sarahblack: (Glance)
I can't believe I'll be in Iceland in a few days. It's kind of surreal. Also I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I am so excited to see my family and get back to my gym, but on the other hand... I don't have a job to go to. I don't really know what I'll do with myself with no job and no school to occupy my time.

Could someone just pay me to go to the gym and to the swimming pool? That would be optimal. Maybe I could trick rich people who are out of shape into paying me for going to the gym for them?

Anyway, Narrabri is becoming unbearably hot. It's not quite there yet, but I have a feeling that this is a good time to leave. I will miss my grandmother and Lindsay. Being at their house is always such a wonderful experience. Happily, I will see them in Iceland before too long.

Christmas this year is going to be an epic family celebration. All of my family members who live in Australia will be there! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Christmas is still more than a month away.

Icelandic friends! Maybe I will be seeing you soon? There must be some excuse to party coming up...

Depending on internet access, this might be my last post from Australia. So I guess I'll see you guys on the flip side. Ciao!

Yay Obama!

Nov. 7th, 2012 08:40 pm
sarahblack: (Default)
Yay Obama! Congratulations to my American friends and to the rest of us! I'm so relieved!

In other news, I'm back in Narrabri and my day to day life is full of thrashing wheat (don't ask) and playing Scrabble. I love Scrabble. That's all for now, as my grandmother's internet connection is being weird due to some thunder storms. They're not even that close! Silly internet.

The weather has been hot hot hot, but everyone is hoping for rain rain rain. I even went swimming today in the unheated Narrabri pool and it was such a relief!

Anyway, back to my Scrabble game...
sarahblack: (Bertie Wooster)
It has been decided! Þorri and I are returning to Narrabri next Friday. It will be an interesting cross-country journey involving a bus and two trains. We'll have to leave Byron Bay on Thursday because one of the trains is an overnight train! It will be lovely to see my grandmother and Lindsay again. (As well as my grandmother's wonderful collection of books!)

As I mentioned in my very brief previous post, the stay in Byron Bay has been a dream come true so far. We could have been luckier with the weather, but I'm definitely not complaining. We've has some amazing sunny days.

However, I haven't told you guys a thing about Sydney! This post will be novel length if I try to go into all the details, so I'm just going to post a few pictures along with a few comments.

Sydney )

Last Monday Þorri and I flew to Byron Bay. We've been spending time with Lindsay's daughter's family as we are crashing at their place. But like I said in my last post, we've also been able to take a trip to Currumbin Sanctuary (Australian animal "zoo"), walk to the most Easterly part of Australia, and hang around the beach for a bit.

Pictures! )

Tomorrow we're going to have a day of pampering at a spa and then we're going to the Lounge Cinema to see Looper. I'm really excited! I haven't had a full body massage since I was here in 2006! The Lounge Cinema is a treat as well. You sort of lie around instead of sitting! It's so comfy.

P.S. I totally recommend The Iron Lady. Fantastic film! Meryl Streep is a genius.
sarahblack: (Karen Gillian being gorgeous)
Sorry I haven't been posting! I promise I will tell you all about my adventures in Sydney and Byron Bay soon. Opera houses have been viewed, kangeroos have been fed from the palm of my hand, koalas have been cuddled, and books have been read on the beach. Life is good!
sarahblack: (Giselle dress)
Soon I will be in the air heading for Sydney! Before I leave I wanted to give you guys a brief overview of what I've been doing for the past few days in Albury.

- I went swimming! It felt like I was home. Also it was exercise. Desperately needed physical activity. (Am turning into a blubbery beast.)

- I visited the family of an exchange student that used to live with my aunt. Turns out his family home is right outside Albury, and he put me in touch with his mother. She proceeded to invite me and Þorri to lunch and feed us all the things. (There was quail, squid and kangaroo meat among other things. All super delicious!)

S5005665
The house was beautiful!


- Erin took me and Þorri to see Beechworth. It's an old gold rush town just south of the border in Victoria. We had a wonderful afternoon of walking up and down the picturesque main street, buying sweets and amazing honey, checking out the old court house and the old jail where Ned Kelly bought it. (Ned Kelly is a sort of Robin Hood figure in Australia.) There was also a telegram station! You could send an actual telegram and watch this amazing old gentleman send it in Morse code! Most entertainment I have ever received for four dollars.

S5005694
Apparently sending a telegraph via Morse code has beaten a text message via mobile phone!


- I checked out the Hume Dam and the Hume Lake with Erin and Þorri. It was really beautiful, and we were able to wave to Jack (Erin's boyfriend) who was out sailing on the lake on a yacht. Erin and Þorri did a little bit of wading and skipping stones, but I kept to the shade since I had forgotten all about sunscreen. Silly me.

S5005751


- Otherwise Þorri and I have been playing a lot of Scrabble, eating a lot of yummy food (Erin is a wonderful cook) and using up all of Erin and Jack's internet. It's been great!
sarahblack: (Bubblegum)
Yesterday Lindsay drove me and Þorri to the doorstep of Erin's house in Albury. (A mere 9 hour drive. He is a saint.) Erin is a girl that came to Iceland last year as an exchange student and she ended up spending a lot of time with Þorri and his friends in the Political Science department at the University of Iceland. She and her boyfriend Jack are studying medicine here in Albury.

Today was our first full day in Albury, and apparently Erin took us to see all the sights. Now we just have to figure out what to do with our time until Thursday. (That's when we fly with Erin to Sydney.)

We started the day with a lovely bike ride to the Botanical Gardens and a walk to a couple of World War monuments.

S5005615 S5005627


We walked around a pretty neat art gallery which was full of aboriginal art, Japanese prints and interesting portraits. They even had a station where you could draw your own self portrait! I did a very quick one, but it was bad so I didn't take a picture of it.

Lunch consisted of sandwiches and pie, with ridiculously unhealthy doughnut things for dessert. (In Australia there is no such thing a plain doughnut. It has to be full of cream, and drizzled with chocolate, and liberally smeared with jam. In the very least.)

To distract ourselves from all the calories we imbibed we did some more sight seeing on our trusty bikes. (Mine was a squeaky one from the eighties.) There was beautiful scenery and absolutely no crashing into obstacles or small children.

Before we headed home we stopped to admire the river and relax on the bank for a while.

S5005645


Erin made us an amazing vegetable curry for dinner and we devoured it along with rice, naan bread and white wine. Þorri and I did the dishes and we've just been relaxing ever since.
sarahblack: (Haaapppeee Audrey)
There really is nothing quite like staying with my grandmother and Lindsay in their house in the Middle Of Nowhere, Australia.

You never know when some interesting animal might decide to pop over for a visit. My grandmother likes to feed the goana lizards that live in the neighbourhood, and they will come up to the porch and practically eat right from out of her hand.

S5005555_


Animal invasions and other things )

In the evenings, before dinner, a glass of bubbly with some strawberries thrown in is not an uncommon sight. (Beers, or even glasses of Gin and Tonic can sometimes be spotted by the keen observer.)

Avid readers will find themselves in paradise. Books full of murder mysteries, politics, history, Australian wildlife, Icelandic geography, famous literature, short stories, poetry, photographs and anything you could possibly want to read about, abound.

Would-be farmers would be happy here. Last week we were invited to go with Lindsay to the University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute to observe the annual Field Day. This consisted of eating delicious barbecued food and looking at a lot of wheat. We heard Lindsay give a talk on the history of the different wheat species that the University of Sydney has been involved in breeding, and heard about a lot of different research projects that Ph.D. students are working on. Wheat is being made to need less water, resist disease, resist heat, become more nutritious and generally do whatever we want it to do. It's fascinating!

S5005580


On Saturdays a market springs up alongside the river in Narrabri - perfect for bargain-hunters. This weekend Þorri and I went with my grandmother to have a look. There was a man with an ice cream machine! He put scoops of vanilla ice cream inside, along with a scoop of raspberries or strawberries or whatever kind of berry that you wanted, and out of the machine came perfect berry flavoured soft serve ice cream! I want one of those machines.

I bought honey from a nice lady who first tried to get me to taste all the different kinds of honey she had for sale, and Þorri bought a lovely straw hat. (No-one tried to make him taste all the hats first.) My grandmother bought some beautiful flowers.

Life in the country is definitely something special. Plenty of animals and plants to keep you company, books to read, naps to take, bubbly to drink and all kinds of activities to keep you occupied.

For example, tomorrow me and Þorri have been invited to see the cotton crops get planted. I've never seen anything like that. (Iceland is not exactly famous for its agriculture.) Apparently there will be huge machines involved. I just hope my hey fever doesn't give me too much trouble.
sarahblack: (London)
Since my last update I have enjoyed a lovely stay in London, been reunited with Thorri, and flown to the other end of the planet.

I can't believe I'm in Australia already. It's been this far off part of my journey for such a long time. When I saw my grandmother and Lindsay waiting for me and Thorri at the Tamworth airport I was struck with the sheer insanity of it all. I can't really put the feeling into words, but it might have been close to how you feel when you've been spinning around on a desk chair for ages and then suddenly get up.

London )

My last full day in London, Monday, was spent getting ready to meet Þorri at the airport. I must have made it to the arrivals gate almost two hours early because I was so eager to see him again! You can imagine how happy we were when we were finally reunited. ♥

We stayed at an airport hotel that night, making it easy to get the airport the next day. I won't bore you with the details of our journey (6 hours to Abu Dhabi, 10 hours waiting in Abu Dhabi, 13 hours to Sydney, 4 hours waiting in Sydney, 1 hour to Tamworth, 2 hours driving to Narrabri) except to say it was exhausting. Especially since I came down with a sore throat right at the start of the journey. I did manage to catch up on all the recent film releases, though.

After we got to my grandmother's house we've been doing a lot of eating and sleeping. Þorri is loving all the animals that you see around the house (mainly birds and some lizards) and I'm loving my grandmother's collection of murder mysteries. Oh, and last night we started watching Downton Abbey! I've already become quite invested.

Tonight there will be a dinner party. My grandmother has invited some friends that I'm looking forward to seeing again, and there has been talk of pancakes. Yummy Icelandic pancakes!

Hopefully my throat will get better soon, being sick is no fun. Will you send me some healing mojo if you have any to spare?

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Sarah Black

March 2015

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