One month in

I've survived my first month of living in Australia. It's been an interesting ride so far trying to learn the language, the area, and try to adapt to everything being different. This morning I put Phil on a plane back to the US, where he will be for one more month until he can finally move over with the cat and dog. The good news is our container arrived last Friday, the bad news is that it sounds like I'll get everything around July 14th. That will mean I will have lived out of just the suitcases I brought on the plane with me for 10 weeks. I will definitely be ready to have some more socks and jackets. It's amazing how few socks I packed compared to shirts, where as Phil put his entire sock drawer in his suitcase.
It was nice to have Phil here to show him what I've been describing to him. There are certain things that just don't translate through email, like the difference in language and the new discoveries I've been making on a daily basis. He apparently hadn't believed me when I had told him it was cold here, so he was happy that I had bought him a warmer jacket. He got to experience the craziness of the flock of cockatoos that sit on our roof every morning, and I got to translate a few words for him when I saw him give people that same funny look I've been giving them. He also got to see the house I found without him, and to his surprise I think it was even bigger than he had imagined. We spent quite a bit of time trying to get what we could for the house done, so that once our furniture is here I can move in and try to get some normalcy back.
We did make some time to play tourist too though. The first weekend he was here we went to Phillip Island to watch the penguin parade. Every night, hundreds of tiny penguins (about a foot tall) return to their burrows as night sets in. It is a spectacular sight watching them strut around the sand, completely ignoring the people watching them. One of the rangers joked that they must think there's a human parade every night at dusk so they all come in to watch.
This last weekend we celebrated our anniversary by heading downtown for the weekend. We mostly just wandered around the CBD (central business district) exploring and trying to figure out what was there. We started by exploring the King's Domain, which is a large park area similar to Balboa Park. Then we went to the Queen Victoria market, where they sell anything from fruit/veggies to kangaroo skins to who knows what else. We were reminded of the oddity of business hours in Australia. Everything closes at 5:30. Stores might stay open longer on a Thursday or Friday night, but for the most part everything closes very early. Even a lot of the restaurants are only open for lunch, which can make it hard to find a place to eat if you don't know where to go. Saturday night after dinner we walked across town to the chocolate shop to get some dessert. We walked in, looked around, then started to order. The person behind the counter told us they were closed. It was 6:30. Not sure why their door was open, but apparently people don't get dessert after 5:30 either.
Sunday we saw a footy match at Etihad Stadium. This was our first time watching the game, and it was fun trying to figure out what was going on. It was pretty amazing watching how much those guys run, it sure made American football look silly, with all of their pads they wear and breaks they take and the ridiculous sums of money they get paid. Phil was impressed by the 3 stadiums all near each other - Melbourne really likes its sports.
Monday night we decided to cook 4th of July dinner for the family we're staying with. We couldn't find tri tip so Phil got another mystery beef cut. I made potato salad, though it was frustrating because the ingredients all tastes slightly different, so I couldn't quite match how it normally tastes. The corn on the cob we had was not nearly as good as the corn I'm used to. It was fun though, and judging from the empty plates seemed to be a hit. It was funny seeing all of my friends' facebook posts today about it being warm and sunny and watching fireworks. Don't they know it's the 5th of July? Plus today it was super windy and cold and rained most of the afternoon. Definitely not the sort of July weather I'm used to.
Now I just have to get through the next week, and then I'll be super busy moving everything in. It also looks like I'll be traveling to Alice Springs, Darwin, and Katherine for work the last week of the month. I am looking forward to seeing some of the red areas of the country.

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