Thursday, August 30, 2012

Planes, trains, & automobiles

Home sweet home after nearly two weeks in the states.

We managed to fly-drive into/out of 10 cities. Some flights/drives more tolerable than others.

First destination was Tahoe to meet up with my Pop Pop & baby brother, Josh.
Josh & Dad were there a few days before us, so they were able to show us around.
A gondola ride was our first bit of sight seeing.

The gondola was $34 per adult. I think for the views we saw it was well worth the cost.
This is one of the many shots from while in the gondola. It took us to two seperate areas. One observation deck-walk around and view the lake and trees, second stop view of the trees & mountains. The second stop had a bunch of things for kids to do & a restaurant.

This pic is from the observation deck with the lake behind us.
Paul convinced some child to snap the pic of us.

This is what we suspect to be a Joshua tree.

Dad & Josh had a Toyota Yaris. It's the smallest car I've ever been in.
But Josh managed to fit in the back & he's a tall drink of water.

Second stop of the day was a drive to Emerald Bay. Only about 25 minutes out of town. We drove a bit further to the left of this picture. Once we arrived at the stop it was a mile walk down a windy trail to the water. The water was absolutely crystal clear with gold flecks. It was incredible. My one regret of the trip is not having my swim suit, to take a dip in the water.
The beauty of Tahoe is that it's not huge.
So we were able to do the Gondola & Emerald Bay in only one day with out being rushed.

Brittany & Andy were married on a beach called Zephyr Cove. The ceremony was at 6pm, about an hour before sunset. The weather was perfect. It was a bit gloomy the day of the wedding & managed to clear up just before the wedding for an amazing backdrop. 

Mr. & Mrs. Bruno! Britt was absolutely glowing all day long. Her dress was perfect for a beach wedding. A silk slip, with a lace covering. Her dress was actually two seperate pieces, with a waist belt. Her makeup was done by the makeup artist from Desperate Housewives. Only at a California wedding ;) 

Mr. & Mrs. Bruno during their first dance. Her dress increased in beauty throughout the day. 

Love this girl so much. So happy to have been a part of hers & Andy's big day.

Midwest girls! Mandy, Mara, Myself, and Maggie. We cut a serious rug at the reception.

Sunset at Zephyr Cove at about dinner time.
It's a public beach, so there were boats all around.

My handsome boyfriend and I had a few slow dances. He was happy about that :)

Next stop-Kentucky! 5 days in Kentucky.
Paul's work has a location in Louisville, KY.
He was able to check it out while we were in the states. 

We went to the Jim Beam distillery. It was about a 30 minute drive out of Louisville. This was free, with a Bourbon tasting. The Bourbon made my mouth numb.
I usually drink Jameson if I drink Whiskey. But it was cool to check out. 
We drove about 30 minutes away from the distillery. We stumbled upon a small town while looking for a public beach-to no avail! We went to a self proclaimed antique mall. Paul found two old records. One being Culture Club well worth the $2 they were charging. I bought two glass bowls-I was channeling my inner old lady. We went to an old bar for a beer that Jesse James used to frequent in the days of old west. According to the antique mall owners there are still bullet holes in the bar.

These were in the small town next to the bar. These I took for my Dad.
We have two pics of Josh & I about 10 years apart in these things at Disney world.

This is the great Kentucky State Fair. It was about a quarter of the size of the Mn. fair. The only food on a stick I saw was cotton candy. They had some of the weirdest things on display for blue ribbons-tobacco leaves, corn on the cob, & honey baked ham, yes honey baked ham. It was definitely good for people watching. Kentucky is weird. I will say though, Kentucky seemed to be cost effective. We ate out every night & most meals were $20 or under. I would recommend an area on Bardstown Road. It reminded me of something similar to Uptown, Mpls with less dweebs. 

We drove down to the river for sunset. There were three seperate brides all next to each other over the river one on each side of this bridge. One of the bridges took us to Indiana the next day. Five days in Louisville was plenty for the both of us. Because of the fair everyone was driving golf carts everywhere. At first it was funny. But after the first two days it lost it's novelty & I was OVER yielding to golf carts on busy roads.

                                       Later Kentucky-back to La for a six hour layover!
We took a cab ride to Venice Beach from Lax to grab a bite & take in sunset. This area is special to us. While we were living apart we took several trips to Venice Beach to meet up. I absolutely adore Venice. People aren't afraid to be themselves. There are million dollar homes lining the boardwalk. But just down the boardwalk there are street vendors, bums napping in the grass, bikers/joggers/skate boarders. We rented bikes on one of our trips & biked from Venice to Santa Monica. It was rad! I wouldn't recommend doing it after dark. There are some sketchy characters. During the day though it's safe. There are 'Marijuana Doctors' just about every third vendor, people selling art, and dogs galore. I would recommend Venice to anyone with an open mind & a laid back personality.  

After 12 days or so with out a home base I was ready to come home. Waking up everyday before housekeeping knocks on the door, or eating out every night is only fun for so long. We've now been home for four days. We're slowly getting back into our regular sleeping/eating habits. The first day home we flew in at about 9 am, arrived home about 10 am, and I slept from about 10:30 am until the next day at 5 am when Paul went to work. He's much stronger when it comes to jet lag than me. I get very lathargic & need lots of time to re-aclimate to my surroundings. We've been getting out & going for a few shorts walks. The more active we are the better it seems to be for me.

Only another two and a half months until we're back in the states for Thanksgiving!
Better remind Dad to set up our bedroom!

xo, Meaghan

Monday, August 13, 2012

A few snap shots over the past month.

         A collaborative of photos over the past month.

Self explanatory from my going away bbq. It was a sweaty day to say the least.
I felt very loved. Some of my oldest friends made it. 
Including my beautiful friend Katie who flew in from Florida. 

This was at Lax just before the long flight to Melbourne. We were very lucky & had a direct flight. It was also in the at about 11pm. I slept almost the whole flight. Very tolerable for my first international flight.

One of the ports in Melbourne. We go on walks fairly often when the weather permits.

This is just before sunset while out on a walk.

Almost every yard has flower bushes. They are all lovely.
I like these for obvious colorful reasons.

This is the view of a spot I like to jog.

A beautiful view of the port & a Melbourne Sunrise.

A ferris wheel in Fremantle, Western Australia. The weather was excellent, so Freo was quite busy. I've found that most of Western Australia seems to be very family friendly. Most restaurants have playgrounds for kids to jump around on. One brewery had a giant sandbox.

Sunset over the Indian Ocean in Rockingham. 

On my birthday Paul surprised me by taking me to a piercing shop.
I told him a few weeks prior that I really wanted it pierced again. He listens :)

My first footy game. The Hawthorn Hawks vs. Geelong Cats. The Cats smashed the Hawks.

Outside of the footy field-the Melbourne Cricket Ground

On our drive into the city.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week 3!

I've now been in Australia for nearly a month. Everyday I'm learning something new about myself & Paul. We've accomplished a few milestones in our relationship. We now have a phone account together, a bank account, I have a job, and last but not least....I've finally met his family & close friends!

We took a weekend trip to Perth this past weekend. It was a wonderful time. We stayed in the Swan Valley the first night & spent the day with Paul's sister Ness, and his nephews Jordan (7) & Christian (3). We took a little trip to a chocolate shop, a local park, and a local vineyard for some lunch. They boys are very active & quite hilarious. They love their uncle Paul & I was so happy that we were able to spend some quality time with them. Later in the day we took a little drive to Hamilton Hill. There I met Kieran, Amy, Baby Charlotte (1 month) & Morphy the dog. We had to take some time away to take care of some adult business (taxes). But we headed straight back to Hilton just in time to hold little Charlotte before she retired for the evening. The big kids spent the remainder of the evening drinking adult beverages & catching up. The following day was my 26th birthday (gulp). I woke up to a card & a picture of some rad boots (coming via etsy) from my darling boyfriend. We crawled out of bed & headed into the kitchen to find new Dad, Kieran up & brewing some coffee. I was able to drink down some coffee & skype with my hilarious family back in Minnesota for a bit. Molly, Kevin, Joe, Mom & even Grandma Rita in town from Hawaii. Molly was the ring leader. Kevin was the funny face maker. Joe had the one liners. Mom was crying & Grandma was attempting to fill me in on Lanai. After that entertaining video call we were greeted with cuddles from Charlotte post her morning breaky & some awesome Australian inspired gifts from the Dempseys. I now have a six pack cooler with the Australian flag, the Castle on DVD, two Australia t-shirts, & the very best of Australia on CD. I've already used the cooler :) Later in the day we met back up with Ness & the boys over at Mrs. Forsyths. I met Paul's Mum & his younger brother, Michael. We had a delicious chocolate mudslide cake & some laughs. Paul & I took a little alone time & ventured to Fremantle later in the day. He surprised me with a trip to a piercing shop. I told him a couple weeks earlier that I was yearning to have my nose repierced. He sweetly surprised me & brought me down to the shop. After we soaked up some some & enjoyed a couple local brews we headed back to hang with the Dempsey's. Both Amy & Kieran cooked up a delicious meal including prawns on the barbie! K-man surprised me with my first pavlova adorned with sparklers. We played a bit of board games & hit the hay pretty early. Sunday was a chill day. We had a delicious brunch down in South Beach. Soaked in a bit more sun & stopped at one last friends before heading to the airport.

Sunday was Paul & my 'decided' anniversary. We met on my birthday (July 21st) in 2011. Both of us mutually decided without discussing that we were together. We had a quite enjoyable flight home filled with wine, laughs, & serious discussion. It's safe to say that I fall deeper in love everyday that I'm here. We're so lucky to have managed  a year long long distance relationship to finally be together now. Although I miss my family & friends more than words can describe this kind of love is worth it. We'll be in Tahoe, California in just 3 weeks. Not only will I be a part of my dear friend Brittany's wedding...but my Dad & bro are flying out to see Paul & I. How lucky am I?!

Signing off for now,
xo Meaghan

USA bound!

We went on a lovely walk yesterday.
Monday August 13th.

It's been just over a month since moving to Australia. No big changes. I'm working at the RSL across the street from home. We fly back to the states tomorrow morning for two weeks. We'll be in Tahoe California for dear friends-the Bruno/Garvey wedding. We drive fly from Melbourne to LAX, LAX to Reno & drive from Reno to Tahoe. Should be quite an exhausting day. In Tahoe my Dad and brother will be waiting for us to spend a bit of time while we're in the states. We have Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday all day with the fam. Thursday will be nails in the morning with the bride and rehearsal/rehearsal dinner in the evening. I'm so looking forward to seeing both family & friends!! After Tahoe we head to Louisville, Kentucky for five days. Paul will be working while we're there. It gives us the opportunity for him to meet co-workers while in the states. I'll be lounging by the pool (weather permitting). Time to get packing! I had the hard realization that I needed to pack 14 pairs of underwear, ugh!