Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Australia, Part 1

  I am catching up and finally have made it into September and October when I went over to visit Patrick in Australia and BRING him BACK! :) Patrick had been living in Perth, which is in Western Australia, since the middle of May. I was able to get to Perth when he was at the end of his time there and we stayed in the city for about a week before heading over to Sydney.
Getting ready for Australia--Mom helped me narrow down my options :)
View going towards LA
  Let me just say one thing, if you ever get the chance to go to Australia (and I don't care when or for how long), DO IT! Don't hesitate, but immediately figure out the funding and go! I was blown away by the country and would absolutely jump in a second to move over there. It's really hard to describe why I loved it so much, but I just did. Aussies are very laid back and seem to be more simplified. Plus, as one of our cab drivers told us, every Australian has some form of water transportation, whether it be a kayak, a yacht, or a speedboat.

Entrance to Kings Park

Now, the only bad part about going to Australia was the flight getting there. I left on September 26 around 7pm Atlanta time, flew to LA then to Sydney and finally to Perth. I arrived in Perth on Friday, September 28 in the afternoon (Perth is 12 hours ahead of Atlanta). 

Beautiful tree in Kings Park

Overlooking the city center from the park


  I can't remember which days we did what, but one of the first things we did was to go to Kings Park which was a short bus ride away from Patrick's rental house (which was pretty sweet, if I say so myself). His building was actually right across from the entrance to the park and even though it was winter when Patrick was down there, there were still some nice days where he could go and enjoy lunch on the benches there. In Atlanta, we have Piedmont Park, which is gorgeous, but man, oh, man, this park is much larger and full of flowers and trees native to Australia. The park doesn't have a huge open area like Piedmont, but it has winding trails, great views of the city down below, and it did have a small area where musicians can entertain guests and there were even food trucks!

the Swan created for the millenium

Fountains in Kings Park

Free concerts in the park

View of the city

Patrick's favorite tree

The black building on the far right was Patrick's building (right across from the park!)
  One day, we rode a ferry to Rottnest Island (about 30 minute ferry ride) for the day and it was amazing!! Now I must admit that the start of the trip was a little rocky as we were late leaving the dock because the captain decided to wait on some people and then as soon as we started actually moving, we suddenly turned around! I was flabbergasted, but apparently there were more people who had shown up late and wanted to ride, so we turned around and picked up several more people. It's just the Aussie way, but this crazy American was a little impatient. However, once we finally got to the island, it was wonderful! Patrick and I met up with Ashley and her boyfriend, Matthew, once we got to the island and we rode on our rented bikes all over the island on the roads. My bike was really loud and not as smooth as everybody else's, but we had a great time.
Rottnest Island

Perth far away on the horizon
  Everyone started bringing in their boats into this little alcove, where we laid out for a couple of hours on the beach before touring the island again by bike. We saw a guy from Texas get bitten by a shark (it was really small like a little baby) on the ankle when he was trying to wade out and get his frisbee in the water and saw two seals frolicking around too. The group from Texas got really excited to see fellow Americans and invited us to first just hang out with them on their boat to spend the weekend with them on the island. We politely declined as the wife of the guy working as an engineer with the oil rigs was wallowing pregnant on a blown up raft on the beach (not in the water, but on the sand). Patrick tried to snorkle out to see them, but they were too fast for him. The water was much too cold for me to hop in there, but Patrick said he didn't think it was too bad (yeah right!).
A Quokka

Beautiful beach

Biking around the island

  After we finished biking the island (I put my foot down as I was starving!!), we ended up at a little cafe overlooking the main "port" of the island. Patrick and I shared some fish and chips and Ashley and I split a bottle of wine. (We had decided we deserved that wine as we had biked so far around the island!) We enjoyed a leisurely late lunch and were greatly amused by this little quokka (they are supposed to be nocturnal little guys, but this one obviously was smarter than most and figured out when the people eat, so should he). Not only did the quokka run back and forth under our feet, but we were surprised by a small child crawling after the quokka as well. It was quite a spectacle that made us laugh. It was also amusing to us that the same Texans we had met on the beach earlier found us at the restaurant! They tried to get us to spend the night on the island again, but we told them we were going to keep our tickets to return to Fremantle in the afternoon. They were very nice people and I'm sure they were just excited to hang out with Americans, but it was hilarious to us!

A Quokka trying to eat some of our fish and chips

Leaving Rottnest

Looking to the right where one of the lighthouses is located

The best seats in the house

Watching the bikes being loaded and the next group of people ready to leave the island

All the bikes on the back of the ferry

Perth far, far away

Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle
  Once we made it back to Fremantle (Freo--apparently, Australians like to use abbreviations for most everything), we walked around for a while until we found this gelato place Patrick loved. It was pretty good, but we found even more divine gelato in Sydney, but I'll talk more about that later. Ashley and Matt were eating at Little Creatures Brewery and we grabbed a drink with them before heading back to Perth where we met up with one of Patrick's coworkers, Brandon, who cooked us a fantastic dinner!! He surprised me with kangaroo (kind of like steak), lamb, steamed veggies, and smashed sweet potatoes. It was absolutely delicious and it was wonderful getting to know him! Brandon, if you come across this, I expect to see you in Atlanta in the new year! Up next will be one of my favorite places we visited--Penguin Island! :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

Taco Mac with Em and Al

  I have already talked about the Big Peach Sizzler that I ran on Labor Day (best PR for a 10k then), but I failed to mention that some of my best friends came into town too! Emily drove up from Florida and Katie drove down from Nashville to come to the season opener for Auburn versus Clemson. Though the game was a total bust, we had a great time together! 

Mimosas on Saturday morning

Nosebleed section

Lovely Allison

Ashley, Katie, Allison, me, and Elizabeth

War Eagle!

  Of course, we ate at Tin Lizzy's and then once we got home on Sunday night, none of us could sleep so Emily, Katie, and I all stayed up talking. We even called Kate and made her reminisce about our old apartment in Auburn and lots of our memories since we couldn't convince her to come down from D.C. We even practiced some Pinterest hairdos (the waterfall, shown below). And we completely wore Wrigley out! I miss my girls so much, but the weekend turned out pretty wonderful (well, of course, not including the game)!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Celebrating Friends

   Back in July, I headed to Jackson for Kathryn's engagement party. It was held at Colonial Country Club, where I had my wedding reception. They impressed me with their updated food and one of Kathryn's mom's did a great job with the floral arrangements on all the tables.

 We had a great time getting to hang out with everyone over the course of the evening! I was the spastic photographer and some people were probably wondering what the heck I was doing as I was snapping their pictures all night long, but I had a blast capturing the night for Kat and Dave. It made me really excited for their big day next year in April!! Hooray!!

My bestest and our moms

Bestest and sisters

some of Kat's bridesmaids

This pose will more than likely be recreated come reception time

The fabulous couple
  And just because I thought it was hilarious, I have to add in these pictures from the next day. Wrigley absolutely hated swimming in the pool, but would hardly move because he hated the life jacket even more! Penny stayed away because as soon as I let them outside, she went running out the door and fell in the pool. She swam like a champ to the steps though, so no worries!

"Get me out of this darn thing, woman!"