Nah. Can’t be. It’s too predictable.
We are continuing to enjoy life in our spacious apartment and still trying to get the hang of things. We equate it to learning to walk.
For the month that we lived in the hotel, Eric would go grocery shopping about a mile away. The tram service was slow down that street and he ended up walking it all the time. The night before we moved out, we went around the corner from our building to what looked like a small 7-eleven store. It turned out that the store really opened up once you entered and it was an enormous grocery store. Poor Eric looked ill. He didn’t want to talk about it. This is precisely one of the ridiculous things that happen when you are new to a country. There are oodles of these things in our lives right now. We are just trying to figure it all out.
Driving is still not natural and we have both become back seat drivers. I think it may genuinely be more difficult for each of us to sit in the passenger seat without a steering wheel to hold on to. We still get a really big kick out of it when the other person turns on the windshield wiper instead of the blinker. We laugh a lot at what dorks we often feel like here.
The language barrier still poses somewhat of a problem – I think it just takes a while to get in tune to the accent. They are used to the American accent since it is all over the TV and therefore they understand us...but I can’t always understand them and I am embarrassed that I say “what” so often. It doesn’t help that some medical terms are not the same either. It’s exhausting to strain to listen. I collapse on the sofa after work because I am so tired from listening, driving in a new city, meeting new people, and trying to take it all in. Occasionally there will be a meeting at work where everyone is gabbing quickly back and forth and suddenly (out of nowhere it seems), they all burst into laughter. I think at those moments I probably have a grimace on my face as I fain understanding and laugh along with them. I’ve even noticed that my boss will talk one way to my coworkers and then slow down and speak very slowly to me. “e..l..i..zab..e..t..h,…I…want…to …talk..with..you.” ugh.
The Aussies also have all these funny slang expressions and they like to use dramatic verbiage such as “shocker, fantastic, and diabolical.” I have a meeting in Sydney next weekend and my coworkers asked me if I was going to get frocked up for the occasion. Apparently everyone gets frocked up at these things. My really fun colleague Jo told me her day was going well and then it all went suddenly pear shaped. The standard greeting is “Hey you going?” Other popular phrases include the expected, “good day mate”, and the unexpected proper English phrases “I reckon” and “a bit”. They also regularly use the term "fortnight" which makes us feel like we are in a Shakespeare play. I guess it’s just my pigeon to learn these regularly used terms and I don’t want to be labeled as tall poppy about it.
Frocked up = dressed up
Pear Shaped = day turned upside down
Hey you going = how are you
Your pigeon = your responsibility
Tall poppy = very important person (seen as rude)
Eric and I have established some favorite spots and are trying to scout out the fun things to do and the cool parts of Melbourne. The food here is terrific…almost diabolical (ha). Even the small shops where we wouldn’t expect much have really been impressive. Sometimes it feels like a mini New York City; great food, multicultural, horrid traffic with no parking, good public transportation, and much to see and do.
Work continues to be challenging, interesting, and frustrating. How can I love and hate my job on the same day? Just like in the US, we work some long unpredictable hours. They don’t seem to call as much after hours for the unexpected things…but they do have pacemaker and defibrillator implants at all hours of the day and night. Scheduled midnight and 1AM pacemaker cases were something I didn’t have to deal with in Minnesota.
My first case at one of my hospitals out on the western side of the city afforded me the opportunity to meet the entire cardiology department at the hospital. Things went terribly wrong and they called a code and within a minute about 30 physicians and RN’s came pouring into our tiny catheter lab. In the end, all turned out OK, but it was a reminder of how scary and on the spot this job can be. That’s an introduction I won’t soon forget.
Well...that’s all for now. I’ve got to watch the end of some bad TV movie that was too rotten to ever show in the US. We get a lot of that here. I guess I could flip channels to 'Australian Idol' instead...hmmm.
Keep checking in on us, and keep the blog comments coming. We love to read them. MOST IMPORTANTLY…PLEASE DON’T FORGET ABOUT US OVER HERE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD.