English As a Second Language

new words (7 of 8)
Prior to coming to Australia, Craig and I often joked about how we needed to get Rosetta Stone for Australian English.  There was a lot more truth to that than we realized.  He has had some moments of confusion when asked if he had written about meetings in his diary.  We’ve both had some funny interactions with people when one of us has used a word the other didn’t understand.  Even looking up places or things on the internet has proved difficult when I put the search term in.

new words (3 of 8)
These are thongs.  You slip them over your feet, not your fanny.  By the way, the fanny is on the front, and it’s considered rather crude to say.

new words (4 of 8)
This is not a restroom, bathroom, or ladies’ room; it’s the loo or toilet.  I know the photo is fuzzy; I felt embarrassed to be caught photographing the loo.

new words (1 of 8)
This is still an escalator,

new words (2 of 8)
but this is a travelator.

new words (6 of 8)
The steps flatten to an incline/decline.  When traveling (or is that travelating?) down, this can induce a feeling of falling.  I’ve been told it’s extra fun with high heels on.

new words (5 of 8)
This is a bottle shop.  They are all over the place and not run by the state.  You can buy liquor on Sundays and public holidays.

new words (8 of 8)
And these are bickies.  I like to eat bickies for breakie (breakfast), even though I should at least wait until tea.

I’m In Heaven

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (7 of 18)
I am happy and don’t remember the last time I felt like this, with so much serotonin pooling in my brain.  I’ve found my home.  Not the bricks and sticks of it, but the tree lined lanes, the sun glinting off the cerulean water, the green expanse of park, the sloping, terrace house banked streets, and the smell of the sea on the breeze.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (1 of 18)
I went out walking again today.  Each day I go a little further.  That is something I wish I’d done before I left Utah, strengthened my walking muscles.  I meant to, but it was cold, and the air wasn’t breathable, and, well, you know, excuses.

Today I went to Glebe to see if it’s where we’d like to live.  I fell in love.  The main drag through the suburb is Glebe Point Road.  It’s lined with cafes, flower shops, bakeries, bottle shops, fruit and vegetable markets.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (2 of 18)
I had to laugh at myself when I was looking at a display of potted herbs and it occurred to me that I could buy a basil plant and keep it for my very own.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (3 of 18)
It’s a quaint and quirky place.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (2 of 2)
I’m not sure I’d want to hike up these steps every day, several times a day!  But I love that tile and the tiny green plants growing in the cracks.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (16 of 18)
As the street begins to slope down toward the bay, rows of terrace houses replace the shops and restaurants.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (15 of 18)
I like to make up stories in my head about who lives in old houses; they usually involve insane women locked in the attic.  That’s an archetype that has stuck with me throughout my life.  At times I’ve felt like that woman.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (4 of 18)
At the end of Glebe Point Road is Rozelle Bay.  This is Anzac Bridge crossing the water.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (12 of 18)
Bicentennial Park borders the bay with green lawns, a walking path, and a palm tree lined lane.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (13 of 18)
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ~ Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Join me next week for some language lessons, a look into Sydney coffee culture, and who knows what else I’ll be up to!

Wandering the Streets

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (1 of 10)
The bright, sunny day here in Sydney called me out early this morning.  It’s been rainy since Monday and it’s so funny how everyone keeps apologizing for Sydney not putting on better weather for us!  I rather enjoyed the rain.  And the sun.

When you’re out walking, it’s important to remember where the cars will be coming from so you don’t get run over.  Look right, left, right before you step off that curb!

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (2 of 10)
At first, we wondered if we’d lose our bearings without the mountains or a temple spire to guide us.  We kept a map handy the first couple times out; now, though, it’s all starting to make sense.

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (3 of 10)
The city is filled with gorgeous, old architecture.  Pay no attention to the lady in the window.

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (5 of 10)
Beautiful flowers blooming in the gardens.

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (6 of 10)
This is a place we’re becoming very familiar with!  It’s the Broadway shopping center, with four or five floors of almost everything you might want or need.  Get a haircut, a massage, and deck yourself out top to toe.  Then pick up a new phone or computer, and stop at the reject shop, which is like a dollar store.  When you finish that, sit down for an amazing coffee and a pastry before you go do your grocery shopping.  Our friends clued us in to a gem of a market in the basement.  It’s called Harris Farms; you can get fresh produce, baked goods, organic meats, cheeses, and lots of imported yummy things in jars.

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (7 of 10)
I only just noticed the skull on the tooth!

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (8 of 10)
When you’re walking on the sidewalk, remember to keep left just like driving.  This also goes for escalators.

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (10 of 10)
I ventured up Glebe Point Road a bit and found Sappho Books, Cafe & Wine Bar.  This almond flour cake found me.  And more coffee.  I thought it might be too early for wine.

First Days

We’re here.  Down under.  Sydney, Australia.  I think it’s finally starting to sink in that we’re here.  Even as I pulled the door closed for the last time on that dark, empty house back in Salt Lake, I couldn’t quite grasp that we were never going back to our beloved bungalow.

The journey down here was blessedly smooth and easy.  Yes, the flight was long, fourteen hours from Los Angeles, but we’ve driven so many miles over the past month that this was a piece of cake.  Customs too, was a breeze.  We’d heard so many horror stories about how they were going to go through all of our luggage bit by bit and throw away our shoes.  No.  That doesn’t happen.  We declared my three month stock of thyroid medicine and the kefir grains (no dairy products allowed).  They had the dog sniff our bags and contico boxes, and sent us on our way.

We did our best to sleep as much as we could on the flight.  We left LA Thursday night, and arrived in Sydney on Saturday morning.  That missing Friday was weird for just a minute; mostly when I looked at my pill box and thought I’d missed a dose.

We got to the apartment that Adobe is providing us for the first month, freshened up, grabbed a map, and headed to the streets.  We had to keep moving in order to stay awake the entire day!

On Sunday, we continued to explore close by, shake off some more jet lag, and get our legs used to walking more than we’re accustomed to.  Another horror story we heard in the states was about how much everything was going to cost here.  So far, we’ve found it comparable to what we paid for things in the US.

Yesterday was Australia Day.  That’s like Fourth of July in the U.S.  We spent a wonderful day with our new friends Merrolee and Lindsay, who introduced us to the subway system and showed us around the city a bit.

The first three days here felt like we were on vacation, or I guess I should say “holiday” now.  Today, Craig is off to his first day at work, and I’m here at the apartment creating a new routine.  It’s starting to feel more real.

Here are a few pics of our new life:
First Days (2 of 3)
We’re at the Adina Apartment Hotel in Chippendale NSW.

First Days (1 of 3)
That’s my new kitchen, that as yet still has no real food in it, and the table is my new workspace.

First Days (3 of 3)
I don’t make the bed as nice as the maids do, but I feel really uncomfortable having maids come clean up after me.  The balcony that goes across from the bedroom to the living room – er, excuse me, lounge – is something I’m very comfortable with!

Sydney Australia Day (9 of 14)
Australia Day

Sydney Australia Day (10 of 14)

Sydney Australia Day (11 of 14)
Darling Harbour

These next few weeks are going to be all about finding a more permanent place to live, settling into a new rhythm, and learning how to shop, drink coffee, speak Aussie, and where to find almond flour.  Stay tuned!

We’re Going to a Land Down Under

Photo courtesy of Adam Campbell

My world has turned upside down.  This is appropriate because, yes it’s happened, we’re moving down under.  I feel like I should be happier about it, and I AM happy about it, but my emotions are all a jumble.  My feelings surrounding the move are all mixed together with my feelings about losing Rose, and losing my home, my current life.

We’re going to start a new life, and that is exciting!  We get to reinvent ourselves in a world where nobody there has expectations of who we are supposed to be.  And still, watching my nest walk out the door, twig by twig, in exchange for a handful of dollars, is wrenching me apart.  I am seriously coming to terms with my attachment to things.  I am appalled by how many things I have!  I keep thinking about how much money I spent on all those books and bowls and coffee cups.  As I exchange them for pennies or give them away I feel alternately resentful and relieved.  With everything that leaves I feel lighter.  Yet even as I vow to never collect that much stuff again, I am regretting that book or those latte bowls from Anthropologie.

I had a stack of the latte bowls and a set of dishes from Pottery Barn.  I really never actually used the dishes anymore.  They were big and bulky, I was tired of the color, and they chipped easy, but I was seriously attached to selling them, to recouping some of my money that I spent.  I posted them on Craigslist and we had a yard sale.  They didn’t sell.  In the end, I gave them to our next door neighbors who never would give us the time of day and who send their dogs over to poop in our yard.  It felt good!  In some weird, twisted way, I felt like I was getting even with them.

Letting go of all of our stuff is serving two purposes.  Part of it is just the reality of seriously downsizing to a tiny apartment, and not wanting or being able to pay to have all this crap shipped across the world.  The other part is that these things take up life energy.  If we take everything with us that is currently keeping us bogged down, we won’t be able to reinvent ourselves.  I see this mostly with all my old art supplies and the junk I’ve collected to do mixed media art.  I look at it and feel regret thinking, “oh, I never got around to making this idea I had.”  If I haul those undone art projects with me, there’s a good chance I’ll be hauling the regret with me, as those things continue to sit in a box undone.  But I’m also hauling an old idea of who I’m supposed to be.  If I’m free of all those expectations I have held of myself, I’m free to find out who I am without them.  I also feel like this myriad of tools and supplies for my various crafty and art interests keep me from focusing on what is most important to me.  It’s busy work to keep me from going after the life I really want.  I am ready to charge after that life with full passion.

All of this worry about things isn’t even the scary part of the move.  I’m worried and mournful about leaving my friends and family.  My children.  My granddaughter.  The really real truth is they live hundreds and thousands of miles away, so phone, facebook, and Skype is how we currently communicate.  We can still do that across an ocean.  And we will come back to visit.

I need to get back to work.  I’m attacking the kitchen today.  My posts in the upcoming weeks are going to be patchy, as we’re frantically trying to sort, pack, clean and get the house sold.  I will check in from time to time and share this life-upturning experience.