Category: Australia


December 2nd, 2013 — 9:18pm

One of the many wonderful things about old friends is always being able to pick up where you left off. That’s exactly what happened when I recently caught up with my beloved galpal Caroline.

Caroline was back in NYC for the first time since moving to Australia nearly two years ago. We had plenty to catch up on, and we did so over the course of two delightful evenings.

Reunited! Caroline and me

Longtime readers of this blog won’t be surprised to know that I’ve been living vicariously through Caroline and her adventures as a Sydney resident. My love affair with the began during a vacation there in January 2002. Shortly thereafter, I became a Sydneysider myself for five glorious months and to this day, it remains one of the most cherished times in my life.

Not surprisingly, Caroline has fallen under the spell of Australia’s many charms – welcoming, hospitable people, amazing scenery and a much healthier work-life balance among them. As she shared stories of traveling around the country and all of the new friends she’s made, I couldn’t help recalling my own journey Down Under.

Like Caroline, I was in my twenties when I lived in Australia. It was a time when I felt hopeful and unburdened by the concerns and tempering effect of age. Caroline, who has always been one of the most positive and effervescent people I’ve ever known, is truly living in the present. Seeing her again reminded me of just how important it is to do that, to not let life’s trials and tribulations wear away at your ability to appreciate exactly where you are – even when it’s not necessarily where you thought you would end up.

I miss my good friend already. And I may just have to pay her a visit in the only city to rival NYC and London for my affections.

Bon voyage again, Caroline!

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September 23rd, 2013 — 2:36pm

Friday night, I headed over to the Australian Consulate for a book launch party celebrating Indira Naidoo’s The Edible Balcony.

Indira Naidoo and me at the Australian Consulate

I had the pleasure of meeting Indira, one of Australia’s most highly regarded journalists and TV anchors, earlier in the week when she visited The Westin New York Grand Central for a story she’s doing about . When I mentioned my great affection for , and that I too am an alum of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, extended an invite to the event.

I was truly delighted to attend. The evening reminded me of why I so enjoyed my stint as a Sydneysider years ago — Aussies are such congenial, friendly people. During the reception, I chatted with several expats and enjoyed some delicious hors d’oeuvres inspired by the recipes in Indira’s book.

The Edible Balcony charts her inspiring journey to create a garden on the balcony of her apartment in Sydney’s Potts Point neighborhood.

Indira shared what she learned in a fascinating presentation that showcased how even small urban spaces can be converted to thriving gardens — and the important role of these green spaces in food security and healthier eating.

In just eight months, Indira grew 73 plantings of fruits and vegetables – 154 pounds worth! — on her balcony. What is truly amazing about this is she had no previous experience with gardening. During her talk, I found myself remembering the pride I felt when I managed to grow a small basil plant on my window sill.

The Edible Balcony is a great testament to the wonders that can happen when you’re bold and curious enough to try something new. And it proves that everyone, even city dwellers, can have a green thumb. You can find out more about Indira and order the book .

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January 27th, 2013 — 10:18pm

Friday, I enjoyed a girls night out with visiting Aussies Louise, the friend of my Sydney-based galpal Sue, and her classmate Sharon. Our delightful evening coincided with Australia Day – and reminded me of why I have such affection for Oz and its people.

Louise, Sharon and me

We met up for dinner at Asian bistro amber on the Upper West Side. Louise and Sharon filled me in on their once in a lifetime visit to DC for a political conference that included meeting Jesse Jackson and James Carville – and catching glimpses of President Obama and Michelle during the Inauguration. As they spoke with great appreciation for the day s pageantry, I felt a surge of pride for my country – and  more than happy to share why I remain so smitten with theirs.

Australians have mastered the art of work life balance and they are some of the most fun, genuine people you will ever meet. It’s easy to feel like old friends when you’re among them and Friday was no exception.

The three of us fell into easy conversation about marriage, parenthood, travel, and following your passion. When they asked about single life in new York, I was candid about the ups and downs of it…and glad to tell them about the Aussie old flame who has recently resurfaced. I think 2013 is going to be full of romantic surprises if this month is any indication.

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May 17th, 2012 — 1:52pm

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting founder Shelli Trung. Though Shelli and I connected awhile back, this was our first time catching up in person since Shelli is born and bred in Melbourne, Australia.

3six5dates.com's Shelli Trung and me

Over a cozy lunch at Cinema Café in Midtown, Shelli shared her inspiration for creating the website – Sex And The City. Once the beloved series ended, Shelli felt there was a void when it came to programming that talked honestly about women’s dating lives. 3Six5Dates.com is a fascinating, fun website that chronicles a year in the dating life of women based in some of the world’s greatest cities – New York, London, Shanghai and Sydney. The site is one of Shelli’s many ventures. A petite powerhouse of energy, she also dabbles in real estate and marketing so I’m not surprised she was named one of Australia’s top 10 ten female startup entrepreneurs.

The conversation flowed freely as we talked about following your bliss and how dating far outside your zip code opens you up to unexpected experiences. Shelli says Aussie men tend to be laidback about dating but quick to commit – a far cry from what she’s discovering about American guys.  We also got onto the subject of Australia’s knack for work-life balance and I filled Shelli in on how much I loved living in Sydney briefly ten years ago.  What’s not to love about a city situated alongside a gorgeous harbor with beautiful weather and friendly people who know how to live a good life?

Talking to Shelli reminded me why I have such affection for Australia and its people. And why, when you’re a single gal in any city, you’re part of a great, global sisterhood. Shelli and I are already planning a girls night out for her next visit, so stay tuned!

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March 13th, 2011 — 6:29pm

When you’re traveling, it’s not unusual to have only a small window of time to connect with someone. My week-long visit to Western Australia delivered unexpected sparks with adorable Aussie Jason.

The friend of my host, Jason made sure I had an unforgettable time in his hometown. I now open the vault and take you back to September of ‘02…

September 19th, 2002
Perth, Western Australia

Dear Diary,

I had dinner with Jason and his friend (and my host) Dave tonight. Jason had told me he wasn’t going to be all touch feely in front of Dave, and not to interpret that as any weirdness on his part.

After dinner, when we were in Jason’s car, I asked him if I could check my email at his place.

“Is that just an excuse to come back to my place?” he asked knowingly.

“It’s an excuse if you want it to be,” I said without hesitation.

“I was hoping it was an excuse,” he said.

A surge of attraction came over me when Jason placed his hand on my knee, just as he did many times the day before. He told me he wasn’t taking me back to his place because he had to be up at 5am the next morning for an Air Force exam.

“And I don’t trust myself to be restrained around you,” he admitted.

So instead, we drove to an empty lot near the river and kissed a little bit. Jason dropped me off at Dave’s. He took my face in his hands as he kissed me goodnight, then walked me to the door.

* * *
September 20, 2002

After our one and only full night together, Jason drove me back to Dave’s. I packed and he drove me to the airport. As he’s done so often  this week, he continually placed his hand on my knee. When I thanked him for a wonderful week, he said–

“Thank you for your company.”

As though he read my mind, he gave me his email address and suggested we stay in touch. Jason walked me right to the gate.

“Well, it was nice meeting you,” he said with a coy smile.

“It was nice meeting you too,” I replied laughing.

“Have a good trip — and I’ll look forward to your email.”

We hugged and kissed briefly. As I approached the gate, Jason was still standing there. I waved to him and boarded, wistful and melancholy that our brief time together had reached its inevitable conclusion.

* * *
Jason and I did end up keeping in touch for awhile. And six years later, thanks to Facebook, we got together when — an encounter that proved to be an interesting counterpoint to our first one.

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February 27th, 2011 — 3:27pm

Sometimes, it takes traveling to the other side of the world to find what can be elusive back home. My romantic encounter with Aussie hunk back in’ 02 was an exhilarating reminder of that.

We connected through a mutual friend during my visit to Jason’s hometown of Perth, on Australia’s West Coast. Our second evening together led to major fireworks. I now Open The Vault and take you back to September of 2002…

September 18, 2002

Dear Diary,

Last night, after the first of many kisses, Jason — a self-professed news junkie — said playfully–

“I’ve never kissed a reporter before. I wasn’t expecting this when I came to pick you up the other night.”

Neither was I, of course. Which only made it that much more sublime. I knew from the minute I saw Jason that I wanted him. We both smiled instantly and I felt comfortable with him straight away. And to think I almost bailed on him because I was too tired!

* * *

All Smiles Down Under: Jason took this picture of me at Cottesloe Beach (September 2002)

Today was an amazing day — one of the best I’ve ever had romantically speaking. We drove to Cottesloe Beach. We had the windows open, the radio on and the sun was shining. Jason kept affectionately placing his hand on mine. I couldn’t stop smiling.

When we got to the beach, we ate at a café overlooking to ocean. Afterward,  we ambled across the sand and stopped to sit down and watch the sunset. Feeling his warmth, I quickly resettled myself so that I was sitting in his lap.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve fantasized about having a moment like this on the beach. Goodness knows I’ve had my share of near misses: coldness from Sparky in Santa Monica and Malibu, amid distance from our latest argument; a tender stroll with Larry in Broadkill Beach that left me empty because I doubted our future together.

This time was different. I was completely and totally in the moment. Because, for once, I was sitting on a majestic beach with a great guy who was giving me exactly what I needed and who shared my carefree frame of mind.

Jason burrowed into me, putting his head beside mine. And we kissed softly, with nature’s splendor as our backdrop.

* * *
Our beachside rendez-vous was only the beginning of what Jason and I shared during my time on Australia’s West Coast. Little did I know that Facebook would, years later, lead to an unexpected reunion between us.

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January 12th, 2011 — 9:36pm

When it comes to unexpected romance, one of the situations most conducive to it is a change of scenery. I rediscovered this in a big way at the end of my five-month stint living in Australia.

Before leaving Sydney and heading home, I spent a couple of days on the west coast city of Perth. My host was the friend of friend’s husband. I arrived to find a note from him saying to make myself at home — and that he’d arranged for a buddy of his to take me out. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the fall of 2002…

Perth, Western Australia

September 17, 2002

Dear Diary,

Well, after months of living Down Under, it happened — I finally met a nice guy and am having a romantic fling. The term might seem paradoxical as flings rarely involve romance, but Jason is proving to be the exception to that.

He didn’t make a move until last night, our second evening together. When Jason called, he asked if he could make it a quick drink because he was tired. Little did I know he would be getting a second wind as soon as we were together…

We went to a charming neighborhood pub, where Jase introduced me to a smooth locally brewed beer. Once again, conversation flowed freely and both of us were smiling often.

“Are you still feeling tired?” I asked him, a few beers later.

“Not at all,” he said with a smile.

Jason suggested we go for a drive to the beach. It was too cold for a walk in the sand, so we went back to his place, where we settled on the sofa to watch a movie.

As the movie progressed, I could feel the intensifying attraction between us. We were sitting this close, our legs and shoulders touching. After returning from my umpteenth trip to the bathroom — nerves and alcohol had my bladder working overtime! — I sat down and Jason asked–

“Are you alright?” as he placed his hand on my leg. “Do you mind if I put my hang there?”

“Not at all,” I said, feeling a jolt of excitement surge through me. “Even though it’s very distracting.

Once the movie was over, Jason mentioned how much he liked my perfume. Then, taking my face in his hands, he kissed me.

* * *

The chemistry between me and Jason continued for the rest of my stay in Perth. And led to an equally unexpected encounter years later on this side of the world. 

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December 2nd, 2010 — 10:44am

When you’re dealing with the formidable foes of long distance and bad timing, sometimes love isn’t enough. I learned this painful lesson for a second time during my passionate romance back in ‘02 with Southern Illinois sweetheart .

Four months after embarking on our whirlwind relationship, I found myself at a crossroads both personally and professionally. An amazing trip to Australia had me hungering to go back and live Down Under for awhile. I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up — and that it was a leap I had to take by myself. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 2002…

New York, NY
April 8, 2002

Dear Diary,

I’m feeling really sad. I keep thinking about how incredibly loving and good Steve has been to me…and it just tears me up to think about hurting him.

Over the last couple of days during his visit, there were so may sublime moments — playing piano together, singing some of our favorite songs while curled up by candlelight, kissing at the Empire State Building.

I feel more connected to Steve than I have to any man in a long time. And I will miss him terribly if I have to walk away.

* * *
April 23, 2002

I’ve taken two big steps since you last heard from me — I’ve decided to go back to Australia and I broke up with Steve.

The latter happened earlier tonight, in a brief conversation that had me fumbling for words and Steve very gracious and mature.

“I knew I’d hear those words from you sooner or later,” he said, after I told him our lives our heading in different directions.

As I struggled to explain my decision, Steve brought our final exchange to an end.

“Well, I guess that’s all I needed to hear. Have a good trip.”

I’m going to miss Steve. And I will never, ever regret a single second I’ve spent in the warmth of his arms and light of his love. Steve has shown me that throwing caution to the wind doesn’t have to be a bad thing, that the most exhilarating romances are the most unexpected ones. I love him and feel profoundly grateful he came into my life.

* * *
Little did I know when I broke up with Steve that Cupid wasn’t quite finished with the two of us. In the meantime, I turned my attention to Australia — where romance unexpectedly found me once again.

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September 6th, 2009 — 10:01pm

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with my former Fox News boss and good friend Jerry.

Over a delicious lunch at Ben’s Kosher Deli & Restaurant in NYC’s Garment District, we reminisced about our days together at Fox ten years ago. It should probably be illegal to have as much fun at work as we did.

Shepard Smith: This Fox News anchor fronts the primetime show that I worked on

As we recalled that magical time, I couldn’t help thinking about my former career path.

Before jumping ship to the world of public relations, I spent seven years working in TV news. From taking flight in a golf cart powered by an electric parachute to interviewing newsmakers big and small (Senator Bob Dole, Jared the Subway sandwich guy), I enjoyed plenty of adventures in pursuit of the day’s news. Here are some of the highlights — By The Numbers:

Number of jobs in TV news: 7
Number of TV news jobs that required moving out of state to small towns: 3
Number of on-camera reporting jobs: 2
Number of TV news gigs abroad (in Sydney, Australia): 1
Number of winter weather disasters experienced during TV news stints: 2

Back in ‘97, I was a morning news producer in Bangor, Maine when a devastating ice storm hit. Later, during a 2003 blizzard in Delaware that shut down the state, I did a live report on the disaster from a waist high snow bank.

Yes, producing the news may not always be glamorous but one thing is for sure — it’s one hell of a ride.

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September 6th, 2009 — 5:01pm

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with my former Fox News boss and good friend Jerry.

Over a delicious lunch at Ben’s Kosher Deli & Restaurant in NYC’s Garment District, we reminisced about our days together at Fox ten years ago. It should probably be illegal to have as much fun at work as we did.

Shepard Smith: This Fox News anchor fronts the primetime show that I worked on

As we recalled that magical time, I couldn’t help thinking about my former career path.

Before jumping ship to the world of public relations, I spent seven years working in TV news. From taking flight in a golf cart powered by an electric parachute to interviewing newsmakers big and small (Senator Bob Dole, Jared the Subway sandwich guy), I enjoyed plenty of adventures in pursuit of the day’s news. Here are some of the highlights — By The Numbers:

Number of jobs in TV news: 7
Number of TV news jobs that required moving out of state to small towns: 3
Number of on-camera reporting jobs: 2
Number of TV news gigs abroad (in Sydney, Australia): 1
Number of winter weather disasters experienced during TV news stints: 2

Back in ‘97, I was a morning news producer in Bangor, Maine when a devastating ice storm hit. Later, during a 2003 blizzard in Delaware that shut down the state, I did a live report on the disaster from a waist high snow bank.

Yes, producing the news may not always be glamorous but one thing is for sure — it’s one hell of a ride.

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