Monday, February 18, 2013

Long time no write!

I feel as though I have been dong a poor job of keeping you all informed of what is going on in my life.  Not sure how many people are actually reading what I like to think is a well written account of our life events here in Australia, but I would like to apologize to those of you who have been waiting on the edges of your seats for this next blog... :)
I would like to blame my lack of internet communication on the kitchen!  Boy have I been spending some time in the kitchen.  Ehren and I have been eating very strict Paleo and I have taken it upon myself to make sure his parents and ourselves do not get bored with the food.  I have discovered some unbelievable recipes and grown enormously as a chef... In fact I would say I am now professional! :)
This is a picture of kale and sausage soup with a zucchini muffin (all Paleo and very delicious)!

I have been feeling extraordinary for the last few weeks for the most part (unless I miss a meal or go too long without eating that is), and Ehren's skin has cleared up a lot.  He has a condition called Seborrheic Dermatitis, and has used coal tar shampoo for over 10 years.  This shampoo does work well to control the condition but it is also a carcinogen, which we recently discovered.  In the past, he would be unable to go 2 days with his hair unwashed without have a painful reaction, but he has not used the shampoo in over a week and his skin looks great.  It isn't perfect yet but I think we will try this for 30 days and then see if there is something else in his diet he should look at eliminating.
Ehren has been able to pick up a bit of work and I have been able to get a volunteer position at a nearby CrossFit gym.  It has been a really great experience helping out with the classes and I have been learning loads of new and creative things for teaching CrossFit.  I am especially enjoying working with the CrossFit Kids classes twice a week.  I hadn't realized how much I missed working with kids until I started doing it again.  They are (almost) always a joy and pretty easy to please when doing an exciting activity such as CrossFit.  Ehren has picked up some work from a few people around the area doing hard labor.  He has been a great sport, as he is the only one who can work and get paid.  Most of the work he finds is very short term, and usually involves hauling crap around and cleaning out peoples yards.  He does have a job once a week on Tuesday, where he will be picking and planting vegetables to help an older farming woman named Jean.  She doesn't pay much ($15/hour, which is lowly pay here in the Auz!), but he will be able to keep as many fresh veggies as he likes!  Wow!  That is amazing!  We have just used about 8-10 pounds of fresh, delectable, over-ripe, cherry tomatoes to make a very large quantity of ketchup.  The flavor is unbelievable and there is no sugar, unlike the stuff you get from the store.  Like I said, I have been getting very creative in the kitchen!
We have also been spending a great deal of our time training for the CrossFit sectionals and there have been a few rough workouts for sure.  The humidity here makes a work out experience so ridiculously sweaty that you end up sliding around on equipment and getting large quantities of salt water in your eyes.  Some days we have quite a bit of free time so we head down to the beach for a cooling swim after the heat of the workout.  Last week we decided we needed a swim in the ocean blue and ended up in a little beach city called Byron Bay.  It is an interesting and bustling place and the beaches are pretty packed with people swimming, surfing, tanning, playing, etc.  We stopped at a beach to have lunch and as we were heading into the water, I noticed a women with large and particularly nice breasts lying topless and getting her tan on.  I quietly inquired to Ehren whether or not that was legal as we were on a public beach very close to the road.  And I mean about 15 feet away from a main road.  He answered that he didn't actually know, and we decided that this woman was maybe just a little cuckoo and continued into the water.  Well I must not have been very observant on the way down to the water, because I noticed on the way back up to our towels that there were numerous women with the tops off and lying face up in the sun.  I don't have a problem with nudity but I did find it a bit odd that all these women were so exposed on a beach that was not expressly reserved for nudity.  I don't think that is legal in the states, but maybe I am wrong.  Upon hearing of our experience Ehren's parents informed us that it is quite normal for people to walk around with very little clothing, and the No shirt, No shoes, No service policy does not apply here by any means.  They also told us about a short independent film created about how far you can get in Australia just wearing a pair of underpants.  It is hilarious and I have posted the link to the video below for your viewing pleasure!
(Sorry, but I don't have a picture of all the bare boobies at the beach!)
The weather has been a little crazy lately.  There were a few days of downpour and then a few more days of massive flooding.  The river in town was 10 meters higher, which is more than 30 feet.  There were parking lots, buildings, cars, and many other things swallowed by the water and not far from here there were houses and towns that were completely devastated by the flooding.  I have included a few pictures of the town Lismore near Ehren's parents.  Look closely and you will see a car under water and pay close attention to the water level on the buildings as it has engulfed the first floor.

I would also like to share this video to share with you the very natural music we are treated with quite often during out work outs.  We are literally not able to turn the music up high enough to be audible in these situations!

Anyway, I feel as though that is enough insight into our lives for you to read in one sitting, possibly multiple sittings, and I will leave you here.
Love you all and missing you more everyday.  Can't wait to be back in the states to visit.
Love Lindsay

P.S.  Thought I would share some wildlife photos as well...

Bandy Bandy Snake!  Very rare to see one as they
only come out at night after big floods.

Little guy greeting us outside the
bathroom door!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A World of Difference!

Today I thought I would talk about the things that I find overwhelmingly different from the U.S.  I was sadly inspired to write this by a CrossFit topic so don't judge...
First off everyone knows things are more expensive in Australia.  Let's consider gas: $1.46... Per LITRE!  That would be a grand total of $5.81 per gallon.  Outrageous right!  I thought we had it bad with $3.something!  An ordinary non-organic avocado ranges from $3.50-$4.00.  A dozen caged, non-organic, antibiotic/hormone eggs is $3.00 and the organic eggs range from $6.00-$11.00 per dozen, depending on the brand and whether or not they are cage free.  Who knew you could pay almost a dollar per egg!  And don't even get me started on fresh organic fruits and veg!  I hope my copious use of exclamation marks describes my feelings on these matters.
Also, berries are very hard to come by.  Apparently the scorching sun and small amount of ozone to not shine kindly on them.  Kale is nearly unheard of here.  The only place I have been able to locate it is a small local produce shop in the town 20 minutes away from Ehren's house.
Driving on the left side of the road has taken some getting used to, and I am proud to say I have not mistakingly turned the windshield wipers instead of the blinker in quite a few weeks.  But the next difference makes driving even more tedious than the larger and more obvious side change.  The highway is small and teeming with potholes.  And not the little ones that you drive over with a small amount of worry in the back of your mind; but the very big ones that mutilate your car at high speeds.  The reason for the awful highway (notice the lack of the plural "highways" because there is only one, and it is simply enough called Highway 1) is the fact that the road must circumnavigate all of Australia (which is about 9,000 miles long) and the population is about only 22.5 million.  Australia's Highway 1 is the longest national highway and it must connect the populations of each major city to one another, even though there is virtually nothing in the vast majority of the country between.
The next thing that really sticks out is the fact that there is very little language control on the TV or the radio.  Curse words are quite allowed, although they do give naughty language warnings prior to a dirty song.
And last but not least, I competed in a weightlifting competition for CrossFit-ers a few weeks ago.  There was food sold at the event and to my surprise, this nourishment included bread.  Now, I feel like I have seen my share of CrossFit events in the last year and the grain filled meals were very unexpected.  I voiced my astonishment to my fellow competitors and was told that most of the events were like this and that Paleo was not the end all diet for CrossFit-ers in Australia.  I wonder if the Aussie's will ever get Paleo Crazy...

Anyway, I just had to make sure you had a clear picture of those things.  Ehren and I are keeping busy with working out, helping around the house, and finding odd jobs that pay in cash.  The only one we have found is for Ehren's cousin and involves power washing and painting the outside of their rental house.  We are hoping to buy a car soon to make it easier to get around to all the exciting places we would like to see.
I am in the process of doing an eating challenge call The Whole 30.  The idea is that you only eat whole, unprocessed foods for 30 day.  This would mean cutting out dairy, legumes, grains, and most of all SUGAR.    I have been eating this way pretty faithfully for the last few months (with the exception of the holidays) but I thought I should make a real commitment to this challenge.  At the end of the 30 days, you are meant to slowly introduce the things you removed from your diet and track how they effect you.  It is an interesting sort of challenge and if anyone is interested they should search it online and try it out.
Well got to go, as we are preparing dinner and my kitchen expertise is needed :)
Miss you all!
Love Lindsay

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dreaming of a White Christmas

So it has been a few weeks since I last wrote.  Hopefully everyone had an amazing holiday season.  We had so much fun here, though it was quite different from my previous Christmas experiences.  We had a phenomenal holiday experience in a sleepy little town called Brooms Head.  It's name is quite literal as the first settlers there found a broom on the beach, and thus decided to call the headland Brooms.  The small "town" (if you can even cal it that), is completely surrounded by the Yuraygir National Park, which is absolutely stunning.  We stayed at a beautiful beach house that Ehren's family rents every year for the holidays.  It is a mere 2 minute walk from both the front and back beach of the headland.  Back Beach normally has much more aggressive surf that is harder to swim in, while Front Beach is completely engulfed by a reef.  The reef causes the waves to be small and tame and excellent for an inexperienced ocean swimmer.  Some of the readers (mostly my extended family) will probably remember my hesitation when it comes to the ocean.  You are likely to remember me playing in the sand while all the other kids ran about in the water.  You may also recall me crying in fear when it came to floating and swimming in the Coeur D'Alene River.  You would be happy to discover that I am much more comfortable with bodies of water in general now-a-days and I did spend much of our recent vacation in the water.  The weather was hot enough to make you want to swim but not so hot that it was unbearable outside the water.  We spent the few weeks swimming, boogie boarding, playing card games and Yahtzee, and of course fishing.  We found a stunning, rarely fished area up the Sandon River that we could only reach due to Ehren's prized bright yellow canoe.  We caught 2 full meals (for 7 people) of delectable fish from this area and we didn't even have to pay for bait.  There's nothing like a truly free meal that is healthy, nutritious, and absolutely delicious.  Sadly, I did not catch any fish here but I did catch a sting ray, which was quite exciting.  It's tricky getting the hook out of the ray due to the giant stinger on their tail.  Aussie's have learned their lesson when it comes to messing with these creatures (poor Steve...).
Anyway, it wasn't all just fun and games. We did attend a CrossFit gym while we were their.  It was located in neighboring town called Yamba.  The owner of the gym was very accommodating to our workout needs and allowed us to come in during non-class times to do our own workout program.  It's a small gym but very well equipped for our needs.  We met a fellow CrossFit-er their who has been participating at the regional competition as an individual for the last few years.  He was great to work out with and he also let us in on a few local competitions that I am going to try to join.  He seems dedicated and hardworking so he was a much needed good influence on us during our vacation time.
We are now back home and working on the next great adventure of retrieving our things that we shipped overseas.  It has been an adventure working through all the red tape.  There are 3 different companies we are working with to get our things and none of them seem to be communicating with one another.  The second we deem our task complete, another unforeseen chore is assigned.  I do think at the moment we have done all that is in our power to do, and are now waiting on customs to rummage through our things.
Like I said before, this holiday season was a complete contrast to my former Christmas celebrations.  These differences really made me desire my family, and curling up with Charlie (the cat) in a warm house near a fully decorated Christmas tree.  This feeling was compounded by the fact that we had very limited Internet access, and I was unable to communicate with my friends, and rarely able to  call my family.  (I don't mean to put a negative spin on the vacation, because it was extraordinary.)  So I just wanted to end this long awaited update with a big I LOVE YOU.  To all the people in my life back in the US, I am thinking of you, and I miss you and the times we spent together having a grand ol' time.  I really so hope you all had an amazing white (or maybe just cold) holiday.  I never thought I would miss the cold, but I guess it is a big enough staple in my life that my love for it was unconscious, never to be discovered if it weren't for this change.
Love you all so much!
Love Lindsay