Monday, September 2, 2013

August Break?

Gold Coast

So, August happened, and I didn't get around to blogging.

I'd like to say it is because I've been crazy buys doing amazing things (which in part is true since I spent half of the month at home with my family.) But the bigger truth is that I've struggled to find any words.

I keep reminding myself that every move is hard, that adjusting to a new place, new culture, new job,  isn't easy; and even though I've done it enough time to call myself experienced, it still takes time. Time to start finding out who I am here. Time to find and make friends. Time to adjust and adapt.

I don't mean to complain - believe me, I know how lucky I am and I know that many would love an opportunity to live here in Australia, to explore a new culture, to have a fun job - I know because I love it. But it also doesn't mean that every day is a picnic.

I'm going to keep pushing through the adjustment phase. Reminding myself that it takes time, pushing myself to get out and find new ways to meet people and make friends. And taking the quiet time I need as well.

"Well I woke up this morning and I made a resolution, I said, I'm never going to sing another sad song."
Sea Wolf - I Made A Resolution Pin It

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bits and Pieces of Rome

Three months after my trip to Italy, I'm finally posting the last of the photos....nothing like being right on top of things. These three photos weren't taken in the same place and have nothing to do with each other. They were just tiny pieces of beauty that caught my eye during my wanders.

I know solo travel isn't for everyone, but I love it, and these photos are part of the reason why. On my solo trips, I wander completely at my own pace. I find I'm more introspective and the world looks different to me in the quiet moments. Don't get me wrong, I like travel with groups as well, sometimes traveling with someone else means I laughter and the joy that comes from seeing the world through someone else's eyes.

Whether solo or in a group, bottom line, for me, travel is one of the great joys of life.

"Cause she always like her shadow more than her reflection, it's a better understanding of her place in the world."
Born Ruffians - With Her Shadow Pin It

Monday, July 29, 2013

Magic Hour in Rome

Months and months ago I took a Roman Holiday, and proceeded to fill my blog for weeks with photos I took there. Then the move to Australia took over, and for some reason since the move my camera hasn't made it out of the bag. Sure I take a few iPhone photos of the beach now and again, but I can't seem to find any real photo inspiration.

In an attempt to try and get my mojo back, I dug into some old photos of Italian adventure and realised that I'd never gotten around to posting my favorite set - the ones I took on my last night in Rome, during the golden hour for a hill over looking the city.

Every photo I took that night turned out beautifully - and not because of anything I did - but just because the city is beautiful and the light was amazing.

"Who are you when no one is around?"
Ivan & Alyosha - Who are You? Pin It

Monday, July 22, 2013

Nowhere Fast

This was a big weekend in the saga of my move south. Friday I packed up my tiny temporary apartment, called a maxi-taxi - one big enough to move me, my four suitcases, bike and two large shopping bags and moved to the apartment I'll be in for the rest of my time here (fingers-crossed.) I found a place a bit further from the beach than planned, but in walking distance to the office, which means no more 80 minute commutes. The apartment is fantastic, in all the years I've been living in furnished apartments (7.5 years now!) this is by far the best place I've found. It just feels comfortable and like "home."

I unpacked for a couple of hours, and then ran to the mall for some essentials - the place is furnished, but everyone's idea of furnished differs. Me, I need a hairdryer, a blender for smoothies and containers for leftovers (I'm attempting to learn to cook while I'm here) I might also have started looking for some colorful rugs and pillows to make this apartment look more like me.

I was back home by six, because I'd used one night last week to create a massive online grocery store order. $300 later - I have a place stocked with cleaning supplies, the kind of non-perishables it takes to stock a good pantry and produce/dairy for the week. I can't imagine how many trips it would have taken me to get my place stocked if I'd had to do it a few bags at a time walking to the corner shop.

Saturday I was back at the mall getting the things I forgot the first time or, let's be honest, that I couldn't carry.  Then home to disinfect every surface and running all the dishes through the dishwasher. And, yes, I know that is a bit over the top, but it helps me feel settled. By the time Sunday rolled around I was ready for a serious sleep in, followed by church where I continue to meet some very nice people and then home to start breaking in the kitchen.

I attempted a butternut squash stir fry curry I'd found on Pinterest. It was slightly undercooked, but yummy and something I'll make again. I discovered that the labels that tell you whether you are cooking on low, medium, high have been scrubbed off my range. Not good news for a novice cook like me - wish me luck.

After this weekend, which also marks one month in Australia, I am finally starting to feel settled. A very good feeling. How was your weekend?

"Traveling, going nowhere fast."
Josh Turner Feat. Anthony Hamilton - Nowhere Fast Pin It

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Go Insane

Go insane
Lindsey Buckingham - Go Insane Pin It

Sunset on the Beach

After a couple of weeks of trying (and failing) I may have finally figured out bus commuting in the Gold Coast, too bad tomorrow is my last day on the bus. Tonight, thanks to my new found route, I made it home just after sunset, changed clothes and headed straight to the beach for the sunset and to feel the sand between my toes.

I put on a little Miles Davis and enjoyed the moment. A few more evenings like this and I think I'm going to love this place. Pin It

Monday, July 15, 2013

It Takes Time

Gold Coast
I keep reminding myself that I've only been here 3 weeks - in part to celebrate what I have accomplished and in part to give myself a break on the rest. I have found an apartment that I love and get to move into at the end of the week. I've nearly navigated the crazy bureaucracy involved in setting up accounts and house in a new country. I've started to figure out my job, and have even learned the names of everyone in the office (since I'm not great with names a big deal to me.)

Still, I keep asking myself when I'll start to shift into the lifestyle here. Start to find my way, make friends, work out a routine. The normal adjustments that come with a move. A part of me keeps thinking that moving gets easier the more you do it. And while it does, the simple truth is that some things just take time. 

"I go searching through this world, I wait on something to unfurl."
John Fullbright - Jericho
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Friday, July 12, 2013

Keep It Together

Keep It Together
Ryan Bingham - Keep it Together Pin It

Monday, July 8, 2013


Gold Coast
Friday afternoon I realized I had no plans for the weekend, and, after several weeks of full weekends spent with friends/family before I moved, preparing for the move or settling in, it was a strange feeling. It was also the first time the reality of the move hit me; I realized I don't really know anyone yet, didn't really know my way around and, perhaps, worse that I am likely to be in that weird, new place for several more months. Luckily I've moved enough to know that feeling is temporary and that I just have to live through it.

I did a little research and found a place to get a haircut. Looked up Farmer's Markets and bike shops, then got serious about learning the Saturday bus schedule. I ended up putting together a pretty great weekend, and thanks to my bike shopping I'm already looking forward to next weekend and a long ride on my shiny new cruiser.

Any other ideas for getting adjusted to a new city?

"Could fee the sun about to rise, when I realized we had nothing to fear."
Marc Broussard - Home

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Ride This Feeling

Kate Miller-Heidke - Ride This Feeling Pin It

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wet But Well

Gold Coast
I am happy to report that all is well here in Gold Coast - wet, but well. I've met some very nice people at work and am hoping I'll soon sort out all the names. I think I'm getting an idea of what my job will entail and am starting to form a game plan. I've been told a don't have a think American accent, which I've decided is a compliment. My only complaint would be the very stormy weather.

Normally I don't mind a bit of rain, and in fact I quite like the dramatic skies it brings, especially when I'm taking photos. But, since my commute involves a bus and 20 minutes of walking the torrential rain and winds that turn my umbrella inside out have me grumbling. Fingers crossed the weather changes soon or I'm going to break down and buy some rain boots.

"Change this feeling under my feet."
Kathleen Edwards - Change the Sheets Pin It

Monday, July 1, 2013

Getting Settled

Gold Coast
It's been nearly two weeks since I arrived in Australia. The time has flown by as I worked my way through my to do list. I've finalized my visa/residency permit, I've established bank accounts, sorted out temporary housing, internet and phone, gotten a bit familiar with the city and most importantly, I've found a long-term apartment. All just in the nick of time, as I start working from my new office today.

A few impressions during my relatively short time here: Australian's are really as warm and welcoming as their stereo-types say. I've had great conversations with complete strangers and received so many genuine offers of help and great advice.

Terms of endearment are alive and well - I've been honey-ed, dear-ed, and sweetie-ed all over the place - and I have to say it beats being ma'am-ed any day of the week.

I could learn to love the beach - it's too cold to consider sticking my toes in, but I kept finding myself drawn to the shore just to watch the waves roll in.

Gold Coast
I'm looking forward to diving into work today - I know it will make meeting a few people here easier and it will be good to have a bit of structure back in my week. I do, however, feel a bit like I'm a 12 year old girl on the first day at a new school, wondering what I should wear and hoping I'll have someone to eat lunch with! Fingers crossed it will all go well and that the cool kids like me!

"Seems those ordinary days are the ones that last"
Missy Higgins - Cooling of the Embers Pin It

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Heart Won't Be Denied

Colin Devlin - The Heart Won't Be Denied Pin It

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rome: Churches

Here's what happens when you are still posting photos of a trip two months after you've returned forget where the pictures are from. I know they came from my last couple of days in Rome, but at this point all the churches/cathedrals were running together in my mind.

I should probably stop and do a bit of google searching to figure out where they are from, but the truth is I took these photos because I was in love with light and the way it influenced the way I was seeing the church. It was dark inside, but brought out, so the stained glass windows were amazing.

I pinned something last week about learning to observe light - I'd link to it, but it didn't have a source attached to it, so I don't feel right sharing without giving credit. It basically talked about how learning to observe light not only makes us better photographers, but changes the way we view the world. I think that is true in the physical sense, but I also believe it is true in the emotional sense. If we focus on the light (happy) aspects of life I think it can improve our overall outlook, at least I know that is true for me.

Rome church - light
This last iPhone photo, is another from a church I can't remember, but I remember pulling my camera out just to capture the light as it shone in through the windows. I'm hoping as I start this new adventure in Australia, I will remember to focus on the light (as I'm sure there will be a bit of dark, there always is with a move.) I hope that by focussing my attention that way I can enjoy the journey.

"We were born into a light.
For everyone alone, I wish you faith and hope
And all the strength to cope
To be your own best friend
Have confidence and keep the faith"
Ryan Adams - Born into the Light

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Monday, June 17, 2013

South Bound

I'm moving to Australia today. The Gold Coast, just south of Brisbane to be more precise.

I've know for nearly a year that the move was possible, agreed to it in January, and found out it was certain in March. And yet, even though my move date was pushed back from May 'til now, I find I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the change.

It feels more permanent than the other assignments I've had in the past 5 years - more of a real move than extended business trips. I'm struggling a bit with leaving my family for the 18 months I'll be there (minus a few trips home a year on holiday, it's not like I won't see them at all!)

At the same time, I'm looking forward to actually being in one place for 18 months, to have a somewhat "normal" schedule and life. The chance to sign up for a class here or there, get a gym membership, all the things I haven't done in the last few years.

I keep reminding myself, I'll be living near the beach, in a country and culture I admire, this isn't exactly a hardship posting (and since I've had those, I know the difference.) Still, for the first time in a while, I'm not going in as part of a team, but rather on my own. So more than ever, it is up to me to settle into a new place, make friends and adapt. I know I can do it - I've done it before - but it is never easy.

On a side note, this is my 800th blog post - it feels somewhat fitting that, on a blog I started to keep a record of my travels, I hit a milestone on the same day I make a big move.

So while I finish packing my bags - I'll ask. Any of you from Australia? Been there before? Have any advice to share? Things to add to my must see/do list? If so, please share, I know that if I go into this move with a list of exciting experiences to seek out the easier the adjustment will be.

"I'm going back down south now."
Kings of Leon - Back Down South Pin It

Friday, June 14, 2013

Silver Springs

Fleetwood Mac - Silver Springs Pin It

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rome: Palatine Hill

In between my stops at the Colosseum and the Forum, I explored Palatine Hill, and I fell a little bit in love - which means this post in going to be a photo dump. I simply couldn't stop snapping. At every turn there was something interesting and beautiful.


"In this crazy life, there's always a surprise waiting around the corner to greet you."
Leftover Cuties - Sometimes
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Rome: The Colosseum and the Forum

My very favorite day in Rome was the day I spent at the Colosseum and the Forum. I suspect it has something to do with the glorious weather in the early part of the day - after more than a week of freezing in Italy, things were finally a bit warmer. But it wasn't just the weather that had me in a great mood.

With every step I found myself in awe of the beauty of the ruins and with a desire to learn more about the history of these amazing places. I found myself wishing that I remembered more than watching game films in my world history class (the teacher was the football coach.....)

I explored the ruins on my own and didn't even really have a guidebook to help me out - which given how curious I was about the history, I regret a bit. Next time I go, I might consider buying the audio tour or taking a guide book just so I could satisfy my curiosity along the way.

If the good weather had held out, I likely would have spent several more hours here. But as you can see from the last couple of photos, the sky got dark and a very wet thunderstorm moved in, so I took cover in a nearby trattoria for an early dinner and a gelato, yum.

"Witness what I listen. There's a world here you're missing to behold."
The Milk Carton Kids - Undress the World

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Friday, June 7, 2013


Alexi Murdoch - Wait Pin It

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rome - The Pantheon and Piazza Navona

One of my best memories of Rome is of the Pantheon. I had decided to spend my first evening in the city at Piazza Navona, and stumbled across the Pantheon on my walk there. I was surprised because for some reason I thought it was closer to the Roman ruins.

I not only found it by accident, I entered in the middle of a concert of a children's choir from Bangladesh. There were singing Ave Maria when I walked in and I instantly had chills, it was incredibly powerful and it felt so right in this ancient building. The followed up with a gorgeous version of Amazing Grace.

A short time later, I was in the Piazza Navona and the children's group walked passed me - they were out of choir mode and into kid mode, helping them fit right into the crowd at the Piazza.

"Carry the promise of the old one."
The Lone Bellow - Teach Me to Know Pin It

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rome - Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps

What is a trip to Rome without a visit to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. Both were very near my flat, so I found myself walking past one or both each day. They were always crowded and full of life - it seems I'm not the only one who had them on their must see list.

Proof that the crowds were incredible - all these people taking in the fountain - and this was on a weekday. One advantage of being there on my own - it is easier for one person to push their way to the front of the crowd than it is for a group!

On my last day in Rome, I went back and threw some coins in - hoping a little magic will come my way.

The Spanish Steps were only marginally less crowded. I know it is primarily a tourist stop - but I could also see it becoming a great place for locals to meet up with friends before exploring the nearby shopping area. I can see why they had to ban sitting and eating on the steps - what a great place it would have been for a picnic lunch or an afternoon gelato break.

The view from the top of the steps was pretty amazing and kept drawing me back - if only to see who was hanging out there each day.

"The thought of my day to come was the last thing upon my mind."
Current Swell - Long Time Ago

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