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An Aussie Christmas

It's been quite a busy month (I think I say that every month), evidenced by the fact that it's almost the end of January and I'm just now getting around to writing about our trip to Australia.

Daz arrived in Seattle the week before Christmas after a quick trip to Texas and a stop in Idaho via Utah. He met up with his parents and Breann and they took a road trip to Pocatello for the day to see his grandma. I wish I had been able to go too, she's full of sass and spunk and I want to be just like her when I grow up! After that lightening visit, he made his way here for the GBI Christmas party and a week of getting a few things sorted out before we left for Australia on Christmas Eve.

Visit to Granny

We had a pretty hectic trip on the way over, we were delayed as the plane was held for an hour and a half for another crew member. We were a bit nervous about this as we had a tight connection in LAX, and to add to our anxiety, it started snowing. Not just little flurries. SNOWING.

Ordinarily, I would have been absolutely thrilled about snow on Christmas Eve - how perfect is that! But not THIS Christmas Eve. We finally boarded the plane, the "crew" turned up (hmm...a guy and two kids) and lo....the captain announces that the plane needs to be de-iced. That made me even more nervous. There's a long line of planes in front of us though, and so the whole process took another hour and a half before we actually took off. (A big thank you to SeaTac airport workers here - it's late, dark, cold, snowing, crazy busy and it's Christmas Eve and we could see them working like madmen to get this huge backlog of planes de-iced and off the ground when I'm sure they just wanted to be nice and warm at home with their families.) At this point, we knew we'd miss the connection so we settled in, had a drink and watched a movie.

We did miss the connection but fortunately there was another flight leaving fairly soon and so we were rushed onto that one, which was great because we didn't want to miss the next connection. Fast forward 15 hours and we're in Sydney, but our luggage is not. We filed a lost luggage report and scrambled to get the connection and 34 hours after being dropped at the airport in Seattle, we were in Perth!

There's NOTHING better than getting off the plane and seeing my girls! Best Christmas always!

Walking out of the airport in Perth I'm always struck by the scent of Australia. "I love the smell of Perth" I said as we walked to the car. "Bogans (the aussie version of rednecks) and beer?" said Annabel. No! It's eucalyptus and red dirt and sunshine and magpies warbling and galahs chattering in the trees! The smell of home I suppose. An hour later, there we were in Mandurah with that wonderful feeling of all being well with the world, having my parents, my daughters and my husband all together. I love that so much! It doesn't happen very often and it fills my heart with happiness when it does. We had a lovely afternoon of gift exchanges, a champagne toast for Alexandra and Julian to celebrate their engagement, wonderful treats all the way from Switzerland of cheese, chocolate and cake from Katie, and finally a nice hot shower and bed.

My heart was truly filled to bursting with the arrival of my aunt Carol and sister Christine and her husband Con in time to celebrate the New Year! We're a loud, chatty, laughing, often inappropriate bunch - if they didn't know before, Julian and Colm are now fully aware of the family craziness and they seemed unfazed by it all, although perhaps their shock at such a rowdy bunch stunned them into acceptance. With 9 extra people in the house, Mum and Dad did a sterling job of keeping us all fed and watered as we partied on late into the night. What a fabulous New Year celebration! Sadly Carol, Chris and Con had to head back to their lives on the East coast after their fleeting visits, and while it was quick we packed in quite a lot and I'm so thankful they were all able to come over and that we got to be together.

Alexandra had organized a dinner for us to meet Julian and Colms families. Such lovely people and they all made us feel so welcome. Our daughters are so happy with these wonderful boys, and we're so thankful they're part of our family.

Its become a bit of a tradition for us to take a road trip when we visit Australia, and this time we decided to go to Albany, a 5 hour drive south. I had never been there and neither had Daz of course, and I was excited to visit this very old town (I think one of the oldest in the country?) and to see the new Anzac Museum along with the regions stunning natural beauty. We rented an amazing AirBnB for us all (Thank you Hamish and Sam!) and played tourist for a few days. I wish we'd had more time there, so much to see!

Soon enough we were headed back to Perth as Darrin had to leave. I spent the remaining week watching my parents recover from the insanity of a house full of people, staying at Alexandra's house for a few days and spending evenings with Annabel. and then it was time for me to head back too. Always the absolute worst part.

The anticipation of the trip makes the time drag before we go but time flies so quickly when we're there and before I know it I'm back at work like it never even happened. It was an epic 40 hour trip back to Seattle and I'll be here for the next 4 weeks then I'll head to Ensenada to join Daz permanently.

Trip Stats:

Bottles of gin consumed: 9

Bottles of wine consumed: 27

Trips to the airport: 8

Breakfasts cooked by Dad: 63

Rolls of toilet paper consumed: 107

Frequent flyer points accumulated: 10,849

Assorted beer and cider consumed: 47

Trips to the grocery store: 24

Quokkas seen: 3

Wedding dresses purchased: 1

I guess the theme of this post is that I'm so thankful I got to spend time with my family, thankful that despite the delays I made it safely both ways, thankful for good friends, love, health, list goes on. I just hate that I'm always missing someone.

Extra special love and thanks to Mum and Dad - for driving us all over the place, all the food you bought and prepared, the cleaning, the noise...I love you both so much!

Oh. Our luggage arrived 2 days after we did. I'm also thankful for clean undies.

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