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From Down Under

Hi from Australia, where we landed over a month ago (already!) and are slowly settling in (-ish. It’s going to be a goooooood, if overwhelming, day when our shipments arrive). First things first: the green here is both soothing and still surprising. The air, even on the warmest of days, is fresh. I don’t forget there’s an ocean nearby, although we haven’t quite managed to get to it yet. The normalcy of it all is rather jarring, yet appreciated. Welcome to your new life. It’s so different from the old life.

I’m experiencing an odd sort of whiplash here in Sydney — it’s just as Bill Bryson promised in “In a Sunburned Country” and is maybe even better. But how could we get on an airplane and fly 14 hours across deserts and ocean to enter not only a new continent but an entirely new world? It is unfathomable that one can live the way we did in Saudi and then in almost the blink of an eye leave it behind as if it never existed. It has been raining here so much and that’s just the beginning.

I’m thrilled by all the “grown in Australia” signs at the grocery store, and by all the fresh produce. It’s early autumn here but there still are berries and watermelon and gorgeous leafy greens. I even saw some rhubarb the other day and need to grab some the next time I’m in to make a galette. We’ve loads of natural light in our house and hardwood floors – quite the contrast from the Middle East – and I am counting on those features more than making up for our odd induction stove and even odder oven (not to complain, but give me good old fashioned gas any day over all the modern appliances in the world). We can recycle. I am getting a compost bin for the backyard. (I am getting a compost bin for the backyard.) I can take the girls on a walk to get ice cream, groceries, and coffee, with more than one option for each. It all feels so luxurious. I guess I’ve forgotten what living in an ‘easy’ place can feel like. Not to gloat; I certainly think our two years in Riyadh were an incredible learning experience and a bit of deprivation is not a bad thing. It’s also nice to try something different.

I’m missing baking, mostly because I refuse to buy any more pans given that I already have too many and once my air shipment – inshallah, some day – is delivered I will have what I packed. Cakes will ensure forthwith. Elspeth’s just started eating real food so I’m making lots of fruit purees and cooked-down red lentils. Slow going on all fronts but we’re deliberately taking it all reaaal slow in these early days. It’s the only way to maintain some semblance of stability when your lives are in a mild state of upheaval for months.

I hope to be back soon with some sort of recipe. ‘Til then-


  1. I so look forward to your updates in my inbox. Your posts are among my “happy spots on the internet” and I was just cooking some quinoa in the rice cooker and roasting veggies for dinner and thinking how much this blog (and you!) have been a part of the evolution of how I eat and feed the children. The fresh avocado on toast looks delicious! Ours are just starting to show up in our stores, not local, but I will indulge a bit.

    This next adventure looks so green and fresh. I always love seeing how your cooking and baking adapt. Hope the pans arrive soon. What is your favourite/most used baking pan?

  2. I’ve been following you on IG and so much enjoying your experiences. I look forward to what life holds for you and your family in this new place.

    Incidentally, I’m Lisa Moussalli’s mom.

  3. And the wild cockatoos and kuckaburras! As we commuter hordes proceed to our downtown buildings, tropical birds meander through our quick marching feet unnoticed – amazing!

  4. Lovely update…looks beautiful….the stove will be conquered…..trifles to what you have adjusted to in the past. The woods look refreshing. All will be achieved in time. Keep writing ( when you can (: )

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