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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Exploring Sydney!

I know I said I'd talk about our first few days in Sydney next, but before I get to that I want to address what felt like a heavy weight -- figuring out communication back to the US.

I had read online about transferring our cell phone numbers to google voice but we weren't actually sure if it would work. Guess what? It works! It's amazing! We can text, talk and video chat via google products as long as we have an internet signal. Cost to port our numbers was $20/line. That's it. No international calling charges from Oz to the US, just use your monthly allotted cell data or home internet. We both have Oz cell phone numbers with google voice / hangout apps for our US numbers. Now that you know this, there is *no excuse* for not being in touch!

Now on to the promised topic, our first few days in Sydney. As the previous post noted, we landed on a Sunday and Aaron went to work on Monday. This is insane. And amazing. The kids and I were in a new city and were ready to explore!

After a delicious breakfast near our temporary housing in the CBD, we ventured to Darling Harbour.
This is across the Harbour from the Australian National Maritime Museum.

We bought an annual pass to WILD LIFE Sydney / SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium / Sydney Tower Eye and more. The kids have really enjoyed these attractions, and we've used the passes several times already. I've mostly relied on trip advisor, yelp, etc for suggestions of things to do and places to eat. It's worked quite well for us.
Giant crocodile at WILD LIFE Sydney!
Obligatory kangaroo photo from WILD LIFE Sydney.
Entering Madame Tussauds. The kids were a bit freaked out by the wax figures.

We lived in Arkansas -- a beautiful and rural place -- for 4 1/2 years. I thought the transition to urban life would be very painful for the boys (one in particular). They have truly amazed me!

Waiting for the train!

Before we left the US, I signed us up for a Jr Adventure Day at the Sydney Opera House. We really didn't know what to expect. It was a WONDERFUL intro to one of the world's most iconic buildings for the three of us. 

Terrible selfie outside the Opera House. Is there such a thing as a good selfie?

Side view of the Opera House -- it's spectacular!
The Junior Adventurers are ready to go!

The boys were moderately amused by the dress-up portion (one was more interested than the other; I'll leave you to guess which based on the faces in this photo.)

Since we arrived during summer holiday (!!!), there were a lot of activities for kids as they wound down their break before heading back to school. It was perfect timing for us, though I suspect we would have made anything work. 

Our first week we got to celebrate Australia Day and Chinese New Year. Australia Day is much like Independence Day in the US -- beaches, BBQ, fireworks, parades, etc. What a great way to immerse in the culture. We went to a massive free Wiggles concert, haha!

Chinese New Year was very neat with beautifully crafted roosters all throughout the city, though we didn't spend as much time as I would have liked at these activities. Next year...

For the first ten or so days, the kids and I straddled the line between vacationing and living as residents. Example: I dragged the boys to open a bank account after a fun-filled day of exploring this awesome city!

Next up, the first day(s) of school...


  1. I have always wanted to be really daring and move to a new country and this all sounds so exciting! Can't wait to hear more!

  2. Hi Julie. It is really fun to read about your adventures and also very helpful to those considering a big, international move. I'm happily planted in Michigan for the next couple of decades, but I have lots of friends who are considering a move abroad. Wishing you, Aaron and the kids a wonderful adventure. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Lora! Hope you and your family are all doing great.

  3. Hi Julie! It has been a long time! Looks like you and your family are on an amazing adventure! My mum is from Sydney and I still have family that live there so if you need any tips from insiders I can put you in touch :)

  4. Last comment was from Danielle Stilgenbauer, btw :)

  5. This is awesome. Sydney Opera House! I'm looking forward to learning more about your boys and their personalities since I have yet to meet them. They are excessively cute.