Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I don't have to tell anyone to go to bed

Melbourne time is 16 hours ahead of Utah time. I find it easier to count 8 hours behind and add a day. After that LOOOOONG travel time, I thought no one would care that it was off schedule. We got in later in the evening and went to bed. I figured that would help everyone reset. But it's still takes some adjusting. Everyone here is usually in bed by 8:30. Last night about 8:30 Henry said, "I tired. Wanna lay down." So he did.

Henry finally slept all the way through the night last night. If I weren't sick I might sleep too. The other night when I went to the store the clerk noticed my accent and asked how long I had been here. I said 2 days and she said, "Oh! You look tired." Lovely honesty. But it's true. I am.

I got to explore the grocery store a little on my own. Which means I DROVE there. By myself. On the left side of the road, from the right side of the car. I just pretended I was teaching a Zumba class and flipped my left and right directions in my head. But I think the Aussie's have a hard time with it too, because they have lots of little "KEEP LEFT" signs near the medians. It looks like they need some reminding too. I realized after a while that part of the problem is that they don't have any yellow dividing lines in the road. They are all white. The only yellow line I saw was at the airport and it was a one way road. Not helpful at all.

I have to keep reminding myself to KEEP LEFT, but also to LOOK RIGHT for traffic. I almost had an accident today. Gah. It's so unnerving.

Karly said I was pretty good at it. The thing I need to work on is keeping the speed limit. Apparently here when they say "limit" they really do mean it. They have speed cameras everywhere and if you go .1km over the limit you will get a speeding ticket mailed to your house. In the states we see open road and we rush to fill it, but here you see open road and you just have to chill out and stay slow. It feels different. You have to relax and remind yourself, I'm not getting somewhere, I'm driving. It's a good idea that they are so serious about their driving speed, but I already have so many things I'm concentrating on with driving here. I wish there was a cruise control I could set that would stop you from going over speed. I don't want any tickets.

We are currently in the process for buying a car. I feel like I'm a target to being taken advantage of because I'm a foreigner. I don't know what the market is like and I don't know anything about the registration process or what is customary haggling with dealers. We have a few options we are happy about, and the current exchange rate makes it much better to swallow the price. We are trying to calculate what it will cost for one year of driving since we will be able to sell it in a year. So maybe a more expensive car upfront that has a higher resell value would end up costing the same as a less-expensive car with lower resell value. That's what we are leaning toward. After the entire process is complete I'll post the details in one post so it can be a little primer for foreigners in the future.

After leaving the last car lot, I was stopped in my tracks with this tree that was just on the side of the road. Check out the blossoms!

It wasn't in a highly manicured area or part of some beautifully intentional landscaping. Notice the ugly piece of astroturf in the background. It just, grows there. Amazing. I am going to be taking a LOT of pictures of plant life here. They are all very pretty. There seems to be an underlying yellowish electricity to the green leaves. And it's WINTER here. Basically it's the equivalent to February in the Northern Hemisphere. It's only going to get more amazing. 

We move into our house on Friday. I haven't even SEEN it yet. I get to see it for the first time on Thursday morning at 9am. It will be a quick look and then I'll head off to IKEA to pick out some beds and basic furnishings. Why there? Well, I don't have the luxury of a car yet to transport used furniture from random places in the city and IKEA delivers. I had a really hard time finding a secondhand store (took three trips to a neighboring city to finally find one). The first attempt was Salvos (Salvation Army). It turns out they are just an outlet store for random goods, kind of like Big Lots in Utah. So that was a waste. Then I looked up another store online and headed to the address. They didn't exist there but I did find a used car dealership at the address and a possible car. The last time I just had to ask local people where one was. It's called Vinnie's, and it's run by St. Vincent de Paul Society. I found a couple of chairs that are rather gaudy, but in good condition and comfortable.

I also found some stretchy fabric that I hope to use to throw over them. I got a couple of coffee tables, one for inside and one to use as a sturdy bench for the patio. And they had a cool little bar stool that swivels for only $10. I always can calculate 25% off in my head because of the exchange rate. Nice. They had some kitchenware but not as much as DI. I wasn't able to get much more than a silverware organizer and a couple of serving spoons. I bought the furniture and talked them into holding it for me until Saturday when I can borrow a truck (called a "ute").

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