A Very Important Shopping Trip and Spectre

Exams continued to march on and Shane continued to study. The very hard exams were up first so as exams continued, the pressure declined around the house which was a nice feeling.

Sometimes it’s strange to think about how life continues on without you at home. Luckily, the family is pretty great at keeping me in the loop. Candace even skyped me into her family movie night! They were playing clue!

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After chatting with the family, Shane was hungry for lunch so we decided to go to Hungry Jacks which is the same as Burger King here in Australia.

It’s about a 10 minute walk from our house and has way better prices than you can find at home in Canada. They also have frozen cokes for $1 which they mix with Sherbet flavour! It’s super yum and a nice treat on hot summer days. They also use the most tv channel. It plays old music videos which Shane and I both absolutely love. Men in Black and the Blues Brothers!

We decided to walk across the road to Bunnings after lunch to grab a couple of small things. Bunnings is a huge hardware store – somewhat similar to a Lowe’s or Canadian Tire. They have really good prices on things and it always seems to be like good quality.

Check out the awesome truck at the intersection! Also… we found more than just a “couple small things”.

Check out this sweet double hammock! Shane and I discussed the purchase at length. We wandered all over the store… made a virtual pro/con list… then spent a few of my hard earned pennies and carried home the heaviest box of all time.

It was pretty easy to build:

And it fits both of us pretty comfortably!

Shane and I are both pretty big fans of the hammock:

The worst thing about the hammock is that getting out of it can be quite challenging.

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Shane continued studying so to give him space, I grabbed a book and sunscreen. One cloud tried to show its ugly face but it honestly wasn’t able to put up much of a fight for very long.

Gettin my tan (burn) on!

Lunch break! And a sulfur-crested cockatoo came to keep me company! They’re nice looking but SUPER noisy… Here’s google’s images of them if you wanna see one up close. I took more pictures last week so you will get to see them up close at some point.

Time continued.. I helped Shane study. Not many photos of this. Mainly because the stuff he studies is sometimes terrifying and sometimes a little stomach churning. Every time I look at his computer screen get a little more worried about all that could be going wrong .. and that’s just my mouth! Thank god he’s not studying general medicine!!

The dental students have lots of terrifying exams at the end of the year but the worst by far is their “VIVA” (it doesn’t sound french at all- “V-eye” not “Vee” sound). The VIVA is an oral based panel exam with no limit on the subject matter than can be tested. It’s a pretty big source of stress for everyone. In an effort to be a good supportive girlfriend I offered to help Shane study. We studied for NINE hours! NINE! No breaks! NINE!!!!!!!!!

They have to dress up for the exam. Here’s a terribly angled photo of Shane in his suit. (It was like 40 degrees that week… poor guys had to walk 20 minutes in suits before their exams!)

He brought home terrible souvenirs…

That evening we went to one of Shane’s favourite restaurants to celebrate the completion of the worst exam! (Also, to relieve any stress you all have, he has his grades back from the VIVA and he did really well 🙂 ).

Temasek is a super popular restaurant in Parramatta. If you don’t have a reservation on a weekend prepare to wait a LONG time. Even with a reservation you sometimes still have to wait a while haha. They specialize in food from Singapore which I wouldn’t have normally picked as a first option but it is so good! We ordered Nasi Goreng (which is a traditional fried rice dish with egg on top) and Chicken Satay (which is chicken in peanut sauce with rice)

After dinner, Shane and I walked towards to mall and on the way we came across an archaeological  dig in the middle of the city!

We also walked past the Leigh Memorial Church which has a fair amount of history in the community. The church you see in the photos below opened in 1885!

We walked through the park next to the mall which you all have seen a few times – it’s where Jamie Oliver’s Trattoria is and the big water park feature. You can see that it’s all decorated for Christmas… which again feels so weird when you’re wearing flip flops and sweating haha.

The city of Parramatta was also flying a French flag to show support after the attacks in Paris.

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Finally we reached the theatre! Well done Shane on booking our favourite seats too!

Shane and I both really enjoyed Spectre. Definitely not a top five Bond movie but fun to watch and we both loved the opening scene with the Dia de Muertos parade in Mexico. (Also Carmel from the future does not think that Sam Smith’s song should have won the Oscar! Bottom ten Bond songs.)

After the movie we went out to Max Brenner’s for some well earned desert.

These stores are decorated in a pretty cool fashion. You can see the big chocolate mixers in the photo on the left and then huge pipes that they claim carries the chocolate to the barista bar where they make all of the coffees and deserts. We don’t buy that the pipes are for anything more than decoration though haha. Shane and I discussed it at length.

We got hot chocolate and a sundae. You might want to grab kleenex to wipe up your drool/ tears of jealousy.

We defeated the sundae haha. Also check out that spoon!

We decided to walk to the Parramatta River (on the North edge of the city) after desert in an effort to burn off maybe one spoonful of the sundae haha.

Just a reminder that you have to remain constantly vigilant when out and about in Australia!

Miss you all!

Love you all!

Carmel

PS. In real time I got a job so sorry these updates have been slower!

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AMY VISITED!!!!!!

Living in Australia has been a lot of fun and being with Shane has been really nice (long distance can be really straining) but, to be totally honest, it has been a bit of a lonely experience. I’ve made some decisions which have made it more difficult to make friends (not working/being really careful with money). Don’t get me wrong, Shane’s friends are the BEST and Brendon and Andre are a ton of fun but everyone is so busy with studying (as they should be!) so it has been a little bit quieter than my life back home.

SO… when one of my FAVOURITE ex-impact colleagues told me that she was coming to Parra on business, it was extremely exciting!!! She has been really lovely to me – she has answered all of my questions about how much haircuts should cost, when one should tip (or as is the case here, NOT tip) – she also took time to call me on the phone when I got here and chat for a while.

I can’t describe how much I took all my friends back home for granted. Being able to just call a sister or a friend and head out for dinner is a luxury that I didn’t fully appreciate.

For weeks beforehand I planned and fussed about where to go for dinner. Shane, Andre and a few other dent students recommended the Bavarian Bier Cafe in Parramatta. It made a whole lot of sense for Amy and I to go to a good craft beer restaurant given that it was one of our favourite after work activities in Vancouver (we were just missing Michael!).

The restaurant location is really quite impressive, it’s actually an old church which has been refurbished into a restaurant.

They have huge vaulted ceilings and the light fixtures remind me of the lighting I saw in medieval buildings in Europe. Huge circular chandeliers that would have housed candles originally and then been lowered by chains from over a beam to be lit. You can also see some of the stained glass that they had in this photo.

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Here is a better photo of the stained glass:

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This is a photo of the bar taken in the opposite direction from where we were sitting. The booths reminded me of church pews with higher chair backs. It was a really neat place.

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Amy and I obviously both started off with beers while we caught up. We chatted all about her wedding plans and what life was like in Australia for me.

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Excellent beer. This is the Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Hell Bier.

I would try to describe it but their website does a pretty good job at that already:

Tasting Note

Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Hell is noted for its agreeable level of carbonation and its natural cloudiness.  A cloudy, top-fermented ale brewed from 2/3 wheat malt and 1/3 barley malt, hops,Franziskaner’s own strain of yeast and pure spring water, according to a time-honored Bavarian recipe.

The aroma and palate is reminiscent of banana, passionfruit and vanilla, married with a distinct clove-like character, typical of this style. Zesty carbonation up front with a  grainy wheat texture finishes light and satisfying.

Amy and I both opted to order Schnitzel for dinner – as you have to at a German restaurant!

Here’s mine – Swiss Schnitzel. It had ham and cheese over it with some sauerkraut on the side.

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My one (major) complaint about the restaurant is that when we ordered, the waiter said “oh your dishes come with potatoes, how would you like them done?” “great, they also have a sauce with it – here are the types you can order – would you like one?”

I said yes because I thought it came with the dish but it was really $4 extra! Now this was already a $31 dish so I was pretty surprised and felt a little ripped off that they would present the option as if it were included and then have a fairly sizeable charge for it. It was also a very small amount of sauce.

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So anyways, if anyone decides to dine here, be careful to clarify what actually comes with the meal and what is being offered as an up-sell. My mistake for being a silly tourist – upon closer review, it seems that they have at least one trip advisor complaint about this already.

Overall, the company was spectacular (11/10), the beer was awesome (8/10) but the food experience was disappointing (6.5/10). Next time, I want to try this Italian place:

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After dinner, Amy and I went for a walk through Parra up towards the mall. It had been raining earlier but luckily the weather held nice for us.

This church is in the square where Jamie Oliver’s Trattoria is. If you remember my day one post. Jacaranda tree!! So pretty!! (I’m obsessed)

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We ended up at Westfield where the movie theatre and Max Brenner’s is. (They say it like Max Bren-ah). We (foolishly) ordered sundaes and sat down to chat more.

Selfies!

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Look at these things! We ordered one EACH! My god. After eating huge dinners! They weren’t expensive so we were kind of expecting like maybe a third of what came?

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Needless to say, even after chatting and eating for an extended period of time, neither of us made it through our sundaes.

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After all of that, Amy and I needed to really walk so we took a longer walking route back to her hotel.

On the way we came across a cool looking tree:

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And took another selfie!

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I had really missed Amy since she moved back to Australia and it was super awesome to catch up. Hopefully her work sends her to Parra lots more!!

Shane came and met me at the bus stop to walk home and we ran into Betty’s twin!

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There were also a MILLION snails out! (Gross)

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Shane wanted to hear all about my evening with Amy (he had to stay home and study) so we chatted for a while:

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He learned about the dangers of getting fingers too close to teeth:

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And then ultimately he told me he couldn’t goof off anymore and went to keep studying.

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Exam time is serious business.

Overall, it was an amazing evening with a great friend. Hopefully Amy will make another blog world visit – Shane and I will have to travel her way next time!

Miss you all, Love you all!

(It’s been a fair bit of time since this really happened so really missing Amy again now! Come back Amy!)

xoxo

Carmel