The First Day of School

“Smile, make friends and eat a healthy lunch,” was the advice from a friend when I expressed that I was a bit nervous about today. It’s been 10 years since I graduated from UCSB so I do feel a little out of practice with this whole student thing.

But here I am ready for my first day with my healthy lunch packed, smile on my face and ready to make friends. Please pray for this week of learning and adjustment.  Graduate school can’t be too difficult, right?

Preparing For Australia Day

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-2-15-36-pmWe see what’s happening from our balcony, as the grass between us and the Swan River is slowly being transformed for tomorrow’s event.  Our place will be the hub for our team to come and be a part of this Australian tradition because we’ll have a great view of the fireworks and we’re right on top of all the action.screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-2-15-58-pmPerth is preparing for Australia Day.  For all you Americans, think Columbus Day with celebrations like the 4th of July.  But just like Columbus Day is drawing criticism because it tends to ignore the people the land originally belonged to, Australia Day also has critics.  The city of Fremantle no longer has an Australia Day celebration and for my understanding of why, you can read my blog post from 2013: Australia Day also known as Invasion Day.screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-2-18-40-pmObserving and participating in these celebrations are part of us getting to know Australia, history and all.  And so we watch as the lawn below us turns into a carnival and a gathering place.  And tomorrow we’ll take part in the sausage sizzle, maybe some of the games and then a group of us will gather in our apartment and watch the fireworks.  Not a bad way to celebrate us being here in Australia together on our first Australia Day.Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 2.53.27 PM.png

Getting to Know Perth- A Walking Tour

There are many different ways to learn about a city.  Sometimes you need a local guide to talk about why certain things are the way they are and to point out places or things that you might otherwise overlook.  Ryan and I decided to try out a local tour that seemed interesting and it turned out to be well worth our time and money.  If you come and visit us, we’ll probably send you on this tour too. (Check it out: Oh Hey WA!)  It was a great way to see the heart of the city, hear about local history, art, food and the future of what’s happening as well.

From the oldest building in Perth to the current revitalization of buildings in the city.  We were introduced to all the basics and then some.  This tour answered some of the questions I had about spaces I was seeing in the city as well as asked me to look up, down and around some corners that I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.

The street art in Perth is pretty amazing, especially if you know where to look.  And when the tour guide mentioned two different pizza places in the city, she had Ryan’s attention.  One spot even has half priced pizzas on Wednesdays.  I know where we’re eating soon!

We also were introduced to some of the buildings and art installations that light up in the city.  This has inspired us to take more evening walks.  I’m hoping that those walks will lead us to a couple of the cool bars that our guide also mentioned.  Evidently there use to be no nightlife in the city but recently bars and restaurants have been opening up and making their mark.  After 5 o’clock there is a reason to be downtown now.

One thing I have noticed before was the mix of old and new in the city.  This tour just emphasized that this juxtaposition is the result of a lot of intentional work and planning.  And of course, I loved being introduced to some of the Noongar (aboriginal art) that can also be found around the city.  This was a wonderful way to spend our morning and now we have even more ideas of how to explore and enjoy this great city.

If You Give a Neighbor a Cookie

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-9-51-33-amIf you give a neighbor a cookie, he’ll probably ask for a cup of tea.  And if he asks for a cup of tea, he will probably ask for a place to sit down.  And if he asks for a place to sit down, he’ll probably want to have a chat.  And if the chat lasts long enough, he might get hungry again.  And then he’ll probably ask for another cookie.screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-9-52-04-amOk so maybe that’s a little too simplistic.  But here’s the deal, Ryan and I have always known our neighbors to a certain extent.  And in a home, you just hang around outside and at some point you’ll see and get to chat with the people who live around you.  But we now live in a high-rise and no one can access our floor except us and our 9 neighbors.  Short of reading a book in the hallway, the only way to meet our neighbors is to cross paths while taking out the trash or in the elevator.screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-9-51-12-amI also enjoy baking and so we figured that some American chocolate chip cookies might help break the ice.  Please pray for us as we continue to get to know people in our building and in our community.  Please pray for our 9 neighbors who will be receiving chocolate chip cookies and an invitation for a cuppa (to share a warm beverage) at our place.  Who knows what will happen, but if you give your neighbor a cookie…

Getting to Know Perth- The American Store

Ryan and I have some newfound freedom this week because we are borrowing a car.  Because of this, we’ve taken the opportunity to do a big grocery shopping trip at Coles (not clothing but food) as well as visit Ikea (the same wonderful store).  It’s been interesting hauling our purchases up to the 18th floor but praise the Lord for elevators (or the lift for all you Australians).  And it is worth mentioning that the driving has been interesting for us too.  I’m sure I will blog more about our Australian road adventures another time.  But now is the time to share about The American Store.screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-3-24-15-pm50 States American Foodmart has two locations in Perth.  There is a small shop in the CBD (central business district) and a larger in the suburbs just outside of East Perth.  We’ve checked out both of them now and the only thing we bought was 4 jars of non-Old El Paso salsa that was awesomely on sale.  Side note: Old El Paso is pretty much the main Mexican food provider here at the grocery store.  Hard shell tacos, taco kits and salsa are all Old El Paso brand.  We’ve already tried some Australian salsas but it’s not quite the same.  We’re going to keep trying though because Mexican food is slowly gaining in popularity here.

50 States does have many speciality American items that you won’t find on the grocery store shelves.  But there are many American products that can also be found at a normal grocery store as well.  Some things like ranch packets and taco seasoning you can find here but they just cost more.  Other things like chocolate chips, salsa and marshmallows can also be bought, however, they are different and don’t really taste the same.  But don’t hear this as complaining, we’re thankful for all the food options and choices that we do have.  And I’m following @50statesinperth now so that I can have a heads up if something special does come in that we can’t live without.

And at least for now we don’t have to pay the super high prices for our hot sauce of choice, Cholula, because we brought our own extra large bottle with us:-)

Getting to Know Perth- Saturday Markets

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-1-45-06-pmThis morning we woke up and took a walk over to a local market.  Perth has a few markets open on Saturdays and Sundays: Weekend Markets in Perth.  However, located in East Perth, the Perth City Farmer’s Market is just a 20 minute walk from our place.  We’re still trying to stock our pantry and figure out how to adjust our cooking here but it’s wonderful to find fresh, local produce.  There is also a little cafe so maybe we’ll get breakfast one Saturday and hang out awhile longer.  screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-1-45-24-pmWe only bought a few things because we’re still figuring out prices, and getting use to carrying all our groceries and purchases home, but we are thankful for the variety.  Ryan and I even talked to a local beekeeper, tasted a few different varieties of honey and learned more about farming in this area.  We then of course bought some honey to take with us and I’m sure we’ll be back for more.Screen Shot 2017-01-07 at 1.45.40 PM.png

 

Tree Cutting 2016 – Zapp Family Tradition

One of my favorite family traditions is tree cutting up in Placerville.  I have so many amazing memories of cutting our own tree year after year, amazing Italian family meals, hanging out with cousins and being visited by Santa Claus.  It was wonderful to be able to celebrate one more time with my family before heading to Australia.screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-7-57-52-amIt’s about generations gathering together, reconnecting and making memories.screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-7-52-15-amIt wouldn’t be tree cutting if we didn’t walk over to the tree farm.  It’s just down the hill and up another hill.screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-7-51-02-amAnd you always have to find the perfect tree.  Sometimes it takes awhile but you know the right tree when you see it.screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-7-54-30-amThis is my crazy wonderful family.  I’m going to miss these special events.screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-7-52-58-amAnd the homemade raviolis.  They are amazing and delicious.  This is the Italian side of the family.screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-7-53-21-amAnd Grandma got a whoopee cushion from Santa Claus.  She’s going to be a riot in the community where she lives.screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-7-55-23-amThe average height in this group is 6’3.  We’re a tall family.Screen Shot 2016-12-19 at 7.56.00 AM.pngGo Zapp family cousins!