Monday, 24 January 2011

Our First Week Down Under

In general, our first week as been pretty good, fantastic 28+ sunny days, cool mornings and evenings.  Our long plane journey from Victoria to Vancouver to Los Angeles to the 14-hour non-stop to Melbourne was completely fine.  We all slept adequately enough to hit the ground running.  Rented a car with C2 behind the wheel accompanied by my constant refrain of 'keep left keep left'.  We found the estate agent, got our house keys and headed Home.

The reality of our new Home, thankfully, is better than our scant memories.  Lovely old house with soaring ceilings, architectural moldings and arches, and large-scale rooms which are perfect since this is a fairly small house.  The neighbourhood seems great, our street is quiet and populated by gorgeous old homes with one end adjacent to the Hedgley Dean gardens.  These gardens are like walking through a tropical botanical park.  The other end of our street is Burke Road, our high street, and also a major throughway, but across it is Central Park.  This amazing place has a running oval, off-leash dog park, play park, gardens, fountain, conservatory, and all of next week is hosting 'Jazz in the Gardens'.

Most of our first week has been caught up in the 'hurry up and wait' phase (to quote my good friend Melissa).  Hours spent at Telstra trying to ride the red tape and 100 points of identification necessary to open accounts for phone lines, internet, mobiles, cable.  Opening our bank account was easy by comparison.

C2 has been doing most of the driving as we get used to driving in the right-hand side of the car on the left-hand side of the road.  Yesterday, however, I figured I should get at it since it was a 'quiet' Sunday.  Apparently 'quiet' Sundays only exist in Switzerland, Sunday in Australia is more like a day at Nascar.  It wasn't completely pretty and there was a lot of tense intakes of breath from C2 but it was a first step.  Biggest problem for me is how large the left hand side of the car seems when the wheel is on the right.

We've discovered during our exploring of this part of Melbourne that we live about a 13-minute drive to the main strip of beaches on Philip Bay.  Yesterday, we spent from 3:00-5:00 at the beach much to J's delight, and in spite of 30+ sunscreen and hats still managed to burn the bits that were not fully blocked.  Guess the sun really is incredibly strong down under.

C2 went to the office for the first time today, turns out it is about a 30-minute commute.  Long by our historical standards but overall not too bad.  I spent the morning making lists and priorities.  Glancing at it now, I haven't checked much off of it yet.  J needs to go back to school, he is getting cagey and stir-crazy.  He has been a great sport through everything but hasn't played with another kid his own age in almost 6 weeks.  I think I am starting to bore him, and a bit of lego-building frustration almost sent him over the edge.

Today is Day 6 for us Down Under, and in the spirit of all things Australian, on the menu for dinner tonight chez les Hendricks:  Kanga Bangas...yep you read it right and they weren't half bad!


Jen said...

Sounds lovely and I hope we get to see your house and neighbourhood and beaches and.....

And good luck with the driving thing...made me crazy when I was down there.

Hugs to all


ps while I know 30mins seems a lot, its not that bad Carl :)

Sheila said...

Great to hear that all is good and happy. It's funny about the right hand car thing - I now feel a bit like that when the steering wheel is on the left now. As long as it is pavements and not people you drive over - you'll get used to it! You might want to start with a little car - MUCH easier! Life seems to be good for you and I am relieved and delighted for you. XX

Jawahara Saidullah said...

Ok...first...what are kanga bangas? Kangaroo steaks? I am so glad you guys are settling in so well...and yes, I am just a little jealous of your weather and your beach...but mostly happ for you. Hope to see you guys sometime this year.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - glad to hear all is going well. Enjoy the weather it is freezing up here and there is no snow so you are not even missing out on any skiing.