Christmas in the Other Sunshine State

This was my very first Christmas that I was not with my family. I never have felt like I took being with family for granted growing up but since it was just a normal routine to get together in either Miami, Titusville, or Vermont I never really thought about how special it was. Thankfully I have a wonderful man in my life that asked me to join him and his family for Christmas in the Sunshine State of Queensland. Its pretty crazy that both of us are from the “sunshine state” in our respective countries, me from Florida and Alex from Brisbane, QLD. So I bought my plane ticket and when December 18th rolled around it was time to head to Brisbane.

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I was nervous to go and meet my boyfriends family, as any normal girl would feel, but I was also really excited to see where Alex was from and get to know the family I had been hearing so much about. He had us fully booked up for the entire stay in Brisbane because I had to do a lot of sightseeing and a lot of meeting people in just 9 days. Let me tell you it was a WHIRLWIND.

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The first day I got to “relax” meaning of course that there were no set plans except for dazzling Alex’s family, which meant trying to put the super loud and crazy Abby down a couple notches which for those who know me can definitely be harder to say than do. Thankfully his family is welcomed me with open arms and were so wonderful, not that I had any doubt because they have the most amazing son in Alex. His mom and I did some cooking together which was really fun and reminded me of what I would be doing with my mom if I had been home for Christmas. His dad was funny and charming. His brothers reminded me so much of David being goofy and having a great time being with their older brother.

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Alex’s family reminded me of how special it is to be with family for the holidays, they all love being in each other’s company and are so close. That made me miss my family so much, but my parents visit was just on the horizon. The first day of real activities
was when Alex and I made the hour drive to the Gold Coast to have a really amazing beach day. We went to two beaches, first one was Rainbow Bay and then Burleigh Heads WOW these beaches put South Beach in Miami to absolute shame. The sand was soft and white and the water was so clear and refreshing. We walked about a mile from Rainbow Bay and I stood over the New South Whales and Queensland line essentially being in two places at once (for every girl that has ever watched A Walk to Remember let your heart melt a little).

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The Saturday in Brisbane we went into the city to catch up with two of Alex’s best friends from high school that got married a few years back James and Kelbe. We took the bus in and had a really nice lunch at a Spanish Tapas restaurant. Loved hearing about all the fun times they had growing up, which made me miss the catching up with my friends over Christmas break. Sunday Carolyn (Alex’s mom) booked us a day out on the Gold Coast for fishing. Overall a really fun time minus the fact that none of us caught any fish that we could keep. I was just glad we took some anti-seasick pills so I could spare his family from seeing my terrible motion sickness in action, can’t say the same for the other group that was on the boat with us 3 of which were affected by the choppy sea resulting in a cheeky chunder (what we Americans call vomiting).

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Monday Alex made one of my dreams come true but more of that in a minute. We went to Australia Zoo! Which just happens to be the zoo that Steve Irwin created! This zoo was HUGE! The boys and I got to watch the crocodile show which I am positive would have been way cooler if Steve Irwin was still around but still impressive. Then after the show my dream was a reality…..I HELD A KOALA!!!!!!!!!! Can I just say that again? I got to hold a KOALA! It may have just been for about 45 seconds but seriously one of the highlights of my Aussie Adventures. Then we got to walk around and I hand fed some Kangaroo’s too! Joel got really well acquainted with a camel which is now his spirit animal I think. That night we went out for Bryce’s birthday to Teppanyaki (aka they cook on one of those stove tops and throw food at you) so fun which is where the pictures above came from, the bibs were just a bonus.

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Christmas Eve was the next day and we had a family bowling outing which was really fun and I even won a game! We played lots of board games and Alex and I were the dominating team at pictionary, and Alex took the crown in Cluedo (US Clue) where the do comes from I am still wondering.

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Christmas Day rolled in and it was such a lovely day, I made breakfast and Alex helped I guess just a little bit. Then it was opening gifts and getting ready for lunch pool and backyard cricket. Alex did so well for our first Christmas together and got me some Ray Ban sun glasses a stunning gold necklace and some pictures of us put on wood! A+ Alex! And his mom and dad got me a gorgeous gold bracelet, as for his brothers a gift card was the perfect safety gift since they didn’t know me. I got Alex a button down and a new leather wallet, his mom a Stella and Dot necklace, his dad some whiskey rocks, and his brothers got clothes. The best gift of all was being able to be a part of his family for the week and really get to know them! I loved every minute of my time with them, I was so sad to leave the next day but I had to get ready for my parents arrival which was the best christmas gift this year. God has really blessed me in BIG HUGE GIGANTIC ways in 2013! I cannot fathom how much He has poured out his love on me since my time in Australia began. 2014 is looking like another really fantastic year! More to come :)

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Cannot wait to continue to know Alex’s family better this year and have more Queensland adventures! We are looking at maybe going up for Easter for a long weekend.

Thankful-
Abby

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