Saturday, February 14, 2009

Chocolate Coated Cool Stuff, Part Two

Welcome back. For those of you who are just joining us, I've been sharing a few of my favorite things about living in Sydney. Here's a few more.

4. Parents Rooms
This will only matter to those of you with small kids, but it's one of the first things I noticed when we moved here. Every shopping centre is equipped with at least one Parents Room.
It's a place you can go to change and feed your baby, take your toddler to the bathroom without having to balance them on a ginormous toilet in the big people bathroom, warm up baby food, or just sit in a comfy chair for a minute. Most parents' rooms have DVDs playing with little play areas for toddlers. Like I said, if you didn't have kids, you probably would never notice or care. But it's one of those little things that is incredibly helpful to have. It just shows an awareness of the needs of young families that alot of public places in the US don't have. Children are made a priority here in a very visible way, and that matters.

5. Lamingtons
These little delectable treats are too good to pass up! In fact, though I love them, I don't buy them very often cause I would devour them all! (Same with the aforementioned Tim Tams.) Lamingtons are little sponge type cakes, covered in thin chocolate icing, sprinkled in coconut, with cream in the middle.

You know how Homer Simpson always says, "Dooonuts"? Picture me saying, "Laaaamingtons". They are dee. lish. If you wanna try to make some, this girl tells you how.

6. Easier Access to Government Services
Now this is a subject on which I am a novice, as we only got access to these services in May when we became residents. Australia has socialized health care (Medicare) as well as a variety of other services. Every large shopping center here has a Medicare office in it--kind of like a retail outlet, where you can go with your medical bills, turn them in and pretty much get an instant rebate on what you've spent. To our limited knowledge thus far, it's really well organized. I mean, you hear horror stories just like you would about insurance in the States, but the government offers assistance and usually complete payment for an amazing variety of health procedures. What I like though, is that phone calls are not my sole point of help. I can walk into the mall, go into Medicare and talk to a real live human. I think it's a really good way to operate. And for where we come from , a novel approach. I mean, can you imagine a Social Security office next to Old Navy in the mall? But why not? It makes sense to have services more accessible to people that need them. I'm not smart enough to debate socialized medicine, but it's been nice for us so far!

7. Hello--it's SYDNEY, people.
When we used to live in Dallas (no offense, Dallas peeps, we heart y'all!) we used to say that there was really nothing to do but shop, eat out, and go to the movies. And visit the Texas School Book Depository and grassy knoll, but that's a bit of a downer, y'know? Sydney is so filled with beauty, diverse scenery, and stuff to do that we haven't done a third of it. I mean there's this of course:

But there's also this:

And don't forget this:

And if the kids are restless, you can drive about 5 minutes from our house and do this:

Was that overkill? Sorry. This is just a beautiful place, I gotta tell ya. And though we don't go to the beach, pet kangaroos, or eat lamingtons everyday, it's nice to know we can. There's heaps more I can tell you about--but I'll save those for the future. (Next time, I'll tell you about the "baby bonus"--a little incentive the government offers to combat Australia's declining birth rate.)


  1. Okay, now I REALLY want to come visit! Since our trip to the beach here didn't work out so well . . . maybe we should just hop another plane!

    Parents Room!!! What a fabulous concept!

    Medicare next to Old Navy! Ingenious!

    Getting paid to have babies?! I'm soooo there!!!!

  2. I think that is so cool about the Medicare offices being so accessible. Imagine, the governmemnt actually wants to make this easy for people. Whoa.

    And where is my shipment of Lamingtons and Tim Tams???

  3. Oooh Lamingtons... I sooo know what those are - and miss them...! I feel like I'm getting news from "home" reading your blog :) ...the different products, to the lifestyle...hanging out washing, going to the beach...!!!
    Still happy in USA though ;)