Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Vacation comes to an begins...

Well it kind of feels like the vacation has come to an end and now we are really starting to "live" in Brisbane. Steve starts work today and I'm busy busy looking for a place to live. There are lots of places available, but not many allow dogs. The few places that we know of that do take dogs have size restrictions of only 5 kg, maximum 10 kg. Jesse is about 22 kg (and that's with hoping he loses some weight at the kennel!). Looks like we might have to rent a house, as that has a better chance of allowing pets than apartments. It just sucks because we want to be within walking distance to Steve's work and most homes are a little further out. Anyway, I'm sure we'll find something, just need to have patience.
We went over to Steve's friend Morgan's house last night and had a lovely dinner with him and his wife. Steve worked with Morgan in Montreal and now Morgan is also working at Pandemic. We had lots of Australian snacks (both Morgan and Kate are from Australia), including Tim-Tams...a kind of cookie (Jolyne, I thought of you!), Shapes...a kind of cracker, a kind of cheese chip...kind of like Cheesies but made with real cheese and an Australian beer and wine, which both were really good! I can't remember the names (I have to start paying more attention!) but I'll find out and let you know.
Thanks for all the comments from everyone on the blog. We really miss you all already and it's nice to hear from you. I will email our new phone number later today. Here's a couple of pics taken yesterday, when were walking around the city looking for apartments...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More brisbane info

The Brisbane river. I find the city to be very clean, which is nice. Everything seems very well kept and maintained. We were told that Brisbane is quite safe and that there really isn't a lot of crime, just the occasional drunk. It isn't just a myth...Aussies really do like to drink!!!
The CityCat, a form of transportation on the river.
Steve and Vic.
The CityFerry. We went on this on Australia Day. Another form of transportation. Steve likes that all buses and taxis here use natural gas.
Me with a fancy bottle of water. We had dinner at a place called QA (where this pic was taken). It was my favorite place so far. Good food and cool atmosphere. It is very close to Steve's work. This is also the same area where we would like to try to get an apartment. Vic was telling me that after 8 o'clock in bars, guys have to wear pants and shoes, not flip flops, or thongs, as they are called here. I found this surprising considering the laid back nature of the place and the hot temps! Girls can wear sandles though and short skirts. Strange, eh? Oh and did I mention that I say "eh" a lot more than I realized?!?
This is what they bring you if you ask for ketchup in a restaurant. I did see Heinz ketchup in the grocery store though. The majority of restaurants here require you to go up to the counter and order your food and pay right away. Then you sit down and they give you a number for your table. They bring your food to the table and sometimes take your plate, but it's not the same as being totally waited on. I'm sure they do have fancier restaurants where you do place your order at the table, but we haven't been to any yet.

Monday, January 29, 2007

An overview of Brisbane so far...

After finally arriving in Brisbane, we made our way through customs and then quarantine. It went quite easy. Everyone on the plane had to fill out a form stating why they were going to Australia and if you had any things that would not be allowed into the country (includes things like food, drinks, anything organic, even dirt on your shoes). They searched one of my bags because they thought I had a shell but it turned out to be hair products, which were okay. From the airport we headed to our hotel, which our cab driver told us was one of the most expensvie hotels in the city, with an average being $400 a night. We got 3 nights for that price through Expedia. The website said it was hot deal, and I guess they were right!
We're now staying at Vic's place. Vic's been awesome helping us to get settled and showing us around. All we've pretty much done since we got here is walk around and explore the city. I am already starting to know my way around and am starting to feel comfortable. I just have to be careful when I cross the street! I have seriously almost stepped out in front of cars a few times, because I look the wrong when I cross. I'm not looking forward to actually driving on the wrong side of the street!
We're definitely going to get in shape here! Average temps have been between 30 and 34 degrees and it's been quite humid (apparently uncommon humidity). So, between walking and sweating, we're definitely shedding some pounds!
We're both already getting tanned and that's with wearing SPC 30 daily. You have to be very careful here because skin cancer is very common! We're getting in the habit of loading on the sunscreen right after our shower each morning. They say Queensland (where will live in Australia) is the sunshine state and I believe it!
I have also found that it is much healthier here than in Canada. There are TONS (or heaps as they say here) of gluten free stuff and GI diet friendly options in restaurants. Fruit and veggies are very expensive though! We went to the grocery store for the first time the other day and I have to say that it really made me realize how far we are from home! Everything is SO different. There are a few of the same foods (even then they have different packaging) but not many. It's amazing how long it can take you to pick up a few groceries when you have no idea what kind of anything to get! Picking out laundry soap took me forever, not to mention the bread!!!
The Australian accent is cool and people are very friendly! I've had a little trouble understanding some of the older people when they speak to me but basically it's not too bad. A few people have already commented to me about how cool we sound when we talk. It's weird living somewhere where we have the strange accent. I asked a woman working at "Big W", which is basically Walmart (same signs and stuff) where the "washrooms" were and she didn't know what I meant. She's like.."Oh, you mean the toilet?". Apparently, it's called the toilet or loo here. Also, while we're talking bathrooms, there are 2 buttons for flushing on the toilet. One for a number 1 and one for a number 2. Basically a number 1 flush uses less water. So many things to get used to!
And as a last note before I head to bed, the money is strange to me here. There is no penny coin so if something comes to $11.11, you just give them $11.10. It rounds to the nearest coin. They have a 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent coin here (the 50 cent coin is HUGE and the 2 dollar coin in very small). They also have, a 1 dollar coin and 2 dollar coin. Tax is included in the cost of something, so if it's $10, you pay $10, which I love. And another cool thing about don't tip! So, no pressure to leave an extra bit of money after eating out or getting your hair done!
Okay, gotta head to bed. I have more Brisbane pics to post tomorrow, so stay tuned:)

More Brisbane

The plants, trees and flowers that grow here are very cool. The plants feel like plastic and look almost fake. Everything is surprisingly green considering that they are having such a water shortage here. I was told that it rains just enough to keep the city looking nice but not enough to provide water for the city to use. The guy that we met with today at the bank (we opened our bank account) said that by next year, they may have no water left. This is scary to me! Currently, there is a level 4 water ban, which includes rules like, not being allowed to water your plants or yard outside. The guy at the bank said that people use their used bath water for watering the yard. They are talking about using recycled water for drinking.
The creatures are super cool here! These little guys are everywhere and like to crawl on the signs of stores at night. I'm not sure what they are exactly, but they remind me of little lizards. I'm cool with them as long as they keep their distance. I was warned today to be careful of any red-backed spiders and was also told that large cockroaches are very common here. Steve and I went shopping today and Steve saw a cockroach run across the ground and up a guy's leg!!! I would FREAK out if that happened to me!!! The first cockroach that I ever saw was on Australia day (January 26th), when they held their annual cockroach race. I have a video of this to post later!
Okay, these birds freak me out. They are quite large and look for food from you as if they were pigeons! I'm going to have to get over this bird fear of mine if I'm going to be living here!
I couldn't believe it when I first saw one of these hanging out on the sidewalk! A local told me that they are called water dragons and like it when you feed them sandwich meat (they are meat eaters!). I asked if they were nice and they guy said they were but he wouldn't recommend trying to pet one! I have seen a few of these since I have been here.
We walked through the Brisbane Botanical Gardens, which is basically a park in the city. Holy beautiful! It's like what you pay to see in Montreal!!!

Yeah!!! Darryl and Stacey have a blog!

Check it out at... Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging guys:)

Brisbane bound!

This is the plane we flew on to Sydney. We flew with Quantas Mainland Airlines. The plane was huge (a 747)! The food was good and it was nice because there was lots of room to walk and stretch your legs. I didn't find the flight all that bad, even though it did take 10 hours. I was super impressed that they actually have fold out beds for babies, which would definitely help make traveling with babies easier (hint hint to the MacPurdys;) ). Steve and I have both been trying really hard to get used to the time change here. We have done pretty good eating on their schedule but sleeping has been tough. It wouldn't be so bad for me if I could just sleep later than 5 am in the morning! It's really only been yesterday and today that I feel really tired but we have been walking around the city in the heat A LOT, so it could be just a combination of everything. Anyway, it's to be expected that we're going to feel the jet lag for awhile and hopefully it won't be much longer before we get in a groove.
Looking out the window of our flight to Sydney.
Well, this is it. This is all we own, all that we brought with us to Brisbane. Now I need to find us an apartment so we can get shopping! We've already done some looking and we find furniture to be pretty cheap and nice. I've already seen 3 sofas that I love! We bought a mattress for at Vic's place and it was only $400 for a really nice double. I'm looking forward to getting settled with a few things we really like.


We had a fantastic time in Hawaii! We stayed in Waikiki beach in Honolulu. A very touristy area. The people were VERY friendly, the service everywhere was VERY good and of course it was nice to be in the sun again (although on our second day, we did get a few showers, but it wasn't too bad). Our first day there, we just spent the day being beach bums and walking around, checking out the neighborhoods and shops. On our second day there, we splurged and took a 7 hour boat cruise, where we saw dolphins, whales and went snorkling. It was very cool! We saw fish that they sell in the petstores at home for oodles of money and the best thing...we saw a huge sea turtle while snorkling! The view from the boat was awesome...definitely worth the money! Steve and I would both like to go back to Hawaii again someday, to see the things we didn't get to see on this trip.
The dolphins. We have a fantasic video of this but internet in Australia is really weird. It works out to be only 4 gigs a month for $60, which sucks and since we're using Vic's internet at the moment, we'll wait to post our videos when we get our own place and internet. I got my cell phone (mobile, as they call it here) yesterday and for $49 a month, you get only 6 hours of talk time (a month!) and Australians find that to be more than enough!!! As the woman at the store said, "That's heaps!". Not "heaps" if you're coming from Canada! One good thing though, you don't use up your minutes if someone calls you.
The boat that we went on in Hawaii. Really nice boat!
The food in Hawaii was really good. Everything came served with a slice of pinappple and a decorative umbrella. This is purple bread that we had with dinner and banana butter! It was very yummy!
One of my favorite things about Waikiki beach was the way they lit torches everywhere once the sun went down. All of the restaurants had lots of these and they were all along the sidewalks too.
The main street in Waikiki beach.

More Hawaii

Bring me 2 pina coladas...
The sunset as seen from our hotel balcony.
A cool surfer statue.
Love this phone booth!
My footprints.

My henna tattoo (before the stuff dried and came off). Don't worry Mom, it's not permanent!
Love this!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A few Hawaii pics...

Steve at this cute little shopping place in Honolulu.
Palm trees. I really loved the trees in Hawaii. Very green and very thick!
These trees were so cool. A local told me they are called iron wood trees and were actually introduced to Hawaii in the 1800s by the Missionaries to get the Natives to be civilized and wear shoes. The seed-like things that fall off them are very sharp and really hurt if you step on them.
This is the beach across the street from our hotel. I liked this a lot about Wakiki beach, where we stayed. There were hotels, shops and restaurants along one side of the street and nothing but beach on the other!
Holy birds! As much as I don't really like birds too much, it did add character the way the birds were always around, just hanging out in restaurants. This little guy decided to enjoy the lady's bread, sitting next to us, while she went up to the breakfast buffet. Surprisingly, there was not bird poop anywhere. The part of the city where we stayed was very clean and well maintained.

This was our hotel, as seen from the beach.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hey! Just a quick post cause I'm working on limited battery power and internet that costs 55 cents a minute! We have made it to Brisbane! The flight was long but seemed to go surprisingly fast. I have to say we had a pretty easy trip. All our flights left on time and all our baggage arrived everywhere. The only time we had to pay for extra baggage was from Sydney to Brisbane and then the girl cut us a break and only charged us $60 (should have been much more!). We had an awesome time in Hawaii and so far we LOVE what we have seen of Brisbane. We got here just in time for Australia day so there was lots to see and do around the city yesterday. I have SO many pics to post as soon as I can...hopefully this week, so stay tuned! It's very hot here, but SO nice! Steve learned that SPF 15 isn't strong enough for here, even if you do apply it 4 times during the day! Thanks Darryl, Stacey and Melissa for going to visit Jes! We're missing him and are so glad to have you guys to go visit. Darryl, Stacey and Melissa, can you guys also email either me or Steve your mailing addresses please? And can someone let Mom know that we made it here and that I'll call as soon as I can. Every chance that I have had to call so far, just as I'm about to call, I realize it's like 2 am in NS! Okay, that's it for now! Miss you guys!

Monday, January 22, 2007

En Route

Well, currently Steve and I are sitting in the Vancouver airport waiting for our flight to Honolulu. We decided to take advantage of the wireless connection and give you guys an update!
We arrived at the Montreal airport around 5 this morning and left for Toronto at 7. We got to Toronto around 8:30 am and then left for Vancouver around 11:30 am. We got to Vancouver around 1:30 pm their time (3:30 pm. our time). By the time we went through US customs and got our bags (so far they haven't got lost!), we grabbed a bite to eat and now we're chillin'. I have to say (knock on wood!) that so far our voyage has been very smooth! The layovers are a welcome break and a good chance to stretch our legs. We're both a little tired, I slept on the plane to Toronto and at the Toronto airport but Steve hasn't snoozed yet. I have to say that Gravol has been very helpful in eliminating my usual sick ways when flying. I also might go for a chair massage after this:)
We watched The Departed on the way to Vancouver and that really helped to pass the time! Steve's looking forward to watching Open Season on the way to Hawaii. We're both getting very excited about waking up in Honolulu tomorrow and getting a good night's sleep tonight! It's going to be about 2 or 3 in the morning (Montreal time...the time we're used to) by the time we get there, so it's definitely going to be a long day! An almost 24 hour day!
On another note, I just want to quickly thank our friends for the great going away get- together yesterday and the card and Australian money. I was excited to see Australian bills for the first time! Also, an extra special thanks for the song that they wrote and sang for us! You can see the video and the lyrics on Kristjan's blog (link on the side). Check it was great! I have some pics to post from yesterday once I get somewhere with a little bit faster internet! I'll also try to keep you posted on our whereabouts whenever I can...stay tuned!!:)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sat Night Singing

Saturday, January 20, 2007

2 more sleeps!

Well, today was a LONG, draining, busy day. I'm super pooped. I didn't sleep well last night, thinking about Jesse leaving today, and I have to say, it was tough to watch him go. Although, he seemed to quite enjoy driving away, sitting proudly in the front of the large moving truck. With Jes, also went all of the rest of our belongings, leaving an empty apartment. It was a little sad:( BUT I am being positive and know that it's all going to be worth the adventure that waits for us! We're staying at Darryl and Stacey's tonight and tomorrow night. A few last minute errands to run tomorrow and then we're up and at it early Sunday morning. Flight leaves at 7 am. I'll post again tomorrow and then that will be it for awhile. Once we have internet or at least internet access, I'm sure to have lots to post!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What a memory!

When I was going through all my stuff and sorting and packing, I found a couple of rolls of film that had never been developed. Turns out one of the rolls was the pics that were taken when I went skydiving for my bachelorette party. This is probably one of my most favorite memories of Montreal! We had SUCH an amazing time! The pics came out pretty cool. The face shots are a little scary! Just shows you how fast you are free falling and reminds me of how cold it was! The above pic is on the way up in the plane. I'm wearing my bridal veil..hehe...
You can see Katie at the back in the middle, looking very serious and my friend, Mae, two people back from me. I'm biting my lip...think I was pretty nervous at that point!
And the jump!
And the face shot that I mentioned above...
Very cool experience.

My New Studio

Here's a pic of the studio I'll be working at in Brisbane, there was a article on IGN about Next-gen Graphics and they were asking guys at Pandemic there opinions.. Here's the article
I stole the pic from the article.
Here's a couple more articles....
Steve (my wife is hot in a bikini ! ) Dickinson

4 more sleeps...

...and I can't freakin' wait! Do you KNOW what the temperature is in Montreal this morning?!?
-24 degrees!!! That's right, freakin' FREEZING!!! Bring on summer in Brisbane!!! Bring on warm sunshine and warm ocean water. Bye bye winter coats and scarves and gloves that STILL don't keep your fingers warm!!! 4 more sleeps!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

5 more sleeps!!!

Have I mentioned that we leave on Sunday?!? That means, that in only 5 more sleeps, we board the plane for Hawaii and then off to Australia! I am starting to get very excited! I spent all day yesterday in the snowstorm (great day for it!) packing the kitchen stuff and cleaning the living room, dining room, spare room and kitchen. Today, I'm working on the bathroom, bedroom and storage closet. And then, the lady who bought the rest of our stuff comes to pick everything up on Friday. I'll just have to mop and return the keys. Jesse also gets picked up on Friday and Steve and I are staying at Darryl and Stacey's from then until we leave. Knock on wood but I really feel like things are coming together and getting wrapped up. 5 MORE SLEEPS!!!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Boys' nite

On Saturday night, Steve went out with the boys, for his little going away bash. Visit Kristjan's blog... to see pics. Looks like they had a great time!

Girls' nite

We went out on Friday night for one last big girls' nite on the town, before I leave. We started at Darryl and Stacey's house, where we drank A LOT of wine. Then we went to Bourbon Street on the West Island of Montreal (where we live) for some dancing. The band at the bar was really good and we all had a good time cuttin' a rug! Here's a pic taken just before we left the house. I didn't take my camera to the bar, but Stace did and she got some good shots, so hopefully I can get them from her and post them later!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A lot of LASTS

As I was unloading the dishwasher this morning, I was thinking about the fact that we've been experiencing a lot of LASTS lately. Like, LAST night we went to the grocery store that sells gluten free stuff for the LAST time and today I have to go to the health food store for the LAST time, all because today is the LAST day that we have our car, and let's just face it...I'm going to be too lazy to take the bus all the way there. Tonight, we are having our LAST girls' nite out and tomorrow night, Steve and the guys are having their LAST guys' nite out. I know this is just the beginning of the LASTS that are yet to come over the next week. I'm starting to feel a little sad about the amazing friends that we're about to leave here in Montreal. We have been so fortunate to have met some extraordinary people and we will surely not forget them! We'll miss you guys!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

As per the request...

...of one of my most loyal readers (you know who you are, Chesty!), I present Me, with my new hair...hehe :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Weekend in Ottawa

We went to Kathy and Joe's for one last visit before we leave. They moved into a new house which is just adorable and totally them! I ended up getting sick with the flu, which sucked but we still managed to have a great time just chatting and hanging out. This is Kathy and Tyson. Tyson a.k.a Bear is SO cuddly. He really is a big bear, or baby bear depending on the day:) Thanks guys for having us and a special thanks for the Christmas gift! We're going to miss you guys!
This pretty much sums up how I felt for most of the weekend. Thank God for Advil. I hope I don't make Kathy and Joe sick!
Kathy and Joe and their baby puppy. They have 2 dogs, Max and Tyson and they're both adorable. I LOVE their ears!
Kath and Joe cooking dinner. The kitchen in their new place is really nice!
This is the lamb that Joe made...He's quite the cook! Steve REALLY liked the lamb and their endless supply of chocolates!
Joe and his lamb. Baaa. Sorry Katie and Melissa (vegetarian friends...hehe).
Kathy and Steve reading the paper.
Their Christmas tree. Very pretty.
Kathy, looking lovely as always.