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.



Jill Stevens, Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist said...

what a great post laura. change is so fun and so sad at the same time. what an amazing adventure you really did have. i am so excited for this next one. A-MAZING.

American in Sydney said...

Jill- I can't believe this is really happening. And the big, red, sweet-ass cherry on top is that I will be living only minutes from YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could not have dreamt of a better place to be going and for us to be in the same city and the kids to grow up near you is just incredible. We will are going to taco the town up and I can't wait. I love you, and I LOVE YOU!!! How much luckier could it be for the hubs job to be there of all places??? Shall I go on....?

Jenny said...

Really, really happy for you. :)

megan said...

how sad for me to not read any more expat anecdotes. i've thoroughly enjoyed your blog and seeing your family's transformation was wild. i wonder what changes are in store for us. much luck in san francisco!

Stephanie said...

That is a beautiful tribute to your time here in Sydney. Amazing how much your boys have grown and changed over the years, but still look so much the same. Good luck with the move. San Fran is a great town- enjoy! Visit Target lots, eat real cheese, normal pizza and have a drink at Starbucks that doesn't cost a fortune! Thank you for being so generous and kind. Safe travels!

American in Sydney said...

And thank you for guys so for saying such kind things!

Dina Roberts said...

I love your post and all your pictures!!!

I love the part about the Dampa braid.

I probably pronounce Kookaburra wrong too. I can't even spell it. I tend to guess wrong at all Aussie pronunciations.

I'm happy you ended up loving Australia!!!! I'm sure you guys will come back to visit. I think Benji and Ollie will have idyllic childhood memories from there.

I think you guys will love San Francisco; though the change might be an adjustment.

Love ya.

American in Sydney said...

Thanks Dina :)

ChiTown Girl said...

Oh my!! What BIG news!!!

Welcome back to the states, my friend. LOVED the walk down memory lane. Thanks for sharing.

PamelaRose said...

Laura Eve................
Need I even say it? Brought tears to my eyes! The first little tears started when I saw the photo of Benjamin talking to me on the phone: I have that one on my desktop! Always liked that while he and I were engrossed in conversation, you snapped a picture..that always puts a bit of a lump in my throat! The shot of me holding Benji at the Opera House...didn't know you'd taken that shot till just now! DeeBee's is just a happy memory as are Bondi Beach, the park at Rose Bay..where, if I remember correctly, we spent some time shivering and laughing and just being in the moment!
Honestly, I never thought you'd move so far away and then, counting the moments till you would come back!
Need I really say it? How glad I am that you experienced this adventure and even more that you're on your way home!

American in Sydney said...

Chitown- Thanks!

Mama- Oh mommy, can't wait to be there in person! Love you so much.

Kimberly Hiller said...

That's so wonderful! I arrived in Sydney and July for school and work and have not explored anything (all I know is Surrey Hills and Chippendale). I hope you and your family have a great time in Cali. Your leaving when it's just starting to get warmer. ;)

Anonymous said...

Been reading your blog for years,from the time we lived in Australia. I moved away years ago but your blog kept me connected to the daily Aussie life. Have fun in your new adventure!

Brutalism said...

What an experience for you and your family! And now San Francisco? Lucky you. I'll miss the stories about Australia...Good luck with the move and repatriating...

riesdownunder said...

FGIS... I have really enjoyed reading your blog the last few years - lots of stuff I can relate to and laugh about as expats here. Best of luck to you in SanFran : it is a beautiful city (not too different from here). We lived there for a while and really liked it. Your dogs can go on the beaches there! And FANTASTIC DIM SUM (not dim sim anymore!)Thank you for sharing your adventures! :)

South Beach Mom said...

SF, how exciting!! And you'll be so close to your sister!! The first picture reminded me how little they were. You left right after the water park b-day party. Good memories. So, have you given thought to what will come next....Fl girl in Sydney now in SF??

steck said...

Me, I can't muster a one-liner in response to your fantastic photo gallery.

Even before the door has time to hit you on the bum on the way out, I'll be leaving SYD, probably for PDX. Mid-December, it looks like.

Hope you'll be continuing to blog somewhere.

Lindsay McHugh said...

Best of luck! I hope you continue a blog with the same sort of commentary - minus the explanation of Aussie-isms. Although, maybe San Fran-isms could be good, too.

American in Sydney said...

Thanks Thanks Thanks!!!!

steck said...

Forgot to mention -- if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

American in Sydney said...

Steck- whaddya mean??

PamelaRose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PamelaRose said...

Regarding steck's quote from the Scott McKenzie 1967 song 'If You're Going To San Francisco'...the 'good old days of Haight-Ashbury,Make Love, Not War was on everyone's lips as the Viet Nam war was very unpopular, and hippie days were just beginning!!

Pretty poetic, steck!

steck said...

PamelaRose got it. Gosh, I thought everyone knew that song. Must be getting old.

If you do wear flowers in your hair, make sure they're Australian indigenous varieties.

steck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
American in Sydney said...

Ooooh-- you missed it-- I thought you just really couldn't come up with one-- hahaha. Maybe your mind was already in Portland. So are you moving there? I have a friend there I think she loves it.

Thanks for getting back to me with that one! :)

American in Sydney said...

Deleted?? what the?

steck said...

Can't believe I missed the bait on first reading.

OK, here goes.

The cockatoos are louder than Spinal Tap turned up to 12.

steck said...

My first try was to compare the cockatoos to screech owls. Then I listened to some screech owls on YouTube and -- they're not very screechy.

American in Sydney said...

I need a "like" button on the comments. Like.

steck said...

I was living in PDX before I moved here, and still have a house there. I'll be living there until I find a new job in the US.

PamelaRose said...

Steck, you're not getting old...just have incredibly good taste in music! Music from that time is just as wonderful now as it was at the time! Speaking personally

Rosangela Silva said...

Laura, I can't believe you guys are already leaving and I haven't got the chance to see the kids again in person. Luckly I found this blog to follow your family's journey here down under. And will keep in touch now on Fb ;) I am very lucky to have met you guys here and to be part of (a small part of) your adventure. I remember the day your mom left (for the first time) Australia, and how hard that was for you and the kids. I remember you asking me where I've learnt to say "no worries", getting used with the new 'language'. I remember Benji driving around his red car, and I remember Ollie saying: "right there" everytime he found where to place another piece in one of his puzzles. Well, those are great memories that will remain with me (one of my first jobs in Australia!). You are a very nice family that deserves all the best, and I'm sure that's exactly what's waiting for you in San Francisco. All the best! Enjoy! :)

American in Sydney said...

Rosangela, Those were such sweet things to say!

We loved having you here and am so glad we found each other again!

Are you still in journalism? I haven't seen anything for a while -- but I can totally imagine turning the news on and you being there on my screen!

So if you come to San Francisco, look us up... it would be great to see you; the boys are so big, and sweet, and funny-- you would love them. Keep in touch! xo

Marvin the Martian said...

Congratulations! Lovely pix! Thanks for rescuing the burnt flag. I hope your move goes well, and I hope you keep blogging after you get to SF!

Anonymous said...

Wow! When one adventure ends...a new one opens up!

Rassles said...

I have that "Memories" song from Cats going through my head right now.

Unknown said...

FGIS - We'll miss having you "just down the coast". I love reading your blog. So sorry we didn't get to meet up. Best of luck on San Francisco! What an awesome city. I look forward to hearing of your adventures stateside.

American in Sydney said...

Yes, Yes, Yes, and thank you all around!!

NessaKnits said...

Oh, I just read you have left our shores and returning to the USA. Your photos are lovely and will support many happy memories for your family. All the best.

Kristi said...

oh wow, your leaving for home. i am happy for you. really happy for you. x

Unknown said...

i can't believe: a) i only just found this post! b) that you've left! c) that i never got to meet you!
Are you still going to blog now you're back in the US? I need to make sure those boys of yours don't lose their aussie edge! haha.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful family adventure in Australia filled with great memories. Amazing google got it wrong for me to be here but wow I was pleased he did lol :) you have an amazing family filled with love. Sure helps when mum is so family involved proud and positive. So happy to see a family bonded and happy. Now that's true blue :)

Ian from Oz :)

Anonymous said...

What a delight you and your family are you say your American. I say your honawary Aussies :) with a true blue family to boot. Ye har

Jen said...

Holy Cow! It's Jen from the long lost blog Opinioneater and we live in the Bay Area now, too. Was just on looking for your telstra post (I share it often). Would love to know where you are, exactly :)

Restaurant Bruges said...

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Silver Jewelry Jaipur said...

cool really a cool and fantastic post

Pheobe said...

Wow, this post made me so sad. I hope you have just as great adventures when you move!

oasis said...

Nice blog, nice family, nice country.
Good luck.

Kangen h2o Testimonials said...

I stumbled upon your blog and I have enjoyed reading. I found you while looking for answers about traveling overseas with my Enagic water machine I'm going to Korea (220v) and my USA machine is 110v. I have a transformer/converter. Do you need a converter there? If so, have you had any trouble with yours converting? I REALLY appreciate any input you're willing to share. THANKS!

Mark Benson said...

Australia offers almost everything for its visitors, either its the amazing beaches, beautiful landscapes or much much more. Therefore flights to Australia you take whether alone or with your loved ones wont leave you bored at all.

luisa said...

I love your post! I totally ended up here by coincidence! I am Italian, mother of two, just lived two years in San Francisco and now moving to Sydney, double bay! I just thought we may exchange tips about the cities, if you don't mind. My email is


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