! Whoa, a moment ago it was hailing! Crazy Sydney spring weather. It's now officially spring here, because according to Australia the season starts on September 1. Oh, and today is Father's Day. Oddly enough, Mother's Day is the same date here as in the US, but not Father's Day. Go figure.
Last weekend I went on a proper date with my Korean "boyfriend" (and former student) Kong. For weeks he's been telling me that he was going to take me out to dinner when he'd saved up enough money from his new job laying tiles. I went along with it because I thought it was amusing, and I guess I figured it would never really happen. Then, last week he showed up at APC and asked me when I was free because he finally had the money to take me to dinner. Honestly I was a little worried about the whole thing because I know he has a crush on me and I wasn't sure what he was expecting from this. We met up on Saturday night and went to Darling Harbour, which is such a great dinner date place because there are heaps of nice restaurants and it's all beautiful and lit up at night. After much deliberation, we ended up at an Italian restaurant at an outdoor table with a perfect view of the water. The waitress even put the cloth napkins on our laps for us! We shared a $36 bottle of wine and ate lots of good food. It was really really nice since I don't often get to do things like that, and Kong's a pretty charismatic guy so even though his English isn't spectacular we had an entertaining conversation. He insisted on paying for everything, even though the bill ended up being over $100! After dinner, he walked me to my bus stop and he even called me to see if I had made it home ok. Ok, so I had a great time but obviously I'm not romantically interested in the guy. And I'm pretty sure he knows that, but since then he's been text messaging me every day!
This past Friday I played hookey from work so that I could go on a little road trip to the Hunter Valley with my friend Marie, her flatmate Angela, and Angela's friend Gladys
. Angela and Gladys are both in their 30's, so they were constantly talking about Gladys' husband and young son. It kinda weirded me out to listen to that since that's so not what my life is like, but I guess in a few years or so it could be! Scary thought! We got to the Hunter on Friday afternoon, walked around some cute and pricey shops, drank coffee while watching the sunset, and then went out to a really nice restaurant for an amazingly delicious steak dinner. We stayed the night in this really nice holiday apartment - we had two bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (with spa bathtubs!), a living room, and a kitchen all to ourselves! We ended up watching this bizarre Swedish movie that was on tv. I don't even know what the name of it was, but it sucked me in. Then we spent all day Saturday on a bus tour of the wineries. That's 7 hours of drinking wine! They took us to little boutique wineries where we had private tastings. The first one we visited was my favorite - it was this cute little place run by a cute husband and wife (whose son is teaching English in Japan!). It's called Lucy's Run - they named it after their dog. It has the cutest logo, and the wine is really good too! From there, all 5 of the other wineries we went to kinda run together in my head. I'm proud to say that I drank every last bit of wine that was given to me! Some people take a sip and then dump the rest in the spittoon provided, but I drank it all. I have this complex about getting my money's worth, so I didn't want to waste any of it
. As a result, I felt kinda sick by the end of the day. :) I didn't get very drunk, but I definitely didn't want to drink any more wine. Now before this trip I didn't know much about wine, but I actually learned some stuff! Such as the fact that the Hunter Valley is famous for Semillion (a citrusy white) and Shiraz (an earthy, peppery red). 2000 was a good vintage for Hunter white wines, and 2003 was the best year for reds. I also learned that tannins are what give red wine that dry taste, which makes your tongue feel like there's sawdust on it but also helps bring out the taste of food. And we even had a good sparking shiraz - I didn't think there was such a thing! I like wineries in Australia because they seem less pretentious than the ones I've been to in the US. Well, except for one of the ones we visited where this snobby Pom (AKA British guy) talked about how he wants to "bring elegance back to Australian wines." Yeah, whatever dude.
So the Olympics are over, and two of the most interesting Aussies to come out of the Games were Sally Robbins and Ryan Bayley. I'm not sure if they've made it on the news in the US. Sally Robbins is a rower who basically passed out during the women's 8's final race. She just stopped rowing. Obviously, her teammates weren't too pleased and now there's this whole war of words going on between them. She says she was physically and emotionally exhausted, they say she's done it before and she just gave up again
. She's become the laughing stock of Australia and the butt of a lot of jokes. On a happier note, Ryan Bayley is a double gold medalist in cycling. But what everyone is talking about is how he's a self-proclaimed junk food addict. In particular, he enjoys KFC. His nutritionist girlfriend says he eats Popcorn Chicken every single day. I'm just waiting for him to have his own KFC commercial. It's inevitable.
Now it's back to work. Unfortunately I have an assignment due on Wednesday. The semester is already half over!! But one last bit of good news to share before I go - Maroon 5 is coming back to Australia!!!! And they'll be playing in Sydney on the day before my birthday, which is funny because Karen and I went to see them in Denver right before my birthday last year! So I think I might push my trip to NZ back a week so I can see them again, though this time the tickets are $66.40!!!! They've become really popular here ("She Will Be Loved" is all over the radio), so this time they'll be performing in an arena (which is something I've never seen them do). It's like Adam and the boys always find me for my birthday. :)
It has rained every single Sunday since I've started my lawn bowls course. Last week we spent the whole class bowling in the rain (and I won!!). Our teacher Levent wasn't even there, but some of the old men from the club were keeping a watchful eye on our game and calling out tips to us. So we couldn't run off to a cafe to drink coffee instead, like Christina and I wanted to. Once 2 pm rolls around, it's pretty much guaranteed it will start to rain, no matter how beautiful the morning was. And today was no exception, although this time it thankfully held off till after our lesson was over. So then we headed inside the club and had a nice cheap beer with our instructor, who informed us of his plans to single handedly save the sport of lawn bowling. Levent wants to get more young people interested in it, so I suggested they have Rock 'n' Bowl just like back home. I think a disco ball and a DJ could do wonders for the sport. Apparently the second oldest lawn bowling club in the world is in NY - I'm gonna have to find it and get in on a pick up game when I get home