Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi – Part 2

For Part One, check out this post here.

After Melbourne, B and I headed up to the Sunshine Coast for his brother Kai’s wedding to Jill. I’d met Kai once before, but only knew Jill via social media. I’d also never met B’s dad (he doesn’t travel out of Aus much), so this was pretty exciting for me. It was great to spend time with B’s parents and creep on how many behaviors and mannerisms B picked up from his mum and dad. B’s dad Craig runs a dive shop down in Bremer Bay, which is a hot spot for Sea Dragons. After many years of observing and tracking behavior and distribution of Sea Dragons, he’s probably one of the world’s leading experts on these delicate and beautiful organisms.


The wedding itself was of course absolutely beautiful, taking place in the temperate rainforest, by a lake. Checkout their wedding video here, to get a feel of the setting and the event. I got my first taste of Australian wildlife here, when possums came to visit us at night looking for a treat. They are really, really cute. I round out the hard way though, that they actually have sharp claws. oops. For the wedding, I chose to bring a dress I found at Anthropologie that seemed appropriate enough. I had a ridiculously hard time finding a dress to wear that was not white, black and was not covered in flowers. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I spent too much time having fun at the wedding, and forgot to get any full photos of me in the dress. Jill and Kai looked amazing, as they always do, as did all of the Lebenses. The wedding was a 2 day affair, and the next day we spent time at Aussie World running around jumping on rides and driving bumper cars. IMG_0378

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Our last day in the Queensland, we stopped by Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo for a few hours before flying out of Brisbane. Oh my god, I was so happy. I got to pet Koalas! and Kangaroos! So ridiculously cute and amazing. I spend the whole time there running from animal to animal, and poor B, Mum, and Peter had to jog at some points to try and keep up.  Crickey!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA









Part 3: Perth coming soon! Teachers report back in 2 weeks! I’m not ready.

Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi – Part 1

Summer Vaca – it is more than half way through, and it feels like it’s been rushing by at warp speed. This summer, B is also on a “summer vacation” with a 3 month sabbatical from work. B and I started off the break with a month long trip to Australia, hitting up both coasts and a little island along with way. It’s all too much for one post, so I’m breaking it up into 4 parts: Melbourne/Queensland/Perth/Sydney. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen some of these already, but get ready for photos overload!

First, some background info: B is Australian (with dual citizenship), but he’s been living in the states since the early 2000s. I’ve been to Oz before, but in the 5 years we’ve been together, we’ve never traveled back to his motherland together. So you can imagine how excited I was to be going back there with him, my ultimate Aussie boy-mate. I’d been pushing to make a summer for us/winter for them trip to Oz for about a year already, and then good timing kicked in. B’s brother Kai was getting married! B had a 3 month sabbatical waiting to be taken! The stars were aligned right around my summer vacation, so we booked tickets with the miles we’ve been saving up especially for a trip down under.


We started the Aussie Adventure with Melbourne.  Melbourne is the San Francisco of Australia – it’s got the weather, the diversity, and the culture. All that was missing was the hills (Sydney’s got that one). My favorite bits of Melbourne were all the interesting tucked away alleys.  Almost all the really neat coffee shops, restaurants and bars were in tiny alleys that in the states we only associate with garbage pick ups and muggings. The alley ways of Melbourne are places for public art (sanctioned or not), and so much of it was right up my alley that I had to remind myself to take photos of only my absolute favorites.

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B and I spent 5 days in Melbourne, and we stayed near the CBD at Fraser Place which worked out well in terms of location, price and comfort. Right around the corner was a great cafe, and stop #1 in Oz always has to be coffee – Flat White, specifically – which they do perfectly. For the rest of the trip, B and I started off every morning and broke every afternoon hunting for a cool coffee shop. One in particular I liked, as it was styled like a little Japanese cafe. B and I looked very much like the giants that we are, surrounded by tiny furniture in a tiny room. Stand out coffees in Melbourne: League of Honest Coffee, Little Rouge Coffee, and Brother Baba Budan.


Prior to leaving Denver, I started a temporary Pinterest board of all the sights I wanted to check out in Melbourne. First was the Old Melbourne Gaol (jail), a sufficiently creepy but cool place to visit, complete with wax busts of prisoners made post-hanging. We splashed out and took the tour, and I learned about Ned Kelly for the first time. The next day, we went to Queen Victoria Market, where I did most of my souvenir shopping. I didn’t buy Ugg boots but B did buy a classic Aussie hat, and we picked up a kangaroo skin – which B instantly modeled for me in stereotypical Aussie fashion. Since B and I love the Denver Botanic Gardens, we also spent a day at the Royal Botanic Gardens. My favorite part was a little nook called Fern Gully, where I imagine is were all the fairies of Melbourne live. We ended the walk through the garden at the Shrine of Remembrance. If you ever find yourself in Melbourne, I recommend jumping in on a I’m Free (tips only) walking tour. B and I did it and it was pretty cool.


Asia is to Australia as Mexico and Central America is to the US. So you can imagine how excited I was to eat all of the yummy asian foods. I made a list, and we went to all of them and ate all of the things. I was a very happy camper, though our wallet very quickly was not. Australia is not cheap. Standouts were Din Tai Fung (they also have locations in CA and Seattle), the Dainty Sichuan, and Gami Chicken & Beer. As far as drinks, B and I checked out a couple bars but were generally disappointed with the cocktails in Australia. Berlin Bar was worth the trip in that first you had to ring a bell to be let in, then you had to chose which side of the bar to sit it: the East German minimalist/survival side or the West German posh velvet chairs side. The bar itself was really neat, and so was the stairway leading up to the bar. Cocktails were interesting on paper and presentation, but pricy and not particularly tasty and drinkable. Whiskey & Alement had an overwhelming 5 page whiskey menu which B liked, but I generally go for whiskey cocktails like an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan and Im not a fan of peaty, smoky flavored rye whiskeys.  The bar standard Old Fashioned I ended up with was exactly that. I choked it down anyway. B was a big fan of this place, though it was weird/confusing with 2 bars in one. There is a side bar within the bar that serves only Japanese Whiskey, but you have to pay at the main bar and convert AUD to Yen.


That’s it for Melbourne!  Part 2: Queensland up next!


Joyful Learning

Some sociology PhD candidate should do a study on working in education and the use of buzz words.  I swear there must be a correlation between the use (or over use) of buzz words and the administration ladder.  The kicker is that every district has their own set of buzz words.  I’m imagining with every new chancellor/superintendent, the buzz words change.  In SF, the buzz words were data, accountability, informed instruction, and joyful learners.  Today’s theme was joy.  As in my joy Division shirt, joy in iced coffee, and joy in getting my classroom set up and ready for the first day of school.  Also, joyful in the fact that my jeans were still white at the end of the day.

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My two favorite things lately:  A birthday lipstick from B’s mum, sent all the way from Perth & a mini-Darwin figurine from my co-teacher Pam.  He’s the shit and the lipstick is bright and joyful.

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glasses: warby parker – tshirt: a present from my bud grace, but can be found here – jeans: uniqlo – shoes: saltwater sandals – lipstick: australis