G’Day Mate

We finally arrived! and it finally hit me. You’d think the months of planning, packing, and saying goodbye to friends and family would have done it, but it was actually the little flight tracker on the plane from Auckland to Melbourne that did it. I realized that plane wasn’t turning around for us. We were on our one way flight to our new home.

The excitement caught up to us and we collected our bags, all 562 of them, and headed to our temporary hotel apt. Upon arrival at the hotel we realized that we left two items behind at the airport! Apparently 562 and 564 bags/boxes/walker combination seems the same as you are packing it in to a taxi. Luckily for us we have two great friends in Melbourne who spent their ANZAC Day driving us back to the airport to pick up the forgotten items.

We arrived to a cold and rainy city. Apparently their first day of winter had waited just for us to arrive! Time to put away the sandals and maxi dresses… and get out the Collingwood Magpies scarves! Thanks to some incredible friends (more like guardian angels) in L.A. (Thanks Astrid, Andy, and Melissa! if you are reading this) we were introduced to two of our newest friends in Australia who provided us with a true Aussie welcome.

A little background first… ANZAC Day (April 25) is one of the biggest national holidays in Australia. It commemorates and honors the Aussie and Kiwi military (Think Veterans Day and Memorial Day combined and on a much bigger level). The whole country practically shuts down. Most businesses close for at least part of the day and everyone in the city hopes to score some tickets to the ANZAC Day Footy Game.

So… back to our first day in Australia. We ventured out (in the pouring rain) to our first Australian Rules Football (otherwise known as AFL or Footy). There are 17 AFL teams, 10 of them are in the Melbourne area. With footy, cricket, rugby, tennis, and who knows what other sports we have yet to discover, this city is sports crazed! Every ANZAC Day the Collingwood Magpies and the Essendon Bombers play a match and draw huge crowds every year. So… you can imagine that this game is a pretty big deal around here. And rightly so, Footy is apparently RAD!

Enjoying the Footy with our new Mates, Jimmy and Pat. We were instantly converted Collingwood fans (the team people love to hate)! Go Pies!

The game was incredible, full of excitement and action (it’s like a blend of American football, soccer, and a sprinkle of extra action combined). The insanely fit players storm the field with furry. Kicking the ball to each other with unbelievable Accuracy. The Our Pies brought it home in the last-minute for an epic win against Essendon… then it was out to celebrate the victory with or new mates.

Auckland, the city that sleeps

On our way to our destination in land down under we decided to make a mini detour (and long layover) to Auckland, New Zealand. We’ve heard great things about the city and it did not disappoint!

Our hotel room wasn’t ready when we arrived so we headed out to explore the city (fresh off the 14 hour flight in case those clothes look familiar)! The city is quiet, calm, and peaceful. The coffee is so delicious it doesn’t need sugar. Trim latte please! The air is clean. The birds are out chirping. Even the cars and boats seem quiet going about their business.

Lounging port side in Auckland. Loving the oversized lounge chairs!

Have you ever heard of a parking/transportation authority doing a friendly anything? We can learn a lot from the Kiwis (the nickname given to people from New Zealand). Check this out! A “Friendly Reminder” from Auckland Transportation that the car’s registration is about to expire! I like it here!

Auckland’s Sky Tower

When in Rome… People say Auckland is a sleepy city, our second night here we took full advantage of the peace and quiet and decided to nap before dinner. A 20min nap at 6pm turned into 11 hours of sleep straight through the night. We intended to get up see the city from the sky tower after nightfall, but my eyelids felt like paperweights and there was no escaping the comfort of the pillow-top mattress and down duvet. Between a brief break from my dreams I whispered to Joe, let’s just get up early and watch the sunrise instead.

We definitely got the R&R we needed after the stress of planning for the move! Next stop… Melbourne!

Leaving on a jet plane

Our bags (and boxes — yea Filipino style) are packed, we’re ready to go! Yoga matt and In-N-Out in hand (thanks Lawrence!)… what more could we need? Actually… Can we pack up our family, friends, and dogs in those boxes instead?

14 hour flight to Auckland… then a nice 3-day layover in New Zealand before heading to our new home.

Hasta Luego… Saying goodbye

Who are we kidding? Goodbyes suck!

Hasta luego amigos!

We’ve been so fortunate to have incredible family and friends (who have become our family) to support us over the last 6.5 years in L.A. Some might think we’re crazy for saying goodbye to people who will run through mud with you, jump through fire with you (yes, you can do that at the Warrior Dash Mud Run too!), visit you in the hospital after a spinal cord injury (Joe was hurt in 2007 leaving him in a wheelchair… read more on his not so current blog), play along with your corny birthday themed parties, and travel cross-country (shout out to my North-West, Texas, and East Coast Girls and Family) for everything from a quick weekend getaway to full on wedding celebrations! Crazy for leaving? Maybe! I’m not denying. But think of the fun we’ll have when all these cool kids come to visit Australia!

Office family

I practically made myself sick telling friends and colleagues at work that I was off to my next great adventure. It isn’t every day you get to work with inspiring people who are also great friends! The thoughtful goodbye parties and parting gifts almost made me want to tell Joe to go without me. Yet, I knew I was so excited for what was up ahead. “Eye on the prize” I kept saying to remind myself of the reason these goodbyes are necessary.

Yoga, wine, chocolate, and goodbye

My mom and I established a new yearly tradition last year. Yoga retreat for the soul! One weekend out of the year that is just mom and me time (she’s kinda my bestie). Our first experience at Sagrada Wellness was so amazing that I knew we had to go back before our departure… we couldn’t risk having the yearly tradition die out after only one year! Sagrada Wellness Yoga Retreat to the rescue once again… this time with a could not be more perfect yoga, wine, and chocolate retreat up near San Luis Obispo. The weekend was more than we could have asked for (despite the thunder, hale and lightning storms), filled with relaxing yoga, central coast valley wines, decadent organic chocolates, and most importantly some good bonding time before the daily after work calls to my mom become harder with the 15 hour time difference.

Bags are packed…

Weeks before the move people kept asking us if we were ready to go. “Are you packed yet?” Nope! We packed in about 48 hours! With the help of our nephew Shane…

Our Bella…

Joe’s parents, my dad who always flys out to wherever I’m moving to/from to help, a very experienced moving company (although my dad will claim — rightly so — that he could have done a better job), and lots of sticky notes, we went from livable house to empty house in two days.

With an empty house came an empty heart. Even the mail man yelled at me for moving out! “Why would you buy a house and make this ramp if you were planning on moving out of the country?” he asked. “Well, sir… we didn’t know…” oh, never mind… then I started asking myself the same question. We liquified our lives, sold our cars, rented out our house, sent our girls off to live in Texas with my parents (the doggie Aussie move isn’t looking good) hoping we made the right decision.

Sending the girls off on their road trip with my dad. Have a fun ride to Texas! Tear.

On a brighter side, my buds (the ones I was obsessed with seeing bloom before leaving) did pop up… just a couple of weeks before the move! I got to enjoy the daffodils and tulips right before packing up and saying goodbye to my spring garden for an inner city potted plant patio in the winter.

Yup, goodbyes suck! But at least this farewell is a true “hasta luego” and not a goodbye goodbye… we’ll be back in 2 years!