Archives for August 2013

Observing Anzac Day

“We will remember them.”

It’s always an interesting experience to celebrate another nation’s holiday. As Americans, we do that a lot. We like to take the holidays of other groups and turn them into our own. Any excuse for a party. I’m totally guilty of this myself. I mean, I’ve basically adopted Canadian Thanksgiving as my own at this point (and I love it). However, up until this past April I had never joined another nation in observing one of their more solemn holidays.

Anzac Day takes place on April 25th and is a day of remembrance for all Australians and New Zealanders who served or died in war, conflict, or other peace keeping missions. It was originally established to mark the anniversary of Gallipoli, the first major military action for the two countries.

Mike and I started our day bright and early at a Dawn Service. We were lucky enough to join the service just down the beach from our place. I was heartened to see just how many people were willing to turn up on a chilly morning in the dark. We listened to an address, prayers, and hymns before the lone bugler played the Last Post and Reveille just as the sun came up. To be honest, I don’t see the sunrise very often but this one was spectacular. Mike and I lingered on the beach as everyone retreated home.

Later in the day I made Anzac biscuits (more on those later) and we headed to the pub to witness the more “celebratory” aspect of Anzac Day. Of course there’s lots of drinking, but there’s also the traditional gambling game of Two-Up. It took me a little while to catch on to all of the little nuances (still don’t fully get it), but you’re basically betting on a game of heads or tails. Mike loved it. Anzac Day is the only day that Two-Up can be legally played.

Some Two-Up action.

The Spinner spinning.

As tired as I was waking up that morning, attending a Dawn Service and observing Anzac Day was completely worth it. I’m kind of a sucker for anything remotely patriotic, even if it’s not my own country.

xo, jill

Well, I live in Morocco now.

An announcement.

This has been in the works since January but I’ve been hesitant to mention it. When you move abroad there are so many hurdles, stamps, and pieces of paper that can get in the way. But since I’ve been here for a few days now, I guess it’s safe to say:

I moved to Morocco.

I live in Morocco now.

xo, jill

From the Hip Friday

Sunset lake.

Today’s photo from the hip is another from Rebecca at The Rebecca Project. If you haven’t been keeping up, Rebecca has made the move from San Francisco to Chicago. What a big change! She took this shot from the hip while walking along Lake Michigan. The couple each had a little baby in a front carrier: twins! What a peaceful familial moment. I love how the rays of sun lead your eye from the left hand corner over to the happy couple. I almost don’t believe it’s from the hip!

Thanks, Rebecca! You can see Rebecca’s previous submissions here and here.

xo, jill

From the Hip Friday features photos taken without the use of a viewfinder. If you have a photograph that was taken from the hip you’d like to share here, please contact me!

Poking around Dudley Beach


There are so many beaches in and around Newcastle. One morning Mike and I decided to go poke around in the Dudley area. We started out on top of the headland and after a short descending hike landed at the beach. We mainly explored the rocks and sought out comfy natural living room furniture. You know those places where the water has smoothed out the rock and created the perfect chaise lounge? It’s the best.

Yes, this was the best photo of the two of us.

There was certainly no shortage of gorgeous beach days in Newcastle.

xo, jill

Hiking Tomaree Head

To the tippy top.

On a free day in Newcastle, Mike and I drove to nearby Port Stephens to hike Tomaree Head and check out a new beach.

That’s Tomaree Head on the left.

It was a fairly warm day and I’m not too ashamed to say I was huffing and puffing a bit on the steep trail up. Well, I wasn’t ashamed until I read on TripAdvisor that someone’s four year old managed it quite nicely. The hike is only 2km but it is fairly steep and there are a few sets of stairs/ladders to climb. Of course, the view from the top is well worth the effort. It looked a bit like I would imagine Hawaii looks (being the only person in my family who has never been there).

After the climb we spent some time cooling off and relaxing at the beach. There were quite a few surfers out in the rough water… and quite a few sharks in the area, we were later told.

I used my point and shoot camera for these photos and when I opened the case I came across a nice surprise. I forgot about these two cute little instax photos from a few months prior. Friends from home were in Sydney for a few days and we were able to meet up for a few hours at Bondi Beach. Kamille was sweet enough to create a little souvenir for the occasion.

And finally, the tourism campaign for Port Stephens’… “P.S. I love you” so cheesy. You gotta watch it.

xo, jill

“I want to go home.”

A rough patch.

When we left Broken Hill, our Australian adventure entered into a little bit of a rough patch. We headed to Wagga Wagga (as had been planned for months) to check out the casual/supply/sub* teaching situation. The paperwork was completed months in advance. The $100 union fee was paid. We were ready to settle down and start earning money. To make a long story short… this is where we discovered that despite what we were told by the Department of Education, there is no real need for casual teachers in New South Wales. In fact, many of the local teachers were struggling to get enough days. (Plus, you have to apply in person at each individual school instead of using an online system for an entire district.) We were qualified, approved, and flexible… but it just wasn’t going to happen.

And then we were woken at 3am one night by drunk cowboys on horseback whooping and hollering through our campsite. That was the actual low point. I think my exact words were, “I want to go home.”

So we did. Sort of. We decided to head back to our Australian home-away-from-home: Newcastle.

Photos from near Nelson Bay after we returned to Newy.

One of the best decisions of the trip.

xo, jill

*Can we please decide on one term for this worldwide? Needlessly confusing.

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