Greetings from Down Under!  Yes, that’s right – this week I’m writing from Sydney, Australia where I’m happily keeping my husband company as he embarks on a month-long guest conducting project with the Australian Ballet at the Sydney Opera House.  This trip represents a bunch of firsts for me:

The first time I ever flew over 20 hours to get somewhere

The first time I’ve been in Australia


The first time I’ve ever crossed an international date line 

(As I write this post, it’s Monday, November 16th in the evening, but for you all it’s still Sunday, November 15th. Nyah, nyah!)

There’s lots of fun things to get used to here.  For a start, the Aussie coins are “backwards” with the $2, and $1 coins being smaller than the rather large 20¢ and 50¢ coins; cars drive on the “wrong side” of the road with the driver steering from what we’d think of as the passenger’s side in the States; and, it’s spring now with summer just around the corner.

Although I didn’t suffer jet lag too badly, I found the 20+ hours of flying time to get here quite hard.  I wish I could say that I happily spent the time sketching.  My initial intentions were excellent, and I did this sketch of a woman making her selection at the Hudson News counter in the airport at JFK just before we boarded our first flight:

quick sketch of middle aged woman perusing an airport bookstore

But, once aboard, all I really wanted to do was lose myself in sleep.  Which was more or less what I did!

We’ve been  very fortunate in that our accommodations in Sydney have turned out to be stellar (here’s just a few of the views from our 30th floor apartment)…

Photo of the skyscrapers near our 30th floor apartment in Sydney

our balcony in Sydney

the street below

The entire apartment gets great light, so drawing at the dining room table works well.  Yesterday’s sketches were done with my bamboo quill pen dipped in India ink.

illustrating in Sydney

Today I got back to sketching in my sketchbook with my Aquash refillable pen.  I was enjoying a croissant in the outdoor patio at a French cafe in The Rocks district of the city when I noticed these two ladies enjoying a cup of coffee and dessert.

Two women at a cafe in Sydney

Since I have quite a bit of alone time on my hands this week, I’m hoping to find some more cafes for fun people watching!  Stay tuned…


  1. craig rengel says:

    hope you have a great time. I’m sure you’ll find it inspiring!

    • Joana says:

      Thanks, Craig! It’s been very enjoyable so far…and more pictures are soon to come on the blog. 🙂

      With all best wishes,

  2. Helen Reich says:

    Wow, lucky you! Also, how very lucky that you were able to do all that sleeping on the plane…..I wish I could just be anesthetized for my flights so that I don’t have to endure either the boredom or the claustrophobia. Am planning to have my phobias treated soon.

    • Joana says:

      Hi Helen,

      Actually, I had two near panic attacks on the flights, so it wasn’t smooth sailing for me. Part of the problem was that I was flying while still trying to recover from a nasty head cold. The pressure on my head – or so it felt – was literally nauseating. But I did take Tylenol sleep medication with me (the sleep medication that doesn’t have the pain reliever in it) and I also took an Aleve for my migraine, and eventually both kicked in and knocked me out. On the way back I just may take one or two of Andy’s Xanax pills. I’ll be flying alone with no one to hold my hand and tell me it’s all ok, so the heavier meds just might be a must.;-)

      A big hug, Joana

      On Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 10:35 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


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