Monday, 30 January 2012

What's been happening in January

Hello family & friends!

I hope you have had a wonderful January! Mine has been a busy one! The first week of January we had visitors from Canada over - Raquel and Karina! They stayed with us during their trip and bravely beared the intense heat we had. The first couple days they were here we had 40 degree days! It only went down to about 30 degrees at night, and let me tell ya, 4 people in a small flat with no A/C was quite an adventure, but we all survived and were troopers! The weather did a 20 degree drop the next few days, which was great for our outings, but intense nonetheless. They got a true taste of the weather extremeties in Melbourne!

We were able to see a lot while they were here -- including places I have never been before! We ventured to the Healesville Sanctuary where we fed a  baby wallaby named 'Waffles' who ate half his corn and was not shy at all! It's amazing how animals have such personalities --- this one was quite amusing. The next day we roadtripped out to the famous Twelve Apostles (which are now only 7!), walked along the major surf beach - Bells Beach, visited the penguins at night on the pier, and toured around the city. Check out some pics below:

All photos: Life in Oz

Meet Waffles!
Raquel with our little friend

He loved the sweet potatoes!

He didn't even reach our knees!

My Dami searching for sea creatures in the rocks!

The Twelve Apostles
Karina, Raquel, Me and Damien

The girls have since travelled to Adelaide for a wedding and to Sydney to explore the city. Damien left a week after to help faciliate a youth camp up in Healesville for just under a week. Youth camp is where he comes alive in faith and in leadership, a place where he can use his gifts and be a light for the youth. He is an amazing man and I love seeing him shine for God in his passions! We also found out that instead of the Diploma of Education he thought he applied for, he accidentally applied for his Masters of Teaching! We think it was a blessing in disguise because if we ever want to go back to Canada to live, he will be far more employable with a Masters, considering now they don't even look at you for teaching jobs unless you have a Masters. He's excited for this new step and to get back into study! I'm excited that he will be engaged in doing something he is so passionate about.

I've been keeping busy by searching for jobs and it hasn't been an easy ride. I struggle to not get discouraged at times and I remind myself that something will come along very soon, at the right and perfect time. At this point I've been applying anywhere and everywhere. I know something will come up soon, it's just a matter of trust and patience! (Something I think I will never master!)

Photo credit:

On a very exciting note, we are leaving in less than a week for our official honeymoon trip to Tasmania!!! Damien's cousin is lending us her campervan and we are taking a two week roadtrip around the island! We can't wait, I literally feel like a kid again getting excited for a trip -- it's such a good feeling :) I am looking forward to having quality time with my man, with no distractions, no phones and no agenda. We have a rough plan of places we'd like to go and things to see, but if we don't get to them, no worries, the most important thing is that we enjoy each day and really wind down. We're also looking forward to getting back to nature and letting our souls open up! We love hiking and canoeing and camping, and thankfully there are plenty of mountains and waterways in Tassie. A few of the things we hope to do are:

- Check out Cradle Mountain
- Kayak the D'Entrecasteux Channel
- Visit the Port Arthur Penal Colony & do the ghost tour at night
- Hike the Wineglass Bay route
- Climb The Nut
- Hire bikes and tour around Maria Island
- Explore the historical city of Hobart
- Delight in the Tamar Valley wineries
- Laze around on the beautiful East coast beaches
- Do the Tahune Forest Airwalk
- Visit the many charming and historial villages scattered around the island
- Tour inside King Soloman's caves
- Hopefully spot a Tassie devil & a sea eagle!
- And tons more!

We will be returning on February 19th and I can't wait to post some pictures for you -- I will probably be taking hundreds of them!

See you when we get back! Sending lots of love and hugs,


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Let the new year begin!

Happy New Year to all!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! I have not been on my blog since before Christmas, so I apologize for the delay. Since my last post we've celebrated our first Christmas together, followed by my 24th birthday, new years celebrations and visitors from Canada (more to come on that in my next post). It's been a whirlwind!

Christmas was incredible! So laid back and family-oriented - just the way I like it. It was a balmy 27 degrees and it thunderstormed the whole day. Dami and I spent the morning together and enjoyed every bit of it before heading off to his parents' place for lunch. We had a full turkey and ham dinner with just the family in Melbourne. It was intimate, relaxing and blissful. My father-in-law cooked turkey on his new Webber BBQ, while my mother-in-law cooked up a feast! We were so grateful to be able to talk to the Keady's in Baltimore and wish them a Merry Christmas as well! Following lunch we sat outside in the backyard watching the lightning while drinking our wine. It poured so much that we ended up having one mean family water fight. Only my mother-in-law was left dry - she ran inside! We had a lazy afternoon and picked at leftovers for dinner. We couldn't have asked for a better day!

All photos: Life in Oz

The next day I turned 24! Damien unfortunately had to work from 7am-8pm, but it ended up being one of the best birthdays! Before Dames headed off to work, he surprised me with the ultimate gift --- tickets to swim with wild dolphins and seals down the coast from us!!! What a way to start the morning, eh?! Who needs coffee after something like that! Anyways afterwards, Damien's best mate stopped by to have a birthday coffee with me so that I wouldn't be by myself on my birthday, which was very thoughful. Then I got to Skype with my family back home just after they finished Christmas dinner. After that I Skyped with my family in Tennessee - such a treat to spend some time with them on Christmas! Not long after that my inlaws dropped in for coffee and drove me to meet my sister and brother-in-law to see a movie. We saw the movie "The Women on the 6th Floor" which was entirely in French. Think "The Help" but Parisien style -- I loved it! Since my brother-in-law is from the Basque region, it was right up his alley. We then enjoyed some delicious Basque food for dinner while drinking red wine on the restaurant patio overlooking the city's Little Italy. It was pure bliss. The night ended off with the best part --- meeting my hubby and walking down one of Melbourne's many alley ways to a little Italian restaurant where we shared a bottle of wine and a cheese platter! I felt like one blessed woman that day, especially since all I thought I'd be doing would be Skyping with my fam!

My one wish for my birthday was to go to my favourite bar in St. Kilda -- Republica. It faces out to the beach and they have these great hanging wicker chairs which you can sit in and leisurely enjoy your drink. Since Damien wanted to really take me out for my bday, that's where we went. We were able to get the chairs smack dab in the middle facing the ocean, and while we drank our wine we felt the ocean air breeze against us. It felt like we were on vacation!

For New Years we did something a bit different. I find the holiday to be overrated, so does Damien. The priest who married us in Oz, Christian,  has an uncle who runs an Italian banquet hall. He was looking for extra help for New Years Eve, so Christian asked us and we agreed. It was extra pocket money for upcoming travels, and it was well worth it. We had so much fun that night, and approaching midnight the owner gave us crackers and champagne to celebrate with. At midnight we shared our first New Years kiss, along with many more from enthusiatic Italians! 2011 has been one heck of a year for both of us and we are eager to start this new year in hopes that it will be a little less hectic! As I write this I realize we have been married for 7 months today - It's so hard to believe, time has flown. We had many blessings in the past year - getting engaged, getting a job promotion, getting married (twice!), starting our life in Melb, having lots of support from family and friends both here and back in Canada, and going through challenges together, yet being eachothers rocks and coming out stronger in the end.

We thank everyone who supported us, our decisions and all the changes that occured in 2011 - we couldn't have done it without your unconditional love, constant prayers, friendship and encouragement. We are so blessed to have such a community of people who love us, and who we love back. Many blessings to you in 2012, may it be a year of favour, good change and love. Lots of hugs and kisses,

- Alex