The Sydney Siege: Sticking Together

It is something you never plan on encountering. And if you grew up in the slightly Stars Hollow-eque bubble that is the Midwest its something you don’t even see on TV until after the family friendly hours ended on public channels.

I woke up yesterday morning -after 12 smacks of the snooze alarm on my phone- and rolled out of bed. Threw on a sunflower dress, whipped my hair back in a headband as a suitable replacement for a shower, and put on enough makeup to be deemed socially acceptable; I ran to catch the bus from the end of my street (374 Express to Martin Place) – standard Monday routine.

My bus dropped me off at Martin Place on Elizabeth St, right in front of the Channel 7 Studios, and about 100 meters from the Lindt Cafe, just like it does every day. I always love walking past the studio because they film the morning shows around that time so sometimes I get to see famous people performing or being interviewed, Last week it was John Legend, a month ago it was Katy Perry. Most Mondays I am running late, this week I was actually early. I walked through Martin Place as usual, past the giant Christmas Tree, fancy shops I can’t even afford to look at, flower shops, etc and made my way down the hill to work (about 1k away).

 About 45 minutes after I passed through Martin Place, the tone changed forever. I started getting texts from friends who knew I worked in the city, checking on my status. One was as simple and frantic as “Where are you?”

Immediately, I asked around the office to find out what was going on. One co-worker mentioned something ISIS related in Martin Place. I recoiled just hearing the words, but the larger part of me didn’t believe his report could be accurate. There had been arrests about a month ago foiling a plan in Martin Place, but lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place- let alone the same city block. As I followed the changes developing through twitter and live-streams from ABC and Channel 7, I witnessed the terrifying events that had become all-too-common over the past year, unfolding around my city landmarks. There was my bus stop in the background of a reporter. There was the train station I sprinted out of on Halloween, running late to meet a friend. And there was Lindt, where I’d shopped for truffles for a friend not too long ago, the friendly staff that waited on me trapped inside.

I texted all of my friends as well, although very few of them work in the CBD. One was in the building housing the US Consulate, evacuated around noon by the Police. She walked down to meet me at my office while waiting to be picked up, and after scanning the street from her, I heard her call my name and squeezed her tighter than I had anyone else in a long time. Yet again I was reminded to tell your friends you love them, better yet- never let them forget it. I received messages from countless concerned friends and family. Perhaps most surprising of all was a concerned text from a former friend who I haven’t spoken with or been on good terms with for almost six months (below). In the heart of it all, the true colors of everyone I’d met in Sydney showed through.


The events that transpired throughout the day don’t need to be recapped here, but its safe to say that I was not focusing on work with my head or my heart. It was especially hard to when your job relies on 30 different twitter streams. When I left work at 5pm, 5 hostages had escaped and there was talk of multiple bombs throughout the city. My bus stop was understandably sanctioned off, so I took a train to another bus stop at Town Hall. The train that is packed almost every day was a ghost town. I rode home, sick to my stomach thinking that I was going about my normal day, while those remaining were living out their nightmare. I went to bed, hoping- praying that I would wake up to good news in the morning.

Instead, I woke up to the news of two beautiful souls lost. I got ready and ran down to catch my same bus, but even my tiny bus stop had a tiny cloud cast over it. Everyone looked down at their phones, everyone looked tired, and not one smile was shared.

The bus ride itself was silent. I wasn’t sure where they would be dropping us as the exclusion area was still in place. They dropped us off in Darlinghurst, an adjacent suburb about 2k from Martin Place. As everyone was ushered off the bus, we silently tapped off our Opal Cards and shuffled along the sidewalk and through Hyde Park. Never have I seen so many business people in the park; never have I witnessed such a heavy silence. As my walk got closer and closer to Martin Place, I had to decide what route to take. I decided to walk through. Not only did I feel it was important to face Elizabeth St head on, it was also the quickest way.


Walking through Martin Place where my bus normally lets off, I saw a pile of 30-40 flower bouquets and was compelled to add to the tribute. I walked down to the local flower shop just as it began to sprinkle, and purchased one Sunflower. From the Sunflower State to Sydney – some love for us all. A woman with a microphone stopped me afterwords. Working for WSFM Radio, she asked me about the flower and where my thoughts were. I was surprised to hear my voice shaking, and even breaking at times.


I didn’t know anyone inside, but I felt like I did. These are people I walk alongside every morning. I told that woman with the microphone, “I’ve always felt so grown-up and confident walking through Martin place. It’s the gateway to my first ‘big girl job.'” She smiled at me understandingly and I held myself together long enough to wrap things up.

On my way home from work today, I saw that tiny flower pile of 30 or 40 bouquets had grown to a memorial that could be seen from helicopters circling above. People came in droves, & estimates were there was one set of flowers being placed every minute throughout the day.

That small pile grew at a rate not even I could imagine. As an American, I have experienced terror and shootings. I’ve followed the Virginia Tech situation from the televisions at school, watched the Aurora Dark Knight coverage from my sorority house, and read about the high-school homecoming court who snapped in the cafeteria. But never has anything felt so close to home as the Sydney Siege did this week. And while Martin Place may have lost its innocence, it will still hold a very special place in my heart. We’re together on this one Sydneysiders; new or old, near or far, young or old: I’m sticking with Sydney.



Monday Morning Bus Jam: Week of November 10

Great music video, great beat, cute dresses- What’s not to love?

Monday Morning Bus Jam: Week of November 2

Ok I’ll admit I was hooked on this song mostly for the music video… Nappy Tabs killin’ it yet again!

A Long Distance Royal on World Series Eve

Undoubtably one of the hardest parts about living abroad is the communities you remove yourself from. The ones that can’t be replicated in your new habitat are always somehow the same ones that came so easily to you at home.

Everyone in America has a general idea of who The Jayhawks are, The Royals, The Chiefs. People have heard of them, at the very least, and if they haven’t they’re the weird ones. Everyone in the tri-state area cheers them on, some more enthusiastically than others, but they’re on your side. Those who go to school with you, grew up a second or third generation fan, or simply love rooting for the local boys live and die by it. So there’s all levels of enthusiasm up for grabs. You can choose your watch party a la carte, because everybody knows all of the local boys. You grow so accustomed to sharing interests with everyone around that you simply expect it to continue wherever you go.

And then suddenly, you’ve dropped yourself into this Alien landscape where the only language they speak is Rugby instead of football, Cricket in place of baseball, the occasional NFL and NBA, but heaven forbid we discuss college sports because “they aren’t all stars.”

It’s the same feeling as when I’m trying to explain the internet to my grandma, or desperately trying to find a comparative love to show my roommates that equates to my need for new shoes. The party I’m trying to convince neither understands nor desires to in the slightest. They’re vastly uninterested and slightly confused by my entire thought process. And in the same way, I am baffled by their lack of loyalty.

A jersey is not a fashion statement, its a contract outlining your allegience. A baseball cap is meant to have a rounded bill, and don’t you dare wear merch from opposing teams at the same time.

These are golden rules, respected unwritten commandments passed down by generations of sports worshippers. A tiny part of me dies every time I see someone in a Lakers jersey with a Chicago Bulls hat.

As the national media continues to focus on all of the great things about Kansas City (for the first time possibly ever), and specifically on the Royals dream run to win the pennant and play in the Fall Classic for the first time in a generation- I find it bringing a tiny bittersweet edge to this amazing sports miracle that I’m witnessing.

When the Royals won the Wildcard game, people in Lawrence were spotted “sprinting to the hawk.” When they swept the Angels in the ALDS the team tweeted about the victory party location and then Eric Hosmer spent over $20,000 on an hour-long open bar for fans.

My watch parties are at 11am on a Monday (time difference problems) with my co-workers staring awkwardly at me as I squeak in response to every strike while maniacally typing in a spreadsheet . My conversations about batting order and Bullpen decisions come from twitter interactions. My celebrations consist of a beer or two in my kitchen after work.

Its a different life I lead now, and its why I have a newfound respect for those who voluntarily chose to move away from their tribe- weather its sports related or sorority sisters, a new language or a new cultural experience- we’re all just trying to find someone who “believes” right alongside us. 

We are Long Distance Royals

We are Long Distance Jayhawks too, and Long Distance Chiefs Fans. We’re long distance cheerleaders who define the opposite of being on a bandwagon. In other words, we’re this guy:

Blindly plugging away, preaching our message of hope and unrelenting optimism for the team that nobody knows about. The one that hasn’t been to the World Series in 29 years, the one that no one buys a jersey for “because its popular.” The one that doesn’t boast a huge payroll, or a long list of celebrity supporters (but props to you Paul Rudd, Rob Riggle, Jason Sudeikis, & Eric Stonestreet for being there through the good and the bad years).

The best example of this Long Distance KC Love of course, is seen in SungWoo Lee, the Royals Korean Superfan, turned fan favorite, turned in-person good luck charm. He is returning to the K for game one of the World Series(followed by a documentary crew led by Josh Swade of  the greatest 30×30 ever produced:”There’s No Place Like Home“). I have no doubt he will be met with a hero’s welcome at KCI this morning. The last time he was in town, the Royals swept the Giants.

So here’s to you, Long Distance anti-bandwagoners. The illegal online sports streamers, the late night/crack of dawn early game watchers, the ones who force everyone they know into their fandom, who bet on their team even when the chips are down, and publicly mock those wearing clothing branding the opposition’s logo (I’m looking at you random boy in a Cards hat).

Keep on keeping on. Keep on cheering for KC. Keep on living the dream, wherever you are ♥

Monday Morning Bus Jam: Week of October 20

Gin Wigmore has been one of my favs ever since I stumbled across “Devil in Me” about a year ago.

Check out “If Only” if you’re feeling dramatic.

Monday Morning Bus Jam: Week of October 13

Brb, throwing on my cowboy boots and dancing around the house in my bikini.


Hello potential Roommate/Flatmate/House-sharing Person!

Congrats! You can stop looking now, because you’ve found the best possible roommate for {insert address here}.

I’m Katie from Kansas, I like kangaroos and alliteration. Obsessed with American Sport (watching not playing)I’m 25, professional, non-smoker, non-drama, looking for a place to share (private room only- no room shares please). I love living with other people because I love being around other people, but I also know everyone needs their own space. I cook a lot, I keep common areas clean, and occasionally have been known to bust out a dance move or two.

I come with a little kelpie pup named Moose, which is why I’m looking for a place with a yard!

But don’t just take my word for it! When former Roomies (both male & female) were asked about their experience living with me, they replied:
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What I’m looking for:

-my own private room
-A yard
-a bathroom- shared is fine
-a kitchen, with an oven
-10,000 bonus points for a dryer
-Roommates who don’t mind listening to the tales of my pathetic attempt at a love life
-rent < 400/ wk with bills included
-move in date ASAP
-wifi (will pay extra for this)
-A television

If this sounds like something you think you could roll with- message me at 434 082 578. Mention the hashtag #livewithkatiemo so I know where you got my number from.

Staying in Syd

I was hoping to wait until my Visa information was more solidified to announce this, but due to some extenuating circumstances- its coming out now. So here it is: I’m staying. I’m staying in Sydney, in the city that’s stolen my heart, my soul, and a small portion of my tastebuds.

About a month ago I made the decision to try to find a job in my field that could also sponsor me on a more permanent stay in Sydney. This is such a great place to start a career in social media related jobs, and I knew I couldn’t go home without giving throwing every part of myself into it at warp speed. I told a limited number of close friends at home, but I wasn’t looking to jinx anything. The whole process was slightly daunting, as I only had six weeks left on my Working Holiday Visa, and deportation was looming. After a few interviews, and more than a few sleepless nights in the fetal position, I received an offer, and have accepted a job as a Community Manager with a company located on Darling Harbour.

This marks a huge new chunk of my life, and although I won’t be starting with an entirely blank canvas, the final product is an entirely different picture than what I had in my head. “A year abroad,” I thought, sounded adventurous but not out of the ordinary. I thought it would look good on a resume, allow me to live in summer season for almost an entire year, and be a great story for the grandkids. 365 days seemed like an eternity at the time (and for a while at the beginning I thought it just might take that long), but then suddenly I found myself at the end of July- and I’m not ready to go. All I’m ready to do is stay.

There are so many things that I will miss about Kansas, and of course my beloved LFK*. But while they don’t have cheddar cheese here, an appreciation for college basketball, cowboy boots, or BBQ- they do have many things we don’t have; Waterfront views from the office, 70 degree “winter” days, public transportation that can get me anywhere, a ridiculous amount of whiskey bars, and lets not completely breeze over the accent. So for now, I’m not coming home. The truth is, after only ten months Sydney has become yet another place I will forever see as home.

Olathe will always be my hometown, where I met my little brother, learned to ride a bike, marched in the parade and danced my heart out, full of Friday night lights and friends I would never forget.

Lawrence is where I got to make my own mistakes, and bounce back even stronger than before. It’s where I fell in love for the first time, where I Rock Chalk chanted, ADPi snapped, and Brickhouse sang “All I Want for Christmas is You” year round.

Sydney has a life all its own. It’s clean and bright and full of an energy that’s pushing me forward, and turning me into the person I’d want to see live my life, on my own rules.

I love you Kansas, you know I do. But I’m afraid it’ll be a while before I can drag myself away from this adventure, its proved just too tempting to leave behind.

*expect a full post on Larryville and all its beautiful details later

Golden Birthday

//Golden// def;

lustrous, shining : of a high degree of excellence : superb : prosperous, flourishing : radiantly youthful and vigorous : having talents that promise great success

Birthdays are one of my favorite thing to celebrate. This year was a golden one for each of my roommates; Kay turned 22 January 22, then Lauren turned 21 July 21, then I turned 23 on May 23. (Sorry Big Jack, only 3 more years until yours).

As far as celebrations go, this year was no exception. The difference for me was I spent it entirely with people I had never met- Hell, I’d never heard of- on my last birthday.

Thursday night I went out for a quiet dinner full of laughs, smiles, Margaritas, and LOADS of Mexican food. A perfect Country Road present, and I finished my night ready for my actual bday.

Friday morning I was greeted by birthday songs from Ivan & MC, a birthday banner and all of my packages from home. I was so incredibly touched by all the friends and family who took the time to send cards, candy, assorted Kansas memorabilia, and of course- BBQ sauce.


I spent a few hours at the beach, listening to music and inhaling sour straps at warp speed. I got so many special shoutouts, texts, and one video message with a special birthday song that brought a tear to my eye. Then that night, I went out with friends from Base Hostel. Playing Goon Pong & dancing on sore feet at Frankie’s.

Saturday the boys had planned a surprise trip to my favorite beach- Bronte- complete with Barbeque and a chilly dip in some 10-15 foot waves! We went out again that night, this time to Scruffy Murphy’s, and ended the night with a walk to “Maccas.”


Sunday Ivan & MC hosted a BBQ for me full of family, friends, and neighbors. The boys drank all their wine, when I left for a date. My night ended with a motorcycle ride across the harbor bridge during Vivid Light Festival (google it, it’s amazing).


What a perfect birthday to start my golden year. I truly believe with all the little shining fibers in my heart that this is the year. Last year was full of new beginnings: graduation, mom’s wedding, moving overseas. These 365 days are for taking flight. A “radiantly youthful” time to explore the world and myself. So cheers to “talents that promise great success,” to patriotic acts, sparkly dresses, cheering on Bill’s boys in blue, falling in love & crash landing, reading new books on the train, solving mysteries, killing huge bugs, singing in my car with the windows down, and importing every amazing new person I meet into my circle of friends. Clinking all around to this lucky year ahead.


An Ode to Em

I met Emily Riches because I had no other friends. That’s a fact. I had just moved to a new part of the city, a lot of my friends had gone home, and anyone who was left was too far or just couldn’t be bothered to see me anymore. Emily had lots of friends, both permanent and transient. She didn’t need any more. Which is why when I met up with her and went out for “pudding” (ice cream), I was a nervous wreck.

Do I look ok? What do I smell like? God if she’s even halfway normal I might just cry of joy.
(All Thoughts that ran through my Head)

What happened next was our whirlwind best-friendship. Em & I spent almost every day together up until she left just over 6 weeks later. She was there for me when I wanted to go rage, when I didn’t want to text a certain boy back, when I inevitably did text him anyway, when I freaked out because he didn’t answer me for a week, and when I called her the day he decided I was worth his time. 10,000 screenshots and 2567 Facetimes later- she’s gone back home to England and I am writing this post still in Oz. As promised, this is my ode to Em.

She has two speeds, fast and faster. Em doesn’t slow down for anything. Even when we’re laying around doing nothing but watching movies we were having full conversations + movie commentary + texting other people + skyping her gran + stuffing thai food in our faces + telling our life stories to each other. When she rarely sleeps, its only because her body has forced her into shut down mode.

Because of our newfound friendship, the little girls we watched also became fast friends. H & A chased each other in circles around Emily’s living room, while Em & talked ourselves in circles about our plans for every upcoming weekend. Every weekend was something different. I don’t think we ever did the same thing twice: Boat Cruises, Family Dinners with the Boys, Bronte Beach, Kangaroo feeds, a night at opera bar, Anzac day at The Wild Rover, Scary Canary, Easter brunch, pizza making, nights out in bondi, the south african rugby team, leaving IDs at home, Sex & the City marathons, Randwick Races, picnic in the park, King’s Cross, and ten thousand other things I’m no doubt forgetting.

What an amazing selfless, fun, smart, mature friend I had gained.

In the end, Emily didn’t need me to be her friend. She would have had the time of her life in Sydney without me. In the end, I needed her more than I ever could have known. So thanks Em. Thanks for saving my ass. I’ll see you soon.

xxxx Katie

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