Thursday, March 08, 2007

A New House, A New Car ... but not all is good

It's been over a month now that we've moved into our new house. So we've been quite busy with house remodelling projects. We've gotten a designer in to help with the design aspect so am very excited to see what she comes up with. I have also recently purchased a car. An Audi A4 quattro. Finally we succumbed to the car loving american lifestyle. Tab & I have been sharing a car, but living in the bay area, one really needs a car to get around (public transportation is pretty crap here). So when a friend at work was relocating & was selling his car i guess it was time. Now i had a list of cars that i wanted to get. My criteria is very simple:- It had to be European, automatic, either silver, black or blue. The bonus was that this is an AWD, which is great for making those trips up to the mountains for skiing.

On to the sad news, our cat Fleur, that we've had for 17 years and relocated with us from Sydney, has sadly passed away on the 7th of Feb. Fleur was living with Esther in NY & was on her way to moving over here with us, when we heard that she was sick. We had to finally put her to sleep as it was the most humane thing to do. It was a very hard decision as she is part of my family. She has been with us for so long, I still can't believe she is gone. I thought she would live forever. I guess none of our pets liked the U.S...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Welcome Tara

I'm an aunt! My younger sister just gave birth to a beautiful girl, Tara, on the 17th Jan 07 (Sydney time). She's really quite a gem, so much hair, looks just like her mum when she was a baby. We were all very anxious to find out whether "peanut" (the nickname Jo called her when she was in the womb) was a boy/girl. She was very shy in womb, not letting us know what her sex was, there was even a betting pool going on whether peanut was a boy/girl. When she finally arrived a few days later after her due date, we were all very excited. Esther & I were waiting anxiously as we are on the otherside of the earth. Wish i was there to hold my little niece. Jo is coping well after the labour, apparently enjoying being a mum. When i spoke to her over the phone, she sounded so happy. I guess i was expecting her to sound tired & exhausted as most new mums are, but not Jo. I can't believe i'm an aunt. 17th Jan 07 is certainly an auspicious date as that's when we closed escrow on our house here too. Congratulations to Steve & Jo on a beautiful baby girl...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bondi in New York???

Hold on, where are we? Could it be Bondi or are we in the East Village in the Big Apple? Well, it all depends how you look at it. A fellow aussie expat, who has been busy studying in Columbia U for the last year & half organised this great dinner at this aussie restaurant in the East Village with a whole bunch of aussies. I told him how much i miss home & next thing we know, we're in Bondi Road in NYC. Everyone including the waiters were aussie & they even had lamingtons & pavlova for desserts. Okay, so it's summer now back home & it's freezing winter in NYC, but hei, who's keeping track. The restaurant's interior walls was covered with a panaromic view of Bondi beach, so it was almost like we were right there. To finish the night off, we wondered down to a good olde aussie bar called Bar-ramundi.... it was all good ... mate!!!

Christmas in upstate New York.. and Happy Hanukah

Tab & I celebrated Christmas in New York with Esther, Dave, Fleur & Hunter. Well, actually it would be Happy Hanukah to Dave. It was a great Christmas/Hanukah upstate and it snowed too. Just as it should. Esther made the best aged prime rib. (almost as good as our thanksgiving turkey... i said... almost) But i must say, some credit goes to Dave for buying the best prime rib cut. I'm still dreaming about that to this day... p.s how fat is Fleur (Esther will you stop over feeding her!!)

In the midst of escrow for a house

We bought a house. A BIG house. Tab & I were looking for a small condo in the city but ended up with a 5 bedroom ranch style home. How did that happen? Gawd, i don't know. We found a great real estate agent who showed us this place on our first outing with her. It was on the last week before Christmas & we had stopped househunting for the year, thinking we'll pick up again in 2007. But the next thing we know, we put in an offer & got this place & we'll be closing escrow Jan 17th. Well, it was going to be my new year's resolution to buy a place but looks like that's taken care of now. Now all we need is furniture to fill up this place. Looks like Tab's wish of being able to do different themes for each room has come true. We'll have many different rooms to play around with.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Nov 23 2006

Thanksgiving in the U.S is a huge thing. Maybe even bigger than Xmas here, as families gather to stuff themselves silly usually with turkey. Now turkey is not a meat that aussies are used to. So in an attempt to host a thanksgiving dinner, Tab & I had to embark on an extensive research on how to cook this darn bird. How hard can that be? It's just like a giant chook. As we subsequently discovered it's a little more complicated than that. Luckily, we were prepared, after watching Food Network & referring to Food & Wine mags, we mastered the art of cooking turkey & it turned out fabulous. Ok... Tab did most of the cooking while Esther & i had a hair appointment... what??? a girl has to look her best at thanksgiving. But you know what's the best thing about thanksgiving... leftovers... almost a week later, we are still enjoying the turkey leftovers.... ahh.... turkey.... the bird that keeps on giving.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tabbert's birthday celebration

It was Tab's birthday on the 7th of Nov. I won't talk about how old he is as that may be a sensitive topic. The old man... erhh.. i mean my beloved hubby got a personalised turkish robe from me with his name monogrammed on it (just incase i forget his name) and over the weekend i surprised him with a lovely dinner at "The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton". We had the chef's degustation menu and it was fabulous. (as one would expect from the Ritz). There were so many great things about the night. Because we chose the chef's tasting menu, each dish was a surprise as they brought it out (so it wasn't just a treat for the birthday boy but for me too). Not only was the service impressive (the waiters co-ordinated it so that each dish was put on the table at the same time for everyone), we also had so many amuse bouce given to us even before the start of the meal that you really felt you were getting great value (last count was 6). However i can't take credit for choosing this place. It came as a recommendation from some self-proclaimed foodies i had at work. Apparently the chef, Ron Siegel, was the only american chef that beat a Japanese Iron Chef (and yes, that's the Japanese 'Iron Chef', not the american ones which i don't really consider worthy). He also used to be the sous chef at the French Laundry in the Napa Valley. So this guy had great credentials. At the end of the night, not only did we have a great meal, we had a great time, thanks to the waiters we had there. Happy Birthday old boy!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

1st Anniversay Oct 29th

It's hard to believe, Tab & I have been married for a year. Tab tried to surprise me by organizing dinner at Ana Mandara. (but i had guessed it before the day, perhaps i had dropped too many hints.. it wasn't on purpose i swear!!) The restaurant is vietnamese but with a french twist. It's also partly owned by Don Johnson (yes, Mr Miami Vice himself). Something that i'm not sure is their selling point or their downfall. Regardless we thought the food was great & the service was excellent. Don't expect any 80's deco here (which was what i was expecting), it was done up in a vietnamese themed deco, quite romantic with the dim lights and lovely views up in the bar area of the Fisherman's Wharf.

Now, there was a dilemma when celebrating our anniversary. We were married in Sydney, so were we suppose to have celebrated it on Sydney's Oct 29th or California's Oct 29th? Since Sydney is about a day ahead i wanted to celebrate it on Sydney time. Ok, ok, the truth is out, i wanted my present, and i just couldn't wait. So anything to justify getting it earlier..... and it worked... tee heee... I think i'm going to try that again for Xmas and my birthday next year.....

Happy Halloween

My first halloween here in the U.S. So as part of the tradition , Tab & I carved this pumpkin.... a first for me. We're suppose to display that outside our apartment so the tricker-treaters know that we have candy. But i'm feeling rather paranoid that someone will steal it. After all that hardwork, certainly our pumpkin is the best!!! (the truth is, everyone in the neighbourhood has their own pumpkin and if someone is going to steal one, i doubt ours will be the first they'll take) Oh well, hope the kids appreciate all the blood & sweat we put into carving this... and i mean that literally....

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Lost in adaptation

It has been 3 months since we've settled into Sunnyvale, California. We are right in the heart of the silicon valley, but miles away from everything that i know. It's funny how we take things for granted. Back in Sydney, i never had to think twice about where to shop, how to do my banking or my taxes. I just did it. But here, everything is an effort. To open a bank account, i have to provide all kinds of documentation to prove that i exist. Apparently, i don't exist in the eyes of the government until i start paying taxes. So what am i to do? I had no choice but to join the ranks of the working class. True to the fashion of this region, i found a job at a start up company. Only than can i validate my existence.

I never thought adjusting to life in the U.S. would be so much effort. At times i feel lost, not knowing what i am suppose to do. It's not really culture shock. It is really about letting go of a part of yourself and embracing a new life. So there goes the city dwelling Ivy with the slightly socialist views, learning to embrace the car-loving, mostly suburbian, definately capitalistic views of America. Will i survive this change intact or will i rebel and never fit in? Only time will tell.