Monday, December 14, 2009

Linda Angel 1958-2009

I was all set to write a post full of funny anecdotes about the road trip and festival,  and then I opened my inbox and found out that Linda died.  I'm dealing with waves of gratefulness that she was part of my life and grief that she is no longer.  I can't seem to compose anything worth writing.  I'm too flooded with memories.

This is Linda. 

And because I can't think of her without laughter, here is one of our favorite office videos. 
Linda, like no one else, could do an imitation of Eddie Murphy doing an imitation of James Brown in the hot tub.

In life and death, I love you.  

Sunday, December 6, 2009

happy day

Provided all goes as planned- January 2nd, this will be new home.
("this" meaning the flat on top of the fish and chips shops in the pic).

As some of you know, I've been in the market for a new flat for the past few weeks.  My cousin's girlfriend is moving into the place I'm in now, and they want the place to themselves (which is fair enough), so I've been looking for another option.  I was pretty set on a place in Paddington and then at the last minute it fell through.  I had met one of the flatmates, it seemed like a sure thing, but then after I met the other flatmate I got the voicemail that they were going with another person.  They told me they flipped a coin but I have feeling that flatmate number 2 wasn't my biggest fan.  Anyway, it doesn't really matter; the bottom line is- that place was off the table.  So today, I went to look at a place in Surry Hills, and by the time I got back home from seeing the place, I had a message on my phone that if I wanted it, it was mine. YAY!   It's a 2 bedroom apartment on top of a fish and chips shop (no smell, though).  Surry Hills is fantastic- lots of cafes, restaurants, pubs, trees- has all the convenience you want but also feels neighbourhoody.  The flat itself has a lot of light and good breezes coming through.  It's painted a pretty awful colour and could do with some more stuff on the walls but my flatmate (Jess) seems fine with putting up some of my stuff.  My room has no windows but a skylight so it gets good light and fresh air.  Provided all goes as planned, I'll be moving in the first week of January.  

Anyway, it was a big day as earlier in the morning I swam the Bondi to Bronte Ocean swim race.  2.5 k.  It went fairly quickly and I think I made good time (maybe even 45 min?), but there was a moment at the end that I really thought I might die.  I was closer into the shore than I thought and I got dumped by an enormous wave and was under the water holding my breath, exhausted, and just waiting for the wave to stop rushing over my head.  I wasn't sure I was going to make it.  But I did.  Only to fall on my ass in front of a good thousand people, as I got out of the water.  They make you RUN to the finish line and my legs were still feeling wobbly-- I looked behind me and saw this massive wave coming in.  Next thing I knew, I was flat on my ass. 

Tomorrow I head on a plane down to Melbourne for 4 days of camping/hiking around the national parks followed by 3 days of music here.  Be jealous.  It should be awesome.  

Have I told you before I love summer in Sydney??  If you don't live here, you should come visit.  My place is open anytime. 

Love, Tamara

Saturday, November 28, 2009

number one thing i love about sydney in summer

... it's perfectly acceptable to walk around the city barefoot in only your swimmers.  no shirt, no shoes, no service-- thing of the past.  

Thursday, November 26, 2009

AD and back again

abu dhabi rubbed off on me...

This is me at the Grand Mosque- all 4 billion dollars of it!  It was pretty amazing.  Will upload my photos to flickr so everyone (except those in the UAE where flickr is blocked) can see.

I'm now back in oz, the turkey is in the oven, cranberry sauce is cooling on the counter, and 16 people are coming for dinner.  Happy Thanksgiving/Black Friday everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


it's really difficult to use blogger when your toolbar is all in arabic.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

on a positive note...

So on rereading my last post, I realized that it was a bit negative... so (in no particular order) here is a list of the top 5 things that I like about the UAE-

1) the call to prayer. Muslims pray 5 times a day and that means that the call to prayer echoes from the mosques 5 times a day.  it's a good thing i like it.  what a beautiful ullulating sound.  it reminds of the shofar... in the busy day and chaotic world, it's a reminder to stop, take stock, and think.

2) the hospitality.  I know I'm spoiled.  I'm here as a Westerner, put up by my company in beautiful hotels.  Of course, there's good hospitality.  But it seems to extend farther than that.  Today, after being dropped off by my taxi in the wrong place, in front of the wrong university (the taxi driver didn't know where he was going and didn't speak Arabic or English so I had him drop me off at the one place he knew and then someone else took me from there), the policemen/security guards sitting where I got out hurried to help me get my stuff out of the taxi.  They gave up their seat for me, brought me tea, and were unbelievably kind.

3) the desert. I can't say the desert safari was my favorite trip to the desert in the Middle East, but it was a reminder of how beautiful the desert actually is.  I was named for the oases in the Negev and so have a special place in my heart for sand and dunes and the peace that exists out there.  I'm glad to be near it again.

4) the cultures. The UAE is a truly international country.  90% of the population is from somewhere else!  It's an incredible mix of people from all over the world.  I think it's fantastic that you can ask everyone you meet- "where are you from?"- and yet, the country still maintains it's own, unique emerati-ness.  

5) the food. Not only can you get any type of food from any country in the world here, but the lebanese food that seems to be most common is delicious, cheap, and plentiful.  Today, for dinner I had half of a  chicken, a plate of rice, a ton of fresh vegetables and olives, flat bread, 2 types of curry, and tea.  And this was just me ordering one dish.  The food was delicious and only cost me $7.00.  I'd also like to point that I don't think you can beat arabic tea or coffee.  mmmm  

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

blah blah blah abu dhabi

I was going to try to update this on a daily basis but I'm actually not sure what to write about.  Abu Dhabi seems to be such a city of contradictions that I can't get my head around it.  It's kind of like Vegas without the gambling- all luxury and service and money and every hotel/restaurant/attraction trying to one up everyone else and constant construction.  Anything that sits for too long is quickly covered by a layer of dust.  And the weather is hot and hazy.

But, as with every place, the wealth is only one layer of the city.  In the centre of the city are high rises, each apartment housing 3 or 4 families.  The streets overflow with parked cars squashed wherever there is room- many of the building were not built with parking lots...   Apparently in a few years these buildings will all be demolished and rebuilt as luxury apartments and hotels.  Abu Dhabi island is being redesigned as an island of elites.  The question remains- if the workers are priced out of the city... who's going to do the work?  And who is going to live in all these new apartments being built.  Everyone I talk to asks those same questions.

OK... enough of my rambling... what have I been doing?  Working, relaxing by the pool, and seeing a bit of the city, mostly.  ("they come out at night... mostly..."- that's for anyone who's seen Aliens.)  On Monday night, the head of operations at Takatof was heading out to the Emirates Palace Hotel (google it, it's amazing) to do a site visit so he invited me along.  There was an exhibition on the Guggenheim opening that night and Takatof had volunteers helping out.  I don't think I've ever been around so many rich people in my life.  It was a little unsettling.  The crown prince (!) of the UAE was even there.  The hotel is "7 star" and is built to look like an Arabian palace.  It's all marble and gold with pillars and arches and tiles and well, look it up.  The exhibition, itself, was pretty amazing- they had shipped over some of the masterpieces from the Guggenheim.  Cezanne, Klee, Pollack, etc.

Then my host gave me a driving tour of Abu Dhabi-- past the high walls of the major palaces, through the markets, around the inner city high rises, and of course, by the many, famous malls.  The blocks here are super long with little streets in between and little rhyme or reason to the numbers.  It's not exactly a pedestrian friendly city so I was grateful for the driving tour.  It's really the best way to see things.

And then yesterday, I spent doing work at the hotel and crashed at around 7pm for a 12 hour sleep.  I think the jetlag/ exhaustion from flying had finally caught up.  This morning I went for a walk along the Corniche (the walking/biking area by the water).  I was a little underwhelmed.  I was sweating like no other, the water is flat and kinda unexciting and there's so much construction going on that you can't really appreciate the beauty that is there.  Or maybe I'm just spoiled from living in Australia.  I don't think any beach will ever be able to compete again.

This evening I head out on a desert safari...

I'm finally remembering to bring my camera and take pictures.  I'll post them when I get back.

Love, Tamara

Sunday, November 15, 2009

travelling tamara travels again!

Hello All,
Greetings from Abu Dhabi.  I think at this point, I can safely announce that I made it without it all disappearing.  The flight over on Etihad was a breeze.  There was no one in the seat next to me, which meant that (1) I had a window seat to look out over Australia as we flew over the continent (2) I didn't have to climb over anyone to go to the bathroom- the number 1 reason why aisle seats are important on 14 hour flights and (3) if I crunched up my body in exactly the right way I could "stretch" out while I slept.  Flying over Australia was definitely the highlight.  After spending a semester at uni looking at maps of the Sydney Basin, it was wild to see it all play out below me.  The city became suburbs that went on and on, then planned subdivisions and rural areas appeared, and then the undulating Blue Mountains took over.  They were incredible- this ongoing wavy field of blue/green bush.  And then they ended and the next time I looked out of the window the ground was pink and red and there was nothing. It was insane.  I took pictures but forgot to bring the cord to hook my camera up to the computer so can't post them.

The only downside to the flight was that I hadn't gotten my act together to buy snacks for the plane and as even the smell of airplane food makes me want to retch (let alone eating it), I was quite hungry by the time I arrived.

But arrive I did, my bag was already off the carousel and waiting for me, and when I got through customs there was someone there to pick me up and take me to my hotel (I was a little worried that this wasn't going to happen and I was going to need to take a cab with no money on me to a hotel where I knew the name but not the address-- on a side note, i have since found out that there are no addresses in abu dhabi so that wouldn't actually have been a problem), and when I got to the hotel my colleague from work had left me a package of food.  I was beyond grateful.

You can see the hotel I'm staying at here.  Be jealous.  A free robe and a king size bed and I'm sold.  Today, consisted of sleeping in, lounging about the hotel, walking to the mall (to get there you turn left by one construction site, pass 3 other constructions site, turn right at the row of villas, walk all the way to the main street, avoid the rubble, and look out for the big tall glassy building, also under construction), and meeting up with work colleagues to start planning the details of the training.  I'm also thinking through where I want to go and what I want to see over the next week.  I looove work trips.  I just wish some of you were here with me!

I'll try to keep the updates fairly frequent while I'm here.

Lots of love,

a poem for amelia about waiting for a visa to qatar

tentatively titled: I'm going to get quite fat if this keeps up...

i'm waiting to hear about visas
in the meantime i'm eating two pizzas
if this takes any longer
i'll look down and ponder
if my waistline can handle some cheese-uhs.

i'm waiting to hear about visas
it's been two months, three days, and a seizure
i'm going quite batty
i think i'll get a new tatty
what else do you do when you're waiting a few and you're quickly
approaching a geezer?

i'm waiting to hear about visas
london's the inside of a freezer
it's cold and it's damp
and i feel like a tramp
and i wish i was heading to tropical bedding and summertime weather at
the drop of a feather instead of here waiting and feeling like hating
the government being a teaser.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

or not....

i think i need to stop telling people i'm going to abu dhabi.  every time i say something the trip gets cancelled or postponed.  Looks like I'm going on Saturday or Sunday but I won't believe it until I'm on the plane.

abu whatta?

with thanks to Trevor for the link

See ya, folks.  I'm off to Abu Dhabi for two weeks.  My 2 year old cousin Miri think I'm making it up, but in a few hours I'll be on my way.  I'm looking forward to meeting my colleagues, working with students, and seeing a new country.  AND, I'll hopefully be heading over to Qatar for two days to see my cousin, Amelia, who will (hopefully) be moving there this week.  She's got an awesome gig playing music for rich people at a villa on a private island.  Yea, that kind of life.  (  

Today, I hand in my last paper and then the summer will really begin.

Lots of love, Tamara

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I've been inspired by this entry on darcy's blog to write one one of my own.

Yesterday, Maine voted to repeal same sex marriage.  Because of the time difference, I didn't have to stay up late to watch the votes trickle in.  Instead, I sat at the library trying to write a paper and hitting "refresh" over and over again on the Keep Maine Equality webpage.  By late afternoon I had a blasting headache and my heart hurt.

Somehow, for some reason, we think that by empowering others, we have to give up some of our own power.  Somehow, for some reason, we think that by extending rights to other people, we lose our own rights.  I am sickened by the ways that people feed off of fear and spread hatred in the name of religion.

Darcy posted these three videos, and they're also my favo(u)rites so I thought I'd share them as well.  They make me laugh and give me hope that love and commonsense will prevail.  Thank you to everyone who worked hard on the No on 1 campaign, who voted with their hearts, and who continue to keep up the fight.

Love, Tamara

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

i think i'll be a baker when i grow up!

from this...

to this....

to this!

Apparently I can bake after all.  I love Halloween.

(and a big thank you to Julie and Lucie for helping
with the baking and the party;
you made it all a breeze!)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

jacarandas and terraces: spring in sydney

view from Trumper Park, on a rainy spring day.  one of my favorite spots in sydney.  especially when the jacarandas are in bloom.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I think I finally got the photo thing working....  Anyway, here's an update on the garden:


looking good, eh?

I'm not really sure when to pick the zucchini.  Any tips?

Love, Tamara

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

for darcy....

and for Steph, too.  I think you two might be the only ones left reading my blog.  Anyway, Darcy asked that I be better at updating because apparently talking to me once a day online isn't enough to really get a feel for my life.  hehe.

So here I am sailing on the Harbour...
Actually, not.  With the new photo editer, I can't upload photos and write at the same time and it takes forever (like a good 15 minutes) for me to upload photos onto blogger.  Steph, do you know any blogger tricks that will allow me to keep writing while the uploader does it's thing?

For now, you'll just have to see my photos on facebook or wait until I upload them to flickr.  Sorry.

The story is that last Saturday I decided to do some in-depth experiential research for my paper on Plum Creek and Moosehead Lake, so I took some friends up on the offer of going sailing on the Harbour.  Beautiful day + warm weather = perfect research setting.  We left from Greenwich, sailed under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past the Opera House, and over to Watsons Bay for a swim and a bbq.  mmmm kangaroo meat mmmm.  We got back to Greenwich in time for me to find out that some asshole with no imagination or driving skills had decided that I parked him in and called the cops.  In the process he freaked out my cousins whose car I had borrowed and who thought that I had gotten kidnapped and was lying tied up in my apartment while the criminal made up off with the car.  All was put right in the end when the cops came, saw the car, and decided that the guy was just an idiot.  By the time I got back, my cousins were laughing about the whole thing and the guy was more bitter than ever.  Let's just say it was an interesting end to the day.

Today's my last day of uni for the year- although, I still have quite a few assignments to hand in.  A big celebration will be in order when this is all over.  For now, I'm off to the library.

Love you!!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

how does your garden grow?

Despite being neglected for a few days while I was in Melbourne and then barraged by dust and high winds, the garden is hanging on! It's not exactly growing DOWN, the way I think it's supposed to grow, but as long as things aren't dying, I'm happy. (Actually, one plant is dying, but you can't ask for everything...). To the right is the bunny and the little man looking out at approvingly at the garden.

Meanwhile, I'm pushing through a cold (damn you Melbourne!), writing masses of papers, and trying to find time to enjoy the weather. It's been steadily over 75 F for the past few weeks- summer is right around the corner.

Plans for November through March include: Abu Dhabi, music festival and travelling in Victoria, music festival and travelling in Tasmania, trip to New Zealand, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and potentially a trip to Qatar and Spain. The Spain piece is really up in the air. All in all, a very good summer. I don't have much to complain about, do I? Only really that I miss all of you and wish you were here with me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Aussie Trips

Becca and Erica come to visit me in Sydney!  Photos are up!

We had two short trips while they were here.  In their first week, we went to Gill and Andy's place in Winda Woppa.  I felt so lucky to be able to share such a wonderful place with my friends.  Winda Woppa is one of my favorite places in Australia.  Gill and Andy make their home feel so open and welcoming (even when they're not there!) and it's such an amazing feeling to wake up in the morning, pop on your swimmers, and head across the street for a dip in the ocean.  Becca and Erica went bike riding and swimming.  I mostly stayed in and worked.  Now I understand why writers head out on retreats to get stuff done.  It was a wonderful way to work.

Then we were back in Sydney for a few days before we headed out to the Blue Mountains.  1 1/2 hours away from Sydney and you're in a totally new world.  I can't believe I had never been out there before.  We went on two of the most beautiful hikes I've ever done.  After my trip to the US, I'm planning on figuring out how to join conservation volunteers and get some free "working" trips to the area.  It was just amazing.

Enjoy the photos, folks.  

Lots of love,

Monday, May 18, 2009

For those of you not on facebook

I just finished knitting and blocking this scarf.  Thank you Nora Gaughan.  I'm so happy with the way it turned out.

More photos and a short update

Here are more photos from the rest of the weekend with the cousins.  It was such a wonderful time to all be together- lots and lots of laughs.  I wish we could do it more often.  The great goulston first cousin get together is in the works- Molly, Jeff, James, Tali, Gilad, Sam, Ben, Ben, Amelia, Joe, Lucie, May-- you better be there!  Tasmania, perhaps?

For once, everything seems to be going well.  As most (all?) of you know, I got accepted to graduate school at UNSW.  The program starts in the end of July and I'll be studying for a Masters in urban planning.  It feels great to have a plan for the next year and a half- to have a set time that I've committed to being in Sydney and (potentially) a set time for when I'll be coming home.  I feel more grounded than I have in ages and grateful that I had almost a year to figure out my next steps in life.   

My plan is to fit in a trip to the US before grad school starts-- end of June to the middle of July-- Mark your calendars!  (I should be buying tickets this week...)  Aside from seeing as many of you as possible individually, I think I'm going to try to arrange a night a a bar to all get together.  Any suggestions of a good place to meet in the city?  Say on a sunday afternoon, close to the Subway, easy to get to from any of the boroughs and Westchester.  Half my time will be spent in NY and I'll head up to Maine for the other half.

Sydney is transitioning into winter.  The days getting colder and shorter.  No more swimming outside.  I'm nursing a wicked cold and am missing my collection of sweaters (they're in the back of a closet in my parents house and will be collected on my trip home).  Life here is getting easier as I slowly make friends.  The constant stream of out of town visitors helps as well.  Becca and Erica come on Wednesday- fantastic!

Lots of love,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

more photos up on flickr.  Amelia came to visit from London and Joe and Luc came up from Melbourne.  We all got together at Anna and Matt's in Bondi for a cousins' afternoon.  Lots of laughs!

The day ended with Joe, Lucie, and I carrying a very very heavy couch around the corner from my house.  Three days later and my arm has finally (mostly recovered).

I have more photos to come but my internet is slow so will probably be another few weeks before they're uploaded.

love, tamara

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

socks for dina

Dina left today. After two weeks of friends coming and going, lots of laughter, loads of laundry, and a long day at the easter show, it's quiet again.
In the meantime, I'm going to finish Dina's socks. This is the one that's done (on Dina's foot, no less). It's pair is half finished and hopefully will be in the mail in a week or so. I've loved making these socks. The pattern is written well, and the yarn I'm using is soft and gorgeous. Knit socks have these fantastic lines to them- where the rows meet and combine by the heel is my favorite part. The sock photo below gives you a better idea of the color.

It's 7:15, I'm hungry, and I'm not wanting to cook dinner. Sound familiar to anyone? I'm off to figure that out, and then maybe catch up on missed episodes of Lost. Internet is now back up and running for anyone that was missing our daily/weekly/monthly skype.

Love you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

These Days

I figure it's about time for an update.

It's been a fairly low-key past month. Until yesterday the weather has been beautiful (high 70s, low 80s, sunny skies, cool nights) so I've been doing a decent amount of swimming, enjoying the sunshine, and continuing my life doing crosswords and visiting the occasional art exhibit.

This week, however, it's starting to change... As of Monday, I'm working for an NGO in the United Arab Emirates creating a toolkit for university students wanting to start volunteer clubs on their campuses. It's a 3 month contract, and I'm working with my supervisor from my POLF days who also happens to be living in Australia. It should be interesting work. No, I'm not moving. I'll work from home and head out there in the end of April/beginning of May for a week to train student leaders. I'm thrilled about it. The big downside is that I won't be working on a daily basis with other people. I still struggle on a weekly (if not daily) basis with being lonely and missing having my friends around me. Over the next few months, I'm going to have to really challenge myself to get out of the house and have fun when I'm not working. You wouldn't think this would be so difficult, but somehow it is...

On that note, though, I will be having a ton of visitors over the next few months. Next week Dina and 2 of her friends are visiting a few days. Then the four of us head up to the Whitsundays for 2 days of sailing. They'll be coming back through Sydney at the end of April. Amelia comes to visit in the end of April/beginning of May. And then Erica and Becca come visit in the end of May. Visitors make everything more fun.

And then.... I'm planning a month-long trip to NY and Maine for the middle of June/beginning of July. Write it in your diaries, folks.

And then, I'm playing around with the idea of grad school in Sydney, starting in July.

Suffice it to say, the next few months will fly by.

My new years resolution was to have fun. There are so many times here when it doesn't feel like home, when I think that it never will, and I just don't know how to make things better. So I'm trying my hardest to let that go and just enjoy Sydney and Australia for what it is, enjoying it while I'm here, and knowing that I can and probably will come "home" in the next few years.

On that note, I'm meeting a new friend and heading out to the International Horror Movie festival tonight.

Love you all.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

happy dance

I FINISHED MY SWEATER!!! Drew, remember the sweater I started knitting at your place back in August? Well, it's finally done (except for the buttons), I actually like it, and I think it will stretch out enough when I wash it that it will fit.

Photos to be posted soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

5 little updates and how they grew

Steph keeping up with her new years resolution to blog is making me feel a little guilty about being so bad at keeping up with mine. It's the good kind of guilty; it's making me do something about it.

What's been going on in Sydney the past few months, you ask?
1) A lot of swimming. Well, a lot for me. My cousin, Doug, has gotten me into the ocean and swimming across Bondi Beach. I've now done it in no surf, high surf (you've got to roll and breathe with the waves... it's crazy), with millions of people at the beach, at the quiet end of the day, and most recently in an ocean covered in green guck (it was so disconcerting that we quit halfway; Bondi is usually clear as glass). I haven't gone since the shark attack last week (yes, 2 shark attacks in two days. One in the harbor and one at Bondi) but that's because the weather's been shit, not beacuse I'm scared of being eaten. I will get back in the water!

2) Some beach travelling. My cousins have a beautiful house about two hours north on the bay. Weekends there consist of late breakfasts with unlimited mangoes, dashing across the street for a swim, crying from laughing while playing board games, and long walks on the beach. It's quite a life. Thank you Gill and Andy for being so generous with your home!

3) A trip to Melbourne. In the middle of the biggest heatwave ever to hit Melbourne, I decided to visit. For two days, we did nothing but sit and drip. No one had air conditioning, the moisture was completely sucked out of the air (my hat which had stretched out and lost it's shape long before snapped back to it's orginal proportions), and the power kept going out. Let's just say, it was an experience. When the bushfires hit a week later, I truly understood how everything could go up in flames so quickly. Also on this vacation, Lucie, Joe, (cousins) and Sarah (friend) went down the coast for a music festival and then along the Great Ocean Road for some serious beach time. Both were fantastic. The cousins had so much fun hanging out that we're planning a 1st cousins Great Goulston Get Together for 2010. Details to follow. And, I got to catch up with my old POLF friend, Cyndy. It's really a treat to see familiar faces from the States over here. Luc and I drove back up to Sydney together, singing Amelia Robinson songs full pelt, stopping to swim in the Murray on the way, and getting so hot and sweaty (no air con) that we couldn't stop laughing.
A day later, the bush fires hit Victoria. The towns, trees, vineyards, bathroom where I stopped to pee of the first hour and a half of our journey is now gone. It's still hard to grasp the loss.

4) Music festivals!! In one week, Luc, Sarah, and I went to 2 music festivals- one in Victoria (chill island) and one in Sydney (st. jeromes). Fantastic. Spending a day, outside, listening and dancing to good music might be one of my favorite things. If I could make a career out of it, I would. St. Jeromes ended with Architecture in Helsinki and the Hold Steady. Too friggin awesome. If you ever get a chance to see either band live, GO GO GO.

5) Finding my new favorite bakery and cafe in Bondi. Gill heard from someone who heard from someone about this whole in the wall bakery around the corner from me. I checked it out on Sunday. They only sell one type of bread in an enormous loaf, but it's delicous. The same day, I overheard someone talking about a second hand bookstore/cafe in the area. I've been feeling like I kind of burnt my bridges with the coffee shop I'd been going to (bit of story... cross cultural miscommunication... americans do things a little differently... i wasn't trying to be a bitch... etc, etc, etc) so I was looking for someplace new anyway. Suffice it to say, new place is great. If you're ever in Bondi and love books, good coffee, and people, visit Gertrude and Alice.

So that's my overview. I've also been doing some job searching/applying (ugh!), been desperately missing my friends (it's been really tough to meet people here), and fighting to keep my spirits up as the weather has plunged (2 weeks of rain... is summer over??). Photos will go up on flickr soon. Here's one for now:
It's from a few months ago now... me, Lucie, and Grandpa up at the Hawksbury River.

Lots of love,

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Well, I've had an amazing past couple weeks. First off, it was off to Cleveland, QLD (outside Brisbane) to meet up with Becca. In a day and half we managed to see downtown Brisbane, attend an Aussie Christmas bbq, visit a bunch of towns on Moreton Bay, and kayak 20 kilometers. After that we went to North Stradbroke Island for 5 days. Total bliss. We met up with my cousins (Anna and Matt and their kids Benny, Joshy, and Miri) and spent every day relaxing on the beach. By the time we left, I had settled into full on summer relaxation mode.

Becca then came back down with me to Sydney where we walked a ton, saw the Sydney NYE fireworks (absolutely incredible, even though we had to wait 7! hours to see them and we didn't even get a primo location!), and went to the beach a bit more.

I've come back to Sydney with a new attitude: it's summer and I'm going to sit back and enjoy it! I'm also thinking of enrolling in a graduate certificate course to teach english as a second language... It's a significant commitment here both in money and in time, but it would be a good thing to have under my belt, and I could continue looking for jobs/volunteering/etc in the meantime. Anyway, we'll see how it pans out.

In the meantime, you can check out my latest pics on flickr: Straddie is up there and the fireworks will be soon.

Lots of love everyone. Sending relaxing summer thoughts to those of you in snowy North America.