It's hard to believe an entire year has gone by. It's been an amazing journey so far. I wish I had started this blog from the outset but better late than never. It's almost impossible to write a single post to summarize the entire year and most of these events probably should have their own post but, oh well. So, here's a quick little recap of the first year.
When we arrived in Sydney, we stayed in corporate housing for three weeks. Our apartment was near Darling Harbour. This was a great location! We were in the middle of the city and also all the attractions at Darling Harbour, including the wax museum, aquarium, and wildlife center. We also took the ferry to Taronga Zoo which has some of the best views of the city in all of Sydney!
We found a great house in the leafy suburb of Roseville. It was quite a departure from our urban lifestyle in Chicago, but we thought it would be easier to settle in for the whole family. The moving process from the USA to Australia isn't the most convenient, as it takes quite a while for the container of your stuff to finally get to you. After making due for weeks without the majority of our belongings, we rejoiced when the moving truck finally arrived with our things!
Being from Chicago, one of the things I did miss was the awesome pizza that's available. I did some research and found a copy cat recipe from my favorite deep dish pizza. I also miss the thin crust that Chicago is known for as well so I found a copy cat recipe for that as well.
During the month of May, Sydney puts in a cool festival called Vivid that showcases brightly colored art along with music and ideas. During the festival, they light up many of the buildings, including the iconic Opera House.
I also attended my first Australian sporting event - AFL (Australian rules football). I've watched on TV but couldn't really follow what was going on. But, when you're watching the game in person, it makes much more sense as you can see the entire field and the plays developing. I'm officially a Sydney Swans fan now!
Sydney has some really cool ropes courses. One of them is out at the Sydney Olympic grounds. My son, Theo, wanted to do the course for his birthday. It was a great time!
When we moved to Sydney at the end of March, it was the end of winter in Chicago. In fact, it actually snowed the day we left Chicago. In Australia, summer was winding down and we were heading into winter. Winter in Sydney is not very winter-like at all but still, we were not going to have a proper summer for eight months or so. Therefore, we decided to take a trip somewhere warm. Being on this part of the planet, we were much closer to some bucket-list destinations. For me, one of the places high on my bucket-list was Bali, Indonesia. Ever since seeing the Indonesia episode of No Reservations, I've been yearning to visit Bali for the beautiful land, people, and food. Specifically, I was dying to try the Balinese spit-roasted pig - babi guling. So off to Bali we went. Bali deserves a post of its own but I will say that it is so beautiful, the people are so lovely, and the food is phenomenal!
One of the things I was pleasantly surprised about when I moved to Australia was how accessible the Sydney Opera House was. It's so iconic that I assumed that it was a very exclusive venue. However, it's open all the time for people to walk into and check out. There are many tours during the day. There are great bars and restaurants that are right there. And, the variety and frequency of shows is amazing!
Right after moving to Sydney, I saw that Ryan Adams was coming to Sydney and was going to perform a one-night only solo acoustic show at the Opera House. Amazing! One of my favorite artists and at the Opera House, of all places! Needless to say, the show was so good.
Traveling and seeing as much as we can while living in this part of the world was a priority for us as part of this move. Our initial trip was to another country, so we figured we should see another part of Australia. So we went to the Northern Territories to see the big rock - Uluru. I've seen many pictures of Uluru but seeing it in person does not disappoint.
So you're thinking nothing happened from September to October?! It was mostly day-to-day life. Finding our way around the city and trying to acclimate to Aussie life.
November, however, is the start of the holiday season. It would be very interesting to see what the holidays were like here where it's the middle of summer during the holidays! The big priority for November was to find a turkey and have a proper Thanksgiving dinner. Mission accomplished.
December means prime time holiday time. I have to admit, it's very odd to hear Christmas music lyrics about falling snow when the summer sun is beating down on you. But it's also pretty great! No shoveling of snow and you can go to the beach!
New Year's Eve in Sydney is a massive event. As one of the first places on the planet to ring in the New Year, they make the most of it and put on quite a show. There are two fireworks displays. One at 9 pm, which is the "family" version and another at midnight. The harbour is an impressive back drop for the fireworks. We watched from an office building in North Sydney. It was pretty spectacular. We went home afterwards and watched the midnight fireworks on tv. And those were so much more incredible! I had mistakenly assumed that both shows were the same. Next year, seeing the midnight show in person is a must-do!
My in laws came in January and stayed with us for a month. This gave us an opportunity to see some more of Australia. We decided to go to Port Douglas up in Queensland and also take a quick trip to Melbourne to go the the Australian Open, another bucket-list item.
Port Douglas is another pace that really deserves a post of its own Before moving to Australia, I had never heard of the place. But it's a gem of place on this planet. It's a tropical paradise! I've never been to Hawaii but it reminds me of a less developed and commercial Hawaii. It also has lush, well-preserved rain forests.
March marks the transition from Summer to Autum in Sydney. But there are plenty of beautiful, hot, summer-like days. We try to take advantage of as many of them as we can. Like taking the ferry to Watson's Bay to eat fish & Chips at the famed Doyle's and take in the spectacular view.
March was also quite the busy month for me. I was able to squeeze in a trip back to the States to go the SXSW Interactive. It was also, a month filled with going to see a few music shows that spanned across very different genres - pop at a big arena, indie at a small theater, and a proper opera at the Opera House!
That wraps up the first year in Sydney. There's so much that I had to leave out so these were just some of the "greatest hits" o the first year. But I love living in Sydney and definitely feel settled. I'm looking forward to sharing more of the adventure, going forward!