Sunday, July 28, 2013


No, not the blog post type of "post"...I'm talking about the good old fashion send a letter in the mail type of post. In Australia, if you mail something to someone, you are "posting" a letter rather than mailing a letter. The equivalent of the United States Postal Service here is called Australia Post. My first encounter with the system of mailing things in Australia was quite amusing to the locals.

When we first moved into our house in Australia there were a few items I needed to post for various reasons. Like we do in America, I placed stamps on the letters and put them in the mailbox for collection. The next day, I noticed that the items were still there, however, we had not received any mail either. I assumed that our "postie" (short for postman, of course) might have had a day off and he would pick the letters up the next day. This went on for several days, except that eventually we were getting mail and my letters were still not getting picked up. I asked Erik if maybe I hadn't placed the proper amount of postage on the letters, but he assured me that they were okay.
Mail was sitting here for days not getting picked up.
Finally, after a week of the mail not getting picked up, I mentioned the "issue" to one of my colleagues at work. She stared at me with a very confused look and kindly explained (after a bit of a laugh) that posties do not pick UP mail, they only drop it off! Who knew how lucky we have it in America to simply walk to our mailbox and put up the little red flag to make it known that we have mail to send out? Instead, here in Oz, we must find the closest Post box and mail our letters that way. Obviously this is not a difficult task once you realize how the system works. I can only imagine what our postie was thinking when he kept seeing my outgoing mail in the box day after day?!
The big red box, where you must take your mail to get collected!
In fairness, our posties travel on motorbikes and therefore do not have as much room as a USPS worker to carry mail.

There is no mail delivery on Saturday here, something that I think the States is leaning towards and I think it is probably a good idea to save money. We certainly do not miss our Saturday mail delivery.

My only real complaint about the system here is that our "mailboxes" (at least the ones in our neighborhood) are not completely enclosed and therefore when it rains, the mail gets wet. When mail is placed in the box, the lid does not close completely (as seen in picture above). Mail can also be placed in the front slot (see below), but then part of the mail sticks out resulting in mail still getting wet.

At least only part of this letter was wet. We have had mail completely soaked on a bad day!
All in all, the post situation is a very minor inconvenience, but perhaps something that Americans take for granted when they only have to walk down the driveway to have their outgoing mail collected. Could posties on motorbikes be a thing of the future for Americans in order to save the USPS?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Time Abroad

I have been slacking on the blog posts lately, haven't I?! In fairness, I was on "holiday" in the States for part of that time, where I did have intentions to blog but ended up relaxing and spending time with family...the best kind of vacation. But now Erik and I have both returned to Melbourne after our respective trips and life is back to "normal".

Erik's trip overseas was arguably a lot more exciting than mine. He flew to London, presented for a research group at a university there, then flew to Ireland to visit our friend Eoin and do a bit of touristy stuff before eventually landing in Barcelona, where he was presenting at a conference. I would have LOVED to hang out with E in Spain, however, last August I had booked a plane ticket to head to Vegas for my own professional conference, which happened to be taking place on the same exact dates as his conference. So, unfortunately, we took separate long trips across the world.

Here is Erik in Ireland...
Erik and the Cliffs of Moher
Ring of Kerry
And here are some shots from his time in Barcelona...
View of Barcelona from the castle at Montjuic.
BIG city!!!
Barcelona Cathedral
A nice day on the water in "Barca"
Street views
Erik's apartment building for the week.

I spent 5 days in Vegas learning and also soaking up some much-needed sun at Mandalay Bay, where the conference was held. It was also an opportunity to catch up with friends and to do a little networking for my current position in Melbourne.
View of "The Strip" from the plane
Blue skies, sunshine, and palm trees.
The Mix Lounge on the 64th floor of Mandalay Bay provides some sweet views of the strip!
A trip to Vegas is not complete without the Bellagio fountain show, even from a distance.
Wave pool and convention center at Mandalay Bay.
After Vegas, I headed back to Baltimore to spend time with my sister, mom, and dad, along with friends in the area. The highlight of my trip was spending a few days in Ocean City, MD with my family. We had absolutely perfect weather and it was just like the "old days", since neither of our husbands could make the trip.
The hubby sent me flowers since we could not be together...I am a lucky gal!!
Trying on the Super Bowl ring for size (MASSIVE), thanks to my friend Kevin who is an athletic trainer for the team!
Crabs, beer, and family on the 4th of July.
Hello, friend!
Cheese plate appetizer at our belated Mother's Day lunch.
Seacrets. There is no other place in the world like it.
Late day on the beach in OCMD.

International terminal at LAX...the long journey home.
Early morning views from my seat on the "Spirit of Australia".
Now its is back to winter, work, and footy. Yesterday's footy game was played in awful conditions...freezing cold and raining, so I thought I'd share a picture of Erik after the game.
Yes, that is the field behind him. Horrible!
During winter it seems we do get quite a bit of rain, but often there is the reward of seeing a rainbow afterwards. Twice this week we saw full rainbows after storms! My iPhone is not good enough to capture the full rainbow from after footy yesterday, but if you piece the two photos below together you get the idea.
Rainbow over the footy field.
Left half of rainbow...
...and the right half of the rainbow!
Today it is sunny and a bit warmer as we celebrate 6 years of marriage, Australian time anyway!
At the wedding "after party" with our two Aussie guests!!