Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who inspires you?

I've recently been touched and inspired by two people who I don't know. One of them is a friend of a friend who has a blog titled "inspired adventurer". She used to live in Portland, but now has been traveling the South Pacific for almost a year. I don't know her exact story, but it appears she caught the same bug that we did, and decided something needed to change. She travels like we hope to do someday very soon. My favorite quote on her blog: "It's never too late to become the person you might have been." -George Elliot

The next woman who has touched and inspired me and Scott is Christina Bockius. She is a kiteboarder from Hood River who recently died a few days after breaking her neck while kiteboarding in La Ventana, Baja. This is where Scott and I spent a month kiteboarding during our travels in 2003. Her obituary brought tears to both of our eyes. She was noted to have sayings like: “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time,” and “Life’s too short to be in a bad mood.” She was a mother, wife, and amazing athlete. She spoke 4 languages. She was happy.

What I've gleaned from both of these amazing women is that life really is too short to do things that don't make you happy. I've always felt that if I could ever find a bit of inner peace and daily joy, it would also find it's way into the hearts of other people. These women have done that for me. Thanks Sara and Christina.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lost In Translation

Until recently, we haven't actually had many problem with our slight language differences here in Australia. It IS the same language (English) right!? The other day at work, the conversation turned to a "country" near England called "Island".

I would rate my knowledge of world geography as average, or maybe slightly above average, so I was surprised and humbled to realize there was this country called Island in the UK that I had never heard of! There were quite a few people sitting around participating and/or listening to the conversation. One girl actually asked me if I "seriously had never heard of Island?". There were a couple of comments about me being a self-centered American, etc., etc., but I'm not really phased by those comments because I think it's true! Admittedly, I was a little embarrassed based on the reactions of the people sitting at the lunch table, but decided to drop the subject with a shrug of my shoulders, saying "who knew?".

I arrived home that evening and quickly googled "island country". I also got Scott scouring the internet with me, trying to figure out where this elusive country actually was. Both of us concluded that it didn't exist and my workmates were full of it...

Fast forward two weeks -- Scott and I were on a run together and I had a revelation -- ISLAND is not a country, but IRELAND is!!!!!! Two things screamed through my head. First, I needed to find every single person at work who listened to that conversation to tell them I knew that IRELAND was a country. Second, if I really knew my geography, it would have easily occurred to me that these crazy-speaking people were talking about Ireland, not Island. UGH -- I'm a dumbass. I asked a few of my co-workers to say "island" and "Ireland" consecutively. Guess what -- it sounds EXACTLY the same. I now ask people to spell words that I don't understand...

Friday, September 26, 2008

To Kill a Magpie

Spring is in the air and the local birds are actively chasing each other, displaying their mating rituals, and defending their nests. Despite loving all of the birds here, I am now terrified of the Australian magpie. A magpie is a very large bird that looks a bit like a crow with black and white feathers. Last month, Scott told me about a certain magpie that dive-bombs him every morning on his bike ride to work. Scott put a pair of glasses on the back of his helmet (pictured here) but found it wasn't enough to keep the bird off his helmet. It was hard for me to appreciate what this was like until it happened to me. My first time, my sunglasses flew off my face from the sudden impact. A week later, I had decided to avoid Magpie Lane by biking down a parallel street. Much to my dismay, another roosting magpie went after me. I definitely wasn't expecting it. When she hit my helmet, I let out a loud scream, while my sunglasses went flying off my head again. This time they landed in the storm drain -- of all places!!!! I stopped to see if I could get my glasses out of the storm drain but was quickly run off by the whoosh-whoosh sounds above my head. A little girl was watching this all transpire while she was waiting for her school bus. The locals have informed us that the magpies will continue this behavior until December when they are done making babies. Scott figured out that he can keep the magpies from actually bonking his helmet by raising his hand above his head. I wonder if the people in the neighborhood know what he's doing as he rides down the street saluting to the magpies. Since losing my sunglasses in the storm drain, I have decided to turn around before reaching Magpie Lane. I'm willing to sacrifice 1 mile of bike exercise to avoid the magpies. Along with asking Scott about his day at work, I also usually greet him after work by asking, "Did you get magpied today?"

UPDATE: A few days after this posting, a friend of ours sent us a link to the Sydney Cyclist forum titled "Magpie Season". Our magpie was listed (Ryrie Street) with a viciousness rating of 3 out of 10. I seriously can't imagine what 5 out of 10 or even 10 out of 10 would be like! These birds are crazy. The author of the posting at the link above says, "What's to stop the bastards from taking your ears off? In years past we have been left bloodied, but unbowed... We haven't dared to go back recently to see if s/he or his/her offspring are still patrolling." This forum also has a picture of a more creative measure to deter the blood letting (pictured on the left).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Somthing to Smile About

There is something about the word "nappy" that makes me giggle every time I hear it or see it. Aussies call baby diapers "nappies". Before moving here, I used "nappy" as an adjective to describe something that was gross or messed-up. You can see what the urban dictionary says about this word here. I've been known to use this word often so it's been hard to cut it from my vocabulary now that it means "diapers". There's a website titled "Australian Nappy Network" and there are products advertised as "nappy cleaner" -- the brand name is "Nappisan". In my mind, "nappy cleaner" is not exactly what I would want to use, to clean anything! Here's my giggle list:

nappy bags
nappy cakes (a "cake" made out of nappies as a gift!)
nappy service
nappy covers
swim nappy
nappy rash

On a very unrelated note, I slapped together a movie that may or may not make you giggle. It definitely makes us smile. It's accessible from our Picasa Web Albums website and the direct link is:

Monday, August 11, 2008

How's work going?

I have officially started my 2nd week of work in the operating room. So much has happened since I started, it's hard to believe I've only had 6 days in the OR.

Most everyone I have met at work, eventually asks me the same question -- "where are you from?" At first, my answer would be, "United States", but then, after a few people said, "well yeah, but WHERE?", I started to modify my response. Here is a script that plays out at least 3 times a day:

Questioner: "Where are you from?"

Me: "The northwest United States???", answering with a big, hesitating question since I've become accustomed to people from Sydney only knowing where New York is.

Questioner: blank stare

Me: "Like near Seattle, Washington?"

Questioner: blank stare

Me: "Um, the next nearest big city is like San Francisco???"

Questioner: "Ohhhhh, okay. So what made you come to Sydney?"

and the script continues from there...

I kind of wish most people would be satisfied with my answer of "United States" instead of asking "but where in the United States?". I can't decide if I should just start telling people I'm from Los Angeles or maybe I should tell people I'm from Canada! It's sort of scary to realize that I could totally reinvent where I "came from" and no one would know the difference. It has been great to realize that, as far as geography goes, the US is not the center of the universe. Many of the people I work with are originally from Sydney, but also from India, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Iran, China, and Malaysia. One of the things we both love about Sydney is the multinational influence. Especially the food -- yum.

During my first week I was part of quite a few open heart surgeries. These are not for the faint of heart. I think I'm finally over the shock of seeing the sternum sawed open and then pulled apart and upward with special retractors. Towards the end of the week, I was a part of a total hip replacement. Any female reading this should take note: lift some weights and eat enough calcium and vitamin D. OMG, this procedure is violent. The tools are big -- we're talkin' mallets, drills, and some major man-handling. The blood and bone were a flyin'.

My first 6 days have had many ups and downs. I can't say that I'm still excited to be working, but at least I'm fulfilling my goal of becoming a nurse and working in Sydney.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nursing Registration

As the little fat kid in the Kaiser Permanente commercial said, "Things are lookin' up". I received my nursing registration from the New South Wales nursing board on July 2nd. I immediately sent some job applications to the local hospitals and have had a couple of interviews. I have accepted a job in the operating theatre (operating room) at the Royal North Shore Hospital right down the street from us. It's so close that the emergency helicopters fly over our apartment almost daily. Scott suggested that maybe I just hitch a ride to work on the helicopter -- tee hee. Things are still moving a bit slow. I need to get clearance on my vaccination records, pass a criminal background check, and then attend a hospital orientation. Only after all of these things are completed, can I actually start working as a nurse. On a very positive note, I am so excited to work! I don't think I've ever felt that way. I'm especially so excited to finally work as an RN. I wonder how long it will be until I become the same ol' jaded Heather?


If it isn't obvious from the latest pictures we've been taking, my new obsession is taking self-timer pics of us leaping in the air. This all started a few weeks ago when I realized that all of our gorgeous pictures were starting to look the same. I know it's been done before, but certainly we can do it better, right? We experienced an unexpected side effect of this activity -- belly aching laughs looking at the results of our leaping. My favorite so far (pictured here) was hilarious to both of us because neither of us knew what the other was planning (as far as a "pose"). After the picture was taken and before we saw the result, Scott said "man, I think I pulled my hamstring" and I responded, "yeah, I pulled my chest muscles". All of the pictures we've taken so far, show me laughing so hard I'm surprised I could get off the ground, while Scott is leaping with a stoic stare. Our most recent round of jumping pictures didn't work out so well. Scott had a pretty thick chest/head cold and we were trying to get too tricky. We placed the camera on the dune above the beach and tried to jump in front of the camera. There are a couple of problems with this. First, how do you see the little red blinking light in order to time your jump? Next, how do you simultaneously jump, spin (to face the camera), and land without hurting yourself? Both of us landed in a loud, rolling heap on the sand with our biking clothes/shoes on. Oh well, Scott forgot about his snot for about 5 minutes while we were acting like children.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

World Youth Day

World Youth Day (WYD) has enveloped Sydney this week. When we started to notice the advertisements for this event a few months ago, we wondered what it was. Youth from all over the world traveling to Sydney -- but for what? It turns out, this event is actually World Catholic Youth Day. The Dateline presenter, George Negus, interviewed a South African Cardinal last night on tv and asked why the event was called "World Youth Day" and not "World Catholic Youth Day" -- good question!

We could hear the opening "celebrations" (4 miles away) and got to see the massive fireworks show from our balcony. This opening celebration drew 140,000 participants. That's more people than could fill the University of Michigan stadium! I was prompted to write this post because I saw something noteworthy over the past few days on the tv news coverage of the events. At two different events, I heard and saw the same thing -- groups of US teenage pilgrims (participants in the events are called pilgrims) loudly and arrogantly chanting U-S-A. No other pilgrims, that I could see or hear, were chanting the name of their country.

Update: I did hear Costa Rican pilgrims chanting too

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


It feels like it's been a while since I posted anything about our "adventures". We've mostly been surfing since getting the van (during the weekends of course). Surfing in Australia is... tough. We are not good surfers and compared to those in Australia we absolutely suck. The toughest part though is that surfers, in general, are mean and territorial here. How many sports have a mean label for beginners (kook)? The big problem for us is that we aren't really beginners so we want to be out there with the big boys so that we can actually figure this sport out. The meanness is likely born out of the fact that there are limited waves and even more limited good waves. No surfer ever wants to share a wave either... Although I shouldn't compare surfing to starvation, surfers act like they are fighting for the resources of their life.

You'd think we could deal with the surfing culture based on our surfing resume: Hawaii, Baja, Costa Rica, Bali, Oregon, Washington, California, and Australia. The majority of our surfing has been on the cooooold Oregon coast where a nod and a wave aren't uncommon between fellow surfers.

We aren't giving up yet but I have a feeling that we aren't going to actually get much surfing in, until we can find some less crowded beaches. I don't think we can get far enough away from the population center for weekend trips but our goal for the next few weeks is to perhaps find some "nicer" surf beaches.

The positive part of our surfing weekends have been the gorgeous beaches we have explored. The beaches, headlands, and coastal walks certainly help me forget about the meanness!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Introducing the newest member of the adventure family

After nearly 4 months of searching for a suitable adventure van, we finally settled on one last weekend. I have to admit, nothing will compare to the original, first adventure van but this one will definitely see some fun times! We haven't put a bed or storage on the inside yet so I only took pictures of the outside. It's a 2003 Toyota Hiace with 54,000 miles on it -- an INFANT for a Toyota. It was previously owned by a family-owned formwork (concrete) company. It was really dirty and smelly on the inside but we've been putting some serious elbow grease into it hoping to get it clean and smelling nice. We took out the seats and the floor covering and found enough raisins and candy to feed a small orphanage -- ick.

My first drive with the van was extremely nerve racking. Not only was it the first time I had ever driven on the "wrong" side of the street, but I had to shift gears with my left hand. I've only driven it 3 times so far and it still scares the hell out of me. It will certainly be a miracle if there are no dents or scrapes on the van by the time we're ready to sell it. I now have an even greater appreciation for the feat Scott conquered in Bali when we rented a hooptie SUV and drove to our hotel 2 hours from the airport.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Getz and the Queen

Scott and I broke down this past rainy weekend and rented a car. It was a 3-day weekend due to the "Queen's Birthday" and the train lines near us were closed for maintenance. You may ask, like I did, what "Queen"? Yes, the Australians have a public holiday dedicated to Queen Elizabeth of England!? Seems kind of weird to me, but I'm not complaining because we finally got to surf! We rented a Hyundai Getz and managed to fit mountain bikes and surfboards (not on the same day) into the little roller skate of a car. I felt much safer sitting behind Scott in the back of the car anyway! Even with one of the most economical cars made, it still cost $46 in gas for the weekend. I guess it's not hard to reach that amount at ~$7.50/gallon.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Biking Horror

I couldn't get the following image out of my head during our bike commute this morning. It is horrible to imagine what a car can do to a person (or people) on a bike. In summary, a drunk man ran into a group of racing bicyclists sending them flying into the air and killing a 37 year old man. On the right side of the car, you can see a bike (sans biker) seemingly hovering in the air while on the left side, you can see a helmet (!!!) and a water bottle presumably separated from person and bike on impact. If you want the full story, you can read about it here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nursing Registration (non progress)

I really don't have much to report in the way of the progress on my nursing registration. The short story on what has happened so far is that I graduated on March 18th, 2008 with a full head of steam, excited and ready to work as a nurse in Sydney. After passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) for RNs and moving to Sydney, I gathered the piles of paperwork together to send to the New South Wales nurses board. I received a letter in the mail the following week, recognizing my application and letting me know that "foreign educated" applicants may have to wait up to 6 months for their registration application to be reviewed. I did not expect the process to be fast nor efficient but I never thought it would take 6 months. There is no guarantee that they will accept my application because the education requirements for U.S. nurses are not the same. If I wait 6 months to get word that my application for registration was denied I will certainly be more than unhappy (depressed?). Needless to say, I've got a lot of decisions to make in the next few months about my "working" future in Sydney. Sell my soul again and go back to software? Get a job in health care doing something? Volunteer a lot until I get word from the nurses board? Learn Spanish? Get my masters in nursing? Make money doing something creative and non-soul-sucking? I've been applying for different jobs in software and health care and have a new appreciation for what it's like to be looking for a job. I would consider myself highly qualified in certain areas and it just isn't as easy as I thought to get a job. Maybe that's part of my problem -- I think I'm qualified but I'm really not?

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Our "stuff" finally arrived last Monday, mostly without any damage. Both of us hate how we feel so tied to our "stuff". Why is our happiness so dependent on all of our stuff? I think there are many reasons why we feel so much happier with it. For one, we don't hesitate to admit that we are immensely more happy when we are adventuring with our adrenaline equipment close to nature and away from the crowds-- mountain bikes, windsurf equipment, surfboards, kayaks, etc. Sometimes both of us do wish we could have as much fun with some good hiking shoes but it's not really the same and we can't get to the same places with just hiking shoes.

I am slightly hesitant to admit that I am way more happy with comfy chairs, rugs (to cover the nasty ass [NA] carpet), and nice wall hangings in our apartment. I do believe Scott could care less about these things. Something that brings a lot of happiness to Scott is his musical "gear". For anyone that knows Scott well, you know that he experiences genuine joy from music and from making music or at least from making some noise. His gear includes 7 electric guitars, 2 acoustic guitars, a banjo (six string banjo which I'm told is really just a guitar), a dobro, 2 mandolins, a bass guitar, 3 amplifiers, bongos, a djembe (that's a drum), a drum set, 2 mandolins, and a lap steel. I became quite aware of all this musical "gear" when I had to check off each item while they were delivered -- 40% musical gear, 40% adrenaline gear, and 20% clothes and furniture. Lastly, we are living in such a new and different environment that I think having some of our familiar sights, smells, and sounds is inherently comforting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fun Times in the Dorm Room

We are in the midst of a wonderful visit by our two good friends Dan and JV (the Slighterallis) who came 7700 miles around the world to stay in a dorm room. You might be wondering what happened to our penthouse with a spectacular view? It's still here but our "stuff" hasn't arrived so we've been entertaining our guests with lawn furniture and makeshift tables made out of phonebooks and thrown-away items. The Slighterallis have made this past week something to remember. I feel so lucky that they were here yesterday for my birthday too. They've inspired us to see different things and eat lots of great food in our neighborhood and beyond. I love having visitors!

They arrived last Friday evening after a couple of days of travel. Saturday was our biggest day as we walked all over Circular Quay and even went out to Manly Beach via a ferry. I was worried the day might not go so well when, in the morning as we were waiting for the train, Dan noticed he was wearing two very different socks. Despite this, the day was packed with fun and lots of sunshine. We saw huge bats in the Royal Botanical Gardens next to Circular Quay, and as Dan and JV were nearing the end of their jet-lagged day, we saw an elusive (seriously) echidna during a walk near Manly Beach. The echidna is like a cross between a porcupine, an anteater, and a platapus - it was completely oblivious to our presence. Needless to say, we probably should have split our activities up during their first day here, but we all survived and have great pictures to show for it.

Sunday was another day with lots of walking and eating. At a local market, Dan and JV got some Gozleme (a turkish crepe) and Scott and I ordered some Okonomiyaki (japanese pizza, translated literally as "what you like"). It's fun to realize there are so many yummy foods to discover still. We also wandered down to the iconic harbor-side amusement park, Luna Park, were we took silly pictures. We also dragged Dan and JV along with us while we test drove a major hooptie van (that we aren't going to buy). We meandered along the harbor and found a gorgeous park with incredible hidden pathways and luscious plants and vegetation. That was only half the day...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

77 year record

I took a picture of a motorbike parked outside our apartment this afternoon -- I hope it can stand up to the torrent of rain rushing over it's tires. How lucky for us that we are here to witness record breaking rain. There hasn't been this many consecutive days of rain for 77 years.

Monday, April 21, 2008

You'll never get it back together

This past weekend turned out to be yet another adventure in our new city. We had hoped to explore the great outdoors but it was raining (STILL!). Friday, after we rode our bikes in a major monsoon, Scott's rear derailleur stopped working. Since our bikes are our lifeline right now, Scott spent half the day on Saturday trying to fix it. Sunday, we went to 3 different bike shops in the area to ask them if they had ever seen a Shimano derailleur mechanism lock up and stop working. Each bike shop person said something different. The consistent message from everyone was that Scott was crazy for trying to take it apart and fix it on his own. One of the guys said "I know only one person who would do that, and it's the guy who designed it". Another guy said, "Oh, if you take it apart, you'll NEVER get it back together".

This is what I love about Scott: he was completely un-phased by all the comments that he could never figure it out on his own. Part of his motivation for fixing it on his own is that it would cost a minimum of $300 to replace the ONE derailleur mechanism. Two days later, Scott fixed it. He stared at it and thought about it for hours. Maybe it's his 2 degrees in mechanical engineering that enabled him to do it, but we also thinks it's in his genes. Last night Scott suggested that his recent grandfather, a wily farmer from Indiana, would have figured it out and fixed it to0.

The other bike-related happenings this weekend involved shopping (the hobby for many Sydneysiders). I had been looking for some leg coverings for some time. They are pretty expensive and most of them are made for men so even the small ones are gaping around my super skinny ankles. What we have found is that extra-small biking items are quite a good deal here because not many extra-small people bike! In the end, I bought some extra-small leg coverings and shoe coverings at nearly 80% off! Now I'm ready for the monsoon. When will it stop raining!??

Monday, April 14, 2008

Garage Sales and Curb Diving

I doubt many people would be as entertained as we were this weekend, finding treasures throughout the neighborhood. The first treasure was found down the street from us where a nice woman (originally from Cincinnati, OH) sold us her large pots and plants for ~$10 each -- score!! She even had a heavy duty dolly that we used -- 5 trips in all. Good thing Scott is so strong. During one of our 5 trips to/from the garage sale we also bought an exercise ball and weights to help enable our nightly workout sessions on the balcony.

In between biking to beautiful lookouts, we also found that our neighbors must be either rich, generous, lazy, or a combination of those things. We discovered that people place perfectly usable and valuable "garbage" items on the curb. We found tables, chairs, clothes drying racks, a brand new yoga mat, closet shelves, a vacuum cleaner, FULL propane tanks, etc. The most useful find was a golf cart that Scott fashioned into a bike trailer. I think we win the award for the best curb divers in Sydney.

During one of our bike rides we found a nice grill about 2 miles from our house. We considered calling a cab or hiring a local van driver to take it to our apartment but chickened out on the idea and continued on our bike ride. On our way home, we stopped by the grill and found 2 dudes sitting next to it drinking beer waiting for their buddy to bring a vehicle -- I guess we're not alone.

When I lived in Chicago during the summer of 1997, my dad gave my curb diving habit a name -- "Na Na Na". It's more than just a name but it's what you sing, once you've made the score. It actually came from the VW commercial that features the song "Da, Da, Da" by Trio. I guess we thought the words of the song were "Na Na Na". Scott and I have a new appreciation for this commercial:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Funny food

On the plane from Honolulu to Sydney I asked if I could purchase the "Cheese and Crackers". The flight attendant asked if I wanted the "light" or "tasty" version. I, of course, went for the "tasty" version -- who wouldn't want the tasty version? When the flight attendant brought it to me I noted it said "extra tasty" and let out a hearty laugh hoping that the Bankok-based flight attendant would laugh with me. "Ohhhh, you brought me the extra tasty!" He didn't really laugh and I assumed it was due to our language and culture differences. BUT, today at the grocery store I realized that there is a type of cheese that is called "tasty". I looked it up to find that it is Australian for cheddar!!!!! Yum, I love cheese.

Biking mishaps

Scott couldn't have warned me enough about how difficult it was going to be for me to find my way around these streets on a bike. Before I start with my issues, I will quote the various stories that Scott shared with me over email from the past 2 months:

  • March 4th: On Saturday, as I was heading to my last appointment, there was an orange cone in the middle of the path. Nothing else. Just a single old faded orange cone. The cone was supposed to indicate wet cement, which I realized as I was halfway over the handlebars! My bike and my body was covered in it. A construction worker rushed over with a hose and started washing my bike. Meanwhile, my right leg was getting stiff! He had to totally hose me down. Despite me being soaking wet, and he having to redo all his work, we both thought it was hilarious. Seriously, I thought that only happened in movies and cartoons. What next? Sitting on a park bench with wet paint? Well, no. Ten minutes later, on the same bike path, one pigeon in a group of four is slow to take flight, and bounces off my right shoulder! At this point, I'm simultaneously laughing my ass off and fearing for my life. I made it back to the hotel without any surprises, locked the door, and stayed in for the night. Every day is an adventure.

  • March 13th: I guess I'm just not destined to ride my bike after work. My front derailleur cable broke about 4 blocks from work. The sports store at the mall had brake cables, but not derailleur cables. Then, I almost crashed my bike on the way home at the high-speed-90-degree-turn at the bottom of the hill. My front tire that I patched yesterday was leaking, but I didn't realize it until trying to make a tight turn at high speeds. I pulled it out. It would have been ugly. When I got home, I realized that the NEW rear tube from yesterday had a small leak.

Yesterday was my first day on the bike along the winding, hilly streets of Sydney. It took me until 2pm to talk myself into giving it a try. For some reason I was so scared to bike -- primarily because they drive on the left side of the street. From my apartment window I watched the cars drive along the road below and tried to make some mental notes about how I would bike. First, I needed to move my rear view mirror to the right side. My mantra started before I walked out the door -- "stay left, stay left, stay left". Since Scott and I bike so much in the states, I have some major muscle memory habits to break, like don't look left when you arrive at an intersection -- enter my next mantra "look right, look right, look right". Scott bought a very large book with all the street maps of the Sydney area that I could barely fit in my fanny pack. I made it to my first destination -- the real estate office to raise some hell about our NA (nasty ass) carpet, the dirty walls, and the lack of keys. I am suprised and happy to report that my ride was relatively successful except for getting rained on a bit.

Today I rode to work with Scott (my personal tour guide). Our route to work was hilly and wonderful -- about 45 minutes. Part of his commute is through the Lane Cove National Park (LCNP) on a large paved bike trail. Before and after the LCNP he rides many streets that I couldn't begin to remember for my bike home. So, I took the easier and more straight forward route home which meant I was biking on a path along the highway. I had to make a pretty large detour around some construction and found myself lost for a good 20 minutes. These streets are so confusing and windy. It was lucky that I was lost and thus biking slowly, because I biked over a grate in the sidewalk and my tire went through!!!! Note to self: the grates in Sydney run parallel to tires and road bike tires fall through. I can't believe I didn't get a flat or at least bend my rim -- I was kind of scared to look.

I'm sure everyday will bring a new biking mishap. By the end of this adventure, we will definitely know more streets here than the average Sydneysider.

Our start in Sydney

My arrival to Sydney was MUCH anticipated after Scott and I spent many weeks apart working hard on both ends. Scott spent 5+ weekends looking for a place for us. The rental market in Sydney is ridiculous. The prices are insane and there is no incentive for the real estate agents or landlords to be accommodating. Our new home is just north of Sydney CBD in a place called St. Leonards. We have a magnificent view of the city and the Harbor bridge. Our terrace (I think that's Australian for balcony) is really large as we scored the penthouse apartment. Now we just need to get our patio furniture which is currently sailing across the ocean!