G’day from the land Down Under!
Just saying, I have yet to hear an Australian say “G’day”. It’s wonderful to finally be sitting down to catch you up with the last couple of weeks. It’s hard to believe I have now been living in Australia for one month. In some ways it feels much longer, and shorter too.
To set the scene, it’s currently Wednesday evening and I am sitting on our balcony, taking in this view. I’m listening to the trains take their course below, and I kid you not I just saw a bat leisurely flying with a wingspan the size of my arms. Australia, am I right?
I arrived in Brisbane, Australia to be greeted by sunshine and humidity just days before Australia Day (which seems fitting). While I’m not a fan of humidity, I will say that coming from a dry, -40 degrees in Edmonton, Canada, I happily embraced the warmth. I took the first few days to settle in and get myself adjusted both physically and mentally to my new reality.
Prior to leaving Edmonton, Lyle and I managed to gain possession of an apartment that we’ve been dreaming of for a couple of years now. We are in a neighborhood of Brisbane called South Bank which is right alongside the river. It is within walking distance to downtown, and is bustling with restaurants, cocktail bars, movie theaters, libraries and live entertainment. A few years ago we stayed at an Airbnb in this area and walked past a hotel/apartment unit called Ivy and Eve. We loved the look and promised we’d make the effort to check it out and stay for future stay-cations. Back in 2018 during a visit to Australia, good friends Marley and Megan had arranged to travel through the country around the same time as I. We chose to meet up for a few days in Brisbane and stayed at Ivy and Eve. Not only was our time spent together amazing, but so was the place! This only affirmed Lyle and I’s love for the area, as well as the apartment building. It’s crazy to think now of how all of this has come together and how we are now calling this place home.
Following our acceptance, we quickly got to work arranging everything we would need for the big move. As this was also Lyle’s first time moving out, we rented a truck, packed up everything Lyle had access to (we had a collection of items we could take with us – a couch, fridge, tv, two beds; we were definitely set up to start off in a good place). Because Australia Day, similar to Canada Day lends a statuary holiday, we were able to take the Monday to move in all our things. The first time we watched the sky line come to life from our balcony, we were exhausted, drained from moving, but deeply satisfied and in disbelief by our fortune in making this place our home for the year.
Our first week was spent settling in. The weekend following, we were asked by Lyle’s Dad and Step Mum to come to a small beach town called Caloundra for the weekend. We happily accepted knowing after a busy week of unpacking, organizing, and adjusting, that a relaxing weekend on the beach would be just what we needed to recharge.
The weekend was filled with food market wandering, lounging, swimming, sunset soaking, where-am-I-and-what-time-is-it naps along with monopoly playing. For the record, I won monopoly by a landslide. Alan and Janine (Lyle’s Dad and Step Mum) did not hold back in spoiling us with drinks, picnic spreads and barbecued goods (Alan’s expertise). What more, Amy and Matt (Lyle’s sister and her fiancé) also joined for the weekend, which only added to the fun. Amy actually asked me to be apart of her wedding party in the week prior, and overjoyed I accepted.
In the last few weeks we have begun to make city living in Brisbane and our place feel like home. We’ve made trips to Ikea and Kmart to spend our Christmas gifts (thank you everyone!) and we were able to get a collection of items to fill the corners and make everything a bit cozier. It’s amazing what a few pillow cushions and frames can do! It’s been such a delight picking out new things together, figuring out what we like, and making this place our own. Each week we figure out how to make things work a little better, or what we could use and piece by piece we are figuring out what this new life and this new place together looks like.
Most nights we have cooked dinner together, sat on our balcony, or spent time at the pool. I don’t think words can express how nice it is to be doing “normal” things for a change. Together, Lyle and I have only ever known holidays together (where one person is visiting the other). The change of pace and normalcy of it all is really quite refreshing.
What more, Lyle and I spent our first Valentines Day together! This was a real treat as in a span of almost 4 years, we’ve never actually had this holiday together. Lyle had told me he made reservations somewhere in the weeks prior, without letting out another peep as to where and what that might look like. I spent the morning in the kitchen, making cookies that I would later surprise him with. If I’m being honest though, I woke up that morning, excited for myself, because I knew there was a fair share of cookie dough awaiting me (quality control, right?). I would later find out that Lyle booked a 5 course tasting menu at a wine bar called La Luna on Fish Lane just walking distance from our place. For reference, Fish Lane is an artistic alleyway filled with beautiful graffiti, hanging lights, brick bordered bars and small artisan restaurants. We were spoiled with a delicious array of entrees ranging from fish, to risotto, steak, and the most divine chocolate dessert (tasted like rich chocolate that instantly melted in your mouth and also had the consistency of butter – Mama Lemke, can you make this?)
All in all, it’s been a whirlwind. To be anticipated, there has been a lot of emotions. Happy and content have been the majority. I find myself however needing to be reminded that if some days are harder than others, that is okay. I can be so accepting of others emotions (such as my clients). but have a hard time navigating my own. I’m excited to be in a new city, and a little intimidated too. I miss the accessibility of family and friends that I’m sure in Edmonton I at times took for granted. But I’m so thankful that I am experiencing this longing in a way that makes me so much more grateful for the goodness I have back home.
That’s all I have for now. Lyle has begun completing his logbook which is the first step he needs to take in becoming an accredited and licensed architect. I will have more news on this the next time I update you all (but please, for his sake, pray it be good news). We are looking forward to celebrating Lyle’s birthday in the coming week, going to Cirque du Soleil, and a comedy show near the end of February. What more awaits? We shall see!