Choices

So Phill is away on his first business trip since we arrived in Australia. Exactly two weeks after we arrived. But, hey, who’s counting?

I’ll be honest and tell you all that I am struggling. Life in Oz is vastly different from our life in Austin. Phill’s working a lot more. I’m at a loss without the arsenal of a full kitchen so we are eating out a lot. Stella’s not in school anymore. I spend a good part of every day mentally preparing to drive on the (wrong) left side of the road. Boy, oh boy. That will be an adventure!

Need this said to me on repeat.

Need this said to me on repeat.

I could take solace in the fact that at least we moved to a country where they speak English and aren’t facing a language barrier like my friends in Switzerland. The Aussies do, however, have their own language and style of speaking. But that’s a post for another day.

Tonight, in a desperate attempt to elicit a third nap out of Declan, I popped the kids in the pram and headed out. We walked through the Corso and over to one of the play parks located on the boardwalk of Manly Beach. We left there and headed toward Shelly Beach. It was getting dark and Stella kept asking if it was past her bedtime. We turned back and headed home about halfway to Shelly Beach. We walked along in silence until Stella said, “Mommy, I like going places in the stroller instead of the car.”

Her statement has really stayed with me. I’ve spent all evening mulling over what she said. Our life in Austin was, as is all of Texas, rather sedentary. Need to pick up a prescription? Car. Want to go to Lincoln’s house? Car. Dinner out? Car. Groceries? Car (ok, that was walkable, when it wasn’t 100 degrees). Anyway, you get the picture.

I am still amazed that my (almost) three year old had that thought and was able to articulate it to me.

Since we’ve been here, Stella has flourished. She’s zooming all over the place. Skipping, jumping, running, running, running. She’s never been a very physical kid so this is new for her. And, apparently, it suits her well!

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy wallowing in my own misery and homesickness. To hear that she is pleased with this aspect of our new life here in Australia makes me deliriously happy. Maybe even enough to boost me out of my funk.

I think we will look back on our choice to move to Australia with fondness and appreciation. Living the ex-pat life will, and maybe already has, changed us forever. Best decision ever?

Possibly.

Sunset in Manly

Sunset in Manly

P.S. I never did get Declan to take that nap.

Life in Manly

Life here in Manly is pretty sweet. We are surrounded by such beauty with all the perks of a city within walking distance. This beach is basically our front yard.

Manly Cove

Manly Cove

Beach babe

Beach babe

Manly Wharf is just across the street.

Atop the shell at the Wharf

Atop the shell at the Wharf

We live a block from the Corso, the center of Manly filled with restaurants and cafes, all kinds of shops, even a play park.

Kids at the Corso play park

Corso play park

And I take a daily walk along the boardwalk with sights like this.

Manly Beach

Manly Beach

Stella will start school again (twice a week) in January. So, for now, I get to spend all day every day with my two amazing children. I’ve been given an amazing gift.

But, you guys, I am homesick! The feeling started creeping up a couple of days ago but has really come on strong today. I miss my car, Wheatsville, my family, my friends, Stella’s friends, my gym, my coffee machine (tear). I miss being able to call up friends for a last minute dinner (and knowing where to go). I miss my favorite gluten-free brands. I miss Stella’s school (or I miss Stella going to school… ?).

On top of all this, we are tired. Bone tired. Declan is super smiley and all around adorable during the day. But he turns into this awful crying, whining, giant fuss bomb at night. He is the WORST SLEEPER. I want to blame teething but I’m not sure I can anymore – it’s been almost 4 solid weeks of this.

Please do not think I am ungrateful. I do know this is an amazing opportunity and adventure my family is on. I just felt like having a good vent. So thank you, thank you very much for listening.

UPDATE: Just after I posted this, Daniel Tiger came on the TV. Thank you God, thank you Universe. We needed that little piece of home.

And it was a NEW EPISODE!

And it was a NEW EPISODE!

UGGA MUGGA! 🙂

The Simpsons are Down Under – G’Day Y’all!

So, here we are. Halfway around the world. Pretty surreal!

We left Texas almost one week ago but it feels like a lifetime has passed. Our new home, Manly, Australia, is a bustling seaside suburb of Sydney. It’s surrounded on three sides by water and has 18 ocean beaches. It’s winter here now, with Spring approaching. But even winter temps are lovely. Highs near 70 and sunny most days!

It’s an odd feeling, leaving home and starting a new life in a foreign country. It still feels like we are vacation, to be honest. The kids have taken well to the change. Stella has loved getting to see her daddy every day. And both of them love all the walking we’re doing. There are children and prams (strollers) everywhere! Manly is such a kid-friendly place.

Since we arrived we have spent lots of time with our dear friends, the Buntings. Phill and Kyle worked together years ago at Message One and then with Dell after they were acquired. Phill is pretty happy to be back in the same town as his buddy. And I am pretty happy that his buddy has such a lovely wife! Jill has been instrumental in making us feel welcome and keeping me from losing my mind. We are really very lucky to have fellow former Austinites to lend a helping hand.

We are currently staying in a serviced apartment (thanks Dell!) so our first Saturday was spent house hunting. The way the rental market works here is a bit funny. You are allowed to “inspect” the properties two days a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The inspections last for a mere 15 minutes (sometimes 20) and you are “inspecting” along with everyone else. We toured four different apartments and loved two of them. We submitted our applications and held our breath. You pay by the week here so we offered just a bit more than asking. The agents will review the applications and then make a recommendation to the owner as to which applicant they believe is the best candidate.

On to the pictures! Our flight over was really not bad at all. It’s a night flight and Stella slept 10 of the 15 hours. Declan did not earn any sleeping awards, that’s for sure. But overall, he slept about 10 hours as well. Phill and I were lucky enough to get about 5. Qantas Airlines is the nicest airline I’ve ever flown! I swear that economy on Qantas is nicer than first on American. Choice of dinner entree, four wine selections and beer, too. Not to mention the crew was incredibly nice and eager to make our experience the best possible. Here are some of my favorite snapshots from the flight over.

My sleepy family

My sleepy family

Declan actually sleeping (!) in the bassinet on the plane

Declan actually sleeping (!) in the bassinet on the plane

iPad = Lifesaver

iPad = Lifesaver

Delirious and silly outside of Customs

Delirious and silly outside of Customs

And, WE’RE HERE!! Hello Manly Beach!

Manly Beach is our backyard!

Manly Beach is our backyard!

Off she goes....

Off she goes….

Sharks at the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary

Sharks at the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary

Peek-a-boo sharks!

Peek-a-boo sharks!

Our first official Aussie barbie! Thanks Buntings!

Our first official Aussie barbie! Thanks Buntings!

Rapunzel, Snow White & Ariel (aka Natalie, Stella & Mila)

Rapunzel, Snow White & Ariel (aka Natalie, Stella & Mila)

Awaiting the ferry into Sydney

Awaiting the ferry into Sydney

Simpsons & the Sydney Opera House

Simpsons & the Sydney Opera House

Gorgeous

Gorgeous

Stella & Nate bonding & the Harbour Bridge

Stella & Nate bonding & the Harbour Bridge

Lastly, two pics from today.

As Phill went back to work this morning, it was just me and the kids today. I took them to the Manly Library for Preschool Story Time. It lasted a full hour and really kept Stella’s attention! At the end was a craft and she eagerly participated. Afterwards we went to my new favorite spot, Pure Wholefoods, for lunch.

Thank goodness there's only one!

Thank goodness there’s only one. Don’t think the world is big enough for two Stellas!

photo 2 (2)

Sweet little six month old.

Darling little Declan… He had a rough day thanks to teething. I checked out his gums this morning and those white buds are just beneath the surface. In true Declan style, he smiles while he’s crying!

Coming up the rest of this week we plan to find Target (YES), shop the Sydney markets, join Jill and Nate for a playdate, head to the library again and, on Saturday, Jill and I are having a GIRL DATE in the city. No husbands and, more importantly, NO KIDS. Very excited!

Until next time, I wish you G’day…

P.S. YES, I know my blog is lame. Bear with me as I navigate WordPress. 🙂