Sunday, November 9, 2014

a real Halloween celebration

This October we had the privilege of visiting family back in Seattle over the Halloween holiday, and I had so much fun! I think my son did too, even if he wasn't sure what was going on. We pushed the stroller around the neighborhood in the rain and looked at all the other kid's costumes, but going up to doors was too much effort/too scary, so in the end I didn't have to pry much candy off him. A borrowed tiger costume from his cousin made the whole thing easy. Overall it was a really special way to share an American holiday, even if he might only remember the photos. Much more authentic than last year too.

watching the action in the street

pushing the stroller was more fun than collecting candy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Inspired by another expat blog I was reading the other day, I decided to make a to-do list for myself in Australia. There are so many wonderful things to do and places to explore in this country, and around the Asia-Pacific region. Although circumstances conspire to make me a "permanent" resident here, there is no way to be certain how long we'll be living here, especially with family and other ties on opposite sides of the planet. Even if we end up staying in Australia forever, I'd hate to become complacent and I thought I'd make a list of things to do while I'm here...however long that is.
  • snorkle on the Great Barrier Reef
  • visit the most Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western points (did the Eastern one when in Byron Bay, now I just need to get the rest of the boxes ticked!)
  • visit Tasmania and sample all the culinary delights: oysters, temperate-climate fruits, cheeses, ciders...
  • have a long shopping weekend in Melbourne
  • visit Uluru
  • have a night of stargazing in the outback, preferably with a guide to explain the constellations
  • go to the Blue Mountains in NSW
  • travel to Hong Kong
  • visit Shanghai and perhaps more of China
  • explore in PNG (a little scary perhaps, but exciting)
  • wine tasting in one of the many wine regions here (Hunter Valley, Yarra Valley, Barossa Valley?)
  • visit a tea plantation in Taiwan
  • see both islands of New Zealand
  • take a trip to Japan
  • grow my own tropical fruit: mangoes, paw paw, passion fruit, bananas all supposedly do well in this climate
I'm sure I'll think of many more to add to this in time, but for now it should keep me busy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The garden in October

A new fig tree

The very first fruit on our paw paw...nearly 5 years later!

The citrus trees looking healthy, and the bees were all over it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Finished with the Aussie books!

Things have been quiet on the blog lately with one big overseas trip recently finished and another one coming up soon! Traveling with toddlers can take quite the toll. But, I do need to put out a quick note to celebrate the fact I have now read all of the "must-read" Australian literature (or at least the top ten according to the ABC.

10 Aussie Books to Read before you die

Cloudstreet - Tim Winton
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
A Fortunate Life - A.B. Facey
The Harp in the South - Ruth Park
The Power of One - Bryce Courtenay
Jasper Jones - Craig Silvey
The Magic Pudding - Norman Lindsay
The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas
The Secret River - Kate Grenville
Picnic at Hanging Rock - Joan Lindsay

The Secret River: A very good book but not always pleasant to read, especially when detailing a massacre of the Aboriginal people. The harsh conditions of poverty and prison in London were also not fun, but you get the impression that the author is being as realistic as possible. The early history of Australia was surely not pretty. 

Picnic at Hanging Rock: Having watched this movie a few years ago, I knew a little what to expect. What surprised me, however, was not the extra plots and details that got surely got cut in the adaption, but how funny it was. The author has quite a sharp sense of humour which did not make it into the more mystical and dreamy film. 

So, what's next? Obvious there are lots of other great books by Australian authors out there. More Tim Winton is on my list, plus A Town Like Alice. Any other suggestions?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

the garden in May...

In addition to our beloved paw paw blossoming, other exciting things are happening in the garden. My parents were recently visiting, and while the primary reason was to see their Australian grandchild, I greatly benefited from their gardening knowledge.

Things have been weeded, seedlings planted, and more edible planted that will hopefully thrive.

spinach seeds germinated quicky