Thursday, June 21, 2018

Farewell Australia

Sunrise over Mt Ainslie, June 2018

The time has come - after a hectic six weeks three months we are sitting in the airport waiting for our first flight on our last Great Trek north from Australia. (We're heading back to the US via a 10-day holiday in Italy, so updates from there as WiFi permits.)

It's hard to realise that we've been here for six years this time around - the longest we have lived anywhere since DP and I began our international roving twenty (gulp!) years ago. The process of wrapping up our life here and saying our farewells has been an emotional roller coaster at times, especially over the past week. But in spite of saying goodbye to many people and places that we love, I don't think any of us has any doubt or hesitation that this next move is the best thing for all of us. When we left in late 2009, I didn't feel like we had fully finished our Australian chapter; this time around I've given away all my UK/AU cooking appliances, which is about as significant a gesture as I  can think of to indicate my intentions.

So long, Australia. It's been good to know you.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Intercontinental 7.0

Once again I have a major announcement that I can't put off any longer than I already have, trying to wait for the "ideal" moment or way to announce. (You'd think after this many go-rounds, I'd have worked out there is no such thing; or if there is, I've already had my best shot at it.)

So: our Australian sojourn 2.0 is coming to an end; in late June, we will bid farewell to Canberra and set forth on our next adventure - back home to the US. (That's US 4.0, if you're still counting.) We won't be quite back on our home turf, but we'll be closer than we've ever been since we began our international jaunting 20 (!) years ago - metro Washington, DC, just a hop, skip, and jump away. And a pretty interesting place to park in its own right; we're looking forward to getting our second summer of 2018, and starting to find our way around as residents rather than tourists we have always been previously. But first we've got goodbyes to say, belongings to organize and cull, and a fridge and pantry to eat down - let the next stage of the roller-coaster ride commence!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

New babies

Most Saturday mornings I’m up around 7, so I can get to the farmers’ market before it’s overrun. This past weekend, I set the alarm for 6, much to DP’s disgruntled surprise.

“Why are you getting up so early?” he grumbled.

“We’re going to see the new baby today,” I responded, in my best “duh” tones.

“Huh?” he said, but then fell back asleep before I could explain that I was getting up to implement my three rules for visiting new babies and their parents:

  1. Bring presents for the baby. I aim for two: a practical one that the parents will like, and a fun one that the baby will like. (We brought two Australian standards: this Bonds Wondersuit to help Mum and Dad build the autumn wardrobe, and this instant classic to entertain the baby.)

  2. Don’t stay too long. This one requires some judgment of whether the parents’ need for adult interaction outweighs their and the baby’s exhaustion, or vice versa. This visit we stayed for 90 minutes, which was on the long side for me, but then I have been known to depart after 15 minutes – usually because the mother looked ready to drop and I didn’t know her well enough to say, “Give me that baby and go take a nap!”

  3. Bring food. Ideally food that can be pulled from the fridge and devoured with one hand when ravenous but still baby-wrangling. I brought:
-       a batch of my favorite pasta salad, with a few handfuls of shredded parmigiano Reggiano thrown in to add protein and make it a more complete meal; and
-       this Upside-Down Polenta Plum Cake from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now – I substituted a mixture of cranberry and peach jam for the plums.

All of the above were well received, and I even got some baby-snuggling time, so that's a win-win in my book on etiquette and enjoyment.
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