Flat whites and long blacks – A Peek into the Coffee World in Australia

*Disclaimer: Written by a tea-drinker

The unmistakable aroma of fresh coffee. Di-vine. 

Why is it that even tea drinkers enjoy this delightful aroma? 

I have this feeling that I will one day take a bigger step into the coffee world but as of right now I have not made an effortful attempt. If it's meant to be, I'd like my taste for coffee to develop naturally. Nevertheless, I can recognize a country where coffee is serious business. Australia has fairly recently become one of those places. Going back only a few years, Australia wouldn’t have been the first (or second or third) country I would have listed as being known for its coffee. Aussies, it seems, have put a lot of heart and soul into changing this.
For the love of coffee


Lifeguard for a Day

Imagine a warm, sunny Saturday on a typically-beautiful Australian beach. What do you see?

Smooth, rolling waves?

The sun warming bathers hoping to top up their tans?

Surfers patiently waiting for the perfect wave?

All quite probable findings. On this particular day, I wasn’t quite that lucky, unfortunately. It was my day to see what it was like to be an Australian lifeguard and the weather was not cooperating. Regardless of the rain coming down at different angles, however, the lifeguards on duty were all business. As you would expect, they take their job seriously from the moment their feet hit the sand. Don’t get me wrong, however, they do like to have fun, but never at the expense of the safety of beach-goers.

Guarding in the rain


Grocery Store Price Wars - Canada versus Australia Part 1

So is it really that expensive Down Under? Let's put it to an informal test by taking a trip to the grocery store. We'll take a peek at how the prices of common grocery store items in Australia compare with those in Canada.


Australian Open of Surfing 2015

Surfing culture is clearly evident all over Australia. From hourly swell forecasts on local radio to surf shops in every town, to surf camps all over the coast. It's typical to see people walking barefoot down the road holding a surfboard, squeezing their board onto the bus, or cruising on a bike with a surfboard rack. Australians of all ages can be found surfing before or after work/school, or even in the middle of the day. If the swell is good, Aussies are known to play hooky from other commitments. I must note, however, that just like not every Canadian knows how to play hockey, not every Australian knows how to surf. Nevertheless, no one can deny that Australia is surfing.


Birthday Adrenaline Rush in Sydney

The stage was set: A day off from work, an extension to a birthday weekend. An ordinary Friday morning that developed into a beautiful, sunny afternoon with the most stunning ocean colours that I've seen since arriving here 10 months ago. A not so minor detail, however, was making a rescheduling seem inevitable: the wind was up and blowing in all directions. Two other attempts at this particular activity were unsuccessful due to...windy conditions. I was prepared to give it just this one more try. If it wasn't meant to be today, I was going to take the hint and find a different way to spend my time and money. I was surprisingly relaxed as I waited for three hours before being called over to sign away my life and put on my jumpsuit. That's when the nerves spiked up a bit. Calmness returned, however, while we were stuck in a traffic jam on route to the airport, and then returned again while I was distracted by the beautiful scenery on the way up to 14,000 feet. There may have been moments of fear too though, while sitting right next to the transparent airplane door and when finding out we were only halfway up. Oh, and maybe right before we jumped out! It's hard to put the rest into words. Although it all happens very quickly, I will always remember the feeling of flying out of the airplane and the unbelievable views of the place I've called home this year. If you've ever considered skydiving, I encourage you to go for it. If not, that's ok too but man, that was fun!

Look at those blue skies!


If You Want to Sound Like an Aussie... Part Two

Below is a list of words or phrases that I have personally heard Australians use in daily conversation. I can't say that I'm comfortable using any of these yet but I like to take the piss (see meaning here) from time to time. 


Love-Love at the Australian Open

Melbourne - January 24-26, 2015

Being an avid sports fan, the Australian Open was one event that I was not going to let slip by while living in Australia. Not having been to a Grand Slam event previously, I could only anticipate the energy on the grounds and in the stands. I can confidently say that it did not disappoint. Melbourne is Australia’s unofficial capital of sport and it knows how to put on an international sporting event. 
If you ever find yourself in Melbourne in mid to late January and can afford a ticket, do yourself a favour and check out the Aussie Open. I shouldn't really speak for non-tennis lovers but I have a feeling that those who don’t particularly care for tennis would enjoy it too. If the weather is fine, the grounds are a great place to picnic with friends and enjoy a beverage or two amidst the festive atmosphere that abounds. Remember, it’s summertime in Australia in January! Even being in the city during the tourney is exciting as there are plenty of other summer events to explore.

Hello Melbourne


Toronto around the Globe: New South Wales, Australia

It's not my mission to visit all of the Toronto's of the world but it was quite fun to visit Toronto, New South Wales on a recent trip up the east coast. This Toronto is pronounced a bit differently, is much smaller than its Ontario counterpart and has one main bar. Similarly though, it's situated on a lake and...well, that's where the similarities end. Here's a little look at Toronto in Australia.

Looking pretty good here


A Golden Christmas in Australia - Part 2

I had a lot of fun spending Christmas on the other side of the world. To be honest, Christmas in the summer didn't quite feel like Christmas but it was definitely an enjoyable experience. One memorable Christmas experience I had was the chance to see how two different cities light up for the holidays. Here's a look at how Sydney and Melbourne dress up for Christmas.

The Royal Arcade in Melbourne, all dressed up


Sculptures by the Sea

Sculptures by the Sea is an annual Sydney event where, as the name suggests, sculptures are created and displayed along a stretch of the coastline. Over a 100 sculptures are exhibited over a 2 kilometre stretch from Bondi to Tamarama Beach. The spectacular backdrop turns into an outdoor art gallery with contributions from many different parts of the world. Here's a look at some of the sculptures from the 2014 edition.

Snakes and Ladders


A Golden Christmas - Part 1

Most Aussies have never experienced a white Christmas. Whenever I described what it was like, I could tell they hoped to one day experience it for themselves. Some people told me that they dreamed of spending at least one Christmas in the cold, watching snow gently fall while enjoying a cozy indoor setting with a fireplace. After spending all my Christmases in the Northern hemisphere, all I dreamed of was the opposite – blazing sun, soft sand and the ocean nearby.  If you ever get a chance to experience that which is opposite for you, I highly recommend it. Here are my thoughts and observations of my first, let’s say, Golden Christmas.

The cutest Christmas decorations