sarah vs the world

Not a video game, not a comic, not a band, but an amazing adventure continues...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So now 2009 reigns in....

What a ridiculously bad effort I have made in keeping my blog up to date post Brock's visit. But to be totally honest, I was incredibly busy from just about post-birthday up until my 4 weeks holiday in Dec leading up until now. Let's try to recap everything that happened in the past 6 months.

My birthday. I celebrated the last year of my 20s in relatively nice style. We headed out to Little Creatures in Brunswick Street, but that was relatively disappointing. So we headed to local pub favourite The Napier for delicious pub meals, lots of beer and tons of fun. Dancing until the wee hours was done by all. Luckily there weren't many photos from that night...of this I am very proud.

So maybe there were 2 nice ones...me laughing the night away at the pub.

Eloise and I with my awesome ice cream cake...yes, it does say AWESOME

September...we put on a show at work which toured to Sydney. My boss had surgery so I had to step up during this time and flew off to Sydney for the gig. Had a great time catching up with everyone in Sydney, and then basically headed straight off back to Melbourne in time to put in our show for Melbourne Festival. Then after that it was back to back shows in all 3 theatres which takes us up right until Thanksgiving 2008.

Thanksgiving was a massive hit this year. Another giant turkey with all the typical sides was served in the Beckett Theatre at my work. We ate on stage, danced to all our favourite hits thanks to DJ Bo, and gave thanks for the election results in America. These photos say it all:

The turkey in all it's awesome glory

The table of delicious food kindly contributed by all of the guests

I love turkey, and I am getting really good at cooking them. And I reckon the Aussie crowd really looks forward to it each year now. Hard to believe that in 9 short months it will be time to cook another one. Wow.
Christmas and New Years were fun. Spent Christmas with friends on the Mornington Peninsula with a really amazing traditional Christmas dinner. Course 1 was smoked salmon, capers, toast and horseradish. Course 2 was turkey, ham and roast vegetables. Course 3 was salads and cold leftover meats (quite a few hours later). Course 4 was plum pudding with hard sauce (basically like icing). Was amazingly delicious and the weather was lovely, so we played outside with the kids a lot.

A gorgeous photo of the table at Christmas...

New Years started off relatively low key but ended very early in the AM. I decided not to have a party but more of a get together. The next door neighbours had a party and we ended up combining into 1 giant fiesta. There was ice in the bathtub, yummy snacks, fantastic tunes and sparklers galore for midnight. Of course, Melbourne has the fireworks along the Yarra River which is literally next to my apartment, so we strolled down for a looksey around midnight and celebrated New Year as it should be - not in winter! It wasn't nearly as hot as last year, but we did end up singing on Singstar until about 4am. My playstation really gets a workout when parties are on!
Into 2009 and there were 2 very momentous occasions worth celebrating. Barack Obama was sworn in. I woke up at 330am to watch it, and I was really glad I had done it. I cried and everything. Very exciting time for all of you in the States and all of the Aussies were excited as well. I got right into the election period as well making Obama cakes and wearing my "You Bet Your Mama I am Voting Obama" t shirt with pride. I was actually in a meeting when he secured enough electoral college votes to win and half the office was waiting outside for me to finish so they could tell me. Never was I more proud to be American...

The infamous Obama Cakes (yes I hand made those cute little Obama logo flags!)

But then on the 26th January (Australia Day), I became an Australian Citizen! Yay! Finally! Don't worry Americans, I am still American. I just get to be both now. The ceremony itself was lovely and I had the biggest cheering section in the place. After a few photos with the Lord Mayor, a Flag Raising Ceremony and some tears during I Am Australian, we headed over to Fitzroy Bowls Club for bit of a BBQ and some celebratory cheap beers. The Bowls Club (for the Americans) is actually lawn bowls. I had never really played before, but seemed to have got the hang of it by the end of the day. Triple J played the hottest 100 songs of 2008 and we had snags, salad and lamingtons to celebrate. Thanks to everyone who was there. I had an amazing day and have barely had any time to take in the fact that I am Australian. Long time in the making. I am very proud.

With the photo of my new monarch...

With the Lord Mayor and my certificate...

Me and Ange...

Me and my armed escorts....

On the bowling green...how Aussie do I look!!??

The invite to the party...

Also before becoming Australian, I took a short trip to the Western side of Australia to go to my friend Stewart's wedding in Perth. I had never been over there before, so I went for an extended weekend. The wedding was beautiful even though it was really hot that day 38c/100f. Poor Stew in his 3 piece suit, but he did survive. Luckily the reception centre had air conditioning, but the church didn't! I also spent some time in Fremantle, an old fishing town which is the home of my favourite Australian brewery, Little Creatures. I had a lovely time and managed to come back relatively tan, which was nice, because Melbourne had been relatively cold up until then.

At the wedding...

Bo and his crazy butterfly necklace

Stew and Lucy...

Little Creatures brewery

Some awesome architecture in Freo...

An artsy one of me

That brings us up until February. After some hard work on our first show, I headed off to Sydney for the weekend with Ange and Eloise. We planned to go for several reasons - it was Ange's birthday that Sunday and she had never been to Sydney, Philby was turning 40 and we knew that would be a big bash, and most importantly TOP GEAR was doing a live show at Acer Arena. Most of you Americans probably don't know Top Gear. It is a television show on the BBC in the UK. Basically it is a car show, but a car show unlike no other. They do crazy stunts all the time, one host in particular is very attractive and they have a mystery car driver called The Stig who test drives all the new cars for them. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend checking it out. Anyway, we arrived in Sydney on Friday night and went straight to my favourite pub in Sydney, The Australian. Had some delicious pizza and Little Creatures, caught up with a few Sydneysiders, including Megan Retka Tidd (who I went to high school with!). Then Saturday morning we got up, went to breakfast, went out to pick up Philby and then headed to Top Gear. The show wasn't quite as good as we expected it to be, but we were glad we had attended nonetheless. Saturday night was Philby's birthday party in Balmain. It was great fun and Eloise and I teared up the dancefloor even though there wasn't really one...as per usual! Sunday morning we headed to Manly beach, got quite sun burnt, ate delicious Movenpick ice cream and some nice fish and chips, and head back on the ferry and onwards to Melbourne.

Of course, the Saturday we were at Top Gear, was the saddest day in Victorian history. It was 47/117 degrees in Melbourne and a huge portion of our state burned. Flying back in was really sad because you could literally see spot fires burning in many places. When we woke up Sunday morning, 40 people were dead and by Monday morning 140 people were dead. The numbers keep rising and a lot of people will just never be found. It has been really amazing to see how all of Australia has banded together to help. I signed up to be a Red Cross Volunteer, and even if I don't get to help out this time, I am hoping I will be able to help whenever they need me. The fires were surprisingly close to Melbourne and lots of places that I have taken my family to on nice drives just outside of town are absolutely gone. If the temperatures had not dropped (and have stayed so low now), it could be a very different story. Our theatre donated box office takings of almost $12k, which his great. I am hoping to volunteer on a few benefit concerts. It's hard to know what to do to help. You can't even get into the blood bank at the moment, and they don't really want anymore items to be donated. Cash is what they are after now, but if I get a chance to volunteer at all, I would feel a bit more useful. It has been really quite sad, but amazing at the same time. Have a look at this website for the sheer devastation:
http://www.theage.com.au/interactive/2009/national/bushfire-before-after/index.html
Here are a few photos as well. It's very sad.
A view from Melbourne...it was really quite close.

City View x 2

Some sad ruins...

A now pretty much homeless koala, but at least this one lived...

Our now nightly creepy red sunsets...

I am sure nearly all of you have heard about it. I am a proud Australian now, and I will do what I can to help.
Mom, Dad, Jonny and his girlfriend are heading this way in a few weeks. Looking forward to that. Heading home in July for Rachel's wedding and hoping to make it out to Milwaukee. Can't wait to see you all then.
All my love,
Sarah

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