Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day which we meet an Aussie homeschooling family and a friendly cockatoo

I had a hard time sleeping. Why? Another problem with the apartment. The curtains were so damn transparent.

Tim defended the room saying we had curtains like this at the holiday parks as well. The difference there was it was dark outside at night. In the morning, there was barely any sun, and if it did appear we had been waking up fairly early, anyway. In Sydney, there were lights outside. The room never really got dark.

It was also loud. I'd hear people talking and it would sound like they were right outside our bedroom. At first, I thought they were coming from six stories below on the street. But later I began to think they were people closer to us...perhaps people on their balconies.

In the morning, I had Nutella on toast. I've really grown to love that stuff.

We had our first social plans for Sydney. We were meeting a homeschooling family at the Powerhouse Museum. I had met them through this blog, and we had tried getting our kids to be email-pals for awhile. In Seven Mile Beach, we had gotten a text from them saying they might not make it. They lived in the North Coast and were trapped by the floods.

I had been really confused about where they lived. At one point, I though they lived far from Sydney. Another time, they said they were just an hour or so away. Once we met them in person, I figured out the story. They lived in the North Coast which is fairly far from Sydney; but at the time they were going to meet us, they were staying with their parents in Gosford. That's not too far.

We walked to the Powerhouse Museum from our apartment. We had our beloved Time Out Sydney book to help guide our way. Jack loved looking a the map!

When we got there, I received a text from Kristi saying they were going to be late...train related reasons. I guess we could have left the museum and come back. But for some reason, I thought it was best if we stayed and just began our time in the museum. I guess maybe I wanted Jack to have some time alone. If he had a child with him, he might be busy playing and miss some stuff. I remember worrying, though, that we'd be bored and done with the museum by the time they got there.

We had to decide whether or not to get tickets to the Star Wars exhibit. I hoped Jack wouldn't be interested, because it upped the price quite a bit. Without the exhibit, the cost for our family was $25. With the exhibit, it would be $60. Jack really hasn't been into Star Wars lately, and we had seen the exact same exhibit in Fort Worth a few years ago.

Fortunately, he chose not to go. He wasn't interested.

Plus, Kristi hadn't mentioned anything about The Stars Wars Exhibit so I didn't think they planned to go.

We walked around the rest of the museum. I think we were there for about an hour before they showed up. We moved Jack-pace (very fast) through almost everything.

Then when we got there they told us they were heading into The Star Wars museum.

Oh no!

I worried that maybe I had misunderstood, and this is why they wanted to come to the museum in the first place.

I worried they'd be in there for a really long time.

Jack and Tim were having a grand time at the museum, but I was already getting a bit tired of it.

I worried we'd be there for hours waiting for them to get out of Star Wars. Then of course we'd all have to spend time together in the rest of the museum. Would we ever leave this place?

I lucked out. It turns out little Torren is like Jack in museums. He rushed through Star Wars. They were out of there probably within twenty or so minutes.

Despite not wanting to spend the whole day at the Powerhouse Museum, I did like the place. It's extremely charming. It has a great mixture of science and history. Jack and I had actually been there for a short time in 2007, but we really hadn't seen much.

Now we had more than enough time.

We walked around together and saw a lot of stuff.

Jack's favorite exhibit was this one that teaches you about chocolate. You watch a video and then at certain parts, chocolate chips come out of a tube. How cool is that? I don't think I've ever seen an edible museum exhibit.

Once Torren was there watching from behind. Jack got his chocolate chips. Without being asked, he handed some to Torren. I was so proud. Jack has never been that talented about sharing food with other kids....especially without being asked or forced. And it's not like the machine gave you bunch of chocolate chips.

Tim was enchanted by this exhibit which was supposed to make you feel like you were in space. No gravity. We tried it. I didn't feel like I was lacking gravity. I felt like I was in a room that was spinning. I didn't like it. Jack says he also didn't feel like he was in space. But he did like it. He says it made him feel like he was in a hamster's wheel.

There's an exhibit where you build your own fireworks. It sounds great in theory, but I didn't quite get it.

At one point, I lost the others. I had to use the toilet and when I came out, they were gone. I hadn't told them to wait for me or anything. Also, I may have gone out the wrong way. I looked for them while having some solo time to look around the museum. I remember looking at the big AIDS quilt.

I sent Tim a text, but he didn't respond.

Finally, I found them. Tim said he hadn't gotten any text from me. I think, though, as soon as he said that, it appeared.

We all went outside to the playground. Jack likes the Powerhouse Museum playground because it has a real seesaw. As far as I know, we don't have those in America anymore. Why? I don't know. Maybe someone decided they were too dangerous?

Kristi and I sat on the bench and had a nice chat. Later the kids joined us for a photo op.

We then left the Powerhouse Museum and went to find a place to eat for lunch. At some point, we passed Paddy's Market. I knew Tracey said she wanted to go there. We peaked in. It looked cool.

For lunch, we found a food court in Chinatown. I had some very yummy vegetarian soup.

We then walked towards the train station, so we could bid them farewell.

I think Kristi was a bit concerned about keeping Torren busy and happy on the train ride. It cracked me up, because we had recently endured the long flight from Hawaii to Sydney. At this point, an hour or two would seem like nothing for us.

 It's all about perspective! I bet though in a few months time, when we go on a domestic flight, it will seem long to us again.

On the way to the station, someone grabbed Kristi's wallet out of her backpack. I guess they weren't pleased with it because then they threw it down on the floor. She picked it up angrily. I kept saying we should go and yell at this thief, but the others weren't with me on that one. You know, something about her maybe having a gun or something. I don't know. I guess I can be a little reactive at least when it comes to confronting people. Sometimes I speak before thinking.

After we said good-bye to Kristi, Brett, and Torren, we walked back towards our apartment. We decided to stop at World Square for a snack. Yesterday, Jack had eyed a bakery in there. He wanted to go back.

We found yummy Asian snacks at Breadtop.

At one time, I had no love for Asian pastries. I thought they were crap. Tim claimed to like them and I figured he was just trying to honor his ethnicity or something. My feeling was they should just stick to fortune cookies and orange slices.

Then I discovered red bean buns. I love red bean stuff! Now I'm a fan of Asian bakeries.

Breadtop is awesome. There's so many choices. Sadly though, I didn't love what I chose. It was okay, but it didn't have enough red bean for me.

It was a bit of a struggle finding a place to sit, but we finally managed to.

After we ate, we walked around the shops a bit.

I bought an Australian calendar. Jack says this is when he bought his multi-colored pen. I had told him about these amazing things before we went to Australia. I had talked about how in my days there were these pens that could write in different colors. Jack was totally enchanted by my tale, and then so excited to find a real specimen. He used his allowance to buy one.

We went back to our apartment. I gave my family a few minutes to rest, and then I pushed them to go back out again. Why? We had a weekly travel pass, and we hadn't used it yet today. I felt it was our duty to use it everyday.

We took the train to Circular Quay.

We walked past the Opera House and into the Royal Botanical Gardens.

I love the RBG. It's one of my favorite places in Sydney. I love seeing all the trees. I love the bats. I love the variety of birds; especially the parrots. My mom loves birds too. They're going to Australia next year. I told them they MUST go to the RBG. I think she'll love it there.

There was a place where some cockatoos were hanging out.

I took a photograph and one of the birds started flying up towards me.

Then he landed right on top of my head!

It was quite funny.

I have to say I like that feeling of having a bird on top of my head. Although I did worry he'd poop on me.

Jack tried shaking me to encourage the cockatoo to get off. He wouldn't budge.

There were tourists watching. I think they were a bit jealous. This young woman had been working to get a cockatoo to land on her arm and had no luck. Here I was not even trying, and a bird was having a lovefest with my scalp.

It's not the first time parrots have been attracted to my head. At the Fort Worth zoo once, the parrots at the parrot exhibit seemed extremely interested in me. I don't know what the deal is. Maybe my hair looks like a nest?

Each time I've felt blessed ,though. I love birds. I like to think that maybe some birds actually like me back.

We walked around more. Tim saw something going on in the park...some event happening. He was curious and wanted to see what it was.

We found out (either then or later) that it was a film festival.

The song "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" kept playing. It drove me a bit nuts. I think I was being a bit bitchy to Tim. I hadn't wanted to walk all the way towards the festival to see what it was. I think I was tired but more than that, I thought Jack was getting tired as well. We had planned to walk all the way back to our apartment. I didn't want to go out of our way. Now I'm thinking that was pretty awful of me. Here, Tim goes all the way to Australia with me, and I complain about him wanting to check out a festival. Although I didn't stop us from going over. We did it. I just bitched along the way. Or maybe I didn't? Maybe I kept my bitching to myself. Maybe I didn't complain until the next time we passed the festival, and Tim wanted to check it out a second time. I know I complained then. I figured we already knew what it was. Why did we have to take a second look?

All through the park, I kept singing "Sunday Bloody Sunday". I couldn't get it out of my head. I don't know how it got into my head in the first place. I feared maybe it was some kind of awful omen.

At the park near our apartment, we saw a man being arrested. Exciting.

Jack and I hung out inside while Tim went to Jaipur Sweets. He wanted to use their free Internet. Unfortunately it wasn't working. But he did bring back dinner and some treats! He had bought these things that were like Gulab Jamal, but without the syrup.

We watched Medium, but Tim had to leave in the middle to find a place to use the Internet. Too bad for him because I thought it was a good one. It had a tricky little twist to it.

At night in bed, I started to worry a little bit about leaving Australia. I was becoming quite attached again. As I have a said a million trillion times before, I had great difficulty the last time. I worried I'd be sad again.

But I tried not to dwell on all of that too much. We still had two weeks and one day left.


  1. my parents have a real see-saw at their daycare, but you probably don't see them in public parks because of the safety regulation, there has to be a certain amount of gravel and certain distances from trees and other equipment.

  2. cherryblossom,

    I'm glad to know they still exist here!

  3. I love the bird picture!! I think they sense that you love them.

  4. Jamie,

    That would be so cool. I like that thought.

  5. We wanted to try that Breadtop place looked very inviting. I'm not sure why we didn't..busy having too much fun with our friends no doubt :-D

    I like rooms to be totally dark too when I sleep..I hate outside light, but weirdly (and totally contradictory!) I need to have a light on in the house when I sleep. lol..I'm mad I know.

  6. Hey Dina,

    You've got to see this!! Hope you like it as much as I did.


  7. That's SUCH a cool photo! Birds seem to love my hair too, Dina... it must be because we both have curly hair... it reminds them of the nest (LOL!)..

    The Botanical Gardens is one of my favourite places in Sydney as well. The views, the sense of history because of the ages of the trees and plants, the fauna.

    When I was 42 weeks pregnant with Toto and desperate for him to make his entrance into the world, I went for a walk through the Botanical Gardens and up to Lady Macquaries' Chair where a HUGE electrical storm appeared out of nowhere. I stood at the tip of the little headland there, with the wind and rain whipping my hair, and spoke to my unborn son... telling him that the world was good and exciting and that I would be the best mother that I could possibly be.... if ONLY he would come out! The next day I went into labor. That spot now holds special significance for both of us.


  8. Tracey: We should have gone to Breadtop. When? I don't know. It might have been a better choice than Passionflower. I can't wait to write about that place. I laugh whenever I think about it.

    You are totally mad. If you weren't, there's no way I could love you. How in the world could I tolerate a sane person?

    We watched the video. It's beautiful. I was really into the triple J thing before we left. I haven't gone to the site since we've been back. I need to return. It's fun.

    Fe: I like Jamie's bird explanation better, but yours is probably the correct one. It's a curly hair thing, probably. I think Jamie has curly hair. We should see if the parrots like her as well.

    The weird thing is I didn't have curly hair until 2-3 years ago. I went from straight/wavy to curly. Kind of bizarre!

    I love your pregnancy story! It's beautiful, the relationships moms have with their children...even before they're born.

    I have a not-so-beautiful story.

    When I was about a month pregnant with Jack, Tim and I took his brothers to Disney World. We went to this shopping area. I went to see a movie and he and his brothers went to the arcade.

    I was so happy and excited to be pregnant. I was already madly in love with the little bunch of cells inside me. Then I went to the bathroom and there was a little bit of blood. I was so scared and sad. I think I lost my mind a bit. Instead of sitting down and resting, I rushed through the shopping area to a chocolate place and got a milk shake. I had this idea if I ate something good, Jack would see how great life can be. I have no idea how I expected him to taste the milk shake. The funny thing is though he LOVES treats...especially sugary drinks. It's one of his favorite things. Although I'm guessing that's not too rare for children.

  9. It is funny considering we tried so hard to find it! Icecream lovers on a mission :-)

    That is really bizzare about your hair. Because it's quite curly and looks as though it has always been that way.

    Fe, I loved that story you told about your Botanical Gardens's really beautiful.

  10. Tracey,

    I wish you had met Fe. Maybe next time! I think you guys would really like each other. We'll all go to Breadtop together. OR Passionflower.

  11. Love the cocky on your head, Dina, they are real characters those birds lol :)

  12. Jayne,

    I love them. They're loud though. They woke me up in Canberra.

    I am so jealous of all you people who get to live amongst them.

    We get squirrels though. I should try to be happy about that.

  13. See Saws are pretty scarce most places now. We do have one in our town playground which Trailer Boy hurt himself on last time we were there - got dropped by the kid on the other end and hurt his back!

    A museum that gives you fascinating!!! I've never been to Sydney.

  14. I felt the same way about the Powerhouse Museum-- though the Princess Di exhibit they had was very cool. I was going to suggest for next time that you do the water exhibit thing they do for kids at the Maritime Museum-- but by the time you come back to Sydney Jack will probably be way too old for it.

  15. Lightening: There should be a new law. All museums must give free chocolate. Ouch about Trailer Boy and the SeeSaw.

    Laura: Jack would probably still love it. I'm not sure he'd be allowed though anymore. Plus, I thought it was open in January only??

  16. Are you sure kristy's name has an i at the end

  17. Jack,

    Sorry. I'm not a spelling expert like you.

  18. I read your blog with great interest. I am an Australian currently going to college here in Chicago and about to go to Northeastern in the Fall of 2009.
    I have not been home to Australia for 3 years and may not be able to get back for another 3.
    If you want to have an aussie as a friend on facebook with no weird hookup or freaky whatever...just a down to earth aussie just look for me Aiden Cassidy on face book and add me. There is a lot of things to see and do downunder and I have friends that span 4 of the 6 states.
    My family live in NSW and I come from Brisbane in Queensland.
    It is nice to see someone online that appreicates my homeland as much as I do....
    Good luck in your quest to become an will get there.

  19. Hi Aiden,

    I'd love to be friends with you. I'm so sorry you haven't been home in so long : (

    I'm not really on Facebook anymore. I have an account, but try very hard to avoid using it.

    You can write me here or email me though.....