My New Home Sweet Home in OZ

So we have been in Melbourne a little over 3 weeks now.  We’ve met tons of great people, celebrated our first Australia Day with a bunch of Ozzies by the Yarra River listening to the Top 100 countdown, watched some Australian Open at the Rod Laver Arena, explored only a fraction of the city, managed to find the perfect apartment in St. Kilda, enjoyed the local beaches, dipped in a nearby hot springs, tasted some beautiful Australian wines, went strawberry picking, non-stop eating (living in Turkey for a little while made me miss REAL food!), morning beach runs, keeping a constant tan (I look Jamaican again), discovered my love for the following: Vegemite, the Hungry Kids from Hungry at St. Kilda Fest, lemon and mint flavored water, sweet potato with every meal, the $3 juice bar down the street, sweet red wines, moscato wines, English breakfast tea in the morning with a splash of tea and one teaspoon of sugar (I’m no longer a coffee freak, I never drink it anymore. How strange is that?) and shopping the local Australian brands/designers.

Melbourne is a great Vancouver alternative.  On weekend mornings, I am surrounded by runners, cyclists and boot camps along the sea front with the lululemon logo on everything every other person is wearing.  Easy access to a good latte can be found within walking distance no matter where you are. Good quality wines and restaurants are also a dime a dozen.  Dog beaches, stores, and puppies surround me with dog owners bringing their dogs to festivals, brunch, shopping, coffee, etc.  Endless things to do on a summer days… the best shows, festivals, and markets. The only thing that is missing is SUSHI! What I would give for some proper spicy tuna and gyoza.  Oh well, Vegemite on toast has been filling that void at the moment.  All I need to do now is find my perfect Yoga Studio, get a job asap (anyone in Melbourne hiring?!), decorate our apartment, learn to drive on the opposite side of the road and make some friends I can annoy on a regular basis. Then I won’t miss Canada as much…

Today is my first Valentine’s Day as a married woman.  Married life has been nice. I’m still getting used to my new name… I didn’t realize how it actually impacts my daily life.  From job hunting to ordering internet to giving my name to new Facebook friends.  I keep making the mistake of giving my maiden name first before apologetically correcting myself. I used to be the only Denise Jesudason in this whole world. Now I am among the hundreds, maybe thousands of Denise Sullivans. It’s a strange feeling, but I am not complaining. It’s nice not to have to get the “huh?” reaction to my last name for a change! lol! No big plans for us tonight, just some quality husband/wife time over dinner out before heading out to do some errands for the moving day this coming Saturday.  Signing off for now… will be posting some photos of the new gaf so stay tuned!

By the way, what did you all think of Gaga’s grand entrance and performance at the Grammy’s??? Wowza.

 

 

Adventures of our HoneyFoon in a DIY Camper Van in the Magical Lands of New Zealand

The Sullivans have arrived in Melbourne and we are here to stay! But before I get into what an amazing city my new home is, I have to tell you about one of the best vacations ever. Ben and I like to call it our “honeyfoon”, as this trip could have very well been a proper honeymoon after our wedding, we choose not to call it our officially one; traveling along side his best friend, his missus, their little monkey, and another couple in our make shift camper van that we kept getting rinsed for.

The Sullivans and our Silver Bullet

New Zealand is an absolutely breathtaking country. The Lord of the Rings movies did not exaggerate anything about the scenery. I dare say it is even more beautiful than BC! They have everything BC has… the sea and the majestic mountains, but add in volcanos and tropical-like beaches with deep blue-green water. Words cannot describe it properly, you should see it for yourself and add it to your bucket list. There is only 4 million people who live in the country so most of the country is deserted. We spend loads of time free camping on cliff tops with amazing views, beaches, rivers, lakes without running into another person.  It was untouched beauty everywhere we went.

Beautiful beach in Raglan

We did 10,000 km in a “build it yourself” camper van over 3 weeks; which was basically a van with the seats removed from the back.  The sketchy man who rented it to us in the last-minute called it a sleeper van and provided a disgusting mattress, which we later discovered had bed bugs and ended up splurging for an air mattress and new bedding. We made our own curtains out of rope and cheap navy blue bed sheets.  And since the stereo was not working, we discovered this magical product called the Moshi Burger that is a little speaker that connected to our iPods for the hours that we spend on the road. Thank goodness our fellow travelers were able to rent a proper camper van so we were able to get power and kitchen supplies from somewhere!

One of our free camping spots. Look how awesome the other van looks compared to ours?

We started our trip in New Plymouth where we stayed for about 5 days as Ben’s brother got married.  So there were loads of family gatherings, drinking, eating, and partying.  We then ventured South and that’s when the real adventure started.  Ben managed to crash the “Silver Bullet”, get it stuck on a beach, get it stuck in a ditch, get it stuck on a rock with the rear wheels off the ground, get it attacked by a herd of killer bovine (see video) and get it up and over a mountain track that it had no business being on (no joke, we almost died).  Why didn’t anyone warn me about this man’s decision making skills or lack thereof before I said I do?! It was exciting but extremely stressful at times to say the least!  I am surprised to be alive today! Just joking honey…  😉  My highlights of NZ was swimming with a pod of 100 dolphins in Kaikoura, sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, surfing all over the country, and bacon sandwiches for breakfast everyday. Hands down, one of the best vacations EVER!

Here is Sully after backing into a rock and getting the van stuck on top of it. You can't see too clearly but the back wheel is actually off the ground. Shortly after this, Coxie helps by nudging the van off the rock successfully... while smashing his headlight into a million pieces... it just doesn't end does it?

 

I will leave you with is classic video I took that I like to call: DEATH BY KILLER COWS

Starring: Ben Sullivan and several Mad Bovine

Featuring the Voice of Denise Sullivan