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Little Things Between the Big Events

Sorry, sorry... we know it's been a while since our last post, but we've been very busy... or lazy... Maybe a bit of both, but we'll let you decide.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Today there's no major theme, just an update on things we've been doing between trips. Some go back to before the road trip post, but most are since we got back from the Great Barrier Reef trip. Hope you enjoy!

Pregame at the FIBA World Cup

So back in September the FIBA women's basketball world cup was hosted in Australia. As you may or may not know, US women are very good at sports on the world scale, especially basketball. So we decided to go catch a game! Allison scoped out the options and we decided to go to the round robin match between the US and China as it would have been the most competitive option without going to the playoff, even though the US was a heavy favorite. When we got there we did not realize how well the Chinese team travelled. The crowd had to be 75-80% routing for China, but in retrospect that makes sense with the proximity to Australia of each country. We were sitting in front of an especially supportive young woman, and next to a man who was mostly neutral (he said he was from another country as well, but we don't recall which). The game ended up being closer than expected, but the US held strong to win by 14 points. (Did you know the US women's basketball team has not lost in a major tournament since 2006!?!?!) Spoiler alert, that streak continues, they won the tournament in a rematch against China a few days later. Also, between the game we watched and the final match, Greg actually met one of the US players at the mall by our apartment. No big deal, but it was A'ja Wilson, current MVP of the WNBA and the leading scorer in the tournament. It was pretty cool!

Back in October, Allison found a local festival for us to attend called the Granny Smith Festival. The annual festival celebrates the life and legacy of Marie Ann Smith, who "accidentally" grew the first batch of Granny Smith Apples (her nickname was of course Granny Smith) right here in one of the Sydney Suburbs. There was live music and a bunch of food trucks, along with some games and rides mostly geared towards kids. Although it is credited as "one of Sydney's largest street festivals," it was a rather small footprint, but it was fun for a few hours. We ate and listened to some of live music and then stayed for fireworks!

T20 Cricket World Cup

Moving into November, we got back to World Cups with our very first Cricket match! Cricket, like rugby, is one of those sports that we in the US just don't really follow, but the rest of the world pays a lot more attention to. It's kind of like baseball, but it's not really like baseball at all... either way it was a pretty exciting match! We watched England vs Sri Lanka and if England won the match, they moved on to the knockout round, whereas Sri Lanka could only play spoiler. The crowd from where we were seemed evenly split, but the Sri Lankans near us were loud and excited to be there for their teams final match. The English fans seemed stressed with pressure of needing a win to move forward in the tournament. Greg looked up the rules on his phone and explained them to Allison and our friend Micheal (yes, we have at least one friend here but more on that later), who also had never been to a match before. For those of you who know Cricket, this was a T20 match, for those of you who don't, that means each team only had one opportunity to accumulate runs. Sri Lanka batted first and because we aren't familiar with the game we had no idea how well they did with their 141 runs. Luckily, the scoreboard showed the pace at which the teams were scoring so when England was at bat we could see their projected score after a few pitches (or bowls as they are called in cricket). This was very helpful, and at first it looked as though England would run away with it, but it came down to a big play with only 2 balls left. An exciting ending to a fun match, England won 144-141 and went on to win the whole tournament! If you are ever in a place where cricket it popular, I'd recommend skimming the rule books and catching a match for sure!

Sydney Opera House After Walking Tour

The following weekend, we did a half day walking tour of Sydney. This is something we wanted to do when we first arrived, but never had/made the time. Because we've been here a few months now there were a handful of things we had already seen, but the city obviously has more to it than a few months of exploring can cover, so there were plenty of new items on the list. It gave Allison lots of ideas for future excursions that's for sure! The walk started around the Queen Victoria Building in the central business district and snaked it's way up to Circular Quay and the Opera House/Sydney Harbor. We saw some cool city art installations and learned a few interesting facts about the area. (Did you know the guy who designed the Sydney Opera House never actually got to see it's completion because he was fired from the project before it finished? Wild!)

In between all these activities we have been trying to meet some local friends (as we alluded to during the cricket match recap). We've found some Meet Ups, which for the uninitiated is a website that allows people to host events for a given hobby or interest. It was a very popular way to find like minded folks a few years ago and, while it's not as popular since Covid hit, we were able to find a generic group for young professionals in the area. Allison also found a Facebook group that is geared to Americans (mostly US members with a few Canadians and misc country folks) in the Sydney area, which also hosts events like happy hours and holiday gatherings. The Facebook group was created by a Canadian born gentleman who grew up mostly in the US. This is where we've met a few repeat acquaintances, one of which joined us at the Cricket match. (Funny enough, Micheal is actually French but went to college in the US in Binghamton, NY, of all places. Which for those of you who don't know is about an hour from where Greg used to work and about an hour in the other direction is Ithaca, where Allison went to school. Small friggin' world!) Not quite up to game night levels of friendship yet, but there were talks at the last event so who knows if Greg can get everyone here hooked on game nights!

This leads us into our Thanksgiving celebrations. So, Thanksgiving is obviously not celebrated here in Australia, but we managed to find some places/groups that were planning to celebrate. The aforementioned Americans in Sydney Facebook group had a picnic planned at the Royal Botanical Gardens for Saturday, but first we made plans for the big day ourselves. Allison found a brewery, with a small restaurant attached, in the Northern Suburb of Manly that hosts an American Thanksgiving dinner starting at noon. The meal was a preset menu with turkey, gravy, green bean casserole, yams with marshmallows, and cornbread - with an option for a mini single serve pumpkin pie for dessert. It was a little less social than we initially expected though, as patrons were seated at their own tables to enjoy the meal as you would for a typical dinner out, rather than a shared table that might have lead to conversation with other groups. The food was spot on for the holiday and the beer was great, so overall a fun time. Afterwards, we walked along Manly Beach, which was surprisingly packed for a random Thursday afternoon!

Ceremonial First Carving of the Turkey

As for the Thanksgiving picnic this Saturday, it was more of the celebration we were looking for. We'd gone to a couple of the events put on by the group in the past so there were some familiar faces. It was potluck, which meant a lot of different food options and Allison brought her famous pumpkin bread (one with walnuts and one without). She was actually nominated in the top savory food category, but lost out to deviled eggs (which we think was only due to the judges bias, but all good, it's nice to be nominated too!). There were also American activities brought in. An actual football was being thrown around (sometimes like a rugby ball but that's ok) and several sets of spike ball. Eventually, Greg felt the need to show some people how to throw a football and got roped into playing a game of touch football. One of the guys from Boston pointed out several times that he "never in a million years thought he'd be playing football in sight of the Sydney Opera house the weekend of Thanksgiving," which was for sure a little surreal. Allison got tricked into playing spike ball when she hovered too close to the game set, but luckily the other folks didn't know the rules either so they made up a new game that loosely (very loosely) resembled spike ball. We named the new version "Bin Chicken" (maybe Bin Turkey, we aren't quite sure where we netted out) in the end, named after a local bird, which we don't have time to get into the details, but they played this for hours while chatting, laughing a lot, and hanging out. Overall, the weekend was a success and we did get some half hearted enthusiasm out there for a potential game night in the future!

And on a final note, the main reason we took so long on this post is that Greg got a seasonal job for the Christmas holiday at a toy store in the mall. It's called Kidstuff and it's been good so far, but pretty bonkers busy with their Black Friday sale the week he started and the general Christmas shopping season. (His second day he had 10,000 steps before his break!!) Things have mellowed a bit, but he's looking forward to getting some work in even if he is exhausted when he gets home most days. Anyway, until the next one!

Measuring Greg's Height

Measuring Al's Height

Inside Sydney Cricket Grounds

At the T20 Cricket Match

A Break During the Walking Tour

Greg After the Walking Tour

Al After the Walking Tour

On the Ferry to Manly (It Was Windy)

On the Ferry to Manly (Less Windy in the Seats)

Greg at Thanksgiving Dinner

Al at Thanksgiving Dinner

Greg got Dessert

Manly Beach

Manly Beach

Greg Playing Football at Thanksgiving Picnic

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2 comentários

Landon Williams
Landon Williams
02 de dez. de 2022

Your new home sounds really exciting! You two really are living it to the fullest. I do believe that you were able to skip a winter by moving when you did? Lucky... Cheers.

04 de dez. de 2022
Respondendo a

Hahaha Well, technically we got here in winter, but the highs were in the 60s when we arrived in August!

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