Happy Holidays from the heat!

Trip Start Nov 08, 2010
Trip End Jul 20, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays!!! I must say that Christmas this year was a weird one for me! I bought an $84 ticket for Sunburnt Christmas on Bondi beach. They call it "orphan Christmas" as it is mostly backpackers/travelers that aren't with family. It was basically an all day party at the beach pavilion with “free” lunch and 3 different stages with over 30 DJ’s, which all sounded pretty much the same. Drinks were $4 til 3pm, then tripled in price, so it ended being a very expensive event overall. It was very hot (about 80 degrees) and sunny, so I tried to stay out of the direct sun for most of the day (wasn’t actually going for the “sunburnt” thing!). Although I tried to fully embrace this strange warm Christmas, I don't plan on being away from family for anymore Christmases; it's just not right!

I got to talk to my family before going to the beach and my Grandma Mostad is visiting from Montana, so I got to see her on Skype and visit with her while she was at my parent’s house after having Christmas eve shrimp dinner. Talking with family and friends on Skype is probably the best way to start out the day!

On Boxing day (Dec. 26th) I went with my flatmate, Elane, to the horse races at the Royal Randwick racecourse, only a 5 minute drive from my house. It was International Passport holder day, so anyone that isn’t Australian could get in for free. We wore dresses and I bought a cheapie white hat, which I ended up carrying the whole day because women don’t really wear hats at races anymore… did not know that! The races were a lot of fun. It was really warm out, but the stands were all completely covered from the sun, so that made it much more bearable. We sat in the stands for most of the 8 races and then for the 8th, we went down right next to the track and got to see the horses up close as they walked them to the race track and could hear their hooves hitting the grass when they ran by. It was entertaining being around all those people that bet money, as they were really into the races and were very loud. I bet $5 on horse #5 in the 5th race and I lost $5 on horse #5 in the 5th race… My horse, Kingfisher, did place 3rd, but I was informed that I bet for #5 to win, which he did not. Thanks for nothin horse!

Other than that, nothing too exciting has been happening in my life.  I’ve been waking up to silence for over a week now! Having the kids moved out was just as sweet as I had imagined. Ardi (landlord/flatmate) and I have been cleaning everything, kind of a cleansing after the kids moved out. I’ve bleached all of the floors and completely cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms. I found some mouse poo in the pantry, so will be buying mouse traps tomorrow. Ardi refuses to buy traps because he thinks killing them is inhumane… “you don’t kill them” he says. “I kill them!” I say. I can’t deal with the thought of them running around the house, so I’ll “take care” of that this week. Also, the other evening, my flatmates and I were in the kitchen and a cockroach comes out from under the fridge and crawls up the wall! I ran and got the spray and started to spray it and it flew, yes flew, off of the wall and around the kitchen! We were all running around and screaming until it went into the pantry. I chased it down and sprayed it more until it ran under a box. We found it dead in the pantry today when I bleached the floors. I didn’t know they flew and could have gone a whole lifetime without finding out!

I’ve been having some minor problems with this country… they have a few strikes against them so far: no Thanksgiving, overpriced everything, won't give me a real job, fakey Target store, and now I have 2 new ones. I really grew to love a beer called India Pale Ale (IPA) right before I left. They are hoppy and delicious and I enjoy them thoroughly. These little treasures are readily available in the US for about $9/6 pack and there are lots of different brands. I thought I would have a cold, refreshing IPA the other day, so I went to the bottle shop and they only had one brand for $20/6 pack. I broke down and bought it and it was not at all like the IPA in the US… very disappointing! Here’s another: I was thinking I would like to make a pitcher of lemonade, so I went to the grocery store to buy some frozen lemonade from concentrate. I wandered the frozen aisles for a while and no juice! I asked an employee and he asks “why would it be frozen?”. I thought/wished he was joking. No frozen juice concentrate in Australia. When I went to buy sour cream (after the beer and frozen juice incidents), I couldn’t find it right away and got panicky. I thought I would have to quickly leave the country if they didn’t have sour cream, but I found it, no worries! That was a close one! Also, I have a lemon tree in the back yard that has a few lemons that are just starting to ripen, so that makes up a little bit for the frozen lemonade situation.

One more semi-entertaining story for you. I was with my Irish roommate, Elane, on our way to the races and she said we'd have to go out for Irish breakfast one morning. She then asked what a typical American breakfast was like. I told her probably bacon, eggs, toast, maybe hashbrowns, but that one of my favorite breakfasts is biscuits and gravy. This threw her right for a loop and here's why, Irish, Enlish, and Aussies call cookies biscuits. For example, the other evening Elane says "I'd really fancy a biscuit with my tea." Okay, so I say biscuits and gravy and she says "Biscuits with gravy?! Like biscuits??" I then realized I would have to translate, but quickly realized that I didn't really know how to describe a biscuit! I said it was kind of like bread, not a bun though, and kind of a scone texture... and so on. It was a mess and I'm sure she still has no idea what a delicious American biscuit is, so I just had to let that one go. Silly foreigners :)

I called into my agency to see if they had any shifts last week and they didn’t. They did call me to ask if I would work New Years Eve and I told them I was busy. NYE is a massive event in Sydney and I'm not about to work/spill on myself at a cocktail party when I could be enjoying this momentus occasion! I think I’m officially done with them now. I just found out my friend, Fanny, who I met in the first week is quitting her bartending job in the country and coming back to Sydney for NYE and that her sister surprised her with a visit and will also be arriving NYE. The hostels have all been booked for months now, since NYE in Sydney is a so big, so I told Fanny they could stay at my place for the night. I believe we’re going to go into the city and will try to get close to the Harbour Bridge for the huge fireworks show they have at midnight- will take lots of pictures!

My sister and cousin are coming on Jan. 3rd, which is just less than a week away and I’m getting really excited to see their beautiful familiar faces and show off this cool city. The forecast says its supposed to be mid-70’s for the next 10 days, hopefully it’s right! It’s been “cold” (63F) and dreary/rainy here all day today so I helped Ardi organize some cupboards and clean the pantry. Now I’ll go for a walk around my neighborhood park and enjoy the cool weather.  Last week I went for a walk around the park just as the sun was starting to set at about 8:00 pm (the sun rises at about 5:45am, not that I'm ever awake to see it). The sky was blue and pink, there are gigantic trees that house these gorgeous parrot-looking birds, and there were huge bats (as big as hawks) flying everywhere over head, it was all quite beautiful! If those bats ate cockroaches and mice, I would put them in my house!

I hope all is well with you back in the US and that you’re enjoying good but inexpensive beer and frozen juice from concentrate! I’ll update again after the big NYE celebration. Happy Happy New Year to all! xoxo, Elise
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Berri on

You are by far my idol. :) I just can't believe you went over there all by yourself. Amazing little American you are!! :) Can't wait for the NYE blog!! xoxo

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