Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cohabitation: Our first place together

I never thought that I would live with a guy before marriage. Well, I also never thought I'd live in Tasmania. I also never thought I'd meet the love of my life in Hawaii. Life happens. So here I am, living with my significant other in the land down under. 

When I was planning the move to Tasmania, Mark and I decided we would stay in his current living situation and find a place together once I arrived in Launceston. The house of roommates worked for a few weeks, but we were definitely anxious to move into our own place and be a real cohabiting couple. The search for an affordable apartment/house was frustrating, and we were glad when Mark's friend offered his investment property to us. It was everything we had on our list: in "town," electric heater (most places we saw advertised had a wood burning fireplace), washing machine, furnished, clean, all kitchen appliances included (a lot of people rent properties without a stove or refrigerator), and semi-affordable. We moved into the one bedroom unit as soon as it was available. 

It was a huge change for both Mark and me. We hadn't been together in over a year, and suddenly we were living in a small apartment. We bickered over little things like how to grocery shop and how to clean. We have since agreed that my way in those particular areas are best. I have to give credit to Mark. I am a little stubborn and like things a particular way. For example, I think kitchen counters must be cleared and cleaned at all times and laundry shouldn't stay in a laundry basket overnight. He is very patient with me and my tendencies. AND I'm learning to not sweat the small stuff. Of course I'd never stack the dishes the way he stacks the dishes, but he did do the dishes so I shouldn't say anything. Right? Right.

Over our one year long distance relationship situation, we learned how to effectively communicate with one another, and it has helped us in this cohabitation process. If we're doing something to annoy/upset one another, we're pretty quick to identify the problem and ask each other for what we need. I try and be vocal and very specific about what he needs to stop doing or something he needs to do more. For instance, it was driving me nuts when he would talk to me from another room. So I told him to please not do that because I couldn't hear him clearly and it was annoying. He doesn't do it much anymore, and when he does I sometimes pretend I don't hear him. I really should be nicer. Another example is when I first got to Launceston, Mark would scarf his dinner down and then grab his phone for texting/gaming/reading. It drove me bonkers and hurt my feelings, because "Hi! I'm still eating and you should talk to me and pay attention to me!" Well, I pointed it out, we talked about it, and now it doesn't happen anymore. He still eats his food in half the time it takes me to eat though. Anyway, my point is that he is someone who I am able to be open and honest without worrying he'll reject me or something else irrational. He has seen my crazy side and accepts it. He doesn't even think I'm too demanding, which is great! I've realized I'm too quick to yell sometimes and/or can be condescending. I'm working on that too, because I don't want to make him feel crappy because I'm a crappy communicator. The bottom line is we both know what each other needs and make those things important. 

Did I think I'd move to another country for a boyfriend? No. But it has been a great growing experience thus far. We still have a lot to learn about one another and will continue growing together. Overall, I am glad I moved for love. 

Here is a first take video of our little loveshack. Email/viber/facebook me if you have decorating ideas. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Australian Football aka Footy

The lovely Aurora Stadium in Launceston, Tasmania. Hawthorn Hawks v. Kangaroos
Note: There is no assigned seating in the stadium. I found that strange. 

I have attended my first Australian Football League match. Australian football is enduringly referred to as footy, so henceforth I will refer to it as such. On my first blog post I was under the impression that the game would be a mix between American football and rugby. Now that I have attended, I have gathered some facts and observations. 

Overview of Footy
There are two teams with 18 players each on the field. Meaning, 36 men in short shorts and tight tank tops are running around the field (fun fact: there is no universal size of a footy field; size of the oval field basically depends on the space available to the teams). While the ball is in play, the players position themselves anywhere on the field (no such thing as off sides) and use any part of their bodies to move the ball, usually by kicking it. If a player catches the ball from a kick, they have possession of the ball. Another way to move the ball around the field is to run with the ball. If a player runs with the ball, they must intermittently bounce the ball, which can be a challenge with a ball shaped like an American football on steroids. Apparently, throwing the ball is not allowed. Tackling is encouraged. The teams score goals worth 6 points when the ball is put between two goal posts. If the opposing team touches the ball before it goes through the posts, the team will score 1 point. The goal posts are between two other posts. It looks like 4 poles in a line. If the team gets the ball between the posts on the outside, they score 1 point. Now, I'm positive I have inadequately thoroughly explained the game. Moving on.

Aussie ballers in uniforms. 
Pre-Game Activities
Drink with friends. Mark and I had a couple friends over to drink from the house keg. We drank beer while sitting in the sun, threw the American football around, and shared some laughs. After consuming/chugging a few beers, we took a cab to the stadium.

Game Activities
Drink with friends. As soon as we got to the stadium we found our friends inside. We were a group of eight ladies and gents. Our team, the Hawthorn Hawks, were killing the Kangaroos (hi, be more Australian). We cheered, ate stadium food, and drank beer. When I ordered a chicken burger and fries, the concession lady didn't give me a funny look when I ordered though. It wasn't until later that I realized I had asked for fries. I should  start calling french fries chips, and potato chips crisps. On second thought, maybe she did give me a funny look, but I was too inebriated to notice or care. I just wanted my burger, fries, and beer! Anyway, the people watching during the game was fun too. The footy match attracted every type of community member from young to old. It was THE place to be that friday evening. 

Grace and I cheering for the Hawks.

Me: Hawks are #1.
Mark: Can I finish this beer now? 
Post-Game Activities
Drink with friends. After the game, we walked to a pub for the after-party. We had beer and wine. I had lots of beer and wine. I had to keep drinking wine, because my new friends kept giving it to me. Duh. I had a blast! We had good conversation. I showed my new homies how I like to make a circle and then pretend like I'm going to break dance, but then never actually break dance. And I learned remembered a lesson I had forgotten: chugging wine at a pub is fun in the moment, but leads to an epic all-day hangover the following day. 

My final verdict on Australian Football
I would definitely encourage anyone to go to a match. It was a fast game with a lot of action. The atmosphere was relaxed and fun. I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed with the lack of "the wave," traditional cheers/songs, and overall team spirit. Before going to the game, I had planned to get a Hawk costume in team colors, and now I'm rethinking the mascot costume idea. All things considered, I am looking forward to my next Footy match. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A drawer of bikinis and nowhere to wear them

In Hawaii my weekend attire consisted of a mix of sundresses, shorts, bikinis, and slippahs. In my excitement to pack for Tasmania, I filled my two suitcases with a brand new fancy black coat, a Patagonia black bomber down jacket, office clothes, "weekend clothes," and bikinis. Now that Ive been in Tasmania for two weeks, Ive realized I have a drawer of adorable bikinis and nowhere to wear them! Its a problem. Here in the land down under, Summer is quickly fading into Fall, and the beaches aren't that close to my small town of Launceston. Ive been feeling the urge/need to put on a swimsuit and jump in the ocean.

So when Mark said we'd take a drive to a North coast beach, I was excited to wear a bikini feel the sand between my toes, and put my feet in the ocean. The plan was to drive about an hour North to Green's Beach. Mark and his friend were going to freedive and attempt spearfishing. I wanted to lounge and recover from my hangover from the footy match shenanigans the night before. Armed with a plan, sunscreen, and dive gear we started off on our Saturday road trip. After the long scenic drive and pulling over a few times to "calm my stomach," we got to a lovely beachside town. I could not wait to get some fresh ocean air. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we were bombarded with flies. Not just a few flies. The town was infested with flies! Swatting flies away from my face, I was ready to jump back in the car and sleep, but I was on a mission. I marched to the beach thinking that the flies couldn't possibly be on the beach. I was wrong. I found a spot to set up camp. I tossed and turned on the sand, covered in flies, trying to have a relaxing beach day. It didn't work. The only thing that kept me on the beach for 30 minutes was that my massive hangover was not allowing me the energy to physically move my body. But after 30 minutes in the hot sun, I could feel the sunburn developing. The UV index was high that day. I needed to get out of the sun. I searched for shade and couldn't find any on the beach. Eventually I walked towards the spot Mark and his friend got in the water. I saw the guys floating. Im pretty sure the flies were attempting to attack them in the water too. I was sitting on the rocks, trying to ignore the flies around/on me. There were so many flies that they were behind my sunglasses...thats a lot of flies. After 45 minutes on Green's Beach, I was ready to leave. Mark was ready too, which is rare because he can easily spend 5 hours freediving. He said there was no life in the ocean. Nothing. From the pictures, the beach looks nice. Maybe it was the hangover, barren ocean, really cold ocean water, or strong UV rays, but it wasnt the beach trip I had expected. Admittedly, Hawaii did spoil me. Since Summer is ending, Im not sure if i'll get another chance to sun bathe much longer. I am looking forward to checking out the beaches on the East coast of Tasmania. I will probably be sporting a thick wetsuit for those waters though. 

Look-out to Green's Beach. It was a very sunny and clear day.

An empty-handed, wetsuit-wearing, speargun-armed Mark. Hes a sad frustrated diver here.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fortune Favors the Bold

Currently, I'm in Launceston, Tasmania. I live in Tasmania. Woah. 

About a year ago, I decided I would leave everyone and everything that made me feel content and comfortable to be with my boyfriend in Australia. Sure it gave me a mild panic attack and made me sad thinking about leaving my little sisters, but I made the choice based on love and not fear. I figured I am young, have little to no real responsibilities, and am in love. This was a choice to leave my very comfortable life in Hawaii to begin my life with the person who loves me and wants to build a future with me. 

This first week in Australia has been an emotional roller coaster. Im unemployed, in a new country, living with a guy, missing my family/friends/Hawaiian sun, and figuring out finances, but Im finally with my loving partner. 

Anyway, enough about my emotions. Ive been in Tazzie for one week. Nothing too exciting has happened...see below. 
Friday, 2/14: day of arrival aka valentines day. Honestly, it was pretty romantic to arrive that day and have Mark (the person previously referred to as my loving partner) meet me in the airport with a single red rose (hi, i won The Bachelor!). We had a happy hour(s) drinking his homemade beer. He prepared a wonderful dinner of salmon, which was cooked on his Boyscouts of America approved homemade smoker, and some sides.
Flirty red dress and double fisting beers on vday..very romantical.

Saturday: Mark did a clean up dive with a group of friends in a very small town about 45 mins north of Launceston. I didn't dive even though I am now officially a PADI beginner open water diver woop woop. I stayed on land and helped haul the garbage out of the water. 
Trash pulled out of the Tamar in George Town, Tas. Not romantical

Sunday: Mark and I made hot sauce because there was nothing in the grocery store that would satisfy my taste for spice. Ever heard of borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor? Well we borrowed a food processor and gave them hot sauce in return. No word on if the habeneros were too hot for them. Friendly neighbors though. 

Monday: I did laundry and had to hang the clothes on a line outside under the Tasman sun, because I live in the country.

Tues-Fri: I started reading "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without me?" by the very funny Ms.Mindy Kaling, job hunted on the internet and sent a bunch of emails, tried to find networking opportunities, and started a blog. 

Apparently, this evening we are going to an Australian Football match. From what I gather, it's like a mix of American football and rugby. I didn't Google it. I'll blog about the game next post. I'll leave you with this little gem...