Hi friends! I split the rest of my trip into two posts. I didn't capture all of the touristy things to do in Melbourne here since I've been there quite a few times, so I linked some of my previous Melbourne posts to help give you a better idea of the city if you don't know very much about it.
I've only been to three of Australia's big cities (Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney). I enjoy them all for different reasons, but Melbourne is the star in my opinion. There is so much to do there, and the streets are always full of people. Unlike Sydney, however, it's very easy to get around. I could see myself living there.
During my time in Melbourne this time around, Al was at work Monday through Friday. He could usually get out of work earlier than 5, but I still had to find ways to entertain myself during the day. My exercise discipline was waning since we went to Port Vincent, but I still did it for a few of those days. I also went out and explored.
Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens
One of those days, I walked through the Royal Botanic Gardens and could not believe that I was standing in the middle of a city. I felt like I was in a rain forest instead.
I also went to the Shrine of Remembrance
. I've only ever driven past it, and I always wanted to walk over and get a better view of this magnificent war memorial.
World War II Memorial
This is the astonishing view from Alastair's apartment. From where he lives, it takes about 30 minutes to walk to the city. His apartment is also down the street from a tram stop and also very close to a train stop.
Below is the business centre(/center) in his apartment building. I thought these desk/chair things were very interesting! I promised my friend Kate I'd get a picture in one.
Here's an educational fact about Australian cities (and something that Australians might find interesting about American cities): In Australian cities, the name of the city only applies to the business district (Australians call it the Central Business District, or the CBD). Imagine, for instance, if Chicago only applied to the Loop. I can't relate it to any other big city, but I'm sure that you get the idea.
Any part of the city that you would consider to be a neighborhood, such as Lincoln Park in Chicago or Chelsea in New York City, is considered to be a separate suburb in Australia.
From the Australian point of view, imagine if South Yarra in Melbourne or Darling Harbour in Sydney were "neighborhoods" of the city and not suburbs. Anybody in those neighborhoods would have a Melbourne address.
It's interesting how it works in other countries, isn't it?
I laugh when I think about how much these Australia posts will contrast with my snow post
, but that's usually what happens when you travel to opposite ends of the earth when temperatures are at their most extreme. It's snowing here, and I just battled weather in Adelaide and Victoria
that got up to nearly 41 degrees (105.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Let's go back there, shall we?
One of my favorite parts about going back to Australia after not being there for a while is that I forget how funny Australians can be. For instance, where in the United States can you find a lingerie shop called The Booby Trap Warehouse
? Across the Pacific and down south a bit, you can find one in Adelaide, Australia. I bought several bras from there. True story.
When we were driving back and forth between Melbourne and Adelaide (and to our New Years Eve destination), I found another reason why Australians are funny. I saw their country road signs.
Do you get it? Don't drive like a W-anchor
Isn't that a great way to grab your attention when you're thinking about speeding down the road and tailgating and weaving around the cars like a complete wanker? I sure think so.
If you're a super-American like my mom and really don't understand the billboard at all because you've never heard the word "wanker" before (or don't watch enough Hugh Grant movies), then I can tell you that the word basically means "jerk". There are other meanings, so look here
if you're in the mood for educating yourself in the art of British slang.
As I mentioned before, we had some very hot days in Adelaide. We spent a lot of time relaxing since that weather can make you pretty lethargic, but we got out of the house too. There were Christmas gifts to exchange, a few friends who were actually in town to meet, bras to buy at the Booby Trap, and beaches far as the eye could see.
I'm not sure if you know this about Adelaide, but they have outstanding beaches. During one of our afternoons, we drove over to Henley Beach. Glenelg is the most popular city beach, but we avoided it since we knew it would be impossible to find parking and space to even walk around on a day like this.
We walked over to Henley Square for lunch, and I got a real Greek salad. "Real" Greek salads have all of the essentials of any other Greek salad, but it's not mixed in with lettuce. There are also huge chunks of cheese, which made this girl very happy.
Later on, I met my friend Megan (read her blog Story Book Love Affair
- it's all about books, and she's a fantastic writer!) at Lemongrass Bistro
on Rundle Street (the most fun street in Adelaide). I've always wanted to eat here while I was living in Adelaide, but I never got the chance. The one time that we made reservations, I got sick a few hours before dinner.
Lemongrass has outstanding Thai food. You can order all different sorts of noodle dishes, but I was intrigued with the menu option that allows you to pick your combination of sauce, vegetable, and protein. I chose the Lemongrass (bottom left), which included mushrooms, capsicum (red pepper) and other spicy veggies. I chose the tofu as my protein, and I was not disappointed.
Megan ordered the Char-Grilled Chicken (bottom right), which was garlic, herbs, sweet chili sauce, chicken, and vegetables. We both loved what we ordered.
We packed up our bags the next day and drove to Port Vincent for New Years Eve. Instead of trying to explain where it is, I drew you a map (below). Port Vincent is the pink bubble, and Adelaide is on the other side of the water. The only way that you can get there is to drive around, so it took us about 2.5 hours to get there.
The land that juts out there and slightly resembles a boot is called the Yorke Peninsula. A lot of people who live in Adelaide also own homes there. It's an ideal place for fishing, snorkeling, diving or surfing.
Just for fun, I also "drew" you a map of Australia. The red bubble shows Adelaide, and you can just make out the Yorke Peninsula next to it.
Before I recap Port Vincent, I really want to stress the fact that you can't live in Adelaide without knowing several people with a "holiday shack". So many people own homes in the city, but they will also own a house somewhere else, such as Kangaroo Island, the Yorke Peninsula, Hindmarsh Island, the Limestone Coast, the Fleurieu Peninsula, or the Riverlands.
People often call them "shacks", because they are never as nice as their homes in the city. They may be in their Adelaide homes for 11 months and one week out of the year, but as soon as Christmas rolls around, the city empties out with everybody going to their holiday homes. These homes also have the capacity to sleep armies of people, because they often have bunk rooms. Those who don't get a bed can still sleep there; they just sleep outside in a tent or a swag
Days are spent on the beach, curled up with a book, or watching ten hours of cricket. Nights are spent with delicious dinners made on the barbie and a few bottles of wine. This is the time to relax and enjoy time with your family and your friends. You may have to share one bathroom with 17 other people and wake up to mosquitoes biting your face, but it doesn't matter. All in all, I really admire this post-Christmas tradition that can never happen in the United States of America.
This was exactly like our time in Port Vincent, except the house our friends rented was a NICE shack.
We spent a lot of time at the beach. Our friend Bonnie rented the house, but she and her sister Cat also have a family home there with a boat. I went on the boat, although I never ended up going water skiing. I definitely should have!
After beach time was beer time and nail-painting time. By the way, you can't see in this picture, but our tent was set up on the deck around the corner. Yes, we slept in a tent for two nights.
Boys got their nails painted, too.
We had steak on the barbie.
Duncan's homemade potato salad.
It doesn't get more Australian than this!
The next day included more beach, lots of time reading, and watching people jump off the dock (I stole this picture from Lara- thank you!).
Then the girls went home to pretty themselves (this house had TWO bathrooms, fortunately), and New Years Eve officially started. Bonnie and Cat's family came by to see the house, and they brought a few appetizers in addition to our own. There was a ton of food.
There was plenty of beer, wine, and cocktails.
My favorite appetizer was smoked salmon on a baguette with capers. YUM!
Oh yes, I also enjoyed the brie very much.
I didn't have one of these, but I'm pretty sure these were appetizers of the Asian variety.
They brought their dog, too.
He got LOTS of attention!
Of course, there was more barbecuing.
Duncan and Claire!
The meat! Sausages and lamb (I think it was lamb).
Lara and I were in meatless moods, so we ate lots of potato and salad.
We also got a visit from the neighborhood dog. He came up to the house a whole bunch of times and attempted to persuade us in a game of fetch.
He usually won at least one of us over. How can you say no to a face like that?
He has owners, but they let him run around during the day and play with the neighbors.
Soon, the sun went down and the dancing began. I was up there once they broke out the Backstreet Boys.
We had a delicious pavlova for dessert with fresh berries.
There were sparklers.
We all had a wonderful time.
Including the blokes.
We drove back to Adelaide the day after that, and then we went back to Melbourne early the following morning. It was an exceptionally warm seven-hour drive, so I was very happy when we made it back to Al's apartment.
I just realized that I have no recollection of mentioning that Alastair moved to Melbourne last year after visiting me in Chicago. I'm sure you would have figured that out by now, but I feel pretty silly for not bringing that up. I have the tendency to just suppose that I already told people things, so I am very sorry if I forgot!
This weekend was one of the most entertaining weekends that I have had in a long time. I started out by shadowing an intensive care dietitian at my dad's hospital on Friday morning. I plan on shadowing a few different types of registered dietitians, but I really enjoyed the experience in intensive care. I think that I can handle the hospital very well. I don't get queasy from seeing blood or very sick people. I think that I got that from my dad! Intensive care may be a field that I will consider pursuing.
After the hospital, I spent some time at home before I packed an overnight bag and made my way to the city with Libby. We went to my brother Jon's apartment where I fed her, fed myself, and took a cab to Nicole's apartment before the big event of the evening: the Australian Rules Football Grand Final!
If you don't know about Australian Rules Football, then look at the end of this
recent post. I posted all of my links from last year that explain a little bit about the sport and the teams.
The sold-out event was at the Brownstone Tavern & Grill
in Chicago, and it was hosted by the Chicago Australian Football Association
. The entire bar was reserved for the game, so you couldn't get in there without a ticket. It cost $20 to get in the door, which also included a raffle ticket for an assortment of wine, cash prizes (up to $500) or a round-trip Qantas ticket to Australia (which I sadly did not win).
The crowd was a nice mix of Americans, Aussies and other counties that wanted to get in on the excitement. At times, I really believed that I was back in Australia. It made me so happy. I was even happier at the end of the night, because the Geelong Cats won the game!
Nicole and I made a lot of friends on Friday night. We were in the bar from 10 pm (the game started a little after 11) until 2 am, so it was bound to happen. We even made a friend wearing a Collingwood jersey. Shocker.
Nicole stayed out the entire night, even though she woke up at 4:40 am to go to work on Friday morning. What a trooper!
I was so happy that I ended up buying tickets and going. As long as I'm in Chicago, I'm watching the game with these guys!
By the way, I said, "Gooooo the
Cats!" in my title for the reason that Australians use that expression. Americans would say, "Go Cats!", but not Australians. They add the "THE" in there. I just adore it. It's always THE footy. Or THE cricket. Of course, I picked it up while I was over there. I don't say it when I'm with Americans these days, but I'm sure that I would if I was talking with Australians. I certainly did it on Friday!
On Saturday, I drove to the suburbs in the early part of the afternoon and went to my friend Kate and her boyfriend Dan's new apartment. They moved everything in there in the morning, and they were organizing their things. I helped them all afternoon and then I went home and changed for dinner.
I went to Cooper's Hawk
with my parents and their friends Patti and Ken (who are just as cool, if not cooler, than people my age). I started out with a spatini, which is (from the menu) cucumber-infused Effen Vodka, coconut water and fresh-squeezed citrus juices.
For an appetizer, we all shared the Thai Chicken Flatbread.
Rotisserie chicken, cashew sauce, mozzarella, roasted cashews and chopped cilantro drizzled with peanut vinaigrette. I was not expecting it to be as good as it was. It was spectacular.
We also ate pretzel bread with whipped butter.
I got the jambalaya for my main dish. I've gotten it before and wished that I had gotten something else, so I'm not sure why I got it again. It's very good, but I don't like big quantities of shrimp or Andouille sausage. They have a huge menu, so I'll make sure to get something different next time.
Patti got the crab cakes,which came with mustard sauce, potatoes and sauteed garlic spinach. Their crab cakes are great. She was nice enough to let me try some.
My mom got her barbecue chicken salad, which is always good. I ate most of the crunchy onion rings.
My dad got sliders. Yum. The only dish I didn't photograph was Ken's! He got chicken and said it was very good.
I also drank wine and champagne, so I was surprised that I was holding up okay today. I had a great time last night, but that's to be expected when you hang out with Patti and Ken!
After working on my chemistry homework today, I joined my parents and the pups at the dog park.
This dog was so cute. I have a cute picture of him playing with Mickey, but I can't get it to load for some reason. Apparently, it's too big. Wahh.
The beautiful and spacious dog park
I sat in the back with the puppers on the way home. We had a little photo shoot. Mickey didn't want to participate, so I had to snap a photo when he wasn't expecting it. Perhaps he runs away from the camera because he knows that I'm going to post his pictures on the internet.
Riggles and Cody
A happy Cody
A happy upright Cody
For dinner, we had a white Hawaiian fish (sorry, can't remember the name and I don't feel like running downstairs and asking my dad when he's also probably asleep)
and a chicken and spinach casserole. Hooray for being creative with leftovers!
I'm going to do more chemistry homework and then I'm putting myself to sleep! Have a great night!
Hooray for the weekend! Actually, it's kind of depressing that I just started wearing hoodies to class at the end of this week. Fall is upon us. I love fall, but I always get a little sad as the summer fruit starts to sour and I can't wear dresses and flip flops all the time.
Speaking of fall, here's a fun fact: many Aussies I interacted with exclusively use the term "autumn" and never "fall". When I first started dating Alastair, I was on the phone with his mum
and talking about what I was going to do in the "fall". Later on, she told Al that she had no clue what I was talking about when I said that word. I thought that was funny, and then I met other Aussies who were just as confused when I said that. So, here's a message for all you Americans: NEVER say "fall" when referring to the autumn season with an Australian unless you want to explain what it means!
Now, the gnocchi! It's always the gnocchi that steals my heart. Yesterday, I cooked a batch of whole wheat sweet potato gnocch
i for lunch. Again, I prepared it with vodka sauce and parmesan cheese. I also added Garlic Gold
I was on good behavior and only ate half of the package. I had the other half for lunch today.
Lunch was good, but the gnocchi actually didn't come close in quality to last night's dinner. Yesterday was my parent's anniversary (I forgot how many years- I am a terrible daughter!), and my dad surprised my mom (and me, since I was there) with a top notch dinner. I was staying home and working on my homework, and I was planning on leftover gnocchi or cookies for dinner. Seriously. I was shocked when I saw what my dad made.
On the plate: salmon, mashed sweet potatoes and kale. I've never had kale in my life! The plate looked so beautiful with the pinks and the oranges and the purples with a hint of green. It's too bad that the lighting is poor in the family room, or I could have gotten a much better picture.
This is usually how we eat our dinners during the week: plates of food in front of the TV and bottled water. The wine was special. It was from Nicholson Ranch in Sonoma Valley.
I wish the kale photo turned out better. Wahhhh. I really enjoyed it, though. My dad made it on the stove, but I really want to roast it. I bet it would be so good.
Of course, there were cookies. My mom brought a big batch of those chocolate chip cookies
to work yesterday, and I am pleased to say that they were a hit. They are basically fat free with whole wheat flour (no butter or eggs), and "normal" people loved them. Chocolate Covered Katie
, I am going to hit up your recipes more frequently!
Now, I'm in Chicago and chillin with my friend Libby. Remember her?
I had a slightly annoying morning since I woke up at 7:30 am for a 9 am hair appointment and drove 45 minutes only to find out that they completely screwed up and my hair stylist wasn't there today. The good news is that I have my buddy Libby to cheer me up!
I'm also happy, because I get free hair coloring next week. They certainly made up for their mistake.
Have a great start of the weekend! I'm kicking mine off in Chicago, watching Libby while my brother is away. I also have to study for a microbiology exam on Monday. I bet you are so jealous!
First of all, how dinosaur-fabulous is this piggy bank? I found this at a news agency during my lunch break today, and I almost considered buying it. You'll notice that if you look at the pronunciation of "Jennifersaurus", you see that it's "saw-us" instead of "soar-us". That's the difference between buying an Aussie Jennifersaurus and an American Jennifersaurus.
Personally, I think of myself much more as a "raptor" than a "saurus". If I were a dinosaur, I would be a velociraptor. That's just the way it is. I have short arms.
Potential Disaster at the Dry Cleaners
As I mentioned earlier, I spent the better part of every day last weekend searching for a dress for a wedding tomorrow. I finally found one, but it was too big in the shoulders. A coworker of mine drove me to a nearby cleaners on Wednesday (people chauffeur me around since I'm the only person in the office without a car) to get it altered, and they promised me that it would be ready at 4 pm today.
When I got there at 5 on the dot this afternoon (thanks to one of my chauffeurs), they could not find it. The lady who did the alterations remembered working on my dress earlier in the day, but they had no idea where they put it. I stood (and then sat) around for 45 minutes while they searched nearly every piece of clothing in the shop.
Just as I thought I was going to have to spend my Friday night and Saturday afternoon looking for another dress to buy, they found it. My dress had the wrong name on it. I was mainly relieved for the reason that I did NOT want to hunt for another outfit for tomorrow! Man, that would have been bad.
After the fiasco, I bussed it back to the city to meet Al at Rundle Mall. I bought a yoga mat (hooray!), and Al bought steak knives and a garlic crusher. Al is actually so excited about his steak knife purchase that he took photos himself and asked me to put them on my blog.
He wants you to see the comparison between the new steak knife and our regular kitchen knife. As you can see, the one on the left has a better design for eating steak or other meats.
He also wants to capture the sharpness and serration of the new knife, which is now on the right.
He also wants you to see the box he bought the knives in and the price tag. They might have been on sale from that price, actually. He didn't take any photos of the poor little garlic crusher, though.
I didn't feel like going to the gym by the time we got home, so I took out my new yoga mat and did a 20-minute free yoga class from yogadownload.com. It was geared for runners! I felt nicely stretched out after that. (If you're interested in trying out the class, go to the website and search "yoga for runners". You have to sign up, but you don't have to give them any payment information unless you decide to do a class that is longer than 20 minutes.)
While the yoga was taking place, Al picked up KFC for dinner. I told him that I didn't want anything, but that was before I knew that they now have sweet potato fries (mmmm grease on the box)!
It was so nice of him to surprise me with that. I actually made a casserole of chopped up veggies from the fridge that were on the verge of going bad, but I didn't give it any special attention. The sweet potato fries were the staple of the night.
And just for fun, check out our Great Wall of Beer. This is what I get for living with somebody who works for a beer and wine company. Free beer. I'll take it!
I'm going to my first of at least three weddings this year, and I can't wait! I haven't been to a wedding since 2007. I have a brand new dress and new black shoes that I bought yesterday. I am READY!
I left work early today so that I could meet Al in the city to view an apartment (a perfect urban apartment for us, but we're not getting it since about 2573345 people are competing with us to get it). I had some time to kill before I had to be at the open inspection, so I moseyed around for a little while. On my way to Rundle Mall
, I stumbled upon a lolly (translation: candy
) shop that I had never seen before. I don't know why I haven't been there before, because it's basically all American candy!
The lollies in Australia are fantastic, so I don't miss anything from home very much. I only miss Twizzlers. I found these in the store, but they didn't have the plain cherry ones. Bummer.
There was a wall of Pop Tarts. It's a good thing that I don't eat them anymore, or else I'd be fat and broke.
The same thing goes for cherry coke.
What a splendid shop, though! I don't buy candy obsessively, but I'd come here all the time just to look at the displays. It's colorful and fun.
There are plenty more Melbourne and Sydney recaps to come! I'm already working on my Christmas post.
Happy December! December 1st means many exciting things to me. Every year, it's the first day of the month of Christmas and giving and happy songs. It's also my friend Nicole's birthday. This year, though, specifically marks the day that I allow myself to run again.
Unfortunately, there are complications. I woke up on Sunday morning with a sore leg for reasons that I don't understand. My two guesses are that I did lunges on Saturday, and I walked around in high platform shoes that night. I can't tell you what I'm doing that keeps straining my leg, but it's very frustrating. I've been an avid exerciser for years, and I've never injured myself like this.
If you're wondering about the title of my post, I wore my trainers/gym shoes at work today. I brought heels, but I figured that wearing comfortable shoes until I got there would ease any tension on my aching leg. Once I got to work, I didn't change my shoes. I realized that nobody cared anyway, so what was the point? That's one of the things that I enjoy about my office: it's very casual. One of the girls sprained her ankle a couple of weeks ago, and she showed up the next day in sweat pants and slippers. Nobody cared. We don't have customers coming in very often, so it really doesn't matter.
I had a run planned for tomorrow morning, but I think I might skip it and do weights in the afternoon instead. Plus, it's supposed to rain. I was so excited to start my running and my sculpt classes again, but I don't want to injure my leg even more. I'll start running in a few days, and I'll use my foam roller if it starts to hurt again.
Here are some more Culture Clashes
. Look at yesterday's post if you don't know what I'm talking about!Australian word
UmbrellaThat's alright/no worries
- You're welcome (or don't worry about it- depending on the context)Manual car
- Stick shiftBuck's night-
Bachelor partyHen's night-
People commonly use this word for their significant other, whether a boyfriend/girlfriend or fiance. This applies to both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
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!