Tag Archives: sydney

Cab driver or master chef?

Despite its reputation as a homogenous white country, Australia is incredibly diverse.  It has certainly become more diverse since the white Australia policy is thankfully no longer in force.  Apparently white people like diversity and I suppose we’re no exception.

The immigration rate is greater than the natural population growth, meaning that the number of people relocating from overseas is more than the number of births minus the number of deaths.  Rarely will you find Australians whose family has been here for more than 150 years.  The exception, of course, being the Australian Aborigines who have been here for hundreds of generations.  My great-great grandfather arrived from Glasgow, Scotland in the 1800’s aboard the Loch Marie.  That makes my sister and me 5th generation Australian.

My workplace is amazingly diverse.  I work with people who moved here from India, England, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, South Africa, Iraq, Croatia, Scotland, Hungary, Thailand, Lebanon, Burma, Ecuador and more.  And that’s just a sample from one floor! 

Fortunately, the Howard government’s insistence on assimilation hasn’t led people to abandon their culture.  Opportunities to learn about other cultures are plentiful.  You can go to a festival, try new food at a restaurant, watch a show on SBS,  or chat with a friend.

Or, just grab a taxi.  The fiance took a cab home from the airport earlier this week and his cab driver was Indian. [Side note: Another unique thing about Australia is that passengers usually sit in the front of the cab with the driver.  The fiance tried getting in the front of a cab while we were visiting Boston and the cab driver nearly had a panic attack.]  They got to chatting about cooking and throughout the course of the ride, the driver shared some of his Indian cooking secrets.  The fiance jotted down a recipe and vowed to give it a try.

Last night he followed the cab driver’s instructions precisely.  He made the most delicious authentic Indian curry ever!  Thanks for your cooking wisdom random cab driver!  I think we found our new favourite meal.

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THE dress!

Last week I decided to get my ass in gear and start running again…after a two month hiatus.  Christmas break left my waist a little larger, my clothes a bit tighter, and my liver in tatters. 

On my way to Centennial Park I happened upon a bridal store that was going out of business.  Baccini and Hill in Woollahra.  The sign on the window said that they were only open on Saturday from 9-5 so I made a mental note to stop by and continued my run.

Saturday while the fiance was playing cricket, I wandered over to the shop to have a look.  When I walked in the door, there were two girls in gorgeous dresses taking photos of each other with their phones.  One girl had on a sleek silver backless number with buttons down the lower back and a jeweled strap across her back from the right shoulder to the left hip.  Her ass looked amazing.  I would have bought it for that fact alone.   The other girl was shorter and curvey.  She looked stunning in a more traditional style dress with a very full skirt.

While the shop girl helped the other ladies I perused the merchandise and picked out two wedding dresses that I thought were pretty.  One was not my style at all, but I’ve been experimenting with different wedding dress styles because I never know what might look good.  Experiment failed, it looked awful.  Lesson learned.

The second dress looked similar to the dress I had picked out at another shop, but hadn’t bought yet.  The dress I picked out earlier from Karen Willis Holmes was stunning, but pricey.  I was prepared to drop $1,500 on a dress but was looking for less costly alternatives. 

The second dress was it.  The dress.  It needed slight modifications, but it was 90% of the way there.  I looked at the price and thought the price tag must have been missing a zero somewhere.  It was unbelievable, too good to be true!  I ventured out of the dressing room to get the opinion of the other girls.  We all agreed that the dress looked amazing, but that I either needed to tone up my tummy a bit or wear some sort of chub-wrangling undergarment.  I mentioned the price tag and they said, “I know, isn’t it amazing?!?  We didn’t believe it either!”  So it was true.  This beautiful silk blend dress had been marked down from $2,800 to just $100!!!!  No, you didn’t read that wrong.  One hundred dollars!  Sold!

The silver dress the other girl was wearing had been marked down from nearly $3,000 to just $100, and the princess dress was originally $6,000 but was marked down to $200!  Needless to say, they bought the dresses. 

All the dresses in the shop are sample size 10’s and are marked down to ridiculously low prices.  Some may need beading fixed or dry cleaning.  They also have a limited selection of beautiful bridesmaid dresses from $30 to $200.  I picked up a blue engagement party dress for $100.

If anybody in Sydney who is looking to buy a wedding dress reads this blog this week, make sure to go to Baccini and Hill this Saturday, February 23rd.  That is the last day they’re open before they close their doors forever.

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi

Call me a dork, dated, living in the past, whatever. I love Bon Jovi and I don’t care who knows it!

Last night I got to cross something off my things-to-do-before-I-die list: see a Bon Jovi concert.  BEST concert EVER!!!  Not a drop of alcohol and I was screaming like a schoolgirl.  Pathetic, but oh so enjoyable.

Rant of the day: Even though Jon Bon Jovi is the lead singer and namesake of the band, Bon Jovi is still a band, not an individual.

My fiance and I don’t have a ‘list’, but if we did, I’d have Jon Bon Jovi on mine.  Oh, and Hugh Jackman.  ::drool::

Moving to Sydney

I look at my life now and wonder, how did I get to this point? Four years ago I packed up my entire life and moved from the good ol’ US of A to Sydney, Australia.

My life at the time consisted of enough stuff to fill up half a container. Things that I packed:

  • The most comfortable bed in the world.
  • A sofa bed (aka budget accommodation for visiting friends).
  • A closet full of unfashionable clothes (the only kind of clothes available in small towns).
  • A few pieces of furniture that wouldn’t fit in my parents’ house anymore.
  • Kitchen stuff.
  • A relationship that had run its course (That didn’t get transported in the container).

It was bizarre to think that my life could fit into a few cubic feet. Since then I’ve accumulated two dogs, a fiance (and his belongings), one quarter of an old house, and a reliable Honda.

Looking back on the move, I can’t believe how brave (or naive, or stupid) I was to take such a blind leap into the unknown. Ok, it wasn’t totally blind. It’s not like I hadn’t been to Sydney before. Truth be told, I was born in Australia but moved to California when I was fairly young. My family had come back a few times over the years, and I fell more in love with the Emerald City with each visit. At some point in High School I decided that I would one day call Sydney home.

But dreaming of living in Sydney and actually moving here were two totally different things! I had a job lined up before I arrived. Upon contacting the Australia branch of the company I worked for in the US, they practically offered me a job on the spot. My goal in contacting them was to simply let them know that sometime in the future I would like to transfer. Apparently there was a skills shortage in my area of expertise and they were desperate to fill an open position immediately. So three weeks later I arrived in Sydney with three suitcases to last until my stuff finished its leisurely sail across the Pacific.

Even though I had lived here many years ago, I didn’t know anybody in Sydney. Most people don’t keep in touch with people they met in pre-school, and I’m no exception. It’s daunting moving to a city of 4 million people and not knowing a single soul. Coming from a small town in California was liking walking into Cheers: everybody knows your name.

I realised when I got to Sydney that it was possible to be surrounded by people, but totally alone.