Thursday, September 6, 2007

E&E Downunder

Hi All,

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.



Matthew said...

Great to get some news from you Tjoberts. Keep it coming.

AmyKay said...

Yay! I love your stories. And, no surprise that you're already making friends. Keep the stories coming. Its a nice way to avoid work! (By the way, I hope your new friends aren't one of the "crazy guys" that beat up the sports reporter in Melbourne? )

abmartinka said...

Perhaps you should get a job as a writer? 2 bedroom apt in a swank area of town can't be all bad! Remember it is who ya know!

ktj said...

Chalk the inability to understand an aussie conversation up to jet can stretch that excuse out for 2.5-3 weeks. After that, you simply become a stupid american....

King said...

We tried to write to you from Panera, but the new software on their network prevents us from visiting Blogger websites. Must be the koala pr0n.

Be sure to check in with us.

Burt said...

Thanks for the update, E&E. Glad you're getting into the culture. We're expecting frost tonight, so spring sounds pretty appealing! We miss having you at breakfast, E. (you know who you are!). We'll definitely try to make plans to visit at some point. But we want you to speak the native lingo before we do!
Burt & Cheri

c3designs said...

Great start to keeping everyone updated. I do look forward to reading new installments!
By the way, I am sorry about the banana... but just think, it adds to the adventure. Who know such an insignificant item could cause such a stir... You were suppose to eat it!

larryclark said...

Hi.......thanks for the email and the blog sight. I would love to come to "the land down under" for a visit, one of those places I've always wanted to travel to. Things sound like they are getting less confusing as time goes on. Oh, what side of the highway to they drive on down there? Cool day in Wisconsin, but clear and nice. I'll keep you posted on the happenings in Cheese Head land. Have a great day.
Marti says hi!!!!!

tjossem820 said...

Eric, your mom & dad never thought they'd be on a blog but what a wonderful way to keep in touch! Loved the pictures, too, but especially your wonderful descriptions~~~YOU HAVE A GIFT FOR WRITING!!!
We miss both of you & think of you often. Chat with you on Skype soon. Love, Mom & Dad/MIL & DIL

otrey3 said...

It will be fun to read of your experiences and live vicariously through you. In our world Harry can say "bubble" and "more" now. He likes to rock out to the Plain White Tees in the morning. We've lost the remote control, and Brad wonders if Harry could have flushed it. Ah, parenting.

Ana Orrison said...

The trees were one of my favorite parts of Australia, but just wait until winter when the bark falls off instead of the leaves...

Erik, you're my new writing mentor, I'll have to send you the paper I wrote for my class about my car accident, see what you think.

Miss and love you both!

Troy said...

Blah blah blah buying cars, moving to an apartment sounds like you guys are 21 again, been there. (although the stories are well written!) More importantly where is my Marsupial!

saintpauliegirl said...

Hello mates!!! Sounds like things are progressing wonderfully! I love the pics and the stories! I can't wait to come and see you, and the new car, and the new apartment, and the new friends, and the 90-mile beach...... yadda yadda yadda!!!! Miss you so much! Love - KP

Burt said...

OK, with a little prodding from E (2 e-mail reminders), here's an update from the Dubows...

Cheri is very busy remodeling a house she bought this summer into a home for 4 handicapped folks. It's called Legacy House of Caring. The remodeling (as you can well imagine!) has gone from a straight line to a maze, what with city inspectors and all. But it should be licensed in a few weeks. Meanwhile, the stress is crazy! Burt has been equally busy with work, etc. Sadly, our newest grandson, Renner, is moving to Houston with his parents some time later this year. Nathan got a job with partnership possibilities at an accounting firm there. But I got to be with him much of this past weekend at a family wedding in Minneapolis.

We both loved our visit to NYC. Avenue Q and Jersey Boys were fabulous, and Grease was OK. Spent an afternoon at Ellis Island and also visited the WTC rubble. Our hotel room was the size of my study at home...and only $200/night!

Just found out that Noodles & Co. is opening in SC, as is Famous Daves. We are also getting a Cajun restaurant downtown.

The Panera crew shares updates when available, so I hear bits and pieces of things. But your blog really helps. Thanks for the good info!