Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I am the worst at updating!

Hiiii! Happy February! I am so sorry for slacking on the blog. My New Years resolution is to update more often! And to drink more water..Better late than never on the resolutions, I guess!

Anyway, life here is great. Time is FLYING by. I can't believe I flew out 45 days ago; it feels like only a week.

The weather is gorgeous. Today I was riding my bike to the gym and actually was astonished at how blue the sky was. It startled me and I removed my sunglasses to see if it was actually that intensely blue. It was! I need to start carrying my camera everywhere with me so I can show you the sky. I am probably so annoying to everyone around me, because it is pretty much a guarantee that I will comment on the color of the sky and lack of clouds. K, enough about the weather-I know a lot of you are miserably cold right now!

I have been learning my way around Perth, mostly by wandering around and biking up and down the streets. I am finally getting a feel for where things are in relation to my house. I am so happy that I am walking distance to so many things. It makes it so easy to get around and explore. I always try to walk down this one street, because there is this one house that grows FRESH FIGS!!! Every time I pass it, I snatch a fig or two and eat them on the spot. The owners apparently don't mind, and I often see these elderly Italian women wandering through people's gardens, picking their lemons, tomatoes, figs, olives, grapes, etc. I often use the lemons from my tree in my cooking, and yesterday we realized that there is a massive grape tree dangling next to the family's dining room window. We picked off a few bunches and enjoyed delicious grapes straight from the tree! I promise to take pictures of all the fruit trees-I love searching for them!

In other news, I FINALLY DROVE!!!! On the wrong side of the street! And the wrong side of the car! It is so weird and the first day I totally kept drifting left and nearly hitting the curb. It is such an odd sensation being on the other side of the car-not so much the side of the road. Anyway, since then I have gotten loads better. The day after I first drove, they let me drive the BMW to take the 4 year old to circus (mcgurkus) school. Personally, I wouldn't have let myself, but the parents thought I was ready. It is so much fun to drive!

I went for a really amazing bike ride the other day with that girl I met a few weeks ago. There is an incredible path that follows the Swan River, so we looped around for about 16K and then stopped for "morning tea" aka french pastries and a cappacino. It was a really nice morning and its fun to have a good friend here. I also went with this girl out on Australia Day on January 26. We went to a bar with some of her friends and watched the fireworks.

Last weekend I went to a 30th birthday party with the aunt  (the one who I babysit for) and uncle. It was at another cool bar and I had such a fun night. Of course, this was the only day of humidity in Perth ever, so I was sweaty and gross, but it was still a great time. All the bars I have been to here so far have been fun and trendy and really much nicer than any I have been to in the states. They all have huge outdoor sections so you can enjoy the weather-which is a plus except for the random once-in-a-year humid nights!

The other day I met up for lunch with this girl from Georgia. It was funny to hear an American accent again and we talked about all the differences we notice between Oz and US. I didnt even realize that I was noticing these things until she pointed some of them out. For example, people here don't really say "excuse me" or move aside if you are walking toward each other. They kind of just bump into you and grumble as they push you aside. It's so weird, because I find the people to be really polite and friendly otherwise! Also, people don't like to stop for pedestrians, allow people to cross in front of them or cut in their lane with traffic. Its a bit weird, really. It was a good brunch and another new friend to hang out with-though she lives about 40 minutes north of me.

The family is still amazing. I have such a good time being with them. The girls are precious and the 4 year old calls me her big sister/magical nanny. They both say "love you" to me when they go to sleep and it just warms me up that they like me so much after only a month. The other day the 4 year old tells me that she is planning a going away party for me for when I leave in 6 months. It was funny and she is just a really clever girl with the best memory ever. She literally remembers every single thing anyone says. The 2 year old is such a little nugget-she could pass for 16 months, she is so teeny tiny! They call her "buggy" or "the menace" because she is SO NAUGHTY! But she is also so freaking cute, so you can't really scold her. She loves "lippy" and paints it all over her face and arms and everything around her. She would happily be covered in lipgloss all day every day. And, she happily tells you exactly what naughty things she has done, with the most coy smile on her face. I can't get enough of the girls!

I've finally been cooking a bit. The ingredients are really fresh here, so its enjoyable to make food. They have incredible dairy products from Margaret River, which is about 2 hours south of here. I will be going to Busselton, which is near Margaret River, in 13 days! I am so excited for my first trip down south. I discovered this bulk food store near the CBD (central business district-about 30 minute walk from my house) and it has a vast array of grains, flours, nuts, dried fruits, spices, etc. I bought dry roasted peanuts, and have been experimenting with different peanut butter flavors. They really only have 1 brand of peanut butter here, which is depressing compared to the US. So, I figured I would just have to make my own gourmet PB! I also made carrot cake granola a few times-it is amazing. You actually add freshly grated carrots into it, and it so works! Very healthy and delish:

-1 1/2 cup oats
-11/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
-1/4 cup walnut or pecan or nut of choice pieces
-1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
-diced dried apricots, raisins, or dried fruit of choice
-1/2 cup or more shredded carrots
-1 tbsp milk of choice
-2 tbsp flax seed or chia seeds or wheat germ or omit entirely
-heaps of cinnamon
-1 egg white

What to do:
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl (all except egg and milk)
2. Whisk egg white and add it and milk to the dry ingredients.
3. Bake at 350 until desired level of done-ness (30ish minutes)
We all have been sick this week-starts out with a tickle in the throat, next day sore throat, next day slight congestion, and then a few days of all out sniffles and no sore throat. We've all been sluggish, but the girls are extra-cuddly when they are sick. It's not too bad actually.

I joined a gym that is like an 8 minute bike ride from my house. I did BodyPump today and am going to be so sore in the morning. It's hard to get on a bike after a tough workout, but I am too lazy to not bike there, so I suck it up on the return trip. Yesterday it was so so so windy on my ride that I was going downhill and actually pedaling so hard to keep moving. The wind was refreshing, but it was a tough ride.

So yeah, I think I am all caught up. I will update more often, put some pictures online, and talk to you all soon!

BHAPpy and heaps of kangaroo kissies!
Dana xoxo

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