Luck Be (with) a Lady

Sadly I forgot the handy little cord that links my camera to my computer, so no trip photos until I reach my parents’ home in 2 days.  I pray my sisters will have something I can use to bring my images to the public.

There are so many things I could say about our trip so far.  Matt has already written a couple of great posts using images from his iphone camera.  But I don’t want to go into much detail without the photos to illustrate, so I will just touch on one small aspect.

As an avid globetrotter, I have had the chance to see so many amazing places.  Cathedrals, monuments, memorials, my repertoire is chock full of ’em.  But what often gets me most excited are art museums and exhibits.

I prefer to explore art exhibits alone if I’m being honest.  I enjoy taking it at my own leisurely pace and soaking up everything around me.  I wouldn’t say I am any kind of connoisseur, but I certainly know what I like.

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Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

Matt and I were lucky enough to see Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective the other day in D.C.  I have seen some of his work here and there in various locations, but this was as comprehensive a collection as I have never seen before.  I was so impressed by the work and by the sheer number of pieces they had collected.  I found this poster on a site advertising the exhibit at the Tate in London.  Evidently that will be its next stop.  How wonderful to see such amazing American art for free! National Gallery of Art

The last time I visited the National Gallery, I just happened to see an Henri Rousseau exhibit.  It was completely brilliant, and also included an impressive amount of his work.  To be able to see these sorts of things for free is such a gift. Henri Rousseau: The Complete Works

My best memory of happening upon a wonderful exhibit was on my birthday in 2009.  This was days after I’d first met Matt, and my friend and I were stopping in Milan for one day before returning to France.  We’d been on a two week holiday, and were tired, cold and anxious about our overnight train to Dijon.

I noticed, in the main square, posters announcing a Rene Magritte exhibit nearby.  In the National Gallery I caught one of his paintings out of the corner of my eye and dragged Matt over to see it.  Most museums showing modern or surrealist art have at least one Magritte.  I get to see them here and there all over the world.  To come across an entire exhibit of his (my favorite painter) on my birthday was incredible!

I wandered around at my leisure, Courtney opting not to come along.  It was breathtaking.  I never wanted to leave.  Good art is something to be savored, and though you can find it on the internet, nothing beats seeing it in person.

My recommendation to the unseasoned traveler is to keep your eyes open for cool exhibits.  There are some fantastic FREE museums around the world, and it’s always a shame to miss great art when it’s right at our fingertips (figuratively, of course).  Even pricey exhibits are almost always worth it.  I have paid willingly to see Magritte, Van Gogh, Juan Gris, Picasso, Alphonse Mucha and many others.  See what you’re lucky enough to come across in a foreign city and check it out!

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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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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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!

One Year Later

Well there you have it.  It’s been (over) a year since my initial touchdown on the sunny West Coast.  In these 12 months I have had 4 different jobs (and I’m starting training for the fifth on Tuesday), learned dozens of recipes, rediscovered my obsession with tea, found an amazing and tight-knit group of friends to call my own, reincorporated sports into my life, and over-scheduled myself almost every step of the way.  And all of this I’ve done with the best buddy a girl could ask for at my side.  Tonight we drove out to the beach before dinner to watch the sunset, and I told him he is still the person I most want to be around every minute of every day.

This past week we had our first “long” separation, tearing me away from him for three whole days and nights!  I went down south with my wonderful friends for Mike (Hannah’s boyfriend)’s birthday.  There were 8 of us on the trip and we rented a 4-bedroom house (cabin, to you Minnesotans) for the duration.  We drank tea, visited wineries, played pool, sat by the fire and generally enjoyed each others’ company.

My mother will confirm that I am not the world’s best packer.  I tend to fill my suitcase with books rather than clothes.  Knowing this was a purely social adventure, I was sure only to pack the one: The Weird Sisters.  I’d been saving it specially for the trip.  I’d read a review of it in the local paper.  The whole “it’s about three sisters” sentence was enough to get me hooked.

The trip was over before we knew it, which wasn’t so bad since we’d see each other at indoor soccer that same night anyway.  It was good to be back with Matt.  Our reunion hug lasted a longtime.  Poor guy had to stay home and work while the rest of us had fun.

The weekend prior to our sojourn, Hannah and I hit Burswood for dinner and a show.  (This is the giant entertainment complex where I work 4 nights per week.)  We had an amazing buffet and shared a bottle of cheap white, which actually didn’t taste too bad.  Then we excitedly headed over to the theater to take our seats for Wicked.  My girlfriends had chipped in for my ticket as a birthday present long ago, and we couldn’t believe the night was finally here!

Wicked is in town for a few more weeks.  Work’s been really crazy since it opened.  We’re booked every night it’s running, with myriads of diners fooling themselves into thinking they’re the only ones in the joint in a hurry.  Silly buddies.

I also finally started my job at the Duxton Hotel.  It’s easy as. (Hehe aussiespeak.)  I like the people and the atmosphere is quite relaxed.  They started me after the end of the financial year, making my tax return less complicated.  Matt has been anxiously awaiting our tax forms from each of our many employers, and today, we finally filled out the online applications.  I’m getting a boatload back, though it’ll probably be heading straight for my student loan payment account.