Landed! Tales from our trip to the USA.

Hey.  So things have been pretty quiet around here.  Like real quiet.  It’s a symptom of my rather crazy life…

But now we’re in Australia, we’re starting to settle in, and I can probably sit down an give a bit of a brief life update re-cap of our recent travels (believe me, there are many stories from our trip, but I’ll try to keep it manageable).

We left Dunedin on April 19.  The last thing we decided to do before flying out, of course, was do a final tramp with our friend Tim (who’s moving to Sweden.  Welcome to being an academic, folks).  So we went tramping in fiordland on April 17-18, then flew to Las Vegas on April 19.  I know, I know.

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Gertrude Saddle, Fiordland.  Why are we leaving this behind again?

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Vegas!

We had a few days in Vegas before starting an epic road trip through the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Escalante, Arches and finally the Valley of Fire State Park before returning to Vegas.  All up we spent about 2 weeks in the southwest, doing all of the walks (highlights of which included from the South rim of the grand canyon to the Colorado river and back again – which is generally not recommended but we did it anyways, as did a number of other people, and Angel’s Landing in Zion).  Our last night in Vegas we caught a Cirque de Soleil show which was a highlight for me because A: Cirque was the one thing I wanted to do in Vegas.  B:  We were randomly offered seats in the front row (couches!) by the ushers.  Yes please, don’t mind if I do.  I think it was because we were dressed nicely (last night in Vegas and all).  C:  And then since we were in the front row there was some “minor” <–Usher’s words, not mine! – cast interaction.  i.e. D was picked out immediately to participate ended up on stage, of course, as he always does.  Overall I rate cirque 10/10, would do again.

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Proof that we were at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

We then headed up to MN and spent about 10 days catching up with friends and family, and having a “MN” wedding reception (as our ceremony was held in December back in NZ).  Yes, I even got to wear my dress again which was fun!  How many other women get to wear their dress 3 times?

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Minneception!

My final job while I was home was to go through all my old crap.  Yes, after 9 years of storing all my crap, my parents were desperate for me to go through and do a bit of culling.  Needless to say I was actually shocked at how much rubbish I had – I was actually a hoarder in a past life and someone really should have had an intervention [it’s embarrassing.  D admits he would have been easier on me during the packing for our recent move if he had realized how far I’ve come and how bad I really used to be].

The good thing is that I’m at a place now where I can objectively look at all of my “mementos” [crap] from the first 23 years of my life and part with most of them [because they are literally rubbish – we recycled unbelievable amounts of paper].  I’d even started reading The life-changing magic of tidying up back when we were still in NZ, which is pretty helpful if you want to do some major downsizing.  Even after all that I still kept what amounts to probably too much crap, but at least it now fits in my parents house [versus a storage container], and I was able to decrease volume of storage space by about 75%.  I also realize how much $$$ I wasted on plastic storage bins [for my crap] and 3 ring binders [I really liked to file and organize all the crap].  No wonder I was always poor!  I’d like to think now that my hoarder tendencies are gone, and although I probably still have too many clothes, I’ve come a long way…

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A few of the dragons from my collection – And boxes because the actual dragons were already packed away.

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Finally parting with most of my fleet farm t-shirts.  I wish I could say this was all of them (it wasn’t.  Multiply by at least 2.5.  Add another 3 or 4 colours).  Also a pretty strong indicator of my rural MN heritage.

 

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An award I received on the HS swim team.  Any surprise here?  Yes, I saved everything.

I  also decided that after 9+ years of being separated from my Bernina sewing machine (which I bought brand new in 2006 – keeping in mind I left MN in 2007), it was coming back with us to Australia.  D really loved carrying it through 4 airports in 3 different countries (USA, NZ & Australia).  I took it through as my carry on, but the case handle broke in San Francisco making it impractical for me to carry (it was definitely pushing the weight limit on hand luggage) and he had to take over.   You know you’re a little bit crazy when you’re travelling with a tent, sleeping bag, mats, cooker, wedding dress, suit, handmade quilt and a sewing machine in 2 checked bags.  No, we didn’t really have any other clothes along, and yes I had to wear my hiking boots on the plane.

So we flew out of MN on May 13, had a long layover in Auckland on May 15 catching up with friends before finally flying into Melbourne.  I started work on May 16 (yes, seriously D and I are mad), and D has been house hunting, cooking, doing the laundry, etc.

We’ve found a place to live which is at the low end of the budget (yay!) and decently nice.  It’s a small 2 bedroom wee house (the second bedroom is quite small), but with just the two of us that’s not a problem.  It’s a quick bus ride for me to work, and we’re within walking distance of a little town centre with some supermarkets, shops, etc.

We’ve also found a car (hopefully picking it up today)!  Used cars in Australia are a lot more expensive than in NZ due to their weird roadworthy certifying system here.  We really wanted a station wagon as well (aka, a vehicle that can carry at least 4-5 people plus tramping packs, and has a tow bar), and there just doesn’t seem to be quite as many wagons around as other types of cars.

So we are mostly settling in!  My job is going well, we’re already back in our friend group (D and I each have besties living in Melbourne) and I’m feeling reasonably good about our move thus far.  Can’t wait to see what life here has in store for us!  Also, can’t wait to move into our new place and be reacquainted with my wardrobe again, as I’ve literally been living out of a suitcase for 6 weeks now.  Yay, capsule wardrobe?

Anyways, I think that sums it all up!  I’ll try to do some more regular posts from now on.  😀

 

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6 thoughts on “Landed! Tales from our trip to the USA.

  1. I totally got rid of the majority of my Fleet Farm shirts last summer after them being stored in a plastic bin for years! With our upcoming move, I really want to purge a bunch of stuff as well. But then I get sucked back in when I look at stuff….ugh…I should read that book!

    • I know! “But what if I want to make a t-shirt quilt someday?” (I still have plenty of t-shirts left. More than enough to make a quilt. Just not enough to make an entire fleet farm quilt.) I imagine I’ll live.

      I’m not quite finished with the book – but I think it’s been really helpful. Also the fact that we’ve moved so many times in recent months has REALLY helped. I still have room for improvement, but I think I’m finally breaking the mindset of “I need to have/buy all of these things”. The true test will be when we set-up house in the coming weeks!!! *fingers crossed for willpower*

  2. I used to have a cat collection — of figurines and beanie babies… and also lots of other junk from high school. I went through it a few years back and I think I ended up keeping one figurine. It helps to be removed from it for a while. I was also able to throw out about 3 plastic bins worth of junk and kept just a shoebox of items. It’s definitely fun though to see things (like that goofy award — hello 90’s fashion) …and then put it in the recycling bin 😉 I get sucked into the memories too but some stuff you just have to recognize as garbage.

    • Oh I threw out at least a half dozen cat folders. 😛 And yes, many many beanie babies were donated.

      I also kept literally every single thing you’ve ever made me. I couldn’t throw them away yet! Hahaha.

      You’re so lucky you only had to throw out 3 bins and kept a shoebox. Seriously, I went through like 30 bins and probably got down to 10. :/ I guess there’s always room for improvement.

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