The shifting definition of home

What a ride we've had!  Home for just over a month we are putting a lot of what we learned traveling into practice.

We came home to an unexpected and unpleasant discovery at our house.  We found out that our tenant who had been giving us headaches the whole trip really topped the cake by renting out our house the entire time we were gone on AirBnB!  We think over 200 people came through our house and instead of keeping her lease until July as we had planned we knew that we could no longer trust her and she will be out of the house mid-January (edited update, she is out!!!!!!!!!).  This has been a really stressful reintegration to the USA, we've had to hire a lawyer and we are practicing patience, unexpected planning, and communication.  I swear talking to her is harder than communicating with others in SE Asia when there was no common language!  It's been a really stressful time and we literally couldn't have gone through this without the support of our family and friends.

We have had a bit of fun in-between negotiations between our lawyer and Molly.  I traveled down to Sacramento first thing meet my niece Emerson.  Krysti is a friend that I have called from almost every country we visited and she was on my list of people to see ASAP when home.  We had a blast hanging out with the newest member of their family.  I'm already in love with Miss Emerson and wish they didn't live so far away!

We have also spent a lot of time with family.  My brother and his girlfriend are also living with my parents right now (they are visiting from Belgium).  We've enjoyed lots of time in the kitchen with them and continuing our crossword puzzles.   

I'm not sure what the purpose of this blog is now that we are home... but will probably continue to post our future travels.  We are itching to travel some when we have an income again!  

E's Birthday!!!

Having a birthday abroad is hard.  No one else even knows your name and there's only one person you are with that both knows your name and your birthday!  No pressure...  So, after learning through last year's birthdays we were a bit more prepared with what to expect.  We planned an awesome tourist day in Sydney to splurge a little and celebrate the day. 

The morning started off with a walk through the botanical gardens on our way to the Manly Ferry.  We both loved that the city surrounded such beautiful areas for everyone to get outside and relax!

Boarding the ferry, we headed off towards Manly.  There's something about being on the ocean but it not smelling like the Pacific Northwest aroma that we are used to. 

Manly was pretty, but a bit cold and windy so we headed to a coffee shop.  I don't know why I don't have a photo, but we happened into The Showbox, a coffee shop with all things SEATTLE!  Needless to say, the coffee, the people, the food, the everything was amazing.  We chatted with the owner who had flown to Seattle for 12 days to enjoy the Soundgarden concert last February.  So fun to talk to him about our city!

Here are some photos of the beach.

Vietnamese was on order for lunch at a delicious spot by the Manly Ferry terminal.  We felt like we were in Vietnam, squatting on low tables, on the sidewalk!  Delicious food that we enjoyed before heading back to the ferry and the city.

The afternoon was spent walking around and then crossing the Harbor Bridge.  We enjoyed more gorgeous views looking back over the city. 

Winding the day down, we enjoyed champagne and the views from the rooftop deck of our AirBnB. 

For dinner we took a bus out to a suburb for delicious Lebanese food that was recommended to us by our AirBnB host.  We had SO MUCH FOOD that I'm still full, writing this post some 12 hours later!  We stuffed ourselves with delicious food and wine, and topped it off on the way home with some gelato at their favorite, Gelato Messina.  What a birthdays for, right?!  No photos to share of this part of our evening but it was much enjoyed.

The emails from friends and family at home were really special and we can't wait to continue the celebration when we are home in a few short days!