Sunday, December 20, 2015

Updated Itinerary for Our Australia Trip 2015-2016

Please feel free to pitch in with any corrections/additions you'd like us to make! Erin, Andy, anyone else who'd like to meet up with us, just chime in with dates and times that work for you! :)

Friday, December 25 (Christmas Day)
  • Land in Sydney. Go through Customs, exchange money, check in for next flight. Buy Go Card and take the train to Circular Quay to take pictures of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House
  • Return to the airport for flight to Brisbane
  • Spend Christmas Day with Matt's Mum, sister Jody and her family
  • Skype with my family
  • Christmas Dinner with Kel, Tash and Alex

Saturday, December 26 (Boxing Day)

  • Spend the day with Matt's sister Penny and her family

Sunday, December 27
  • Lunch with Matt's friend Michelle
  • Walkabout around city
  • Ferris Wheel at Southbank
  • Stop at Cloudland in the Valley (?)

Monday, December 28
  • Matt's Mum's birthday
  • Trip to Montville/Maleny and Underwater World with Matt's Mum
  • Birthday dinner for Matt's Mum (?)

Tuesday, December 29
  • Trip to Tangalooma with Matt's Mum, sister Jody and Jody's Family
  • Birthday Dinner for Matt's Mum (?)

Wednesday, December 30
  • Lunch and Star Wars movie with Matt's mum
  • Go to Chermside for shopping and exploring
  • Go to Shorncliffe beach
  • Birthday Dinner for Matt's Mum (?)

Thursday, December 31 (New Year's Eve)
  • Southbank Lagoon
  • Visit MacArthur's Office in city
  • Check in to Hotel
  • Fireworks over Brisbane River

Friday, January 1 (New Year's Day)

-Visit Matt's brother Tony in New South Wales

Saturday, January 2
  • Meeting Stacey and Kenny at Rathdowney for lunch
  • Stacey and Kenny's house for get together with friends
Sunday, January 3

  • Trip to Mount Tambourine with Stacey, Kenny and Adela
Monday, January 4

  • Beach day with Stacey and Kenny at Kingslciff

Tuesday, January 5

  • Australia Zoo with Stacey, Kenny, and Matt's Mum
  • Dinner/drinks with Andy (?)

Wednesday, January 6

  • Trip to Gold Coast?
  • Dinner/Drinks with Andy (?)

Thursday, January 7

- Fly back home

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Australia Itinerary

You guys, we're going back to Australia for the holidays!

Matt and I have a lot that we want to cram into our two weeks over there, and we would love to see our friends and family while we're doing it!

I know it's the holidays, and it gets very busy during this time, but if there's a time that you are free to visit with us, please let us know! We've made a working itinerary for our time over there, please feel free to chime in with ideas/corrections/advice/"can I come along too?" comments!


We arrive in Sydney on Christmas morning. We have a five hour layover, and I am dying to get a picture of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, so we plan on hopping a train to Circular Quay, taking some happy snappies while stretching our legs from that long-ass flight, and then hauling some serious bum back to the airport to catch our flight to BNE.

Once we arrive in Brisbane, we'll be going to Matt sister Jo's house for Christmas, and then later in the evening, Matt tells me we'll be having Christmas dinner with Tash, Kel, and their son Alex before they leave for their holiday trip.


Boxing Day. We are going to a BBQ at Matt's sister Penny's house during the day. Nighttime is still open for other plans, although I expect we'll still be jetlagged and go to bed pretty early that night.


Lunch with Matt's friend Michelle, and then a nice, long walkabout around the city of Brisbane, with a stop at Matt's old workplace, Cloudland, in the Valley. Anyone want to join us?


This day is my mother-in-law, Cheryl's, birthday, and we're spending it with her and Matt's sister's family at Tangalooma! There is a rumor that feeding the dolphins is involved...SQUEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!






New Year's Eve! The plan is to hang around Southbank/Kangaroo Point in the evening and find a great spot to watch the fireworks over the river. We're hoping to get a hotel room in the city, but my expensive wisdom teeth extraction has prevented us from securing a room yet. The hotel room is dependent on our finances and availability between now and then.

Please let us know if you want to join us for the fireworks or go out for drinks beforehand!



Now, I know it looks like we have a lot of available time right now, but we have a big list of things we want to do, people we want to see, and places we want to go that still need to be scheduled in.

For example, we want to spend the day at Australia Zoo as well as see the Glasshouse Mountains/Mount Tibrogargun. Maybe we can do all of these in one day, since the Glasshouse Mountains are on the way to Beerwah? And would anyone want to join us on this excursion? (I'm looking at you, Stacey!).

Matt's mum also wants to take us to Montville and Underwater World. I would like to take pictures of General MacArthur's Office for my dad. We definitely want to see some beaches. I'd love go back to Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast, and see some new locations as well. I want to do a walkabout/bushwalk, and maybe go back to Mount Coot-Tha for some bad-ass picture taking. Matt and Stacey mentioned going to Kingscliffe, and we were going to spend the night at Matt's brother's house in Terrace Point, NSW, and possibly go to Stacey's family's farm while were in NSW?

Also, we would LOVE to see the Burgers while we're there!!!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Meeting Medway

I love Medway. We’ve been together for over eight months now. I would describe our relationship as very comfortable and fun and normal. We talk every single day. We laugh, we fight, we cry, we have fun. Since Christmas, we’ve grown very close, and I can say he’s become not just my boyfriend but my best friend. We share everything, we work hard to keep our communication open, and we both try very hard to laugh at ourselves and learn from our mistakes as our relationship grows.

Two weeks ago we experienced a huge moment in our relationship. What sets us apart from other couples is the Pacific ocean and the tiny fact that we hadn’t actually met in person before.

Sure, there’s webcam, and texting, and phone calls, and Facebook, and Twitter. All wonderful resources that we’ve made a daily part of our life together, all forms of communication that allow us to know each other intimately when we are physically separated by 14,000 odd kilometers.

But the fact of the matter is, I live in the United States and Medway lives in Australia. Which is how I came to be driving down eastbound I-94 early on a humid Monday morning, headed to Detroit to meet my boyfriend for the first time.

I was nervous. I was so nervous, actually. As I drove toward the McNamara/Delta Air terminal at Detroit-Metro, my stomach was knitting my insides together and my teeth literally started chattering. There were so many ways this meeting could go. I loved Medway. I cared about him, and I cared about what he thought about me.

Of course there’s the obvious fear—I’m picking up someone I’ve only known online. What if he isn’t who he says he is? What if he’s an axe murderer (a fear of my mother’s and, to be fair, a fear of his mother’s as well, that I would be a gold digger or an axe murderer)? It was something to consider, but after several months of getting to know him, and knowing other people who knew him and vouched for him, it was a consideration I set aside and didn’t put much worry into at the time.

But--what if he didn’t like me? What if we were about to spend the 10 most uncomfortable days of our lives together? Would he take one look at me and be disappointed? Or maybe at the end of the vacation, after living together, that’s the moment he would think, “no, she’s not the girl for me.”

I was scared.

When I saw him at the airport, waiting for me outside the pick-up area, there was a knitting frenzy in my stomach. I mean there must’ve been like three or four grandmothers in there, all racing for the fluffy scarf championship (it’s so fluffy I could DIE!). He was wearing a fedora and watched me as I walked toward him, and he gave me a smile and hugged me.

The two hour drive was a nice, slow ice breaker. I could feel myself relaxing as we talked and laughed. I blushed when he slid his hand in mine and grinned at me, and by the time we got home we were very comfortable with each other.

Ten days later, when I got home from Detroit after dropping him off at the airport, I wandered around my apartment. There was his half-finished drink on the nightstand. His deodorant still on the counter in the bathroom. The DVD we’d watched the night before was on the TV stand in the living room. My dog Taz sniffed around, looking up at me, looking for his Medway. I picked up a tee-shirt of his that he’d left for me.

It still smelled like him.

I burst into tears.

I’m the type of person who always expects the worst. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I drove into Detroit trying to prepare myself with all the ways in which our meeting would go wrong.

But it was perfect. He was perfect. It was like he’d always been here. He fit in perfectly with my friends and with my family. We lived together like we’d always lived together. We were totally in sync. He took care of me when I was sick. He helped me around the house. We shopped together. We went to dinner together, we read together, we played cards together. I made him breakfast and he made me dinner. He said he loved my pets, and I knew he was genuine. And they loved him right back. We laughed and played and talked and went out and stayed in together. He is the kindest, sweetest, funniest, most amazing guy I’ve ever known, and I’m so lucky to have him in my life.

It was as though he’d always been a part of my life, and he was always going to be a part of my life, and when he had to leave it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through, and I feel like a huge part of me is missing when he’s gone.

I knew I loved him before we met, and now I love him more than ever.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Day Has A Hundred Pockets

"Absence is like the sky, spread over everything." C.S. Lewis

When she died, I thought about her every day in the weeks and months following the accident. After the funeral, she materialized in my dreams.

I grieved.

Over the years, she stopped clinging to the minutes on my clock. I didn't think about her all the time. The thick milkshake of a sob throbbing in my throat lessened into a dull stab in my stomach every now and then.

She creeps in every once in awhile, during the most ordinary of moments. I'm out shopping and a girl saunters by, tossing her honeyed hair. “It's her,” my mind breathes, stunned out of my universe.

Driving into the country last weekend, wind whipping my hair, music blasting over the radio, the reverie fractures as I realize this is the road. Somewhere on the shoulder, on the other side of the yellow line, she slipped away.

The blue sky above me is endless. The blackened road before me is terminal.

I wonder if it hurts or if it all goes black.

Today I was washing dishes slowly and vacantly when I realized.

I know: she is dead.

She no longer exists.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Speculative Free Form

I know I haven’t posted much on this blog, and I’d like to tell you that it’s because I’ve been out running with the bulls or sailing across the world as a sixteen year old (maybe the sixteen year old part is true, give or take a decade), but really it’s more of a general laziness on my part.

Actually, that’s not really true, either. I write quite often. I’ve got the most random rough drafts, saved to my hard drive, sent to my email, notebooks half-full on my kitchen table and inside my nightstand with the door that doesn’t close properly because I was too impatient to read the instruction manual when I assembled it. Napkins and sticky notes with my scrawl all over them, stuffed in my purse. My fifth grade teacher will be annoyed to learn that despite her best efforts, I still don’t write like a girl but rather a hurried pre-adolescent boy with ADHD and an inability for his hands to keep up with the thoughts spilling out of his head.

I do remember that year quite well, actually. My dad had to be to work early so we’d sit in the parking lot of the school in the dark, our breath visible like empty comic conversation clouds as we waited for the heat in the car to kick in. Dad would tap his fingers nervously on the steering wheel, worried about being late, while we all stared intently at the door. Finally a light would come on in the hallway, flickering into life, and then the principal would unlock the heavy black door, and my brother and I would both give an equally heavy sigh as we picked up our backpacks and dragged ourselves into the building.

I’d walk up the seemingly endless staircase to the top floor, my footsteps echoing in the nearly empty building. The hallways were soaked with shadows, and silent save for the sounds of teachers arriving and unlocking the doors to their classrooms.

My teacher was always there early, sitting at her desk, preparing her lessons for the day. She’d barely look up when I entered the room, and I’d take my time unraveling the scarf around my neck and hanging up my coat, with my mittens sticking out of the pockets.

I’d settle into my chair, reaching inside my desk for a pencil and opening my notebook to a fresh sheet of paper. “As long as you’re here,” my teacher would say, always a hint of disapproval in her voice, “you might as well practice your handwriting. It’s terrible, Jennifer.”

“You write like a boy.”

Every morning I would slowly copy sentences out of my science textbook. I’d stick my tongue out in concentration, trying to make “photosynthesis” prettier and bubbly against the blue lines of the notebook paper. Once the clock ticked closer to start time, and the hallway started warming up with voices, and my classmates stomped into the room in their snow boots and jackets, I’d hand in my finished product, and my teacher would glance down at it with a sigh and shake of her head.

“You need to make your letters rounder and more feminine. This is messy and masculine. Don’t you want to be feminine, Jennifer?”

That question has stayed in my head for years, as I turned in papers in high school, took notes in college, and wrote up reviews for work. Every time I hand in something to a professor or a supervisor I cringe, wondering if my writing suggests something about me, if somehow the fact that my letters are sharp and angled rather than looped and curved reflects poorly on me as a woman, as a human being. That maybe I didn’t get a promotion or a higher grade because my i’s weren’t dotted with a round circle or my j’s lacked a feminine flourish.

But mostly now I type, so this is neither here nor there. The real reason I’ve been lacking in posts lately is my indecision.

I started my blog as a form of therapy, a way to get out all the toxins that built up from years of insecurity and a bad relationship. Nobody read what I wrote anyway, so I just wrote honestly about my life, letting people into rooms I’d kept shut and locked for a very long time and needed airing out.

The thing about writing openly is that most people don’t do it very often. Most people are guarded and keep their secrets to themselves. Which is not a criticism, by any means. There are a million reasons why you would want to keep your private life as just that—private. But I went another route, and to my great surprise people started reading what I had to say.

I love writing for an audience, and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my writing. On the flip side, as I find out more and more people are reading my blog, I find myself feeling more and more restricted in what I can say. I don’t want to offend people. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I find myself writing something up and thinking “well what if so-and-so reads this? Will they be upset that I’m sharing this story?”

And suddenly, I can’t write anymore. I put the story or essay away, and it ends up collecting dust or bytes or whatever it is that a Word document might collect saved to a hard drive, and it never gets finished.

My hands feel a bit tied at the moment.

But I remember someone asking me once, “how do you write?” and I said simply, “you just have to be brave. You just have to write what you need to say and not worry what other people will think about it.”

I need to take my own advice.

Hopefully, there will be more to come in the next few weeks.