Thursday, July 30, 2009

Canberra, Wine Tasting, Opera Houses, Harbour Bridges Oh My!

Hello Hello!

I know it has been a while since my last blog but, with the family and friends here it has been hard to keep up!

So Bex arrived on the 17th and it has been a whirlwind ever since! We decided that we'd get out of the city and head to Canberra, the capital of ACT (Australian Capital Territory). Well, although this is supposed to be a city and a capital, it was nothing more than a sleepy town with a few large buildings and great museums! After being somewhat shocked by the lack of activity and slow country lifestyle this city had to offer, Becca and I spent the day wandering the Parliament building, the National Archives Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. While getting our exercise in for the day with all the walking, we picked up some fun facts as well from our enthusiastic Parliament tour guide like: Why are the Emu and Kangaroo on the Nation's Government seal? (Because their kneecaps are "backs-to-front"- they are only able to walk forward and Australia is a forward moving country.)

After wandering about the Parliament building and grounds, we made are way down to the National Archives to gather some family history. After learning about our great grandfather, Adam McAlister and his heroic war accomplishments, we walked to the National Portrait Gallery where I saw the Vanity Fair exhibit.

We realized that we had done everything there was to do in Canberra in one full day and jumped on a bus to Sydney the first thing Monday morning. Good thing we made it back in one piece because I think it is safe to say our bus driver was still drunk from the night before. Becca and I thought we were gonners a few times on that 4 hour bus ride home and wanted to kiss the ground as soon as we jumped off but the Central Bus Station is not the cleanest place in the world.

We spent the rest of the day with rels and did a nice coastal walk with Brian along the cliffs that afternoon where we got to watch jumping whales just off the shore!
Adam arrived on Wednesday morning with a friend and we immediately went to play with Jordy and Layla. After a quick game of checkers between Adam and Jordy (Jordy loves to play checkers 'cause he thinks he's pretty sly when it comes to cheating but, he's really not!), we took the train into Circular Quay with Shelley and the kids.

Wine tasting was the following morning. After the scenic ride up through the mountains and into the Hunter Valley we arrived at our first two wineries where we all got a little knackered! We had lunch, went to the Smelly Cheese shop, continued onto our 3rd winery and called it a day just in time to see the rainbow over the mountains!

The rest of the week was comprised of family outings and dinner plans. Let me just tell you, none of us were deprived of food! Becca and I had to walk everywhere everyday just to have the possibility of fitting into our pants the next day! (So glad I bought that gym pass!)

Bex and Adam have since left- Becca arrived in LA on Monday and Adam is currently skiing in New Zealand (or at least I hope he is- he has yet to contact me).

I started school on Monday and have loved every day since! I went on a pub crawl Monday night and am not disappointed with the Sydney night life! Work is still going well and I have to try to contain myself because I am constantly wanting to order clothes! Hopefully that itch will be scratched soon as the new lines are coming in and the old ones will be ready for ordering!

I had a bit of an accident yesterday at the gym which is pretty funny! I was running on the treadmill and obviously not paying attention to my feet when I ate it and fell in front of the morning gym rats. I wish someone had videotaped it as Im sure i could win some money on America's Funniest Home Videos for it! I wasn' hurt badly unless a broken finger and some cut knees count for anything?

Dad arrives on Tuesday and Im sure we will be taking some road trips during his stay!

I will try to keep in touch more frequently! Love and miss everyone! lots of hugs and kisses to all.

Pub Crawls, Treadmill Falls, and Veggie Pies!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bex 'n Lex in Sydney!

It’s Becca – I’m Lex’s guest blogger!

I arrived in Sydney on Friday morning…it was cold and wet. Getting through immigration and customs was fine, but we had a luggage problem. United couldn’t get the cargo door open. We waited for over half an hour for the luggage before it finally came out on the carousel! Lex has been sick the past few days and had been staying with Susie and Brian. It was a nice surprise to have the three of them at the airport waiting for me.

On the way home from the airport, we swung by Shelley’s to pick up Jordy for the day. Shelley and Steve just built a beautiful new house. It seems like many of the houses in Sydney are built with the bedrooms towards the front of the house, with a great room that opens to the yard in the back of the house. Their house is no exception! It looks great.

Jordy is now 5 years old and a total delight. He was so excited to be with Granny and Papa, and immediately told us that his job was to make the fresh orange juice. As soon as we got home, he pulled a chair up to the counter and started getting the juicer working! After breaky, Brian went to tennis, and Susie, Lex, Jordy and I went to Watson’s Bay for a little walk. We went over to Camp Cove – there was no one on the beach! We couldn’t resist being in Watson’s Bay and not stopping at Doyle’s. We sat on the wharf and shared some fish ‘n chips. I’m sure the fish ‘n chips will get the best of us in the next couple weeks…

Last night we stayed at Ronni and Irving’s. We had a lovely Shabbat dinner and spent some QBT together. It was nice to have some one-on-one time! We could hardly keep our eyes open and were asleep by 10:30. Yup, that’s right kids…in bed at 10:30 on a Friday night. We rock.

Today we spent the morning with the family, and checked out the Paddington Market in the afternoon. “Paddo” is a newly gentrified suburb that’s known for their upmarket boutiques, cafes, etc. The Paddo Markets are where up-and-coming designers debut their wares before “making it”. After perusing the markets we met Irving and Ronni for afternoon tea at the most devine little Italian cafĂ©. We’d tell you more about it but we’ve been sworn to secrecy about its name and location for fear that the masses will discover it and ruin it…

The weather’s been absolutely perfect today and now we’re off to Circular Quay for a little walk-about and a drink. We’re off to Canberra for a few days tomorrow. More to come later.


Bex and Lex

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rainy Sunday Walkabout

So, despite the gloomy weather, I decided to have a bit of a walk around the city today. I took the bus from my place in Newtown to the Queen Victoria Building where, after a nice hot chocolate, I walked through the shops the historical building had to offer. After realizing I couldn't afford any of the high end retail, I wandered across the street to a book shop where I sat down with a couple of books on walking Sydney. I bought the best one I could find and started my day long adventure.

I decided, as I was already at the start point, that I would do the Darling Harbour to the Sydney Opera House walk. I walked down to the harbour from the QVB and crossed the Anzac Bridge and walked down along the water front from Darling Harbour through to the Rocks, underneath the Harbour Bridge, along Circular Quay and to the Opera House. I debated whether to keep going up to the Botanical Gardens but realized that all the bats would be about and opted out of that one.

After completing this hour long walk, I contemplated catching a bus back to my room but decided it was way too early to call it a day and continued my little walk about. As I was making my way up through the city, a woman approached me asking for directions to the Opera House. The fact that I could give her the correct directions with street names and all made me feel like a real Australian! I suppose that means that I am settling in quite nicely and am starting to learn my way about this massive city.

After finding my way in another shopping center- its like my body has a GPS for shopping centers- I went and had a Middle Eastern lunch (and sat all by myself). After my delicious meal I decided to call it a day and started wandering up George St. to catch the bus to take me back to uni. Well, despite being dropped off there, I could not find the correct bus stop! I decided to keep walking 2 blocks further up hoping to find it. Well, 5 blocks later I was thinking I would have to catch a taxi home but, then, in front of the UTS building (half way home), I found the bus stop!

I've decided that every Sunday I will do one of Sydney's Best Harbour & Coastal Walks (according to the Sydney Morning Herald). Because the gym is closed on Sundays and I need to keep up the physical fitness with all this yummy food around, I figured it'd be a great way to see and learn the city while keeping in shape! (I'm so good at multi-tasking!)

Well I miss everyone! Becca arrives on Friday morning so we are sure to have a fab time! I can't wait for Adam and everyone to arrive! I've already created a list of all the things I want to do while I'm here so I'm sure we'll knock a couple of things off the list with all the visitors!

Hugs, Kisses and great Sydney walks!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

1st Week In Oz

Hi all!
Well, this is my first blog ever so bare with me while I work through all the kinks and learn all the blogging lingo.

So, I arrived in Sydney Sunday to a clear, nippy winter morning. Despite how much I was freaking out before arriving, I was surprisingly calm stepping out of the airport and into my new home for the next 6 months. After a nice cuppa tea at my cousins' house, I moved into my room at the Sydney University Village and was left to unpack and unwind. While the rooms here look so nice on the university website, it is obvious that they do not hire a cleaner after each tenant moves out which was not so nice to move into. Anyways, to make a long story short my first night in Sydney was nothing to write home about.

The next few days were me waking at 530am and wandering about King St in the early morning rain and cold. While this does not seem like a fun thing to do, the company on the streets at that time are quite interesting and there was never a dull moment.

I started my internship with Cirqlate Publicity on Tuesday and I am in love. On my first day, I picked clothing for 3 magazine shoots and have not looked back since! One of my favorite parts of the internship is being able to order designer clothes for a fraction of the retail price- my hunt for the best bargain shopping is over! So, I have done 2 days there so far and my boss and coworker are great. I could not have asked for a better job for the next 6 months.

I have been spending a lot of time with Susie and Brian as well. Brian is interested in setting me up with all the male Jewish guards in Sydney- I suppose I will never feel unsafe? The rest of the family have been great as well.

No major plans for the weekend just yet but that could change at any moment. More people are moving into the Village each day so anything is possible I guess.

Well, that's all the news I have for now. I will update with pictures as soon as my sister arrives with my camera charger next week! Love to all. I miss everyone and please keep in touch!

Hugs, Kisses and Aussie accents!