Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BACON!

I must pass on my love of Australian bacon.  It's so totally delicious.  Their bacon (they call them rindless rashers) is large and you get the best of both worlds.





These are actually small pieces of bacon.  See... you get the slightly fatty "bacon" long piece and the bigger round piece that is similar to lean ham.  Honestly, the best bacon I've ever eaten is here in Australia.  I love brekkie!

Friday, May 25, 2012

My First Yum Cha

Another friend leaves the fold at my place of employment.  And so in celebration of the time we spent getting to know him, we all went for Yum Cha at Sky Phoenix in Sydney's CBD.  I had never been to Yum Cha before.  Heck, I'd never heard of Yum Cha before.  Everyone was so excited about the prospect of going to Yum Cha that I caught the bug myself.


Sydneysiders (and Australians, in general) pride themselves on their culinary prowess.  I have no interest in exploring anything described as culinary.  Food scares me.  Everyone knows this.  Why on earth I should end up in a city like this, I have no idea.  But I decide to go with it.


Yum Cha means to drink tea.  But to me, Yum Cha is sort of like a brunch buffet.  Except that the buffet is at your table.  We all sat at a table with a giant lazy susan in the middle.  The waiters and waitresses would come around with trolleys full of all sorts of food.  You pick what you want at your table and they keep track of what you take on a card.  I tried fried prawn dumplings, steamed BBQ pork bun (delish), teriyaki chicken, fried calamari and chicken feet.  Everything was very good with the exception of the chicken feet.  I think that I would have really enjoyed the chicken feet if they were fried and crispy.  But they are not.  Seems to me they were only boiled and since they are mostly cartilage, they are very mushy when you eat them.  Wikipedia says, "gelatinous," and I think that sums it up perfectly.  So I ate a small amount, but simply couldn't continue.


Dessert was included.  They had sweet tofu and custard served in buns or rolls.  They also had mango and cream in a pancake.  There were names for all of this, but I couldn't remember if my life depended on it.  None of the dessert appealed to me, but it was nice to see everyone fighting over it.  :)

Vivid Sydney 2012

So, Vivid Sydney starts tonight (25 May 2012) and continues through 11 June 2012.  It's known as the festival of lights, music and ideas.  I must admit that I really don't know all that much about it, but the website is a great source of information about all sorts of things that are going on and discounts on most of them.  I hear a couple of people talking about it at work today and then noticed the sails of the Opera House being projected with various pictures and stuff.  I'm adding a few videos in case you are interested.  You may notice that it is extremely windy in Sydney tonight.  I don't think Chicago has anything on Sydney.  LOL


video


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The buildings all around Circular Quay are all lit up, too.  I had forgotten all about what I overheard until the lights caught my eye.  Most of the pictures I took look terrible, but this one came out okay:


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Yankee Candles

I'm sitting in the kitchen thinking that I really should blog about something that doesn't bring up negative connotations about living in Sydney.  I could totally fill this blog with stupid stuff like that.  Mainly because I'm a spoiled brat American who's (apparently) always had too much choice and who's now stuck in her ways and having trouble acclimating.


But enough of that... I'm staring into one of the numerous Yankee Candles I brought from the US.  The one I am burning is Blue Hydrangea.  It smells heavenly.  Of course, if you've ever had a Yankee Candle, you know exactly what I mean.  I've never smelled better candles.  They burn evenly, efficiently and are ALWAYS highly fragrant.  I'm wondering if there is truly an equivalent here in Australia?  I wonder what the secret is?


Anyone?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Telstra Sucks Rocks

I feel so stupid.  Why?  Because I totally fell for the whole "we're the best"  act that they put on.  The only thing you can rely on Telstra for is being unreliable.  That, and the fact that they don't care that their service sucks.  When I went into a Telstra store recently to find out more information about why my internet connection was constantly (CONSTANTLY) not working, the only thing they suggested was that the modem we were provided with when we started the service was crap and that we should upgrade to a more expensive model.


So, just spend more money.  Good answer.  Except that we fell for that too and the internet connection is STILL not reliable.  I'm only able to type this blog because Mr. Smith had to restart the modem and do goodness knows what else for at least the third time today and it's only 5pm.


Telstra sucks rocks.  If you're moving to Sydney, I would NOT recommend Telstra.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Making a Change

I feel like I want to make a change in my life.  We've been in Sydney for 2.5 months now.  Ever since we've arrived I've been obsessed with checking my email for news from home.  At this point, it's making me more and more depressed thinking about how everyone else has obviously moved on already while I remain tethered to my computer.  Why does no one answer my emails?  Don't they realize how lonely I am?  It's taken me a long time to blog about this.  Honestly, it's embarrassing.  But I started to think that others probably feel the way I do and at least this can validate them (and me).


I've also been spending a lot of time playing Zynga games on Facebook.  And getting frustrated.  And I'm sure annoying Mr. Smith by how much of my attention was directed toward it and not toward dinner and ironing.  (I still refuse to iron most things.)


So I want to make a change.  I want to be more productive.  I'm trying desperately to change my mindset toward going to the gym.  I go every Tuesday night for Zumba, but I really should go at least one more night per week.  At the very least.


I want to sew more.  I want to pick up my cross-stitch again.  Instead of sitting on the computer every night, I can create something.  I've always wanted to be a creative person... make things...  have an open mind.


So this morning I woke up and as usual I turned on my laptop first thing.  Guess what?  We have no internet connection.  (Telstra sucks... just my humble opinion)  I tried everything I know to get it to come back on, but to no avail.  Perhaps this is God's way of saying, "How about making that change?"

Monday, May 14, 2012

Calling All Expats!

On the right side of my blog, I've put a couple of emblems for sites I used quite a bit before and since arriving in Sydney.  If you are looking for information or more help with your move, I recommend you start with one of these.


I was recently contacted by Julien, who created Expat blog (the little pink suitcase -->).  He asked that I create a post telling all my friends and expats about his site.  I'm more than happy to do that.  Julien is dedicated to helping others find their way when navigating new countries.  Here's a bit about what he's up to in his own words:


"I created Expat blog 7 seven years ago.  I had the idea to gather on a unique platform all the expatriates’ blogs all over the world.  Expatriates’ blogs are indeed a great way to get information about real life in a foreign country.  
As the years went by, new features have been added to the website such as a forum, guides, albums and a business directory.  Expat blog has now more than 420,000 members and 1.8 million visitors per month. 

New Jobs and Housing sections 
We just launched 2 new features to help expatriates and soon-to-be expatriates in Australia: Jobs and Housing.  
As a matter of fact, finding a job and an accommodation are essentials to succeed in your expatriation project.  Indeed, this is often where the adventure begins. 
One of the first reasons of mobility is employment.  Looking for a job in Australia from your native country is not an easy task: you do not know where to look for job offers or where to apply.  With its new international job board, Expat blog gives you access to job offers in Australia and everywhere in the world, wherever you are. 

This is the same process when looking for an accommodation.  It is not easy to look for a place to live in Australia when you are quite far away.  The housing section enables you to select or offer accommodations as per your needs: rental, sale, flat share, etc."




Julien is correct, of course.  These two aspects of moving countries are by far the hardest to deal with.  If you're like me, you've never lived outside your native country, you have no idea what job titles mean or where the good neighborhoods are.  I was lucky to have assistance from Relocation Specialists in Sydney.  They helped me tremendously with finding a place to live.  They even assisted with finding a job.  Any assistance you can get is welcome.  So please take the time to visit Julien's site.  The Expat Blog is full of information and helpful tips for the expat.


P.S.  Just as a footnote... I just re-visited the Expat Blog website again.  I still find it relevant, even after I've moved and found a job and have a great place to live.  There's so much more information available to you.  Don't hesitate.  Click!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

This is a pic of my mom when she graduated
(either high school or nursing school... I can't remember which)


Happy Mother's Day to the most selfless person I know.  I love you so much, mom!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Cone of Silence

Wow!  It's been a long while since I've posted any musings, as my mom so eloquently put it.  A week ago yesterday (has it really only been a week?) all of our worldly possessions were delivered to our humble flat in Kirribilli.  It's been interesting.  I remember well the comments that the packers made when they came over to our house in Ansonia to load everything into the container for a voyage around the world.  They warned me then that we would have trouble.  The Australian movers weren't very positive either.  And they were correct.  We just have way too much stuff.  In fact, the thing we have entirely too much of...  picture frames.  We have enough framed photos and artwork for about 4 flats.  LOL!  So now I'm taking most of the pictures we have out of the frames.  I need to find photo albums to store them in.  That's my current project.


We have donated some items to the Salvation Army (aka Salvos).  We have given some items away.  And, alas, we have thrown some items away.  Almost everything survived the trip.  Mr. Smith's rolling tool box was heavily damaged.  The moving company has agreed to reimburse us for the replacement cost.  He tried to get the same one from Sears shipped here.  The Sears website actually had a very large ad that popped up saying, "Now delivering to Australia!"  But when Mr. Smith put the item in the cart, they changed their mind.  Neither one of us understands it.  Why offer in the first place?  Was it the size of the item?  Who knows?


Oh!  Mr. Smith just got the tool box open.  We thought he might have to buy a crow bar (the one we have is in the tool box), but I guess that's one less thing we have to buy now.


So we're up to our eyeballs in STUFF.  It's a pretty crowded apartment, but I'm starting to get used to it.  We still have to hang up more pictures, but mostly we are done.  We found out while signing the lease for the apartment that we are not allowed to put nails in the walls.  What?  Who doesn't allow people to hang photos? So Mr. Smith decided to use those Command strips.  So far it's working.  We only had one ceramic fish leap to his death in the bathroom.  I'm thinking that perhaps it's due to the humidity in there?  Not sure, but we haven't given it another go in there yet.  I took the other fish down just in case he was depressed about losing his friend.


The problem with the Command strips is that they are required to stick to the back of your frames.  Well, a few of my frames are covered in velvet on the back, so we haven't figured that one out yet.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Padlocks

I've noticed that people have started hanging padlocks on the Harbour Bridge (pedestrian side).  More on that if and when I find out any information.  Feel free to post if you know the reason.




UPDATE:  Apparently the eight ball has long passed me by on this one.  :)


There is a history of a padlock craze around the world.  Some think it's romantic; some think it's a hindrance.  I can see both sides.  Here's one from the Harbour Bridge: