April 27, 2008


After 2 long weeks of endless rain we finally got some respite! 2 full days of sunny balmy weather!!! I can't describe how much I missed the sun, we went surfing both of the days and I was soaking the sun in while lying on the board... It felt fantastic! They blame El Niño (or La Niña) for the rain, apparently we had a very "unusual" summer this year... I wish we'd have more "usual" weather in places where we live: apparently the first winter we were in NZ was the longest and coldest in 35 years, now we're having the coldest and rainiest summer in Australia in 10 years, and so it goes... Ummm... Normal weather would be fine thank you very much...

Things are really settling, it feels like we've been here forever (and its just over a month since we moved to our current place!!!) So the novelty of work-home routine (that I dreamed about while going through cockroach infested madness of apartment hunting) started wearing off by now. I'm thinking of starting aikido again and singing, possibly. Sydney is fantastic in that way, I can choose from tens, if not hundreds of dojos (aikido clubs) around the city and at any given time there might be a couple of movie festivals, tens of theatre plays, exhibitions, festivals and all sorts of other interesting things going on. And things are easy to do and reach. Going from place to place in Auckland was difficult. You wouldn't want to go to the city at night, because there would be no buses (or if there would be, they would be scary) and you wouldn't want to drive, because you'd struggle to find a parking place. So obviously it would be much easier to stay at home and watch Desperate Housewives... While here you can just hop on the train and it would instantly take you most places you want to go. Fast (kinda) and safe (almost).

When I take the train over the Harbour Bridge in the morning, I can't quite believe that I actually live here.. My first encounter with an idea of what life might be in Australia was the Paradise Beach TV soap (that was even before Home and Away). It was full of those incredibly good looking kids having the time of their lives. Like, seriously. It didn't quite fit in my head then (and I guess for a reason, the show was incredibly bad, no one could really act there!), but I guess I still expect that life is somewhat like that (for other people that are, like, mostly models). Kimberly Joseph in Paradise Beach summed up the Australian woman for me then, she was, like, totally cool. From what I've seen so far, the Australian reality bears only slight resemblance to that soap though... :)

Posted by gkligyte at 07:19 PM | Comments (5)

April 18, 2008

April horrors

This is our house from the outside. It is pretty incredible to see these 2 week old pictures. I don't remember when was the last time I saw blue sky, we have had horrible autumny weather for about 2 weeks now. As dark and as cold as European end of October. I feel we've been cheated once again!!! Sydney is not a summery paradise after all!!! Today i wore my warmest coat to work (I really hope that it won't get much colder than this...) and I was terrified to see girls in spaghetti tops dolled up for the night out hitting the streets as the night fell! Jeez, how do they do that? I need woolen socks and a hot bottle to stay somewhat comfortable... Am I just getting old?!

We've been steadily acquiring stuff. Some planned, some not so. Like those 92 bottles of wine that Kaj successfully bid for in online auction... At least we're set up nicely for the winter and we don't need to worry that wine will ever run out in this house... I hope our livers won't be pickled by the end of it! Have you ever owned 92 bottles of wine?!? Believe me, its quite a lot when you see it all piled up in a corner of your home!

We also acquired a car since last couple of weeks. This time was an incredibly painless process (I remember it took us some 3 months to find our previous lemon in NZ!), we checked only one car and we bought it! So far its looking/behaving good. It looks ridiculously small when we plunk our 8ft surfboards on top though! But who cares as long as it takes us places and is able to carry those surfboards. We've been putting this car in good use last couple of weekends, I finally caught my first Australian wave and that was mighty exciting!! it is always disheartening to see all those 10 year old kids snatch the waves in front of your nose, but I just have to persevere... I'll start getting waves again, I'm sure!

And one of the latest additions at the home front is the Tongan tapa (remember, the one that Nicoletta and Owen gave us?! And since you, Nicoletta, are reading this blog now, I'm not doing this because I know that you're reading, its because I think it is so gorgeous!!!) When we unfolded it, it covered the whole floor of our lounge!

I still have wee hopes that Indian summer will come eventually... Otherwise there's a bl**dy long misery ahead of us!!! It is just April and so horrible alreadyyyyyy!

Posted by gkligyte at 08:23 PM | Comments (2)

April 05, 2008

Lucky Country

Almost all the photos in this entry are courtesy by Sean who stopped by for a few days on his way to NZ (but really, Sean, couldn't you visit NZ when we were there?!?!)

This is the ultimate proof that photography is about the skill and not about the gear. Sean has exactly the same camera as ours (the one that doesn't take good pictures as you might have heard me complain). But look at these photos. I was blown away!!!

He managed to find those angles and subjects that I plainly failed to notice myself!!! So yeah, I guess it is not really about the camera, huh?

We rented a car and went on a road trip to the South, all the way past Wollogong. The scenery was stunning, the coast was lined with beautiful white sand beaches, we saw dramatic cliffs everywhere, but somehow the landscape didn't really touch our hearts the way NZ did. I'm not quite sure why, but the bush here is quite dry, not really lush and mossy at all (as it was in NZ). The landscape around Sydney has somewhat horizontal character, the hills aren't quite as green and they don't roll they way they did in NZ. Give me NZ landscape anytime (but, I guess, I'm not that keen on the rain that keeps those hills green...)!!!

We talked with Kaj, that people are really lucky to be born here. Life is generally quite good here, imagine if you would have spent your childhood by the beach, swimming all year round, running around barefoot, instead of being wrapped in a big coat, wearing heavy shoes and staying indoors half of the year... People do appear to be confident and happy here, and why wouldn't you, if it is almost certain that tomorrow the sun will shine, it will be Tshirt weather again, and you won't have to fight against the elements to secure your existence. You'd start to expect that good things will happen to you in the future too, wouldn't you? So yes, from what we can see so far, it looks like Australia is " a lucky country" indeed.

NZ seemed to be quite different. I think people were much more self-conscious, humble and humane. Australia does appear somewhat brash and loud compared to its poor cousin. It is not unlike Finland and Sweden rivalry: for some reason Sweden always wins Eurovision (except in 2006, of course!) and ice-hockey. However, my aussie colleagues commented that because of that cultural/art-life is not all that lively in Sydney. It is pretty hard to compete with the surf culture, apparently. To which I commented that "surf culture is also a culture"... :)

This reminded me about OZ/NZ art exhibition that I saw in Vilnius in summer 2006: 70% of art pieces were about surfing. Two pieces stuck in my mind, one of them was a video of a guy cutting surfboards with a chainsaw (I struggled to interpret it...) and the other lovely piece was about surfers changing clothes at their cars (I was really fascinated by the range of different strategies that people employed to wrap themselves in a towel, take off the pants and get into a wetsuit!) So yes, surfing can inspire art too!

It was great to have Sean here and we're hoping that Sydney will be more of a crossroad rather than a destination (as NZ was) and that it will bring more visitors!

Sean obviously enjoyed some aspects of the surf culture!..

Since having a rental car we realised how much easier it would be to get to places (and do the shopping!) if we'd have one. And would you believe that we already managed to get a car last week! Pics on that later! We both never really owned a car before going to NZ, so it is incredible to see how it completely changed our perception. We wouldn't really need a car in Sydney, public transport is great, but dragging milk and juice bottles from the shops is daunting! We also have been very city-focused for the last few months, just because we couldn't get out of here. Hopefully we'll be making heaps more of road trips very soon!

Autumn is slowly coming along (we'll be switching to winter time this weekend) and the mornings are already quite chilly, but we're counting on that long Indian Summer that everyone promises us! There are more sunny afternoons to be had this year!

Posted by gkligyte at 02:27 PM | Comments (2)