A Most Grateful Daughter!

I would like to say that I have always been enthusiastic to get down and dirty and work hard, however, if I am being truthful I would have to admit that growing up, hard work was the farthest thing from my mind. I wanted to spend every waking moment spinning my dreams and figuring out how I could make every one of them come true regardless of practicality. I simply wanted to have fun. Each and every day I knew my father was getting up early and making his way to work to support our family’s lifestyle. As a result, I only tended to see my father in the evening, as awakening from my slumber at a grave 5:00 am was simply unheard of and something I swore I would never have to do. I would be so special and such a stellar individual that mundane obligations like awakening for work were beyond the scope of any employers delegations; I WAS WRONG. My miscalculations were pretty frequent growing up and my father so kindly used patience and living by example to begin to teach me the most valuable lessons. Every day, when our paths collide, I am met with an optimism so unique and pervasive it can mend any emotional affliction that might have presented in me. It is this contented radiance that had forever intrigued my little mind as a youngster, simply wondering,”What makes him so happy.” Not a question easily answered but certainly something I intended to emulate. Over past few years, I have begun to understand that his sense of contention is coming from his attitude toward hard work.

My father has worked for a telecommunications company for the last 36 years. For the majority of those years he has worked as a Network Technician. Working everyday, rain or shine, outside amongst the elements; a job criteria a lot of people try very diligently to avoid. Growing up, he never graduated high school, getting his GED at a later date, which was the end of his formal education. Funniest thing though, he hasn’t appeared to have missed a beat as his awareness and ability to learn is uncanny. He lives everyday with the same passion and sincere appreciation for each and every moment, which I find so rare it is worth writing about. My father does not live this existence for any external appreciation or gratification, he just IS this way. I see how his appreciation for a day in a manhole or climbing telephone poles permeates his entire day and exponentially his entire life, and now, graciously, into mine. This philosophy of living life with an uncanny, optimistic outlook can span a lifetime of conflicts and concerns and a lesson I will be eternally grateful for.

Essentially I want to thank my father for teaching me the value of hard work and the most important life lesson I have ever learned which is that life and the pursuit of happiness, if I may, is all in the attitude. Most importantly this lesson was taught graciously by example. MRW seemed like a fitting place to begin to show appreciation for a lifetime of hard work and manual labor and of course doing what I can to live out the same doctrine as I have come to believe in its value just as much as my father does. Today is my father’s first day of retirement, and I will not find anyone more deserving of some time off than my father. I look forward to many crazy and slightly impractical projects together in hopes of learning a little bit more each and every day.

Dad, you are simply the greatest model of humanity for myself and I thank you and thank God everyday for having such an outstanding mold to model myself after. Mike Rowe, it must be said... you rank pretty high up there as well.

A most grateful daughter,

Things I love

Just thought I would post a few things that I love and I am truly grateful for (no particular order):

* Fabulous nights with friends and family (days and nights really)
* Haagen Das Peppermint Bark (Seasonal) Ice Cream - truly exceptional, beware of the calories
* The sound slush makes when you jump into it -- corny, I know
* The sound my cycling shoes make when they click into the pedal -- Yes, I am a freak
* Crunchy leaves -- I am definitely an audible individual
* Inspiration -- people, places, food
* Wine - cheap to expensive and nearly every varietal of grape has impressed me at one time or another
* Traveling the world -- takes my breath away every time
* Winter - I always feel a certain way that transcends my ability to articulate
* Honesty -- No real need to explain
* Good food -- I can't be the only one, right?
* Inspiration -- It comes from everywhere and looks a little different every time
* Blankets - they are perfect and oh so very functional
* Beauty -- it is everywhere... and I love it
* Books -- I can't get enough... I want them all
* Powells -- definitely worth a mention

... There are plenty more things, but for tonight, that is my list.

Original Thought

I often wonder if I ever really have an original thought? I am a twenty-five year old young women who constantly feels overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge there is to process each and every day. Every moment of life I feel like I need to pencil down at least two or three snippets of thought or else they will become lost in the abyss of responsibility and obligation. There is so much knowledge from so many different directions and, so often, many different people to please; my questions is: do I base my thoughts and opinions strictly on my own careful consideration or is it tainted by the impeding influences and voices?

It is only fair to recognize that life is made up of information to process and is inevitably shaped by external forces. Funny, having significant time to face the awful and depressing question, "What am I going to do with my life," has brought me to this reflection. Regardless of why I ask this questions, I answer this - I believe we are rushed. There are so many things in the world to consider, so many aspects of our lives to juggle. We make decisions hastily, not taking the time to really consider how we feel about something and instead move forward with the majority without even realizing if we agree. I want to stop generating an opinion in this fashion. I feel lost and I am not sure this has much of anything to do with it, but it is something I have begun to recognize in myself and find it less than impressive. If anyone has any thoughts, please don't hesitate to share them!

Bella Gioia

So, when evenings don't go quite as well as expected... once again, I planned on a glorious evening of food and good company, and lucky for me, the good company was still available however, the fabulous dinner plans I had were squashed due to the painful economy and the inability of restaurants to keep a stable business and keep there glorious food and door open for my to enjoyment. Lucky for me, someone was shining down on my evening because I stubbled upon a glorious little Italian restaurant which I had yet to hear about or stumble upon in my absense.

I can't deny my apprehension when trying a new and fairly young restaurant; when I spend a nice heap of money on an outing I have pretty high expectations; to my surprise, Bella Gioia delivered. Despite prices that are a bit beyond my current financial stance, the food and service came through with immediate precision.

The menu's are less then impressive in appearance. Frankly they are printed on simple marbled paper cut out with pinking sheers, however, the real treat was what the range and delicious offerings available. A great sample of antipasto and quite extensive wine list, I chose a nice Wild Boar in Ragu with Pappardelle noodles; something I have enjoyed before... my companion chose the classic Marguerite pizza... and the wine recommendation from the staff was informed and spot on. Both dishes were outstanding, the noodles were cooked to perfection and the wild boar had a wonderful flavor. Simply outstanding however was the pizza. Perfect size and wood fired to perfection which made me wish I had the money and the calories to order a pizza to go. Praise to my discipline, I was lucky to get out of there with leftovers from my own meal. If it hasn't been clear, I would recomment this location to anyone looking for a casual and sweet outing without spending too ridiculous a price. My companion and I got out of there unter $50 with dinner and wine to boot. So, I look forward to my next evening at this lovely restaurant.


Bondi Beach Photos

Below is a quick taste of the beautiful beaches here... for further viewing, please go to http://www.krista-marie.com/Kristas_BLOG/My_Albums/My_Albums.html

Blue Mountains Majesty

Welcome to my visual tour of the Blue Mountains north of Sydney. To begin, trains leave the city center every half hour or so to the Blue Mountains with the typical length of transit being about 2 hours. The train was quite jolly and overall a wonderful way to get from point A to B; while only costing around $50 return (On-Off bus fare included). You arrive in Katoomba, where you exchange your voucher for a bus ticket, and begin your journey. We decided on the walking tour and cliff views... which was a little misleading as the trail was poorly marked and not well kept. So, we descended and climbed for hours looking at the beautiful scenery and amazing waterfalls; listening to the noises of hundreds of tropical birds and rushing water. It was a magical day.... we followed up at this little pizza place in Katoomba called PapaDinos. It was fantastic. The ambience was spectacular and the food was quick and flavorful, we ordered a medium pizza with tomato, cheese, romano, garlic, and mushroom... it was sensational. Also, the first place I ever had SOLO... yum!!! Well, another wonderful day!!! Talk soon, please enjoy the attached photos!

New Favorite Things

I thought it was time to pass along some of my new favorites. These pretty much span a variety of genres, but overall are related to food. These are not in order of importance; SOLO -- refreshing soda like beverage. A lovely mix between lemonade, lemon lime soda, and limoncello. Spectacular flavor and not that unhealthy as Aussie's have a much higher standard regarding what is legally allowed in the food that they eat. Moving right along and in the same drinkable vein, I would like to mention the sheer brilliance of the Australia hot chocolate. It is magical. I firmly believe that all coffee house treats are as delectable with the main thrill being in the steaming of the milk (in my case soy). Here, this is essential to a well made espresso or latte as well as a wonderful cup of hot chocolate, it is a beautiful artform. Ok, well it was all in the beverage, food category, but uploading the images takes so long. I am going to figure out a better way, promise more to come.

House Mates

I am so glad I had the opportunity to live here. On the second evening I really felt connected to the people in the house, we talked for like 2 hours about our lives and our favorite places in Australia; this house is a good fit. I feel like this is going to work out well, looking forward to getting to know these people even better and making a comfortable living here. I am off to sleep now. I wish I was more eloquent about the happy times over the last few hours, but sorry I am tired and have had a bit of wine. I am really enjoying my time here. Now, as long as I can find work I will be ok. Love ya all!!!!

New Post!!!

Big night last night. Felt pretty sad about being in a new and far from comfortable place. I am looking forward to having guilt free time to explore the neighborhood... once I get a job, then it will be guilt free. The emotions I am going through span anyones emotional spectrum. I miss the comfort of home and friends, but at the same time, I don’t really miss much else besides the people; I thought I would miss the food and the surroundings, but not really. This just doesn’t feel like home yet, that is all, I need to remind myself it is only the fifth day.

So last night, Megan and I decided to get dinner out. We arrived at Thai to Remember, a quaint little Thai place in Ultimo, here is my review:


The sensational outside courtyard draws you to this adorable little family owned restaurant. Once inside, the decor is cute with mini fish tanks and adorable little tables, all topped off by the lime green wall colour. Once inside, they are playing Enrique Englesia (or insert favorite American tune here), and you are instantly greeted by a warm smile.

Once seated with the menu, I recognized the prices to be pretty reasonable and the selection to be impressive. I settled on the Cashew Chicken with side of rice and was NOT disappointed. The flavor was intense and mild without being too salty. One bite of a cashew sent me into pure bliss. I will return to this place almost weekly as the atmosphere and staff are very pleasant and welcoming. Once you couple that with fantastic food, you can’t lose.

So, I am currently sitting in North Sydney awaiting my job interview. They have this culinary phenomenon of inner city food courts. They are everywhere and all the business folks go there for lunch. It is really quite different than home. The food is pretty good and quite a variety of flavors. I could get used to this. After spending some time here in the CBD, I have found the people and fashion are very much the same as at home. Leggings are quite a popular form of dress and the average individual is far less modest (I know, most people don’t think America is modest). There are alot of women wearing tights and a mini skirt regardless of size and shape... and boobs seem to be everywhere, it is almost liberating. Australia is much more accepting or less judgemental, not sure which one.

Here is a thought I need to share... Australia is cold. Do not be fooled by the beautiful beaches and amazingly tan bodies. This country is freezing in winter. It would not be so bad if this country adopted central heating, but due to the other seasons of the year being so ridiculously warm, nobody has heating here so the houses/ apts are frigid. The best purchase I made for Australia before I left was the $39.99 sleeping bag I brought with me which is amazing and my favorite item currently as both homes I have inhabited were/are extremely cold. So, remember that when you make your way to visit me:)


Feeling strange tonight... maybe sad and hurt, I don't know.

Mexican Food in Sydney!!!

I am in love with Sydney. The people are splendid, the food is magnificent and the culture is eclectic and spunky. I am having such an amazing journey and with any luck I will have a home where I get to meet new people and a job where I can make travel money in the first week of my arrival. Tonight was like the best night ever... Meg, Erin, Jaime and I went to Baha Catina in Glebe (super cute and trendy), and we had insanely good mexican food and sangria... oh my it was yummy. I have included a cute little review just in case you ever catch yourself in Sydney:

Baja Catina (My Review):

Restaurant appearance was top notch with adorable interior design, bright and colorful, with an adorable cutout wall. The waitstaff was quite pleasant, while admittedly new, our waitress was quite charming and available for any request... now for the food. Chips and salsa were spot on... very good spicy to yummy ratio (we ordered the medium). The chips very closely resembled Provecho although not quite as spectacular. As for the main course, I had three Sopes, one shredded chicken with guacamole and pickled onions, and two shredded beef, one with tomato salsa and coriander, and one with a spicy salsa and sour cream. Simply outstanding. As for the sangria... worth going back for a jug or two. Overall, will return.

Airplane Travel Advice!!!

This has been the best plane trip I have ever taken. I have done my fair share of flying over the years and I feel the need to pass along what I have learned. So here are a few suggestions that I have accumulated over the course of my many adventures to make air travel much more enjoyable:

1.) Fight the urge to drink alcohol on the plane. Believe me, I have done it both ways and the alcohol will dehydrate you and consequently make your body less than excited about your impending adventure. Not to mention that alcohol consumption is typically followed by a headache upon arrival, which is never welcomed.

2.) Drink lots of water. This will assist your body in feeling wonderful... it keeps your skin from feeling tight and swollen, and assists with all digestion and you feel refreshed upon arrival.

3.) Take your own pillow. I appreciate the pillow as an amenity from the airline, however, that square object they provide does not provide any comfort whatsoever. For the first time I decided to carry aboard my personal pillow. Your pillow will be big enough to squash into whatever geometric form you need to provide optimal comfort and you already know you like it. It will make all the difference in sleeping on an airplane as vertical slumber is usually not most people’s optimal choice for a good night rest. I promise this makes a difference, I slept 11 of the 14 hours which I cannot contribute completely to the pillow, but upon awaking my neck and back feel great!!!

4.) This suggestion will be followed by some controversy. I am not a pill popper, but I am going to give a shameless plug for my drug of choice... Alprazolam, more widely known as Xanax. I slept forever and upon awaking felt wonderful with no drowsy side effect. So, if you don’t mind the stigma of popping a pill for a relaxing intercontinental flight, that is my recommendation.

5.) Bring food. Sleeping will be much more difficult if you are hungry. Small snacks are very useful as getting assistance on the plane especially with munchies is difficult if not really expensive.

So, those are my recommendations... final thought... bring a pen, customs forms require a pen and it is proving to be difficult to locate one. So, I will be landing shortly, about 45 minutes so I am looking forward to sharing all the details of my journey.

Flight One

So, I already had a giggle fit, warping my face... it was so funny I was laughing hysterically on the plane. Don’t worry, I have attached those stellar images for your viewing pleasure. Apart from my self amusement, I just found out this flight is only 1 hour and 10 minutes. How amazing is that. This adventure won’t be horrible at all. I am already hungry (shocking I know) so I will be able to get some grub in no time and than shop to my hearts content.

Truth: I overpacked my carry on luggage and already feel like whining about it... he he. Will I ever learn?

Truth: I am shweaty... like really shweaty

I have already met some cool people on the plane so that is proof that this adventure is going to be outstanding. Weirdest thing ever, I am looking forward to going grocery shopping more than anything. I guess if you love food on one continent you will love it on another.

This airplane is the smallest airplane I have ever been on. It is kindof funny how small it is. I feel like we are all in miniature form or something... even MA could reach the air above her head... sorry MA it is a TRUTH... no harm intended.

Well miss everyone already but really digging this blogging/e-mail thing.


The Beginning

In less than 12 hours I will be boarding the plane and the emotion I feel is unmistakably fear. There is no denying how scared I am. It is funny how the decision to move across the world is made with such ease, living it out is much more REAL. Now that the moment has arrived, I do not in any way regret the decisions I have made to live this experience, however, I do feel like I could have made a few different decisions, but that is what this is all about... learning new life lessons!!! Just think of everything I will have learned over the next few months, it is going to be a hell of a trip.


So, I leave in less than forty-eight hours... I can remember when the idea of moving to Australia was only a dream and now it is a mere few hours away. I have said most of my goodbyes which was rough, but I have to recognize that I have technology on my side so anyone is moments away. Overall I am thrilled for this opportunity; I need to embrace the journey and just allow myself to absorb every minute I can. I feel like I am at a place in my travel and wanderment where I can really take everything in. I have so much experience traveling that I now know what it is I want to see, do and experience. For the first time I am traveling how I feel traveling should be done... total immersion. So, with that said, once I leave Portland, I am going to attempt forward thinking and try not to look behind me and feel sad for what I had so that I don't see all the opportunity ahead of me. Wish me luck!!!


I have 10 days left before I depart for Australia and I have experienced my first real moment of anxiety. Being scared is ok, I need to remind myself that fear and anxiety are not catastrophic and I will not allow it to derail me. It is kindof funny how easy it is to dream up and plan out all these adventures and then the scope of what you are about to embark upon is daunting.

Well, tonight is a great night, I can't say enough for those friends in my life who allow me to call any time day or night and work through just about anything regardless of perceived importance. I am very lucky. I love you guys so much!!!