Australian Open and Straya Day

We had many things to celebrate over the weekend. First and foremost, Ben returned from his trip to Hong Kong. I am super excited to have him back home. He took the redeye Friday night and arrived bright and early Saturday morning. Unfortunately for him, there was no time to rest as there was immediate fun to be had!

Australian Open

The Australian Open has been taking place here in Melbourne.  We had passes for Middle Saturday which marks the middle weekend in the two week tournament (no awards for creative naming). I went ahead with a group of friends so that we could ensure good seats and Ben rushed home from the airport to shower and meet us at the venue. I think he’ll tell you that it was worth powering through as it was a great day out!

We were able to watch several matches including women’s singles Muguruza (24) vs Bacsinszky, men’s singles Becker vs. Raonic (8), and Isner (19) vs. Muller along with a brief viewing of one of the men’s doubles. I’d have to say that the highlight was watching Raonic who served up to a 230km/h (143 mph) serve.

Isner in fact is a UGA alum who attended when Ben and I were undergrads. We were thrilled at the chance to see him play… then, the match went forth and Isner fell apart. By the score alone, the game was very tight but if you were watching, there was nothing close about it.

Isner mentally broke down. He let his frustrations set in after the first set and could be seen arguing with his coach in the stands throughout the entire painful match. He even broke one of his racquets in anger at one point. As a spectator, you knew you weren’t watching the match you should have been and if Isner’s head was in it, he would have smashed this opponent easily.

Nonetheless, for us the day was a joy. We had a great time admiring the tennis pros, having a few drinks and obsessively re-applying sunblock all afternoon.

International Food Festival

On Sunday we attended an International Food Festival with some friends. There were tons of food stalls and live music and even some carnival rides but the whole thing felt a bit random. We’ve come to learn that whenever anything is hyped up in Australia, the likely outcome is generally more lackluster.

Still, we stuck around, sampled the food and mostly lazed about on the big lawn while listening for whichever music genre was to perform next – it ranged from 90’s covers to reggae and beyond. We were all waiting to see the headliner performance The Cat Empire and were determined since we had stuck around all day. However, the evening brought low temps and chilly wind. So, while we did manage to see the beginning of the act, we all called it quits early on because of the cold.

Australia Day

Monday was Australia Day (Straya Day) which marks the arrival of the first fleet of British ships in Port Jackson. Lots of people have barbies and celebrate outdoors and of course, there are festivals and events in town. There is also a bit of conflict that comes with the national holiday. Some Indigenous Aboriginals view this as a day commemorating the loss of Indigenous culture and have coined it ‘Invasion Day’. There are always a few protests in the major cities but we did not see any.

In fact, we spent most of Straya Day being lazy and watching Netflix. Ben was recovering from his trip along with the weekend festivities so we stayed low. We did feel a slight obligation to observe the holiday somehow so for dessert we bought some lamingtons and made fairy bread.

Lamington is an Australian dessert made up of sponge cake which is dipped in a chocolate sauce and then coated with coconut flakes. We just bought some store bought cakes but they were still pretty delicious.

Fairy bread on the other hand is something we learned about from our Aussie friends. Apparently, it is something you grow up eating as a kid. You take cheap white bread (like wonder bread), spread some butter on it and then top it with rainbow sprinkles. I guess this is what you give kids here instead of Lucky Charms 😉 So, we gave it a go. The store was out of traditional rainbow sprinkles so we went with stars. It tastes just like it sounds… I suppose I could see how anyone under the age of 10 might be pleased.

Summer…. ???

Considering the weather for the past week, I’m not sure what season it’s supposed to be. The weather here in Melbourne changes often and changes fast – before your eyes, it will go from sunny and hot to a downpour in a matter of seconds.

Last week, I was at the beach with a friend enjoying clear blue skies and 37 C ( 99 F) temperature. We were looking forward to a long afternoon of cooling off in the water and relaxing in the sun when a single dark cloud brought a monsoon down on us. We ran to the tram stop where we were soaked for lack of cover. What was more frustrating was that we could still see endless blue skies on one side of the beach while we were getting drenched.  Our significant others had a good laugh at us as they were both stuck at work and had no sympathy that our beach day was cut short. (The meme below was circulating on FB from several people in Melbourne that day)


Every day since, the weather has been unpredictable. Temps change daily from close to 40 C down to 18 C and back up again and rain clouds move in as quickly as they move out. It’s a bit like SF but more extreme! Thankfully we did get another nice hot day this week and were able to return to the beach – where we both proceeded to get sun burnt.

The sun here is SO STRONG! In general, I rarely burn and on top of it, with my added age and wisdom I’ve made it a point to prioritize sunblock over the past few years. I wish I could say that it was for the health of my skin but really it’s vanity driven – I don’t want to wake up as a 50-something-year old hand bag one day.

Apparently, there is a hole in the ozone layer above Australia which makes it that much easier to get burnt. Even if the temp isn’t super high, you can very much feel the strength of the sun. So, despite my precautions, I have the faint resemblance to a raccoon. Thankfully, the burn is quickly healing and fading. We’ll have to be extra vigilant about applying sunblock generously and frequently while we are here.

In other news, Ben is in Hong Kong this week for some client work. He’s gone for two weeks. I’ll be spending the time begrudgingly beginning the process of job hunting and hoping for more sunny days to get to the beaches (so that I can further avoid the dreaded job hunt)… but if Ben asks, I’m inside tirelessly sending out my resume! 😉 It’s not necessarily the job but the job hunt that is so tedious and tiresome.

As a note, the attached pictures were taken within days of each other. I will say that the changing skies do create some beautiful skyscapes.

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015!

It’s officially 2015. Actually, it’s been 2015 here in Melbourne for two days now. I would have posted yesterday but we had a little too much fun on New Year’s Eve… so, much of New Year’s Day was spent recovering.

We met a group of our friends at a restaurant/deck bar nearby where we had booked a table. The booking was for an outdoor table and we got to enjoy a view of the city’s fireworks at midnight.

It was a wonderful way to bring in the new year with new friends. Ben and I toasted to our adventures in Australia and I have to say that I got a rush of gratitude and joy thinking about the fact that we had taken this big step together.

Looking back, 2014 was a fantastic year. Ben and I celebrated monumental birthdays, our 3rd year of marriage and we took a big leap in moving to Australia. We’ve accomplished something that we’ve talked about for almost a decade and it is better than I ever imagined it could be.

Neither of us are big on New Year’s resolutions. We tend to set goals regardless of the time of year. However, there is something nice about the beginning of a new year – as if you almost get a clean slate. If pushed to list any resolutions they would be as follows:

  • Ben: Keep the weight lost in 2014 off and steady
  • May: Take advantage of every moment and opportunity we have here in Australia so that none of it is taken for granted – specifically to travel, see and do as much as possible

2014 was an exciting year and I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings about!