Monday, June 29, 2009

My life be like...

I have no idea why I decided to title this blog post the first line of a song that I don't even like, but, you know, it just fit.

What have I been up to as of late?

Nothing too much really, just slogging through the winter months of Australia (the seasons in the southern hemisphere are opposite to the northern hemisphere, just a little geographic/ climatological info for ya :) This winter really isn't that bad, especially compared to some of the subzero (Fahrenheit), snowfilled days in NYC; but it's still down in the 40's and upper 30's, plus this is the RAINY season. Sorry, I'm talking way too much about the weather and that's how you know I'm bored, but I'm going to keep ranting for just a few more lines.

I hate rain.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know we need it to sustain life on this planet, but in my mind, I thought coming to Australia would be just about the closest thing I could get to my ideal climate, namely, hot and dry, year round. The fact that Australians have deluded themselves into thinking, "it's only cold for a few weeks a year... we don't need insulation in our homes... or heating," doesn't help.


It has come to my attention that I use the segue, "ANYway," more frequently than most, some have even called it a trademark of my informal writings. It's not a conscious thing, it just happens, but now whenever I DO use it there is some mental awkwardness for me... in case anyone was wondering.

But I digress; I met some African- Americans the other day. Where, you ask? On the basketball court, of course. It was actually pretty funny because one of the guys is the ex- husband of my coworker, so I had heard a good deal about him. However, that's where the humor stopped. These two were the worst kind of Americans, OK, not the worst, they weren't jumping around in cowboy boots waving confederate flags; certainly the worst kind of American basketballers. First of all, this game was in a church league so you would expect a degree of civility even though everyone who participates is not necessarily a believer, but why join a church league if you are a loud- mouthed, trash- talking, braggart, who can't even back it up? Secondly, these guys only had four players, their fifth was suspended because he lashed out at a referee last week by calling him a feminine hygiene product; yeah. So, we decided to play the game 5 on 4 rather than have them take a forfeit and it just wasn't fun. We won by about 30, but the whole game was just an exercise of self-control. They complained about every single call the refs made, which was pretty impressive because they never got out of breath. Even during free throws when everyone else was taking a breather, these two brothas kept on flapping their gums. But like I said, we won by thirty so that was a bit of vindication, except that it didn't even feel that great because they complained that they only had four players so of course we should have beaten them so badly. Some people just don't know how to lose with dignity, but thankfully, we get to play that team again and I can just hope that they will be at full strength, allowing us to administer a proper beatdown :)

Well, that's about it for now... Everyone back in America, make sure you set off some extra fireworks for me this weekend, apparently for some reason, they are illegal here. On a related note, how about the US men's soccer team? Beating Italy, Spain, and Brazil (for a half) in one week? Watch out world...

Bye? How do you end a blog post? It's not really a letter or a message, it's just floating out there in cyberspace...

The End.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Party Time.

Not sure if you have heard... but Cate and I are getting married!

So, Cate's parents decided to throw us an engagement party (several weeks ago... sorry for the late update) at our favorite Aussie restaurant; Mela, an Indian restaurant.

The photographic evidence follows.

This cake was actually made for us and presented by a friend before the engagement party, but I just thought that I would throw it in too.

These are two of the approximately five glasses of champagne consumed at our party. We thought people would want to celebrate with some bubbly, so we bought TWELVE bottles; whoopsie daisy.

The two of us with a comically angry Vono and cheery Shannon.

Bryan, Cate, Jordan, Annabelle. Happy family :)

Jess and Jenna Haak (cousins) demonstrating the elusive awkward face/ T-Rex arms combination.

(1) Us with church friends; Aleesa, Seb, and Giles. (2) Us with work friends; Jorge/ Allison (the hosts of the Latin American dinner mentioned in the previous blog), Jane, Jen, and Wavey.

(3) Me with the guys from church; Phil, Ben-O, and Kieron. (4) Upper corridor shot.

Cate with three out of four brisdesmaids; Kate, Rae, and Jess.

Excellent chocolate cake... looking forward to more at the wedding? Maybe? Hm, I guess I actually have a say in that, hey? haha

Lower corridor shot.


Monday, June 15, 2009

BIG Weekend

Man, it is pretty difficult to believe, but as of tomorrow afternoon I will have been living in Perth (on the other side of the planet from Saint Louis!) for a full FIVE months! This is just about the longest I have ever been away from home and I'm starting to miss the little things (I've been missing the big things all along). I'd also like to take this time to apologize for not posting more frequently or with updates about my life here... I'm busy living it... but I really will try to write on a more regular basis about more general topics instead of my deep musings about life and sociocultural cycles that are playing out here.

Without further ado, my weekend.

Friday Night!- We meant to go to a friend's birthday party, but we were tired, so we just went home and played Scrabble with Cate's mom. Haha, a great start to a jampacked weekend!

Saturday Morn- I picked Cate up and we drove deep into the heart of Belmont to coach our little basketball kids (she coaches the under 8's and I coach the under 11's). Somehow, I was roped into running the show for one of the under 8 teams, and funnily enough, my team was matched up against Cate's. It was certainly a battle of coaching prowess as we cajoled our respective teams of five and six year olds to, "get off the floor... you can't be sleepy," or warmly remind them that, "there's no reason to be afraid of the ball." Needless to say, these kids are cute. Frankly, I think the result of the game could also go without a mention, but I'm too petty! I won 12-1! Yeah baby, yeah! My older kids aren't as cute or funny, but THEY think it's hilarious to use me as their personal jungle gym... but we won that game too and we are on a hot streak (three out of the last four games, gearing up for the playoffs!)

Saturday Arvo (Australian for "Afternoon")- I dropped Cate off back at home so she could go fabric shopping with her mother and jetted off to play some basketball of my own. We squared off against another team from our church, and to be entirely honest with you, I have no idea what happened. Somehow, I managed to hit five of six jumpers in the first half! I have never shot that well in my life, but I just couldn't miss. Sadly, I thought that my streaky shooting would continue in the second half, but I just kept bricking. Oh well, we won that one too!

Saturday Evening- Cate and I geared up to head down to Mandurah to have a slumber party with Rae and Shane (the genders were separated, no worries), but first we made a stop at an Irish pub to watch the Australian national rugby team (the Wallabies) manhandle the Italians. Because neither Cate's family nor my housemates and I have the requisite cable package, we are forced to go out of doors to watch some high quality rugby... but for some reason the concept of sports bars (a la Buffalo Wild Wings) has never taken off here! I have gone on this tirade before, but it really doesn't make any sense that a country which prides itself on its love of drink and sport could have gotten this so wrong, but I digress. After the game we joined Rae and Shane at a Mandurah cafe called Moka (great hot chocolates and potato wedges for those of you taking notes for when you come here in January for the wedding :) to watch/ listen to a friend perform. Her name is Cherith. She was awesome.

Sunday Morning- Back to Moka for breakfast, wonderful and not that pricy! We drove back up to Perth, changed, and then prepared for that afternoon/ evening.

Sunday Evening- We pre-empted church last night because one of Cate's co-workers invited us to a Latin American themed dinner party. Her husband is Venezulan, so we knew it would be too legit to quit, hey, hey. We decided to prepare a spicy chilli con carne, which turned out alright for our first effort. But at the party we had shredded pork, black beans, chicken with a chilli/ chocolate sauce, nachos, and of course, rice. It was all very tasty, but I think the best part of the night was the pinata. Becaue several of the couples had young children a Dora the Explorer pinata was purchased. The kids gave it their best whacks, but just couldn't break through. However, one of the mommies had a few swings and before you could say, "Dios mio," off flew Dora's head. High comedy.

Ahh, and here we rest on Monday night just counting down the days til we touch down on American soil. Another post is coming within the next couple of days, so stay tuned!

Love/ miss you all!


Sunday, June 7, 2009


In a lot of ways, my life has been pretty busy lately (planning a wedding in Australia and parties to celebrate beforehand in America, work, coaching little kids basketball, playing church basketball, Bible study, and hanging out with my fiancée and other friends), but I also manage to have a good deal more free time since I left the rugby pitch; thus I have returned to my writing ways.

Last weekend was three days because in Western Australia it was ‘Foundation Day,’ or in other words, the day to commemorate when Europeans first settled Western Australia. While I was not celebrating such a momentus occasion, I did reap the benefit of a day off work by attending SYG (State Youth Games). SYG is a pretty big event on the Western Australian Christian calendar as it is a three day festival that draws its competitors from churches all around the state. I went with a friend’s church and signed up for Badminton, Dodgeball, Indoor Beach Volleyball, and of course Scrabble.

Badminton was an interesting selection for me since my experience with the game is limited at best, however, I had a great deal of success against all comers from the Taylor family a couple of years ago so I thought I would be decent. What I did not realize was that there were actually people my age who apparently play this oddly named sport as more than a backyard leisure activity. I managed to run into a church that featured three teams of two such players, needless to say, they thrashed us and in the process forced me to explain on multiple occasions that just because we played some very good badminton athletes who happened to be of Asian background, that in fact, all Asians did not possess some badminton/table tennis superiority gene. Ugh.

Dodgeball is a game in which I possess many talents at a very high level thanks to my years of working with annoying children who loved to play the game (leaving me with no choice but to hone my ability to the highest possible levels so as to maintain an air of invincibility… it’s true). Unfortunately, I am not quite sure that all of my teammates took quite the same approach to the tournament. We took a loss in the first game which I will chalk up to rustiness on the part of my brethren and sistren, but then we reeled off four victories in a row until we played our final match of the preliminary round. Now, for those of you who know me at all, you know that I play to win, no matter what the game/ sport, I always give it 110%, but with that said I never play dirty or trash talk. Being the fantastic dodgeballer that I am, I must have rubbed some of the people on the opposing team the wrong way because they jeered me! They actually shouted taunts at me at a Christian sports festival! I tried to play on pure adrenaline alone, but alas, it was not enough, my team fell in the contest, and narrowly missed out on a spot in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, Cate had just led her team to the final of the basketball competition, but had come down with a terrible migraine. That night, we contemplated heading home so Cate could sleep in her own bed, but she decided to stick it out for the second day which began with Indoor Beach Volleyball. She made a full recovery for our last day :)

The premise of Indoor Beach Volleyball is an interesting one for me, but I guess there are people who must play beach volleyball year round even if the weather would not usually permit it. This event was primarily a mess around one for our team since none of us actually play volleyball, let alone beach volleyball. Yet somehow, we managed to compile a 3-2 record, which again, left us just short of advancing past the prelim round.

In my final event, I planned to make up for the rest of the weekend’s disappointments by shutting up all of the critics and winning Scrabble. Yes, I actually had critics; for some reason, I suppose I do not strike people as the Scrabble loving type of individual, but whatever the reason, I felt like I had something to prove. The preliminary rounds consisted of six 20 minute games, which is really quite taxing on the brain and nerves, but I pushed through the first four games with an unblemished record. My fifth game was against a formidable foe who was one of the few others who had yet to lose a game, I thought I could handle her because she challenged the word, “spurn,” which led me to believe that she could not possibly beat me with such a limited vocabulary, and yet I lost. My final preliminary match was against a chap who seemed particularly nervous and fidgety, but he played the game with a great deal of strategy and skill, so I knew it would be close; and it was, but he won. 4-2. Not a very impressive record, but I managed to squeak into the quarterfinals only to face, the anxious fellow again. He knew he was in for a big match and I was more than ready for the challenge, but as with scrabble and life, sometimes things just don’t go your way, and I lost again.

Oh well.