Monday, December 26, 2011

Rounding out our Aussie adventure

Well we've arrived back stateside and the feeling is bittersweet. While I was very, very sad to leave our friends, especially after a fantastic farewell dinner at La Spaghettata on Lygon (my favorite street), we were also very excited to be heading home to our families.

We had a very busy final week in Australia. We were fortunate to be able to go caroling with our Salvos brass band and songster team to a retirement village in Thornbury. I love Christmas and especially Christmas carols, so this was a great treat that the residents really seemed to enjoy.

The Saturday evening before we left, Grattan and Glenda gave us tickets to see the annual performance of "Our Christmas Gift", which is a concert put on by the Salvos to thank the citizens of Melbourne for their generosity and kindness throughout the year. The night is filled with big name Australian artists, carols, comedy acts and of course, a nativity scene (with live camels!). I was so excited to go and really enjoyed the 2 hours of non-stop Christmas carols!

The next day was Sunday and I knew that it was going to be a tough one. It would be our final service at the Thornbury Salvation Army Church and we've really enjoyed our time as part of the congregation. We've met some truly amazing, kind and generous people who went out of their way to welcome us into their church and for that we are eternally grateful. Before the service started, we went back into the band room and shared a moment of prayer with the band members and then they started to wish us best of luck etc., at which point I broke down and started crying and had to leave the room. Marvelous.

I had requested that the songsters sing O' Holy Night because that is my favorite carol. Well not only did they sing it, they had Hyatt and I come up and join in too. I haven't sang in public since show/competition choir my senior year of high school so this was a little nerve-wracking but nevertheless, truly beautiful moment and a lot of fun!

During the last march, band leader (George) called Hyatt up to play the drums. Bravo for Hyatt because he has never played a musical instrument before (except for recorder in 5th grade) and some would say he is rhythmically challenged. I say "Ha!" - he did fantastic!

Look at him up there keeping the beat on the bass drum. And looking so dapper while doing so :)

Since I'm a picture fiend, I asked the whole congregation to stay after for a picture so you could all see the fantastic people we have had the pleasure of calling our friends.

After some tearful goodbyes at church, we only had a mere two days to pack our things and get ready to leave. We ended up having to ship home about 40 kg of stuff (80 lbs) and that cost a pretty penny but at least we didn't have to throw too much away.

Our last night in Melbourne, all of our Uni of Melbourne family (because we're tight like that) came out to dinner with us at La Spaghettata. FANTASTIC FOOD! I forgot to take pictures on my camera that night but Surinder was snapping pictures left and right.

Vickey on the left, Will on the right.

Kristy and Ryan

Kristy, Ryan and Fiona

The whole group getting ready to enjoy some fab Italian food.

Hyatt, Surinder and I.

After dinner we said our 'see ya laters', because I HATE goodbyes (with a passion - I think Hyatt needs to write a post specifically about how much I loathe goodbyes). It was a mix of laughing and crying and generally just sucked. The next morning we headed back to the good ole U.S. of A. with a year full of memories.

To all of our Aussie friends, we sincerely appreciate the kindness that each and everyone one of you showed to us during our stay in Australia. You will long be fondly remembered and hopefully we will see you all again in the relatively near future.

To our American friends and family - if we haven't already seen you we are really looking forward to getting together with everyone! Hope to see you soon!

Cheers and Merry Christmas!
~ FroBuzz ~

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We're baaaaack

And I have a ton to write about:

- Our last service at the Salvos
- Christmas carol concert
- Goodbyes with friends
- Bananas
- the flight home

BUT I'm currently being attacked by a rogue flu bug so you'll have to wait. Sorry. Actually, I"m not - I'm miserable so you'll just have to wait :)

Be back soon!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not Art

You may or may not have gathered that Melbourne is a little more artsy and cultured than FroBuzz. So on our trip to Tassie, a museum tour proved rather interesting and to say the least, unimpressive. I've provided my well-educated interpretation of the following exhibits.

Ball on A Wall - because the floor isn't good enough for his ball.

Gunk on the table - the real work of art was the table but the artist's kids spilled their Gak on it

Le Shelf - all the things that didn't fit into a category of boxes when the artist moved

Car trouble - because you're in trouble if your bumper isn't on your car

Le Table - an extension of Le Shelf

and if you can't laugh at this then you need to stop reading my blog. See below, pervs:

And that has been Buzzard's art interpretation for the day. I hope you learned something about Australian art.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Lygon Street in Carlton is famous for it's great Italian food. There are over 20 Italian restaurants on a four block strip and it's all authentic.

Because there are so many of these fine dining establishments, patrons can haggle with the owner/server over what they can get for free by dining there.

Example - We (Vickey, Kristy, Fiona, Will and I)  walked down Lygon looking for dinner. At restaurant #1 they offered us one free drink per person. Meh - not good enough. So we passed.

Restaurant #2 offered two free drinks per person - good deal. The next step is to hedge this against another restaurant to get more. If no one takes the bait, we can always fall back on option #2.

Restaurant #3 wanted us - really bad. Here's a picture of Vickey haggling:

This restaurant gave us two free drinks AND free garlic bread/bruschetta. Score! That's how we make decisions down unda ya'll.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

p.s. in case you were wondering, we come home ONE WEEK 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Hot in the Red Centre

That's how they spell 'center' of here ya'll --> centre.

Anywho, best friend Dougie Phresh Albright came and visited us. Unfortunately, he too had flight problems and got stranded in Sydney because Qantas is dumb. He finally arrived and the Frobii parents, me, Hyatt and Doug all traveled to Dookie for a tour of the farms and dinner. I have no pictures of that, sorry.

Hyatt's parents departed and Hyatt, Dougie Phresh and I flew to Alice Springs for the roadtrip of a lifetime - p.s. we almost missed our flight, barely got our bags checked with about 1 minute to spare.

Unfortunately, Doug's luggage didn't make it but Qantas (who suck) gave him this nice pack of pajamas.

Arrival at the Alice Springs airport - happy and not yet really hot.

We HAD to play golf on another continent - it was awesome. Doug helped me with my long game

Our caddy who finally learned how to NOT drive on the greens.

After a short time in Alice we headed towards King's Canyon - via this road. Five hours of no pavement with Hyatt driving. I'll hold my tongue.

Wild horses aka brumbys were everywhere

Some of the beautiful secenery at King's Canyon

The initial climb at King's Canyon - very steep. Doug and I wanted to die.

Looking out over the vast Red Centre

He tried to pick me up for this picture - both Doug and I yelled 'No! What are you doing?!'

A little entertainment and gambling - nothing like bidding with
tea and sugar packets (Doug won btw).

Gorgeous sunset

First night at Alice Spring resort - the chefs.

K-S-U alumni in front of Ayers Rock/Uluru

It's a big freakin' rock in the middle of nowhere, literally.

Very dark red rock during sunset with some loser guy in my shot.

After an amazing time at Uluru (we climbed it, yea!) we headed to Coober Pedy where there is an abundance of opal mines and underground hotels but there is a shortage of water.

The entrance to our hotel - underground.

Hallway in underground hotel

Our cozy little room - we stayed pretty cool but the air got kind of stale since there's no windows.

Left Coober Pedy and it's 40 degree heat (that's 110 F) and went to the Barossa Valley, where we did some damage at Penfold's Winery. I discovered I really, really like dessert wine.

So that was our trip in a nutshell - it was RIDICULOUSLY hot the entire trip although it did rain occasionally. I took a ton of pictures of Uluru and King's Canyon so if you want to see them, look me up on thefacebook. Also, we visited a farm the last few days but Hyatt is going to blog about that (get excited)!

Until Hyatt blogs,
~ Buzzard ~

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tasmanian Devils

Hyatt's parents came and visited us from October 25th(ish) to early November. After a slight hiccup with their flights (a delay in Chicago caused a missed flight which resulted in a day later arrival) we picked them up to explore Melbourne for a day before we left for Tasmania. I was super pumped, like always, to go traveling and couldn't wait to get there where it rains a lot and the weather is cooler.

During our time in Tassie, we went to a Tasmanian Devil wildlife reserve and saw some cool new feathered friends, too. We went on a boat tour of Bruny Island and saw some amazing rock formations, wildlife and sealife. We went on a tour of Cascade Brewery and visited Port Arthur which used to be a work camp/prison. Then we spent a ton of cash at Salamanca Markets in Hobart - that was fantastic (many of you will have Christmas presents that originated from Tasmania). Of course we did lots of random things too that I don't feel like explaining but I am sure by looking at these pictures and also at the albums on Facebook, you'll get a good grasp of how much fun we had.

First wildlife spotting - echidna. Dan investigated

Hyatt and I in our fluoro vests at the Cascade Brewery tour

Vicki really really liked the Tasmanian Devils

They're kind of ugly little devils but very funny

We could just walk up to these guys and pet or feed them

That cool looking lime green and yellow goose let me pet it and I wasn't expecting it to - the best picture Hyatt has ever taken!

It was Dan and Vicki's anniversary so we made them take a picture together to commemorate the trip

 We got up close and personal with a parrot

This bird is ALMOST as cool as the black breasted buzzard and the kookaburra (but not quite). It's the tawny frog mouth - mouth looks just like a frog and this bird can blend in with any tree!

The church at the Port Arthur prison - I took a lot of pictures

Dan prior to departure for our boat trip - it was raining and a little bit cold.

They call that the King on the Llama, I don't know about you but if I was a king I'd rather ride a horse than a llama. Llamas spit and are mean.

The blowhole - suction, pressure, water etc all resulted in this big water explosion. Very cool

Sea birds - I forget what they're called

Lots and lots of seals

More pictures on thefacebook!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~