Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Friendships Sail

Not to get all sappy on you, but you know those friends that really get you…like deep down to the soul kind of connection?  My friend, Danielle, is one of those people.  Even though we grew up just miles from each other (but attended different schools), we weren't introduced to one another until freshman year at TCU.  Little did we know at the time, but we were going to play a crucial role in each others' lives over the next four years supporting each other through nursing school. 

Whether that be sitting next to each other in EVERY nursing class, studying side by side in the quiet section of the library basement at all hours, sharing notes and organizing 30 page study guides, or carpooling to 6am clinicals at the hospital, she got me.  I can't tell you how many times I broke down in tears as D was dropping me off after a stressful clinical day or how many looks and giggles we exchanged during lecture.  As I tried to keep my social life separate from nursing school, we would often go off and do our sorority thing with other friends.  At the end of the day, though, we knew we could always count on each other….and have fun together too! I am so thankful for her friendship, guidance, and honesty she has and continues to give me.
Since college, we have put the textbook talk aside and grown our friendship independently of what initially bonded us.  When D started talking about coming to visit, I knew it was going to be an unforgettable experience for us both.
I was so thrilled that her best friend Katy wanted to join the fun, too.  While we knew each other as acquaintances, we had never taken the time to develop a friendship.  I mean, how could we not get along if we both loved D?!  Sure enough, it was a great success and all four of us really hit it off from the start.  Another example of how Sydney has brought us closer to people (and ironic that we lived in Dallas together but it took the 8,000 mile distance to become friends).
Fresh off the flight and after a maxi dress incident getting off the escalator, we explored the Royal Botanical Gardens, devoured meat pies from Harry's, and toasted with bubbly at the Opera Bar. 
Fun night out in Newtown!  A bottle of "red hooch" wine solves all problems.  I think this spontaneous night out had to be my favorite.
Total tourists doing the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk on a beautiful day.
  You had to be there to understand the scarf pose…lets just say we were only repeating what we had seen from a group of eager tourists a day earlier.
Watsons Bay day!
Instagram hits.  
Lunch in Paddington, sunny day on the Manly Ferry, and goodbyes to Katy and R as they made their way back to Dallas (total coincidence).
After we were down two members, D and I took time to relax and catch up.  It's pretty obvious who else loved her company.  Cuddle buds!  I loved walking around a new part of town with her and cooking a fresh meal at home with the fish we picked out at the market.  We were pretty proud of ourselves!  
Since spontaneous is my last name (errr), we booked it outta town to wine country for our last weekend together. 
 After a whirlwind day of tasting, we treated ourselves to a fancy vineyard dinner…but not before scarfing down an entire cheese platter while chasing kangaroos from our hotel porch.  Ya, we got a little goofy by the fourth glass.  I couldn't have asked for a better time with these perfect house guests! 
Right when I thought things would get lonely after D left and with R still in Dallas, a bunch of ships sailed into town.  Over 40 warships and 17 tall ships from around the world to be exact.  To kick off the International Fleet Review celebrations, Anne and I headed to Garden Island where we were able to go onboard the HMAS Sydney and HMAS Perth.
The weekend long celebration was to commemorate the first Royal Australian Navy fleet entering Sydney Harbour 100 years ago in 1913.  It was quite a spectacle, and with a front row seat, I stayed glued to the balcony with camera in hand.  Flyovers, salutes, flags, uniforms, music, and naval demonstrations were all captured as the crowds of people cheered and buzzed about the eventful day.  
The star of the show, though, had to be the arrival of Prince Harry as the guest of honor.  When I heard chatter that he would be attending a dinner at Kirribilli house (just three doors down from us), I went into full stalk mode.  Sure enough, as the police force on water and land began to intensify, he emerged on the dock in plain sight with the prime minister and a mob of media waiting to greet him.  The highlight for me was when his boat cruised just a few feet in front of us and he gave that cheeky smile and wave as if we were the only ones.  I swear he looked right at me! Well played, Harry.

Insta snapshots throughout the day.  A spectacular fireworks and lights display over the harbour bridge topped of the festivities for the evening.  What an exciting day to be a part of!
I hated that R had to miss the monumental celebration that won't come around again until 2113.  Better luck next time?! You never know with modern medicine…
Teddy was on camera duty all day, patiently guarding my tripod.  He sure didn't know what to think of all the commotion, but was smart enough to let out a few barks when Harry passed.  We were happy to welcome R home the next day, and it didn't hurt that a bunch of American goods were coming back with.  Hello anthro candles and summer sale wear!
Night noodle markets in Hyde Park with friends before our early morning flight to Queenstown.  I can't wait to share with you the beauty that is New Zealand.  In other exciting news, my best friend since sixth grade will be here in five days!!  We already have some exciting things planned for her birthday and I can't wait for it to be "just like old times".  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

In The Moment

After a month hiatus, things are back into full gear.  We've had a lot going on with visitors in town, weekend trips, Ronnie flying back to Dallas for work, and prepping for a busy summer ahead!  R was even able to sneak away to San Diego for the weekend first with his dad and brother for some quality bonding time.  I know they had a great time checking out the beaches and the Cowboys game (even though they couldn't come home with the W). 
We are starting to feel the pressure now that we have LESS than a year left in Sydney.  I know our families have already started the countdown.  While we've grown so much over the past year, we also feel like a part of our lives has been on pause.  We can easily get distracted by dreaming of our future, which is exciting, but can't be everything.  That's why we have to constantly refocus ourselves to living in the moment.

Balmoral Beach days have become our favorite weekend hangout.
Since Teddy isn't allowed on the sand, we park ourselves on the grassy hill overlooking the beach.  We have found that we don't lay out in our swimmers as much as we would on vacation now that we live near the water.  Instead, we like to have picnics and find a shady spot!
Forgot to post about our 14K run, City2Surf, in late August.  After doing it alone last year, I knew R would enjoy joining in the fun of the day!  
While we aren't much of runners and didn't do any training, I'd say we ran about half the distance.  It was all a bit of fun for us and a chance to be amongst the crowd.  R was kind enough to stay at my pace (baby steps) and we embarrassingly proudly held hands across the finish line in true obsessive couples fashion.  
Instagram hits this month.
Spring has brought us outdoors for long walks and laying in the grass.
Sunday afternoon BBQ at our place with great company.  We loved the sunshine and a chance to be on the lawn after a chilly past couple of months.
I think Teddy agrees! He loves him some Jenny and Blake.  
Miss Isabella made her debut into the world last month and we stole some cuddles from her here, at 1 week old.  Doesn't she look like a doll?!  I just love this family photo of our friends, who are now glowing as proud parents and have transitioned so smoothly into their new role.  We couldn't be happier for this family of 3! 
By coincidence, we bought Bella a panda bear in Shanghai…and when we showed up to meet her, she was wearing this perfectly matching panda onesie!  
I always love an excuse to entertain, but rarely get to here in Sydney.  When Ronnie's coworkers from Dallas had a few nights in Sydney, we decided to have the whole office gang over to welcome them.
Bubbles, babies, and some bubbly!
Ronnie has been a loyal Sydney Swans member all season, so it was about time I made it out to one of the playoff games.  I was so happy that Rachel joined us, but it's a shame she had to go back to Dallas the next day!  She was such a trooper for getting the full Aussie experience. 
Full moons bring out the possums and dolphins I guess.  Walking home, this little guy in the tree (that my neighbor, Anne, feeds every night) was just hanging out waiting for something to happen.  Then, an hour later, a pod of at least ten dolphins goes swimming past the harbour in front of our apartment and under the bridge.  It was an unbelievable sight that is very rare (never seen anything like it in the entire year we've lived here) as there is constant boat traffic and commotion. 
Anne graciously invited me as her guest onboard Lady Hopetoun, a 1902 VIP steam launch who has seen many dignitaries during it's time.  We enjoyed a nice half day cruise around the harbour, learning about marine life and conservation.
The vessel was quite impressive, with its copper furnishings and restored wooden planks.  I couldn't believe the boat was still fully powered by a steam engine, with conductors constantly adding coal to the extremely hot boiler below deck.  

Next week, I can't wait to share some of my favorite moments with my girlfriends who were visiting.  We had a blast and I'm so happy they were able to experience Australia with us.  Also, I have about a million photos from last weekend's International Fleet Review celebration.  We lucked out with a prime viewing spot of all the warships, Prince Harry, and fireworks show.  More on that later, don't you worry!

In the mean time, we are off to New Zealand (the south island) for ten days to celebrate our three year wedding anniversary. Thanks for all of the kind words this week…we are feeling the love!