Sunday, October 16, 2011

DISHWASHER! And, how the UPS man saved me.

That's right, our apartment now has a dishwasher.  (I'll get to the UPS story in a minute.)  Todd and I were talking via Skype (how did people survive before this?) and he took the camera into the kitchen to show me this new addition.  I could not be more pumped!  Don't get me wrong, I feel like we hit the apartment jackpot when we found a place with a stove/oven, fridge (and a large one at that), washing machine AND dryer.  During our week and a half search for an apartment, we certainly did not find anything with the number of amenities our current place has.  But, we did spend almost an entire day just washing dishes and silverware when we moved in and were unpacking.  Bye, bye nail polish after that day.  Todd can attest to the fact that I am a little bit of a germ freak when it comes to dirty dishes.  (I did used to have color-coded cutting boards to avoid any cross-contamination.)  If I had my way, I would put everything in the dishwasher.  So, this was quite the early birthday present for me.

On another note, this was Todd's first full week of work.  The transition and the new job seem to be going really well.  I think there is a definite sense of comfort in the fact that he is returning to a company where he knows people.  Though it sounds like there are certainly new people working there that he had not met, it is nice that he knows some of the people working there already.  I know he misses the people he worked with at his last job, but I think this situation is ideal for a smooth transition. 

I had a bit of an funny week.  Preface to this story--Todd and I decided it made the most sense for each of us to sell our cars before we left.  Todd already sold his car (which worked out better than we had even hoped) and I have been planning to sell my car in December.  My car, though older, has been good to me since I got it just before senior year of college.  Prior to this Australia plan, I was just going to drive it until it died and then get a new car.  Well, this week, I thought my car might have other plans.  On the way to dinner with some wonderful people from work, my car just would not start.  Thankfully, after a jump from a sweet coworker, it started up again.  I went to dinner as planned and drove home.  At first, we all thought the lack of starting was due to some corrosion on the battery.  But, after cleaning off that corrosion, my car would not start.  Because it was still relatively early in the evening, my plan was to jump it again and drive somewhere that would replace the battery.  As my mom and I stood in the garage about to use her car to jump my car, a friendly UPS driver showed up to help up with this process.  Thank goodness, because I have a feeling things might have gone from bad to worse if the two of us were left to our own devices in this situation.  I don't know why UPS has its drivers delivering packages so late at night, but I am certainly thankful he showed up when he did.  I drove the car to a Pep Boys down the road and got there just in time for them to replace the battery before they closed for the night.  I also got the flu shot this week and kept up my 5 year streak of getting sick from it. 

These are definitely just little hiccups during the week.  All in all, they are nothing to write home about and certainly nothing that I could not handle.  But, it's odd to have these things happen without the ever-calm Todd to help.  And, it's even more weird to have to wait 5 or 6+ hours just to tell him these stories.  I think we are very used to everything being instantaneous, particularly information.  I can know what pretty much all of my friends (and people I haven't seen since college) are doing at any one time just by clicking on Facebook.  But, with the crazy difference in time, it is usually at least 6 hours before Todd and I can talk about anything that has happened. 

I promise that once I get to Sydney, I will start posting pictures of amazing scenery and stop getting all philosophical about our move.  In the meantime, here's another picture of the bridge (from our apartment).  I can't wait to climb it--eek!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Trip to Sydney in Photos

Entirely too much has happened in the past week and a half for just one blog post.  And, seeing as my body is still trying to figure out what time zone/hemisphere it is in, I thought it might be more fun to share some photos from the two weeks I spent in Sydney.

Here is my first flat white.  Australia doesn't really do drip coffee--everything is espresso-based.  A flat white is pretty much a latte.  It is delicious, but like most things in Sydney, it is expensive.

This little baby was $3!!
This was the view from the first hotel we stayed in--not too shabby.

During the first day, we walked around Sydney and did some sight-seeing.  We stopped at a place called The Opera Bar were we had our first Australian drinks.  One of the few things you can get for a reasonable price in Sydney is wine.  Again, not a bad view.

At The Opera Bar, I was introduced to one of the more simple but delicious stapes at most Sydney restaurants...potato wedges.

They are just baked potato wedges with sour cream and sweet chili sauce.  Pure genius.
Being in the parks in Sydney is almost like being in the zoo.  Because many of the animals (birds in particular) are not common to Atlanta, we couldn't help but try to chase them down.  I will spare you the photos of the eels, though.

During one of the few days we took off from apartment hunting, we headed to Darling Harbor.  Though very touristy, it is still wonderful and worth seeing.  Earlier in the week, I had seen a news report on one of the morning shows about a new playground being built in Sydney.  Without meaning to do so, we stumbled upon this new playground while walking from Darling Harbor.

I had to share this photo because neither Todd nor I could get over the fact that kids were just climbing up this structure without any supervision/net/safety precautions.  In the US, this would be a lawsuit waiting to happen.  But, I guess when you live in a country with the most deadly animals in the world, a little climbing is no big thing. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we did eventually find an apartment.  Todd knew right away that this place was a gem.  I, on the other hand, took a little convincing.  It is so incredibly clear now that this apartment is perfect for us.  I already miss it and am excited to get back to it.

The apartment is at the top of a hill and in walking down to the end of our street, you will hit water and see this view.

The apartment is in an older building and has been somewhat refurbished.  There are two bedrooms, a pretty decent kitchen and a wide open living room area.  Much to my surprise, not all apartments (even furnished ones) have a fridge, oven/stove, washer/dryer and dishwasher.  In fact, some places have none of these.  Luckily, we have all of the above with the exception of a dishwasher.  After spending an entire day washing dishes, cups, glasses, etc. by hand, Todd is looking into renting a dishwasher for the place.  Here our a few photos of this humble abode.

Our living room--don't you love the one tiny photo on the HUGE wall?  We are working on fixing that.
Another view of our living room area
Our kitchen--this is HUGE compared to most of the kitchens we saw
Extra bedroom/storage room
Guess who loves the view from the living room...

Because we were constantly rearranging things and doing two weeks worth of laundry, we did not get around to taking a photo of the bedroom.  Hopefully Todd will be able to upload a photo or two.  We are fortune to have some great closet space in the bedroom which will come in handy when I move the rest of my clothes over in January.

After checking out quite a few neighborhoods, hunting for apartments and finally working to get settled in our new place, we didn't have much time before I had to head back to the US.  We spent my last day in Sydney walking from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day and it was nice to finally be able to relax a little.

The day after our beach trip, Todd and I headed to the airport to say goodbye.  It certainly wasn't easy and not knowing exactly when we will see each other again makes it worse in some ways.  I know that he will be back in Atlanta for Christmas but we aren't entirely sure how soon before Christmas we will get to see each other.

Todd started his job the day after I left and said it could not have gone better.  He has been hanging out with people from work outside of the office and getting to know our new neighborhood a little better.  I think it makes all the difference in the world that Todd knows quite a few people in Sydney already.  And, I know they are thrilled to have him back.  Within minutes of posting something to Facebook at the Atlanta airport about his return, Todd received numerous phone calls and messages from people in Sydney telling him how excited they were that he would be returning. 

Coming back to work for me was bittersweet on so many levels.  I love my job more than I thought anyone could love something called "work."  And, I absolutely adore the people I work with everyday.  I am trying to trust that this move will include finding something as fulfilling as I am doing now.  On the other hand, I miss Todd immensely and am counting down the days until I can return to our adventure together in Australia. 

Hopefully this wasn't a picture overload!!