Unless you have been living in the dark depths of your basement for the past few months without checking the internet, turning on the TV or making human contact at all, you probably know that Oprah is coming to Australia in two weeks. As you can imagine, I'm hearing the Oprah buzz everywhere in Adelaide. Rumors have been swirling since this morning that she's going to have her own police escort around Sydney, AND roads will be closed off during her performance at the Opera House. I also heard that she's staying at the same hotel as I am when I go in a few weeks. I must have good taste in hotels.
One thing that I can almost definitely confirm is that Oprah (and the other hundreds of lucky Americans traveling with her) is visiting every Australian state and territory. She'll be packing a lot into her trip! I'm thrilled that she's coming to South Australia, though. I really didn't think that she was coming. People bypass Adelaide a lot.
Now, here's something that you all will like! I want to start something on my blog that is similar to an Australian-American "dictionary". We know that we speak English in both countries, but it doesn't mean that we always understand each other. There is not only the difference in the accents and some spelling, but some of the vocabulary and slang don't match up either.
I have a book of Aussie slang in my apartment, but I'll avoid it and use what I know. I'll add more "culture clashes" as time goes on. This is a lot of fun to do! Some of these things are obvious, but there might be some words that you have never heard before.
Australian word-American word
Jumper- Sweatshirt/hoodie/jacket/long-sleeved shirt/etc
Car park- Parking lot
Christmas show- Annual work Christmas party
"May I please go to the toilet?"- "May I please go to the bathroom?"
Dunny- Another word for "toilet", although it's not common. Al says it, but people laugh at me when I say it. I think it might be a "country" thing
Doona- Comforter (heavy blanket)
Thongs- Flip flops
I'll add more vocab and slang every once in a while. I hope you're taking this all very seriously!
I was not happy to go to work this morning. You know when you have those dreams that are so amazing, and then your alarm goes off and ruins everything? It was one of those mornings. The weather is unseasonably chilly, the sky was a perfect shade of gray and I really just couldn't be bothered getting on a crowded bus to work.
Then, my mom texted me a picture that made all of those ill feelings go away.
How unbelievably cute is that face with the perky little ears? That dog on my bed in Chicago (the most comfortable bed in the world) is my brother Jon's dog Libby. She lives with him in Houston, and she flew up to Chicago with him for Thanksgiving. She spent a long weekend with my family, including the four dogs.
Libby and I are mutually obsessed with each other. She's moving to Chicago with Jon next summer, so I'll get to see her when I'm home.
The cake was a hit at work, by the way! My body should be happy that I didn't consume it all by myself. Maybe some other time, but not with summer on its way!
This weekend was a combination of both nice and dreadful things.
First, my friend Shona picked me up from work on Friday. We went to a pub for a drink, and then we went to a showing of the new Harry Potter movie. I always like the books better than the movies, but the first part of the Deathly Hallows was brilliant. We went to a theater that was so old that it only had one cinema. I felt like I was going to see an opera. A man played the organ on the stage before the show started, and then he lowered into the ground with his organ when he finished. It was entertaining, actually. I'm not used to seeing that before the movies! It's hard to tell that somebody is playing an organ since I took the photo with my phone.
Saturday morning, I went to the gym while Al played cricket. I walked home through Rundle Mall, and I took some fun pictures. First, I saw a man make an Elmo balloon.
Next, I snapped a picture of the giant Santa Claus in front of David Jones. This was the best angle I could get.
The first dreadful thing occurred when I got to my front door. We had another open house while we were out today, and the realtor locked everything up when she finished. The problem was that she also locked our screen door, and we never lock it ourselves. We need another key for that, and I didn't have that with me. There were two copies of that key: one with the realtor and one inside our apartment.
Luckily, I found her mobile number in an old email. She answered her phone and told me that she was doing another open house and that I was going to have to drive across town to get the keys from her. I couldn't drive, though, because Al, who wasn't answering his phone, took the car to cricket. Fortunately, Al's dad was more than willing to drive me over there. I got the keys from her, and I got into the apartment. Problem solved!
When I got inside, I took photo evidence of the free beer that Al gets from work. This is a new beer from his company. It's a low carb beer, which means that it has fewer calories. In Australia, if you ask for a light beer, you're asking for a beer with less alcohol. Make sure that you know the difference!
The second dreadful thing happened a few hours later. Al's uncle Rob turned sixty today, and he had a very big party on the Adelaide show grounds. Our plan was to walk up to Subway, grab a quick dinner, get a cab and then pick up Nick and Anna on the way. My shoes were not comfortable for walking, so I grabbed a pair of flip flops/thongs to wear to Subway and carried my party shoes.
I thought that the plan went smoothly as we left in our cab, picked up Nick and Anna and arrived at the show grounds. As we started walking, I looked down to see that I was still wearing my flip flops. My shoes were still sitting under our table at Subway. As I came upon this realization, Al's parents were getting out of their cab behind us. We said a quick hello, jumped in their cab and drove back to Subway. $30 later, Al and I arrived back with my shoes and an appetite to party.
We certainly partied. Rob's family surprised him with a drive around the race track with a professional driver. I don't care much for car racing, but Rob seemed very pleased with his gift!
The party was in a shed.
We had a lot of fun.
Please excuse the bad photos, by the way. My camera died, so I had to use my phone.
Some of us went out to a pub after the party. Al and I took separate cabs home. When I arrived home at 2-something in the morning with a meat/potato pie and a banana loaf cake from the bakery (it's literally a whole cake; I'm taking it to work tomorrow), I discovered the third dreadful thing: Al left his new phone in the cab. Apparently, it slid out of his pocket while he was paying. Just as he realized that the phone was still in the car, the driver took off like lightning. A few minutes later, the phone was turned off. It's a very good assumption that the driver wanted an extra reward for the night.
Al got his phone when he signed up for a new plan. He didn't pay anything for it, but he'd now have to pay $600 if he wanted a new one. Yikes!
After spending a lot of time on the phone this morning with the cab and phone companies and visiting some stores, we got in the car and drove 30 minutes to a Virgin Mobile store for a blank sim card. When we got there, we found out that they didn't have blank sim cards. We had to drive another 30 minutes to another mall. Luckily, they had some there. He's using my old iPhone now, and he can still keep his old phone number. He'll probably wait until the other phone drops in price, and then he'll buy one. It was all so frustrating, though!
This weekend was stressful. Hopefully this week at work won't be too busy, but I'm sure that it will be. Next weekend is far away, but I can assure you that we're going to take it easy.
I hope they like my banana cake at work!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends.
Melbourne Dec 24-27
Noosa Dec 27-31
Sydney Dec 31-Jan 3
Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans! I hope you have a beautiful and food-filled day.
This year will be my second Thanksgiving away from home. Today, as I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed on the bus, I read dozens of statuses about flying home to be with their families. Although I feel like I have an adopted family in Adelaide, I still feel really sad today. Even if I didn't live in Chicago but somewhere else in the continental US, I'd still be able to fly home for a few days. I'd get to experience the pumpkin pie, the cranberry, the start of the Christmas music on the radio, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the special reunions you get with your friends when you all return home for the holidays.
Don't get me wrong. Australia is great. My second family is irreplaceable, but can't a girl get homesick every once in a while?
Enough whinging. I will get my Thanksgivings again. For tomorrow, I'm having dinner with Alastair's grandparents at a cafe in our neighborhood. They might be the coolest granny and grandpa in the world (besides mine), so that might help take away some of my sadness. Penny (Al's mom) and I planned to bake a pumpkin pie this week, but then we kind of forgot about it. Plus, nothing can beat my Aunt Lila's pumpkin pie.
This afternoon, I tried out my new home exercise equipment. I've done a lot of Pilates and strength workouts at home, but I usually only have my own body weight to work against. I've tried things like water or wine bottles and even my huge laptop that I never use anymore, but I finally decided last week that it was time to get real weights.
Al was nice enough to pick up a 10 kg adjustable set for me on Monday. He only got one set, but it was a good start. I just had to do a lot of things with one arm at a time.
He also got a dual resistance sports band. I haven't used them very much in the past, but they're very easy to throw in a suitcase when you go on holidays. They're a good substitute for weights if you don't have a gym at your hotel (or if you just can't be bothered to go!).
Here's something that makes me happy: today is November 24,. That means that I'm seeing my mom, dad and middle brother in ONE MONTH! We're going to Melbourne, Noosa and Sydney. It's going to be a lot of traveling for me and even more for them. The good thing is that I have numerous fun summer events over the next month to keep my mind occupied and make time go by faster. I'll need it!
Happy Wednesday, folks. Enjoy your funny ad!
I can't believe that we're 23 days into November, and I haven't mentioned anything about Movember. I'm a terrible pseudo-Australian!
November in Australia is dedicated to raising funds for men's health; most specifically prostate cancer and depression. Many men, called Mo Bros, show their support by growing mustaches (women who show support are called Mo Sistas). It's a great cause, and a lot of guys participate. In our small office, we have at least four men putting away their shavers for the month (at least on their upper lip). It's fun, and it's a great way to increase awareness.
To find out more information on Movember, click here
I also have some good news regarding my leg. I did a bunch of lunges yesterday, and they didn't hurt me at all. To me, that's a sure sign that my IT band is healing. Next week is December, and that means that I'm allowed to try running again. Look out world...the Little Jogger is back!
Today, I found two studies that worked in my favor. I learned from Hungry Girl
that short people burn more calories
than taller people and from my daily news browse that people with moles (or raised freckles, as I call them) may age less
than those who don't have them. I've had a few "raised freckles" removed, so perhaps I won't get any wrinkles. Here's hoping, right?
We didn't do our usual Sunday shopping yesterday, so I had to get creative for today's lunch. I used three ingredients: canned chickpeas, tofu and onion. It was an interesting combination of foods, but it worked well together. I cubed my tofu and grilled it last night, along with the onion. I then mixed it in with the chickpeas.
It tasted pretty good. I ate my lunch at 12:30, and this meal kept me satisfied until 8 pm. I usually don't go that long without eating, but I wasn't hungry at all. I think chickpeas are great for battling hunger.
Well, I hope everybody had a good weekend. After successfully convincing Al to go on a bike ride with me on Saturday, we met up with some friends. We got drinks at the Botanic Bar in the city, and then we moved on to a bar/nightclub called Swish. I'm not crazy about the place, because the music is so loud that you can't hear anybody talk. I like to talk! I lost my voice by the end of the night. At least we were with a fun group of people (and we danced)!
Matt, Kendal, Shona
Shannon and Jen
Jen and Al
Andrew and Shannon
I'm so much better about taking photos. I make myself proud.
I also forgot to say that the temperature reached over 90 degrees (35 degrees Celsius) today. It's time to start sleeping with the fan on!
One day last year, I was hanging out at home when I heard a bang on the door. I thought it was somebody knocking. I peered out the window to see who it was, and I saw this:
It was a sulfur crested cockatoo. I think that he wanted to come into the apartment, because he flew over and over again into the screen door. He tried to latch on to the door, and when he couldn't, he flew back to the balcony. When he hung out on the balcony, he stared at me through the window. It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life. He (I realize this bird could be a female, but Al and I always call it a "he") hung out with me until Al came home from work.
Our friend continued to visit us. We knew when he showed up, because we always heard a bang on the door. We started leaving out bread and crackers for him, and he ate them. Then, on one terrible day when I was out shopping, Al didn't put out any food for him. He stopped coming after that. We assumed that he met some better people.
Then, a few weeks ago, I got an email with a photo from Al. It appeared that our friend had returned!
We found him on top of our building yesterday.
We also found out that he likes the handlebars on my bike.
We only have two months left in this place, but I hope that he continues to see us. We're really going to miss him!
I also want to add that the apartment building that we live in is much smaller and cuter than the one across from us. The one in the pictures looks a little shocking, doesn't it?
Adelaide people- get ready for a HOT week!
WoooHOOO!! It's the weekend, and the weather is GORGEOUS! We're expecting it to crawl up into the mid 30's next week (high 80's/low 90's). When it rains every weekend and is perfect during the week when you have to be inside (which has been the trend for a while), a nice weekend is a blessing.
To start off the weekend right, I'm posting an article
about a koala in a bar from last week. You will love it!
Yes, my parents are petting a real koala there! We're probably going to get to do it again next month. I can't wait!
Now, I need to figure out how I can convince my fiance to go on a bike ride with me. I hope I won't have to use force. Any ideas are welcome. It's too nice outside to spend the day on a couch!
I used to make my oatmeal at home in the morning, and I would eat it in the car as Al drove me to work. The dirty bowl and spoon sat in the car all day until Alastair took it out when he got home. We'd then wash them when we did the rest of the dinner dishes.
These days, I can't eat my breakfast in a moving vehicle anymore. I'm not interested in chowing down on a crowded morning bus. Instead, I pack all of the dry ingredients the night before. When I get to work, I fill it with hot water.
Here are the dry ingredients:
Tonight's recipe includes one cup of rolled oats, one tablespoon of brown sugar, a generous helping of chia seeds and stevia. It seems like a lot of oats, but this stuff keeps my tummy satisfied until 12:30 pm.
It's all set to go for tomorrow!
Al gets back tomorrow afternoon. He's having a great time in Melbourne and already wants to plan another trip there with friends. Mind you, we're already going next month. Maybe we'll go sometime in February? Or March? At least it's only a 50-minute plane ride, and we can get cheap tickets.
Bring on Friday!