Showing posts from June, 2011

Mi casa

Here it is, our new abode. It's in a neighborhood called Lyndhurst, about 20 min from work and 40 min from the city.

As you walk in the house, there's a sitting room to the left and a dining room just past that. To the right is a two-car garage and a bathroom. Next to that is a large laundry room and GIANT walk through pantry. On the rear right of the house is the kitchen. Next to the kitchen is a dining area, and back towards the front is the family room. I love the wood floors throughout, it will be perfect for Maybe and George (and Surely?). At the top of the stairs is a large landing with big windows. This will be my sewing room. In addition to the master bedroom, there are three others upstairs. There is a bathroom next to the guest bedroom, as well as an ensuite with separate tub and walk through closet. Best of all, we have our own flock of cockatoos!

Phil in Oz

Hello all! You've been hearing from Suzannah for the past few entries, so I have to report that she is telling the truth. I arrived in Melbourne on Saturday and she took me on a tour of our new house. It became very apparent that we would need to shop for a ton of new furniture. By 10am we were already at the stores (my flight landed at 5:30am).

The new house is amazing and is already beginning to take shape. One of the highlights are the flock of cockatoos that live in the neighborhood that hang out on our roof in the morning. I discovered that there are about 30 cockatoos and another 20 white parrots (and have red on their neck) that sit on our roof. It is hilarious. These birds are so loud, but for now the noise is a novelty. Hopefully it stays that way.

One of the highlights was going to Costco and Ikea in the same day, and completely filling the car with stuff. We even had to take the TV and barstools out of the boxes to get them to fit into the car. All of this was done on…

Can you talk Mexican?

Yesterday Phil and I drove by this place called Taco Bill that has a sign advertising half off meals on Mondays. Intrigued by the concept of Mexican food in Australia, we decided to give it a try. The restaurant was in an old Catholic church - you could even have a table in the choir loft. Along with the menu we were given a flyer that said "can you talk Mexican?" Inside is the Taco Bill dictionary with entries such as Nachos Supremos (nar-chose zoo-pre-mos) and Ensalada (en-sa-la-dar). Only in Australia would a syllable ending in an 'a' sound be phonetically spelled 'ar." Our plates arrived, mine beef enchiladas (which they spelled incorrectly on the menu), his beef quesadilla. They were both edible, but very loose definitions of the dishes. Phil's was basically a taco, and the beef in mine was hard to find amongst the tasty cheese. The beans were covered in salsa. The Aussies love their sauce (normally ketchup) dumped all over everything. I …

I had heard from numerous people that everything costs more in Australia, so we prepared by stocking up on certain things and buying some of the furniture we knew we would need for a house. I'v been looking around trying to gage how much things cost here, and so decided to venture to the Costco here on Saturday. It's been here about a year, and apparently my membership in the US works here. The basics were the same as what I'm used to - giant carts, giant quantities, and the same general kinds of items. I did find the giant jars of vegimite and a few other things unique to here, plus I found some things that have been hard to find around town. They have orange cheddar cheese! I'll have to get a giant block someday to make mac and cheese. In general, the prices were about what I would expect, though some things did surprise, like the kitchen aid stand mixer for $699. They are super expensive here, but fortunately they have other brands that cost a lot less. Alo…

Week 1 recap

I have survived my first week here. I was nervous to start work last weekend because first weeks of work are usually pretty slow and boring. Yeah right. Tuesday and Wednesday were absolutely hectic. I had lunch with some customers on Wednesday. I'm not naturally a very talkative person so the meeting with customers part of this job is going to be a new experience. The restaurant was noisy, so once they all started talking I had to really concentrate on what they were saying, otherwise there was no hope of understanding the accents.

On my drive to work yesterday I counted the number of roundabouts I have to drive through - 10. Have you ever gotten lost on a roundabout? You just keep driving around in circles until you figure out where to turn off, and by the time you figure this out you have no idea what direction you're going. As coworkers unloaded projects onto me, I felt like I was driving on roundabouts. There was so much information involved that my mind was spi…

Food porn

It's weird how food here is just a little bit different than what I'm used to. The milk tastes a little different, and comes in 99.8%. The cheese is white and called tasty cheese - it's not quite as distinct a taste as cheddar. The beef tastes a little different. The bread is a little less sweet. The salami is a slightly different version. The ranch is a little less rich. The bacon here is more like ham. The cheerios have a different crunch (and are called Uncle Toby's cheerios). The wine is certainly more delicious. The milkshakes are runny - more like chocolate milk. Apparently the milkshake that I'm used to is called a thick shake here. Eating is definitely an adventure. None of it is bad, it just makes eating more interesting.

Stupid people

Proof that there are stupid people everywhere - apparently very few restaurants in Australia will let you take leftovers home, and the ones that do put a disclaimer sticker on the container. Here is the label from my leftover pizza:

We hope you enjoyed your meal. Food taken away from our premises needs to be responsibly managed to ensure product safety. Avoid leaving food unrefrigerated for more than a cumulative total of 4 hours - this includes the time the food was here. Please reheat the food before consuming so it it piping hot, or discard the food.

I ate my pizza cold. I wonder if the food police will come after me.

Adventures in cooking via the metric system

I had my first adventure in cooking with the metric system tonight. First up - trying to figure out how high to pre-heat the oven. Then I need 1/3 cup of butter, but the butter here doesn't have those nice convenient quarter cup increment markings. Then trying to figure out how many kilos a pound of chicken is. I figured everything out close enough that it tasted good. Mission Accomplished.

Speaking of food, a strange thing the Aussies do is cover everything in "sauce." Sauce is tomato sauce, aka ketchup. They poor it all over pies, just cover the top of it. I can't even imagine how they think it tates good - ketchup on top of meat pies. But they swear by it. Another thing that's different here is pumpkin. The pumpkins here are short fat green speckled things. I haven't tasted one yet, but they don't exactly make a good pumpkin pie from what I've heard. They also have tasty cheese here, which is a vague cheddar/white cheese. The cheese on…

I can see into your future!

Gotta love jet lag - I keep waking up around 3 or 4 am. But then at least I have more time to look for houses online :) I came up with a way to figure out the time difference - just take the current time, add 5 hours, and change the am/pm - so if it's 2 pm in CA, it's 7 am here (the next day - yes, I can see into your future!) And in case you were wondering, 7 am is still dark outside because we are just a few days away from the shortest day of the year.

So here's my day 2 recap. Karen (my new adopted mom) went to downtown Melbourne with me yesterday to get my bank account set up. It's nice to finally have access to my money over here - my paycheck for May was paid in AUD so it was good to be able to spend it. I found it interesting that the interest savings rate is so high here - 5.9%, compared to the .5% I'm used to back home.

Then we explored the outdoor market - it is going to be very easy finding Christmas presents for everyone this year. I also fores…

Aussie Dictionary

an Aussie = American dictionary (please note that I did not make any of these up):

chockers = full
stop start traffic = bumper to bumper traffic
manchester = linens
meant to = supposed to
have a go = try
sport = sports
maths = math
the tennis = tennis
from 9 = starts at 9
fag = cigarette
bugee smugglers = speedos
Chrissy = Christmas
wag = wife
ranger = redhead
patchwork = quilting
hundreds and thousands = sprinkles
bonnet = hood
frangipani = plumeria
rock up = show up
lollies = candy
coriander = cilantro
slice = cookie
crisp = chip
chip = fry
tyre = tire
speedo = speedometer
swimmers = bathing suit
gorgeous = wonderful
rug up = wear warm clothes
scallion = green onion
wind cheater = sweatshirt
singlette = tank top
runners = tennis shoes
rock mellon = canteloupe
stone fruit = peach
tasty cheese = cheddar cheese
brekky = breakfast
capsicum = bell pepper
rego = registration
knackered = tired
arvo = afternoon
serviette = napkin
jumper = sweater
thongs = flip flops
dear = expensive
grid iro…


People have frequently asked me if I was nervous about the move, and I honestly never really was. Until the plane took off last night and I realized that I was most likely certifiably insane. What kind of crazy person moves across the world by themselves to a city they've never even been to? Apparently this kind. I left CA the night of June 6th, promptly skipped June 7th, and landed in Melbourne the morning of June 8th. After battling through customs (got everything through!) I found my cab driver who was holding a sign with my name on it (because I didn't even have a cell phone anymore). I walked outside, and realized that I could see my breath. Yesterday, sort of, I was at the beach with my dog getting a sunburn. Today it is 6 degrees and rainy. I didn't even know what 6 degrees was - now I know that it means a minimum of three layers plus scarf. The cab driver took me on a tour of the city towards the place I'm temporarily staying. It was very surreal hav…

1001 Uses for a Toothbrush

Today, after I brushed my teeth, I also brushed my shoes. Because I am moving to a country where one must brush their shoes. You wouldn't want them to get cavities.

One of the most nerve-racking parts of moving to Australia for me has been preparing for quarantine. They are very strict with what can enter the country because it is so geographically isolated, and an introduction of a foreign species could be a disaster for the ecosystem. I literally could not sleep the night the movers had packed everything up because I was thinking about whether we found everything that needed to be removed before they shoved our things in boxes. The list of items you can't take into Australia is quite long. There are some obvious things, like fish, pests, and aliens, but even things like nuts and feathers you have to be very cautious with. I had to sort through our Christmas ornaments and remove anything with feathers, pinecones, potpourri, or birdseed. It sounds silly, but I had no i…

The Starting Line Up

People keep asking me who is going when - so here's the timeline. I am leaving on Monday, and once I get there I will be staying with my mom's friend (my parents are calling them my adopted family) for awhile. Phil is coming over for a visit at the end of June to help me find a house. Then he, Maybe, and George will move out August 8th. Once they arrive, the animals will be in quarantine ("puppy camp", please don't use the Q-word around my babies) for 30 days. We will get to visit them, but only during visiting hours and those are fairly sporadic. Puppy camp ends on my birthday, so that is going to be a great present for me.

Phil's cat Sigmund does not handle the stress of traveling well, so he is staying with our friends/coworker. We are very greatful that they offered to take him, he seems to be adjusting well. We miss that silly cat, but it is a lot less stressful knowing he has such a good home.

Closing time

Today was my last day at the office in San Diego. I've had last days of jobs before, but nothing quite like this. It wasn't that today was particularly spectacular, it's just that I have NO CLUE when I'll be back in town. So very weird saying goodbye to everyone. Now the packing fun begins. I guess packing shouldn't be too bad considering if I have it, it has to be packed. No decisions about what I might wear. I wonder what winter stuff I have packed in my winter suitcase. I hope I have enough jackets!