find zero damage had occurred. Except for some food that fell out of the fridge and a potted plan that tipped over then back onto its base again spilling no soil, there was no damage. We sat outside with all of our roommates, too stirred to be inside for the small tremors that followed all day. We had no power and no water. We were so incredibly lucky. We regained power at 10 o'clock that night. Although we still had no sewerage, we had cold water running from the taps. We were advised to boil everything for 3 minutes before using it. We did this for a few weeks.

It's much easier to talk about all of this now a year on and on a different land mass, but this event, if not changing my life, at least changed the way I look at life. It's all too easy to forget what we went through and what many people are still going through every day there. When I turn on my faucet I can put a glass under it and drink it. When I use the toilet, I can flush it. When I go to bed I can expect to sleep through the night without being woken up by some angry tectonic plate. But I will never forget what happened and what I experienced. When I turned on the news that night we got our power back I looked at a horrific sight. We spoke for days about how usually you watch the news and see some disaster happening somewhere in the world, but when you turn the tv off you are safe. Well, when we turned the tv off we were still watching the disaster. I cried a lot. I had horrible nightmares about my family. I had one so realistic at one point that in the morning I actually had to call my parents to make sure they were ok. When I finally did go back to work I was struck by how terrible the disaster truly was. The city that only days before was bustling, was completely shut down and deserted. It stayed that way.

This is the first time I have put what happened fully into words. I thought it was appropriate that a year on I should pay tribute to the city then and now, and to the people who lost their lives. I will forever feel a connection with Canterbury and it's people and I look forward to seeing the new Christchurch back to its bustling streets and sitting in Dux De Lux or the Twisted Hop upon my return.

If you're ever interested in following the progress of the city check out:

- Or follow on Twitter @ChristchurchCC

February 19, 2012


Luke you should skip reading this blog entry since it may make you sad. I have been meaning to do a post about some of the watering holes we have sampled since we've been in Sydney, but I keep forgetting. Well the other night Luke was making his "I am thirsty for beer" noises while we were eating dinner and it reminded me to write this post. I told him to skip this because due to some recent financial restrictions (me not having a job) we have had to curb our beer outings for the moment.

The Australian Hotel, in my favorite part of the city, The Rocks, is pretty cool. It's sort of like an institution here. We showed up on a Saturday afternoon and it was packed! There were about 3 bachelorette parties going on, all of the outside tables were full and the sun was shining down on us! We managed to scoot into the end of a booth where I mouthwateringly gazed at the other people's pizzas and Luke headed in to get us a drink. I went for the honey beer (obviously the most expensive one on tap, oops!) and Luke got some Ale that is brewed on site (I think?). Mine was honey-licious and although the bartender called Luke's choice an "old man's drink" he thoroughly enjoyed it as well. Overall a good spot and on a sunny day I'd probably go again. Otherwise the inside didn't look like much and everyone that was anyone was sitting outside.

Harts Pub is one of the best we've been to in Sydney in my opinion (Yes, that is the flash from my camera, I am an excellent photographer). The ambiance is spectacular, it is always busy, they have live music, and they have so many craft beers on tap you could go there every weekend and try a different beer. We've been twice now and both times have sampled some incredible beers and ciders. The interior of the place is really cool and old style pub-like. They have a bar upstairs and downstairs for when you just can't stand to stray too far from your coveted outdoor seat. On the walls are tons of quotes about beer and drinking that can keep you entertained when you company doesn't. The beer garden outside is pretty good as well with a shaded spot that's always taken and a spot right in the sun that always seems to be reserved just for us. I would definitely recommend it. It's just on the cusp of The Rocks as well and a slightly closer trek from our apartment than the Australian Hotel.

Our other favorite spot is where we headed on my birthday, King Street Brewhouse. Besides being the best place in the city to watch the Superbowl, they have delectable beers. They also have loads of craft beers on tap, they have a super cheap happy hour from 5-6 every weekday (by Australian standards anyway), and it is the closest of the three to our apartment. Clear winner. They have this ginger beer on tap that makes my heart sing and after drinking them as quickly as if they were ginger ale they make me actually sing as well ;)

Hopefully this is only the beginning of our drinking explorations. May there be many more to write about!!

February 12, 2012

Running the World

Remember when I told you about Why I Run? Well I've had to remind myself recently. After moving into our new apartment, I started running again at the gym. It's so hot and humid here right now I never tried to even run outside. I was trapped on the treadmill boring myself to death running. Then on my birthday I headed outside on foot for the first time since I've been in Sydney. It was like suddenly I remembered how much fun running can actually be. When I ran things actually went past and new things were in front of me (although I don't hate looking at myself in the mirror on the treadmill).

So now I have been running outside a lot more and in doing so have found some more really interesting areas around Sydney. I stumbled upon this trail near Darling Harbour and it lead me to this amazing view of the harbor bridge.

When I was running along the harbor I saw this sign and got so excited. I'm sure I looked really cool as I did an awkward veer off the path I was on to follow this new one.

So I followed this cool blue running man all the way to here:

You tired of seeing this bridge yet? I'm not.

February 07, 2012


I have a confession. I was sort of absolutely dreading kind of nervous about this upcoming birthday. In my head I had this idea that at 24 I should be a "grown-up", and anyone that knows me knows that is a curse-word. But I woke up on my birthday feeling really excited. Mostly because I knew there were presents awaiting me in some hidden cabinet somewhere in the apartment. After presents, Luke and I headed straight off to what turned out to be one of the biggest super bowl parties in Sydney! It was at the King Street Brewhouse. It was absolutely jam packed with people drinking beer at 10am. When we went up to the bar to order coffees the bartender grabbed a bucket and asked how many beers I wanted. I had to correct him and ask for my coffee. It was a great game with an even better outcome!

Then headed over to a local pie stand to get meat pies with mushy peas on top. YUM.

After a quick lunch Luke was off to work and I was off to lay in the apartment trying to digest my ever expanding pie.

When I checked my emails on my birthday to see how many people loved me I had received one from Luke's Mum saying how lucky I was that I was spending my birthdays in a new country every year. Last year was New Zealand, this year Australia, and who knows where next year. You know I read that and I actually couldn't believe I had not come to this conclusion on my own. I was so grateful that someone had reminded me of how lucky I am (thanks Jill!).

After reading that and finally getting up off the floor I put on my new running shorts and headed off to enjoy this years birthday location. I was going to run across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I had to walk there because I'm no ultra marathon runner, but once I got to the bridge I ran over and back and realized I still had loads of energy so I ran all the way back to my apartment building! Running across the bridge I tried to take in where I was and remind myself how cool this is. I may be away from home, from family and friends whom I miss very much, but I was running across the Harbour Bridge looking at the Opera House and the city's skyline thinking: how frickin cool is this?! (yes I say frickin in my head)

After this runner's high, Luke returned from work and we were off to gorge ourselves once again! There is this food court in Chinatown that we have been eyeing for sometime now, so we thought my birthday was a perfect excuse to head in. There are so many choices, which obviously meant we were wandering around aimlessly looking at pictures of food for ages until we finally decided. I ordered Mongolian Lamb and Luke got chilli soup with chilli, beef and chilli. I mean there were whole red chillis floating in the soup. It was hot. The food was amazing as we expected it would be. It even came with rice and soup. We waddled back to have Chocolate Mud cake.

A perfect day. What was I so worried about?

February 04, 2012

Dragon Boat Races

This morning after Luke left to run "errands" (it is my birthday on Monday after all), I decided to head down to Darling Harbor to check out the continuing Chinese New Year festivities. This morning it was Dragon Boat Racing. I'd heard a little bit about it before, but was not prepared for the amount of people that were there. The boat I think holds about 20 people. There is a person at the front beating a drum to the beat of the rows and a person at the back who has to stand up the whole time and use a really long oar to stear the boat. Every other person is sitting and has one oar that they row really quickly. Everyone in the race looked to be about 65+ and not Chinese. There were teams from all over New South Wales so it was a really big event.

February 03, 2012

18 Months and Counting!

It's official, I have been off of American soil now for 18 months! Unbelievable! Where has the time gone?

Oh yea! Time well spent I'd say!

In other news, Luke and I made the most delectable dinner last night that I have to share with you.

Bottom layer red onions
then thickly slice tomatoes
then olive oil and rosemary
then sausages
bake for an hour

Nothing new has occurred because there seems to be a very large cloud over Sydney that will not go away. It has been raining almost non-stop for the past few days. It has really helped my job applying and book reading, but not my touring.