So let me tell you upfront that my lack of posts this past week was due to being locked out of my account. Not sure if it was hacked or what, but I tried to stick to my promise. Ironically it got unlocked today, Thanksgiving, I guess I can be thankful for that.
As I sit here drinking a $4.40 cent lipton iced tea (will never order iced tea off a menu again, I thought it was freshly brewed for that price) I am missing home. I am missing cold weather (never thought I would say that), tall boots, sweaters, foliage, pumpkins, football, and most of all, my family and friends on this amazing American holiday. Let me tell you people, we thought they started pushing Christmas decor and retail early at home?  We actually have it pretty good. Christmas Creep is alive and well in Brisbane. With no Thanksgiving Holiday to celebrate here, we were able to purchase a gingerbread house (a tradition continues!) village – yes village (pics to come) – the first week of October. The city square is already decorated, grocery stores have Christmas aisles for eats, retail stores have decorated windows, and some even have whole floors dedicated to Christmas decorations. I’ve been trying to ignore it all as best as I can until Friday. Then I can justify getting ready for Christmas.
Now for Thanksgiving, with only one other American couple that we are friends with out here, we will be hosting and sharing our tradition with some of our Canadian and Aussie friends on Saturday because we have a full work week out here – no short week for us :-(.  Boo! But we have made sure to include just about everything a traditional US Thanksgiving table would have. Little secret, I hate turkey (I know, I know, call me “Un-American”, but I just dont fancy the damn bird) and cooking it. It grosses me out. I have a great recipe for it though, so as long as someone else guts it I will deal with it. Thanksgiving to me isn’t about the food, it’s about showing appreciation for my family, friends, and what I have in life. So on that note, here are just a few things I am thankful for this year.
I am thankful for my family
I am thankful for my friends
I am thankful for the opportunity to live in a foreign country
I am thankful for the life lessons I have learned this year
I am thankful for the support I get from the people I care most about
I am thankful for my life
I am thankful that my grandfather, who I miss terribly, is no longer suffering
I am thankful for the gifts and talents I have learned I have
Again, just the few of the things I am thankful for, but probably some of the most important.
Happy Thanksgiving All!!!!
Over and out,
American Girl in Australia

PGA Golf Championship

Never in a million years did I think that my first two posts on this blog would be about sports (I’m counting the horse race/fashion as a sport. Be serious). Don’t get me wrong, I love sports, but we really do do a lot more than that out here, I promise… 

What started out as a weekend that seemed to be doomed really ended up being quite nice. Doomed is a strong word right? Let me just give you a little insight as to why I say that. It all started when Rob went to pick up the rental car, which costs a pretty penny out here. He gets there right before they close, give him the keys, and he gets in the car. Not only is it not the car that we opted in for, but it’s manual. Now, Rob knows how to drive manual, but it has been quite a while and the ride ahead of us included some busy highways in rush hour. I may also add that the first street he would have had to go up has a huge hill on it – could we say destined for stalling? I think so. So he went back in and returned the car. Not a good start. Thank you Europcar.

Now forced to do some sleuthing I found an alternate method of transportation…a Queensland Rail train followed by a Translink bus. How bad could it be? I will never do it again. The added level of stress at 8pm is anything but enjoyable. We finally arrive at our 4.5 star hotel in Surfer’s Paradise to check into a room with a broken phone, 2 separate twin beds, a hole in the floor, and a rude (and anything but knowledgeable) girl at the  front desk. We decide to go get something to eat, and when we get back the weekend finally took a positive turn. Thank God! The new guy at the desk (Mohit!) has them convert the beds into a king, the phone gets fixed, and we can finally sleep. The next morning, we also found out that we got breakfast for free both days…who can complain about that? Not us – the cost of breakfast out here is ridiculous. I have never appreciated Fairfield County breakfast costs so much in my life. No, I’m not crazy.

Okay. Done venting. Promise. 

The rest of the weekend went really well! We hit a beautiful sandy beach at Surfers Paradise during the day Saturday, where I learned that it is possible to get “sand burn” from the wind, but it was so worth it (exfoliation!). After the beach we went back to the hotel, hit the sauna, had a glass of wine on our hotel balcony which had beautiful views of the city and the ocean, and followed it up with dinner at Mario’s in Broadbeach (thank you Natalie for the recommendation). It honestly was the BEST Italian restaurant we have been to since my arrival. It was like a little taste of home. 

Now for the main part of the weekend – the reason we took the trip that allowed me to have my beach day – the Australian PGA Golf Championship. I have to say that I now have a newfound appreciation for golf – please note that I didn’t say love or passion. I still don’t think I could sit through a game on TV, but I do think I COULD enjoy playing it. We arrived early, followed some of the mornings golfers, and returned to the first tee for the last two golfers of the day – Rickie Fowler of the U.S.A., and Australia’s own (and current Master’s Champion!) Adam Scott. Unlike the rest of the crowd, we didn’t follow them around in a Bagger Vance like fashion (movie reference). We watched them tee off and then skipped a few holes here and there to get prime viewing positions which resulted in a great experience.

Golf is definitely not easy, and I am officially convinced that at least half of the game is based on your mental state. If you get frustrated easily, I don’t think it’s the game for you. As usual, I digress – back to the match! While my American girl patriotism wanted Rickie Fowler to win, I will confess that I did think it would be nice for Adam Scott to win on his own turf, which he did. He is a Gold Coast boy, so I am sure winning the match in his hometown region meant a lot to him and the Gold Coast residents. 

In closing, I am now ready to take my golf lessons, and surprisingly I would be open to attending another PGA golf event. Who would have thought? That’s enough of me for now – check back in later this week for some pictures from the beach as well as the golf tourney. I PROMISE I will be better at updating the blog. Scouts Honor!

Over and out,

American Girl in Australia

Melbourne Cup Day 2013

People dressed up in fancy dresses with hats to match, pre-fixed lunch menus, and betting stations with lines out the door. It’s just another day back in the states, but here in Australia, it’s Melbourne Cup day.

The Melbourne Cup is referred to as “the race that stops a nation”, and in Melbourne itself that’s completely accurate since it has been deemed a public holiday (too bad we are in Brisbane). The Melbourne Cup is most similar to the Kentucky Derby back in the states, but from what I have gathered, it’s actually a bit older historically, and the race itself is a bit longer. I personally believe the Kentucky Derby doesn’t “stop our nation” though, so in that sense, I would compare it to our Superbowl.

Now for the hype…Over the past few days the aforementioned pre-fixed lunch menus have been pushed out via social media, newspapers, deal sites, television and blogs – you could get a two or three course menu, with a drink (obviously alcoholic…I mean c’mon mate, we are in Australia), and a “great view of a television” for a price anywhere in the  $35-$200 range. What a bargain! But no really, out here, the lower number would actually be considered a deal. I would have to believe that it’s not the food you are paying for though, it’s the atmosphere. Many of these restaurants are doing raffles, betting pools, door prizes, and competitions for the best dressed gal. Which leads me into fashion…yet another area where it is very similar to the Derby. Beautiful dresses, customary hats and headpieces, and killer shoes. It’s a day for women to make a statement. I actually contemplated buying a hat the other day, but then decided that I will save it for next year when I attend the Cup. Yes, I said it, I WILL attend the Cup next year. I’m determined. It’s clearly an important day in Australian culture, so I must partake at least once. Anyways, back to fashion, Myer (what I feel to be the equivalent of Lord & Taylor back home) does “fashions of the field” which is a fashion show that allows the finalists of the national competition to sport (no pun intended) their looks on the field in one final competition. Very cool. Who wants to design me an outfit for next year?

Okay, enough said, I wont bore you anymore. Im off to put on a cute dress, and place some bets. Yes, I am going to place a little bet, what’s the harm? I’ve listened to at least 5 experts discuss the favored horses on the news over the last few days, so I’m somewhat educated right?  Too bad I’m not listening to any of them. My money is on Sea Moon!   Wish me luck!

Over and out,

An American Girl in Australia