Friday, June 23, 2006

Pictures, food, and a few more stories

Well, as you can clearly see, I've decided to go with "the tropical vegan". Not very interesting, I know, but it's hard to be creative sometimes. The url won't be changing, however, so it might get a little confusing, but whatev.

The news of the week: Andy and I moved into a house! It's a big 5-bedroom house that was completely empty when we looked at it. Massive common area (although the kitchen is a little snug), huge patio, nice yard. It's in a good location, a 15 minute walk to the Uni computer lab, 20 minute drive to the beach and the city. We moved in on Monday; the next person won't be moving in for more than a week (so we get it to ourselves for 2 weeks). The owner has all of the rooms promised to people, so there will be six of us living there, which could be verrrry interesting. Dealing with Andy's reaction to my veganism was harder than I thought it would be, and he's known about it for over a year. Putting up with 4 strangers who will very likely not be vegan is going to suck ass. I'm not looking forward to it. I know I shouldn't get defensive about it before they move in; they might be completely cool about it. But I don't feel like dealing with drama right now, and I'm worried that is what it will become.

But then again, the food that Andy and I cook is pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. I took thisastroporn shot a week or so ago, when we made stuffed red capsicum (bell pepper) at the old house. Inside is couscous with mushrooms, baby bok choy, tomatoes, and cilantro. Then we topped the whole thing with sweet chili sauce, which caramelized when we baked it. SO GOOD!

It's not just this, though. We've been trying heaps of new things. Last night we made pasta sauce with egg plant and zucchini, and had that over some fettucini. The night before we made a really yummy stir-fry type dish. It was supposed to be Caribbean Chicken, but obviously we did it without the chicken--just pineapple, capsicum, carrot, and sugar snap peas. And we improvised. He loves using those seasoning packets, but I think they're boring, so we added some fresh ginger and fresh lime juice, and a bit of veggie stock. Then we mixed in fresh cilantro, which was delish. I took a picture, because it was really pretty and colorful and yummy, but then I accidentally deleted it. Woops. But anyways, our food is amazing, so hopefully people don't give me crap about being vegan. If they do, I'll have to break some skulls.

But anyways, the new house is amazing, at least until people move in. I took heaps of pictures, partially to show my parents and friends, and partially to document everything in case the real estate agent tries to fuck us when we move out. The pictures are online here. There are also some pictures of Andy, and of a little baby avo we got for free from the farmer's market, and of this little green tree frog.

When we lived in Hermit Park for a few weeks before this new house, there was a frog that lived in the mailbox. I accidentally brought him in to the house when I was taking the mail in. I didn't realize it until I picked up one of the flyers and he hopped off onto my leg. After my initial freak-out from not knowing what it was, I tried to catch him so I could put him back outside. Well, frogs hop. And they hop far. So it was this ridiculous little drama where I was chasing him all around the house and he just kept hopping away. I was worried I would scare him to death, so I stopped and let him chill in the bathroom for a little while, then I got him under a cup and put him back outside. I was really worried, but then a few days later he was back in the letterbox, so it all worked out.

So yeah, that's my life right now. I'm in a good place, but we'll see if that changes when other people start moving into our palace.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Updates and changes... a very long post

Um, woops. I've been in Australia for more than three weeks now, and I haven't posted shit. I do have a bit of an excuse--I have no internet in the house I'm currently living in, so I have to catch a bus to the Uni library (30 minutes and $2 each way) to take advantage of free internet when I can. So needless to say, it's a hassle that I try to avoid whenever possible. Which means coming to use the internet when Andy has a day off and can drive, which also means not dilly-dallying on blogger when he's waiting for me. But anyways...

Let's see, updates. Senior week was a huge amount of fun, even though my body hated me. The vegan options at the scheduled events were usually raw veggie sticks and pretzels. There were a few days when I got veggie wraps and fruit, but I was mostly eating raw carrots and zucchini. And beer, lots and lots of beer. It was a total shit show, but fun, and ended with a 2 hour long graduation featuring Viggo Mortenson and a few other boring speakers. It was nice to say good bye to all my friends and profs though, so I'm really glad I went.

The day after graduation I hopped on a plane (well, 5 planes) and came to Australia. It was long and miserable, but it could have been much worse. I didn't get to eat for the first 8 hours, because the meal they served on the way to LAX was some cheese and spinach thing. Luckily I packed some soy jerky, and that tided me over. From LAX to Auckland, a 14-hour flight, I was the only person sitting in my row of 4 seats. I could lay flat and nap, so I ended up getting about 4 hours of very interrupted sleep. And I watched a heap of movies, and read, and did some crossword puzzles, and sat and stared at the flight path... I had ordered a raw meal on that flight, and got a bunch of fresh veggies, so I didn't really go hungry. It could have been better, but I guess I can't complain. Actually, the 4 hour flight from Cleveland to LA seemed longer than the 14 hour flight to Auckland. After a few more layovers and a trip through customs, I hopped on the final 90 minute plane ride up to Townsville. I flew with Virgin Blue, and I gotta say--I don't recommend it. The tickets were so much cheaper than QANTAS, but for good reason. They charge for everything. Headsets, food, drinks, even water. And, the seats were leather (ack!). I was wearing a skirt, so my legs kept sticking, and it was totally gross. But, I eventually made it to the Townsville Airport, and saw Andy for the first time in a year and a half, and was happy happy happy.

Since then, I haven't been doing a whole lot. I had a meeting with the head of the Anthro/Soc department about doing a PhD. She wanted me to start in August, but the way scholarships and things work, I won't be starting till February at the earliest. But, the point is, she likes my ideas and wants me to research them at JCU, so I have high hopes. I'm going to try for a few other schools too, just to keep my options open in case I don't get a scholarship here, but north Queensland has my heart right now. Andy and I have been doing all that Townsville has to offer--a few beaches, a few mountains (hills, really), a few museums... Sunday mornings we go down to the market, which offers heaps of fresh, local produce, as well as cutesy arts and crafts for sale by old ladies. Between that and "tight-ass Saturday sales" we are pretty well stocked in fruit and vege. (On Saturday afternoons the supermarkets mark down the prices of all the fresh food, so we go on a rampage and clear out everything that is about to go off. Strawberries, herbs, beets, tomatoes... Andy gave it that name because it's all a bunch of tight-asses looking to save a few bucks, and I like the name, so I'm adopting it.) I have eaten so many delicious avocados since I've been here, and I've tried heaps of new fruits and things.

Even though Andy isn't vegan, we cook together every night. He claims I've opened his mind to different kinds of food that he never would have considered--bean dishes, stuffed capsicums (red bell peppers), sweet potato bakes... We flip through my Vegan Planet every few days and see what looks good, and then we try a few new things out. He's slowly seeing the virtues of the vegan diet, and although he hasn't given anything up officially, he's getting close, I think. I don't want to push him into veganism, because it wouldn't last and he'd hate me for making him give up meat and dairy, but I really, really want him to get there on his own. We shall see, I suppose.

Aside from that, we do a lot of nothing. We were consumed with finding a new place to live for a while, but that has pretty much died down. For the past few months, Andy has been living with a friend/acquaintance of his, a PhD student who owns a house. The rent isn't great, but it was convenient, and Piers said we could stay there as long as we needed while we were looking for something more permanent. Then he announced that a plumber was coming to install an outdoor shower, since the inside one will soon be ripped apart to fix a leak. Welp, that definitely sped up the search for a new place. We found an absolute gem--a 5 bedroom house, about 5 minutes (walking, not driving) from the Uni. Right now no one is living in it, although the landlord is hoping to rent out all the rooms (I'm excited that we're moving in first though, because it gives us the air of seniority, and our pick of the bedrooms). It has a HUGE common space, all the rooms are air-conditioned and have ceiling fans, and there is a massive patio and lawn. It's in a nice neighborhood, and there are security screens and a lock-up garage, and it's set back from the road a bit. The landlord is putting in a refrigerator, a washing machine, a couch and tv, a kitchen/dining room table, and he's thinking about giving us broadband internet. He wants to pay Andy to mow the lawn, and he's getting someone to clean the common areas once a week. And this is all for $100 a week. It's amazing. Right now we're just waiting on the real estate agency that he's going through to finish the paperwork so we can sign our lease. I'm so excited, I just want to move in right away. We've been looking at things like pots and pans, cutlery, and all that stuff, since Andy doesn't have much. We got 4 sweet-ass plates and 2 coffee mugs from Salvo's for $5, and we've been keeping our eyes peeled for sales and things like that. I'm basically super-pumped.

So, now that I'm up to date, changes. I've realized that if my plans go off as they are intended (grad school and all that), I'll only be traveling sporadically. I really want to do a lot of that, but I'm not backpacking across Asia anytime soon. So I'm thinking about changing from the traveling vegan to... something else. Less advice-y travel log, and more day-to-day chronicles of my vegan life. If it gets too boring I'll just throw the whole thing out, but for now, my life is a bit boring :) So what to call the thing? I'll mull it over and try to come up with a few ideas, but if any readers (do I have any?) have suggestions, leave a comment!

So there you go, a very long post. Cheers!