I'm a person who does not enjoy shopping. But buying has been pretty much the only thing I've done for the past week. I walk into a store with a task list and pretty much just buy the least expensive item I can find. I don't comparison shop much. I just need it to last a year.
I've noticed that there are wide price variations between stores. It's as if no one is trying to keep tabs on the competition. This makes the price game harder for unsuspecting foreigners like myself. I have no idea what a normal price is, so I just do the best I can at the store I'm in. Then I find myself at another store the next day and see one item at half the price of the store the day before. Half. Not on sale, just regular price. You really just have to know which store to get which things. It will take some learning.
Point Cook is a pretty small suburb. But no matter where you live, there is bound to be a grocery store nearby. I have three different grocery stores all within a mile. One is just half a mile a way. It's super convenient. And all stores have sort of a mini-mall surrounding them so when you walk in there are a number of small shops all around. Maybe a deli or bakery, dollar store, salon, bank, etc. most of the places have wifi so in the coming weeks I'll probably be hanging out there more as my buying frenzy comes to a close (More on the continuing saga of no wifi later.) The first store I tried to shop at was Target. I had trouble locating the front door. And when I walked in I found myself in a mall. I had to walk past about 20 store front and turn a couple of corners before I actually got to Target. It was a little disappointing compared to Target at home. It wasn't "Super Target" with groceries. It was smallish and had mostly clothing (about 20% of that was lingerie). There is a small electronics area, small health and beauty section, and decently sized home linen section. And some candy and toys.
After a week of living in a bed and breakfast, we were ready to set up our own house. It was overwhelming the things we didn't have. I was trying to stick to just the basics because we are only here for a year and I don't want to have more than we will really need. But still, we need an iron, and ironing board. We need a microwave and a few pots, pans, and bakeware. We need a vacuum to care for the carpets. And a mop. And a broom. And cleaning rags. And mixing bowls. And shampoo and lotion and cups and plates and dish soap. We have luggage but it's not super useful for storing clothes day-to-day. So we need coat hangers and some plastic bins to hold our socks and underwear. We haven't bought dressers because coat hangers are cheaper. And then there is the need for food. And stuff to store the food in so it doesn't get bugs.
I mean. This quickly became crazy. The kids have gotten bored while I spend my days canvassing the town for the cheapest solutions.
All of the stores here have carts ("trolleys") with what I call four wheel drive. All four wheels rotate so you can slide them forward and side to side easily. But turning around to the next aisle is kind of a funny looking dance as you have to get behind the cart so it doesn't keep sliding sideways.
We also need to buy a washing machine. Dryers are optional since a lot of people hang their clothing out to dry. (We found these of an online site called Gumtree!). Fortunately someone from church gave us a refrigerator. Really a huge blessing! We couldn't get it until Saturday night and then...I made ANOTHER trip to the store for all the food basics. I was So. Extremely. Exhausted after the past week. Signing the house lease. Buying a car. Furniture. Home basics. Cleaning the new house. Moving from bed and breakfast to new house. Spending a day in the city at Ikea. Getting refrigerator. And now I was buying all the little things like butter, oil, flour, spices, rice, baking soda, and such. My cart was so loaded. It was really hard to turn those aisles! But in all of this, I was delighted to find whole wheat flour at a good price, black beans, and even black-eyed peas! I got a few fun things for the kids to make them smile: chocolate chips and a brownie mix. It worked.
This past week I haven't slept much that I know of. First it was jetlag. Then I was sick with a cold. Then I had no bed because someone said they are giving us one but we can't get it for a week. Sleeping on the floor is not comfy at all. It wasn't working at all. So when I hut that grocery store Saturday night I was beyond tired. And I still had no dinner for the kids. It took over an hour to find everything. The last item was eggs. I didn't think they'd be so hard. But here "cage free" eggs are the main egg. If you are a heartless, animal-hating person (or you are like me and just can't standing to spend $6/dozen) then you buy "cage eggs." There are a million varieties of cage free eggs. I had to ask for cage eggs. The guys couldn't find them. Finally I followed another woman and found the only kind they had for $2.79. Really, the cage-free stuff was 95% of the egg offerings. I took my loot home and made a potato dinner. Cleaned up. Went to bed.
I took a Sunday afternoon nap on Maddie's mattress and it felt so good. That night Allen took the cushions off our chairs and made a little "bed" for me. It felt great except that he was still on the floor. After a few minutes, I figured out that we could lay all the cushions in a big long line and we could slept at opposite ends, letting our feet, which don't take up much space, share the same middle section. It seemed to work great for me. Allen, sorta. He said he couldn't sleep because of weird dreams. But dreams means sleep happened so I'm gonna count it as an improvement.
I have never been more glad for the Sabbath day. I really didn't have to go buy anything. I really could rest from all that labor and be with the kids for awhile. I made black beans. I made homemade tortillas. We made cookies. Which means cookie dough. It was just right!
Now here's some real fun. In all my running around, I stopped by the hardware store whenever I was nearby and raided their paint chips. Then I let Maddie arrange a design and install it on the wall of our living room. Here is the finished product:
Super cool, huh? It will look even better when I get the chairs covered. And we need a lamp. But I won't rush it. I will relish the time to sit still and work with a needle and thread for a change.
Now that our shopping is mostly done, we get to pick up OUR car tomorrow. So we can shop in our own car. Except I never want to shop again. And now I'm finding out about all these free and trade Facebook groups around Point Cook where I could have gotten some of these things. Oh well. I still need a baking pan, a large pot, bikes for the kids, and dressers. Maybe dressers. We have a living room and low tables so we can sit on the floor to eat. We're good. I'm not buying anything else!!