Thursday, 29 March 2012

One glorious year!

One year ago today, Matthew and I rustled up our dearest friends at the crack of dawn, went to the Chapel of the Flowers, Las Vegas, and got married. It was a very bright and warm desert morning, perfecting wedding weather. It was a good start to the day, and to the rest of our lives.

Three months later, Matthew and I quit our jobs, vacated our apartment, and moved to Vancouver. It has been an extraordinarily busy year for us.

Thank you to Jane, Nick, Nyssa & Neil, Steph and Tess for helping us celebrate one of the most important days of our lives. We are thinking of you!

Happy First Anniversary, Matthew.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Eating a brazil nut, and other fascinating expat details

I have decided to blog more often. I have been resisting blogging recently because Team Beavis has been doing less Expat Adventuring and more Daily Grind. But if this blog is going to work as a faithful representation of our time in Vancouver, then I feel obliged to include more frequent detail, mundane or not.

Yesterday Matthew and I got up early (10am on a Sunday! I know, radical!) and went for a walk West down 16th Avenue. The blossoms are all just about to come out on the ornamental plums lining the whole street, so it is a good place to go for affirmation that spring is really here. I know I keep harping on about spring and all, but it has been the longest winter Matthew and I have had to endure in several years, as we have cunningly toured the northern hemisphere in four of the five Australian winters from 2007-2011. Anyway, back to the story. The sun was bright, the hill down was steep, and when we had reached McDonald Street (just after the Choices Organic Market with the pineapples, tulips and coconuts spilling decadently onto the pavement out front) we rewarded ourselves with a latte.

There are a lot of bulldogs in Vancouver, which you don't see so much in Melbourne. At the Starbucks while we waited for the latte, we laughed affectionately at a particularly sad bulldog chained to a chair outside, with the most obscene permanent drools hanging from both sides of his poor saggy crooked-toothed mouth right to the ground. We both agreed that although his lonely existential sadness was encouraging us to go pat him, our Australian sense that all-bulldogs-are-murderous sensibly restrained us. Bulldogs really are everywhere here, especially the little Boston bulldogs. And another thing, because Canadian weather is so often wet and chilly, dogs come into cafes, supermarkets, libraries, post offices, etc with their owners. This was a bit confronting for us the first couple of months we lived here. But we have mostly become used to it now. Mostly.

We headed back up 16th St home (and I really mean 'up', that is quite a hill for a Sunday morning stroll), and headed over to Gramma's for lunch with her and Aunty Eileen.

In the afternoon we chillaxed around the house and I avoided my homework by redecorating the blog. Matthew snapped this totally hipster shot of us supine on the fake turf:
Matthew just discovered Instagram this weekend.
I also wanted to include this excellent post-work shot of Matthew which his work friend Phil sent to me the last Saturday just after I blogged:
Matthew at the Fog & Suds, enjoy a well-earned bevvy.
I have been experimenting in the kitchen lately, in part because study is getting me down. Last week I made:
  • Rice Pudding (a delicious childhood favourite, still just as I remembered)
  • Pear Clafoutis (those who follow on facebook/twitter already know that this was like yorkshire pudding. Soooo disappointed. Those pears I had been hoarding came all the way from Australia, dammit, and were a beautiful golden red colour before being ultra-heat-treated to a rubbery grey.)
  • Home-made yoghurt (fine, but not as good as store-bought)
  • Home-made cheese (as above)
After this week of culinary excess, Matthew and I pinky-swore to go without dessert from Sunday to Thursday. Despite this, yesterday evening, after dinner, we had a very generous dessert. What's more binding than a pinky-swear? We need to step up the will-power a bit.

This Thursday will be our one-year anniversary. A whole year! Stay tuned for some starry-eyed reflections on that later this week...

Saturday, 24 March 2012


It's just gorgeous out today. The snow is quite melted from the hills and it really feels like spring is here! I am having another 'inside day' while recuperate from a pesky headcold, and Matthew is at work. This evening I am planning to make Tess's famous mushroom and white wine risotto, and when it gets dark we will watch the last half of Die Hard 2 (because we went for a walk before dinner last night and by the time we got everything sorted it was a bit late for the whole movie). This is a true and accurate picture of our Friday and Saturday nights in Vancouver.

On Thursday Matthew and I went to see 'The Importance of Being Earnest' at the Stanley Theatre on Granville. Matthew had expressed an interest since he had been involved in a production of it in Bendigo some years ago. So I gave him tickets for his birthday. I had never seen it performed before, and I was surprised at how laugh-out-loud funny it was. Lots of the laughs came not from the Witty One-Liners (of course!) but from the physical comedy of the actors. Two of the actors (at least) we recognised from the Bard on the Beach 'As You Like It' we saw in summer. As this is the only other theatre Matthew and I have seen since arriving in Vancouver, it has left us with the impression that here are only like five actors in all whole place. Not true, I'm sure.

(I'm doing a bit of an experimental post from my phone, and the layout isn't spectacular, so we will see how it turns out...)

I am relieved to report that as of Wednesday have delivered all six of my required presentations this term, so now just have to get down to the serious business of essay-writing. This afternoon while not outside enjoying the gorgeous Spring weather, am reading about the exciting possibilities of considering neuroscience from an evolutionary perspective. ...And wondering whether left-over Pear Clafoutis (which sadly resembles nothing so much as Yorkshire Pudding *bake fail*) is sufficient for dessert. I promise to write soon! xoxo

Friday, 2 March 2012

Happy Birthday Matthew!

Yesterday was Matthew's 27th Birthday. He very fortunately had the day off work. Highlights of Matthew's birthday:

1. Luxurious sleep in
2. Movies on the couch, dress code: pyjamas
3. Afternoon of model painting (in prep for Sunday's war games)
4. Dinner out at local pub
5. Back home to explore the MOUNTAIN of presents and enjoy a home-made banana, white chocolate & walnut cupcake!

Lowlights of Matthew's birthday (I have to include this, because it is too funny and sad not to):
1. I had originally baked Matthew a proper birthday cake, and made the cupcakes with the cake mix which would not fit in the cake tin... except I broke it when I was getting it out of the tin. It smashed all over the kitchen and I very bravely didn't cry (too much) because hey, at least there were cupcakes, right?
2. Matthew is increasingly extremely allergic to this apartment (or me, we're not sure which). So part of the motivation to leave the house for dinner was just so he could get some relief from the explosive sneezing!
3. Off to work this morning, leaving me to blog about the fiasco.

The bright side: On Sunday evening we are having a couple of family folks over for board games and a new opportunity for cake. So I have a chance to actually make Matthew the birthday cake that he deserves!