Solstice Hat

Our Australian vacation took place in August which meant we’d experience winter temperatures. I decided Josh needed a new hat for the trip. Alas, Floyd didn’t get a new outfit but I’ll be sprucing him and Hazel up for our book release party next month. (Pre-order Formosa Moon here!)

My best friend Kelly and I designed the pattern back when we were living in Portland. She still knits versions of this hat without a written pattern while I follow my notes and tweak the pattern every time. We both make the hat long enough that the tail can be used as a scarf.

When Josh and I moved to Taiwan I brought my beloved Noro yarn with me as I couldn’t bear to part with it. Knitting with Noro is always a delight. This is the colorway’s natural variation.

The tassel is my favorite part of the hat. I like to make them long and chunky.

A work in progress shot to show the beautiful color pattern.

Name: Solstice Hat
Pattern Source: Me, Kelly
Craft: Knitting
Yarn: Noro Kureyon-#233, Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted-Kiwi
Needles: US 6-4.0 mm, US 7-4.5 mm
Size: Custom

Australia!

Our Australia vacation was phenomenal. I’d wanted to go since childhood when I found out that there were different stars in the Southern Hemisphere. And it definitely lived up to the hype. On the way over, Josh and I had a short layover in Singapore so we just hung out in the airport and enjoyed the stellar food options. Then after a much longer flight we landed in Melbourne to start our vacation officially.

Melbourne is a groovy city. Lots of street graffiti, great museums and little penguins in St. Kilda. The Tolarno Hotel was so arty and unique we made a short review video.

A highlight for me were all the gluten free options. Gluten free avocado toast, GF pizza, GF fish and chips-it was all delicious.

This was breakfast from a restaurant named The Banff in St. Kilda. They had incredible pizza and I ate one every day we were in Melbourne.

After our city stay we headed out to Nimbin to go off the grid. We stayed at the Nimbin Waterfall Retreat for a week of social media detox and communing with nature. Theresa and Rob have a beautiful retreat with horses, fuzzy headed chickens, Ringo the wild duck with a domesticated past, and a cute little dog. One morning we even saw a python!

After living in Taipei for a year and a half with its population of 2.5 million, the quiet countryside was wonderful. Even better were the wallabies. We saw some every day and even got to see a little baby in its mama’s pouch.

They were so fun to watch when they were hopping.

After Nimbin it was back to city life. Brisbane was full of visits with friends, nature and thrift shopping.

Josh didn’t buy the mullet but that book is currently sitting on his desk.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary made me feel like a kid again.

Especially when we got to feed the kangaroos.

This one was quite a sweetie, eating gently right out of my hand. The kangaroos at the sanctuary are very used to hanging with humans.

After Brisbane it was on to Newcastle, a charming city that served me my last GF pizza of the trip.

Then the flu hit me hard. Sydney was only one quick night which was a blur for me. After that it was on to Singapore and hotel isolation. The flu and lingering cough finally vanished in time for me to gear up for fall term.

Australia was full of great food, art and friends. We can’t wait to go back!

Sick in Singapore

Our Australia vacation was quite the adventure. And like any true adventure it had its highs and its lows. Since I’m a bad news first, good news second kind of gal I’ll cover the low part first.

During the end of our time in Australia we both caught the flu from a friend. I fought it for several days but it dug its claws in and put me in rough shape.

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My eyes were so red I looked possessed! A doctor in Singapore filled me up with medications and told me to stay in my hotel room. The trouble was my ear drums were in danger of rupturing if I flew so I had to rest up to recover enough that I could fly back to Taiwan. My trip to Singapore can be summarized by this photo

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which is the view out of our hotel room. It was a long three days of self-quarantine. Josh was feeling better so was able to explore the city and visit with friends. He brought me back delicious Singaporean food-a mango coconut rice dessert was my favorite. While visiting our friend Trust he got interviewed about Formosa Moon. The Taiwan News ran an English translation of the article.

Lonely Planet travel writer to publish book about Taiwan

Inspired by our soon to be released book they created a Top 7 list of books about Taiwan.

Top 7 non-fiction books about Taiwan

As for our book, Formosa Moon comes out October 1st. You can pre-order it here.

I’ll cover the awesome parts of our vacation next post.