Greetings from 9,641 miles away.
Who wants to get on a plane and come for a visit? It’s a short 21 hour trip – but Qantas eases the pain a bit with little built in TV’s and all the movies you care to watch. We arrived last Tuesday morning and after gathering our 8 bags, we were busted by the airport sniffer beagles. Apparently, the banana that Christine gave us is contraband and it lead to a complete search of our entire carefully packed luggage. It made for an interesting entry.
We were greeted by two people from the BSC Melbourne team, Beth’s new manager and clinical director. I’m sure they loved the look of our dishelved travel weary selves. It turns out we couldn’t check into the hotel until 2 pm, and so we saw a bit of the city and had a coffee and lunch with the team. Melbourne by the way considers itself the coffee capitol of the world, so far the coffee has been excellent and strong.
We still can’t really believe we are here. The mornings cause quite a bit of disorientation. Oh, yeah, we’re in Melbourne…that’s right. Hmmm.
We are staying in an apartment-hotel for the time being. Admittedly, not the best of places. It is a bit dingy with everything in it being a solid brown color, but it has a kitchen, clean-up services, and is located right on the tram line. The lobby has a place to get coffee in the morning, so all can be right with the world.
It took a while to get over the jet lag we are still finding that we are getting tired at about 8pm. An interesting phenomenon for a night person.
Everything is new to us and it is surprising how long it takes to get oriented. The trams are still confusing and we often get on the wrong one. Looking right, then left before crossing the road is completely counterintuitive, but yet so essential. Getting in a car on what we think should be the driver’s side is even more frightening. Beth had her first driving lesson the other day and her manager has warned everyone to stay off the roads at that time. (Australians love to tease).
Not only are the roads different but the flora and fauna as well. Since it is now spring heading into summer, the trees are budding and we are seeing some very interesting flowers. There is even a tree that is called a bottle brush. The reason it is called this is because the blooms look like bottle brushes standing straight up.
We have seen roos (kangaroos), wallabies, possums, koala, even the swans here are black instead of white.
We have yet to see a live roo in its natural environment. The reason I say that is because we went to the Melbourne zoo where we got to see them hop around. I also say this because they are like deer. They have a tendency to hop out into traffic, and like deer usually around dawn or dusk. You know what happens then.
We are currently in search of a place to live and a car to buy. However, we can’t get these things until we have our visas. It’s a little frustrating but we can’t do anything about it. We are immigrants with no rights at the moment. What a perspective.
We have found some housing that we consider to be long term temporary. One of Beth’s co-workers mother has an apartment that she will rent out for the next six months. It is two bedroom in a very nice part of town. It is not quite our style but it will do until we can find something that is more us.
We are also trying to learn the language. It sounds like English, looks like English, but isn’t anything like what we are used to. They use a lot of slang words and phrases and most things are stated in an opposite order from what we are used to. Sentences tend to end in an upswing and for this reason we often miss what is an actual question. Perhaps they think we are slow or dim witted because we take so long to reply, or don’t reply at all. It’s as if everything has to run through internal filters, resort, define and then be processed before we can actually understand them. By that time, they have usually moved on to the next topic.
We have now started to do some socializing. We had a contact from the US before we got here. It was a friend, of a friend type of thing. Through them we have found a couple that we have started to spend some time with. In fact we went to their place for the weekend. It is further south and east to where we are now (if that is even possible), to a town called Sale. From there we went to see the lakes region and to a place called 90 mile beach. And yes there is a reason they call it 90 mile beach.
Melbourne is open for visitors and more power to you if you can find a legitimate business reason to get here.
Love to you all, and we miss you.
Thursday, September 6, 2007