“Aussie As” Gifts to Send Home from Australia

expat issues, shopping 8 Replies

australian-gifts-to-send-homeI always think it’s a bit special to be able to send people at home gifts from Australia. Gifts from our home away from home are totally unique, a great reminder of the sender, and something you can be sure the recipient won’t get duplicates of. Admittedly, my first year or so here, I used to head straight down to the souvenir shop at Circular Quay for some stuffed koalas or embroidered tea towels to send home, and I’m sure those things were appreciated, but these days I feel like I can do better – more interestng, more genuine, and definitely made in Australia, not a factory in Shenzhen.

So, here’s my gift guide for sending “Aussie As” gifts back home, just in time for the holiday shopping season. All of these items may be shipped internationally from the company’s website, from Amazon in the U.S., or easily purchased at stores in any Australian mall. Get in soon, if you’re shipping for Christmas!


*This post does contain some Amazon affiliate links. That simply means that if you purchase through that link, I get a little extra Tim Tam money. It doesn’t impact your purchase price in any way.*


For the Foodies

*Note: All of these things should make it past U.S. customs, just be sure to declare them on the shipping label, if you’re doing the shipping. For other countries, check local customs rules about importing food to ensure your gift makes it to the receiver.*

Tim Tams (2 for $5 at Woolies, if you play your cards right!) – Well, this is a no brainer! Is there any more widely beloved Australian snack food than the mighty Tim Tam? I bring them home with me every visit, and they never fail to make an impression. (And, yes, I know you can now buy them in U.S. Target sometimes, but there’s nothing like a few packages from Aussie-land). Send lots! And, toss in a few of the special flavours for comparison, as well.

T2 Teas – (price varies) – Does everyone love walking into a T2 store as much as I do? The impossibly stacked boxes, the gorgeous smells, it’s just an oasis of serenity inside the Westfield. The Melbourne-based tea haven just makes a lovely tea experience. Pick up some at your local shop to mail with the Tim Tams, or they offer international shipping through their website.

t2-teas

Personalize a Jar of Vegemite ($10 AUD) – A bit of kitsch, if ever there was one, because – let’s be honest – your overseas recipient is probably not going to just love Australia’s favorite toast spread, but most everyone’s a bit curious about it thanks to the Men at Work, and how fun to receive a jar with your own name on it? You can get them printed right now at KMart Australia. Just make sure to send some directions for serving on toast (spread thin with plenty of butter!), so that your poor giftee doesn’t try to just lick it off a spoon … gross.

vegemite

Bush Tucker ($89.95 AUD) – How gorgeous is this “Australian Bush Spirit Hamper“? “This stunning all-Australian pack features Nathan Ferlazzo drawing ‘Buddha of the Bush’ koala tea-towel; some delectable honey-roasted and sea salted macadamia nuts, Outback Spirit Chutney and Baylies Epicurean Delights Dipping Crackers.” Class act, this one.

bush-tucker

 

The Wanderlusters

In a Sunburned Country ($11.55 USD) –  Want to coax someone to come visit you in Australia? Bill Bryson’s book on his travels across Australia (called Down Under here) remains one of the most endearing and beloved book about visiting this beautiful country. You may have to talk them down about the killer animals, as Bryson does obsess on that a bit more than I think is probably necessary, but otherwise, it’s a love letter to this country.


In a Sunburned Country

Qantas Gear – Australia’s national airline is easily recognizable across the world by its flying kangaroo logo. Even if your giftee is just dreaming of hopping on a Qantas flight, at this point, I think the logo merchandise in their store is a lot of fun. I’m especially partial to this limited edition retro style shoulder bag ($49.99 AUD).


qantas

Movie Buffs

Your film lover probably knows Muriel’s Wedding, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Strictly Ballroom. But what about these?

The Castle ($10.30 USD) – Based on a true story about a working class man who fights the system to save his family home, The Castle is probably the most “Aussie-As” Australian film ever. It’s full of quotes that are part of the lexicon, like, “straight to the pool room” and “tell him he’s dreamin'” – and it’s a quirky, endearing story about the triumph of the Aussie “battler.” Nothing more Australian than that.

The Castle

The Sapphires ($7.99 USD) – Set in 1968, The Sapphires is a “girl group” comprised of four Aboriginal women. They are discovered by a talent scout, who sends them to Vietnam to play for the troops. A period piece full of great music, with a compelling story. I loved this movie. Based loosely on a true story.

The Sapphires

The Dish ($14.37 USD) – Apollo 11 is set to land on the moon, and the world’s first moon walk will be televised using a satellite dish in a tiny Australian sheep farming town. When the dish malfunctions, the offbeat Aussie staff and their straight arrow American NASA supervisor scramble. Another true story – the famous moon landing broadcast that almost wasn’t. Completely charming movie.

The Dish

Art Lovers 

Warlukurlangu Paintings ($120 AUD and up) – Paintings created by the Warlukulangu Artists, a group based in the community of Yuendumu in Central Australia. “It is a fundamental aim of Warlukurlangu Artists to share Warlpiri culture and in addition, to increase awareness about Aboriginal culture generally, and to broadly support Indigenous causes.” Paintings are sold through the Blak Markets site, or follow Blak Markets on Facebook to find out where they will be next for many more gift options created by Aboriginal artists (Sydneysiders, make it out this weekend for Blak Markets at Barangaroo on Sunday 4 December!).

blak-markets

Jillian Nampijinpa Brown – Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) – Mikanji

Ken Done – Bright and cheerful, Ken Done has such a distinctive take on Australia. His work has been seen all over the world, and shows Sydney and beyond at its most colorful. Prints at the Ken Done online store start at $20 AUD, and you can also purchase clothing, books, and gifts.

ken-done

Summer From the Verandah

For the Blokes

Australia cufflinks ($45.00 AUD) – Maybe cufflinks are up there with socks and ties on the boring gift list, but I’ve never seen ones quite like these before. Made from solid timber, they are a cut out of Australia (except poor Tasmania). I think these would be an especially great going away gift for an expat finishing up an Australian assignment, or one for expats to send over to dads and brothers who will get a little smile thinking of faraway family whenever they wear them.

australia-cuff-links

Kookaburra Cricket accessories (various prices) – Listen, I don’t know Thing 1 about cricket, but I do believe that a lot of Aussies and people around the world do. And, I’m told that these Kookaburra sports balls are the real Aussie deal, and have been since the 1940s. Plenty of other cricket bats, bags, and accessories on offer, as well.

cricket-ball

Kookaburra Miniature Ball – $10 AUD

Stuff Ladies Like 

Lucas Paw Paw Ointment ($14.20 USD for 75g) – This stuff is a wonder of the world. Use it as a lip gloss, hand lotion, diaper rash cream, or help with healing bug bites or sunburn. The not-so secret ingredient (it’s right there in the title) is paw paw fruit grown in Queensland. I always have a little tube in my handbag.


Lucas’ Papaw Ointment 75g

Liane Moriarty novels – Sydney author Liane Moriarty truly knows how to turn a suspenseful yarn. They have great characters, compelling stories, and a good dose of humor. I recommend them to just about every book loving female reader I know. For my money, I’d start with Big Little Lies ($18.86 USD), the tale of a group of Sydney suburban school mums whose lives become intertwined.

Big Little Lies

Oroton handbag – Want something a little more schmick? Your style vixens would be more than happy to receive a handbag from Australian brand, Oroton. They’re plenty pricey, but good quality and well-loved. You can also dip your toe in for a more budget friendly, but still lovely, wallet or key fob (men’s options, too).

oroton

Beautiful, Bouncing Babies 

Love to Dream Swaddle ($33.02 USD) – This Aussie invention is my number one must buy gift for every single new baby in my life, and that’s because it was one of those miracle items that helped us so much when Hushpuppy was tiny. The thing that makes the Love to Dream swaddle different from others is that it puts the baby in an arms up position. Once most babies “discover” their hands, they want those buggers in their mouth at all times. So, if they’re swaddled to their side, it makes them really, really angry! (Or, at least that’s what happened with our kid) Getting to sleep with their hands up (Maggie Simpson style, as someone I know said) makes for a happy little Vegemite.


Love to Dream Swaddle UP Organic

Bonds Wondersuit (currently 2 for $39 AUD on sale) – See an Aussie baby? Good chance they’re dressed in a Bonds Wondersuit. Having been the owner of a few of these things, myself, I have to admit that they’re pretty wonderful, indeed. I can’t really explain what it is that makes them so popular, but beyond an exceptional marketing campaign, they’re easy wearing fabric, super rugged, good for day or night, and they come in so many cute patterns. But, whatever you do, go for the zipper ones – ain’t nobody got time for buttons on a baby suit.

wondersuit

Kids, Kids, Kids

Diary of a Wombat ($14.54 USD) – If you’ve been hanging around this site for long, it will come as no surprise to you that this picture book by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley is much beloved in my world. Because … wombats. And, quite the cheeky wombat, just doing wombat stuff, at that. It is, just as the title suggests, the diary of the wombat’s days – and it’s the cutest. Suitable for kids up to about age 7.


Diary of a Wombat

Mem Fox books – For years, Australian kids have grown up on the books of Mem Fox. For the young ones, Where is the Green Sheep is the sweetest little board book. And, for the ever slightly older, Possum Magic is one of the most classic Australian story books (great introduction to Australian place and food names, as well). You can pick these up at any bookseller in Australia for shipping, including KMart and Target.

mem-fox-books

Lego Sydney Opera House ($310.00 USD) – The epitome of Aussie gifts for a Lego loving kid. Look at this thing! This one is guaranteed to keep them busy for a good, long while. This is quite a complex set, so best suited to older kids – preteens and teens (maybe even some Lego loving parents).


LEGO Creator Expert – Sydney Opera House

Caramello Koalas – In any package for kids, toss in some Caramello Koalas from the grocery store. Manufactured by Cadbury Australia, it’s both real Aussie chocolate with a caramel center and an iconic marsupial from Down Under. They’re a cute and tasty little ad-on that will delight almost any kid.

koala


Do you have a tried and true Australian gift that you send overseas? Let us know in the comments!

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 17: Australian Slang

Sydney Expat Interviews Leave a reply

I have to admit, I resisted picking up Australian slang for ages. But over the years, it’s just crept its sneaky way right into my life to the point where, these days, I literally write messages like this: 

“Cheeky coffee this arvo or brekkie tomo? Heaps keen for a catch up!”

Who even am I??

There are so many Australian phrases that I just adore, and are so much fun to say, that I’ve found resistance to be futile. I was sure some of the Sydney expats will have Aussie-fied their language, as well, so for this month’s interview series, I asked them what bits of Down Under slang they find slipping off their tongues, and there were defo definitely a few common denominators. 

This is the 17th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants linked below, and join me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney.


autralian-slang

Question 17: What bits of Australian slang have you picked up?


Name: “Bushranger”
Country of Origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5 Years

“No worries” is like a mantra to me.


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I’ll admit I said “no worries” frequently before arriving, although I’m sure I say it even more now! “Keen” and “how ya goin?” have also crept into my lexicon.


Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year

Melissa blogs at Leche Love

Not so much for me, yet. My son is using rubbish and bin now. I do use “no worries” a little bit more often though..

no-worries

 


Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States

Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

I frequently embarrass myself when talking to my American friends because you just don’t realise how many sayings you’ve picked up and how many words you’ve actually forgotten! Plus having kids means I have to change what I say to what they are learning otherwise it can get confusing! So here are a few of my new words: bin, mate, chuck a u-ey, catalogue (instead of flyer).


Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 7 years

Fully, No worries, for sure, ahh yeah.


Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England

Lived in Sydney: 1.5 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

I’ve managed to retain a relatively good Queen’s English so far, despite constant enquiries as to how I’m going, or how I pulled up!


Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

Not much, to be honest. I’m still quintessentially English, although I do occassionally drop the odd “arvo” into typed text.


Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 2.5 years

Arvo is afternoon. Mate is friend/buddy/colleague/or any random person on the street


Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

How are you going?

how-ya-going


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 6 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

“No worries” and “How are you going?” (pronounced “howaryagoin”) are two I say a lot!


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

The biggies I’ve adapted are “No worries” “Keen” “Heaps” “Arvo” “Cheers” “How ya goin?”
(Shane has a comprehensive post about Aussie slang over on Sea Salt Secrets!)


Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 7 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

No worries. I use this every day. And, “cheers” to say “thank you”. That’s pretty common for me to use now too.

cheers-mate


Name: Rachel
Country of Origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 4 Years

I’m still not wholle conversant with the Australian – English, but it still makes me chuckle when I hear some new Aussie lingo. I’d love to drop the occassional “fair dinkum” into daily conversation. I know I say, “‘no worries,’ ‘no dramas’ and ‘how you going'” a fair bit!


Expats, how Aussie do you sound?


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Your Home
Read Part 9: What People at Home Think of Australia
Read Part 10: Advice for Moving to Sydney
Read Part 11: A Sydney Weekend
Read Part 12: Australian TV
Read Part 13: Something I Miss From Home 
Read Part 14: Favorite Sydney Restaurant
Read Part 15: The Huntsman Spider
Read Part 16: The Weekend Getaway

A Letter to My Daughter: To Read When History Tells You about Donald Trump

politics 11 Replies

to-my-dear-little-daughter

 

To My Dear Little Daughter,

You, my spunky girl, are the best person I know. You are unwaveringly nice. It has never, for one moment, occurred to you to judge anyone based on anything other than their kindness. Your world is limitless – it’s incredible. Being 3-1/2 is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed.

I know the world, and not just your doting parents, will sculpt and form you, as you grow, which is why my great hope is for you to live in the most just, accepting, generous, and intelligent realm possible.

So, today, I am just so profoundly sorry for this box of evil spirits that my country has loosed upon our world this week.


You know that you are American (and Australian, of course). What you know about America is that you love visiting your adoring family. You know that you get to eat a lot of hot dogs, and something called “nachos,” that you’ve never even heard of before. People are effusive towards you, you get gifts, and you always have the most incredible adventures.

I have to tell you, kiddo, that even though I’ve lived a bit more life than you, and have seen a lot more of America, that my perception of our country has always been pretty optimistic, too. Aside from two years in New York, I have always been a “Blue” in the reddest of “Red” states. John McCain was my Congressman. Then Newt Gingrich. Then Marco Rubio. I’ve known quite well the Religious Right. When I was in college, the KKK marched a block from my campus. My own father was an atheist with a PhD who, inexplicably, loved nothing more than a good riling up from his radio pal, Rush Limbaugh. Yet, despite some serious ideological differences, I always had this feeling that the people of America – the vast majority of them, anyway – had big hearts and an inherent sense of kindness. Blues and Reds might disagree on many things, but we could mostly get along, and there was a cultural thread of decency that knitted us together.

My girl. I am so sorry, but I have somehow gotten things wrong. Hence, the first President you will be able to remember is not the graceful, diplomatic Obama of your toddler years. It’s not, though it brings me to tears to say this, a woman who dedicated her life to people like you – children and girls. A woman who I believe to my very core is so much more good than not. Instead, America has risen to the highest literal and symbolic office in the world, a man who would judge you by your looks, on a scale of 1-10. A man who thinks it’s just “guy stuff” to grab your genitals, as if he owns them, not you. A man who thinks your biological functions are disgusting. You, my perfect little person, are nothing but flawed, in his eyes.

This election is historic. Maybe, when you’re old enough to learn about 2016, you’ll have some questions about where your mother stood. These are the things I’d want you to know:

  • I have been sickened by the words we’ve heard Donald Trump say about women, immigrants, refugees, the disabled, and minorities. His values are so far from the values I carry, and those that I would wish for you.
  • I would not, to my last breath on this Earth, cast a vote for a person who would strip away health care, reproductive rights, or the rights of our gay friends to marry.
  • I believe in science. Climate change is real.
  • I cried big, sloppy tears when I cast my vote for America’s first female President. Those tears were for you, and for me, and for every warrior woman and girl we’ve ever known. And, for every man and young boy, too – they also need to see an amazing woman in the highest office, at least as much as we do.
  • Please know that more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. That may go down as an historical footnote, nearly forgotten by the time you’re old enough to understand this, but I need you to know that there were more people in the United States who rejected hate and ignorance than who supported it.
  • I cast my vote, and I spoke my truth to my friends, but I could have done so much more. Remember that. In your life, when you see something that you know so fundamentally in your heart and mind to be wrong, you will never regret doing more to fight for what’s right. You will only regret your silence and inaction.

My best girl, I need you to understand that I can never stop being American, and I’ve always carried a quiet hope that one day it would be your home, too. Today, that feels like a distant dream. Today, I am angry, and sad, and for the first time in my life, pessimistic. I only hope that when you’re old enough to read this, society will be on the other end of this vile pendulum swing, and that the memory of Trump and his ilk will just be a strange blip from your childhood.

No matter how history unfolds, I hope you’ll see that your mother and father have never wavered from seeking to uphold our family’s values – kindness, acceptance, respect, equality, peace, curiosity, and education. No one – not even a President – can ever take these things away.

 

With so much love,
Your adoring, angry (not at you!), heartbroken mother

5 Things American Elections Can Learn From Australia

politics 4 Replies

Election day is upon the U.S. once again, and this one ought to be the dooziest of all doozies. Buckle in.

Though I haven’t physically cast a ballot in the U.S. in several years, I’ve done so many times in the past. I was one of those Democracy enthusiast people who voted in local school board elections and the whole lot of ’em. Luckily, I never encountered many problems at my polling places, but after voting in Australia a couple of times, I’ve taken away a few best practices that I’m certain would make the American election season and the process of voting much easier, and infinitely less frustrating for everyone.

And, just to be fair, Aussies don’t have everything worked out perfectly … those meter long Senate ballot papers?? We’ll chat next go ’round, Australia!

Short Election Seasons

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve aged dozens of years since the start of this campaign season – and that’s not just because of how many wrinkles screaming at the TV during the debates has given me. In truth, Clinton announced her candidacy in April 2015 – 19 MONTHS AGO – and Trump just one month later. In this insane amount of time, the campaigns have looked for increasingly wild ways to stay on top of the news cycle and keep voters’ attention. This involves doing nearly anything aside from talking about actual policy, which has been hardly a passing thought over this long, long, painfully long season.

My American friends, this is going to sound impossible to believe, but in Australia, an election must happen between 33 and 58 days after it has been called. DAYS. And, here’s what I’ve noticed about that – candidates have to get out there and hustle on the quick, and we, including the media, actually talk about issues and policy positions. Of course, there’s some mud-slinging, but I’ve yet to see it get anywhere near as personal and ugly as in these never ending American contests.

Preferences

There’s been a lot of talk this year about “not throwing away your vote” on a 3rd party. That it’s “too important to make sure that the other guy isn’t elected.” While I get the sentiment, I’m personally of the belief that you should vote for whoever reflects your values and the values you want for your country better than anyone else. The more voices in the conversation, the more interesting things get, in my estimation. And, frankly, some people are never going to vote for the major party candidates because they just can’t stand either of them.

In Australian elections, however, you don’t just choose one the person you like the best. You actually put your candidates in order of preferences, and if the vote count is close, those preferences come into play until a 50%+ winner is decided. For me, in the last election, I wasn’t crazy about either of the two major parties, but there was certainly one I liked better than the other. But, I really wanted to give my vote to a few of the small parties whose platforms reflected my interests a lot better. So, I preferenced two minor parties, and then the major party third, knowing full well that if it got close, my vote would go to the major party that I disliked the least, but I still got to give my nod of support to the smaller parties I preferred.

Who’s number 1?

Vote Anywhere in Your State

The first time I voted in Australia, I was in a bit of a tizzy because I was trying desperately to find “my” polling place. In the U.S., there’s only one local school or hall for the local area where you reside at which you’re able to cast your vote. If, for any reason, you’re not going to be near that particular location on election day, it takes some planning ahead – either voting early (where available), arranging for an absentee ballot, or just calling it too hard and skipping it, altogether. What I discovered about Australian elections, however, is that you can vote at any polling place in your state. You may have to go into a separate line if you’re voting outside of your council area, but it’s allowed. So, if you’re travelling or working away from your home area on election day, it’s no issue to cast your ballot.

Saturday Elections

Elections in the U.S. are always on Tuesdays. Do you know why? Because once upon a time, it took a full day to travel to the county seat from your little country farm (supposing you were a land owning white man and eligible to vote), so elections needed to be on a day that didn’t interfere with either Sunday church services or Wednesday market days. And, so totally logically, even though most of us don’t ride horse carriages to our polling places any longer, and Wednesday is just cloyingly best known as “Hump Day” now, we haven’t changed things … even though most people now actually have to go to work on Tuesdays. And, yes, employers are technically required to give you time off to vote, for many people it’s just too inconvenient, either because you’re too busy, too far away from your polling place, or your employer isn’t as supportive as they ought to be.

Yes, early voting – where available – does help with work conflicts – but, what if we just voted on a day when a lot more people have the day off? Like Saturday? Of course there are people who work on Saturdays – there is no perfect day – but far fewer than Tuesdays. I mean … Tuesday? Plus, when the election is on Saturday, it doesn’t hurt nearly so much the next day when you stay up all night watching the results come in, celebrating/drowning your sorrows.

Sausage Sizzles

Speaking of celebrating – can you imagine if election day was like a big ol’ party? Bake sales, maybe your kid can get her face pained or have a listen to the local school’s musical talent. And, do not forget the sausages! In Australia, the “sausage sizzle” is almost synonymous with elections. Get your “Democracy sausage!” Local schools and community groups use elections as fundraisers, and everyone sees taking part in the festivities as part of the experience. Polling places are a festive atmosphere, not an onerous chore to dread. Gives new meaning to “Rock the Vote!”

***You might notice that I left the biggest difference between American and Australian voting off this list – compulsory voting. Frankly, I like it, but I think there’s arguments to be made for and against it, and it’s a much, much, much bigger topic than this article. Let’s live through this election and then talk again soon, shall we?

Go get, ’em, America! And, Florida, don’t screw this up for everyone!

Sydney Expat Interview Series: The Weekend Getaway

Sydney Expat Interviews, Sydney Weekend trips 5 Replies

I don’t know about you, but this warming Spring weather we’ve been having in Sydney lately has turned my mind right onto “road trip”. Map out the places one can drive to from Sydney on a weekend getaway, and we are spoiled for choices – beaches, cities, wine, food, culture, and more. I’m always up for inspiration, so for this month’s Sydney Expat Interview, I asked the expats to share their favorite spot for a Sydney weekend away. Hope you find some ideas for hitting the road, as well!

This is the 16th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants linked below, and join me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney.

sydney-expat-interview-series-the-weekend-getaway


Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 7 years

Hawks Nest bout 2.5 hrs north of CBD (in-laws have a holiday home there) its really beautiful up there – gorgeous unspoilt beaches and lakes – It still hasn’t been developed so is lovely and unspoilt.

Sydney Weekend Getaway

Hawks Nest


Name: “Bushranger”
Country of Origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5 Years

Definitely Jervis Bay – crystal clear sand beaches, pristine beauty and kangoroos on the beach. Fair dinkum, the best spot for nature lovers south of Sydney.

jervis-bay


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

It’s a toss up between Hunter Valley wine region and Port Stephens beaches. I spent Christmas in Port Stephens, which was an interesting experience given I’m used to snow and subzero temperatures around the holidays. And I love visiting wineries around the world, I could see myself getting married in the Hunter!

port-stephens

Port Stephens


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I’m partial to Newcastle – there isn’t a ton to see, but it’s incredibly relaxing with some quiet, beautiful beaches. It’s a great weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of Sydney, especially if you know locals.


Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

Unfortunately, no. The cost of living in Sydney has meant that we don’t have any spare cash for weekend trips away.


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 6 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

I love heading down the NSW South Coast to either Kiama or Jervis Bay, so chilled out down there, it’s the perfect getaway from city life.

kiama

Kiama


Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 2.5 years

Jervis Bay  – 350K south of Sydney. Beautiful drive with nice suburban towns to stop over nick nacks. If have kids and time – go to Mogo Zoo which 15K from Jervis Bay. Very exciting place as well.


Name: Rachel
Country of Origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 4 Years

I love Macmasters Beach on the Central Coast. I’ve been there a couple of times for weekend trips with a dozen or so friends to stay at a beach house. It is so tranquil and idyllic, going for brunch and walks along the beach. We relax over beers, a log fire, and chocolate smores. We take walks through Bouddi National Park up to the headland, and we were fortunate enough one time to see whales on their migration northwards.


Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England

Lived in Sydney: 1.5 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

Jervis Bay – I’ve been down twice already, once to do the Husky triathlon and once for a big girls’ weekend. Make sure you walk all the way along Hyams beach to the quieter end to enjoy the stunning sand there.

hyams-beach

Hyams Beach


Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States

Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

We live in Newcastle so frequently our weekend trips are TO Sydney! Other awesome weekend getaways we have done are to the Blue Mountains, Port Stephens, Hunter Valley, and Bowral (awesome, awesome, beautiful, stunning, amazing town!!)

Sydney Weekend Getaway

Bowral, NSW

 


Where can you recommend for a weekend trip out of Sydney? 


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Your Home
Read Part 9: What People at Home Think of Australia
Read Part 10: Advice for Moving to Sydney
Read Part 11: A Sydney Weekend
Read Part 12: Australian TV
Read Part 13: Something I Miss From Home
Read Part 14: Favorite Sydney Restaurant
Read Part 15: The Huntsman Spider


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In This Election, We Chose Our Words With Care

politics Leave a reply

This post has positive things to say about President Obama. If this angers you for any reason, I invite you to scroll along to another article that will bring you joy. 


This American Presidential election season is a month away from completion, and it’s left me feeling battered, heartbroken, and confused. I’ve never seen such vile rhetoric splashed around like so many droplets of poison rain. I’ve seen whole swaths of the population reduced to vulgarities. A few days ago, I watched in real time on Facebook as a family was torn apart over political views that dipped into personal rights.

I have these pictures from the last time that we elected a new President, and it seems like a world ago. For me, it was a world ago. I was living and working in Sarasota, Florida. Australia was just a place on the map with kangaroos and shrimp on the barbie. I had work to do. Many of my friends and I did. We were going to show the world that we could elect the “Hope” guy, the one with the smarts and the class. It had been a long 8 years for many of us, and we’d complained – oh, we’d complained – but, we hadn’t sunk into hate, and we hadn’t lost our hope.

I’d been a Hillary fan, but by this point in the election season 8 years ago, none of that mattered. Florida had only gone Democratic once in the past 30 years, but things were looking favorable for this new guy. Everyone knows that Florida is important. And, it was in that spirit, on a cloudless morning in October that around 2,000 of us, in an historically Republican stronghold district, gathered together to walk together across the Ringling Causeway bridge in this absolute crush of smiles, joy, homemade signs, and impromptu dance parties. This was about the guy from Chicago, but it was so much bigger than one person. We were going to “bridge” our differences in this really positive way. It was time.

This day was nothing but sunshine, community and happiness.

Later that day, I had a phone banking shift at the local Obama office. Republican President Dwight Eisenhower’s granddaughter was in the office, talking to the press. She looked like a Republican granddaughter – polished, bouffanted, pearls and a pastel suit.Obama was her guy.

A few weeks later, on election night, about 20 of us crammed into a studio bungalow apartment that the theatre owned – the temporary actor residence of my dear friend, Andy. We all worked for the theatre in one capacity or another – actors, technicians, administrators, teachers, interns. We had a cheese plate and bubbly and a lot of nervous energy. And then, far sooner than any of us expected, the Florida map on the TV went blue. Corks were popped, cheers were let out. Even the Republicans amongst us had to at least admit the beauty of the fact that we were Florida, and we hadn’t messed up the election, this time!

It wasn’t such a late night before the election was called, McCain graciously conceded, and we sat in front of this 14 inch television watching our first African American President take the stage in Chicago.

We were America in that little house that night. Black and white. Straight and gay. Democrat and Republican. Hailing from communities across the country – rural and urban, rich and poor. Some had voted in their very first election. Some of us had been doing so for years. I’ve talked in these pages often about my trouble with patriotism – my sense that it’s odd to be “proud” of a place just because you were born there. But this night, and with these people, I have never been more proud. We were part of something historic. Optimism won the day, even for those whose candidate didn’t.

We chose to come together. That’s my American pride.

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 15: The Huntsman

animals, Sydney Expat Interviews 2 Replies

This post is brought to you by the Tourism Board of Australia. Just kidding!

You know that old chestnut about how every critter in Australia is out to kill you? Well, the Hunstman spider is not one of those things. It is, however, an extremely common and enormous spider that people routinely find behind doors, in shoes, or crawling out from under the car’s sun visor. Encountering one is sort of an expat rite of passage. 

Toughened up Aussies will tell you, “ah, mate, it’s just a Huntsman! Leave it be. It eats the other bugs.” And, I suppose that is one possible response to seeing a spider the size of a basketball in your living room…

I have somehow managed to escape my Hunstman initiation, and every time I say that, I think I’m cursing myself. I don’t know why I’d put it in print.
Here are some other expats and their tales of Huntsman bravery. 

This is the 15th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants linked below, and join me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney.Sydney Expat Interview Series - Hunstman spider

 


Question 15: Have you encountered a Huntsman spider?


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 6 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

Yes! The first one I encountered in my house was literally thudding across the carpet it was that big! Think a house spider on steroids that can run faster than Usain Bolt…not much sleep to be had when one of those is running wild in your apartment!


Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 7 years

We had one make its way off our terrace into our lounge one evening – and was positioned just next to my husbands head when he walked back in – I have only ever seen a spider that size in a zoo before – so I am so so thankful that my husband was home to deal with it – my first reaction on seeing it was to scream and jump onto a sofa – it was actually bigger than the shoe my husband hit it with – after that I made a comment about not being able to live in Australia anymore!!

huntsman5


Name: “Bushranger”
Country of Origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5 Years

Yes on our balcony ceiling – it took at least a quarter of the ceiling and retreated fast.


Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States

Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

Ohhhh yes. The first time was in my son’s closet. I shut his closet door, then his bedroom door, and ran out into the living room and stayed there. I left it as a present for my husband. The second time it was chilling inside my bedroom window sideways. I was calm and did not freak out so I didn’t scare the kids. The third time, our front door was open and it had come in from under the screen. It was chilling on the TV. I mean…we’re trying to watch a show here, Mr. Huntsman!!! My husband got a plastic container and tried to capture it but omg those things move faster than I eat a bowl of ice cream. We (he, definitely not me) got it and threw the ENTIRE plastic container on the front lawn! They’re freaky looking and they move fast but the good thing is, they eat all the bugs and won’t eat YOU!

huntsman2



Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England

Lived in Sydney: 1.5 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

Thankfully not and I hope to avoid one for as long as possible! I’ve heard they are super speedy though and that I shouldn’t be scared of them as they eat all the other bugs!


Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

Plenty! The most memorable story took place in our first house, out at Galston. It was winter time so we were using the wood burning stove daily. I opened the door to sweep out the previous days ashes and lay a new fire, I was really close, had my head almost in the stove while I was reaching to the back when my hubby suddenly said really urgently ‘move, get away from the stove now’. When I looked up there was the biggest spider we had ever seen sitting right there on the door of the stove. I leaped away and we both stood there just looking at this monster. We made a plan, hubby got a broom and I got a mesh waste paper bin. Hubby knocked the spider off the door, at which point the bloody thing made a beeline straight for me and the thingwas FAST, somehow I managed to get the bin over it just before it got to me. We thought it was a wolf spider, but others think it’s a huntsman.

huntsman4


Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

Only safely on in the woods or in our garden. I left them alone.


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I did once find a spider at a friend’s house that I feared was a Huntsman because of its size. Please keep those spiders away!


Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year

Melissa blogs at Leche Love

Yes, we had a big one living in our basement! One day, it disappeared, which is even scarier. We finally cleared piles and piles of boxes (thanks, Ikea), and she reappeared. We had named her Charlotte. After a few days, we gave her a new home-outside.

huntsman3


Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 7 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

Ohhhhh….emmmmm…geeeeee! I hate spiders. With a passion. I was in the passenger seat, looked over, on the window (yes, the outside, but still scary in my book) was the hugest, ugliest, scariest spider I’ve ever seen. I started to crawl into the backseat of the car. My guy still quotes my very weak cry to “Help me!” whenever a spider is around.


Name: Rachel
Country of Origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 4 Years

Earlier this year I had my first close encounter with a Huntsman. I was hanging out my laundry in our sunroom, and low and behold a super fast huntsman shot out from amongst my bed sheets (had been airing on the outside line) and shot diagonally across the wall. It seemed to be larger than a dinner plate. I screamed and my friend Kate helped me capture it. A glass proved too small and we had to resort to using a Tupperware tub before successful capture and subsequent release back into the front yard.


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Can’t say I have…but lets not jinx me.

huntsman6


You made it to the end!
Are you ready to cancel your ticket to Australia, or do you think that we expats are a bit soft?
Tell us your Huntsman story. 


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Your Home
Read Part 9: What People at Home Think of Australia
Read Part 10: Advice for Moving to Sydney
Read Part 11: A Sydney Weekend
Read Part 12: Australian TV
Read Part 13: Something I Miss From Home
Read Part 14: Favorite Sydney Restaurant

Six Year Expativersary

expat issues 4 Replies

6 years ago today (today = a little over a month ago. I’m a bit late on this post), my two suitcases and I landed in Sydney. I thought we might stay for 5 years. We’re not going home anytime soon.

It makes me sad to write that, but 6 years ago, I couldn’t imagine the clown car carrying Donald Trump hurdling recklessly towards a potential Presidency. I’ve written and deleted many paragraphs on this topic, but it’s bigger than I can talk about. Bigger than I want to think about. Bigger than Trump. If you’re here, you get it. Or, you don’t, maybe … I can’t do anything about that.

Regardless, my husband, my daughter and I will be calling Australia home for some time longer.

This is not my perfect home. There are parts of myself that I’ve lost in the past six years. My choice to stop driving has stripped me of an independence that I used to love. Leaving work outside the home has given me a lot more freedom of movement, but left me with less intellectual confidence. I don’t have the roots of family or longtime friends here.

You know what I miss the most in this world? I miss having a best friend. You know that person you feel like you’ve know forever, who you call up anytime and say, “hey, what are you up to today?” And they say, “oh, listen, I just have to run to Target to get some new pillowcases. Want to come?” And you’re like, “Uh, YES! See you in 20.” Does anyone have that once you have children, or is this a symptom of having transitory expat friends?

It’s not perfect, but Australia is going to be home for now. I can’t imagine a place I’d rather raise a child. At this stage in my life, that’s just about the only consideration that holds much weight.

But, I defiantly hold onto things from home because these little rebellions make me feel like I still have one toehold in my home:

  • My American i-Tunes account
  • Saying zee, not zed
  • Making my kid peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch
  • Using the Oxford comma
  • Voting in American elections

So, a year past my expected Australian expiration date, life just carries on – me being my quirky self, happy most days, grateful for the many gifts I’ve been given in this life. Health, family, friends, beaches, flat whites, and the ability to choose which country I call home.

As I do every year, I’ll leave you with some the most significant images from my past year.

If you’d like to know what I’ve thought about on previous expat anniversaries, try these:
1 Year Expativersary
2 Year Expativersary
3 Year Expativersary
4 Year Expativersary
5 Year Expativersary

Coffees on the beach. The best of Sydney life.

Coffees on the beach. The best of Sydney life.

My favorite singer in this world came to Australia for the first time in 10 years. I was in absolute heaven.

My favorite singer in this world came to Australia for the first time in 10 years. I was in absolute heaven.

This theatre major got to see the Theatre of Dionysus.

This theatre major got to see the Theatre of Dionysus.

This was my balcony for a week.

This was my balcony for a week.

We met the Princess of Serbia, and she was gorgeous.

We met the Princess of Serbia, and she was gorgeous.

My kid was baptized.

My kid was baptized.

Jacarandas!

Jacarandas!

We threw a baby shower for one of the best girls I know. One more beautiful baby in our AusMerican extended family!

We threw a baby shower for one of the best girls I know. One more beautiful baby in our AusMerican extended family!

We took an impromptu trip to Jervis Bay, our happy place.

We took an impromptu trip to Jervis Bay, our happy place.

We celebrated Thanksgiving - a couple of times.

We celebrated Thanksgiving – a couple of times.

We had a pretty spectacular holiday season with our Christmas activity advent calendar.

We had a pretty spectacular holiday season with our Christmas activity advent calendar.

Loved the Sydney Festival

Loved the Sydney Festival

My little dinosaur turned 3.

My little dinosaur turned 3.

We went apple picking.

We went apple picking.

Hushpuppy and I spent 5 weeks enjoying all things Southern.

Hushpuppy and I spent 5 weeks enjoying all things Southern.

This one started daycare.

This one started daycare.

I saw Gloria Steinem.

I saw Gloria Steinem.

Vivid Festival Taronga Zoo

Vivid Festival

I voted in my first Australian federal election - and SBS TV came along!

I voted in my first Australian federal election – and SBS TV came along!

We went to Bali, baby.

We went to Bali, baby.

I made this thing that I'm immensely proud of. Artsplorers.com

I made this thing that I’m immensely proud of. I’d love for you to have a look. Artsplorers.com

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 14: Favorite Sydney Restaurant

food, restaurants, Sydney Expat Interviews 2 Replies

Food, glorious food! Discovering new cuisine is one of the most entertaining and enlightening things about exploring a new place. Sydney hosts the whole world in terms of culinary adventures; so, I was curious about what places the expats have discovered to dine. I asked them to tell us about their favorite restaurant in Sydney.

This is the 14th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants linked below, and join me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney.

Sydney Expats Share Their Favorite Sydney Restaurant


Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 7 years

Sake in the rocks – modern Japanese, fantastic location. You can go for pre-drinks at the Argyle beforehand, as its next door, and the food in there is just amazing. Cant wait to go back! photo 1 (2)


Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

Well, I can’t exactly claim it’s a favourite as I’ve only eaten there the once, but I’m Angus at Cockle Bay Wharf served by far the best steak I’ve had in this country (if not ever), I’d love to go back again sometime. photo 2 (2)


Name: “Bushranger”
Country of Origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5 Years

Toshiya – Japanese restaurant on Military Rd. in Cremorne. Somehow the chef, who came from Tokyo, really knows how to deliver tasty dishes and also cater to the local palette. photo 5 (2)

 


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

The Grounds of Alexandria in Alexandria.

See some of Shane’s photos from Easter at the Grounds … like this one! The Grounds


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

The Potting Shed in Alexandria (next to The Grounds, which is incredibly popular for brunch) is absolutely beautiful at night, with twinkling lights and lush plants from floor to ceiling, and offers delicious share plates. photo 3 (2)


Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

So far, Mad Pizza E Bar in Newtown. Both pizza and service are really good. photo 4 (2)


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 6 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

It would have to be Sokyo at The Star in Pyrmont. The most amazing modern Japanese food and cocktails! The service is fantastic and the food ticks all the boxes. We usually just ask the staff to recommend dishes and they always get it right. photo 1


Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 2.5 years

Nilgiri’s at St. Leonards – Dosa’s are to die for and go for a nice Sunday brunch with family and friends to enjoy the buffet @$25 per head. (Nilgiri’s is moving to a new location in Cremorne, as of August 2016).
photo 1 (3)


Name: Rachel
Country of Origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 4 Years

It’s not so much the restaurant, but a regular social get-together with friends represents my favourite restaurant, and not only because of the food. When I lived in Manly, for the best part of just over a year each Monday night would be spent catching up with friends over dinner at The Steyne pub on Manly’s Corso.

For the cuisine, I would recommend Provence by Antoine in Concord. Having been there just recently with my boyfriend – the food was incredible. It’s a small French cuisine restaurant with a great menu of authentic sourced food and wine and friendly staff, offering a real personal touch in their service. photo 2

photo 3


Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 7 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

The Oxford Tavern in Petersham for their BBQ pit on Saturday afternoons OR Chophouse on Bligh Street in the CBD for fantastic steaks.

photo 4 (3)

photo 4

 


Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England

Lived in Sydney: 1.5 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

I love Toko in Surry Hills. The best sushi I’ve had in Sydney and fantastic décor and atmosphere. Tip: try to get one of the tables by the bar! photo 5


Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States

Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

Because we have kids, we don’t tend to pop into real restaurants while in town. We have been to Smash Sausage Kitchen in Newtown which was so delicious. They had veggie sausages which kept me and the kids happy! The Bucket List in Bondi. It’s a buzzing atmosphere on the beach and full of model-type people. Everyone’s beautiful there!

photo 2 (3)

photo 3 (3)


Drooling, yet? Do tell us your favorite Sydney restaurant in the comments!


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Your Home
Read Part 9: What People at Home Think of Australia
Read Part 10: Advice for Moving to Sydney
Read Part 11: A Sydney Weekend
Read Part 12: Australian TV
Read Part 13: Something I Miss From Home


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Why My Family Needs the Olympics

Little Aussie 10 Replies

I’m not a sports person – nothing against sports, I just sort of forget it even exists, most of the time. But, when the Olympics rolled around, I felt like we’d all get something out of watching, so we’ve been tuning in catch as we can for the past few days, and this experience of watching the Olympics with our 3 year old girl  has turned out far more important than I expected.

A few reasons why the Olympics are turning into something special for my family:

The Opening Ceremonies

From the first moment of the Opening Ceremonies, my little girl was on full alert and bursting with questions about what the performers were doing. It occurred to me that this was her – and probably many children’s – first experience with conceptual performance art. We take her to art galleries and children’s performances, but it’s rare to see theatre on this scale. I tried to answer all of her questions and point out interesting things for her to notice.  I thought it was a splendid example of beauty, spectacle, vibrancy, color, metaphor and message. The more children see art, the more they can appreciate it, and this show was something special.

Women in Sport

I have a sporty, sporty little girl. Soccer class is her favorite hour of the week, and ever since about 2-1/2 when a lot of little girls started enrolling in dance class, it has not been unusual for her to be the only female amongst a dozen boys. In daycare, she doesn’t look twice at the dolls, instead rushing out to the playground to scale the climbing equipment. I couldn’t possibly be less athletic, so I know she didn’t get it from me, but she is just wired for activity, coordination, speed, and competition. As she gets older and more aware of gender roles, I don’t want her to lose her love of sports, just because it’s not what most of the other girls are doing. I am already seeing the first signs of it creeping home – “Arrabella said that I’m a boy,” she said to me the other day. And then a few days later she started crying, “I don’t want to be super. I want to be beautiful.” My heart broke, and I got angry, but mostly because I know this is just the beginning of her internalizing this stupid message.

So, having all of these examples of the different sports that women can play and excel at is a moment I am not going to miss. I know the women in sports have spoken out about not wanting their physical appearance discussed, which I understand and I don’t think the media should use it as a talking point, but frankly, with my little daughter starting already at 3-1/2 to get the message that she can’t be both sporty and beautiful, I am going to say how strong, fast, determined, and beautiful these women are. My girl is beautiful, and I don’t want her to think that she has to choose one or the other.

Hey, Arrabella, have a look at these incredible Olympic women and tell me they’re boys, you little shit.  

Sportsmanship

Last night, we watched Catherine Skinner as she captured her gold medal for trap shooting, and it did not go past my kid that she was receiving hugs and smiles from her fellow competitors. “Why are they hugging her? Are they happy?,” she asked. 3 year olds aren’t particularly known for being magnanimous losers (or winners, nah-nah-nah-nah-nah), so don’t think I was letting that teachable moment float by!

“It’s kind to congratulate the winner, even if you wanted to win. You should be nice, even when you win. Blah, blah, blah.” I don’t think that this is automatically going to turn her into a pre-school statesman, but she got the picture all on her own, and I trust that we’ll continue to see good examples of sportsmanlike behavior.

Family Together Time

We do a lot of activities together, but it’s rare for us to find something that we can all agree on to watch. Heck, even my husband and I are rarely interested in watching the same program, never mind the tiny tyrant’s usual demands that our single TV be perpetually tuned to ABC Kids. So, to snuggle up together in front of something that we can all appreciate is a fleeting moment to embrace.

When your international family has three teams to cheer for, it’s even more fun. Go Team U.S.A.! Go Serbia! Go Team Australia!  We’ll be watching, and learning from you, our excellent athletes.