What do Americans do on a cold 4th of July in Australia? Take a 24-hour, no phones or computers getaway! Pack up a car boot (trunk) to the maximum with sheets, towels and food (nearest grocery store 30-45 min away from our destination).
Then, take a nap, and drive 2 hours to a friend’s vacant house.
I sent this picture to my mom and she put to words what I hadn’t been able to: the difference between winter here (now) and in Lincoln, Ne is that winter is green here. It pretty much doesn’t freeze here, so that means trees and grass can still be seen in color. (There are hills/mountains within a few hours that get snow and skiers, though, I’m told.)
Our friends’ house, self-named the “Nut House” — a fun gathering place for their kids and grandkids when they’re not kind and allowing new friends like us to getaway there. We were hoping to spot kangaroos at the end of the street as they like to gather there, but…alas, not this time.
The challenge portion of the 24 hours came in 2 parts: getting a fire started in the fireplace (read: sole place of heat for the house) and making dinner after the chicken broth never made it into the car. As for the fire, Scott was the man in figuring that out (cheers from us). As for dinner, let’s just say I got creative with making my white chicken chili. I decided to knock on doors to see about landing some broth. After patting myself on the back for my meet-the-neighbors/don’t-have-to-drive-forver-to-store when a sweet grandma 2 doors down handed me a cube, I realized my self-kudos was to be short-lived as I ground it between my fingers into the chili and suddenly — thankfully only 1/3 of it used — realized it was dark brown and not at all smelling of chicken. Not to bow to failure, I threw in a packet of instant chicken noodle soup I found in the pantry (fished out all the noodles I could and used the seasoning). White chicken chili…with a hint of beef and noodles, anyone? Turned out quite edible, especially slathered in sour cream, tortilla chips, coriander (cilantro) & fresh lime juice
Kids enjoyed their first trundle-bed slumber party. We were pleasantly surprised they fell asleep fast.
You know you’re in Australia when this is the hot-drink bar at someone’s house. I’m forever spoiled.
A highlight for me was the fireside date Scott and I got after kids went to bed. Mesmerizing flames with a warmth and smell hard to find elsewhere.
We have a new Hungry Hippos fan. She’ll even play by herself.
On the way home, we found a Greek restaurant and ordered our new favorite meal: souvlaki (shaved kabab meat, usually lamb), greek salad, pitas, sauces, skewered fried goat cheese, chips (fries, not so Greek) and calamari rings (don’t tell the kids–I’m pretty sure they just assumed they were onion rings).
Tomato sauce (ketchup) usually provided by request and for an additional cost.
Thanks, Brian & Christine!
P.S. I’m heading in Wed at 11:15am (Tuesday 9:15pm EST) for a follow-up ultrasound to make sure I’m healing well from the miscarriage and that nothing’s left inside that might cause infection.