Sunnies and the Australian Sun

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 4.47.42 PMThe Australian sun is hot, intense and can feel like it’s burning right through you.  So when I accidentally sat on and broke my sunglasses or my sunnies as they are referred to here, I still did my best to try and wear them anyway.  I’ll look tomorrow for replacements because sunnies are not really optional here.  I guess I should have brought an extra pair or maybe I should just try not to sit on them next time.

Baseball and Bible Study

When was baseball first mentioned in the Bible? “In the Big Inning.” (Genesis 1:1)  When was baseball mentioned again? “The righteous run to it and they are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)  Alright, so maybe baseball isn’t an important theme in the Bible but it still is just fine (as long as we steer clear of heresy) to mix the Bible and Baseball.Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.43.44 AMRyan is currently making the final preparations for his second Bible study out in Brookton and he has the Japan verses US up in the background.  Since we don’t have TV, we get creative with how we get our news and keep up with other things like sports.

Please pray for Ryan as he heads out to Brookton every Wednesday (it works out great with the time change if our friends in the US pray on Tuesday night before you head to bed).  Ryan has set aside Wednesday to visit with people and teach through the Bible.  We’ll see how this time evolves in the future and I may join him on some Wednesdays too later on.  We’re looking forward to marking our time here in Australia as Ryan teaches chronologically through the Bible.  Thanks for your prayers!

Binge Reading

Since leaving the US I have read significantly more fiction than I usually do.  I would say I probably average a book or two a month.  So seeing that I’ve read about 30 fiction books (not including work and University books!) since leaving the US at the end of December, I would say I’m above my average for the year.  In addition to a trilogy and a couple random one off books, I have re-read the entire Vorkosigan Saga, I am currently towards the end of The Little House Series and will probably move on to the Chronicles of Narnia soon because they happen to be on our bookshelf.Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 12.50.35 PM.pngFor those of you who enjoy science fiction, I would recommend the Vorkosigan Saga.  I was introduced to these books while in Papua New Guinea and probably read about 3/4 of the series during my various village trips.  It was a great mind escape then and it’s a great mind escape now.  This is my third time reading through the series but my first time reading everything including the newest book which continues the story.  With 20 books of various lengths, this series could occupy your mind and time for quite awhile.  (Please note there are extramarital relationships and homosexual themes in the series.)

I’ve been thankful for books to read during this time of transition.  Books provide something to keep me occupied and allow me to really rest on my days off.  They also are great time fillers for bits and pieces of free time during the day.  Books provide some moments of peace and decompression before bed.  Although I do have a tendency to read until the end of the chapter (or even the end of the book) maybe a little too often.  And books give me new spaces to think and stretch my mind.  For example I love the juxtaposition of the sci-fi, high technology world in the Vorkosigan Saga and the simple, new technology, industrious-ness of The Little House Series.

What are you currently reading?  Any new series or books that I just have to read?  I’d love to hear your recommendations.  And it would be a good excuse to spend more time at the beautiful library here in Perth.

Shipping Across the Ocean

It’s arrived!  Our shipment that was packed away into a truck in December back in Santa Barbara (To Ship or Not to Ship?) has made it safely to our apartment in Perth.  The picture at left was taken the day we shipped everything and the picture at the right was taken this morning as I started to go through the boxes.  Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.20.08 PMThe movers did a great job getting everything up to the 18th floor!  But now it is our job to unpack, sort and find places for everything in our adequate yet small space.  It feels almost like Christmas as we’re unwrapping things but as much effort as we put into choosing what to send and what to get rid of, I’m sure at the end of the day we’ll be scratching our heads with some of our choices.Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.26.46 PMThis beautiful view is a wonderfully helpful distraction as our living room has been taken over!  Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can get things sorted and settle in a little more.  But, as for today, we’re abundantly thankful.  So far nothing seems to be broken and these boxes are filled to the brim with memories from people we love.

Americans Eating in Perth: Part 1.5

I made enchiladas!  The experiment was a success and we all ate well last night.  They even had a garnish of fresh cilantro from our one practical houseplant.  However, I had some hurdles to overcome in order to complete this recipe, the most basic being chili powder.  You should understand that chili powder in Australia is not the same as chili powder in the US.  It’s a good thing I was told this a few weeks ago because otherwise last night would not have been tasty, it would have been painful.  As far as I know, chili powder in Australia is the equivalent of cayenne pepper in the US.  And US chili powder is actually a mix of spices including cayenne pepper, paprika and cumin.  Still spicy but not fire level hot.  screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-1-57-32-pmCan you tell the difference between the 3 red spices now in my cupboard?  Maybe I should start labeling things, but anyway the first thing I had to do in order to make my red enchilada sauce was actually make the chili powder.  You can buy it here under the name Mexican chili powder but I was unable to find it earlier this week.  And speaking of things I couldn’t find, green chilis in a can were also unavailable at the grocery store.  I believe I have seen these here but since I couldn’t find them on demand, they will now be on my list of “if I see it, buy it”.  Because there will definitely be a next time making this deliciousness.Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 1.06.12 PM.pngI normally make two kinds of enchiladas at the same time, red and green.  This is because we like them both, so why not just have both.  But I think in order to make the green I am going to have to either learn how to make green salsa or find green salsa at another store.  But that’s an adventure for another day.  Although I wouldn’t mind hearing if anyone has any green salsa recipes or maybe ideas for green enchiladas sans green salsa if that’s possible.  For now, the red enchiladas were a winner and I can add this to the list of things I’ve successfully accomplished making in Perth.

Americans Eating in Perth: Part 1

Two words.  Mexican food.  We miss our burritos.  We miss endless baskets of tortilla chips and inexpensive salsa.  And then there’s the cheese but that’s a whole other blog post.  We’re making it work and there are many more options than I’m used to having after living in places like Germany or Papua New Guinea so I won’t complain.  Old El Paso is, after all, quite the staple in most grocery stores.  Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 8.49.43 PM.pngBut this interesting bounty doesn’t change that we are missing some of our trusted staples and learning to eat creatively when we want to indulge our Mexican cravings.  Some of this has to do more with my frugalness than actually not being able to find things.  For example, there is an American store in town, two in fact.  See my previous blog post: The American Store.  But you’re not only going to pay a marked up price, you’re going to pay for their gift of importing these goodies to you too.  So that jar of salsa is now $8.  But sometimes you get lucky and they are on sale so you stock up and also offer them to your friends because you know they’ll appreciate the new lower $3 price too:-)  screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-8-54-38-pmThis means that we are now unapologetic about the shelf in our pantry that looks like this but when this salsa is gone we might just start making our own.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple places in town that make a decent Mexican meal but it’s just not the same.  So I will continue to use my Trader Joe’s taco seasoning sparingily and keep rationing out the large bottle of Cholula that we brought in our suitcases.  I will enjoy making our favorite chicken tortilla soup once the weather cools down again.  But this week, I think I need to scrap my meal plan and see if I can gather enough ingredients to make my homemade enchiladas.  If I can pull this off relatively inexpensively, it will be quite the Mexican food achievement.


Getting to Know Perth

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-5-12-58-pmGetting to know Perth is a priority for us.  We want to experience and enjoy this city while we’re living here.  During the Summer, there are a lot of activities to seek out and enjoy but we’ve been warned that there isn’t as much to do in the winter.  I’m not fully convinced yet because there still is a long list of places I want to explore.  Being out and about in the city also allows us to meet the people who live in, work in and make up the human part of city life.  The people are definitely a reflection of the city.  We’ve been finding activities on Instagram, through friends and also doing internet searches which turn up websites like: Guide to Perth and Experience Perth.  It’s fun to look up lists of things to do in Perth and see that we’ve already checked off a few of the big activities that everyone recommends.  What will our next adventure be?screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-5-12-03-pm