Becoming Australian


Prom dress; singing Waltzing Matliza

Prom dress; singing Waltzing Matliza

Senior citizens in bright pink prom dresses and oversized sports coats stood at the front of Richmond Town Hall while singing Waltzing Matilda, Australia’s unofficial national anthem. Confused, and slightly drunk, I attempted to sing along amongst the 79 other people from 32 countries that would momentarily become, like I would too, an Australian citizen.

Arriving two weeks earlier from London, I sat outside at a pub in Windsor catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in nearly 6 months. At first they seemed unsure of what was so different about me. Was it my hair? Had I grown back into my city slicker ways?

No.

I was pale. They had never seen me so pale! Two winters back to back and I showed up in sunny Australia the color of a ghost.

I was way more emotional coming back to Australia then I had expected. But then again I’m still confused why I didn’t anticipate I would be. Australia was my home for almost 5 years. That’s longer than college, and longer than my time in Hoboken.

It’s strange to come back to somewhere that was your home for so long, and everything is still the same. All of my favorite places; all my favorite people. But I think that’s what made the whole citizenship experience more special.

I went back to my old flat. I slept in my old bed with the same bed sheets, the same towel hanging in the shower, and my shoe rack in the closet. I even had left my summer wardrobe behind. It was like I lived there, but in reality I was in someone else’s bed, using someone’ else’s things that were once mine. The good news was it was at least my best friends’ and not some strangers!

I immediately stomped my old haunts. I sauntered down Bridge Road for avocado on toast at my local Gypsey & Mosquito and bumped into my former doctor. I had mac and cheese and burnt ends at Meat Mother with old coworkers after getting my nails done at my favorite budget salon Paradise Nails. I took Wes’s dachshund Frieda for walks along the Yarra River, she’s kind of my dog too, or at least I pretend she is.

I didn’t realize until I came back home how much I had missed it all. Waking up each morning to the bright sun, coercing me out of bed. Even spending time in Sydney, the place my love affair with Australia first started, made me ache to move back. There was familiarity of running along the coast from Bondi to Bronte, stopping to watch the surfers, and sipping drinks at swanky beach bars.

Iceberg's, Bondi Beach

Iceberg’s, Bondi Beach

So as I sat in the back row in Richmond Town Hall waiting for my name to be called, of course it was in alphabetical order, I smiled to myself a bit. I approached the whole citizenship thing a bit casual at first, I paid my dues and lived in the country long enough, but when I finally entered into it I felt excited to be an Australian.

Lisa Vecchio, Australian Citizenship ceremony

I’m an Australian!

I waved my little Aussie flag high to greet my best friends Anne Marie and Nidya (who amazingly flew in from Brisbane for less than 24 hours to share the celebration). I looked over from time to time and smiled at the Asian guy to my right, who was so excited he kept jumping out of his seat. I was grateful as the mayor explained there is a reason why they have a banner hanging out front stating that asylum seekers are welcome, and felt proud to live in a place that provides refuge.

To sit amongst a group of people who were there for many different reasons, all with varying colors, languages and motivations, and to think about how I got to be in that same room, was one of the most rewarding things I had ever done. And afterwards as I sat with a plateful of dumplings and my bottle of wine with some of my closest friends, I felt damn proud to call Australia one of my many homes and to now call myself a tri-citizen.

 

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Dear United


I’m hoping you may be able to provide some clarity on some details of your international flight routes. Specifically, customer comforts such as in-flight entertainment and refreshments? I thank you in advance for reading, despite the length of my letter, as I think it’s important that you hear my story. I’ve also shared my story with the readers of my travel blog www.thesetwoeyes.com and look forward to disclosing your feedback with them as well.

Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge the economic situation and the impact it has had on the airline industry. As a fellow person in business, day-to-day I see various industries shifting and shuffling trying to make ends meet to keep afloat. Those that I value the most are the companies that look to the future and acknowledge customers’ needs, rather than cut corners to hit hard budgets. In all business, customer loyalty and word of mouth can fortunately or unfortunately make or break you.

In the United States we’ve seen trends such as this take over the industry and for much of Europe as well. The airlines that get the most praise are those that are doing something different than the rest and give the perception that they’re customer focused; airlines such as Jet Blue and Southwest come to mind. Internationally, there are handfuls of airlines aspiring back to the days where it used to be a privilege to fly; as a customer on a plane you were treated with respect for your time and loyalty, even in economy. I’ve experienced this myself on Qantas, Emirates, Thai Airways, Air New Zealand, British Airways and others.

As a loyal Continental flyer for a number of years, I can honestly say that I looked forward to flying domestically. With Newark Liberty International Airport being a fantastic hub for a northern New Jersey resident, I always made Newark and Continental my primary choice for flying both business and leisure. I found the service hospitable, the planes in tidy condition, and even appreciated the small snacks like the turkey sandwiches. This truly gave them a competitive edge while others were taking away perks such as complimentary baggage and even soft drinks.

When Continental merged with United I got a bit nervous; what could this mean for my favourite airline? I found out too soon after cashing in my hard earned miles for a flight from Newark to Sydney, Australia in November 2010. As a frequent international flyer, I was astonished at what I found on the other end of the jet-way. I’d like to acknowledge that yes, I did cash in my miles and despite the taxes this flight could be classified as “complimentary” however I do not think any service should be downgraded due to this.

United LA to Sydney

My thoughts from November 2010 flying United LA to Sydney

I have my notes from that flight still today. I was so uncomfortable with my experience that I took the time to write them down and it’s unfortunate that I’ve waited this long to notify you. What is most interesting is that on my flight from Newark to LA I had a fantastic experience. The plane was in impeccable condition and I had an empty seat between my window seat and my neighbour in the aisle. I was surprised and grateful that I had my own in-flight entertainment in the seat in front which made the long journey go by pleasantly; something that was not expected for a domestic flight. I remember specifically thinking to myself to not watch any of the good movies yet, I’ll save them for the long haul flight on my next leg.

From LA to Sydney is where my real complaint comes in. The plane was dated and the interior was in poor condition. I didn’t feel as if it were going to fall apart, however I am always comfortable in the interiors of Virgin and British Airways and expected the same conditions (if not better) for an even longer haul, especially the leg room. I thought to myself, how was my domestic flight superior to this?

My biggest disappointment had come with the entertainment. The last time I’d been on an international flight in economy where the entire plane had to squint to watch the same program, as there were no personal entertainment systems, was on an Olympic Air in 2008, and despite their bankruptcy, I swore to never fly with them again. With average meals and no complimentary alcoholic beverages it makes me wonder how United can stay in business against the likes of Virgin Australia and Qantas on this same route?

I am now residing in Australia and take the international flight from Brisbane to New York, or some similar combination whether it be from Sydney or to Philadelphia, a handful of times a year. I am very loyal to Qantas due to their service, professionalism, entertainment, efficiency, and refreshments being above par. So much that I rave about them quite regularly on my blog www.thesetwoeyes.com. In fact, I make a point to ask every person I meet who has travelled via LA to Australia what airline they took. Before even answering I know by their expression if was United. It’s a common joke amongst cross-Pacific travellers that if you have a United flight, you might as well not even go because it’s anticipated to be that bad.

As the holidays are approaching I’m returning to the US on another long haul flight.  I cannot express the intensity of my disappointment when the only option within my budget during overpriced holiday season was with United. I write this to you because I don’t want to have the panic that I felt when I spent over $3,000 on a flight and already anticipate a horrible experience. I am not cheap, I will pay for a bottle of wine or sandwich if that is what is required however after already paying $3,000 this is completely unnecessary. And as far as entertainment goes, I think your flight crew may have a more pleasant time if their customers were distracted and content watching what suited them on a personal level rather than overhearing their neighbour snoring because they can’t see the communal television.

I can appreciate that all of these may sound like superficial complaints but for a frequent flyer who enjoys flying, who looks forward to the experience and has praise for many airlines that get the formula right, I’m asking you, United, when are you going to lead the pack? Or as a minimum, improve your services to be on par with your direct competitors? What are you doing about in-flight entertainment, service, leg room, and refreshments for long haul flights?

An Australian colleague recently said to me, “We look to the United States as a global leader, as someone who always has the best. How is it that flying a US airline is one of the worst experiences a traveller could have?”

Thank you for reading this lengthy letter. I do anticipate your response and look forward to hearing about how my experience and future travels will be improved.

Kind Regards,

Lisa

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As Old As The Places I’ve Been


Included are some recent almost “excerpts” from my diary, excuse me, I’m a grownup I seem to forget, uh hum, I mean excerpts from my journal these last ten days traveling down to Sydney before off to New Zealand. I mean, why give you the condensed highlights when I can reveal nearly every inner thought I wrote down while it was happening. Obviously. I’m not going to lie however, it’s no Gossip Starter, but this is long.

25/6/11

I love the Rusty surf shop in the Brisbane airport. Every time I fly I buy something. I’m starting to wonder if I keep up the frequency if I’ll end up befriending the staff for real. Would be a funny story at least. My new bffs from the airport surf shop, ha.

I hope my roomie locks in our new roomie when I’m away. It’s nearly the end of the month. We had peeps swing by last night and there are a couple of good options. We’ll either pick M or Blondie – more or less as the wine flowed we got friendlier and their names got blurrier.

27/6/11

At Sydney International airport on my way to New Zealand! I’m sooo excited. Also a bit anxious and I can’t pinpoint why. Perhaps in the back of mind are the recent earthquakes in Christchurch, where I’m laying over, and the giant ash cloud traveling across the Pacific from Chile. Alas, I’m on my way baby (did I actually write that? Yes). Country number 27!!! And now, I’m as old as the places I’ve been.

This weekend in Syd was ridiculous! Friday was low key. Traveled after work so arrived and was tired. Just ate some humus and grabbed some drinks at the Clock Hotel on Crown in Surry Hills. Saturday I did lots of shopping in Paddington on Oxford Street and the weekend markets. I love markets. It was great. I freaking love Sydney! Then it was time for the Rubik’s cube themed house warming party at Stephs. Sooo fun! You’re meant to dress in all the colors of the cube then exchange with people until you get one solid. The chef’s I met the previous time over were there so it was nice to know people going in. It was so fun.  Time out – just boarded, great seat, 2A!

Oxford Street, Paddington

Then things got crazy. I think I burnt my tongue on the million mini-pies I ate fresh out of the oven, steaming hot. And who knows what the heck I was talking about the entire night, just rambling to whomever. I think I may have fallen after someone else spilled a beer. All while NOT smoking mind you. Then the boys from the Sydney Swans, professional rugby team showed up. Not too shabby.  We headed out into the Cross, my shoe broke, I was convinced by others that no one would notice the lopsided hop, and therefore would like to blame that on me being denied entry to the last bar at the early hours of the morning. Sunday was spent in a lot of pain, and a lot of hours searching the streets for a new pair of black shoes for my work week ahead. And now, I’m New Zealand bound.

Steph and I, Rubik’s Cube themed party

First time traveling on Air New Zealand. Plane = super nice. Free noise canceling ear phones, personal TV, and soothing music over the speakers. Actually just played a song by Flight of the Concords. How funny. But they made me check my bag, boo!

They must have purchased me a premium ticket because I got food and wine and not many others did. Flying in, over Christchurch, WOW, it’s beautiful. Crazy, jagged snow capped mountains and then so quickly it shifts to oddly flat terrain. Different shades of green on green.

Flying to Christchurch

Drastic change in landscape in minutes

Sitting in the regional terminal in Christchurch airport, again, no security check, crazy. I’m starved and nervous I won’t have anywhere to eat when I arrive in Dunedin – things close early, and its Monday. For reasons unknown, Monday means an extra special cause why things won’t be open. Silly. It’s dark now, and I won’t be able to see much out of the plane for this next leg.

28/6/11

Dunedin is an old Gaelic word that means Edinburgh. It’s also the most Victorian and Edwardian city in the southern hemisphere. It’s also freezin in Dunedin. Say that real fast and it rhymes!  I think it’s like less than 7 degrees Celsius and there is talk of potential snow. My winter has lasted for a very very long time and I’m well over it!

The city actually does remind me a bit of Edinburgh. Not like the Royal Mile or anything, but some old buildings with mountains in the backdrop. Yea, it’s sorta pretty. Unfortunately the cold and rain, mixed in with my presentations make exploring unlikely. I did manage to make it to the Otago Museum while my co-workers had some appointments to go to though. Did you know the first man to climb Everest was a Kiwi (New Zealander)? Yup.

Drinking hot chocolate now. I feel like everyone drinks hot chocolate over here all the time. Like weirdly. I know its winter and all but it’s like everyday someone asks me if I want a hot chocolate. I’ll have to take notice in the summer, but it’s a bit excessive I think. I haven’t had a HC in, I can’t even tell you how long because it’s just not common practice. Is it?

Heading out to Palmerston North soon. That’s it. In, then out in a few hours and on to the next place. A quickie New Zealand tour. Moving on from the South Island and heading to the North Island. That may mean warmth because it’s all backwards here. The farther north you go, the warmer it is.
Well, Palmerston North is meant to be even more desolate then Dunedin. Oh boy, hopefully I’ll be able to see out of the plane if it’s not too dark.

Note to self: Don’t sit in 4A on the small planes. It’s directly next to the propeller which is in the front of the plane because this plane is tiny. I just keep watching it spin round and round and can’t help thinking if it were to unfortunately fly off, well; I’m in the wrong seat that’s all.

Air New Zealand

I’ll be taking 7 flights total on 5 different days over a 10 day period. Crazy, but rack those points up! Actually, I thought that was pretty intense until the business passenger sitting next to me informed me that he’ll be on 5 different planes in 2 days so I had no choice to respond with “you’ve got me beat”.

I wonder where Matt Kiwi lives? Matt “Kiwi” from London back in 2003. He sure was cute. Or Stephen from Auckland back in Cairns in 2010. Alas, I’ll never know I guess.

It’s now late and I’ve arrived in Palmerston North. Long day of flying. In BK’s motor lodge and the owner lady is a bit strange. My room has a huge bed, but also two recliners at the foot of it facing the TV like a living room. It’s odd.

I miss traveling work trips with my homie. Getting mani-pedis and vintage shopping. It’s just not the same without her.

29/6/11

Flying from Palmerston North to Auckland is AMAZING. I saw a rainbow in the airport out front before I left. We’re flying low between the clouds, its lush green, and jagged and other times looks real soft.  Amazing contrast of colors. Wowza. It looks like what you would think New Zealand would look like. But I wonder what it actually looks like. From above it’s all so beautiful and picturesque but if I were standing on it, or in front of it, would it be more or less impactful? I’m wondering what is done with all this land. I haven’t seen a house in ages, although I’m low enough to spot urbanization. Did the scouts for Lord of the Rings just helicopter down in any of these random spots and say right, yup, this should do it?

Palmerston North Rainbow

Meant to have dinner in the Sky Tower tonight. Whatever. It’s cold again. I need to have some wine from the Marlborough region and hopefully make my way down there at some point.  I look forward to exploring the Bay of Islands this weekend in the meantime.

30/6/11

At Uni of Auckland – nice city campus. Last night we were meant to have dinner in the Sky Tower, big blue needle in the center of the city but couldn’t get a table, boo. And I said to my co-worker, but I already put it on facebook that I would be! So we had dinner at the gourmet Chinese restaurant in the building below. Does that count? People bundy off of this tower. I wish I was braver.

Sky Tower, Auckland

I finally got a good night sleep. It’s like all it took was for me to get to a city to feel more relaxed. After this next presentation I’m off on my own for the next few days. Will be nice to just do my thing.  Ooo, yes, warm sun on my toes. It’s still cold here!

Maori are the local Polynesians in this area. Typically many are in Auckland and specifically found on the North Island.

It’s now 630 pm and I’m riding solo. I did a walk up to the water… bay, harbor, sound? What the heck is it? I’m tempted to rush back to the hostel to get free pizza at 730 but then I just realized that I’m old enough and mature enough to buy my own damn meal and indulge in the 160 beers this place is known for and treat myself to a delicious meal. I’m not backpacking this time around and I’ve eaten enough toasties on campus all week to just eat something awesome. First beer, Invercargill Pitch Black Stout from New Zealand, A+.

It’s just about after work time on a Thursday and there are a lot of after work-looking men here. I wonder if it’s strange that I’m here by myself. I wish they would turn the lights up just a smidge so I can read my kindle and look like a giant dork.

Two things to note: Firstly, pumpkin is on and in everything in NZ and Aus. Like, everything. It’s good though. And even though its winter, I’m told it’s not even a seasonal thing. It’s just everywhere. And secondly, capsicums are peppers. They too are everywhere and in everything.

Next up, Grotteenbier, Belgium. It’s brewed in caves and mmmmm, yum. It’s also the local staff’s favorite as well. I’m hearing everything in this bar! Old school Killers, Beatles, Strokes, Morning Glory! Love it! Good music, good beers, and good food. All I need is some sun and I’m set.

Back to the Belgian beer. Mmmmm. Think I’ll order the mussels.

Perhaps my two beers will give me courage to go back to the hostel bar and mingle. One more, Epic Lager, New Zealand. Awesome! Bartender is cute and I fear I’m the weirdo standing at the bar, writing in her diary, excuse me, journal. Oh well.

Plan: walk back to hostel, stroll by hostel bar to scope it out, pack for tomorrow just in case, go to bar, get more beers.

1/7/11

Good vibes on Stray backpackers bus up to Bay of Island. I’m hung-over, but listening to Adele and looking out at beautiful country scenery with the sun shining is excellent. I’m laughing at the fact that Ab and I used to eat Kiwi’s with the skin on them.

So last night, made friends with Japanese girl at hostel bar while drinking local brew Tui – pretty good. Then I met a German girl who took me to a few local spots and I learned that she was a bee keeper back in Germany and is continuing her trade here in New Zealand to cultivate Queen bees. Very strangely interesting. The bathroom in Cassette bar – which is pretty sweet spot by the way, has cat pictures plastered all over the walls. In many bars, as in Sydney, they serve liquor drinks and shots out of tea pots. I like that. I spoke to guy named Neville and had to prevent myself from referring to him as Neville Longbottom to his face, as is, Harry Potter’s friend.

The smoke right now hovering over the mountains is amazing. Is that Mordor? Wow, I sound like sci-fi geek and I don’t even know much about that stuff.

I’m wondering if I’m too old now to do the hostel thing. I can afford a normal hotel, but once I get mingling with people I love it. I envy those who can just pick up, quit their job, and just travel. Work in hostel bars; sleep on bunk beds every night. When did I get so picky? All those who buy around the world tickets and travel alone. I’ve never been that fond of traveling alone but its easy here. I like it. But still, there’s a lot of 18 year olds too. Like Doug from Manchester, who’s sitting in front of me right now on the bus up North.  Still, I think it would be great to open an amazing hostel chain in North America.

There are 4 million people in New Zealand, and 40 million sheep.

Its 5:15 and I’m checked in to Salt Water Lodge in Paihia. It’s really nice and clean with en suite bathrooms and hot water! It’s still cold everywhere I go, no matter how far north I go. We cruised the Bay of Islands this afternoon. I saw dolphins, and baby dolphins, and jumping dolphins, oh, and some seals. The scenery and backdrop was super gorgy, and the water color was amazing. It rained toward the end though, and my camera unfortunately decided to break before I left for Sydney so that’s why all my pictures are blurry.

Bay of Islands from Paihia

There are 144 islands in the Bay. We went through the Holein the Rock. I just wish my camera didn’t suck for it. Then I started to feelsea sick.

Hole in the Rock

I’m meeting the girls from Arizona and Jeremy from Perth at Base for the BBQ tonight. Hope its fun!

New Zed greenery

2/7/11

Why do I always meet cute boys I’ll never see again? Alas. I had a great time up in Paihia. I went to the BBQ to meet the girls over at Base. $12 for a BBQ and a beer, not bad. Met a girl from the Isle of Man – a place between England and Ireland that I’m quite confused about the fact that I never know it existed! They’re their own entity, with their own government and currency and everything. Really?

Then I chatted with an American, Canadian and Brit. Karaoke was on in the background. I wished Emily was there so we could duet to MCR’s the Black Parade. The glow in the dark body paint came out and I’m pretty sure I looked like a fool. I lost my lipstick at some point. I saw the Milky Way later that night, I think.

My painted face

3/7/11

On a jumbo jet back to Brissy. What a week. Just bought a new camera at Duty Free. I think I’m broke at the moment but not positive. Just spending and not thinking, yikes. Is it safe to eat sushi at the airport? Oh well.

I hope everything is okay with the damn Chilean ash cloud as to not interfere with my flight. Back to reality tomorrow.

Hey! I’m over he-ya


Alibi Room

Hey! I’m over he-ya…yup, right he-ya. That’s “here” for all you people. Exactly!

So I love Sydney. Straight up, no lie. When I was traveling back in November it was places like Sydney that made me say, “Damnit, I’m going to move here!”  –  he-ya.  But let’s be honest, Brisbane isn’t’ Sydney. Brisbane isn’t New York. It’s all in its own. But that’s cool, we’ll just move along with it.

So, two weekends ago was the fabulous Queen of England’s birthday. But not really. But they celebrated it. Okay. So I had a long weekend. I spent too much money to board a plane to guess where? Sydney damnit! And I loved it all over again. I stayed out till 7 am in “the Cross” drinking expensive-cheap bottled beers and mingled with ridiculous chefs. Actually, hilarious. Attempting to get into a bar around 5 am, we kindly got denied but we’re pointed to the “open 24 hours” joint next door. Excellent.

Steph and I out in Syd

Then on a very groggy Sunday morning/afternoon we (Steph, my only friend in Australia – former Mountbatten, London, New Yorker) and I slept in late, watched some Singapore-knocked off DVDs, and finally made it out to dinner in Surry Hills around 10 pm. Yikes, the rain was pouring and it was “cold”. It was quote – cold – merely because, yes, it was damn cold, but I still don’t feel dignified to complain. So another late night out in the Cross left found me dumbfounded confronting a very cute boy I found myself confronting back in November, really? Sweet.

Back in Brissy I have housemate drama but thankfully it’s resolved. Samm and I are awaiting a new roomie to make this home fabulous and beautiful and charming. This week is filled with a local sales conference in our Milton office so everyday I’m delivering what I would like to think are compelling presentations to sales reps staring back at me blank-faced. At least I get delicious food and wine in the evenings and free lunch in the afternoons. These events cannot compare the US shenanigans that go on in exotic locations around the US – with late night swimming and hotel room parties, but alas, they’ll suffice.

So am I missing anything? Ummm.  I’ve been laughing most often, which seems daily, at hearing the term “here”, pronounced, “he-ya”. It’s one syllable for us, two for them.  It’s awesome.

There’s a Winter Festival going on Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane right now. The one in Brissy is in King George Square, where I switch my bus in the evenings. On Thursday I thought I’d take a gander to scope things out. I heard rumors of things such as ice-skating and mulled wine. The rumors were true, but I must be honest, the scale of this event was like the Nutcracker to a local play. I even feel silly of thinking of winter things, although it is winter and all, but with you all tan, and glorious in the sun. Anyway, needless to say, the idea is cute, and on a Friday or Saturday this place be hopping, but it’s nothing to take the time that I’m doing right now to write home about. I guess I just wanted to share a caption for the pictures.

Winter Fest

Last Friday evening I witnessed local Aussie white rap sensations Evil Eddie. It’s like Eminem, but not, all over again. It was actually kind of cool. The most memorable line was “show your back to us, shake that glutinous maximous”. Awesome Edie! But seriously, after a mediocre night out in the Valley, Edie was a saving grace! I had a sentimental moment of Mikey-G rapping in the shed back in the day. Love it!

Evil Edie

Sunday, after eating delicious left over Indian takeaway I decided to run, and I sure as hell ran – just like Forest. I ran up the hills, and over the Story Bridge. It was pretty sweet. I came back, cleaned the apt – was dumbfounded in the grocery store trying to select cleaning product – having a cleaning lady for the past 5 years will do this to you – how the heck does it work? I have to what! With what? To the ….seriously! Yea it sucked, and now I think I should convince the others to just pay for someone to do it on our behalf, seriously.

So yea, after cleaning I walked to the Eagle Street Pier to visit their Sunday markets. I love crap, so this was excellent. I even bought some jewels. At this point it was mid-day, and I thought there is no point in traveling home, as I have to meet for work drinks in a just a few hours so it was a quick jaunt to the city for a more-expensive than New York ($50!) mani-pedi session before walking the 30 minutes to our office. Holy shnikes. If I knew I’d be walking so much all day, I would have never run over the damn Story Bridge. Aside from the awesomeness it was.

Eagle Street Pier

Last night, Samm and I wandered across the street to Alibi Room – a quirky pub on the corner that features local artwork and a laid back vibe, where I relived my college days playing Galaga, the video game, creating a top score like a top dork and knocking back a few delicious ones while bonding.

This week is filled with more presentations but hopefully my next communication will be exciting. I have this weekend –guess where? Sydney bound then about 7 days in New Zealand! Yay! I also failed to mention I’m day 4 without smoking. Let’s make this happen!

Cheers!