Sydney Smiles

Sydney Smiles: July 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Story of my Life

*From A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Keeping Warm in the Australian Winter

If you are a Michigander most likely you would laugh at what the Australians call "winter." It is a very pleasant season and is nothing like the feet upon feet of snow and below freezing temperatures we become accustomed to in Michigan. The temperature here in Sydney roughly ranges from about 40 - 60 degrees Fahrenheit (5-16 degrees Celsius). Although, looking at the weather forecast for this week Friday is meant to have a high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). Come on let's be honest, that is not like winter at all! That is just beautiful weather!

I know, I know - you read that and think how could this blog possibly tell you how to keep warm in the Australian winter - when it gets up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit? Well, it does actually get quite chilly especially at night. Imagine it is 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside - but you do not have any kind of heating system inside your house! Yep, that's right, that is why you get cold in the Australian winter - because no one has central heating! (Okay - I am willing to admit someone may have central heating here in Australia - but I am not lucky enough to be one of them - or even know one of them!)

Last night I crawled into bed wearing a t-shirt and comfy pants thinking I would be warm enough with my comforter. Wrong! The tip of my nose felt like ice and I just couldn't get comfortable. This is when I decided to put my hot water bottle to good use. (Okay, okay - I actually stole this idea from my roommate - just so everyone knows I am giving credit where credit is due.) Upon arrival in Australia I had noticed quite a few display of hot water bottles for sale - but didn't really understand their popularity. My roommate explained to be that you sleep with the hot water bottle next to you and it keeps you warm. I went out and bought one for myself, and last night with my nose as cold as ice I decided it was as good of a time to start using it as any.

Now - on the bottle it says not to put boiling water in the hot water bottle. Of course, I ignored this. I tried to follow the rules, I really did. I filled the hot water bottle with the hottest tap water my tap would give me. The results were disappointing to say the least and the name luke-warm water bottle might have been more appropriate. I decided to throw caution to the wind and boil some water in the electric kettle. I carefully filled my hot water bottle with boiling water - and voila, I actually had a hot water bottle.

As I was unsure about 'sleeping with hot water bottle to keep warm etiquette' I decided to place the hot water bottle on my belly. My logic was as follows. My body was clearly working hard to keep my core warm - hence all the blood rushing to the core keeping the core warm and leaving the fingers, toes, and nose like ice. I figured if I put the hot water bottle next to my core my body would have to work less keeping it warm and could spare some blood and energy keeping my fingers, toes, and nose warm.

Turns out, I was right. It worked perfectly. I was toasty warm all night! :-) I do believe I am going to make this a routine - so there is nothing but warm cozy nights in my future!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

America in Oz

I am sitting in my apartment in Sydney, Australia. My back is to the TV but I am listening to the Boston Red Sox play the Oakland A's.

You can travel to the other side of the world. Drive on the other side of the road. Marvel at exotic animals [and tremble in fear at the site of giant spiders] but how far are we really from home?

When I turn on the tv I can still watch Judge Judy. I must admit I find that 'no nonsense ball buster attitude' of hers to be quite comforting so far from home. In fact, there are a lot of American TV shows that play here in Australia - so if I'd ever like to hear someone that sounds like me without footing the bill to call home all I have to do is turn on the TV.

McDonalds, Burger King [known as Hungry Jack's here], Subway, and KFC bring American "cuisine" to the Australian masses and American expats alike.

Listen to the radio and you'll hear American song after American song. Go to a club and dance to yet another American musical artist. Go to the movies and watch the latest Hollywood flicks.

What if you want to play American sports? There is even a softball league here that I plan on joining when it starts up in September. There are forums and meetup groups dedicated to Americans in Australia. Granted put me in a group of people that I don't know and I get AWKWARD pretty darn fast - but the point is these things do exist - and if I ever have a sudden "I love to meet strangers cause I'm so darn outgoing all the darn time" personality change - I'll be set!

Point is - there is a lot of America in Australia.

The New Place

Feel free to check out my new apartment here.

Oh, the places I've been.

I'm been walking around aimlessly without the internet. I don't know what to do with my self. No chatting with friends from home. No quick emails to my Dad. No hopping on the net real quick to check some stupid little fact.

You don't even want to know what I have had to resort to for my internet fixes. I've been to dark, dirty, cramped net cafes where the keyboards are so filthy you are sure to catch about 3 different mysterious diseases each visit. Places no other woman has been. Places previously only reserved for teenage boys and their gaming purposes.

Oh, the places I've been...

Please internet. Just keep working from home! Please, please, please, pretty please with a cherry on top!

Friday, July 16, 2010

I miss blogging!

I miss blogging and the internet! I promise to be back with plenty of mildly amusing stories soon. I've found a new place to live. It is very nice and new. There is a problem with the internet connection - hence the lack of blogging!

Thanks for all the wonderful support and comments from my last blog entry. XOXOXO

Friday, July 9, 2010

A case of the grumpies.... better days ahead?

I'll admit it. I've had a case of the "grumpies" lately. It's not easy moving countries. It's not all glamorous. I'm still trying to adjust and get my footing here. It can be difficult living in a country when you only know a handful of people. Perhaps, one has the tendency to rely a little too much on one particular person. It's hard to avoid when you hardly know anyone and all the people you meet in your hostel seem to have minimal English speaking abilities.

I've been trying to find a place to live in a share house. Mostly I've been looking on gumtree. It works like this - people with an available room to rent in their house or apartment post it - and if you think you might like to live there you contact the poster to go have a viewing of the place. So far, I've looked at 3 places, all of which I said - "yes, I'd like to live here." The response has been, "sorry, you clearly are just not cool enough and I'd rather not live with you." Sure, they normally say it a bit nicer than that, but you get the picture. Yesterday, I had an appointment to go see a guesthouse to which the real estate agent never showed up. *Insert grumpiness* Very professional of her, don't you think?

I think perhaps I've been setting my sights on "too cool" of suburbs. Too many people want to live in these super cool suburbs. Hence more people go view the available rooms and there is more competition to get to live with strangers you weren't even really impressed with anyways! I'm going to start lowering my standards and see what happens.

MORE GRUMPY HAPPENINGS: So yesterday one the cleaners comes into my room in the hostel. I am currently the only one in this room. He "cleans" the place... you know picks up garbage left by others and brushes off the used dirty sheets with his hands so they'll be clean when new people arrive. Later that day, while getting ready to go out. I notice my perfume is missing. *Now this perfume is important to me because I bought as a gift for my mother from Ireland and when she passed away this is something I kept for myself. I wear it. This is actually the only perfume I own, and I brought it with me all the way from America - so I could have it here.* I start freaking out slightly when I notice it is missing. I calm myself down - and go on a mission to find the cleaner. I find him. I ask about the perfume. He leads me back upstairs to a closet next to my room where he gives me my things. I was so relieved when I saw him pull them out. Only problem the perfume was missing! He gave me everything for the cupboard he cleared (that he thought had been left behind by another hostel guest) except for the perfume. Gum I brought from America - various hair sprays - deodorant - mouth wash - etc. But, no perfume! I asked about the perfume. He said "the lady left" I said, "no that was mine." I tried to explain to him the perfume is important, that it was my mothers. He replied, "the lady left." I tried a few more times to explain but his ability to speak English really took a nosedive, all he kept saying was something to the effect, "the lady left." So, I excused myself to my room buried my face in my towel to cry and tried to tell myself, "it's just a thing... it's just a thing... it's just a thing." After a few minutes of that. I got up. Brushed myself off - and got the heck out of the hostel. Okay okay... I still had a case of the grumpies... but at least I was trying.

TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN: Okay, friends that talk to me online from back home have probably started to worry about me and my case of the "grumpies." Not too worry friends, I think this is all just part of adjusting to a new country. Hecks, maybe even part of it is my body adjusting to a new time zone. Whatever the case, I recognize I need to get out and try harder! Make a life for myself and have that adventure. Stay positive! (Right, Dad?)

I've lived in other countries before. But, I've never bought a one way ticket. I've never not known when I would be home again. Let's face it folks, it's a lot easier to leave home and your family and friends when you know when you will see them again. I'm not saying this isn't something I can do. I'm just saying this is harder than it was before.

Cheers + lots of love to everyone back home!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July in Australia

The 4th of July was yesterday here in Oz. I decided to spread my wings a bit and go to an American Meetup Group - 4th of July Potluck BBQ. It's nice that these things exist. I can't say I really enjoyed it. To tell you the truth I don't like meeting new people because I am just plain shy and awkward when it comes to meeting people. I'm proud to say I gave it a go - even if I didn't leave having made any new friends. I actually enjoyed my walk home more, probably because I wasn't be forced outside my comfort zone. I walked along in my comfortable eccentric little artistic way taking photos of things most people never notice and would most likely question why I bother taking photos of in a happy content state.

Quite the big day for me. I found my way back my hostel even though I wasn't sure the way. What a long walk it was. [Please see my twitter feed on this page for a link to the photos I took along the walk. Twitter links to my brand new Tumblr account.]

I ended my 4th of July with a make shift firework display - which was a lot more fun than the BBQ. I bought some sparklers, confetti party poppers, birthday cake (to honor my mom's bday) and headed to Mrs Macquarie's Chair (for a view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House) with my favorite Aussie bloke. It was fun. The fact that the sparklers wouldn't light - well that was just funny, right? Yeah. Funny. We went through all the matches we had and couldn't get a single sparkler to light - the wind kept blowing out the flame. It's a good thing I packed the confetti party poppers for the grand finale.

However, the story doesn't end there. The sparklers were meant to be. When we were leaving the park we met a group of teenage boys that asked us to take their picture. Turns out one of them was American - so I wished him a Happy 4th of July. I told him about the sad outcome of our firework display. Turns out the boys had some lighters - and we were finally were able to light the sparklers. Hoooorrrrraaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!!!!! So I played with one sparkler - which made me happy and gave the rest to the boys, which made them happy! :-)

Not too bad - for an American independence day spent abroad!