An American Thanksgiving in Oz

During the holidays, it is easy to start missing all our friends and family even more than usual. It’s a wonderful time of year shared with people you love. Ben and I are big fans of the holiday season – all the parties, food and decorations… and cold weather that allows for the type of clothing that will hide away the extra pounds kilos resulting from the aforementioned indulgences.

Swimsuit weather doesn’t exactly pair well with stuffing your face full of all things cooked in butter. However, in the spirit of the holidays, we brought Thanksgiving to Oz!

This past Sunday we hosted Friendsgiving at our apartment. We booked the private dining hall and kitchen within the building and prepared a traditional turkey day feast. Most of the attendees were Ben’s work mates along with their significant others. We had 18 people in total so it turned out to be a pretty decent affair.

Gathering up all the ingredients proved to be a task. I spent all last week running from store to store in search of provisions. Ben and I even trekked out to a specialty USA food store – one hour away via tram and bus. We managed to find everything (or close enough substitutes) and I started prepping and making desserts through the weekend. Thankfully, a couple of friends came early on the day of to help out with the cooking – I would not have gotten it all done in time without them!

Sunday’s menu consisted of the traditional spread:

  • Turkey – of course!
  • Italian bread and chorizo dressing
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Broccoli casserole
  • Corn muffins
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Desserts: Pumpkin cheesecake, Pecan pie, and Chocolate cake

It didn’t quite have the same flare of my usual seasonal decor and place settings and Ben refused to let me go purchase additional glass and serve ware… But despite the plastic utensils and paper cups, it was a success. We stuffed ourselves silly and had a great time. Everyone even humored me in going around the table and naming something they were thankful for.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for an amazing and loving husband who works with me to do crazy things like move across the world and for the wonderful and welcoming people we’ve met here in Australia who are making this experience so great. I am also thankful for the technology that allows us to stay connected to our loved ones back in the states.

Since Thanksgiving isn’t actually until Thursday, perhaps Ben and I will celebrate again with a more local menu – seafood maybe?  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Night Noodle Market

It’s been a while since our last post but we should be picking things up as the next couple months will bring holidays and summer and hopefully a little travel!

In the meantime, we’ve settled into a normal rhythm of daily life. Sometimes people forget that we are here to live and work [for Ben] – it’s not a study abroad or an extended vacation holiday. So while we are trying to take advantage of exploring Australia and doing as many amazing things here as possible, our daily and weekly lives are often still consumed with the normal “boring” things. With that said, we try to throw in a little fun during the week if there’s something going on in the city.

This past weekend kicked off the Night Noodle Market in Melbourne. It’s basically a giant Asian food festival downtown. There are over 60 stalls of food set up by different restaurants and it will be going on every night until the end of the month. The scene is pretty massive and since it’s centrally located, tons of pleople to flock over for food and drinks.

We went with a couple from Ben’s office and sampled a few different stalls. Towards the end of the night, the guys tasted “victory” at one pad thai stand where they stood in front defiantly for 30 minutes until the workers slashed the prices down (since they were about to close). As they happily chowed down on their noodles we asked if it was all worth it. Ben’s co-conspirator claimed he didn’t even like pad thai but that it tasted like success!

We were all happy we went to see the madness but decided a one off experience was sufficient to check it off the ‘to do’ list.


Geelong Wine Festival

Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy wine and that’s kind of the same thing…

While we missed out on trick-or-treaters and costumes and pumpkin carving, we had a wonderful time at the Geelong Wine Festival this past weekend. Geelong is about an hour train ride southwest of Melbourne along the coast.

We went with a Meetup group of couples in their 20/30’s.  It might seem strange to join a couples Meetup Group – it sounds as if you are going to end up somewhere with your keys in a bowl. We all did in fact joke that it was a lot like the couples’ version of online dating. You don’t know quite how well you all are going to get along but are hoping at the very least it won’t be too awkward and best case scenario you make some new friends.

This group happened to be fantastic. There were 7 couples – all from the UK with the exception of Ben and I. Everyone got on very well and had a great day touring several wineries in the area. The only thing that could have made it nicer is if the sun had stayed out longer as the weather kept shifting from one extreme to the other all day.

The festival is organized in a way that you simply pick a particular shuttle bus route and tour the different participating wineries. The shuttles run on a loop all day so you can get on and off as you please. The wineries all had some sort of food for sale as well as live music and of course plenty of wine – and in some cases cider – tasting. You could also purchase wine by the glass or bottle for consumption if you liked a particular variety or if (like our group) you got tired of waiting in line to get tiny tasting portions.

Our group chose the Bellerine route which is apparently more known for Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and Sparkling. Overall, we found some wines that we really enjoyed… we’ll just have to re-trace some blurred memories to remember which they were. But even better, we met some great people!