Thursday, October 31, 2013

Birthday Suites and Smoke Alarms

   Brad and I just got back from a lovely weekend in Melbourne, Australia. We left the kids with our dear, sweet and brave friends for 4 nights, and jumped on a flight, flew over the pond and landed in a very hip and diverse city. Melbourne is the capital of Victoria, and has a population of 4 million. It has been ranked the worlds most liveable city in 2011, 2012 and again in 2013. It is also the fifth most expensive city in world to live, and our $20 mojitos can attest to this!  We found the city buzzing with life. It was sophisticated and slick, yet edgy and rough. The architecture was ornate victorian, modern-contemporary with sophicated arcades tucked into alleyways. It has the worlds largest tram system, but yet biking was also a popular mode of trasnsportation. Melburnians are very devoted to their sport, and they go ballistic over the Australian football league. It is the second most watched sport in Oz behind cricket. I have never seen a game but Brad tells me that AFL is like a giant game of kill the carrier.  As we biked around the city we counted 6 different sports arenas. They were all massive, and each one designed for a different sport. Cricket, AFL, tennis (Australian Open), soccer, swimming and rugby.

 Okay this is where this post might get a little dodgy for some or TMI for others, so read ahead at your own risk. Packing for a holiday usually involves packing pajamas. And as I was packing for this trip, I thoght no different and put in my favorite pair of pj's. And at about this exact time, Brad walked by. He calmly and very confidently told me that I would not be needing those this trip and to leave them at home. I thought about it for a second and realized that he was correct, there would not be any children crawling into our bed in the middle of the night due to some scary nightmare involving The Lord of the Rings films that I exsposed my kids to at way to early of an age!  So I happily took out my night wear and stuck them back into the drawer. And as I was doing this Brad started walking away and jokingly said under his breathe, "let's just hope that there is not a fire alarm in the middle of the night." We both just chuckled. HaHaHa..... Fast forward to Melbourne. We landed about 10pm Melbourne time, which is 12pm New Zealand time. We were both quite knackered (tired not drunk) and decided to call it a night. We both crawl into bed wearing well.....nothing at all, because remember my cheeky husband requested that I leave my night wear at home. And of course as luck would have it, guessed it, the fire alarm goes off sometime in the middle of the night!! We both laid there in denial, like we did not hear this deaf defying alarm that was ringing in our ears. The thought of having to crawl out of bed shimmy back into my skinny jeans, find my top, and then put on my sweater, and then go stand outside until the problem was solved was too much to think about. So we did not, and luckily because we were somewhere other than the US we did not have to. The guy on the loud speaker came on and told the customers of the hotel that until the emergency was figured out that we could stay in our rooms! Really, there could be a huge fire burning somewhere, anywhere in the hotel, but until they figure just exactly what the problem is, we could just keep sleeping. Considering our attire we were  quite happy with the decision and feel back asleep. Just another example of how life down here in the Southern Hemisphere is so laid back, maybe too much at times, but nonetheless, stress free!

Disclamer: All these shots were taken with our iphones. My good camera in being repaired, it was dropped in SE Asia and needed a little TLC.

The Beautiful Public Library that was located right in the middle of the CBD.

The Yarra river with the city in the background.

These are both taken at Queen Victoria Market. A friend recommended that we go to the market for breakfast. Best suggestion ever, thanks John! More than a thousand stalls sell everything from fresh bread to cheap china goods. It was a blast walking through the stalls, and Brad was in heaven with his homemade German bratwurst for morning tea. 

Loved these arcades. Could not afford much, but good window shopping. 

The best part of these Mojito's was the bartender that made them. He had travelled the world surfing, and had some good advice about some of the best spots. Don't think we will be hitting any of the epic  surfing spots anytime soon, but maybe one day after the kids have gone off to college we can travel the coast in a rented VW van, and pretend we are still young. We both bought some Birkenstocks last week so maybe we are closer than we realize.  

A good example of all the different architectural designs in the city. Modern mixed with 1980's and an 18th century church. 

An alleyway that they turned into a bunch of great little Cafes. 

Our breakfast choice. 

The Rod Laver Stadium where the Australian Open is held. 

Flinders train Station

I happily stumbled across this Tea house one afternoon and insisted that Brad bring me here for tea.  One of the best requests I have ever made......

I wish I could tell all you readers that this was a horrible tasting cake, and you did not miss much. However  I cannot lie, it was one of the most delicious cakes I have EVER had. Simply divine. It was a chocolate roll with fresh cream and strawberries. Worth every single calorie, and best ho-ho in the world. 
Beautiful Street Art

An alley where  certain art clubs are allowed to paint different scenes every few months. 

Bike ride along the Yarra River.

This is the town of St.Kilda which is a 15 Km bike ride from Melbourne. 

Brad enjoying the view at the restaurant. 

Luna Park in St. Kilda
One of those moments where I really wished the kids were with us because they would of loved this mini amusement park. We missed having the kids around, they are such great traveller's and add an element of wonder to the journey.   

In 1993 Brad played Rugby for the Newport Breakers in Sydney for 3 months.  This was one of his team mates Dan Headon. Brad and Dan have not talked or seen each other since 1993. Enter the convenience of FB. Brad came across Dan a few weeks before we went on our trip, and they arranged to meet at this bar in St.Kilda. He brought along his lovely wife Jane, and we enjoyed catching up with them over a few beers. 

We are happily back home, enjoying the spring weather, and looking forward to our Halloween party, and getting out our paddle boards. It is still weird to me that Halloween is in the Springtime! The kids only have 7 weeks of school left before summertime. Another strange one for us is Christmas in the summer! Still not use to it, so we plan on heading back to the chilly, arctic temperatures of the midwest and east coast for the holidays. I am really missing family so the dates could not come soon enough for me. And Dad I promise to wear pajama's in your house over the holidays, pinkie promise!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Packing Tape

I have been very delinquent with the posts on our blog. But lets pretend like most things in New Zealand the slow pace simply adds to the experience. We have also been busy with shifting into our new rental. Our 3rd move in 3 years, needless to say I am getting pretty good at packing and unpacking, and have come to find a new appreciation for my taping gun.  Our new home ticks all the boxes, where as the last house only ticked one-warmth, and actually warmth only in the lounge, but that is a typical kiwi home. Our new home is referred to in the village as the boat house. Our friends bought the house last year, and he was transferred to another oil and gas job in Nova Scotia. They called us asking if we would be interested in renting from them and we jumped at the chance. We have our view back, and having something beautiful to look at is so good for the soul. We now have two indoor showers, large bedrooms with closets, two decks that look out to the ocean and a two car garage (it is filled with toys so the chance of ever pulling in both cars is slim to none). It is not a big house by American standards, but we have had some kiwi friends over and they call it a mansion! It is about 2,000 sq. feet. 

The view from our rental house. 

The boat house.

Doors to Lindsey's room, and she plans on planting a garden out front to go with her cactus. 

The upstairs bathroom has personality to say the least. This is the door to the bedroom. Brad finally gets a bond girl in his bedroom. 

The man who built this house was single, and loved the ocean. That is why the house is shaped like a boat, has a porthole, has fish painted on the walls and the kitchen cabinets are shaped like surfboards. 

One of the quirky parts of the house. This is the sink of the upstairs bathroom (the bond girl is on the left) , it is about a total of 3 feet tall. It is like a spit sink in a dentists office. There is no electrical outlets in either bathroom, and counter space is obviously lacking as well as storage. Its alright though, we have fish to keep us company and a boat to sail away on in case of a tsunami. 

Told you so. 

Kitchen cabinets. 

Nice kitchen, we feel like we are really roughing it though without a microwave.  

This is the dining room, great room, living room, office, and kitchen table room all rolled up into one. This is where life happens in our house. I love the high wooden ceilings, gives the room some character and height. It is actually bigger than it looks, we had 15 people eating dinner in here last night and it worked. 

The stairs.

The upstairs deck is off our bedroom. And similar to a boat,  the deck continues down both sides of the bedroom.  Awesome views from up there!!

The backyard, the kids turned the little shed in the corner to a clubhouse. 
We are quite happy in our new rental, only 47 steps from the beach, and 34 steps to the playground and skateboard park. Our dear friends live directly across the street, and others are very close by. It is going to be a great location this summer with the new ice cream stand, and taco stand being at the bottom of our street. Plenty of room for family and friends so book in now as we are filling up fast!