I just realized I hadn’t finished reblogging Matt’s account of our mini-holiday! There’s still one to come after this, but this one is the funniest so far I’d say.

Magazine Theory

“Dad really drummed it into me not to drive in the country at this time of day, but there are a few cars around and no roos in sight. Maybe it was just one of those things that parents say to scare you straight…”

Earlier That Day…

“Buddy, in all the time I’ve been here, this is the most I have ever felt like I’m in Australia,” Emma said, beaming. “All I need now is to see some kangaroos…” she continued.

I shuddered.

“You’ve seen plenty of kangaroos before.”

“I know, but not in the wild!”

“What about all the ones at Pinnaroo Cemetery? That was like the first thing we did when you arrived in Australia.”

“They don’t count.”

“Well, you’ve seen the road signs. They’re out there…”

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned that driving is relaxing, to a point? Well by the end of Day 2…

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Music and Moving

Hello world!

It’s been awhile since my last post announcing 5 ways.  I’ve got some drafts in the works, just need to get the appropriate photos to go along.  I thought I’d write a quick update to explain why I’ve been too busy!

This past weekend was pretty crazy.  I had Friday afternoon post-work bevvies with Matt’s work mates, which was really nice.  I hadn’t met most of them before, so it was cool to put faces to names.  Lovely people, I’m glad he’s got such a great group working with him.

Saturday was the beginning of our friend Hannah moving in.  As of Monday she finally felt like she had everything in order.  It’s funny because her room already smells like her! (Though I suppose all her stuff in there probably has something to do with it).

Sunday The Treble Clefs (my a cappella group) had their very first busking experience.  Busking is when you perform in the street for coins.  It’s a great tradition in Perth, and down in Fremantle you don’t even need a license to do it!  We had a blast and were very well-received by the crowd.  Kids especially seemed to love us.

At the very end of the hour-long “gig,” an interesting fellow insisted we do backup for a song of his.  We reluctantly agreed, but it got a little weird afterward when he was begging for our contact details.  We made him quite a bit of change for just one song, so I suppose it was sort of a good deed.  He looked like Argus Filch from the Harry Potter movies.  I joked to the girls afterward that he was probably struggling to make it as a muggle.

Last big piece of news is that my soccer team won our league this year! I cannot believe I haven’t mentioned that yet.  Our last game was the last weekend in September and we had the club wind-up afterward.  Trophy night is coming up soon, but we already went to a presentation day a couple weekends ago.  I am so proud of the whole team and what we were able to accomplish this year!  Here’s a few photos from the wind-up:

Part 2 of our weekend away as told by Matt. He teases me a lot, but he’s funny and a great writer, so I forgive him :p

Magazine Theory

Apart from booking the accommodation, we didn’t do much planning for this trip. The extent of my thoughts on what we should see and do only went as far as a vague notion of retracing my steps from childhood family holidays, while trying show-off some of the nicer parts of WA to Emma. Armed with a ‘let’s see where this road takes us’ mentality, and a desire to see the ocean, we set off early on Day 2, and almost immediately, and quite accidentally came upon the beautiful Canal Rocks.

Despite the chilly breeze, the early morning was a great time to be there, with practically no one around and nice lighting for some snapshots.

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This is part one of Matt’s summary of our weekend away. In my mind it was absolutely perfect and I think we both couldn’t be happier. Amazingly it was our first “weekend away” as a couple. In celebration of my getting residency in Australia, we lived it up for three glorious days. I’ll re-post his parts 2 and 3 as they come!

Magazine Theory

Last week, to celebrate our partner visa finally being granted by the Immigration Department, I took Friday off work and spent the weekend down South with Emma. Though not known for my exuberance, even I got excited for this, our first real getaway as a couple, and my first holiday of any sort since 2009(!).

Keen to get the most out of every day, we hit the road early on Friday morning. The plan was to hit up Bunbury and Busselton on the way down to our accommodation in Yallingup, breaking up the 265 km, 3.5 hour journey a little bit.

As I drove along the highway competing with Emma to spot cows, I enjoyed the little things. Not being at work. Not dealing with traffic. The technological marvel that is cruise control. Up to a certain point, a nice long drive really can help you relax. Beyond that point lies…

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Donna & Margaret (&Emma!) oh my!

Nothing puts me in a better mood than great cooking.  As I have mentioned on several occasions, it is a growing passion of mine.  I don’t have any sort of food background, it’s never been a big deal in my family.  But over the past few years I’ve enjoyed honing my skills and taking some risks in the kitchen.  This was a fantastic week of firsts for me.

My favorite foodie is Donna Hay.  She’s a beautiful Australian food stylist and revolutionary cook.  I have one of her books: Fast, Fresh, Simple, but the long-term plan is to collect them all!  She is all about cooking in-season, fast and simple meals.  I admire her for all she has been able to accomplish.  Her name is a brand recognized throughout Australia.

Through my book and Donna’s website, I was able to dedicate four days in a row to her recipes.  In this string of dinners, I made my first ever savory pie, and my first ever soup from scratch!

Chicken and Leek Pie

Sweet Potato and Goats Cheese Soup

I have been slowly developing a cookbook collection, but it can get a bit pricey.  Yesterday after work I went to the nearest library to pick up a few volumes to give Matt and I some fresh dinner ideas for the coming weeks.  Predictably I grabbed two of Donna Hay’s books, and also one by Margaret Fulton.  She is another household name in Australian cooking.

Salads+Veggies, Fruit

An Aussie classic!

Tonight we took a leaf out of Margaret’s book to make our first ever Beef Stroganoff.  Unfortunately I didn’t snap a photo tonight, but it was delicious and I think I could already make it from memory next time!  Personally I love any dish that pairs well with rice.

Later this week we’ve got some fun meals planned.  We did all of our shopping tonight, and I especially enjoyed picking out a handful of new spices.  It used to be I wouldn’t dream of attempting a recipe if I didn’t recognize some of the ingredients.  But now in a matter of days I’ll be trying out my first Tandoori Chicken!  Just need to sort out a turkey baster…

Recommitment to my Writing

I realize my blog is full of broken promises, but this time I REALLY MEAN IT!

I miss writing.  I miss feeling like life around me is amazing and inspiring.  I’ve been feeling incredibly high lately on life and particularly on exercise.  I have finally beaten the tears in my ankle and am back into sport at about 90%.  The recovery took a lot longer than I expected, and I found it hard to stay positive when all I wanted to do was get back out on the pitch.

Not too long ago, a friend of mine asked me to participate in her “inspiration project.”  Since then I have yet to really play around with a camera.  I miss taking photos.  Especially since my own camera was stolen several weeks ago.  Matt’s is so precious, I just want to have it to myself for a sunny day so I can just run around taking gorgeous photos of this amazing country.

Masterchef Australia 2012 has recently begun.  It may be the most popular television program over here.  My friend, Thuy, just had a Masterchef themed birthday party a few weekends ago and my cheesecake won first prize in the dessert category!  I was beyond proud and very humbled by the experience.  I have only gotten into cooking since moving abroad after graduation, though I have always wanted to be great at it.  And how often do you get rewarded for something like that?

Matt and I are still as in love as ever :)  I am constantly amazed at his ability to love and support me no matter how silly I am being.  This past weekend we went rock-climbing with some friends and as strange as it may sound, watching him be so athletic and determined made me proud that he was mine.  For once he has fallen asleep before me, which is probably the main reason why I am eager to write.  Need to entertain myself into sleepiness.  I went to boxing tonight and it has a similar effect to caffeine.  When it’s over I just want more!

At the moment I am feeling incredibly content with life.  I like my job, I am back playing soccer and doing sport pretty much every night, and I get to go to sleep every night next to the best guy I know (tied with Dad of course).  I have really got it made.  I feel I have Australia to thank for that!

The Sounds of Summer

It’s been quite a busy spring, and I anticipate a crazy fun summer!  Sadly for me, a few of my friends will be away during their uni holidays.  Luckily plenty of us are staying behind to brave the 40+ degree heat (Celsius).  For my friend Claire and I, this will mean heaps of time to catch up on musical arrangements.

Back in July, I joined forces with some of my best friends to form an all-female a cappella group called “The Treble Clefs.”  Treble Clefs had its first gig a few weekends ago at a wedding.  We sang about 6 different songs, including a Shania Twain ballad while the bride walked down the aisle.  We got an onslaught of positive feedback, which was really wonderful.  It really motivated us to work hard to market ourselves well.  We still have a lot of work to do on the website, but I’ll be sure to link it when it’s ready to go.  I’m not really sure what the future holds for the group, but I’ve got numerous arrangements in the works, and it just feels so good to be singing again.

Aside from doing work for the a cappella group, I’m looking forward to another type of work in store for me this summer.  It’s nearly the end of my 6 months (allowed by my visa) at the hotel where I currently work.  So I’ve been frantically applying for new jobs so as not to be out of work at Christmastime.  I ended up landing a position at The Naked Fig.  It’s a beach-side cafe and restaurant that prides itself on being free trade, free range, organic, etc. 

The Naked Fig is actually part of a chain of Fig restaurants.  Matt and I had an amazing date last night at The Wild Fig.  It’s the latest in the franchise, and the closest one to our house.

I’m excited at the prospect of working at the beach.  I’ll try to take heaps of photos to give readers an idea of how beautiful this area is.  I feel like I hardly take advantage of living so near what are considered the top beaches in Australia.

The best part of my new job (besides the option of running out the door and into the ocean upon the completion of a shift) is the fact that I get to wear pretty much whatever I want as long as it’s black.  I was obnoxiously trying on everything black that I own to determine what is the cutest way to pull off my bright orange apron.

I’ve been feeling a little down lately about my immigration status.  I can’t wait until my visa comes through so I can have a bit of stability and take advantage of residency.  But then I remember all the great people I’ve met and the fun opportunities I’ve had.  And now I get to work at the beach!

This adventure of living abroad since college has brought me places I never knew existed.  I’m an incredibly lucky girl.  Recently I even saw two of the bigger current Australian celebrities!  I got to see the prime minister from about 20 feet away a few weeks ago, and this week I made a soy latte for one of the judges from Australia’s X Factor.  He was the first winner of Australian Idol so I suppose that would make him the Australian Kelly Clarkson. 

He caught me completely by surprise when I was busy making coffees (I’m often the morning barista at work, which can get pretty full on).  He came over to ask where he could get some orange juice.  I’m sure my eyes flickered when I recognized him.  I tried to be normal, but like I said, it totally caught me off guard.  We girls were all giddy the rest of the shift.  He was so nice and really good-looking in person.  It’s pretty surreal seeing someone in person when you’re used to seeing them on television.  Especially when you aren’t expecting it!