Sunday, August 3, 2014


Seeing the sunrise means the LONG flight is soon coming to an end!
Last month I was fortunate to be able to take a trip back to our homeland! I had a work-related conference, so school paid for some of my trip, which made the journey more economical. I spent 4 days in Indianapolis before heading to Maryland to hang out with my family and a few friends. I got to spend the last 24 hours of my trip with another friend in LA. Over the course of my 2 week holiday, I tried to take advantage of my favorite things about "home". Here's a list of things that Australia just cannot provide.

1. Chipotle. Always at the top of my list! Australia has tried to mimic Chipotle with a chain called Guzman y Gomez, but it is not the same. Along with Chipotle, I indulged in Mexican food a few times. We have tried numerous Mexican restaurants in Oz, but none compare to good Mexican restaurants in the States.
A burrito bowl. Chicken, rice, black beans, corn, salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce. YUM!
A less expensive (and more delicious!) margarita
Fish tacos at a Mexican restaurant in Redondo Beach
2. Wegmans. An amazing grocery shopping experience. Of course Australia has fresh food markets that can definitely compete with Wegmans, but it's nice to have fresh produce and groceries all in the same store. Plus the checkout people are so friendly, and they provided me with coupons!

3. Maryland crabs. A summer tradition. Washed down with Yuengling, of course!

4. Ocean City, Maryland. Another summer tradition. My "summer home" for 3 years during college.
Beach access on 39th street, where my parents own a condo.
Not a bad spot for a quick workout.
The Ocean City boardwalk, a great place for people watching!

There was a tropical storm off the coast while I was there, attracting lots of surfers.
5. Jimmy John's. Love the "unwich", what a great idea!

6. Embassy Suites. A hotel chain with huge rooms, full cooked to order breakfast, and free happy hour?! Why would you stay anywhere else?

7. Five Guys. A great burger!

8. Seacrets. I don't think there is a bar like this in the world. Chairs and rafts in the water and sneakily potent drinks. This is a recipe for disaster but also makes for amazing people watching!
THE drink to have at Seacrets. A "pain in de ass". It WILL sneak up on you!
Tables and chairs in the bay is a great way to spend the day!
9. Cheap booze. A margarita in Melbourne will usually set you back about $16. Free margaritas at the hotel happy hour taste just as good, if not better. A delicious margarita at a Mexican restaurant might cost about $6 in America.

Homeless people with a sense of humor in Indianapolis
10. My dad's French toast. I've never tasted better!
No matter how hard we try, Erik and I cannot replicate "Steve's French toast".
While it was awesome to be reunited with these places and "things", the best part about being back in the States was spending time with family and friends.
Mom! This was taken at Kountry Kafe in Westminster. They have the BEST tuna melt!
Tandi and I on the Hermosa Beach pier.
My adorable nephew, Bryce! He has already mastered the "selfie"!

Mo and I at Seacrets
My flight back to Melbourne ended up getting delayed by a few hours, so once I checked my bags, I spent some time outside the terminal breathing in my last moments of warm summer air. Once in the airport, there is no fresh air access for about 20 hours on this trip, so I stayed outside as long as I could! It is always a bit emotional going into the terminal knowing that I am about to leave American soil and fly to the other side of the world, but this time I was excited to head back to Oz to see Erik, who was back in Melbourne working. We are lucky to live in an era where air travel is relatively affordable, and each time Erik and I travel, whether back to our "home" or to another part of the world, we feel fortunate that we have those opportunities. Until next time, America!

The flying 'roo! 
The Tom Bradley International terminal at LAX has just undergone an upgrade, so I enjoyed checking out the new surroundings once I finally went inside the terminal.
A 16 hour flight is always made more comfortable by a good meal and a hefty glass of wine. I love that Qantas gives out the whole bottle rather than just pouring a glass. This beef curry was one of the best airline dishes I've ever had, though I realize it does not look that appetizing in the photo!
Back over Australia on a clear winter day. Almost back "home".

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