We have recently moved house as they say in Australia. As I’m slowly unpacking and trying to establish familiar routines, I’m noticing and becoming enamoured with the stunning flowers that are ensconced in our yard! They are amazing and I want to share them with everyone!
Yes, I know. It has been quite a while since you have heard from me. MWH has kept up with great pictures showing some of our awesome adventures. Me, I don’t know. It’s weird. I’m loving where I am but I am intensely craving some normality. We have been here 5 weeks. I’m not homesick nor am I regretting the move. It’s just weird. It has a lot to do with the adjustment to a new culture. Granted there is no language barrier (well, let’s just say not a total language barrier,) the people are EXTREMELY nice and accommodating and thank God the weather is cooperating with me. Christmas was a blur but we’re proud of what we put together in one week and HRH (her royal highness) was happy and thankful for everything. When I finally gave up on my stress of finding something POWERFUL for our FIRST AUSTRALIAN New Years Eve, a neighbor invited all of us to sit with her family on the beach in Manly for the “family fireworks” at 9:30pm. And my husband and I enjoyed watching the Sydney Harbour midnight fireworks from the comfort of our couch – just the 2 of us!
I started this post on Wednesday, it is now Friday and I can’t find find the desire to write. Its a weird place for me where I am right now. Some things are falling into place, some things are lingering and some things are really bothering me because I think they should be something different than what they are. Am I making sense this morning? We finally have internet and phone service in the house. You have no idea what an adjustment Australian internet has been. First of all, no one uses it. Therefore when you use it like an American, it is EXTREMELY expensive for very LITTLE data. MBD and I have been surviving with a “pre-paid broadband modem” since we arrived 1 December. Pre-paid my rear end. It should be named “continuous payment required broadband modem.” I have put more money in that little 1″x2″ box in the past 35 days than I put in high speed internet access in Knoxville in SIX MONTHS! MWH swears we are spending hours on youtube, downloading movies, large files, SOMETHING to explain our data usage. He is “Mr. I am still using my 5GB data prepaid broadband modem I got when I came over the last time.” Believe me, I have regulated the kid’s usage and I for sure haven’t been sitting around here downloading movies on Netflix and eating bon bons. Mainly because Netflix DOESN’T WORK HERE, Mr. 5GB Modem Man. Solution? Finally got the switch “flicked” on at Telstra for our home phone and 500GB DATA BROADBAND ACCESS! Yah, buddy! Thank you, Jesus! I actually watched a movie on AppleTV yesterday. Which brings me to the lingering things.
It has been an adjustment to get used to living in 70’s again. I am referring to television. We have four stations to choose from. Nope, you heard me right. I definitely didn’t say forty. I said FOUR! I do remember those days as a child when we had ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS. Funny how it seemed normal back then but now it kinda feels like I’m locked in a padded ward going cold turkey from my addiction to reality TV. And before anyone starts the whole, “Why do you need TV when you are living in such an incredible place, with so much outdoor opportunit…..blah,blah,blah,” we DO get outside, we DO go to the beach, we DO hang with the neighbors. Do me a favor, look around your house. Look at all of the electronics there are, your bed with your favorite pillow, the yummy Hellman’s Mayonaise in the pantry, the 40 remote controls on the coffee table. Now go out to the garage and look lovingly at your car, your motorcycle, your bike, your scooter, whatever it is that gets you from point A to point B. Now go to the backyard or inside your house and hug your dogs, your cats, your birds, your fish…well, just wave to the fish.
and you are trying to figure out which way is up. A little TV from home might make you feel slightly better, huh? Just sayin’, don’t judge until you have have walked in the shoes. And then still don’t judge, it’s not good for your complexion. Whatever.
Needless to say, Foxtel should arrive today between 10 and 2 to install our cable TV. We also hope to buy/lease/steal/borrow a car this weekend to make life a little more mobile. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE public transportation but the bickering and whining with the 11 year old when we need to go somewhere has become really, really annoying. This too shall pass. Which brings me to the things that are bothering me because I think they should be different than what they are.
Specifically, I’m worried I’m not doing enough of EVERYTHING to get MBD adjusted to life in Australia. I should be doing this or I should get her involved in that or she should try this or she should want to do that…..yadda,yadda,yadda. When in reality she is doing rather well! We were blessed with a wonderful neighbor named Barbara. She’s the same one from above who invited us for fireworks. She is a single, retired grandmother of 15 (almost 16) who has more energy than those 15, me and MBD put together. Can you believe this woman actually retired so that she could spend EVERYDAY with some or all of her grandchildren???? They range in age from 5 to 18 and come from the 5 children she has. Oh and she is a FABULOUS woman who has fallen madly in love with MBD….and the feeling is mutual.
There is always at least one but usually three or more kids at Barbara’s house everyday. I knew something was up on the first day when our “Audiophone” rang. This is the cool box that has a camera built in so you can see who is ringing at the front gate. The first time ours rang I went to look at the screen and there was a kid hanging upside down and all I could see was this face moving in and out, side to side, big eyes, small eyes, mouth open, nostril shot…you get it. Anyway that is the epitome of life in the first unit of our 5 unit townhouse.
Barbara always includes MBD when she is taking the kids somewhere or she has one or 12 over to play. The other day we were invited to go eat fish and chips by the beach. MBD and I went with Barbara to one of her children’s home to coordinate the kids going and how many adults we would have plus the number of cars to get us there. Four cars later, five adults and I think at last count thirteen kids in tow, we made it to the Manly Fishmongers. The line was fierce, the smells were amazing and the experience was fascinating – especially when the mom in me kept trying to count heads while standing on the side of the street. Thank God MBD was in her lime green tye-died WCST t-shirt; never thought I would love to see those colors so much. Anyway, with steaming hot fish, chips, calamari, sauces, chicken salt and drinks in hand we walked to the beach to find picnic tables. It took four tables – it’s unheard of to find an empty one much less FOUR TOGETHER. Ahhh, gotta love it when the planets align. We divvied up the food, drinks and commenced to eat. That sounds really orderly, huh…it was anything but! Soon kids were scattered everywhere. Some on the beach, some in the surf, some playing tag….sounds enjoyable, huh? Now add a thousand people to the picture in your mind. Makes finding “Waldo” look simple. It was a BLAST!
All of this time spent with the kids I kept hearing them say, “Hey Bob, Bob, Hey Bob, Bobbie, Please Bob, Bob, Bob…” imagine to the tune of the seagulls in Nemo: “Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine….” I did not realize until it was time to leave that this was the children’s’ name for Barbara. In fact what they were actually saying was, “Hey Barb, Barb, Hey Barb, Barbie, Please Barb, Barb, Barb…” When I explained my confusion to little Ava (who is 5, enamored with MBD and the ruler of ALL,) she promptly smiled and said, “Hey, Boyb.” Or at least that’s how she heard me say it. So MBD and I have christened our angel from heaven and lifelong friend.
Here’s to BOB!
And to think I had no desire to write……
After months of planning, tons of packing, frantic cleaning for open houses, three garage sales, and tearful goodbyes, we are finally settled into our temporary apartment in Balmain, New South Wales. The apartment is OK and will be fine for us as we look for more long term housing. This photo is from our balcony and the view is of the Anzac Bridge. Our location is directly west of the Sydney Opera House (although there are a couple of harbors between the two points.)
We were able to walk the 1/2 mile to Woolworth’s for grocery items, but it appears that other stores will require a car to access. The silver lining to that is the peace and quiet that surrounds out little neighborhood. The master bedroom looks out directly at a palm tree! Mads is enjoying the unusual bird calls that we hear outside, and a little bird with a yellow beak even tried to hop into the apartment yesterday to visit us!
I am off to Melbourne Monday morning to start working with a new client down there. Life goes on!