EXPATS AGAIN! Experiencing other cultures while enriching our global view.



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Munich, Germany
I am married to the love of my life and am finally able to shower him with all of the attention he deserves. I am now retired and living the life here in Europe. I am an American, he is an Australian, and this is our second overseas address. The first was Shanghai, China and now Munich, Germany. Come along and live the life with us as we continue our adventure of discovering all Europe has to offer.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009


This is a "Cutout Frangipani" blossom that dropped onto my deck chair at the Gold Coast in Australia.

  I thought it's clear white petals with the swirl of the opening of the frangipani on the cool blue weave of the deck chair an interesting contrast of colors.

Throughout Australia, and in the Gold Coast, are these glorious trees called the
Brachychiton acerifolius - Illawarra Flame TreeImage by Black Diamond Images via Flickr
Brachychiton acerifolius - Illawarra Flame Tree.  It is a pleasing sight to see these trees so plentiful throughout Queensland and elsewhere.  They are very common and are seen in residential areas as a part of the typical landscape.

Here is another typical Australian flower, the Pom Pom Bottlebrush.  I am fond of it's airy shape and similar appearance to an exploding fireworks display

Shadow - Australian FlowerImage by Georgie Sharp via Flickr

Finale fireworks displayImage by Stephen Edmonds via Flickr

Western Australian Flowers - MyrtleImage by Georgie Sharp via Flickr

Image by Georgie Sharp via Flickr

Another Queensland flower is the Myrtle.  It too makes for a striking display of colors along walkways and garden beds.

Here is the Myrtle flower in white and just as beautiful!

Australian Flowers - MyrtleImage by Georgie Sharp via Flickr

Hats off to Christmas, by Georgie Sharp, is a sign that Christmas is near.

This is called, "Christmas Dance," by Georgie Sharp, and the hats are off!

'Flame' flowers on the ground - little red hat...Image by Tatters:) via Flickr

Above are the Flame flowers on the concrete after they have fallen off the trees.  They look like tiny litte red hats!
Pink Australian flowersImage by frangipani photograph via Flickr

Australian flowersImage by shuttergirl3 via Flickr

red poppy.jpg
Image by esp22 via Flickr

The one above is the "Red Poppy."

Something Wild.....Red PomPom Bottle brush...Image by ArunaR via Flickr

Bottle Brush Tree ?

This is also a "Bottlebrush" flower.  I had this kind in my bridal flower arrangement when Steve and I were married in Tweed Heads, Australia.  They are amazing flowers that actually grow on trees and are seen just about everywhere in Aus. and in gorgeous reds as well.

Large Jacaranda in full bloom.Image via Wikipedia

I would have to say of all of Australias' many beautiful plants, trees, and shrubs, the one that, in my mind, is singularly spectacular is the large jacaranda in full bloom.  Each time we go to Australia to visit the family, I never fail to let out a huge gasp wheneve we approach one of these amazing trees.  Next to a wisteria, it has to be one of my most favorite trees.

Banksia serrata, Henry HeadImage via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia

These are known as banksia and grow on the coastal areas of Australia because they can take the salt air.  They resemble the bottlebrush, in a way.
B. rosserae, the most recently discovered and ...Image via Wikipedia

Personally, I am partial to the pink orchid that is abundant in Australia.  They come in all varieties, but I especially prefer the first one shown here, also known as the "Cooktown" vairet, probably after Captain Cook who discovered the Australian continent.  The second photo is of a two toned variety, also very pretty.

Pink OrchidImage via Wikipedia

Pink and white Orchid.Image via Wikipedia

The photo above, by my favorite Australian wildflower photographer, Georgie Sharp, is called "Kangaroo Paws."  How appropriate is that?  Leave it to the Aussies to come up with an original name for this flower!

The flowering eucalyptus flower, by Barbara J H is also another fanciful flower I love.

I know I didn't even get the tip of the iceburg when it comes to Australian wildflowers, but I think you can agree that they are blessed with beauty. 
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]This is the "Red Pom Pom Bottlebrush"plant.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


This little fellow is part of the parakeet family, although beautiful to look at, he is supposedly a problem to farmers eating up the wheat crop.  He is the Australian galah and is seen frequently in Southern Australia, Queensland and more specifically, in my mother-in-laws' neighborhood, on the footpath. 

It's no wonder my mother-in-law has a heap of birds around her home, she spoon feeds them chicken and beef mince!  Notice the spoon approaching the magpie above!

Jac, my mother-in-law, has a back garden that is full of flowers such as bouganvilla, bottle brush, oleander, and hibiscus.  She also has a grape arbor across a stone patio leading out of her bedroom.  These grapes attract all kinds of birds.

I didn't have to wait too long for this Noisy Miner to come pecking around for grapes.  Her arbor was a welcome buffet for this bird.

Her Oleander was exquisite and attracted many different species of feathered friends.  Below are the laughing kookaburra that wake us each morning.  TheY arrive in pairs in mid-day looking for their hand outs.

Humm, notice the bit of mince laying on the patio next to the kookaburra and he isn't taking notice. 

Probably one of my favorite birds of Australia is the next one because of it's delightful coloring.  The lorakeet along with the cockatu are native to Australia and can be seen with a keen eye.


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Image by di_the_huntress via Flickr

Aren't they gorgeous creatures?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The famed Australian Zoo, of Steve Irwin the Crocadile Hunter, is in Brisbane near where our grandchildren live.  Today, Sean, aged 4, asked if Poppy and Mimi would take him and his older sister, Samantha (5) to see the Crocs.  "Crikey!," we couldn't refuse and am I glad we didn't!  I have never spent a more enjoyable day in a zoo in my life.  Here the wildlife are not caged, but roam free in the wild.  Areas are fenced in for our protection, but the animals are in their habitat and are healthy.  It was my first time seeing a kangaroo and koala up close and personal.  The crocs?  Those you stay far away from!

Here is a koala bear eating eucalyptus leaves.  They are just adorable.

Seans' shirt got lots of comments from passersby at the zoo today.  I would love to hear his explanation! 

Sean and Sam enjoyed petting the python. 

This was not a live croc, but a slide the kids could have gone on if they had been an inch taller or 6 years old.  Next time! 

It is really hard impossible for me to comprehend Christmas (Chrissy) in Summer (Down Under). 

The "Crocadile Hunter" may not be with us any longer, but the crocs he rescued still are and they are part of the Animal Planet's Crocaseums' daily shows.  You have to see it to believe it.

 Samantha on a pony ride.

Poppy and Mimi wait with Sean and Sam for the train to take us to Roo Heaven

Sean really was in Roo Heaven when he learned he could pet them.

Thanks, Steve, for making our holiday with our grandchildren extra special!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I have been fortunate enough to be home in the U.S. this year for the Advent season leading up to the Christmas holidays.  Son #2 and his family are occupying our home whilst we are living in Munich and have kicked off the holidays with a tree-triming party for me and the kiddoes.  We listened to holiday music, sang caroles, and drank my daughter-in-laws delicious mint tea  (in Arabic, شاي بالنعناع, shāy bil n'anā'). 

Moroccan mint teaImage via Wikipedia

The children and I assisted their parents in decorating the tree with the combined ornaments of both generations.  Son #2, his wife and I spent most of our time moving three-fourths of the knee high level ornaments to higher destinations on the tree.  The results were spectacular and the children, twins aged 5 and older brother aged 6, were mesmerized!  We decorated with ornaments that were as old as my grandmother who has been deceased for over thirty years.  These have to be at least 80 to a hundred years old.  Some that were my sons' and have to be between 33-38 yrs. old.  And, some brand new ornaments that include the ballerinas pictured in this post.  During my travels, I have added to this collection for my two granddaughters'.  One day, when they have trees of their own, I will donate these to them to keep for their trees.

After the tree was trimmed, we turned out all of the house lights and sat by the fireplace to enjoy the ambiance.  My grandchildren have never been so silent!  They knew that they had created this masterpiece and took delight in their creation by making up their OWN Christmas song.

"Oh, Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
Oh how much I love you!"

Next, we gathered hands and began to dance--not to Christmas songs-- but to Arabic music!  Joining hands we did the Dabekh to singers such as  Fares Karam, 3al 3een molyteem.

My little granddaughter, Nee Nee, did a belly dance for us!

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Here is Shane (son # 2) and our little Simo (5) dancing, and our lovely Luna, Simo's mommy, dancing with my son.