And now I will attempt to catch up on the last THREE months in one giant post because I am sick of being behind.

  • Natasha’s old bosses took us all out for a sunset punt picnic before she left the country. It was very serene and lovely, and Scott even got to try punting (until he was heading directly towards the one thing in the lake that you’re not supposed to touch exactly like Tina learning to drive… my all-time favourite Bob’s Burgers scene btw).

  • Jess popped in for a quick visit! I hadn’t seen her since our old brunch club in Vancouver before her and Zsofi moved back to Ontario. We did a little wandering through the Queen Vic Markets and alleyways, and shared a pitcher of margarita on a floating barge bar on the Yarra.

  • I was sailing again on a fairly regular basis until work got in the way. I was getting more and more jobs to do which was fun. But now it’s impossible for me to get to the sailing club in time. :(

  • We found out our apartment is for sale. :( The real estate agents tried to schedule viewings at all times of the day and night, and got mad at us for not meeting them half way with preparing the apartment for sale but I was not having it. I’m not meeting them anywhere tbh. I managed to get them to give us a free week of rent, but now that it’s been three months of limbo and viewings I think I should have negotiated differently. Bah. Anyway no one has been coming to even look at the apartment lately so at the moment we’re just waiting to see what will happen, and keeping an eye on other rentals, but not looking seriously yet.
  • I started full time work. Same job, same hospital. I’m covering a mat leave. It’s been quite an adjustment working every day, especially because I hadn’t really done it since like… 2011… and that was just data entry. LOL. Between work and commuting and weightlifting I pretty much have zero time at home. But the money is fantastic!!!
  • To make life even more tiring… I have been getting called into work ridiculously often. So I am actually working way more than full time. Since Christmas my coworkers have been called in around 2-5 times. I have been called in… EIGHTEEN TIMES. 18!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t even understand how it is statistically possible. Again, the money is fantastic, however I would also like to actually have a weekend!! I’m just waiting for the opposite side of this balance where I don’t get called in at all for like three months.

  • Perogies are not a thing in this country. I attempted to make a sort of quick perogie meal using gnocchi, bacon, caramelised onions, cheese, and sour cream. It was.. ok. A bit dry. I think it needs some kind of sauce… maybe with the caramelised onions. Any ideas?
  • A guy from my weightlifting gym competed in the Commonwealth Games. That was cool. We had a BBQ to send him off. I watched quite a lot of the games this year. There are some weird sports in it… like lawn bowling, netball and pistol shooting!
  • Cristoforo came to Melbourne and we ate a ridiculous Nutella feast. Pictures later.
  • Thanks to Scott’s work perks I got to try a fancy Endota spa package. It included a massage, facial and pedicure. Was very nice, although it was an extremely weird sensation to get your toes painted while your eyes are covered. I didn’t know if she was just about to start painting so I had to use all my willpower to not move my feet. I think if I got to do it again I wouldn’t choose one with a pedicure.

  • Friends who not only pick you up to drive you to the city, but also provide ciders and snacks for the ride get a FIVE STAR review!
  • We went to see Urzila Carlson at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. She was funny! That was my first time going to a MCF show, despite it being a HUGE thing here every year. Maybe next year we’ll go to more.
  • Still been doing Monday night trivia, although a bit less often lately. And monthly stitch n bitch, and Phoenix ladies night dinners. Yay frands.
  • Scott’s been keeping up with planning something for us to do each month. In March we went out for fancy ultra hipster hot chocolate, April we saw Isle of Dogs and ate dumplings, and in May we went to a really nice Spanish tapas restaurant in the city called Bomba.

  • Scott’s work did a private trivia night thing. I came too and joined the IT team. We thought we weren’t doing that well because of how loud the other tables were cheering when they read out the answers but then we won!!!

  • I lifted in the Victoria Weightlifting Open. I made 4 out of 6 of my lifts, and got a 1 kg PB on each lift. I guess that’s ok but I was hoping for more considering all of the good training I had been doing. It was my first real competition and I had a really fun time. I found it much less stressful than skeleton comps… I guess because there is less fear of death?? My coach was able to give me his full attention and he told me exactly when and what to lift to warm up, made all the decisions, and counted others attempts so all I had to do was go out when he told me to and lift the bar.

  • I’m smiling because I felt my arm bend a little bit when receiving the bar and knew that it was going to be a no-lift. I got in trouble from my coach afterwards for making a face… have to work on my poker face. Two red lights. Anyway this was disappointing because I was able to stand up and everything and if not for the tiny bit of arm bend it would have been a great PB.

  • Third attempt clean and jerk. I made the clean, but didn’t quite get under the jerk. Three red lights.

  • I’m so happy I joined Phoenix Weightlifting Club. I’ve made a lot of new friends and it’s been so fun challenging myself with the Olympic lifts. I don’t think I can ever go back to regular gym-ing. I stuck around to be a weights loader for the session after me. Holy moly that was more work than actually lifting in my session!! Didn’t help that it was a big boy session and they were using all the plates.
  • I finally redeemed my free float voucher that we got as a thank you for putting up with the noise while they built the place directly below our apartment. It was for one hour in one of those sensory deprivation tanks. I scheduled it for right after my weightlifting comp because I knew my legs would be sore and the magnesium salt is supposed to help with recovery. I guess it worked pretty well for that, but I didn’t really like it in general. I was slightly too hot, and my neck started to hurt from my fat head hanging down? I’ve never been great at meditating or relaxing or anything so I was just awake the whole time too and just aware of how hot I was. I tried sitting up for a bit to cool down and rest my neck a bit which was better but then the super salty water dripped down into my eyes and stung a lot, lol. I was pretty happy when it was over, tbh. The next day my neck was sooo sore. In the future I would much rather just get a massage I think.

  • Scott and I competed in a Ticket To Ride tournament. It was run by the same people that did the Carcassonne tournament we did last year. There were four rounds (USA, Europe, India, Asia). I won the first game, then finished 3rd in the next two games. I knew that I needed to win the last game to make the finals. I took tickets on my last turn for the win and actually had two of them. We did the final count and I ended up tied for the win. The tie-breaker is number of tickets completed, which we were also tied on. The second tie-breaker was number of mountain routes finished, which I lost. Bummer. Then the host read out the names of the top 4 people who would be in the finals and I was tied for fourth!!!!! The tie-breaker was number of points earned over the day which I lost. :((((( Such a bummer. I can’t believe I missed the finals by so little. Scott on the other hand did not do so well and finished second last. :( It was fun though. We do love board games.
  • Scott has a cracked rib. Someone head butted him at basketball (accidentally) and now he has to take it easy for a couple weeks. Poor dude.
  • He also just got Employee of the Month though! Go Scott!!

OK! Whew! I think that’s about it. All caught up!!!

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING CUTER THAN A WOMBAT ON A LEASH???

Why is that wallaby glaring at me??

Various Irwin’s and a croc.

We stopped at the Australia Zoo on the way from Brisbane to Noosa so MEP and Paul could see lots of Aussie animals. I liked the koalas a lot.

We went to the famous bird and croc show in the big arena. It was cheesy but entertaining. Bindi Irwin is a surprisingly bad public speaker though? I would have thought she would be better considering she does it every day…

Anyway the zoo is massive!! They don’t have platypus though. Minus one star.

Great view from our apartment in Noosa too.

Of course I had to go for a swim. The ocean was soooo nice and warm. It was so crowded at the main beach though! Easter weekend was over but I guess a lot of people were sticking around for the week.

Scott and I went for a hike around Noosa National Park. We didn’t see any koalas or whales, but we did see dolphins!

We walked all the way from Noosa Main Beach to Sunshine Beach, had lunch at the RSL and then caught the bus back to town.

We all went on a super cheap sunset river cruise that was actually great. $10! The captain pointed out all sorts of things along the way and we ended up at the lake just in time to see a beautiful sunset over the water. He also got some kites to dive and snatch bits of meat in mid-air. It was relaxing and just great value compared to most touristy things in Australia.

We had a bit of extra time on the last day so we took the scenic route back to the Brisbane Airport via a couple lookouts and a cheesery. WILL U-TURN FOR CHEESE. We all had these extremely intense cheese tarts, which probably took two days to fully digest. So much cheese.

Noosa is nice but maybe a bit too fancy for me. I think there are other places along the Sunshine Coast that aren’t as busy or expensive that would be just as good.

After one last game of Ticket To Ride at the airport, Scott and I flew back to Melbourne, and MEP and Paul flew directly into a hurricane, but we would see them again in a couple weeks.

A thousand years ago Scott and I went to Wilsons Prom for a weekend.

We drove down on Friday night after work, stopping for dinner in Fish Creek. We wanted to have a quick meal so we’d arrive at the campground before dark but the food took 5ever to come out. Oh well, other than it making a bit difficult to pick out a good campsite (Tidal River Campground is first come first serve) we were fine setting up in the dark because we are Master Campers.

**This just reminded me I need to change the batteries in my headlamp. Thanks guys.

Anyway after setting up we just chilled in our camp chairs and watched the wombats wander around and surprise people. Very entertaining. They are brave wombats!! And so pudgy. :D :D

 

After a delicious camp breakfast of bacon and eggs we set out on a little hike. Check out this wombat hidey hole!! And check out my muscley legs!!

We walked out to Pillar Point Lookout and then down to Squeaky Beach. We ate our sandwiches and decided we wanted to swim but it would be a lot easier if we headed back to the beach near our campsite. It was sunny and nice out, but close to the end of summer so the water wasn’t super warm, but once we got in it was pretty nice. I put my head under and everything.

Later that afternoon we put our shoes back on and drove to the car park for the Mount Oberon “hike”. I put that in quotation marks because it was just a road that goes up up up up up up forever. I did not care for that much up hill. It’s not very scenic until you get to the very very top and then it’s SCENIC AF, as you can tell from that picture. We timed it so that we’d get to the peak at sunset, and succeeded, but unfortunately the sunset was a bit boring that evening. Unlucky because the night before the sunset was spectacular!! (We saw it as we were driving to the campground.) Then we hustled back down the mountain and only had to use our headlamps for the last ten minutes back to the car.

PS that’s Tidal River Campground on the right side of the picture. Scott used extreme zoom on my camera and took a picture of our tent. He debated running up the next morning so I could wave at him from down there and now I have ragret that we didn’t actually do it.

We actually had a really miserable night though. It suddenly got super windy, and sand was blowing everywhere. Our tent has a full fly but somehow sand was flying under the edges and into the tent and EVERYTHING was covered. Our pillows were gritty. Our sleeping bags were gritty. Our lips were gritty. To make it worse, it was super hot but we couldn’t open anything up because we would have been covered with even more sand. So sweaty. I did not sleep very well at all. When we woke up in the morning we had grey faces!!

Our breakfast pancakes came out horribly rubbery for some reason and then we felt a few drops of rain so we shook everything out and packed up in record time.

We had planned on doing another hike that day but instead decided to just give up and head home, via a cidery and cheesery.

We went to Gurney’s Cider, which is a family run farm that makes very simple and tasty dry cider. I loved their Scrumpy cider made from foraged apples but it was a bit too pricey for me. I did get a bottle of Wild though.

And we checked out Prom Country Cheese for lunch. We had a massive cheese board. It was intense. It came with a whole bunch of huge pieces of sheep, cow and goat cheese, warm bread and crackers, meat and more. I’m drooling reminiscing about it. Lovely place.

Anyway other than the sand we had a lovely time at the Prom. I would like to go back again next summer, for a bit longer. The beaches there are really great, and wombats are soooo cuuuute. It’s really competitive/expensive to reserve spots there though so dunno. Maybe somewhere else along the coast is better.

You sick of Korea posts yet? :P Last one.

Scott and I checked out the Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul. It’s a cool set up, they have A LOT of different types of seafood, and you can choose what you want and they will take it to their associated restaurant upstairs who will cook it for you for a couple dollars.

What kind of ray is this?

It was a little overwhelming though, there wasn’t much English inside, and some of the portions were enormous. So we just decided to get some salmon sashimi to go.

Which we ate outside in the sun on the steps of a random building.

Checking out the beach near our hotel in Donghae. The water looked beautiful and clear. I bet the Korean seaside is really nice in the summer.

Variety gimbap in Gangneung. I love how many elements they cram into a roll, even cheese!!

Eating during the Olympics was tricky. We seemed to always be racing to get onto the bus or train that was just about the depart so we ended up missing a lot of meals. And the food that was inside the Olympic venues was cheaper than I expected, but pretty bland. Anyway at least we ended on a pretty good note when we found a nice restaurant to have another dolsot bibimbap, gimbap, and mandu (Korean dumplings) on our last night.

I do regret not eating more seafood while on the seaside though. And we never found the soft tofu local speciality. Doh!

These doughnuts were amazing. Korea knows how to make a good crispy doughnut omg. The market stall was selling doughnuts stuffed with savoury fillings like: kimchi, pizza cheese, red bean, squid, and more. I had a japchae (glass noodles with vegetables) doughnut, and Scott had curry sweet potato. SO GOOD. We also tried hotteok which are like fried doughballs filled with lava caramel and seeds and nuts. Very difficult to eat (I may have had a molten sugar explosion all over my gloves and jacket), but very tasty.

Scott got a red bean fish ice cream from 7-11. It was nice.

Korea seems very… prepared. Our hotel in Seoul came with a fire extinguisher, a flashlight, and a little suitcase with an emergency ladder, and every subway station had these cases with tons of masks. I suppose technically they are still at war…

We stayed in Hongdae for our last night. It is a university area so there are a lot of things around for young people to spend their money, such as: escape rooms, arcades, animal cafes, 85 million coffee shops, phone case shops, karaoke, billiards, smash rooms, etc. And, speciality cafes, like Scott’s dream cafe: Mint Heim. Everything was mint chocolate, aka Scott’s favourite dessert flavour combination. You could even get mint coffee. It was a tough choice, but we decided to try a piece of the mint Nutella cake, and it was good.

Well that does it, I’m all caught up. It was an epic trip. So much fun! It was just so easy to travel there: plenty of English, fantastic transit, quite cheap, amazing food, tons to see. I would return to Korea again for sure, with an extra suitcase and an extra stomach! :D

AKA Spicy Chicken Stir Fry with a Cheese Moat :D :D

Because obviously when you make a spicy chicken and vegetable stir fry you think “wouldn’t this be better with a crap load of cheese”. Right? Maybe it’s just me. #everythingisbetterwithcheese

Anyway this exists. And it was great. I’m gonna walk you through it.

We ordered chicken galbi for three people. They fire up the burner on the table and bring out a giant pan filled with chicken in gochujang, potatoes, rice cakes, various vegetables, and a exorbitant amount of shredded cheese. We stare at it, unsure if we are supposed to start stirring.

Waiters come over and start stirring our pan every once and a while. We relax as we realize that they will do everything for us, haha. Nibble some banchan.

Look at the amount of cheese they gave us and wonder if we’ve made a terrible mistake.

When the food is mostly cooked they pour the cheese into the cheese moat.

Stir stir. Melt melt. Bubble bubble.

Is it ready yet??

It’s ready!!! Dig in.

Grab bits of chicken and/or veg and scoop up some cheese and shovel it all into your mouth. Yummmm.

Finish the stir fry and ask for one serving of rice. Waiter comes over and scrapes out the extra bits of food and cheese, then adds rice to the pan.

He does some elaborate scraping and stirring for a few minutes.

And smoothing.

Aww. “For Family” the waiter says.

Take selfies with your Japanese table buddies!

Roll home.