Halloween! And Adventures with the Oven.

Halloween day was filled with important tasks.

I beat threeee cups in Mario Kart. Check it.

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It was 100cc. I’m still not very good. I can’t beat Shane.. or Brendon. Boo.

Halloween isn’t a big thing in Australia. No houses were decorated on our street and Halloween candy comes in 12 packs. (For like $5 a bag!) I think that given the influx of North American ex-pats, it’s slowly gaining momentum but on the day of, it felt pretty different to home.

Andre carved a pretty sweet pumpkin (the only one on the street). A lot of people were taking photos as they walked by.

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We wanted to dress up and hand out candy – Shane went as a mad scientist and I went as a giraffe.

Getting ready photo:

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Shane was pretty terrifying:

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More costume photos:

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The weather was really not in the spirit haha

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But Shane and Andre were. I would recommend expanding the photo to get the full effect of how creepy Shane looked.

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Despite my fears, the night was super fun. We got a total of 10 trick-or-treat-ers. Some of which had KILLER costumes! We also had two random children that Andre gave candy to because they happened to wander into shouting range. I think the direct quote was “HEY!!!! Are you guys trick or treating?! No?? Do you want candy anyways??” And then all the Canadians ran outside to spread Halloween joy.

We sat inside watching Star Wars (and eating lasagna leftovers) while the kids wandered by. At one point a nice lady who lives across the street from us came and tried to give US candy… it was a confusing Halloween moment. But also super nice and cute haha.

Overall, it was a fun, chill Halloween. It was nice to try and represent the tradition in a way that would do home proud. One group of kids took selfies with us in our costumes and told us that we were the “nicest house so far”. Haha success!

The next day was Andre and Brendon’s turn to make family dinner (we do family dinners on Sundays). Andre bought a beer can chicken holder a few weeks back so tonight the dish was ginger-beer-butt-chicken with ginger-beer-butt-chicken-drippings-gravy with barbecued corn and broccoli. Healthy (ish) and delicious. I think that we would all recommend ginger-beer-butt-chicken and also Andre and Brendon’s mad kitchen skills.

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Sunday night family dinner is slightly different than home… beer instead of milk. I’ll have to suggest it when I’m home in December.

The beginning of November is ‘scary freak out time’ in the world of dental students so I tried to make myself scarce and let them study. Thus, adventures in raisin bread!

(From scratch!)

I used this recipe which the boys seemed to like but I wasn’t really a huge fan. I found it a little bit dry and it was a huge struggle to hand knead in all that flour. The dryness may have been my own fault though because I struggled with the cooking time… a lot haha.

Here is the dough rising. You can also see that the homemade table transitioned into a giant fruit bowl for a week or so.

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Here’s my floured counter for rolling! Only we don’t have a rolling pin (or a wine bottle) so I kinda poked it into submission.

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Continuing the theme of not having proper kitchen equipment, I realized after making two loaves worth of bread that we (Andre) only had one loaf pan. So I also made raisin muffins! Exciting!

Here they are ready for the oven!

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Here they are happily baking in the oven!

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Here they are horrifically burnt by the oven!

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We peeled off the tops and ate the bottoms… Shane was very supportive about the burnt raisin bread … things.

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Andre made some suggestions about oven temperature and cook time… which worked out very well for the bread!

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Check out how swirly it is!

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If anyone has a better handmade raisin bread recipe send it my way! This was like a 60% success.

Miss you all!

Love you all!

Carmel

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October 27th – October 30th

I think that I had neglected to show our bottom floor in my previous photos of the house so, when I took out the garbage and recycling, I took some photos of our garage space.

Here is our garbage and recycling. Each unit gets one green bin of each. The yellow lid is all of our recycling mixed together (it’s about the size of a green garbage bin back home) and the red lid is household garbage. This is just outside of our garage. There is curbside pickup weekly for garbage and recycling is once a fortnight.

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This is what the common garage space looks like. You can see that our garage is open and our trash bin is on the right.

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Here is the inside of our garage with the door open over my head. We have a small storage space to the right in that photo and then a long space to the back. It technically is a two car garage but I think it would be really tough if you actually had two cars. You can see that we have a cage in the back, a small workshop and some shelving for things like paper towel, toilet paper and spiders!

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Here’s the work bench. A bit different than dad’s haha. The guys use it for dental work.

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Doesn’t everyone keep a shoe box with dental models in their garage?

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The rest of the week was fairly uneventful. I complained incessantly about my egregiously injured foot. (I forgot my insoles for my shoes which are a half size too large D: )

Toe flap! Shane offered to amputate but I’m good at healin’.

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After all that rich food downtown Shane and I went back to chicken, rice and vegetables haha.

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I went back to the library. Looks and works the same way as home.

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Then I put out a blanket in the backyard and enjoyed the sunshine. I got super weird tan lines on the back of my legs. Would not recommend.

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Shane and I gave up on chicken, rice and vegetables and ordered pizza from Crust. It’s super gourmet and so yum. Shane had strongly recommended it so it was hard to resist haha.

We got a Moroccan Lamb pizza with Olive Feta Squares (as a breadsticks like thing).

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To continue the Italian trend, I also decided to make lasagna. It was a huge hit – I can’t really share my recipe because its super tweaked and it seems to change a little every time I make it but I took photos of some of the process:

Here’s the meat sauce simmering away. I let this go for as long as possible to help all the spices blend and deepen. Lots of garlic.

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Making the cheese sauce. Mozzarella was super expensive when I went to buy supplies so that’s actually cheddar. Cheddar is white in Australia. It’s also not called cheddar. So technically thats ‘Tasty cheese’. The name is accurate so I guess that’s a plus.

The small bowl and cutting board have freshly chopped parsley. I had to youtube how to chop continental parsley! I don’t think I had used it before! The broader leaf parsley has a way nicer texture. It isn’t spiky when you bite.

Also that’s Masterchef Australia on my laptop. I needed some cooking inspiration haha.

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Beginning assembly:

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And the cheese sauce:

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Another meat layer on top of the noodles (I couldn’t find ones that you can pre-cook! Which I prefer for texture reasons… oh well)

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I had more meat and cheese mix than would fit in the pan so I made a mini lasagna! Shane and I just had it this week (late November) haha.

Here are the two end products. One for the oven and one for the freezer. (Yes, that’s a pot – we don’t have a ton of baking dishes!)

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This is the lasagna after sitting in the sauna for a bit.

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Shane and Andre found my phone while I was distracted haha. Jokes on them though! My eight followers will see their silly photos!

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Here is the final product. Pretty okay dinner if you ask me! And it lasted a TON of meals for all four of us! Om nom.

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Miss you all! Love you lots!

xox Carmel

 

 

The Best Day Ever

Okay guys. Hang onto your hats because this was an amazing day that I am so excited to share with you all!

Monday, October 26th

The day started off pretty normally.. Shane and I had leftovers for lunch before he had to run to lecture in the afternoon. I hope that Ian sees this and gasps with horror from Shane and I eating leftover dressed coleslaw. haha

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The day may have started normally but as it turns out, Shane surprised me with tickets to go see one of my favourites stand up comedians – Danny Bhoy! If you are unfamiliar with him, I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend that you go check out his comedy specials.

Subject to Change is what got me hooked. It’s on Australian Netflix but not Canandian (even though it was filmed in Montreal)!!

So after Shane got back from his lecture, we both got ready to go out. I needed advice from sisters and friends on which dress to wear:

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We both did hair and makeup:

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Shane finished first so he helped me:

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We had to run to catch the bus so a nice couple photo was taken there! Also I was really proud of how I did my hair haha.

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We were going the whole way into the city so we had to bus and then catch a train.

Some friends asked me what the date was and I told them that it was still going…

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Haha oops! Sorry Shane! Full attention!

We got off the train at the Queen Victoria Building – which is one of my favourite places in Sydney. We’ve gone there every year and it has all kinds of high end shops including a Dr. Seuss Gallery!!! It is the BEST. I’ll go take photos soon. There’s also a bunch of stores that I can’t even pretend to afford. It was all decorated for Christmas (which feels weird because it is SO hot)!! It’s a gorgeous old building with a huge statue of Queen Victoria outside.

It was very busy with the evening rush hour in effect

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The building has these amazing cuckoo clocks… aren’t the lights pretty? They call them “fairy lights” here.

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They also had a HUGE tree decorated:

The base was really cool looking:

It was decorated by Swarovski. The sign says:

“Celebrate. The tree took 92 people 44 hours to bring to life. It’s 6.5 Tonnes of christmas delight. 65,150 lights that sparkle bright and 82,000 crystals that shine day and night.”

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I would have loved to stick around longer but we had to run to our dinner reservations so we left the QVB.

Sydney is such and old yet modern city so it’s really neat to see where the architectural styes intersect.

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This was right next door to our restaurant! The Great Synagogue. Congregation founded in 1828, Synagogue erected 1878.

The restaurant Shane booked us into was called Bambini Trust Restaurant and Wine Bar. It has won “Australian Gourmet Traveller” awards so we knew that were in for a pretty amazing treat.

It’s a very dim and romantic style restaurant with huge chandeliers.

We started off with an amuse-bouche from the chef. It was an arancini ball with a spicy aioli.

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We also ordered a bottle of 2013 Hugel Gentil from Alsace France. It’s a Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Riesling blend. It was very light, sweet and fruity – Shane and I both enjoyed it.

They brought this super high quality olive oil to dip sourdough rolls into. Very yummy.

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Our main courses were unbelievable. It’s making me hungry again writing about it.

Shane ordered ‘Mary Hill Farm’ Lamb with Roasted Jerusalem artichokes, Cavelo Nero and rosemary jus. Do you know what cavelo nero is? I’ll answer after the photo but add your guess to a comment below!

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Did you guess Tuscany Kale? It is also known as black kale or black cabbage. I tried some of Shane’s and it was excellent. Much better than any kale I’ve ever made!

My dish was Confit of duck with Polenta Bianco, Pancetta and Blood Orange. The blood orange made such a difference in the dish. It was so decadent – every bite was phenomenal.

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You can see the side that we ordered behind my plate: Warm salad of Cauliflower with Sweet Potato and Goat’s Curd.

After our mains, we ordered desert!

Shane ordered: Torta Caprese “Isle of Capri” Flourless Chocolate Cake with Mandarin ice-cream and Grand Marnier Salted Caramel Sauce. Look at the plating!

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I ordered Affogato Drowned in Toschi Nocello with Frangelico Liqueur.

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You can see two scoops of Vanilla ice cream with a biscotti and then two glasses. The one at the back is a shot of espresso and the one at the front is Frangelico. Reminded me of Pa and the fancy liqueur glasses that come out after dinner.

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Sooo yummy. After dinner, it was time to walk over to the show!

Downtown Sydney is quite fancy and looks very nice at night. Prada store! Also an after dinner selfie!

Here’s our approach to The State Theatre:

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And here’s the show announcement! He also performed at the Opera House earlier that week.

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The State Theatre was incredible! Here is Shane next to Danny Bhoy’s poster and the entrance way into the theatre.

Like most buildings in Sydney, the architecture was incredible. It opened in 1929 and has beautiful Art Deco features that are so characteristic for that time. It’s one of my favourite styles so I took a hundred thousand photos.

Shane got us amazing seats. Look at how roomy this theatre is!! Look how close to the stage we were! At one point a (drunk) woman in the audience started heckling.. and wouldn’t stop so Danny Bhoy jumped down off the stage. He was like 5 ft. from where we were sitting.

This is looking around from where we were sitting:

Selfie from our seats:

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We took a funny selfie and noticed that we had a friend haha. He must have noticed when we took it because he was gone by the second one. lol!

One more more pre-show photo:

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Unfortunately there was no photography allowed during the show so just imagine like 20 photos of Shane and I laughing super hard.

After the show we walked up to the edge of the stage and took some photos inside the theatre. The photo from the back of the theatre is actually just outside the ladies washroom! The entrance is in the main show hall!

They had busts of famous composers! I’ll only post two but there were TONS of busts and statues.

Outside the main hall I took more photos of the detailed building:

Shane found a cool water fountain:

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In addition to famous composers, they also had Roman goddesses for inspiration (I already posted one above).

Even the floor was amazing – I included the photo with shoes for size context:

Even the signs in the theatre were super ornate. It reminded me a little bit of the tower of terror at Disney/ California Adventure. (Everyone do the Brittany!)

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We took final photos with the signs and then departed.

It was POURING rain… and neither of us had brought umbrellas… oh well haha

The city of Sydney is still looking out for us!

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We came across a store with super cool door handles:

We walked back to the QVB to get out of the rain before catching our train.

The Coach store was doing some cool holiday decorating (I’m not kidding, this mall is swankier than anything I’ve seen in Vancouver).

The UGG store (where’s Ash’s and my slippers were born!) had what I think is potentially the best chair ever made.

After that, it was a train and a bus back home.

Isn’t Shane the best boyfriend in the whole world? He really knows how to plan a date night.

Miss you all and love you all!

Carmel

 

An Adventure to Get Craft Supplies!

With exams looming, Shane has been studying more and more. Dinner breaks get shorter and any kind of couple time has to fit into 30 minutes or less. We are also both super poor (I forgot what being a student was like!!) so we have started enjoying Hungry Jack’s one dollar frozen cokes. You can see the pink in my straw is from sherbet flavour mixed with coke. So so so yum. Especially when its crazy hot.

Om nom. Saturday night treat!

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Over the past couple of weeks, I had been hunting around Parra for very specific craft supplies but I hadn’t been able to find exactly what I was looking for. Which means that it was time for an ADVENTURE! To center you in the timeline (because I have gotten behind in posting) this was October 25, 2015.

The store that sold everything I needed was in a community called Leichhardt. It’s an hour and 20 minutes away by bus once you reach the bus stop close to our place so probably 1h 35mins total travel time. I have a map below that shows the transit route (I live up at the top of the blue line near the top left and the shop is where the red dot is down in the bottom of the screen). Where you see the word Sydney is the CBD and main touristy bit of Sydney.

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On Sundays the Sydney metro system caps travel costs at $2.50 so I decided to go when it wouldn’t cost me too much to get there and back. (Otherwise it is actually close to a $12 dollar round trip).

Shane walked me to the train station and then went to the library to study for the day.

This is the Westmead train station:

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Train station selfie!

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I think I told dad about this but on Sydney trains, you can move the seat backs so that you can have rows all facing the same way or rows facing each other if you have a big group!!

Photo A

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Photo B

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I actually moved these same seats for this photo but didn’t include enough of the train car to give good context haha. You grab the yellow handle and it is super easy. If you’re having a hard time visualizing, the part of the chair that your back would touch in Photo A is now facing the chair backs on the left side of the photo in Photo B.

I can’t explain how impressive I find this. It’s the small things, right? …right?

After getting off the train I decided to phone home… which meant that I couldn’t really look at my map… which meant that I kind of wandered all over Leichhardt. On the plus side, I got some awesome photos of what suburban Sydney looks like!

All houses are sold by Auction in Sydney!

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I made a new friend! Bleh.

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Most houses here have gorgeous wrought-iron fences out front and on their balconies. Their front yards are NOTHING like North America. They are quite small and filled with shrubbery and hedges – not big lawns like we have! I also love the balconies – which you can see up top on these homes here:

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As it turns out, Leichhardt is one of the major wedding dress districts! There were so many shops with tons and tons of beautiful dresses on sale!

You can’t see too well because it was a really bright day but they had really cool wedding dresses. They had this one in black and in white. It has a long sheer skirt over a lacy mini dress. Very neat!

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After window shopping, I finished up the real shopping I wanted to do and headed back!

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I took lots of photos of the homes on the way back. There is pretty extreme variation between the visual appeal of the homes.

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Thanks for making sure I don’t get hit by cars, Australia!

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Look at their front path and gate! It looks a bit like an agave root! Maybe they love tequila?

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This is not Australia. This is a donkey in Mexico.

These ones are fairly standard looking homes.

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This one is my favourite. So pretty with the rose garden in their front yard. They are little bit New Orleans style eh?

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Sidewalk:

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Another difference about Australian homes is that some of them have names on the exteriors. I’m not sure why – they seem to be family names? But what happens when you move? Some of them, like Albert below, are built into the house itself! I’ll ask some of the Aussies when exams are over.

“Ashlea”

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“Albert”

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“Stratboungo” (? – this is the one that makes me think that they are probably family names..)

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Everyone who knows me at home, knows that I have no green thumb and typically plants aren’t my jam but I can’t get over the plants that people have here. They are so bright and tropical!

This is my second favourite house just because of those purple flowers cascading down from their balcony! So pretty!!

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The train station is on the same level as the street so you have to walk up a flight of stairs, halfway across a little bridge and then down onto the platform in the middle of the tracks! These are the stairs up.

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I saw a dad and daughter out decorating their house for Halloween!!! The only ones I’ve seen so far! I tried to be a creep but the tree blocked my shot and then I had to rush to catch the train haha. Eitherway! Good job, house behind the tree!

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Here’s a couple of shots from the platforms so you can see the stairs and the bridge over the tracks! Also look at how huge the commuter train infrastructure is. They are all double-decker and there are TONS of lines.

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Here are photos from the walk back home on my end of the journey:

These were just growing like weeds on the edge of the sidewalk!

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Across the road are the little shops that are SUPER close to home. A small liquor store, a little grocer and some restaurants.

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Another purple tree!

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Finally, I was home. Time to relax. But Sunday night is family dinner and it was Shane and I’s turn to cook. We made pulled pork and Wolfgang Puck’s coleslaw. Ian had made this coleslaw for me before and it is a little bit labour intensive but my god is it amazing. Seriously, being unemployed has led to the best cooking of my life. I can’t recommend this dinner enough. Sooooo yummy.

Also, credit where credit is due, Andre and Brendon helped with veggies and cleaning. They came for beers and got roped into helping! Heh heh heh.

Shane’s sandwich.

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Here are the leftovers being packed up. I forgot to take photos while Shane and I cooked. It was too tempting before dinner to stop for photos haha.

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So that was it! Another weekend gone by – tons of studying for Shane, some adventuring for me and overall tons of fun.

Miss you all, love you all!

Carmel

The Tutorial Episode and This is Water

I’ve had a couple of people message me and ask if I have updated recently so I wanted to post a bit of info on how to interact with the blog a little bit better!

Get Email Updates When The Blog Is Updated

So when you first open the blog you can see as you scroll down a little button that says “follow” in the bottom right hand corner.

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Here’s a closer view:

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You click on that button and a little menu will pop up for you to input your email address! Then you will get an email when I update!

How To Leave A Comment

If you would like to leave a comment (I love comments! Leave lots!) then you want to look at the bottom of each post:

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If you click on the speech bubble, this menu will pop up:

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Comment if you figured out what movie I was watching while I posted! (It’s pretty easy…)

Finally, so that this isn’t a super boring post check out a video that I love. It’s from a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace who was a well known American Author and English  Professor.

It’s something that I think everyone should watch at least once.

This Is Water

Miss you all and love you all!!

Carmel

Teeth Cleaning and A Very Happy Birthday

Towards the end of the week, I started feeling something caught around my permanent retainer on my bottom teeth. If that’s a confusing sentence.. it looks like this:

I tried flossing, brushing, scraping with a toothpick.. and I still felt like something was there. THEN! I was reminded that I live with a dental student! (Three actually but you only need one for minor procedures)

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We formed a make-shift dental chair… (Basically, I lied down on my back and Shane put a pillow on this lap for my head. It was very high tech) …and Shane put on his loupes. Loupes are special glasses that dentists use to see things in greater detail.

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This is a patient’s eye view haha You can see his loupes have a light in the middle to help Shane see.

Things got serious:

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He even wore the right uniform for the job!

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He got my retainer all clean! Just some calculus that had hardened on the bar. Maybe I should floss more often… (nah)

That night, Shane and I went for a little stroll around the neighbourhood – that restaurant Hog’s Breath has a car! … If you can call that a car…

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There was a surprise on the counter when we got home..

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An all caps text message was sent to the house chat! Haha – I won’t sell out whose socks they were. 😛

The next day I did some reading for an online book club that I had joined. We read “The Good Girl” by Mary Kubica which I would honestly not recommend. It was a debut novel by Kubica and there were a number of problems with the character development and resolution of the mystery. I reviewed it 2 stars out of 5.

In the middle of reviewing, I had the highlight of my week!

It was my all time favourite, big-sister’s birthday! The family had gone for dinner earlier that night to celebrate and I was lucky enough to share in the celebration with a FaceTime call!

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Despite it being the highlight of my week, I was sorely disappointed because the birthday hat didn’t make an appearance! Luckily, I was able to dig up photos from years past.

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For Candace’s birthday was celebrated in style up in Whister (or Whis-la as they call it here) with the sisters and some very dear friends. A few came from as far away as Colorado and Victoria! Lovely ladies.

I wanted to post some photos of Candace and I in honour of our 26 and a half years together. (She had to sadly wait a few years before being blessed by my arrival hehe ><)

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So I’ll end this post with that! A great week but one that made me dearly miss my big sister and family back in Vancouver.

Love you all and a big happy birthday hug sent from twelve thousand four hundred and ninety-five kilometres away.

Miss you all lots!!

Carmel

Another Week Goes By…

Shane and I have been trying to get out for walks when we can. It gives him a break from study and gives us a chance to chat and decompress.

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Shane had been telling me how different McDonald’s is here so we strolled down to Maccas:

Check it out! Build your own burgers! Real vegetables! We still haven’t done them (we’re trying to be healthy haha) but when we do, I’ll update!

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They also sell fancy pastries:

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And their coffee is proper coffee house coffee!

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As a side story, our house chat is really funny. We call the house the “Northmead Clubhouse” …

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Funny boys.

Shane has been studying super hard but he still has classes. What I’ve learned about living with a dental student is that sometimes you look over at them and they just have half of a fake face chillin on the floor:

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He was putting a fake tooth into a dentoform model for “splinting from trauma” practice the next day.

Splinting is where you glue the teeth together so that they can stabilize and heal after a traumatic event. (Like a puck to the teeth). It looks kind of like braces. Fishing wire with composite to glue it across the front of your teeth.

While Shane and the boys were at school I made chicken soup from scratch! Even using homemade broth! I very loosely used this recipe from food.com. It was a big hit 🙂

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The day I made soup was actually the same day as the Canadian election – I tuned in to my trusty News1130 to stay up to date and carefully monitored CNN and google for updates. It was strange being out of Canada for such a big event..

Towards the end of the tally of votes, mom and I had a Skype date! It was really nice to catch up and have an in depth one on one conversation. It’s funny how 12,000 kilometers can make a normal conversation so special.

Later in the week, it was time to return and pick up library books! With Shane and the roomies studying hard, it’s also good for me to have free time to go explore the city.

Sydney looks so different than Vancouver – I took some photos from around town:

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This style of terraced buildings is super common and very popular here:

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(That was actually a funeral home… there’s a huge, ancient cemetery near us.. I’ll try to take photos of it in the future)

The main park in Parramatta is behind that purple sign. They were advertising for a big cultural event called Parramarsala. I didn’t go but I was on the bus when it was on and I saw people riding camels around the park. It was too funny. Imagine camels in the middle of Queen Elizabeth Park. That’s what it felt like.

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One of my absolute favourite things about Sydney are the Jacaranda trees. They are everywhere and absolutely gorgeous. I’ve taken a ton of photos but its hard to imagine these huge trees that are just purple instead of green. And then when you see them planted amongst other green leafed trees – it looks like a fairytale. I’m so sad that I won’t see them in bloom again next year (October/November). Apparently they grow in Mexico and LA. I’ll have to ask Jenny if she’s seen any. Carrie? Any by you?

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It rained as I was coming back home and I was lucky enough to catch full a double rainbow. It shows up above the bright one in the photo above. Unfortunately the traffic moved during my panorama but the rainbow looks great.

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I found another ibis on the way home. He was just savin’ a spot. Guy’s gotta earn money somehow..

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It was a very exciting week for Canada and a very fun week here in Oz.. I have a bit more to post about this week but you’ll all have to wait until I wake up! Next up is my favourite-older-sister’s birthday. Betchya can’t guess who!

Miss you all and love you all!

Carmel

Weekend Fun: Sutures, Snacks and a Movie

As the weekend approached, Shane needed to practice working on his sutures. I actually hadn’t seen someone doing sutures before so I was super interested in how it’s done!

He sutured a small tear in a pair of shorts… I’ve told him I have a few shirts that could use suturing! Maybe Shane will be the house tailor! Dad, do you need anymore cushions done?

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After Shane worked on sutures and studied we had a quick date-night movie-night.

We had both seen the trailer for Crimson Peak…

and being big horror fans, we decided to go check it out!

The mall is under construction and they work during the night:

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We got to the theatre 20 minutes early and we needed a few ingredients for a recipe I was planning to make so we made a quick stop by Woolies (so convenient!)

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I took more photos this time to show more of what the Australian concession area looks like. Shane and I still haven’t patronized the business though because it is soooo expensive! haha

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Unfortunately… Crimson Peak wasn’t a very scary movie. It ended up being more of a gothic drama than a haunted house story so we were both a little bit disappointed. I think that if I had gone in not expecting to be frightened, I would have been much happier. What I can say for the movie is that it was gorgeous – the costumes and the sets (as you can see in the trailer) were great to look at for two hours. Also, we booked our sweetheart seats again! So Shane and I were both happy to get out of the house and have a fun little date.

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Look how easy it is to hold hands!

On the way back home we stopped at a real estate board just around the corner. Sydney housing prices are completely ridiculous. I’d argue even worse than Vancouver’s.

To give some context, the neighbourhood we live in is:

  • A 20-25 minute walk to the nearest train station
  • A 15 minute bus ride to the closest city centre (Parramatta)
  • Close to the local hospitals
  • Approximately 60 minutes by train to the city – 1h 20m commute to downtown Sydney
  • Approximately 40-45 minutes to the city by car during commute hours
  • Definitely suburbia
  • A number of industrial type businesses are around us (factories and distribution centres etc.)

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This is a single family home, close to the hospital with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a one car garage. The home has a “granny flat” which you can rent out but it is being sold for over ONE MILLION DOLLARS! The piece to remember as well is that houses in Australia are actually sold by auction so chances are, it’ll go for higher than that!

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This one is advertised as “having the opportunity to modernize” (haha). Three bedrooms, ONE bathroom and two car garage… starting at $830,000.

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This one is closer to the hospital than we are (3 minute walk) and apparently in a GREAT neighbourhood haha. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, one garage … starting at $990,000.

Basically all of our neighbours must be super wealthy (or have terrible, terrible mortgages).

The next day, Shane and I got up and made a good breakfast to fuel a whole day of studying.

Here’s the best picture so far to show you how different (but excellent) Australian bacon is. You should know looking at this that we bought super cheap bacon – normally it has a lot more meat and less fat on it.

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After breakfast I did some cooking. I made an old family favourite – “steak in the crockpot” with mashed perterders. Yum!

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When Shane took a study break, we walked around to the corner to the little grocer there.

Look at his Kit-Kats! (Remember no tax so prices are pretty close).

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It was so hot that we opted to share an icecream treat instead. After laughing to the Aussies about Golden Gaytime icecreams they convinced us to give them a try:

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Shane thought it was excellent… I don’t think I’d have another haha. So mixed reviews! (I’m out numbered though – they are super popular here)

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful. Shane kept hinting at a big date coming up so he had to crack down and hit the books.

On Sunday we came down the stairs to find that one of the roommates had stolen a drawer out of the fridge. WHAT! haha. This house keeps me laughing. Too much fun.

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Final thought: the weather is super bipolar here. It was SO HOT when we got ice cream – it barely survived the trip home. That evening? Looked almost like Vancouver.

Miss you all!

Love you lots!

Carmel

The Week After Thanksgiving

The week after Thanksgiving, Shane had to start really cracking down on the studying so I was on my own a little bit more.

Here’s a usual sight:

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Shane and I make dinners together and he does a good job of helping with dishes haha

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We dried out the wishbone and both wished for world peace. So you’re welcome, Earth! Should be solved any time now!

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Shane is also the chief barbecue-r. Look at how good our free barbecue works! The boys had to give it a good clean but it is our primary cooking device most days now 🙂

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Almost as good lookin’ as the guy cookin’!

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Don’t get too comfortable though… the backyard is still full of danger.

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Towards the end of the week I ventured into the city to find the local library! I followed my trusty map and walked about four blocks from the bus stop before realizing that there’s a shortcut that gets me to the library about 30 seconds after getting off the bus! Oops!

This is the local mall that I circled before realizing my mistake oops:

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Fun fact: the name at the top, “Westfield”, isn’t the name of mall (like Metrotown, Pacific Center, Park Royal etc.) it is actually the name of the company that built and owns the mall! There are a ton of Westfield owned shopping centres all over Australia!

The library is very new and is quite similar to libraries at home. They have lots of books, DVDs, CDs, and a huge kids section. The major difference is that their library is much more multi-cultural. The library announcements are in several languages and there is a huge section of books in other languages. There is actually one full section of just books in Korean, for example. Another major difference is that even though Parramatta is the main branch, they don’t have a huge collection with many copies of books! They split the collection amongst many local libraries and then move them to your preferred location if you request a copy. They only had 3 Stephen King books!! Three!!

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Afterwards I went and got a hot chocolate and read my books for a while. Look at the cup that the hot chocolate comes in!! It’s called a “hug mug” and it is supposed to warm your hands while you drink.

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50 pages later, Shane had finished lecture nearby so he came and met me and we went for a little walk then out for indian food to a place called Neelam Indian Restaurant. I think it was the most reasonably priced date spot so far! We ordered Paneer Tikka which came on a sizzling hot plate, butter chicken and mango chicken. The restaurant was super popular with dine ins and take out. You can see that we felt the same about the food!

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This is the town hall that we walked by on the way. You can really see the British influence on architecture with these old buildings. It almost looks like it belongs in the Caribbean (to me).

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Miss you all!

Love you all!

Carmel

October 12th Journey Downtown: Part Two

After our coffees, Shane and I decided to go out for brunch because he hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. Shane suggested a place called “The Two Good Eggs Cafe“. It had a bit of a Dr. Seuss theme going on so of course I was in. They specialize in Eggs Benedict and the cafe was SUPER cute inside. If anyone comes to visit, we have to go! Here’re their tripadvisor reviews. 

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This is the outside of the cafe and here are our Eggs Benedicts:

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I had a bacon eggs benny and Shane had salmon. You can see again in this photo how huge Aussie bacon is. They also bring water in big bottles to the table like you can see there in every restaurant. It’s such a good idea!!

While at breakfast we shared stories from when we were younger and laughed at some old photos of me that Kendra had put in a scrapbook for me (that I LOVE <3). Not sure if that mushroom cut haircut was such a stellar idea but…. it happens!

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Thanks again to Kendra, MVP of the photos! ❤ ❤ ❤

After breakfast/brunch/lunch we walked over to the Sydney Dental Hospital which is where Shane has spent a lot of time in class and clinic. (Isn’t it funny that they have whole hospitals for your teeth?? So different from home!)

On the way we passed the Martin Luther Kirche. It’s sandwiched between two more modern buildings (which I didn’t catch) and it looks really neat! Unfortunately, I’m not sure if it will be there much longer because there were signs up saying that the city was hoping to redevelop the property.

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Here is Shane in front of the dental hospital. The shape of the building looks almost like it belongs in times square!

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Here’s the main entrance to the hospital:

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After Shane showed me the hospital, we walked across the street to Prince Albert Park. There is a really nice outdoor pool and a big park area with playgrounds, picnic tables, barbecues and tennis courts. Lots of people were just sitting and chilling in the park:

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Check out this bird (below)! It is called an Australian White Ibis. They’re quite common around the city and they look really cool but they tend to pick at garbage and generally be kinda gross. Haha.

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The pool in the park is super nice. It seems that all Australia builds are outdoor pools haha

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Shane and I went and hung out in the park for quite some time. We swung on the swings:

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We sat in the shade and looked at other people sitting in the shade:

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We slid down the slide (it was a mistake… the metal was pretty hot)

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And took one last photo as we noticed a storm a-brewin’. Those are the tennis and basketball courts.

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It started to rain pretty soon after so we hopped on a train from a station called “Central” and headed back to Parramatta. Central is exactly what it sounds like – an absolutely massive centralized train station where pretty much every line meets. It’s a little bit intimidating so I’m glad that Shane was there to help me navigate!

At the mall Shane and I did some shopping. We ended up in the potato chip isle and people make fun of Canadians for eating Ketchup and All Dressed chips but look at these:

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Also… look at Kraft dinner here…. SO WEIRD haha. I need to remember to bring some normal KD back with me.

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We came across a really cute store called Typo which sells really cool things. They sell mugs, books, pillows, stationary, pens – all sorts of things!

One funny thing that we found (and bought) was this bathroom guest book. Now we just need to get all the boys through exams so we can have people over to sign it!!

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After shopping we were a little bit peckish (it was like 6) so we got this yummy ham and cheese thing (from a bakery company called “BreadTop” – they have over 60 stores in Australia and make all sorts of little deserts and savoury treats). I don’t know exactly what it was but it tasted good.

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After that it was home for the night and study for Shane.

Miss you all!

Carmel