Friday, August 22, 2014

Moving From America to Australia, Again

2014 has been full of planning and purging, baseball playoffs and play dates. New friendships will be turning into old ones... and as we move once again, new friends, and much- loved old friends, lurk in the distance.

Goodbyes, reflections, and regrets fill the air, even though this move to Sydney is all good, it feels almost neglectful to have lived in the San Francisco area almost 2.5 years, and have seen so little.

And I have lame excuses--  the endless hamster wheel of school, activities, sport teams, and laundry... and did I mention the laundry?  But at the end of the day, we did Cali wrong, like really, really wrong, and that's the unfortunate truth.

We put serious efforts into doing whatever we could during our 4.5 years in Sydney, because we knew our time there was finite.  And this move to San Francisco was supposed to permanent, and we were supposed to have plenty of time to "do it all"… but now-- it's done.  San Francisco is done.  We are gone, and it is over.

And we never made it to Lake Tahoe, or Sonoma, or Napa (or anywhere else we could have drank ourself silly on a day tour). We ignored opportunities to see Monterey, Carmel, Sacramento, Big Sur, Yosemite National Park, and The Pez Museum.

And now we are here, back in Sydney, land of kangaroos and didgeridoos.    The kids, now nine and ten years old, are back at their old school, wearing those cute Aussie school uniforms and "giving it a go", reverse-adjusting back to an all-boys school, and the kids who swear like sailors.

And here I am getting back up on that writing horse after a very long hiatus, because Sydney was not supposed to happen again.  It's all very strange, but I'm sure, that I must be back in Australia because I didn't fully get, what I was supposed to get, the first time around.

And this is what we've left behind...

Upon moving to America my boys were introduced to baseball-- and became completed obsessed. This is my nine year old making the first pitch of the season.

And my ten year old: Mr. All Baseball All the Time.


We tried to tour the It's It ice cream sandwich factory, but ended up with no tour, and just a bunch of ginormous ice cream sandwiches; you can see the disappointment on their faces.  Not.

it's it boys

Our dogs are in America with my mom until October due to changes in the Aussie quarantine laws; my nine year old refuses to look at photos of them, because it makes him cry.


My sister and the found autograph book she had signed when we were little.


Basketball clinic with the Harlem Globetrotters.


Luckily, a month before our move back to Sydney, the Florida grandparents came to San Fran and we took an all-day tour to celebrate my mom's birthday and see a few Bay Area highlights.


Makes me sad we didn't do more.  Broken record much?

Pier 39.


Very big trees in Muir Woods with grandparents


My husband got quality time with his dad during our time in America; it brings me tears. Literally.


At least we made it to Ghiradelli Square with a visiting Grandma.


And we ended our big San Fran tour at Scoma's Restaurant for my mom's birthday dinner; this is my mom and sister selfie-taking.  These are the times, and people, I will miss the most.


Goodbye San Fran; hello Sydney.  We are back-- older, possibly wiser, and full of sourdough bread.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Surprise: We Are Moving Back to Sydney!

"Well I didn't see that coming-- like a baby with a mustache."

- said by my 8 year old, when we told him about moving back to Sydney

So yes, it's official... we are moving back to Sydney!  I could not have imagined this would be happening!

And so it begins... The Re-Aussiefication of Us.

Kind of wishing I hadn't taken him to Taco Bell for the first time recently-- shoot!
He's going to be so mad when I tell him there's no running for the border in Sydney.

And San Francisco has been amazing, though it was sad that the boys' Aussies accents were gone within a couple weeks of our US return :( .

The kids played little league and were completely obsessed with baseball; not to mention the awesomeness of the Giants winning the World Series, and the 49ers going to the Superbowl the same year we moved here.  Ah-mazing.

I think the dogs will be super happy with this news--  they are Australian Labradoodles after all.   And if our luck wasn't already fantastic enough, they just changed the quarantine laws in Australia from approximately 30 days minimum to around 10 days!

Sometimes it just all goes smoothly, and you know it's really meant to be.

In my head, moving to Sydney a second time seems infinitely less daunting, and easier in every way imaginable. We have our old barbershop, dentists, doctors, school and favorite (or "favourite" as my kids will soon relearn) brekkie spots.

I am already adjusting my lingo-- we've recently brought back words like petrol and whinge in our house (that's Aussie for "gasoline" and "whine" for my Ameri-friends), and somehow the word "jumpers" was just too ingrained in us, and had never left.

This time I know what staples to stock up on and bring with us; and conversely, what products I can easily find at Aussie Woolworths, Coles, Bondi Junction, or the glorious Costco Australia.

Here we go... Australian Adventure Part Deux.

The boys at the Sydney Opera house, probably around 3 & 4 years old.

Our big 8 & 10 year olds now:  gorgeous, fun, smart, hard working, and last but not least-- adaptable. 

Full steam ahead.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Moving Back to America- 1 Year Repatriationiversary

One year ago this week, we boarded a swank Virgin Australia airplane and set off for America, softly closing the door on four and a half years, of all things Aussie.

It seems like a lifetime ago that we spent long, leisurely afternoons at Nielsen Park (Sydney) walking up and down the beach, jumping in the crashing waves, digging our toes into the super soft, fine white sand, and all the while avoiding deadly entanglement in the scary looking shark net; they don't call it Shark Bay for nothing :).  

Walking through the fig trees at Nielsen Park...

And collecting sea glass...

This is sea glass from our secret beach in Sydney, sitting in an abalone shell given to us by our tour guide in Tasmania.

We often remember our favorite (or favourite) places like Oporto, home of the best chicken sandwich in Australia :).

Before our Aussie departure, they happened to have special cans of Coke with Aussie words on them.  I could not have asked for better Aussie blogging material.   

And our favorite Italian-Style Baked Beans with Poached Eggs brekkie (Aussie for breakfast) at Bernasconi's in Rose Bay.

And then, one fateful day, we came home from school pick up and it was finitely clear, our time in Australia was coming to an end.

Apparently someone was a baaaad puppy.   But that was that, the message was loud and clear.   It was time to return to America.

And in the last twelve months, my children have attended four schools, in two countries, and three states (one Australian, and two American).

Now my kids wear this to school...

As many of you know, first we spent four months in Florida.

And Florida was pretty much a lot of this... and have I mentioned it's about as hot as hell on a sunny day there.  Ugh, I hate hot.

And we've always been a house filled with music, mostly our own.  Our seven year old has been writing music for a couple of years, and in lieu of a birthday party this year,  we went to a real recording studio in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where thanks to a Groupon type thingy forwarded to me by my BFF The Fiery Redhead, for the low low price of $75, he was able to record three of his original songs professionally.  It. Was. Amazing!!  Our favorite song "Rock n' Roll" is very catchy, or,  as our guitar teacher says, "He really understands, it's all about "the hook"."  This video is actually more audio than video, but clearly this child needs to be on itunes, available for all the world to hear. :)

And we soon moved to San Francisco, where the weather is gorgeously sunny and cool and gorgeous, ALL THE TIME (except this week, but surely that's just a fluke).  And as the months in America rolled by, the boys got bigger, and louder, and hungrier, and blonder... assumingly, that part was helped very much by lack of the Aussie "No Hat, No Play" rule, and the California sun.

And our dogs have gotten bigger, and fluffier. 

And some things aren't all that different from Australia to America...

The barbershops are practically interchangeable.

Our Bondi Junction barbershop in Australia.

Dualing Barbers="Dualing Barbers " src="" height="480" width="640" />
Carl's Barbershop in Davie, FL.  Hardcore, old-school barbers.

And we can even eat Vegemite in either country, though in America Vegemite is at Lucky-Charms-in-Australia prices. over $12 per jar!  

And though Australia seems so long ago now, especially I can imagine even more so for the kids, my seven year old is still "going for the World Record" for most consecutive days of taking a Vegemite and Cheese sandwich to school.  He's been at this (not exaggerating here) for over three years.  Seriously, should I be calling The Guiness Book" at some point here???  If you know, please advise. :)

And our new city looks like this...

And this...

That's actually my mom and sister next to the cable car florist stand :).  Yes, the best bonus of moving to San Francisco was that my sister lives here!

And have I mentioned that my sister is funny?  And she is especially, crazy hilarious when she rides Ruby the Labradoodle around my kitchen like a pony.  Good times, good times.

And we somehow squeezed (though I want to say "squoze") in a trip to Alaska this past summer. 

In our departure city of gorgeous Seattle, we stopped at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a truly inspiring place.

We cruised with our cousins who came in from Portland, Maine-- and what they, and our children, did not know... was that my in-laws (their grandparents) were joining us for the cruise!  So when Grandma and Grandpa from Boca Raton, FL (the crankiest place on earth, no offense Boca-ites:) showed up at the Welcome Aboard Buffet-- well let's just say, it was total shock and awe.

I've been to Alaska several times, and it never gets old.  It's a beautiful place.

And of course, it's not a cruise without a talent show.  I can't help but show off, because my eight year old taught himself to play this on the piano while singing, and I love it. 

And, my now seven and nine year old boys are in a rock band that plays Weezer and The Beatles and The Ramones and The Sonics.  Impressed yet?

And we were lucky enough to go to a World Series game!  It was so so awesome, well except for the two dudes spitting and drooling sunflower seed shells out of their mouths next to us, non-stop the entire game, I kind of vomit a little in my mouth every time I revisit that in my head, and I pity the people who put their stuff down in that spot next game.  But I digress... obviously, going to the World Series was amazing, despite the spitting chaos.

My kids are absolute Giants fanatics, and that is like my husband's dream, for real.

The flag on the field at AT&T Park.

And finally, after living here for seven months, we finally went to see The Golden Gate Bridge-- just this past weekend.  Yes, I am aware that that sounds ridiculous.  But here it is, tall and gorgeous, in all its International Orange glory...

Not surprisingly, so many people I have met here, are from here.  And they don't plan on going anywhere... hence what is believed to be the inspiration for this sculpture on The Embarcadero, by the bay, symbolizing the famous, "I've Left My Heart in San Francisco".

"Cupid's Span" sculpture, commissioned by the founder of The Gap.

Poof.  One year gone.

Guess it's a good thing I took some photos. :)


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Operation Australia-to-San Francisco: Complete

Our move is complete.  We have arrived in San Francisco!

And I can now say with much certainty, that San Francisco is clearly the mac-daddy of all cities.

Our move from Australia back to America was a whirlwind of chaos, and stress, and fun, and rekindlings. 

Our repatriation began with a several month long stint in Florida, where I spent my 40th birthday at a restaurant with friends and family, many of whom I hadn't seen since my 35th.  And by the way, Buca di Beppo... you make one sweet-ass plate of meatballs. :)

Our now 7 & 8 year old boys, had some quality time with their massive posse of first cousins.  I Starbucked with my sister-in-law, Too-Jayed with my in-laws, and LiveLoveYogurted with my mom and our babysitter, who came us from Australia to help push me through the insanity.

We tried to have a little down-time and went on a cruise...

Come on, let's be real, is there ever really down-time with two little "energetic" (that's the nice word for it) boys?  "Mommy, mom, mom, mom, Mommy, I need you. Mom, can I show you something?  Mommy, do you have treats? Mom, mom, mom, mom, maaaaah-m,"     What??????? What? What? What?       "Oh, I forgot what I wanted to say."

Moving on.

In St. Maarten we visited an awesomely strange museum/shop of sorts called The Yoda Guy.  This hidden little, hole-in-the-wall is owned by a British gentleman who designed the character Yoda (as I understand it).  And if you buy something, he'll let you walk through his personal collection of movie props and paraphernalia. 

The Yoda Man.  And the crazy thing is, we both agreed he was very Yoda-ish... like in a dogs-and-owners-who-look-alike kind of way.
This is "The Yoda Guy" and our boys.  When we left, there was unanimous agreement that he looked very Yoda-esque, in a dogs-and-their-owners-who-look-alike kind of way :) .

Anyway, about six weeks ago we finally landed in San Francisco, and we are loving it.  Based on the places we've lived (and you know there's been a few :) my first impression is that San Francisco has the topography and landscape of Sydney, with the friendliness and swagger of Dallas.

And it is only by chance that my sister, who is an amazing acupuncturist and Dr. of Chinese Medicine, specializing in infertility and pediatrics, is here-- she has been living in San Francisco for about nine years and brought us to San Fran's famous Painted Ladies, which she lives right near.  Having my sister here has been the biggest bonus imaginable. :)


And there's more...

We are living on a real, live mountain!!!   Okay, okay, there is the distinct possibility, it may--  I mean MAAAY  be...   a hill.  And there are deer in the neighborhood. And there are plum, loquat, lemon, and Fuji apple trees in the backyard of our house.  Seriously, we have all of those in our backyard!  Not to mention the kiwi and grape vines-- and the tomato plant I bought at Costco that I am clearly incapable of watering properly.

Ruby a.k.a Lam Lam smiling on her new turf-- literally.
Ruby the Labradoodle, taking a big whiff of cool mountain air, while standing on the astroturf in our backyard with a view of San Francisco Bay in the background.  Apparently in Northern California, fake grass is the new black.  Incidentally, Ruby is the only family member who, six months after arriving in America, still has her Aussie accent.

Three deer in someone's front yard yesterday.

And after all this traveling and moving and adjusting, I barely want to leave the house these days.  I still haven't even seen the Golden Gate Bridge, yes I know, that's crazy.  But the good news is, I have left the house to enough to have eaten countless tacos and drank some delicious bubble/ boba tea drinks around town--  I may be feeling tired and lazy, but a girl's got to have her fix. 

This new adventure has been more than I could have imagined so far-- and I am considering that I may need to start up the whole blogging thing again... it's been a while but, hot damn, San Francisco has some stories in store for me... I can feel it my bones.  Hmmm, or was that a mild earthquake?


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Goodbye Australia

Over four years ago, we moved to Sydney, Australia with our two and three year old boys-- and a big container filled with "Ameri-stuff".

And in two weeks, we will leave this gorgeous, amazing city to move to San Francisco, California... another beautiful place where we will embark upon a brand new adventure. 

I have lots of things to say before we go, but for now I'm just going to reminisce in photos about our time here, and how our babies turned into big boys right before our eyes in Sydney, Australia... as professional mini-expats.

We're moving where???  Florida 2007.

Moving Day
The 40 foot container in our driveway in Florida, loading up!

Newest Australian Resident
The day after we arrived here, lying on the ground in the courtyard of the townhouse in Double Bay that we rented our first two years here.

Brekkie at Top LeafMiss Kim, (our preschool teacher from Florida) and the little one, enjoying one of our first babycino's in Double Bay, in a cafe which was short-lived.

More babycino's at one of our regular spots- "21" on Knox Street in Double Bay.

Fountain in Hyde Park
Our first Australia Day in Sydney, in Hyde Park for the festivities.

Talking to GrandmaOur older one, on the phone with Grandma (a.k.a "G-Unit") in Florida.  This picture literally makes me cry every time. :(

World Youth Day 2008 Sydney
World Youth Day, Sydney Australia July 2008, it was total Jesus-mania.

Making Bread
Making "damper" bread at preschool, it took about 15 minutes for me to understand they were saying "damper bread"-- not "dampa braid".  Some things just have to be written down to be understood when there are accent issues.

The Cherub in our Garden
The thing in our backyard that I loved.

Chicken Chips
I'd say about 80% of chips in Australia fall into the category of "meat flavour", that's Aussie for "flavor".

Enjoying an Easy-Way tea at Bondi Beach, and when we were there yesterday it appears the Easy Way had shut down... how unfortunate, though timely (for us).

At Taronga Zoo
The view from the zoo. (Taronga Zoo)

Brightmore Reserve Bike Park
Primrose Park in Mosman, the cutest bike park in the world.

The little gourmet dining on risotto at Peron's in Double Bay.

Running Over the Sydney Harbor Bridge
The Family Fun Run over the Sydney Harbour Bridge (a.k.a The Coat Hanger).  Notice the leashes on our children, how sad... or for some-- funny.

The Final Result
Box construction fun free event at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt... so fun.

Visits from family were bittersweet, as we knew how much we'd miss them when they left. (G-Unit at the Opera House).

The boys climbed their first trees here, in costume of course for this child.

Those are the townhouses we lived in off to the left, and the brown building is "18 Footers Club" restaurant at the Double Bay Ferry Wharf... where we spent many a weekly date night.

 Kookaburra on Our Fence
A real, live Kookaburra on our fence at the next house we lived in here.  Aussies think the way I pronounce Kookaburra is hilarious... I agree.

Fathers Day 2009 boys
Ball skills in the backyard, they are growing up so fast.

painting in backyard
Painting in Sydney sun.

Honeysuckle or jasmine- who cares? Smells amazing and it's everywhere, this was on the oval of our old school.

The Rose Bay Sydney Seaplane with the gorgeous views we've enjoyed for the last 4.5 years.

Royal Botanic Gardens Train
The mini-train which does tours of Royal Botanic Gardens outside Opera House.

The Opera House in all it's Aussie glory.  I love this place.


Bondi Beach to Coogee Cliff Walk
Our little boy under a gorgeous sculpture at Sculpture by the Sea Bondi Beach a couple years ago.

Bondi Beach to Coogee Cliff Walk
Views from the Bondi cliffwalk.

Festival of the Winds
Festival of the Winds at Bondi Beach, an awesome kite-flying festival.

City to Surf 2009
Our favorite waitress from our regular spot, the iconic Dee Bee's in Double Bay; which after being there FOREVER mysteriously shut down a couple months ago-- again, clearly a sign our time here is coming to an end :(

City to Surf
Does it get more Aussie than the ANZ Bank?

City to Surf
Or Woolies.  Nice sky-writing?

Australia Day Cupcakes
The cupcakes our friends brought over for Australia Day one year.

The Inside of an Australian Police Office
The rarely-seen inside, of the Rose Bay Police Station.

Burned American Flag Found in the Park
An American flag our friends rescued, it was found in the park with burn marks on it.

The adorable house called "Clanalpine" that we rented in the Blue Mountains... what a great place!

New Puppy Ruby
We got a puppy.

Ruby the New Puppy!
Ruby the Australian Labradoodle.  Do you think she'll keep her Aussie accent?

We lost teeth.

Kings Cross Big Coca Cola Sign
The famous Coca-Cola sign in Kings Cross.

Tribute Art- Rushcutters Bay NSW New South Head Rd
The painting which is ever-evolving we drive by all the time in Edgecliff.

The Dog Beach, also known as Ruby's Happy Place, below the Rose Bay Police Station.

The people beach, Bondi Beach.

The boys and Big Daddy at Bondi.

Open Air Cinema
The St. George Open-Air Cinema, something we made sure not to miss every year!

This is a rental car-- and entertainment.

Our trip to Port Stephens, ah-mazing.

Christison Park to Watson Bay Cliff Walk
This is the cliffwalk about five minutes from our house-- it's just gorgeous.

Ruby's Diner, they're not very friendly there-- but they have a cool sign painted on the wall.

These are always cruising around town, I went on one once-- then hopped off five minutes later and never got back on.

And every Sunday after Yum Cha we got a little taste of home-- in the form of an Venti Iced Mocha :).

View from Above
An eagles-eye view of Double Bay which I took from an apartment in Darling Point.  I lived here.

Sam the Puppy.  A year younger than Ruby.

Sam a few months later.

Our weekly Sunday outing to the CBD.

My big boys at the Bellevue Hill Fair, eating fairy floss-- which they will eventually find out is called "cotton candy"... probably right around the time they realize there is no fairy bread at birthday parties in America.

Sydney, we will miss your gorgeous accents, beautiful beaches, and well-balanced lifestyle.  Our children are more Aussie than American, so you will always be in our hearts, and have changed our family forever.